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of this kind, given by any writer, that I know of, but Jerom. He was a pre-eminent character in the Orthodox Church, in the fourth century. He says, "that he found out how it had been adulterated, mistranslated and omitted, on purpose to elude the truth.” But we know of no ancient charge against the Orthodox, as having forged the text in question. This has been alledged since the fifteenth century. If, however, the text be a forgery, the crime must have been committed about the beginning of the Arian period; and, therefore, it is surprising that they should be so silent in respect to the thing; leaving it to be announced by the modern Anti-Trinitarians. But there are three considerations about this case, which claim a serious attention :- The first is, Which was the most easy thing, to forge and insert, or to erase and omit? The second is—Which of those contending parties, had the greatest need of doing the one or the other of these crimes? The third is—Which of those parties possessed a character, that would lead to the greatest suspicion?
The proper answer to these solemn questions is left to the hearer. There must have been iniquity committed in relation to the text, either in the fourth or the fifth century; for to make it a matter of more modern date, is an idle attempt, as the Rev Mr. Lindsey's concession fully proves.
2. From a careful view of the grounds of this controversy, my mind is greatly convinced, that the text under consideration is genuine. But it is so much involved in suspicion, that those who do not believe in Trinitarian doctrine, will repel its force on that ground, whenever it is used against them. For this reason, the Rev. R. -Wardlaw, and some others, have not availed themselves of its assistance, in defence of the Trinity, and the Deity of Christ. In this matter, however, I must think, with the Rev. Mr. Bell of Glasgow, Scotland, that they have “con
ceded too far to the common enemy.” As it is retained in all the modern translations and editions of the Bible, it may be quoted with propriety, whether the Anti-Trinitarians “ will hear or forbear.” I shall draw this subject to a close, with a greatly increased conviction of its divine authority. But the effect of my investigation on the minds of others, time must determine.
3. I have not contended for this passage, on the ground that the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity, and the Deity of Christ, cannot be maintained without its aid. The text has been defended by me, from a solemn conviction that the Orthodox owe it this service, as bearing such visible marks of being the real word of God. Mr. Wardlaw has fully substantiated the truths which have been mentioned, without the help of this passage. If all the false readings which are charged on our translation, and the forced constructions of the Anti-Trinitarians on the received text, should be admitted, the Trinitarian doctrines would then be fully supported. There is no getting rid of them, without removing the Scriptures altogether. Our opponents have been so powerfully convinced of this themselves, that they have been forced to deny the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures; and to charge the prophets and apostles, with “ lame accounts, and inconclusive reasonings."
4. As this is the ninth discourse on the text, it is unnecessary to proceed any farther. If my opponent makes any reply, I shall not answer, unless the cause of truth requires it. It is not my wish to excite unpleasant feelings in his mind, unnecessarily. I have no personal hardness against the gentleman; and I do not complain of his treatment of me: it has been polite and affectionate in many respects. He has taken a deep interest in the subject; and my own feelings, I readily acknowledge, have
been strongly enlisted in the cause. I shall close the dispute, for the present, with freely overlooking some of his strong expressions, as things, prompted by the heat of argument, and not as being expressive of any disrespect to
I sincerely wish him every necessary blessing in time and eternity. It is my ardent prayer, that the subject which we have contested, may be profitable to us and to our hearers.
In respect to learning and strength of argument, the gentleman stands on elevated ground. I have not supposed that I have been contending with a weak opponent. Any of my expressions, that may seem to border on severity, the apology which I have made for him, I offer for myself.
If I have not understood my opponent, or have misrepresented his arguments, I stand ready to be corrected; but as for the conclusiveness of my reasoning, it must be left to the judgment of the impartial examiner. I sincerely bope, that the gentleman will reconsider the sentiments which he has been defending; and follow the example of the celebrated Dr. Scott in relinquishing them. If ever he should be so happy as to take that ground, his views of the text in question, will probably become the same as his.
Let the subject induce you all, my hearers, to read and think, and be the means of your improvement in Christian knowledge. On the next occasion, it is my design to deliver a sermon from Rev. 2. 8, giving it a bearing on the subject that has now been handled.
May the blessing of “ the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;" “ the three heavenly witnesses," mysteriously united in one essence, lead this assembly into the knowledge of God's glory, and a participation of eternal salvation, on the ground of the atonement, and the Spirit's operation. Amen.
These things saith the first and the last, which was dead
and is alive.
On the last occasion, a promise was made of entering into an investigation of these words. It is now designed to give them a bearing on the subject to which your attention has been so particularly called. It was the vindication of a text contained in all the modern translations and editions of the Bible, whose authenticity has been called in question by the Anti-Trinitarians, for the space of three hundred years. Every objection which ingenuity could invent, or industry spread, has been set against it in battle array.
The circumstance of its being left out of Griesbach's Testament, is triumphantly proclaimed as a conclusive testimony against its divine authority. Seeing that Biblical critic is gloried in as an authority, almost in all cases militating against us; I may now address our opponents in the same manner that Festus did St. Paul; namely, “Have you appealed unto Griesbach? Unto Griesbach shall you go.” The text which is selected as the theme of this discourse, stands in his corrected Testament, just as it appears in our translation. No manuscript—no version-no circumstance whatever, can be consistently urged
against its divine authority. We have the highest evidence that it stood in the autograph of St. John, just as it appears in the English translation of the New Testament. No enemy dares lift his voice against it, who is willing to admit that any part of the Scriptures is the fruit of divine inspiration. The passage, therefore, is a powerful witness of the doctrine which it contains.
It was spoken by Jesus Christ; and it is a just description of his glorious Person. When he appeared to St. John on the isle of Patmos, he said to him, “Unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the First and the Last, which was dead and is alive.”
The things which are mentioned in this verse, can apply to no other being but Him, who is emphatically “the Son of God," and " the Son of man." There is no other who was dead and is now alive, who can be called “the First and the Last."
Enoch and Elijah are now alive in the highest sense of the word; but they were never dead. The saints who arose at the time of Christ's resurrection, are also alive; but, it cannot be said of any one of them, that he is “the first and the last.” Some have been raised from the dead by the prophets, by Jesus Christ and by the apostles; but, they all died again; and, therefore, it cannot be said now, that any one of them is alive in body and soul. The declaration made in our text, applies only to Emanuel, who is 6 God with us." " The first and the last” are titles, applying to no other being but the infinite and eternal God. It is in this high sense that Jesus speaks of himself in the text; for he is not comparing himself with any created being
The passage is paraphrased by Dr. Doddridge thus ;“These things saith” “that glorious and divine Person, who having assumed the human nature into a union with,