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it is now tacitly assumed as the standard of reference among theological writers : insomuch that no person of character or standing among them would thiok it fair to build an argument on any of the readings which Professor GRIESBACH has rejected,-at least without giving notice of that circumstance,-and stating the ground of his dissent from the learned Professor's decision. Such is the Edition of the New Testament writings, which I mean to assume as my standard of reference : but let it be observed, that I do not seek and never did seek, to tie down my reverend opponent, to this or any other edition of the Sacred Volume. I may take this opportunity of mentioning that GRIESBACH was himself a conscientious believer in the Trinity : I do not appeal to his Edition, because it is the produc. tion of a partizan of my own, for such is not the fact; but simply because it is the most accurate I can find. If Mr. Bagot agrees with him in the reading of any text, he is at liberty to follow him : if he dissents from the opinions of that critic, he is equally at liberty to do so. I do not mean to tie up his hands, nor fetter his feet. I give him a clear stage and fair play. Let him make the best of his cause. -I should not have mentioned the name of GRIESBACH at all in these preliminaries, had not my reverend opponent pressed me to send him a list of texts, in which I thought the received English Version of the Scriptures erroneous. In answer to this demand, I referred him to the work of the learned and orthodox critic, as a standard by which I was and am willing to abide.
But my friends before me, and around me, may perhaps ask, Why make this a point of importance ? Why insist so strenuously on introducing this Edition to your notice, when I admit the Com. mon Version to be sufficient for ordinary purposes ?--To this inquiry I answer, that Dr. GRIESBACH has clearly and satisfactorily shown that several of those texts which are most confidently relied on as proofs of the “Proper Deity of the Word,” are spurious interpolations, or false and corrupted readings. If I admitted these to be genuine, I should not only enter into this contest with my hands tied up,
but -which I regard as a much more serious evil-'I should indirectly lend my countenance and sanction to fraud and imposture; if, indeed, I could in that case be said to do so only indirectly.
That it was of importance to me to urge this point, I am firmly convinced ; and I am confirmed in this conviction, when I look at the first page of that pamphlet of Mr. Bagol, which gave rise to the present controversy. I find there,—at the close of the very first paragraph, and in the very first line which contains quotations of Scripture,-reference to a certain text, which is usually called 1 JOHN v. 7, and which in the common version reads thus :
There are three that bear record in heaven ; the Father, the Word, and the Holy
passage is usually quoted as 1 JOHN v. 7; but, so far as author. ship is concerned, the Father of lies may dispute claim to it with the venerable Apostle, and must be allowed to have a preferable title ; for, if knowingly introduced, a more gross, impudent, and baseless forgery was never executed or attempted. At first when I saw this
passage in Mr. Bagot's pamphlet, I was, I confess, struck with the ignorance of perhaps the most remarkable and clearly ascertained fact in the criticism of the sacred text, which the quotation displayed. It afterwards, however, occurred to me, that the reference might have been introduced to justify bis own employment of the term Word, in the statement of his doctrine, by the example of the person who forged this verse, whoever he might be. But ihis opinion I felt myself afterwards obliged to abandon, by two considerations : The first is, that the authority of a convicted imposture could hardly be reckoned respectable; and the second, that the very next reference is to a verse in which the term Word does not occur at all, and which in that point of view could lend him no aid. And I may
here remark, that of three verses, which are all that Mr. Bagot has adduced to justify the statement of his doctrine as the “ Proper Deity of the Word,” one is a manifest and acknowledged forgery; another does not contain the term Word at all, but a different phrase, which
himself passes over as not sufficiently expressing the subject; and the remaining one is to the only other place in the whole Bible where the phrase Word is employed, or can be alleged to be em. ployed, to denote a person.
But 1 JOHN v. 7 is not the only one of the texts which are relied on by some as proofs of the Trinity, that are proved by Professor GRIESBACH to be spurious. I may refer, among others, to Acts xx. 28; where the Common Version reads, in the address of the Apostle Paul to the elders at Ephesus,
Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. Here there is an unquestionable reference to the death of Christ; and in this allusion, his blood is expressly called the blood of God; a phraseology which, to say the least,-though objectionable, in other respects, to Protestant ears --lends some countenance to Mr. Bagot's doctrine of the " Proper Deity of the Word.” But the learned and orthodox GRIESBACH, after a laborious examination of the ori. ginal manuscripts and other authorities, leaves it almost beyond a doubt that this is a false reading; and that the words really spoken by Paul, and recorded by Luke, were, “ Feed the church of the LORD, which he hath purchased with his own blood;" an expression which involves no doctrine but what Unitarians most gladly and gratefully receive.
