Page images
PDF
EPUB

ADVERTISEMENT

TO THE

FOURTH LETTER.

THE Author of the three first Letters to a Protestant Divine, which have been for some time before the Public, having been called upon for a fourth, by an additional one received from the Divine, which not only required him to consider, and reply to, a variety of passages in Scripture, supposed to be favourable to the Trinitarian hypothesis ; but also to bring forward many others, which establish and confirm the sentiments of the Unitarians, and to institute a comparison between the Unitarian and Trinitarian systems, with a view to determine, which of them is best calculated to meet the wants and wishes of fallen man, and fi. nally to become the universal religion; presents himself once more before an enlightened public, who will judge whether he has succeeded in proving that the preference is decidedly due to that of the Unitarians, and that it is the only religion which can ever be universal.

He is obliged to the learned Editor of the new edi

iy

ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FOURTH LETTER.

tion of the theological and miscellaneous works of Dr. Priestley now publishing, Mr. Rutt, for the very correct inforınation, that the spurious text mentioned, page 231, as having had so much influence on the mind of that excellent and liberal-minded Trinitarian, the late Dr. Doddridge, was not, as the Author had apprehended, 1 John v. 7. the Doctor having inserted that text between brackets, and referred to it as doubtful; but another, namely, Rev. i. 11. “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last,” which we have the authority of Archbishop Newcome, and Griesbach, and the host of MSS. cited by the latter, for pronouncing to be equally spurious, and striking it out altogether, as they have both done. Though this does not in the least affect the Author's argument, which the Doctor's reliance upon either text will support, yet he is happy to be afforded an opportunity of doing justice to the memory of Dr.Doddridge, who, it certainly appears, did not rely upon 1 John v. 7. when, in consequence of the strong and well founded remarks of Sir Isaac Newton against its authenticity, it had ceased to be quoted as an authority, by most judicious critics, though it was not then so universally exploded, as it has been since it received the coup

from the hands of the late Professor Porson.

de grace

TABLE OF CONTENTS.

LETTER I.

The Divine's first letter occasioned by the author's quoting in conver-

sation John x. 30-36 as being adverse to the Trinitarian hypothesis. p. 1.-Re-

marks in proof of this, and of our Lord having intimated, that though he

might have called himself Isov, God, or a god, in that inferior sense of the

word in which the prophets were so called, he had not done even this, but

only said, that he was the Son of God. p. 2. -Objections to the Divine's state-

ment, that the word of God which came to the prophets, was the eternal

Logos.—That Heb. i. 1. proves Christ to be the Son of that God who spoke by

the prophets: and consequently if the latter were the eternal Logoș, there

must be a quaternity of Gods. p. 3.---Strange that the word of a being, because

figuratively personified, should be supposed to designate one person, and the

being whose word it was, another.-Absurdity of so construing 1 Sam. iv. 1. p. 4.

- Meaning of the word “blasphemy' imputed by the Jews to our Lord, according

to Scripture phraseology: shewing that it might be spoken not only of God,

but of kings, and other persons in high stations. 1 Kings, xxi. 13. p. 4.-Our

Lord himself the best interpreter of his own expression, “ I and my Father are

one.” John x. 30.-His construction of it, that they were one in sentiment or

design, exemplified by John xvii. 11. p. 5.-His own interpretation of his de-

clarations, that his Father had sent him into the world, and that he was in his

Father, and his Father in him, as given in John xvii. 18, 21, 23, shews, that

he did not mean his being sent from another world, or that his being was iden-

tified with that of his Father. p. 6.-But one creed in the New Testament,

namely, that Jesus is the Christ. --All that has been added to it is mere

human inventioa. p. 7.

The author gratified to learn what could be advanced on John X. 27-36,
by his friend's learning and ingenuity. He is aware that some of the Greek
fathers, after the doctrine of the Tripity had made considerable progress,
quoted John X. 30.-Reply to the observation, that they must have known
their own language better than we do, exemplified by the different construc,
tions of modern Acts of Parliament. p. 8.—No wonder that one of the fisher-
men of Galilee, writing in a foreign language, should, after two or three cen-
turies, be sometimes misunderstood, and constructions put upon his writings
which he never intended; but rather surprising that he should never have ex-
pressed himself so clearly upon difficult subjects, that by comparing one part of

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

his writings with another, and applying to them the rules of fair criticism, we
should understand them so well as we do. p. 10.-Rules of law for the con-
struction of Acts of Parliament. Following the same course, and interpreting
Scripture by Scripture, we may ascertain their meaning with as much cer-
tainty as the fathers. p. 11.--Their interpretation of is, as one being, merely
conjectural, and not depending upon any particular knowledge of the lan-
guage. p. 11.–Our Lord's own words prove that he understood it in the sense
of one thing. p. 12. As did other persons even in the times of the fathers. p. 18.
John xvii. 20. shews, that our Lord's being in the Father, and the Father in
him, is no proof of bis divinity. p. 13.-The nature of his glory misunder-
stood. - Whatever it was, it was given to him by the Father, and he commu-
nicated the very same glory to his disciples. John xvii. 5, 22. p. 14.-He had no
original power, but received it all from the Father, by whose command he acted.

