« AnteriorContinuar »
beareth witness of me." But the third witness from the same source is furnished ; 1 John, v. 6; - It is the Spirit, that beareth witness." Here
authority of this text, than its having been dropped out of those Greek MSS. can be, of evidence against it. Jerome asserts, that he found how this text had been omitted, on purpose to elude the truth. (See Jones, p. 103.)
2. Another weighty argument in favor of the genuineness of this text, follows, in the same Panoplist, from T. F. Middleton, in his masterly Essay on the Greek article. . To this, the read. er is referred. (Panoplist for May, 1811, page 541.) The result of the argument is this ; that the construction of the Greek, or the use of the article To, before the word hen, one, in the end of 1 John, v. 8, (the versc succeeding the disputed text, and which is found in the Greek MSS.) rests on, or alludes to the preceding, or disputed text; and thus proves its having been in the original writing of John." And these three agree in (to hen) the one." What one? The one in the preceding verse, which the Three in heaven constitute. Indeed the reading in the second of these verses, seems clearly to imply the authenticity of the first. Its phraseology rests upon it; as may be seen by comparing them.
3. Macknight, in his translation, says, that some of the most ancient and correct Vatican Greek copies have this verse.' All Stephen's MSS. seven in pumber, and which contain the whole epistles, have this verse. Thé Vulgate version, (he informs) in most of the MSS. and the printed editions, have it. He potes the testimony of Tertullian, in favor of this verse, who lived in an age, in which the authentic writings of the apostles were read in the churches ; This was in the second century. The Doctor likewise notes the testimony of Cyprian, in the third century, expressly quoting the latter part of this verse, in his epistle to Juba janus. Doctor Macknight also mentions the testimony of many Greek and Latin fathers, in following ages, some of whom, he says, appcaled to the Arians themselves, as allowing the authenticity of this text. Mill therefore, (he adds,) was decidedly of opinion, that in whatever manner this verse disappeared in mary Greek MSS. it undoubtedly was in St. John's autograph, or original epistle; and in some of the copies transcribed from it.
4. How much more natural and easy is it, to suppose that this verse was, at an early period, omitted through mistake, or in some way by a Greek transcriber, and in this way to have became lost from many Greek MSS. than to conceive of its being interpolated, and received by thousands, (not only of friends, but enemies to its sentiment,) as of divine authority?
again are the Three, who bear record in heaven. Christ alludes to them, when he says ; 6 We speak that we do kuow, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness."
The latter supposition is attended with great difficulties : The former with difficulties comparatively small.
5. The sentiment of the text accords with that of the whole Bible. The text contains no novel sentiment, and nothing of a doubtful nature. It may be viewed as a doctrine, which re. sults from the general language, and scheme, of the sacred Or. acles. The acquisition of the opponents then should they take away this text, would be only like taking a bucket of water from a stream; when the fountain is flowing, to fill all up again.
6. In an appendix, to the Essay on the real Deity of Jesus Christ, by the Rey. C. Alexander, we find seven or eight octavo pages filled with evidence, in favor of the authenticity of this text; much of which is taken from works of the learned Rev. George Travis. He gives considerable of the evidence already mentioned in this note; and much in addition. To that appendix, the reader is referred. I will just advert to some of ihe most interesting parts of this additional evidence. Mr. A. finds this text viewed as a uthentic, by good authorities, in the fourteenth, thirteenth, twelfth, eleventh, ninth, eighth, sixth, fifth, fourth, third, and second centuries. In the eighth cen. tury, the emperor Charlemagne convened the learned of the age, to revise the MSS. of the Bible. He furnished the commissioners with every MS. which could be procured, through his extensive empire. The result of their labors they present. ed to the emperor. There this text is found, without the least intimation that there was any doubt of its authenticity. The pious and learned Jerome, at the request of the bishop of Rome, performed the arduous work of revising the MSS. of the Old and New Testaments. He closed the work, A. D. 420 ; with the solemn protestation, that in revising the New Testament, he had adhered entirely to the Greek MSS. And in Jerome's Testament this verse of St. John is found, and no hint of its being dubious. What better evidence can we wish, than this of St. Jerome?
Augastine, of the same age, in his commentary on this chapter of St. John, has these expressions, “ 'The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one.” Cyrillus, in his exposition of faith, makes use of this text. Phoebadius, a bishop in France, in the fourth century, cites this verse, in his book against the Arians.
