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whom they think sincere, let their religious principles be what they may. This is believing that people may honestly misunderstand the essential truths of the Bible-reject them all-yet be sincere, virtuous servants of the Lord, and profitable teachers of mankind. But if this is a correct sentiment, then, God ought to acknowledge to men, that his word is expressed in such an enigmatical manner, that he has not given them sufficient abilities to comprehend its meaning. This view of the case, is tent with the following divine injunctions, namely, “ If any man speak, let him speak as the Oracles of God.” 1 Pet. 4. 11. “If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed : for he that biddeth him God speed, is partaker of his evil deeds.” 2 John, 1. 10.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Gal. 1. 8. Such sayings are very impertinent and offensive, if the Scriptures are not the only test of doctrine and duty. If they are either obscure in their meaning, or destitute of divine authority, they cannot be sufficient to make us “ wise unto salvation.” The point under consideration may, therefore, be viewed as fairly and forever settled. AMEN.
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not accor
ding to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
In the preceding discourse, it has been made to appear, that the Holy Scriptures are the only standard of decision on matters of faith and practice. In conformity with the order adopted, it is to be shown,
II. What the ways are, in which our opponents refuse to speak according to this rule. The Anti-Trinitarians, however, are not the only people who depart unwarrantably from this unerring standard. But there is no other sect that I know of, that take an equal liberty with the Scriptures; whose teachers bestow such unwearied pains, and employ such learning and talents, to rase them to the very
foundation. I shall now endeavor to make a short and correct statement of the various ways they have adopted, to accomplish their designs. And,
1. They assert, that the following passages, relating to the doctrine of the Trinity, and the Deity of Christ, are interpolations; or, to use the words of the Rev. T. Lindsey, “ False readings, or alterations of the words of Scripture, made with design, or through mistake, before the art of printing was invented.”
The passages referred to, are these : Acts 20. 28; 1 Cor. 15. 47; Eph. 3. 9, 19; 1 Tim. 3. 16; 1 John 2. 16; 1 John 5. 7, and 5. 20; Jude, verse 25; Rev. 1. 11.
1 John, 5. 7, is the most vulnerable of any of the passages
that have been mentioned ; and yet, as we have seen, the evidence of its authenticity is great. But the unremitting efforts of the Anti-Trinitarians to prove the above passages to be spurious readings, show the hostility of their hearts to the doctrines which they contain, as they stand in our translation. The end which they have to answer by effecting the death of these Divine witnesses, is such, that we may justly stand in doubt of their impartiality as Biblical critics. It is not my design, at present, to enter into an examination of the merits of the above list of
passages ; but merely to show the engagedness of our opponents to overthrow the doctrines which appear to be “the Alpha and Omega” of the Holy Scriptures. They would not have bestowed so much labor in trying to prove the spuriousness of such parts of Scripture, unless they had assumed the opinion previously, that the doctrine of the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, the Atonement, and the Personality of the Holy Ghost, are unreasonable doctrines. Taking this course, however, is not speaking according “ to the law and the testimony,” independent of the passages in question.
But, when the plea of interpolation fails them in supporting their cause, the next alternative is,
2. The charge of mistranslation. They have endeavored to place the following list of passages in that predicament. I shall place them in the order in which they appear in the writings of the Rev. T. Lindsey :-Isa. 9. 6, and 53. 8; Jer. 23. 6; Hos. 1. 7; Zech. 12. 10, & 13. 7; Matth. 12. 31; John 1, to the elose of the 14th verse ; John 1. 15, & 10. 18; John 3. 18, & 5. 18; John 6. 23, and 8:58; John 18. 3, and 17. 24; Acts 13. 26, and 4. 27, 30; Acts 3. 14, 15, and 7.59; Acts 9. 14, 21.; 1 Cor. 1. 2; Acts 18. 29, and 20. 28 ; Rom. 1.3, 20; Rom. 9. 5; 1 Cor. 2. 14, and 10. 9; Gal. 4. 7, and 4. 32; Col. 2. 9; Phil. 2. 5, 6, 7, 8; Heb. 1. 2, 5, 6; John 3. 16, 18; Heb. 1. 8, and 2. 14, 16; 1 John 1. 12, 3.
No trespass, my hearers, shall be committed on your patience, by stating the reasons which are assigned for varying from our translation, in this list of passages. . Some of them, however, are very extraordinary. Those who desire to see the matter investigated, are cheerfully referred to the Sermons of the Rev. R. Wardlaw, on the Socinian controversy. A number of the texts stated above, are ably defended by that eloquent and learned writer. All that I have now in view, is simply to show the perseverance and determination of the Anti-Trinitarian writers, in opposing the common doctrines of the Bible. When writers set out with the ardent desire of finding interpolations and mistranslations, we have great reason to be on our guard in relation to the result of their researches. No man would be willing to venture his life in the hands of a juror, if he knew him to be an enemy, whatever good opinion he might have of the extent of his learning, and the soundness of his judgment. People of reading must know that the Anti-Trinitarian authors differ greatly among themselves, as well as from other writers, in their criticisms on, and translations of the Scriptures. But the plea of mistranslation is one way in which they are endeavoring to effect an escape from Trinitarian doctrines; and that is all that I wish to prove at present.
In many passages, however, which relate to the doctrines in question, this subterfuge wholly fails them; and, therefore, 3. They have recourse to the plan of giving any mean
iig to a text that it will possibly bear, rather than to allow ito stand in such a light as would afford support to the doctrines they are opposing. They have invented no less than five different ways of translating and construing Rom. 9. 5; which reads, in our translation, 6 Whose are the Fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.” To enter into a view of the different methods they have taken to manage this text, is not designed; for the variety shows the difficulty in which they are involved, and their fixed determination to escape at any rate. Men who will have recourse to such means of defence, cannot be safely followed in their criticisms. Giving any meaning to a passage that it will possibly bear, in opposition to its literal and obvious import, is taking for granted the point in debate. The thing is not admissible on any other ground but this, that Trinitarian doctrine is an absurdity. It is not very ingenuous, however, to claim the victory by begging the question.
It is well understood, that the Anti-Trinitarians, very generally, deny the account which the evangelists give of the miraculous conception of Jesus Christ. Mr. Wardlaw says,
this is done, “in defiance of all versions, and of all manuscripts, as well as of all the critics, and among the rest, Griesbach himself.” He adds, “ Is it possible to avoid a suspicion—is it a breach of charity to entertain itthat there must have been, in the minds of those who reject these chapters, a secret wish to find them spurious ? a predisposition to lend a willing ear to whatever could be adduced, with even the remotest semblance of plausibility, to bring them into discredit ?” The fact is this, the chapters alluded to, cannot be made to accord with the simple humanity of Christ; and, therefore, they must be given up at all events. If the whole Bible were as express on the