That he neither claimed, nor had, any thing in his own rigit, or from the

Holy Ghost. p. 14.-He could not intend to say, that he and his father were

one person; but it exactly suited the train of his argument to say that they

were one thing ; which is the obvious ineaning of the word in.'p. 15.-The in-

troduction of the words ro Islov inadmissible. p. 16.-Our Lord represents all

his power as given to him, and all his authority as delegated, declaring that of

bimself he could do nothing. John v. 30. p. 16.-Reply to the Divine's remark,

that the fathers considered the absence of the article no evidence of reading

Isov a God. p. 17.-Proof from Origen that Iuas with the article is not appli-

cable to Christ, but to the Father only. p. 19.-Confirmed by Clemens

Alexandrinus and Eusebius. p. 20. and supported by the general tenor of

Scripture, which applies ó Deos, God, with the article, to the Father only, and

Isos, God, without the article, in an inferior sense, to prophets and rulers; in

which sense our Lo intimates that it might ha been applied to himself. p. 20.

When it is applied to a prophet, to Moses for instance, the rendering into

English will of course be a god. p. 21.-This criticism on the article probably

proved the occasion of the Divine's passing over without observation what con-

stitutes the strength of the author's argument, which he re-states and en-

forces. p. 22.–That no human mind not previously full of the Trinitarian

hypothesis, would ever have drawn from this passage the strange conclusion,

that our Lord contended that he and his Father were one God, contrary to his

express declaration, that he considered the Jews to be imputing blasphemy to

him, because he said that he was the Son of God. p. 23.-That notwithstanding
the fathers, without a tittle of evidence, explain is to be so Iulov, one divine
Being, to say that two persons are one being is a flat contradiction, and
why. p. 24.-Some remarks upon their qualifications for explaining the doc-
trines of Christianity. p. 24.--Answer to a further argument by which it is
attempted to be shewn, that the rendering of Joos in the common rersion God,
is a fairer interpretation of the Greek than a God, quoting Ex. vii. 5. but
stating, that after all, it is of little importance in what sense the Jews under.
stood our Lord to have made himself Itov, God, or a God, as be plainly inti-
mated to them that they were mistaken, for that he had aerer made bimself

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Jsor, God or a God, at all. p. 25.There is scarcely a part of this celebrated

passage, so often quoted in support of the Trinity, which will not be found to

be in direct opposition to it. Further proof of this from the part in wbich our

Lord says that he was sanctified and sent into the world by the Father. How

is it that the Holy Ghost had po concern in the sanctifying or sending our

Lord? p. 27.-The author does not, any more than bis friend, conceive Samuel's

word to be a person, because no other scripture leads him to adopt such an

opinion; neither does he for the same reason consider the word of the Father

to be a person, because personified as wisdom is, Prov. viii. 1, and the breath of

the Lord's mouth, Ps. xxxiii. 6. p. 29.-Trinitarians understand the words in

Begxn, John i. 1, in the sense of the beginning of the world, in which sense it is

never used by the apostle, but frequently in that of the beginning of our

Lord's ministry.-Being with God does not mean being God. p. 30.-Whý our

Lord is called the Word. p. 31.-The giving men such names, and calling

them by names denoting what they did or resembled, common in Scripture.

Calling him the Word, therefore, no reason for supposing him to be that God

whose word he was called, but the contrary. As to the clause that the Word

was Inos, God or a god, prophets and rulers were frequently called gods. If the

word, supposing it applied to Christ, is not used in this inferior sense, why is

he pot frequently called Isos, as well as the Father? Interpreting Scripture

by Scripture, the answer is obvious. p. 32.The 10th chapter explains the use

of the word frog in this chapter, and ju both the word is without the articles

Instance of an angel being called My God, 2 Esdr. vii. 3.-The moderns confine

the word to the Most High, but the ancients did not, and we must interpret it

according to their mode of using it. p. 34.-The rendering of the common ver•

sion, John i. 3, ‘All things were made by him,' incorrect; the verb giropcal, though

used 700 times in the New Testament, never being used to denote creating.

The sense warranted by the use of the word in other parts of Scripture is, that

all things were done or performed by him. p. 34.-Sense in which the words

all things are to be 'understood. p. 36.—The inference that Christ was not made,

because he could not make himself, depends upon the rendering of the word

guropees, and the meaning of the words 'all things :' but if the Trinitarian sense

of both were right, it would not follow that he created all persons ; and if he

did, it would follow, tbat he created the Father and the Holy Ghost. p.

37.-

The rest of the passage not in fayour of Trinitarianism even in the common

version; but the true rea is, that the Word was fesh (or a man), and we

saw his glory, not as the glory of God, but as of the only-begotten Son of

God.'p: 38.-Explanation of the word only-begotten.' p. 38. The author

utterly at a loss where to find the innumerable passages alleged by his friend

Lo ascribe divinity to our Saviour. p. 39. He can see no proof of the incar-

pation in the Scriptures, and therefore can only repeat the celebrated remark

of Sir Isaac Newton on the subject. p. 40.--This doctrine supposed to be

taught, together with the miraculous conception, in Joha i, Matt, i. and ii. and

Luke i, and ij.-The 1st chapter of John shewn not to contain it. p. 40.- Ex:

amination of the passage in Matt. i, usually quoted to prove the miraculous

b

« PreviousContinue »