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sion. In another essay we propose to offer a similar abstract of what has been advanced concerning his fall and its consequences : a longer, we fear, and a harder labour.


For there are three, that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost : and these three are one."

I have lately been informed that the text of the three heavenly witnesses, as it is sometimes called, has been quoted in a pulpit at Baltimore, as a good argument for the doctrine of the trinity. Most of the readers of the Christian Disciple probably know that the text is spurious. Upon this subject, I have no intention of entering into an argument, but shall merely quote two passages from professedly trinitarian writers.

The first is from an article upon the Improved Version of the New Testament, published in the Eclectic Review. The author discovers no feeling of goodwill towards the editors of this version, and writes throughout as a trinitarian, but with much learning and ability, and a considerable degree of candour. Respecting the verse in question, he says;

“Upon this passage (1 John v. 7.) we need not spend many words. It is found in no Greek manuscript, ancient or recent, except one to which we shall presently advert ;* in no ancient version, being interpolated only in the late transcripts of the Vulgate. Not one of the Greek Fathers recognizes it, though many of them collect every species and shadow of argument, down to the most allegorical and shockingly ridiculous, in favour of the doctrine of the Trinity,-though they often cite the words immediately contiguous both before and after,-and though, with immense lahour and art, they extract from the next words the very sense which this passage has in following times been adduced to furnish. Of the Latin Fathers, not onet bas quoted it, till Eucherius of Lyons in the middle of the

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* The passage in which the reviewer adverts to this manuscript begins in the following manner. “One Greek manuscript we have said contained the clause. This is the Dublin or Monfortianus, a very recent manuscript, glaringly interpolated from the modern copies of the Vulgate, and distributed into the present division of chapters."

† It has been attempted to be shown that Tertullian and Cyprian have cited the last clause of v. 7. Our readers may be satisfied on this subject, by referring to Griesbach Nov. Test. vol. ii. App. p. 13-15; or Porson's letters to Travis, 240—282; or Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iv. 421-424. See also, for a lamentable contrast, Travis's letters, 3d edit. 82, 53, 75


fifth century; and in his works there is much reason to believe that it has been interpolated.

“ Under these circumstances, we are unspeakably ashamed that any modern divines should have fought pedibus et unguibus, for the retention of a passage so indisputably spurious. We could adduce balf a dozen or half a score passages of ample length, supported by belter authority than this, but which are rejected in every printed edition and translation.”

The other passage which I shall quote, is one which I have accidentally met with, extracted from a latin letter of bishop Lowth to Michaelis ; published in Michaelis' Literarischer Buefwechsel, (Literary Correspondence,) part 2. p. 428. The. following is a translation; the original I give in a note below.

“We bave some wranglers in theology, sworn to follow their master, who are prepared to defend any thing, liowever absurd, should there be occasion. But I believe there is no one among us, in the least degree conversant with sacred criticism, and having the use of his understanding, who would be willing to contend for the genuineness of the verse, 1 John v. 7."*

Such, it seeins, is the opinion of learned trinitarians,and many more passages might be quoted to the same purpose. But before bringing the charge of unfairness against those gentlemen who have made use of this verse, we ought to recollect, that they may, very probably, be ignorant that its genuineness has ever been disputed. There is another fact likewise with which, perhaps, they are unacquainted, viz.that some trinitarians, includ. ing the great master of modern orthodoxy, Calvin, have thought that the verse, even upon supposition of its genuineness, did not prove so much in favour of the doctrine of the trinity as is commonly supposed. The following is part of Calvin's comment

“The expression, these three are one,' does not relate to the essence, but to the agreement of the persons spoken of. The meaning is, the Father, and his eternal Word, and Spirit harmoniously bear testimony to Christ. Some copies accordingly read us in [i. e. agree in one thing), But although you read in slot [are one) as it is other copies, still, there is no doubt that the Father, Word, and Spirit are said to be one

upon it.

* Habemus in theologia rabulas quosdam in magistri' alicujus verba jilratos; nihil est tam absurdum quod illi, si res et occasio ferat, non parati sint defendere. Sed neminem credo jam apud nos esse, in Critica Sacra paulam modo versatum, et cui sanum sit sinciput, qui pro sinceritate commatis 7mi 1 Job: v. propuguare velit.

in the same sepse as the blood and water and spirit, in the verse immediately succeeding."*


It is of the first importance in a religious character, to have a regard to the Supreme Being in all actions and undertakings. Yet, even among those who appear to possess a good moral character, it is to be feared that that some are destitute of a pious disposition. It is very possible for morality to have no purer spring tian self-interest, and no higher airn than the praise of men. Such morality we may speak well of as members of society, for it may contribute largely to our security and well-being in the social state. But we cannot encourage men to place much dependance upon it as christians, because it does not partake at all of the christian spirit. Piety to God is the distinction and the glory of the christian's character. Divest him of this affection of the soul, and you may still call him a moral man, you may still call him a good man, but you cannot call him a christian. In whatever degree he is deficient in this virtue, he so far falls short of true and proper christianity. He has not yet attained to the perfection of that character which he pos


It is no less strange than it is lamentable that so many should be wanting in piely to God. There is no virtue which possesses so many allurements as this. There is no virtue in favour of which we can present so many powerful, engaging and popular considerations. Every thing within us and without us invites to the cultivation and exercise of this heavenly temper. Every object that meets our eyes points upwards to the One Supreme as its Creator and supporter; and shall not our thoughts be raised in contemplation to the Deity? All our noble and generous feelings spontaneously impel us to go out among the works of God; to talk of him and to praise him; and shall we disobey this divine intimation of our duty ? Forbid it conscience, reason, heaven.

