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most ancient manuscripts are written in continuous lines, without any division of the words, much less of the sentences. In the first printed editions the points were used arbitrarily; and Stephens is said to have varied them in every successive edition which he published. It was the same editor who divided the New Testament into its present order of verses; which is no older than the year 1551. Those learned men, however, were by no means happy in their emendation. Mr. Wakefield's translation is this: (30) "the ruler of this world is coming; and I have nothing to do (31) but to convince the world that I love the Father, &c." That of Bishop Pearce has still less to recommend it: "the Prince of this world cometh, and he shall find nothing in me, but that the world may know that I love the Father, &c."
It would present a very simple and beautiful meaning, merely to connect the passage in question with the remaining part of the verse: "but that the world may know that I love the Father, and do even as the Father has given me commandment, arise, let us go hence." They were to go, it will be remembered, to the garden of Gethsemane, where a most affecting proof was to be given of our Saviour's resignation to the whole will of his heavenly Father. We thus not only solve every difficulty, and perceive a very appropriate and touching allusion; but we relieve the abruptness, which the latter member of this verse would have, considered as an independent sentence. This abruptness is disguised in some measure by the arrangement of the chapters and verses; since most readers are accustomed to regard the end of a chapter as the end of a subject: but it will be immediately discerned, by reading the 31st verse of the 14th, and the 1st of the 15th chapter in continuation, as successive portions of the same discourse.
After these remarks were written, it was discovered, that this mode of reading the passage was adopted in Martin's edition of the French Bible, published in Amsterdam, in folio, 1707, and in 4to, 1722;-and is found in the German version of the celebrated Michaelis.
OUR readers doubtless recollect that in a review of "Eddy's Reasons," which appeared in the first number of this work, it was said, that there is in this town a Society of professed Unitarian Baptists. The statement has occasioned a good deal of enquiry, and the truth of it has been publickly denied. We New Series.-vol. I.
perhaps have not been sufficiently anxious to justify ourselves in the assertion, and have delayed doing it longer than we ought. We, however, at length lay before the publick a letter from one of the Society alluded to, written in answer to enquiries upon this subject, from which it may be judged how far we were correct, and how far we erred.
The following is the letter of enquiry.
To Mr. HENRY EMMONS.
I trust you will excuse the freedom of the following enquiry, when you consider its importance.
In a number of the Christian Disciple, published last March, it was said, that "there is a society of professed Unitarian Baptists in Boston." The allusion was to the Society of which you are a member, and the writer supposed that his assertion was unquestionably correct.
But the Editors of the Baptist Missionary Magazine have denied it; and, if I understand them right, have asserted the contrary with regard to your church. It has also been denied in other ways. Now, Sir, if the Disciple has made an unfounded assertion, it ought to be retracted; if not, it ought to be defended. It was made upon the authority of a gentleman, who received his impression respecting the fact from a conversation with yourself. In order to give entire satisfaction, will you have the goodness to make explicit answer to the following questions?
Are the believers with whom you worship, rightly called Baptists?
Does the doctrine of three persons in the Godhead, usually called the Trinity, make a part of their belief? Or, is there a division of opinion among them in regard to it?
My only object in this, as in other things, is, to know the truth, and tell the truth. Will you, therefore, write me an early reply, and believe me with christian salutations.
The following answer was returned.
Boston, 8th Month, 6, 1819.
When thy letter came I was not at home; but, with pleasure, freedom and correctness, I will answer it.
As to the paragraph inserted in the Christian Disciple in 3d
In answer I will say, We are a small Company of Brethren, formed together for religious worship, in the year 1803, a part of whom came out, and others were turned out, from the Calvinistic Baptists, because our minds became more enlightened in some points of doctrine which thwarted the principles or creeds of their churches; and the liberties we wanted, of males and females "speaking one by one," could not be granted us.
After we had embodied together, we thought best to take no sectarian name upon us, but we would call ourselves Christians, the original name by which believers were called in the days of old; frequently we are known or called by others, Freewill Baptists, as our members are baptized by immersion, as the Baptists do.
As to sentiments, we have no creeds or platforms to sign or assent to; but require of persons admitted, a relation to the church of their change of heart, &c. Yet, I plainly see, and will clearly exhibit to thee, what is desired in the first assertion. Though we have never called ourselves a professed Unitarian Baptist Society, yet, if the following belief, among our members, constitutes the substance of the assertion made in the Christian Disciple, the publisher of the sentence has nothing to fear from the correctness of it, nor from the stand he has publickly taken in exhibiting truth, (I need not say in defending it) for the doctrine needs no supporters or props of man to make its consistency, glory, and lustre appear in the eyes of good men, who are not prejudiced "with the traditions of their fathers."
