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I. INTERNAL ARGUMENTS.
Obj. 1. It is improbable that the Pharisees and lawyers would so far honour Jesus as to make him judge of a matter which the law placed under their jurisdiction.
Arts. The question was not proposed by the chief priests and Pharisees, but by the Scribes and Pharisees; therefore there is no necessity for supposing that they who proposed it, were members of the Sanhedrin. It was not referred to him in order to do him honour, but for the purpose of insulting and tempting him.
Obj. 2. It is improbable that such a crime should have been committed during the festival; or if it had, it is not likely that the Pharisees would have instituted the process at this time.
Ans. The first part of the objection is frivolous, as those who are willing to break through one of the most solemn commands of the moral law, are not likely to be restrained by respect to any ceremonial ordinances ; provided they entertain the hope that their crime shall not be known. As to the latter part of the objection, it is all but certain on comparing chap, vii. 37, with the first verses of chap, viii., that the occurrence took place after the feast was ended and not during the feast, as the objection presupposes.
Obj. 3. It is said that there was nothing captious in the question; thai if Jesus had answered that she ought, according to the law of Moses, to be put to death, but that in the existing state of the Jewish polity, the sanction of the Roman procurator must be obtained, else the punishment could not be inflicted, the Jews could neither accuse him of setting aside the law of Moses, nor delate him before the magistrate as refusing the jurisdiction of the Romans.
Ans. The Roman law did not admit of death by stoning. If therefore Jesus had said that the culprit ought to be dealt with according to the Mosaic law, he might have been accused before the Roman governor; if he had recommended to hand over the case to the Roman authorities, he would have lost credit with the Jews as acknowledging the jurisdiction of a Gentile power in opposition to their own judicial ordinances. Thus it appears that the question was exactly similar in its import and design to that proposed to him regarding the payment of tribute to Csesar.
Obj. 4. It is said that stoning was not ordered by the law of Moses as the punishment of an unfaithful wife.
Ans. Although the law says no more than that the adulteress should be put to death, yet it can be proved that stoning was intended. In Exod. xxxi. the punishment of death is denounced against the Sabbath-breaker, and in Num. xv. an instance is related of this punishment having been inflicted by stoning.
Obj. 5. Jesus by writing on the ground instead of immediately answering the question, seemed to hesitate and take time for consideration, which is inconsistent with his custom as well as with what we know of his infinite wisdom.
Ans. He rather intended to express to them that he did not choose to interfere in the judgment of a civil cause. "It was a custom with the Jews, when any disagreeable matters were brought forward, to which they wished not to answer, either by affirmation or negation, to employ themselves in writing something as if otherwise engaged. This has been proved and illustrated by Schoettgen Hor. Hebr. in loc.
Obj. 6. The reply of Christ v. 7, is not to the point, for it is not necessary that the judge or accuser be sinless, in order that the culprit be a proper object of punishment.
Ans. The woman was not brought before Christ as a judge: and he as a moral teacher took occasion to point out to them the fact that they were themselves no better than she. Just as almost any preacher would do were any hearer to interrupt him with a narration of some act of vice ; just as Jesus himself, when he was told of those whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices, promptly replied, "Unless ye repent ye shall all likewise perish."
Ohj. 7. It is incredible that all the people present in the temple were guilty of the sin of adultery.
Ans. Of this we are by no means certain : so corrupt were morals at this time that Jesus styled his contemporaries a wicked and adulterous generation. But further, it was ordained by the law that the witnesses of the crime should throw the first stone. If then they were not able to accept the challenge, then the object of the captious inquirers would be effectually baffled, and all would be filled with shame and vexation at having participated in such an affair.
Obj. 8. It is not probable, considering the constant resort to the temple, that Jesus and the woman should be left alone there.
Ans. It is only meant in respect of the woman's accusers. The whole party who had come in order to raise the discussion of this question went away, and so far as theyviere concerned, Jesus and the woman were left alone. This would be admitted in the narration of any ordinary historian. Besides, that this was the intention of the writer of this narrative is plain, since the woman is said to have been left standing '«»M«r*> in the middle of the people: Jesus and she alone in the midst of the spectators.
Obj. 9. The style of this narrative is more " ornate" than that of John.
Ans. It is not a whit more so than that of some other passages of this gospel.
Obj. 10. If this story be removed. Chap. viii. 12, seqq. will be connected with vii. 52, &c.
Ans. We think the connexion is more probable as it stands.
II. EXTERNAL ARGUMENTS.
Obj. 1. The story is omitted in several M SS., and is noted with asterisks by others.
Ans. This objection we have already answered, by shewing that the authority of MSS. in favour of the passage greatly exceeds that of the opposite kind. The citations of the fathers are of a highly satisfactory description. It is found in Tatian, Ammonias, referred to in the Constitutiones Apostolicae, (which though apocryphal as a portion of scripture, were certainly written in the 3rd cent.,) and noticed by Ambrose, Jerome and Augustine.
Obj. 2. If this passage be genuine, it must have been omitted in so many copies either accidentally, or intentionally: now both these suppositions are very improbable.