The personality of the Holy Ghost is, by some, denied. They say, the fulness of God, or the divine energy, is in the scriptures personified. But they contend, that we are not to co.iceive of the Holy Ghost as having any distinct personality. It is only the fulness and energy of the one Person in God personified.
Reply. That we are taught to conceive of the Holy Ghost as a Person, while yet he is one with God, appears evident. His being repeatedly classed with the other two in the Godhead, who, it has been shown, are represeuted as distinct Persons, seems clearly to imply, that he also is a distinct Person, as much as is the Father, or the Son. Consider the three names in the commission of baptism ; in the benediction ; in the three heavenly witnesses ; and in other Scriptures ; and say, are we not here taught to believe, that the last one mentioned is as real a Person, as is either of the others? What right have we to conceive, that the
In this appendix of Mr. Alexander, is the following, resulting from his author : “ The most ancient of all the versions of the books of the New Testamnent, from the books, in which they were originally writteó, is the Old Italic, (where this text is found.) This version was made in the first century, and therefore whilst St. John was yet alive; and was used by the Lutin churches, in Europe, Asia, and Africa, for inany centuries after his death. And thus the origin of the verse in question is, at length, carried up, not by inferences or implications alone, (however fair and obrious,) but by plain and positive evidence, to the age of St. John himself. For this most valuable, as well as most ancient version has constanly exhibited this verse, 1 John, v. 7. Throughout the vast series of one thousand, four hundred years,--between the days of Praxias, and the age of Erasmus, not a single author, whether Patripassian, Cerinthian, Ebionite, Arian, Macedonian, or Sabellian; whether of the Greek, or Latin; whether of the eastern, or western church ; whether in Asia, Africa, or Europe,-hath ever taxed the various quotations of this verse, with interpolation, or forgery.” For myself, I shall henceforth rest satisfied with the divine authority of this text.
two first are Persons ; and the last is a Person only in figure ? How unequal a Trinity! Where has man a warrant for such a conception ?
If the Holy Ghost have nothing of distinct personality, why has he an appropriate name distinct from God ? Why has he titles, which import distinct personality, and which are not given to the others in the Godhead ? such as, the Spirit ; the Spirit of the Lord ; the holy Spirit ; the Comforter. And why does this representation run through the Bible ? With all the numerous scriptures, which are calculated to excite a belief in the personality of the Holy Ghost, we have not a word of caution against believing in such a personality. If it be unsafe to believe in a distinct personality of the Holy Ghost, why have we not in some part of the sacred Book, at least one hint against it ; when there is so much, calculated to induce a be. lief in favor of it. Is the Bible itself calculated to deceive man, in points so material ?
The Gospel is called “ the ministration of the Spirit.” Why is it so called, if there be no Spirit, in any sense distinct from the Father ? It is the promise of our heavenly Father, to give the Holy Spirit to them, that ask him. Christians are born of the Spirit. To Mary it was said, “ The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee.”-It was revealed to Simeon (hupo) by the Holy Ghost, that he should not die, till he had seen Christ. Christ was led up (hupo) by the Spirit to be tempted of the devil. Christ promised his disciples, “ I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever ; even the Spirit of truth.” Why does Christ call him “ another Comforter ?" The divine Saviour here ranks the Spirit with himself, who was then their Comforter. Is the Spirit then, no Person ? Christ adds ; " The Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, (ekeinos) he, (not ekei- , pon it) shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." "When the Comforter is come, (hon) whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth forth from the Father, (ekeinos) he shall testify of me." Is not the Holy Ghost here represented as a Person? Who knows then, that he is not a Ferson? • If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I depart, I will send (auton) him unto you. And when (ekeinos) he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." Here is the Agent, who convicts, and converts. “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to corne.--He shall take of mine, and shew it unto you. He shall glorify me ; for, he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you."* Who can deny, that the Holy Ghost is here represented as an Agent, personally distinct froin the Father and Christ? And this is not found in a tigurative part of the word of God; but in the most literal and gracias promises.
Some have said, that inasmuch as the neuter pronoun it is sometimes applied to the Holy Ghost; we are hence taught, that he is not a Person, but a mere thing.
Reply. Critics in the Greek well know, that there is no weight in this objection. The use of the pronoun it, is a mere matter of grammar. The nour, which the old Grecian heathens applied to
* John siy, xv. and xvi.