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He is called by that name in the 1st chap. of John, and criticism has been baffled, in attempting to alter its reading. “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” He is called the mighty God,” in Isa. 9. 6, and every effort to vary its reading, has proved abortive--mere subterfuge-the expiring groans of a wounded system. In Rom. 9. 5, St. Paul says of the Israelites- Whose are the fathers, and of whom as conconcerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.” This important passage has often been put upon the rack of criticism, to silence its voice; but every attempt has failed; and its enemies have been obliged to allow, that it stands fair in the English translation. To what has been said, 1 John 5. 20, may be added, “ And we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." To introduce the word “ Lord,” into Acts 20. 28, instead of the word " God,” effects nothing, seeingʻthat Jesus Christ is so expressly called God, in the highest sense of the word, in so many parts of the Scriptures. As He is “the first and the last,” his Supreme Deity is sufficiently established.
6. If Christ is the “ the first and the last," then we may be assured that He is the true God;" and, therefore, we have nothing to fear from the reading which Griesbach gives to 1 Tim. 3. 16. In our translation, that text reads, “ Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.” Griesbach makes it read-“Great is the mystery of godliness: he who was manifested in the flesh.” This, the Anti-Trinitarians say, is another pillar of the Trinitarian system, which that learned critic has cast to the ground. The justice of making the text read in this manner, is, however, very questionable. But allowing its accuracy, there is very little gained by our adversaries; for even on this ground, Christ must be more
than a mere man. “He who was manifested in the flesh," must either be “the true God," or some other pre-existing being. The 1st chapter of John's gospel settles this question. There it says—“ The Word was God;"_" and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory.” “He, who was manifest in the flesh,” is called in our text, “the first and the last;" and, of course, He “is the true God.” We have nothing, therefore, to dread from the situation of the text which we are now examining, even if it can be made to appear that Griesbach's reading is perfectly right. But powerful reasons might be offered in favor of the English reading, if the thing were necessary. Whatever may be the true reading of 1 Tim. 3. 16, it is a fact that “ God was manifest in the flesh.” As this is a truth, it is a very great evidence in favor of the English translation. Those who are in favor of a different reading, profess a religion that requires it.
7. If Christ is “the first and the last,” then He is the true God; and yet a distinct Person from the Father.
This is a manifestation that there is more than one person in the essence of JEHOVAH. On this principle, 1. John 5. 7, is an exhibition of divine truth. All the arguments that can be raised against its internal purity, are as volatile as air, when it is expanded to the last degree. As for the external evidence which lies against it, we have great reason to think that it originated in wickedness. On this, that excellent commentator, Mr. Pool, says“ The text was undoubtedly in the original copies of the Scriptures; and the want of it in the copies where it does not appear, must be owing to the want of care in transcribing, or to a base design."
The gentleman with whom I have been contending, has predicted that “the time is at hand, when 1 John 5. 7, will be banished from our Bibles, and consigned to the abodes of annihilation.” On the contrary, I believe, that it will appear in them to the very end of time. It contains a doctrine, which beams forth in the Scriptures, like the unclouded sun.
The subject may be closed, with varying a little the last sentence of my opponent's discourse"If any man, after being made acquainted with these various facts, now presented to him," in relation to the Trinity in Unity-the supreme Deity and atonement of Christ-the Personality and saving operations of the Holy Ghost, and“ is so devoid of candor, of modesty, of the sense of shame and the love of truth, as to rely upon” the baseless fabric of AntiTrinitarianism for acceptance with God; 6 I feel compelled to adopt the language of” inspiration, “and say,” he is “ denying the Lord that bought him, and is thereby “ bringing upon himself swift destruction." But may the Lord Jesus Christ prevent this from being my opponent's portion, by turning him to a cordial belief of his perfect equality with the Father, through the riches of his grace, and by the regenerating power of his Spirit. AMEN.
ACTS XIII. 2. The Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul,
for the work whereunto I have called them.
It is not designed to treat upon the designation of these men, to the work of the ministry; although that is a thing, evidently contained in this sacred passage. But my intention is to speak of Him, by whose authority they were sent to preach the gospel, and to administer divine ordinances.
This subject will bear directly, and with great weight, upon the authenticity of 1 John, 5.7. The various doctrines of Scripture form one chain; and like the several parts of an arch, contribute to the strength, consistency and beauty of the whole.
The Holy Ghost being a person in the Divine essence, of equal eternity, power and glory with the Father and the Son, it is highly necessary to exhibit the arguments that support this glorious truth. Taking into view the circumstances under which we are placed by Divine Providence, it becomes our imperious duty to contend earnestly for the Trinitarian doctrines; for they are the fundamental principles of the Cristian system.
The Deity and offices of the Holy Ghost have often been exhibited in my discourses in this town; but these
things have never been made an entire and distinct subject. The doctrine of the Supreme Divinity and operations of the Spirit, is, however, of sufficient magnitude to claim such a share of attention. In connection with what our minds have been upon for a series of sabbaths, the present subject will be pertinent.
The distinct personality, and peculiar offices of the Divine Spirit, have been flatly denied by many in this place; and by those, who, on many accounts, have a claim on our esteem. To establish and illustrate these sublime and interesting truths, will, therefore, be the definite object in the discussion of this passage. Your close attention is required, while an attempt is made. · I. To support the Personality of the Holy Ghost. This doctrine is fully contained in the text, and expressed with force and perspicuity. The Spirit is represented in it as commanding, and designating Himself by the personal pronouns, I, and me; saying, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them."
Our opponents frequently boast, that in the sacred narrative, called " The Acts of the Apostles,” there is an entire silence in respect to Trinitarian doctrine; and that the whole of that history is formed on the simple principles of strict Unitarianism. But the text before us, evidently contains that which involves every Trinitarian sentiment. Nor is the passage which we have chosen as the present theme, a solitary instance of Trinitarianism ; as we might easily show, if that were consistent with the present design. In our text, the Spirit is called “the Holy Ghost;" and this is the very name which He bears in 1 John 5. 7. As our Anti-Trinitarian friends object to this name, it is the more necessary that we should insist upon it, and more frequently use it, when we speak of the third Person of the.ever blessed Trinity,