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An assertion of so sweeping a description, which attributes the alteration of the Scriptures, the erasure of parts of the sacred text from ancient codices, and the consequent corruption of the records of our faith, to an individual by name, as a specific charge, should be hazarded only on the strongest evidence. From inconsideration and ignorance in some cases, and from the heated temper of theological controvertists in others, general imputations of this kind of proceedings, have been not unfrequently insinuated against different parties. The impro bability, however, that such a course could be adopted without being detected and exposed, and the absence of the proofs requisite to support the assumed fact, have, in the estimation of all competent judges of such matters, obviated any supposed difficulties of this nature. Charges of this general description are indeed too vague and indefinite to be considered as of much consequence. But the case is very different when a particular accusation is fixed on an individual: such a case deserves our most serious attention, and only on evidence absolutely conclusive should we pronounce a verdict which is to consign the accused to the loss of reputation in a point, where above all others, one would wish to see the character of every Christian writer free from blame.

Mr. Nolan's charge against Eusebius is not founded on the testimony of facts adduced by any opponents of the Historian of Cæsarea, but is derived from the supposed evidence which, it is imagined, is to be found in a letter addressed by Constantine to Eusebius, which the latter has preserved in his life of that emperor, and particularly from the following passage of it.


πρέπον γὰρ κατεφάνη τὸ δηλῶται τῇ σῇ συνέσει, όπως ἄν πεντήκοντα σωμάτια δεν διφθέραις ἐγκατασκέυοις ευανάγνωστά τε, καὶ πρὸς τὴν χρήσι ευμετακόμιστα ὑπὸ τεχνιτῶν καλλιγράφων και ακριβώς την τέχνην επισταμένων γραφῆναι κελεύσειας τῶν θείων δηλαδὴ γραφών, ὧν μάλιστα τὴν τ' ̔επισκευὴν καὶ τὴν χρησιν τῷ τῆς εκκλησίας λόγω αν' αγκαίαν είναι γινώσκεις.


Euseb. Vita Const. Lib iv. c. 36. P. 646. ed. Reading.

The authority with which Eusebius was vested," says Mr. Nolan, to prepare this edition, was conveyed in the following terms, as nearly as the original can be literally expressed." '

It seemeth good unto us to submit to your consideration, that you would order to be written on parchment prepared for the purpose by able scribes, and accurately skilled in their art, fifty codices, "both legible and portable, so as to be useful; namely, of the sacred "Scriptures, whereot chiefly, you know, the preparation and use to be

necessary to the doctrine of the church." p. 26.' pp. 4, 5.

Such is Mr. Nolan's translation of the preceding passage, and from this passage, so translated, he draws the following conclusions.

"If we now compare the authority thus committed to Eusebius

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which seems to have vested him with a discretionary power of selecting chiefly those sacred Scriptures, which he knew to be useful and necessary to the doctrine of the Church, with the sacred text, as it is marked in the corrected edition lately put forth by M. Griesbach, we shall = perhaps discover how far it is probable he acted to the full extent of his powers, and removed those parts of Scripture from the circulated edition, which he judged to be neither conducive to use nor doctrine, and which are now marked as probable interpolations in the received text.” p. 26. p. 8.

Were we to assume the accuracy of Mr. Nolan's translation of the letter to Eusebius, we should even then dispute the validity of his conclusions. But the correctness of his rendering is more than doubtful. Mr. Falconer properly inquires, whether there is any Greek term in the letter, which denotes an edition; any thing which denotes the conveyance of the Imperial authority, or even the intimation of the Imperial pleasure, to do any thing more than to get fifty well-written copies of the Scriptures, of a convenient form, for the service of the churches at Constantinople. And these inquiries he very satisfactorily determines in the negative. The correctness of the following criticism is we think indisputable.

