Peter Martyr Vermigli on 1 John 5:7

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Earlier, I read the blow extract in my recently-acquired hard-copy of The Common Places, and thought that I would share it here while it was still fresh in my mind as the subject is of interest to many PBers:

And in the first epistle of John, the fifth chapter; There be three, which bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit; and these three be one. Many write, that this testimony is not found in the Greek; against whom is Jerome in his preface of the canonical epistles, who saith that these words are in the Greek, but have been left out by the Latin translators. Yet Cyrillus herein agreeth not with Jerome: for he reciteth in the 14. book of his Thesaurus, all this whole place, and omitteth this particle. Among the Latins Augustine and Beda read not these words. But Erasmus in his notes upon this place sheweth, that there was found a Greek book in Britain, which had these words: also the Spanish edition hath them.

But admit that these words be not had in the Greek copies, the strength of the argument shall not be any thing diminished for that cause: for that which we affirm is proved by the other particle of the sentence, which is found extant as well among the Greeks, as among the Latins, namely; There be three things, which bear witness on the earth; blood, water, and the spirit. Augustine against Maximus the Arian bishop, in his third book, the 14. chapter useth this place; and he would, that the spirit should signify the Father, because God is a spirit; and the Father himself is the fountain and beginning of the whole divinity. Further, blood (as he saith) betokens the Son; because he took upon him the nature of man, and shed his blood for us. Finally water, in his judgment, doth manifestly declare the Holy Ghost.

Whereunto the Gospel doth very well agree. For whereas Jesus said; Rivers of lively water shall flow out of his belly, it is expounded that he spake this as touching the Spirit, which they should receive that believed in him. Wherefore insomuch as the three persons are represented in these three names, and that it is added withal, that these three be one; it is manifestly declared, that the three divine persons have one and the self-same substance. And Augustine treating upon this place, doth specially urge that particle; And they three be one. And he would have it to be a steadfast and firm thing in the scriptures, that when any things are said to be one, they differ not in substance. Even as when we read in the Gospel, that Christ said; I and the Father be one, there was meant to be one nature, both of the Father, and of the Son: so (saith he) we must now understand as touching these three, that they be one.

For the reference, see Peter Martyr Vermigli on 1 John 5:7.
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