There is another passage which is greatly relied on by the orthodox, and which this great critic, though himself of orthodox sentiments, felt himself compelled, by the weight of testimony and authority, to take out of the text. I allude to 1 Tim. iii. 16.- There is no phrase which popular preachers and speakers are in general more fond of applying to our Lord and Saviour, than God manifest in the flesh. This forms the beginning, middle, and end of every harangue on the subject of his alleged Divinity, or-speaking under the correction of my reverend opponent-bis " proper Deity.” One would think, by the frequency with which this phrase is repeated in their mouths, in conjunction with solemn appeals to the testimony of the Word of God, and cautions to form our doctrinal opinions
according to its testimony, that this is the common and usual name by which our Saviour is designated in the Sacred Volume. We might suppose, from the language of popular preachers, (what would be natural enough, I confess, if the doctrine in question were true,) that, in all the accounts of all the Evangelists, and in all the epistles of all the Apostles, our Saviour was customarily and usually designated by no other title. We might imagine, that, in the account of his nativity, it was declared that the babe born in Bethlehem was God manifest in the flesh;—we might imagine, that, when the doc. tors and teachers were surprised at the intelligence and answers of the child Jesus when twelve years old, it was declared that this child was no other than God manifest in the flesh; :-we might conclude, that, when at his baptism in Jordan a voice from Heaven gave attestation to his divine mission, he was proclaimed, by the celestial herald, to be God manifest in the flesh;
-and so through his miracles, and labours, and dangers, and sufferings, and resurrection, and ascension, we might expect to find the Sacred Historians every where reminding us, that they recorded the eventful history of God manifest in the flesh. But all such expectations are vain-all such imaginations deceitful. Our blessed Lord is nowhere called God manifest in the flesh, except in 1 Tim. iii. 16; and there, as GRIESBACH informs us, he is so called only by those who are ignorant of the true reading ;-which is not that God was manifest in the flesh, but simply this,
Great is the mystery of godliness : he roho was manifest in the flesh, was justified in the spirit, was seen of angels, was preached unto the Gentiles, was believed on in the world, was received up into glory! And well did a state of glory and bliss in the world above, suit the character and conduct of the meek, the gentle, the benevolent JESUS OF NAZARETH-the Lamb of God, without blemish and with. out spot!
It is needless for me to enumerate, at present, any more of those texts which this learned and candid critic has shown to be spurious or corrupt. Suffice it to say, that some of those most confidently relied on, and most prominently put forward by orthodox advocates, are in his opinion interpolations; and that learned and impartial men, on every side of the question, are, in general, fully satisfied of the accuracy of his decisions. If, however, any person is disposed to dissent from his conclusions, Professor GRIESBACH allows full opportunity to every reader of his books to form his own judgment; for he gives the evidence on both sides, against as well as in favour of his own conclusions.
This, then, is the standard to which I appeal: the Scriptures of the Old Testament, as they appear in the common text, interpreted by the aid of legitimate criticism; and the Books of the New Testament, as they are found in that edition which is universally allowed to make the nearest approach to the original autographs, as prepared by the Evangelists and Apostles;—an edition, I repeat again, not published by one whose opinions lay on my side of the question, but all whose feelings and views pointed the other way.
I now come to state the doctrine which I propose to maintain. I have, in compliance with the request of Mr. Bagot, embodied the doctrine which I am about to maintain respecting the Supreme Being, and respecting the person of our blessed Lord, in answers to two queries propounded by him, and to which he insisted on a public and direct reply. The queries, as they were originally proposed, (for to the second edition of them I do not wish unnecessarily to refer,) were, Whom do you consider to be the One God of the Bible ? And what positive views do you hold in reference to the person of the Word which was made flesh ?
To these questions I gave my answers in the columns of the Northern Whig :
1. There is one self-existent God, the Father : who is God alone ; to the entire exclusion of the alleged godhead of every other person, being, subsistence, or distinction,
2. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, deriving (even in his highest capacity, nature, or condition) his existence, wisdom, power, and authority, from the Father, and subordinate to him in all attributes.
