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Texts supposed to Favour a Plurality of Persons
in God, or the Trinity in Unity. 1 John v. 7, 8: “ For there are three that bear record [in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are One. And there are three that bear witness in earth], the spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one.”
The words here put in a parenthesis and different character, are not the genuine words of the apostle St. John.* The reasons for their not being genuine, are thus briefly summed up by Dr. Clarke:t
“ This passage was never cited by any of the numerous writers in the whole Arian controversy: nor ever cited at all by any Greek father, (in any genuine work) either before or after the council of Nice; though many of them quote the
only. It is since much enlarged and improved, and printed for Johnson, 1775.
* Dr. Jortin calls it a spurious text, which is still maintained in bold defiance to the fullest and clearest evidence against it.” Ecclesiastical History, Vol. III. p. 100.
The famous Dr. Waterland gave it up as indefensible.
Luther aud Bullinger, at the time of the Reformation, omitted it in their German translations of the Bible.
+ But whoever, as he observes, would see the whole matter learnedly and decisively discussed, may have recourse to Mr. Emlyn's full Inquiry into that Text 1 John v. 7, with the Defences of it.
words immediately foregoing and following: nor by any of the Latins before St. Jerome, the passage alleged by some out of Tertullian being plainly not the words of this text, but of that author him. self, and the passage out of Cyprian, being only a mystical interpretation of the eighth verse; as is more than probable, as well from the express testimonies of Eucherius and Facundus, referred to by Dr. Mill, as from the text's being wanting in all, even the Latin copies, both before and long after Cyprian's time. And even in the first English Bibles after the reformation, in the time of Henry the Eighth, and Edward the Sixth, it was printed in a different character, to signify itsbeing wanting in the original. Which distinction came afterwards to be neglected. And, as to Greek manuscripts, it has never yet been proved to be found in the text of any one of them, elder than the invention of printing.”-Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity, pp. 231, 232.
Dr. Clarke, in the same place, well shews the sense of the apostle to be very complete with ut
" Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God 2 This is he that came (that was declared and manifested to be the Son of God) by water and blood ; (by water, at his baptism, when there came a voice from heaven, saying, this is my beloved Song) and by blood, viz. by his death and resurrection :
and it is the Spirit (the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and the power of miracles granted to the apostles) that beareth witness; because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record, the Spirit, the water, and the blood ; and these three agree in One; or, as some ancient writers read the text, these three are one, viz.one testimony, that Jesus is the Son of God.”
It is very remarkable, that this text, for which there is so little, or rather no authority at all, is the only one throughout the whole Bible that
* “ It is certain the common people have their eyes upon this, more than on any undoubted text in the Bible, in this controversy. And so far they must be deceived, if it be spurious. And it is in your Lordships' and the Clergy's power to let them know it, and to refer them to other texts, which you can assure them are genuine."
“ Nor is there any doubt to be made, but the people think some branches of the liturgy have their main foundation on this one doubted text. When they hear, three persons and One God, in the fourth petition of the litany; and, who with thee and the Holy Ghost ever liveth and reigneth One God, in the doxologies ; they think nothing in the New Testament 80 like it as this dubious text. And will you not think it great pity, that your people should build so weighty things on such a slender foundation, if yourselves so judge it ? "
“ I speak this, because I know not any other text, that directly or clearly says the same thing, viz. that the Father, Word and Spirit, are One. They are not joined in one doxology; nor indeed do I find any [doxology) given to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, either jointly or 'separately; much less is the Spirit said to be one with the
makes directly for the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity: all the other texts that are brought for it are only inferences from what is supposed to be implied in particular passages of Scripture: but that three are one, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, One, is no where else expressly or certainly declared.
Matt. xxviii. 19 : “ Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
The apostles of our Lord, to whom he delivered this direction concerning the baptism, could not conclude from any thing he had before taught them, that he intended by it to teach any thing like what we call the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity. For he had taught them before, that there was One God, the Father, “ and none other but he." Mark xii. 32. He had taught them, that he himself was the Son of the Father, his messenger, and that he received his being, doctrine, authoity, power, every thing from him. And he had constantly spoken to them of the
Father and the Son. I read of One Spirit, One Lord, One God and Father, Eph. iv., but not that these three are One. And if there be no other text which says this, it is not the more likely to have been St. John's saying here, but the more grierous to have it inserted by any who had not his authority."--Mr. Emlyn's (serious and affecting) Address to both Houses of Convocation, for the removal of this Text out of our Bibles, Vol. II. pp. 159, 160.
Holy Ghost, as the comforter or gift of God, by which he himself had been guided and assisted ; John iii. 34, i. 33, Luke iv. I, and which would be sent to supply his place when he left them, to assist and support them in preaching his gospel to all nations. John xiv. xv. xvi.
What then would they understand by this form of baptism, which we have made to contain such a mystery, but a compendious summary of the gospel which he had taught them, * and into which all men were to be initiated, and instructed ?-That religion, which he received from God, the Father, which he the Son had preached, and which was to be confirmed and propagated by the miraculous powers of the Holy Spirit.
It does not appear from what the Lord Jesus had taught them, that they could make any other construction of this baptismal commission given to them: nor does it appear from any thing which they his apostles afterwards taught others, that they did in fact otherwise interpret it; much less infer from it a belief of a Trinity in Unity, or that the Son and Spirit were each of them God no less than the Father, and equally to be worshiped.
For we find, that when Philip baptized the great officer of the queen of Ethiopia, the con
* Christianity is the religion of Christ; or that doctrine of religion, which God the Father taught by the Son, and confirmed by the Holy Ghost. Matthew xxviii. 19.Jefferies, Vol. II. p. 3.09.