« السابقةمتابعة »
fore, we must lean on a righteousness of our own for eternal justification. This is a broken reed-a basis of sand -a hope, of which we must eventually be ashamed. It is solemnly asserted by inspiration, "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.'
May God, therefore, through the riches of his grace in Jesus Christ, preserve us from all errors, and guide us into the truths of his Holy Word. AMEN.
[At the conclusion of the foregoing sermons, the Rev. John Sherman delivered a discourse in answer to them, from the same pulpit; after which The following five sermons were preached, in reply to his.]
I JOHN, V, 7.
For there are three that bear rècord in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are
IN the sermons which have been delivered from these words already, the subject was regularly closed. An event, however, has transpired, which renders it necessary for me to proceed with it beyond the original design.
After the preceding discourses were preached, you know, my hearers, that an answer was given to them by a gentleman of respectable talents. It is, therefore, incumbent on me, either to give up the ground I have taken as untenable, or reply to his arguments. If I could view them as unanswerable, I hope, that my mind possesses the candor which would lead me to an open acknowledgment. It is truth and not victory, which should be our grand object in all our inquiries.
The reasons of my dissent from the conclusions of that learned opponent, will give you an opportunity of judg-' ing with more propriety the point in debate.
I shall endeavor to meet his arguments in the order in which they occur; and, assign the reasons why, they have not produced conviction in my mind.
As the preamble of the gentleman's discourse is highly flattering to me in various respects, I shall pass over the
principal part of it in silence. In remarking on his objections to 1 John 5. 7, it will be my aim to confirm his good opinion of my candor.
As he professes to have an entire conviction of the spuriousness of that passage, I have no disposition to doubt his sincerity in the matter. My only concern will be with his arguments; as I differ with him in opinion, on the authenticity of the text in view.
There are two things in the introduction of his discourse, which require some attention. The first, is the opinion of Michaelis, who is called by the gentleman in opposition, "a Trinitarian of pre-eminent talents, and deeply versed in oriental learning." The words of that author, are said to be these; that 1 John 5, 7, "holds its place in our printed Bibles, although well known by all the learned to be a vile interpolation, and in the face of the clearest and most indubitable evidence of its spuriousness, to the shame and disgrace of the Christian world." To this, I reply:-If professor Michaelis be a Trinitarian, he has, certainly, expressed himself in relation to his brethren, in a bold and offensive manner. If the whole learned Trinitarian world, will retain a text, which they all know "to be a vile interpolation," it was surely high time for professor Michaelis, to have separated himself from such a corrupt connection. But, until sufficient evidence is presented of the spuriousness of the text in question, we are under no obligation to coincide with Michaelis in opinion.
We are directed by Christ in this respect, to "call no man our father upon the earth." Our Anti-Trinitarian friends, are constantly warning us in the most solemn strains, to take heed how we subscribe to the creeds, confessions, catechisms, and assertions of men, who are not inspired of God. I can cheerfully join with my opponent in his saying, "It is with truth only, that we are
concerned; and, in it, we are all alike interested. wood, hay, and stubble of error may prove more than a mere incumbrance-it may scorch us with its flames."
The second thing to be noticed in the introduction of my opponent's discourse is, that the "learned European divines, in general, now acknowledge the spuriousness of the text in question." If in this assertion, the Orthodox be included, they have certainly altered greatly since the time in which Michaelis charged them with dishonesty. But, allowing this to be true, we are not bound to be of their opinion until we are convinced by ample proof. But I must proceed from the introduction, to the body of the discourse on which I am animadverting.
The gentleman commences, by informing us how many words of the place in question are disputed. His statement in this respect is, no doubt, correct. But, if it were otherwise, it would not affect the case; as there are so many disputed, as completely to destroy the' sense in which the Trinitarians understand the passage.
His first attack is made on the internal evidence of 1 John, 5. 7. In opposition to the plea of the Orthodox, that it is necessary to support a proper connection in the chapter, he contends, that it "bears, in this connection, the marks of forgery upon its very countenance."
This is a heavy charge; and, if it could be maintained it would be sufficient to destroy the whole authority of this text. But the forger is boldly attacked as well as the forgery. The gentleman says, "the decree of heaven is forever against him." It seems, however, that he has gone down to the grave undetected, for his name cannot be told; nor the place of his birth and residence; nor the age in which he lived; or whether he was a clergyman, or one of the laity. If such facts could be ascertained, they would settle the dispute.
There are three great marks of forgery, mentioned by my opponent, which he expresses in the energetic language one absurdity —one contradiction and one abomination."
absurdity is, that
Three and three
In explaining, he observes, 1. "The the six witnesses are reducible to five. make five only." But why, I ask, have not all the Trinitarians on earth seen this pretended absurdity? Have they all been so blind, that they could not see it? or, so wicked as to overlook it? But, there is no difficulty in this case. It is not the intention of the writer of the text in debate to inform us that there are six distinct witnesses. It is surprising that this should be viewed as an argument calculated to convince a Trinitarian. We believe, that the Holy Ghost is God, and that he can and does bear witness, both in heaven and on earth. As he fills immensity, the objection can have no weight in our minds. In relation to this point the Psalmist saith unto God, "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there."
It has been clearly proved, in my sermons on this subject, that "the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost," do bear witness in, and from heaven, in respect to the scheme of salvation through Christ; and, that the Spirit also bears witness on earth, by his operations on men, cannot be doubted. The writer of the text has stated glorious facts; and, therefore, he is justly entitled to exhoneration from the dreadful charge of "absurdity and contradiction." These two great marks of forgery are, I think, fully obviated. To make such objections is mere cavelling.
The third grand mark of forgery is, that the text contains "one abomination." This is a serious charge! But