Imatges de pàgina

candor in an opponent; but, to discern it in ourselves, is more difficult.

Prejudices which are deeply rooted and of long standing, are very powerful, and not easily removed. We are apt to view our honor and interest, as inseperably connected with the stand that we take in relation to religious senti


It is not an easy thing, therefore, to change our opinion on subjects of this nature; and, more especially, when that opinion is in favor of a doctrine which is congenial with the depraved feelings of the heart. We, who profess to be Orthodox, may find some difficulty in divesting ourselves of biasses, which are unfavorable to correct judging, in respect to the subject in view; and, if our opponents think, that they are wholly unbiassed, and prepared to judge according to truth in this matter; the judgment day, perhaps, may convince them of their mistake.

As the text in question relates to an infinitely interesting doctrine, it is not to be expected that people of opposite principles will feel very disinterested, in forming their conclusions for or against its authenticity. Under these impressions, we may now proceed to take a summary view of the evidence on each side of this momentous and contested subject. In doing this, it will be proper,

I. To state the testimony which lies against the passage in dispute. No notice, however, will be taken of what my opponent has urged against its internal character; for, no candid mind can deem it to have any weight. But, that there is external evidence against it, is a thing, that I have not denied. In giving a condensed account of that, on which reliance may be placed, it may be observed,

1. It is not an evidence in its favor, that there is not more account of it in the writings of the early fathers, against the Anti-Trinitarians. We have seen, however, S

that it has been quoted by some writers of every century, up to the apostolic age; but if that kind of testimony were more abundant, the evidence that it was actually in the autograph of St. John, would be greater. How far the reasons which have been given for this deficiency ought to have weight, it is your province to decide. They were these, That, but few writings, so ancient, have come down to us; and such as have, may have been greatly al-. tered, through the want of care, in transcribing; or with the design of involving the text in suspicion, in the view of succeeding generations. But let the cause of this deficiency be what it may, it is an argument which will be urged, by some, against the authority of the passage.

2. The want of this text in so many versions of the Scriptures, is an unfavorable circumstance. No candid advocate for its authority will deny this, whose mind is well informed. The gentleman in opposition has stated, that there are seven versions, in which the text is not found; namely: the two Syriac versions; the Schidie and Coptic versions; and the Ethiopic, Arabic and Sclavonic versions. Dr. Buchannan says also, that it is not to be found in any manuscript, or copy of the Scriptures which he had seen, among those Christians that he discovered, in the interior of Asia. This, we must acknowledge, is unfavorable. These considerations, with the manner in which they have been accounted for, should be very carefully weighed. To say these things form no ground to doubt of the authenticity of this text, would be an evidence of imbecility and prejudice. They have caused some of the Orthodox to hesitate, and all its enemies to oppose it with great apparent confidence. An entire disregard to these unfavorable things, is inconsistent with impartiality in judging.

3. The want of this text in the Greek manuscripts, is far from being in its favor. My opponent says, that " one

hundred and thirty two Greek Manuscripts have been examined by the learned," in the various ages of Christianity, "with a particular reference to" the text in debate, "and have all been found silent," in respect to it. This is something unfavorable to its authority. He says likewise, that there are one hundred and nine such manuscripts now in being, testifying against its authenticity. These things constitute the main objections, against the passage in controversy. But, if they did not exist, no defence of it would be necessary; for its authority would stand on as high ground as any other text in the Bible. The argument, that the passage is now given up by all the learned in Europe, is not conclusive, even if it were true; for that would only show their opinion on the subject, which may be erroneous. Opinions sometimes prevail extensively, from the mere circumstance that they have been introduced by men, whose fame is great in the world. It is, however, an unsupported assertion. I never have seen a real Trinitarian, who would avow himself to be an entire unbeliever in the genuineness of the text.

II. We may now proceed to sum up the evidence in favor of the text in question; and in doing it we may speak,

1. Of its internal character. It has been clearly shown that the passage in this respect stands fair, and above the reach of its adversaries. I have never seen it attacked on this ground by any Anti-Trinitarian, before my oppo


When Mr. Emlyn addressed his petition to both houses of convocation in England, in 1715, he did not object to the passage on the internal, but on the external evidence of its spuriousness. As to internal character, it may justly be said, that it is merely a summary declaration of what is contained in many other express passages of the divine word.

The truth of this has been very fully maintained in the prosecution of the subject in hand. In one of the preceding sermons, it was made evident that," the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost," have testified in and from heaven; and that each is supremely divine, and yet but one God, is a doctrine accompanied with such evidence, that a denial of it is an entire departure from the very foundation on which the church is built. We must be more than distracted, therefore, to doubt of the authenticity of the text, on the ground of its internal character.

No Trinitarian can consistently také such a stand. On the internal purity of the passage, we may surely repose the highest confidence. We must be convinced that three persons in one God, is not a sound and Scriptural doctrine, before our minds can be shaken by such arguments as my opponent has advanced in opposition to the internal character of the text in dispute.

This consideration, however, is not an incontestible proof that it is an insertion; for an interpolation may be a correct statement of a divine doctrine. Although the passage, as Dr. Doddridge says, " contains an important truth," its inspiration ought to be renounced, if it could be proved that it was not written by St. John. Unless that can be done, we may justly esteem it as a part of the Holy Scrip


2. We may now go on to sum up the external evidence which has been adduced in favor of the text under consideration.

If the historical testimony, which has been exhibited in the foregoing discourses, is correct, there is no just reason for renouncing its authenticity. But the gentleman on the other side, has endeavored to shake that in an indirect manner. The information and integrity of Mr. Travis, however, may be believed, until the opposite of these



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things is fairly substantiated. That he was a gentleman of sound sense and classical education, very fully appears from the perspicuity, force and elegance of his writings. It is said by a very learned writer, that he has had cess to the most faithful, and the most credible documents, and "given the most enlightened answers to the objections of those writers who have distinguished themselves most. against this contested text." His situation in life placed him above suspicion, as to his integrity. To attack an opponent, in the way that the gentleman in opposition has Mr. Travis, betrays the weakness of his cause. We have

no reason to believe the historical testimony, on which we rely in this case, was ever fabricated by Mr. Travis, nor by him from whom he is said to have copied. The attempt


my opponent, to destroy the historical evidence which has been produced by me, is vain. An effort to prove its insufficiency, would be far more ingenuous and convincing. This method of destroying testimony, may be reresorted to on both sides of the question; and then all certainty concerning any historical statements, would be at once unsettled.

After these general remarks, we may proceed to state the main things in the historical evidence in favor of the text, on which a reliance may be placed. And in doing this,

1. Mention will be made of the quotations of the passage by the early fathers of the church. My opponent has stated, that the text in view was never quoted earlier than the eighth century. The Rev. T. Lindsey, however, has acknowledged, that it was cited in the fifth century; and he certainly is one to whom all the other AntiTrinitarians are willing to look up to as their file leader. He says, "The person who first cited this suspected verse, as being really written by the apostle John, was

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