Ans. We do not think either of them very improbable; the latter we think scarcely improbable at all. Some of the early Christians "found there, it seems, many difficulties, to them almost inextricable, and fancied they saw something hardly reconcilable with the wisdom of Jesus. They, it seems, especially stumbled at this circumstance, namely, that Jesus did not pass a severe condemnation on the adulteress: or at least feared, lest any, concluding from thence an impunity to the crime, should have been encouraged in its commission. Hence it would be omitted in the Leclionaria, and finally in the MSS. of the gospel. On the same principle the fathers chose to pass it over in their homilies, which has led to a false suspicion that they had it not in their copies." But if it be difficult on the supposition of its genuineness to account for its omission in some copies (which we think it is not), it must be acknowledged that it is greatly more difficult on the supposition of its spuriousness to account for its admission into so many others. This also must either have been intentional or accidental: but how the latter should be, it is impossible for us to conceive ; and what object there could be for the former, it is equally difficult to imagine.
Obj. 3. The great variety of readings is an argument against the authenticity of the passage.
VOL. I. 2 c
Ans. We know not how any such argument can be supported. None of the various readings have at all altered the import of the story. "Those who maintain that it is spurious, can no more account for the various readings than those who defend its authenticity." For our part we are quite unable to comprehend, why there should be more various readings in a suppositious than in a genuine passage.
1 John v. 7-—We have sometimes thought, on reading Mill and Whithy on this verse, that Trinitarian writers are too facile in giving it up, as they now generally do. Still, as it is unquestionably a doubtful passage, it is for translators to determine how it shall be treated. For our own part we should insert it with a mark to point out that its genuineness is not completely established, and should thus escape the danger of keeping back a portion of the word of God on the one hand, and of adding to that word on the other: or we should omit it, and state in a marginal note that such a passage is found in some MSS.—But what we have to complain of throughout, in regard to all the three passages, but more especially in regard to the two former, is their omission in a popular translation, without so much as an advertisement having been given of the fact. Had the translators any doubt as to the propriety of rejecting the passages in question? If so, why did they not state their doubts in some form or other? Or were they perfectly and completely satisfied that the passages are spurious? Then were they not bound by common courtesy to state the grounds of their conviction, for the satisfaction of such as might hold an opposite opinion? Did they think the opinion of almost all critics unworthy of the smallest recognition? Did they expect that the church should receive Iheir implied assertion, as sufficient demonstration that the textus receptus and all who have defended it, are in error? If so, they were mistaken. The church cannot and dares not give up any portion of that which she esteems her most sacred trust, upon the unsupported authority of a thousand times more men, each possessed of a thousand times more erudition, than the Benares Missionaries can collectively boast.
To our Christian readers we need offer no apology for having occupied so many of our pages with this discussion. True it is all about three short passages, and these not of much moment for the purposes of systematic theology. But if they were inspired by God, then it is our duty to defend them, let the defence cost what it will; and no one who duly appreciates the word of God, will think any labour misspent, whose object is to preserve it entire to the church till the end of time. Especially no one who knows, how the rationalism of Germany began, and how far it has proceeded, and where it is likely to end, will look with indifference upon the beginning of such evils.
Although we believe we are pledged not to say any thing editorially for or against the Romanizing system, we may surely be allowed to say, that we should have rejoiced to see a fair experiment of it made under more favourable circumstances, and that we are sorry, that the first version of the scriptures printed in that character, should have been one which shuts itself out from the possibility of a favourable reception by the universal church.—T. S.
1. f All praise unto God, the Lord of all worlds! 2, the gracious, the merciful! 3, the master of the day of judgment! 4, Thee do we worship, and thee do we supplicate. 5, Direct us in the right way, 6, the way of those thou hast favored; 7, not of those beneath thy wrath, nor the bewildered. [Amen.]
At Qoba'n] The word Quba'n is derived from *ly (the same as the Hebrew top) signifying reading or what is to be read. The book is also called Al Kita'b, Kala'm U'llah, Al Mosiiaf, and Al Fithqa'n, which last name is also given to the Books of Moses. (See v. 50. Cli. S.) It is divided into 114 sowar (chapters), thirty ajza or siparah (sections), sixty ahzab (semi.sections), and above 6000 ayat (verses) ; but what the precise number of these last is, has not been determined by the commentators.
The Quran is said to have been written by God on a table near hia throne from all eternity, and a copy of it was sent down to the lowest of the seven heavens on the night Al Qadr in the month JU1n7.an, from "hence portions of it were brought to Muhammad by Gabriel as circum. stances rendered expedient, during three a»d twenty years. When thus revealed, some expert writer was employed to transcribe them in the chapters indicated by Muhammad. The passages were then either retained in the memory or were copied by his ftJlowers, but as the originals were left •n a chest with his wife Hafsah, without any previous attempt at arrange. n»ent, the whole was found by Abo Baku, Omab, and Os.ma'n to require revision, and a Committee was appointed to edit the work, which duty
* This paper has been sent to us as a specimen of a new translation of the Quran *'th notes. The ultimate object of the translator, should he continue his labors, "to shew the uninspired character of the book.—Ed.
♦ >] Gen. i. J ; Dan. iv. 35; Heb. i. 2; Rev. It. 11.—3 and title] Exod. ***h. 8; Neh. ix. 31 ; Pi. ciii. 8 j cxvi. 5; Jonah iv. 2.-3] John v. 22 ; 2nd Tim. ,T- I; Matt. xix. 28.-4] Ps. xcv. 6; Matt. xv. 8, 9.—8] 1 Sam. xil. 23; 'Kings vlii. 36" s Exra viil. 21 j Prov. xvi. 25; Matt. vli. 13, 14.—8 and 7] Isa. "'•'»; lix. 8; Prov.iv. 19.