I had purposely drawn up these propositions in a form which I thought directly impugned the doctrine advanced in the Abstract of Mr. Bagot, and in the Articles of the Church of which he is a member; but as at our conference soon afterwards, held for the purpose of settling the preliminaries, he thought the contradiction not strong enough, I afterwards modified them, at his desire, into the form in which they appear in the printed handbill :
1. There is one self-existent God, the Father: who is God alone; to the entire exclusion of the alleged Proper Deity of the Word.
2. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is (even in his highest capacity, nature, or condition,) a created being, deriving his existence, wisdom, power, and authority, from the Father ; and inferior to him in these and all other attributes.
At the same time that I made these modifications in my printed propositions, I declared to him,-and now repeat publicly, for the information of all to whom the opinions of so humble an individual are matter of concern,- that I am not one of those Christians who believe our blessed Lord and Saviour to be a simple, mere man, miraculously inspired and directed by the Supreme Being, or by his energy the Holy Spirit. I receive his own words as literally true, when he declares that he came down from heaven. I acknowledge, according to his own most solemn declaration in that most affecting prayer that ever was uttered or recorded, that he had glory with the Father before the world was; and I regard the state of glory into which he was removed by his ascension as only a resumption of that dignified state in which he existed before he appeared among men, with an augmentation of rank and felicity, conferred upon him as a reward for the benevolence, the patience, and the piety, evinced in the midst of the most cruel privations and sufferings here below. These are my views of the person of the Redeemer of men; and I think they are borne out by the tenor of the Sacred Volume; though not unattended with difficult and perplexing circumstances, which sometimes occur to my own mind with a force that disposes me to look with great charity on those who differ from me. Still I
think them to be founded on, and agreeable to the Word of God. But I refused to insert them in my replies to Mr. Bagot's queries, because they do not relate to the subject of controversy between him and me. Our discussion relates to the “ Proper Deity of the Word.” On that subject my propositions are, I will venture to affirm, as full and explicit as he could himself desire; and on points that may be agitated between myself and my Unitarian brethren, I will not enter. into controversy with him. Let him first become a Unitarian, and then it will be time enough for him and me to discuss the pre-existence or humanity of Christ. And if I were to judge from the first of the propositions which he bas put before the public, I might conclude that he is already almost, and is on the high road to become alto. gether, such as I am myself. For, behold, in the very
appears a statement, which contains no doctrine from which the most determined Unitarian that ever lived, would or could express his dissent. His first proposition is :
1. There is one God,' Jehovah, who is God only, to the entire exclusion of the alleged godhead of every creature.
Shade of the injured EMLYN! be at rest. Your principles are espoused by the advocate of that church whose prelates countenanced your odious persecution! Peace to your manes ! - your mantle has fallen where you least expected it to light.
« There is one God, Jehovah, who is God only, to the entire exclusion of the alleged godhead of every creature," Where--where in all the world did Mr. Bagot light upon this heterodox truth? Not, certainly, in the creeds which he habitually recites in public worship ; and which, whether Nicene or Athanasian, contain no doctrine so pure, so clear, so beautiful, so scriptural, so divine, respecting the Godhead of the Almighty ! No, nor in the tomes of ponderous divinity that have been elaborately composed in cloisters, colleges, or halls--and have been preached in pulpits, or unfeignedly assented and consented to by the clergy of his church. It was not there that Mr. Bagot lighted upon the pure and beautiful truth, which his own first proposition enunciates, that * there is one God, Jehovah, who is God only, to the entire exclusion of the alleged godhead of every creature !” No:
: some stray leaf of LARDNER or of BELSHAM must have wandered into his study, like the Sibyl's verses borne upon the flitting breeze; some fragment of PRIESTLY or of Price, of CHANNING or of Bruce, must have found its way into his retirement; and having caught his eye, has presented to his mind the idea of this simple and admirable truth, that JEHOVAH is one! which, so soon as seen, captivated his imagination by its loveliness, and won him by its charms to do it this public homage!
It cannot be said, with truth, that Mr. Bagot adopted this divine and scriptural and most Unitarian proposition, without due warning. The act was not done inadvertently. I told him, at the time when we exchanged our statements, that his amounted to a departure from his own doctrines. I told him that it would be considered by those of that theological party of which he was regarded as the cham. pion,-as a dereliction of their principles. I told him it would not be