Let us examine however in what words and in what manner Constantine "invests" Eusebius with this power, according to Mr. Nolan's version of the instrument. "It seemeth good unto us to submit to "your consideration, that you would order to be written." From this translation it would seem, that Eusebius might consider whether he would order these copies to be made or not, and that it would depend upon the result of this deliberation, whether he would issue his orders for this purpose. The fact however is, that the words translated"submit to your consideration," do not convey this meaning. They are these, πρέπον γὰρ κατεφάνη τὸ δηλῶσαι τῇ σῇ συνέσει. Similar phraseology is to be found in another letter of Constantine, addressed to several bishops at Antioch. It is also used in another letter of Constantine, in which he commends Eusebius for refusing the overseership, or bishoprick, of the church at that place. "But your vos acted very properly in refusing the overseership of the church at Antioch," a on σόνεσις ὑπέρευγε πεποιηκε, παραιτουμένη την ̓επισκοπίαν πῆς κατὰ την ̓Αντιοχειαν Εκκλησίας. And again in another passage; "at which council it will be 66 necessary for your σύνεσις to be present;” ὧν τῷ συμβουλίῳ καί τὴν σὴν συνεσιν παρεῖναι δεήσει. When Constantine addresses the bishops Theodotus, Theodorus, Narcissus, Ætius, Alpheius, and the other bishops at Antioch, he uses the same words; "I have read what was written by your συνεσις ;” ανέγνων τά γραφεν τὰ παρὰ τῆς ὑμετέρας συνέσεως. Lib. iii. p. 619. Vit. Constant. ed. Reading. And in the close of the same letter we have the words which Mr. N. translates," submit to your 6 consideration, καλῶς δυν εἶχε δηλῶσαι τῇ συνέσει ὑμῶν; and in another passage, your cups will be able to regulate the election in such a manner, that—” δυνήσεται ὑμῶν ἡ σύνςεις ουτω ρυθμίσαι την χειροτονίαν



5, X. T. 2.


'I conclude therefore, that the word ouviens is a term denoting an

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abstract good quality, a virtue, or excellent property, which it was usual to convert into an expression of compliment, or a title of respect.—H nì ΣΥΝΕΣΙΣ, your intelligence." It seemed proper to signify to your intelligence that," &c. This conceive to be the proper explanation and force of the expression used by Constantine ” pp. 5, 6.'


Mr. Nolan's translation is exceptionable in other particulars: "for the purpose" has not any equivalent expression in the original, nor is it implied in the term synaraonévols. The copies of the Scriptures ordered by Constantine, were to be written on well prepared parchment, εν διφθέραις εγκατάσκευοις, by scribes who excelled in the art of beautiful writing, and who were celebrated for the accuracy of their transcripts; and these particular copies were to be both easy to be read, and easily portable for

use.' They were for the use of the churches which Constantine had lately built at Constantinople, and were therefore to be prepared by the most excellent artists. Such, we agree with Mr. Falconer, was the purport of the directions conveyed to Eusebius in the Emperor's letter, and these directions, we suppose, were transmitted to the Bishop of Cæsarea, as one who well understood the manner in which the required copies could best be provided for the accommodation of the churches. Such we take to be the sense of Ὧν μάλιστα τὴν τ' επισκευὴν καὶ τὴν χρῆσιν τῷ τῆς εκκλησίας λόγω αναγκαίαν εἶναι γινώσκεις, rendered by Mr. Nolan,


whereof chiefly, you know, the preparation and use to be ne'cessary to the doctrine of the church;' but for which rendering Mr. Falconer proposes to read, necessary in consideration of, having regard to the nature and constitution of the church. The doctrine of the church was, we think, entirely out of the question.

The construction which Mr. Nolan puts upon the letter of Constantine, it will have been noticed, is, that Eusebius was invested with the discretionary power of preparing such a text of the Sacred Scriptures, as he might judge most consonant to the doctrine of the church. But a writer must possess a strange faculty at drawing conclusions, who can deduce a position of this kind from the Imperial letter. All the directions, Mr. Falconer justly remarks, relate to externals, to the parchment, the writing, the size, the immediate transmission of the copies, the mode of their conveyance to Constantinople, and the person who was entrusted with the care of them on the road."


Mr. Nolan, on the supposed credit of the passage in Eusebius, which we have already quoted, and which Mr. Falconer has clearly shewn to be erroneously translated, and altogether misconstrued by him, imputes to the bishop a daring and criminal proceeding He removed those parts of Scripture which he

judged to be neither conducive to use nor doctrine, and which ' are now marked as probable interpolations in the received text.


