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defence, both in relation to his written word and redeemed people.
But, my hearers, what is the grand object of such a tremendous and unremitting opposition to 1 John, 5. 7, and all the other sacred passages of a similar import?
The Rev. Theophilus Lindsey expressly says,-" The tendency of the whole is to show, that the bulk of Christians, for many ages, have been worshipping two new Gods, who are no Gods at all, Jesus and the Holy Spirit; putting them on an equality with the Supreme Father and Sovereign Lord of all."
We may see, therefore, that the grand design of every writer in this school is, to remove the belief of Christ's Deity, and the distinct personality of the Holy Ghost from our mind; and, on that very account, it becomes us to look well to their criticisms, before we renounce the passages of Scripture, which support these fundamental truths of the Christian system.
But, the feelings of Griesbach, in relation to the doctrine of the Trinity may be learned, by a view of the following paragraph, selected from his essay on 1 John, 5. 7. It is contained in my opponent's discourse, and was delivered in this house, with a high tone of approbation and triumph. The paragraph in view, runs in this manner,— "If witnesses so few, so recent, so suspicious, and arguments so utterly frivolous, as are produced in defence of this passage, are competent to establish the genuineness of a reading, in opposition to such a multitude of unanswerable testimonies and arguments-there can be no criterion of truth and falsehood, in criticism, and the whole text of the New-Testament, is unsubstantiated and dubious-and I would undertake, if it were worth while, to defend six hundred notoriously spurious and universally rejected readings, by testimonies and arguments far more numerous and powerful, than any which are used by the
patrons of this verse-and I wish these things may be well considered by those, who may think proper to come forward in a cause, in which the acuteness of a Krittelius, the sagacity of a Hazelius, and the zeal of Travis (but not according to knowledge, and, therefore, severely castigated by the learned Porson and Marsh) have labored angrily and in vain."
To say the least of this, I think, it is far from bearing the complexion of Trinitarian language. But the arguments which this writer calls "few, recent, suspicious, and frivolous," some of them have been laid before you, and their strength or imbecility is submitted to your judg
What this gigantic Biblical critic, is pleased to call unanswerable testimonies and arguments," the gentleman in opposition to me, has, doubtless, presented us with some of them, in his elaborate discourse. But, if they be unanswerable," then all I have said, falls to the ground, as far as it relates to the authenticity of the text in dispute.
The case, my hearers, is now submitted to your candid decision, in respect to the orthodoxy of Griesbach.
I must say, that I cannot see how such arguments as have been advanced, in my discourses on the text in question, would destroy the "criterion of truth and falsehood in criticism," and leave "the whole text of the New-Testament unsubstantiated and dubious." In my humble opinion, there is an important rule in determining the divinity of a given text, which seems to have been overlooked by Griesbach, and, perhaps, by many others; namely, its internal character, and agreement with the other parts and doctrines of the Scriptures. According to this rule, the text in debate stands firm. The internal evidence of the Bible at large, has been considered by divines of the first eminence, as a proof of its authenticity; and
why a rule which is applied to the whole, with supposed success, should be inapplicable to a part, and not sufficient to support its authority, is to me, mysterious.
There is one thing in the quotation from Griesbach, that is rather enigmatical. It is this," And I would undertake, if it were worth while, to defend six hundred notoriously spurious and universally rejected readings by testimonies and arguments, far more numerous and powerful, than any which are used by the patrons of this verse,"
Does this saying, look like a man, who feels a tender regard for the honor of God's word? like a holy fear of unhinging the minds of people in respect to that invaluable Book, which was given "to make them wise unto salvation." Let him be ever so highly honored by the learned world, I think his statement is sanguine and alarming. It sounds like infidelity, rather than a humble faith in the Oracles of God. If there be "six hundred notoriously spurious and universally rejected readings" in our translation, it must be a very uncertain guide to the common reader; and, to proclaim such a thing in the ears of those, who hate the Scriptures, and wish to deny their authority, appears to be a rash and unguarded step. Even allowing Griesbach to be a Christian and a Trinitarian, this assertion cannot fail in having its effect, in enlarging the ranks of unbelievers.
