John Wallis (1606-1703)
John Wallis (/ˈwɒlɪs/; 3 December 1616 – 8 November 1703) was an English clergyman and mathematician who is given partial credit for the development of infinitesimal calculus. Between 1643 and 1689 he served as chief cryptographer for Parliament and, later, the royal court. He is credited with introducing the symbol ∞ to represent the concept of infinity. He similarly used 1/∞ for an infinitesimal. John Wallis was a contemporary of Newton and one of the greatest intellectuals of the early renaissance of mathematics.
Three sermons concerning the sacred Trinity (1691)
And it is so far from being strange, that such Omissions should sometimes happen; that it is very strange (if there were not a great Providence of God to preserve the Scri∣ptures pure and entire) that there should be no more such mistakes than what are found. ForPage 43(before the convenience of Printing was found out) when Copies were to be singly transcri∣bed one from another, and even those but in a few hands: 'Twas very possible, (and hard∣ly avoidable,) even for a diligent Transcriber, sometime to skip a line. Especially, (which is the case here) when some of the same words do again recur after a line or two; Men are very subject, both in Writing and Printing, (as those well know who are versed in either,) to leap from one word, to the same recurring soon after. Nor is such Omission (when it happens) readily discerned, if (as here) the sense be not manifestly disturbed by it.
Now when such variety of Copies happens (that words be found in some, which are wanting in others,) this must either happen by a Casual mis-take, (without any design of Fraud: ) or by a willful Falsification; as to serve a particular turn; (which I take to be the case of the Papists, Indices Expurgatorii.)And, as to the words in question; If the difference of Copies happened at first by a Casual mistake, (as I am apt to think,) 'tis very easy for a Transcriber (unawares) to leave out a Line which was in his Copy (especially where such omission doth not ma∣nifestlyPage 44disturb the sense; ) but not to put in a line which was not there. And, in such case, the Fuller Copy is likelyest to be True, and the Omission to be a Fault. Which happen∣ing (as it seems it did) some hundreds of years ago, in some one Copy; it might easily pass (unobserved) into many others transcribed thence (and so to others derived from those Transcripts.) But an Insertion (of what was not in their Copy) must needs be willful, and not casual.On the other side; If this variety of Co∣pies were at first from a willful Falsification; It is much more likely to be a willful Omission of the Arians, in some of their Copies, (which might be done silently, and unobserved; ) than by a willful Insertion of the Orthodox.For the Insertion of such a clause, if wholly New, and which had never before been Heard of; would have been presently dete∣cted by the Arians, as soon as ever it should be urged against them.
And it is the more likely to be Genuine, be∣cause in this clause (The Father, the Word, and the Holy-Ghost) the second Person is called sun∣pliciter, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Word; which is St. John's Language, both here, and in his Gospel, Joh. 1. And is (I think) peculiar to him; and not so used by any other of the Holy Writers of the New Testament.
I do not deny but that this second Person may be called the Word of God, in Heb. 11.3. By Faith we understand that the Worlds were framed by the Word of God. And 2 Pet. 3.5, 7. By the Word of God were the Heavens of old, and the Earth, &c. and by the same Word they are kept in store. As he is by the same St. John, Rev. 19.13. His name is called, the Word of God. But to call him the Word absolutely (without other addition) I think is peculiar to St. John. And therefore much more likely in this place, to have pro∣ceeded from the same Pen, and not to have been inserted by an Interpolater some hun∣dreds of years after. And that clause These Three are One, in the Epistle, agreeing so well with I and the Father are one in the Gospel, is a further confirmation of their being both from the same Pen.
Add to this, That the Antithesis which we find in the 7th and 8th Verses, is so very Na∣tural; that it is a great Presumption to be Ge∣nuine. There are Three that bear record in Hea∣ven, The Father, the Word, and the Holy-Ghost, and these Three are One: And there are Three that bear witness in Earth, The Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood, and these Three agree in One. Which as it stands, is very Natural; but the latter clause would seem lame without the former: and the words in Earth wholly redundant in the latter, if not by Antithesis to answer to the words in Heaven, in the former Verse.
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