They amount principally to the following: The account of the woman taken in adultery, John vii. 53. viii. 11. and three texts, which assert in the strongest manner the mystery of the Trinity, of the Incarnation, and Redemption. 1 John v. 7. 1 Tim. iii. 16. Acts xx. 28.' In this manner did Eusebius, according to Mr. Nolan, exercise the discretionary power' with which he was vested, of selecting chiefly those sacred Scriptures, which he knew to be useful and necessary to the doctrine of the church. And how are we to digest this? Could Eusebius, at Cæsarea, in the fourth century, give out and obtain circulation for copies of the Scriptures which he had modelled according to his own will, and from which he had expunged whatever passages did not happen to please him? Had he previously obtained possession of all existent copies of the New Testament, and been successful in blotting out of the remembrance of all Christians the recollection of the passages which he had presumed to cancel? Were the preceding passages the only ones which a person who could obliterate them from the sacred text, would think of removing? And if Eusebius could perform an office of this kind, were there not other persons who had quite as good an inclination to the same work, and by whom other passages which they might not approve, may have been also expunged? If Eusebius could expunge to the extent of his wishes, he might also have inserted numerous passages, it being easy to conceive that a person who could do the former, had no reason to withhold him from the latter proceeding. Such consequences as these, all admissible on Mr. Nolan's assumption, should induce a strong hesitation in the mind of any writer, before he indulges himself in the amusing work of framing an hypothesis wholly irrespective of fact. What might be the will of Eusebius, we presume not to say, but we do think that the 'power' of altering the Scriptures was completely out of his reach; and we are quite certain that so far as the records of Ecclesiastical History are our guide to the knowledge of past transactions, which involve the wilful corruption of the Scriptures, there is not the shadow of authority to attach such culpability to the person whom Mr. Nolan has exbibited as a man guilty of this crime. The only fact, the fair, and simple account of the matter which relates to Eusebius, in regard of the question brought forward by Mr. Nolan, is, that he was directed by the Emperor Constantine, to provide fifty copies of the Scriptures, of elegant execution, for the churches which he had erected in his new metropolis. This is the nature of the entire transaction. What possible ground could a writer of sobriety and caution find in the affair, on which to rest such positions as the following? At the beginning of this century (the fourth)


an edition of the original Greek was published by Eusebius, of • Cæsarea, under the sanction of Constantine the great.' 'The

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edition of the Scriptures dispersed and thus altered by him, was peculiarly accommodated to the opinions of the Arians.' The first edition of the Scriptures published with the royal authority.' The peculiar alterations which the text has undergone from the hand of Eusebius.' 'Eusebius expunged these verses " (i. e.) Acts xx. 28. 1 Tim. iii. 16, 1 John v. 7.) from his text, and every manuscript from which they have disappeared is lineally descended from his edition.' This is hypothesis with a witness!

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10. But "now the charge is to be brought home to Eusebius," p. 35. The latter part of St. Mark's Gospel "was wanting in most copies of "the Evangelists extant, in the time of St Jerome, the beginning of "the fifth century Eusebius composed a work called the Canons, a kind of harmonical tables, in which this part of St. Mark's Gospel, is omitted. Mr. Nolan's conclusion is, that "it must have been ex"punged from the original text," and that "there seems to be con"sequently no other reasonable inference," but that "his edition agreed "with them, and with the copies extant in the times of St Jerome, "in omitting this passage," p 36. What Eusebius omitted in his canons is evident; what he erased in the fifty copies sent to Constanti. nople, and whether he erased any thing, is far from evident. The former was an innocent act, the latter would have been a gross fraud. But if these passages were erased from the fifty copies, it is clear by the hypothesis that the MSS. at Cæsraea contained them, and subsequent copies would have defeated the intentions of the episcopal impostor. It is the argument of Mr. Nolan, that what Eusebius omitted in his canons, he expunged in the fitty copies of the Scriptures destined for the Constantinopolitan new churches. Will it exculpate the Bishop to call these fifty copies "his edition" of the New Testament? We must remember that the original MSS. at Cæsarea were untouched, according to the hypothesis of Mr. N. and not afterwards removed from the library, by the Emperor or the Bishop.' p. 10.



Eusebius's canons do not include the latter part of Mark's Gospel-and what does that prove? Nothing less, according to Mr. Nolan, than that Eusebius expunged' the passage, in his edition' of the New Testament! A most unwarrantable inference, truly. Does this omission admit of no other explanation than one which impeaches the honesty of the man? Would it not be sufficiently accounted for by the hesitation of Eusebius respecting the passage, which might be wanting in the MSS. that he used?

We thank Mr. Falconer for this interesting tract, which is written in a sober and scholar-like manner. Of its efficiency on the subject to which it relates, there can be but one opinion among those who, in such questions, form their judgement on the appropriate evidence by which alone they can be determined. We are glad to perceive in this tract, a particular examination of a subject to

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