* Quod dicit, tres esse unum, ad essentiam non refertur, sed ad consensum potius. Acsi diceret, Patrem, et æternum Sermonem ejus ac Spiritum, symphonia quadam Christum pariter approbare. Itaque nonnulli codices habent es šv. Verum etiamsi legas šv 2006, ut est in aliis exemplaribus, non tamen dubium est quin Pater, Sermo et Spiritus eodem sensu dicantur unum esse, quo postea sanguis et aqua et Spiritus.

Piety has its foundation in human nature. It approves itself to all our best feelings, it recommends itself to us by its own intrinsic loveliness. Nothing can be more natural, nothing more beautiful, than a rational piety to God. We are so formed by our Creator as to adore what is greai, admire what is excellent, and love what is good. And wherein does piety to God consist but in adoring, and admiring, and loving a Being who possesses all these qualities in perfection ? A Being, who far surpasses all other beings in majesty and benignity ? “ For who in the heavens can be compared unto the Lord ? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto our God?" Ought we not then to cherish and exhibit towards the Deity those feelings and affections, which his true character is adapted to call forth. This is piety : and surely there is nothing in it that is repulsive to nature ; nothing that is visionary or extravagant. Indeed not to possess it would be in the highest degree unnatural; offensive to the very first principles on which we act. We love our friends : ought we not then to love our greatest Friend ? We repay with gratitude our benefactors : ought we not to do this to our greatest Benefactor? “We have had fathers in the flesh, and we have done them reverence ;” ought we not to pay this same reverence to our heavenly Father, and the Father of all? In short, piety to God is so natural and reasonable, that it cannot but live in the mind of every one whose heart is right. And wherever we do not find it existing, we may conclude that the affections of that man are perverted, or his moral sensibility lost.

Many of the purest pleasures and satisfaclions of which the human mind is capable, flow too from piety to God; pleasures and satisfactions which we can derive froin no other source. Indeed the cherishing of every good feeling is delightful; but the cherishing of a pious feeling is peculiarly so. Reader! hast thou never felt, in all the experience of thy past life, how pleasant a thing it is to return the kindness of a benefactor with gratitude? to pay back the protection and tenderness of a parent with filial love and reverence and duty ? Know then that if you will endeavour to make the same return to God for all the benefits, which you are continually receiving from him; if you will cultivate and exercise towards your heavenly Father those filial sentiments that belong to, and become the affectionate child, the delights you will experience in fulfilling these duties, will be as much superiour to that, we have just alluded to, as the obligation to do them is greater, and the object of them inore worthy. If to discharge our duty to man will give us complacency, bow much more will the discharge of our duty to God give us the same complacency; but in a much more exalted degree? This is the rejoicing which a man of piety has in himself

. He also rejoices in the relation which he is conscious of sustaining to the Deity. Being in the habit of holding daily intercourse and communion with God, he comes at length to consider him as his companion and friend. Regarding him in this light he has a confidence in him, to which a man destitute of piety must forever be a stranger. He feels that he has an interest in God, and he knows also that God has an interest in him. In all the vicissitudes of life, then, there is one Being on whom he can depend; one staff on which he can lean ; one rock on which be can safely build,-the Rock of Ages. His piety never forsakes him, and it every where gives bim peace. It pours over life a new lustre and lends it new attractions. In prosperity it is present to enhance and multiply our enjoy. ments, and in adversity it comes in to break the blow of 'mis. fortune, or bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted; our guide in life; our support in death ; our hope and triumph forever.

To those, who have thought much on our moral weakness and exposure in the present world, it is hardly necessary to insist on the importance of piety considered as the support, and the guardian of all our other virtues. We cannot hope to make any very high attainments in the christian life, unless we make this the powerful and animating principle of our conduct. The thoughts of God will overawe and regulate the soul. will habituate ourselves to realize God's omnipresence, the impression that he is always about us will sanctify all our labours and hallow all our enjoyinents. The idea that he is ever with us; our Father and Friend,"of purer eyes than to behold iniquity,” will banish from our minds every low, and degrading, and unworthy sentiment, and fire us with the noble ambition to become holy, even as he is holy, and perfect, even as he is perfect.

Piety then, is one of the most rational, and important, and be. coming dispositions we are capable of acquiring. We must add in conclusion, that it is absolutely indispensable, in order to secure to ourselves the favour of heaven. Again we feel ourselves called upon to assure our readers that their moral conduct may appear to men unexceptionable ; and yet they may be destitute of that vital spirit, without which they can have no claim to the felicity christianity promises to the obedient. “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and

If we

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