The confused ideas respecting GOD and his dear Son, adopted and embraced among even pious people themselves, have been a great grief to the sons of Zion in all ages, since inventions of men were first brought into the church. Yet, though much noise and contention among them have been, respecting the character of God and Christ, there is a right, and there is a wrong report gone out in the world: to embrace the true, and arrest the false, where it can be done "without hurting the wine or the oil," certainly every follower of Christ ought so to do.
As to the question asked in thy letter to me, "Does the doctrine of three persons in the Godhead, usually called the Trinity, make a part of our belief? I answer, NO. Some there may be I know them not; generally, it is not the belief of our members. For our preachers, and leading brethren, who have
gifts in speech, frequently expatiate, in exhortations, upon the glorious character of Christ, "not, as we be slanderously reported," that we degrade, and lower down the illustrious, great and holy character of the Son of God! yet our brethren and preachers are always careful to avoid that confused mass of ideas, of asserting that Christ is God!! but rather exhibiting him to the assembly as the Mediator, Redeemer, Intercessor, and High Priest of Zion. Though some of the Prophets called him Mighty God, &c. Christ himself said, men are called gods. But to return.
The very Hymn Books we use, are another proof of the belief of our members, not only here, but scattered over the United States-in all of them we have the same ideas, some of them corrected from the mistakes of their authors, viz. Watts has one verse which looks grossly incorrect to us; therefore we have altered the third line, to
When Christ, the glorious Saviour, died.
"Well might the sun in darkness hide,
When God, the Mighty Maker, died,
Now this is not true; for God never died, never eat and drank, never was weary, never was asleep in the sides of a ship, &c. But all this was true of his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things. We rationally conclude, if a King appoints any one heir of all things in his kingdom, he that appoints is greater than the appointed. Joseph was a type of Christ, appointed lord over all Egypt; yet in the throne there was one greater
I hope what I have written, though lengthy, will be satisfactory to thee. If more witnesses are wanting for my assertions, I am at no loss to raise them.
THOUGHTS ON THE PROSPECTS OF RELIGION.
FOR THE CHRISTIAN DISCIPLE.
IT is pleasant to look upon the bright side; in regard, especially, to the progress of truth and the improvement of mankind. We confess, that we are fond of indulging in such views. It is a disposition, we are sensible, that is apt to betray one into fanciful opinions, which will not bear the test of sober examination; and into an imagination of this nature we have possi
bly been led in entertaining the idea, that rational religion is upon the advance ;-that religion, we mean, which leans to reason; which never contradicts her fundamental principles; though its doctrines and sanctions are dependant upon a higher authority than hers.
We have thought, that rational beings must naturally incline to rational sentiments, when fairly presented to their minds. We have considered the victories, which reason has obtained over errors, once as generally embraced, as they are now generally exploded; and that the conquests, it has gained, it has rarely lost. We have attended to the rules of exposition, which rational christians, so termed, apply to the sacred volume; and we cannot but think they will ultimately prevail; being founded on the reasonable presumption, that the language of the scriptures is to be explained according to the established laws, by which other writings are interpreted;-laws, which possess the indispensible recommendation of being the only ones, which enable us to construe the Bible, without filling it with contradictions, and doing violence to the plainest truths of natural religion, which are equally truths of revelation. have been gratified with observing, how many of the principal members of society are men of candid feelings and temperate sentiments on religious subjects. We have noticed, that enlargement of views in regard to those controversies, which are agitated among christians, is apt to accompany enlargement of mind in other respects; and it may be presumed, therefore, is increasing with the diffusion of knowledge and learning.
But not the smallest of our reasons for expecting a more extensive spread of rational opinions and liberal feelings in the church, are such, as we derive from those christians themselves, among whom there exists, as we think, the most room for improvement in these respects.
In the first place, it is encouraging to remember to how large a portion of the sacred volume they have always applied those rules of interpretation, which their brethren contend should be equally applied to every part of it. None could be more ready than they, to reject a number of erroneous doctrines, on the ground of their intrinsic unreasonableness and incredibility; particularly those of transubstantiation and consubstantiation; notwithstanding, the letter of scripture may be urged in their behalf. It must appear surprising, we are sensible, that they have not long since pursued a similar course with some other doctrines, equally repugnant to our intuitive perceptions of possibility, and infinitely more so to our first principles of rectitude; especially when less supported by any passages of sacred writ, either literally or freely expounded. Can