But as this celebrated critic announces, that these "six hundred spurious readings" may be defended "by more numerous and powerful arguments" than 1 John, 5. 7, I am inclined to think that they are entitled to our confidence.
It seems, however, to have been Griesbach's object, to deter every one from venturing any more to support the text in debate, by saying: The "acute Krittelius, the sagacious Hazelius, and the zealous Travis," have labored
in this desperate 'case," angrily and in vain." But if they have failed in supporting the cause of that passage, they have shown much regard to an important gospel doctrine; and, therefore, they might have expected more lenity from this Biblical critic, if he is a Trinitarian, than to say that they have been "severely castigated by Porson and Marsh, and labored angrily and in vain."
No doubt, Griesbach is a scholar, an able critic, and has some claim to respect; but I think his orthodoxy is questionable.* There is no need, however, of denying learning and merit to any gentleman, because he differs from us in theological opinion. Men of small parts and learning may have correct views of divine subjects, while men of extensive learning and capacity may adopt the wildest theories in relation to these things. But, Anti
*The authority of Griesbach is not universally submitted to, by the learned in Europe. Richard Lawrence, L. L. D. Rector of Mershem, England, published a pamphlet in 1814, which was reviewed in the Christian Observer, vol. 13. page 573, in which he makes some objections against Griesbach's method of deciding on the authenticity of the various readings, of different manuscripts, and makes some statements which are calculated very much to shake our confidence in any of Griesbach's decisions. He states, that Griesbach admits that there were five or six classes of manuscripts, but confined himself to the examination of three classes only; that he adopted a mode of deciding on the classification of manuscripts, which was merely arbitrary and which yet had an important influence in forming his ultimate decisions. He declares that very material inaccuracies were committed by Griesbach in his enumeration of the various readings, and points out some instances, of decisions directly contrary to his own rules. The result of Dr. Lawrence's examination, appeared to be a full conviction in his mind that no reliance was to be placed in Griesbach's authority, and that his classification of manuscripts, by which his decisions were supported, was principally made to subserve the purpose of critical conjecture. Thus inuch for the undisputed authority of Griesbach. One word as to his orthodoxy. He indeed professes to believe in the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. But while he makes this profession, one of the rules by which he decides on the various readings is singular enough. It is in these words; Amongst various readings that which beyond the rest manifestly favors the tenets of the orthodox is deservedly sus pected." (The above note was communicated to the author by a learned friend.)
Trinitarians seem to think that our incorrectness in doctrine must originate from a want of talents; and, therefore, they are constantly holding up the idea of Trinitarian weakness. We have no need of denying these endowments to them, to account for their deficiency in the knowledge of divine truth; for we believe it to be of a moral nature. It is said by Jesus Christ, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of his doctrine whether it be of God." His apostle says likewise, "The world by wisdom knew not God." "Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called." The doctrines of the cross were, to the learned Greeks, foolishness. We must, therefore, "become fools" in the view of learned sinners, to be made wise unto salvation."
The gentleman, after giving us an account of Griesbach's rejecting the text in debate from his purified Greek Testament, and his remarks on its spuriousness; proceeds to give his opinion of Mr. Travis, from whose works, part of the historical evidence in favor of its authority has been taken.
He says, "Of this Travis, who is so puffed off here in America, by those, who know nothing of the man, and who are totally unacquainted with the state of this controversy, the celebrated professor Michaelis justly observes; he is indisputably half a century behind hand in critical knowledge, and consequently, unacquainted with matter now universally known."
I would just remark, that whenever my opponent has occasion to speak of Mr. Travis, he invariably uses the language of indignity and contempt. In the outset of his discourse, he has once condescended to call him Mr. Travis; but, after his mind became warmed with argument, no terms of tenderness or gentility are any more admitted. The very next time he speaks of him, it is in