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37. MSS. were generally written in continued lines, without either punctuation or any breaks betweenwords or sentences; by which means, letters may be readily taken from one word to another, and words from one clause or sentence to another. Houbigant, Prol. Ken. Diff. 1. p. 313, &c. Simon, N. T.

C. 33. Wetft. c. 1. 5, .

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38. MSS. were often written on rolls, by misplacing which, mistakes may readily have been introduced.

Ken. Remarks on select pallages in the Old Testament.

39. MSS. show the different orders in which the books of Scripture have at different times been placed; and, by so doing, may account for some appearances, or remove some difficulties.

40. MSS. discover the groundlessness of many conjectures concerning the occasions of various readings which have been formed by learned men not much conversant with MSS.

Mill, Prol. No. 1367. Wetst. Prol. c. 1. Ø 7.

41. Hebrew MSS. are often written without vowel points; and some of them retain many of the vowel letters, which are omitted in later MSS. and in the printed editions. Simon, V. T. 1. 1. C. 22.

Ken. Diff. 1. p. 313.

42. Greek MSS. are generally written without accents, spirits, or the iota subscriptum.

Simon, N. T. c. 33. Wett. c. 1. Ø 5.


The Authority of the printed Editions.

43. All the printed editions of the Scriptures, however many, are derived from a very few original and independent editions ; the authority, therefore, of all the printed editions resolves itself into the authority of these few; and, in like manner, the authority of each of these few resolves itself into that of the particular MSS. from which it was printed.

44. Of the Old Testament, there are only two editions which can be considered as original; for though there were some prior to both, they have been very rare, and little known.

45. The first is that of R. Ben Chaim; and from it all the ordinary printed editions are in general derived; and, consequently, the authority of them all is resolvable into that of the MSS. from which his edition was taken ; which, having been all corrected according to the Mafora, as well as very late, are entitled to little more than the authority of a single MS. and that of no great antiquity. Simon, Catalog. Edit. Bibl. Houbigant. Prol. c. 3. a. 2. Ken.

Diff. 1. p. 287, 548. Diff. 2. p. 470. Diff. Gen. ☺ 60.
Walton, Præf. & Prol. 4.

46. Therefore, also, the printed editions have, all together, little more than the authority of one MS. and less authority than one MS. more ancient than those from which they were taken ; but, of more ancient MSS. than these, there are many still extant.


Ken. ib.

47. The other original edition of the Old Testament, is the Complutensian Bible, it having been in the prefs at the same time with the former ; but it too was taken from MSS. corrected by the Mafora.

Ken. ib. & Diff. Gen. 60. Walton, Præf. & Prol. 3. 14.

48. Consequently, where these two editions agree, their authority is not much greater than if they had been printed from the same MS.

Ken. ib.

49. There are fome variations between them; and. these are to be judged of, according to the authority of the MSS. from which they were respectively taken, or by the examination of other MSS.

5o. Still therefore it holds true, that the concurrence of the printed editions of the Old Testament has not great force for establishing a disputed reading, in opposition to evidence against it.

51. Of the New Testament, there are four capital editions, in some measure original and independent, from one or other of which all the rest are derived, and into the authority of which, that of them all, consequently, resolves itself. Mill. Prol. No. 1088, &c. Wetít. Prol. c. 10, 11, 12, 13,

16. Michael. $ 33, 34

52. The Complutensian, which is the first of these, is thought by fome to have been carefully taken from a great number of MS$. and to have chiefly followed one very ancient ; and by these persons its authority is highly extolled.

Mill. ib. Walton, Prol. 4. 14, 15.

53. Others affirm that it was taken from MSS. of the 14th and following centuries, and, in several inItances, accommodated to the Latin version; and, confequently, that it ought to have very little authority,

. Wetft. ib.

54. Till this question be determined with fufficient evidence, that edition ought to be followed with caution.

Marsh's Michael. ch. 12. { 1.

55. The second is Erasmus's, who took his first edition from only three MSS. of the Gospels, and one MS. of the other books ; and in his subsequent editions, employed a few more MSS. and made fome alterations according to the Complutensian. The readings of his edition, therefore, stand on the authority of a very few MSS.

Jid. ib. Mill. ib. No. 1116--1154.

56. The next is that of Robert Stevens, who fol. lowed chiefly Erasmus's last edition, but used along with it, the Complutensian, and fifteen MSS., but some of them only small fragments, and few of them very ancient ; so that the authority of his edition resolves it

self, self, partly into the authority of the two former edi, tions, and partly into that of his fifteen MSS.

Jid. ib. Mill. ib. No. 1155-1187. 1220—1235.

57. The fourth is Beza's, who took his edition chiefly from Stevens's third impression, with one MS. of the Gospels, and one of the Epistles, and often preferred readings supported by a single or dubious authority. Where his edition, therefore, differs from others, it has little weight. It is from his, that the common editions are taken.

Jid. ib. Mill. ib. No. 1258-1293.

58. It follows, that the readings found in all the printed editions of the New Testament, rest on the authority of a few MSS. not always the most ancient ; and, consequently, the concurrence of these editions cannot confer great authority on the readings adopted by them, in opposition to others which appear to be well supported.


The Necessity of Correcting the printed Editions by


59. That there are many various readings in the copies of the New Testament, and that it is highly useful to examine them, has for a long time been generally confessed; and they indeed supply the means of render

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