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ments of accomplishing the ends of a Society for promoting Christian Knowledge? I have spoken of the heavy obligation conferred upon the world, by the publication of the Improved Version of the New Testament. In whatever sense my Unitarian hearers may suppose I have employed this phraseology, I would respectfully inform them, that, if all who have read that work shall owe to it the same deep debt of gratitude, which is due from me, they may use the words in no ironical sense.

A Unitarian friend, when I was a very young man, anxious to cherish and confirm the incipient Unitarianism which he saw in me, put the Improved Version into my hands. The copy I still possess. It is the first edition. From it my quotations will be made in this discourse. Startled at the daring character of some of the renderings, I immediately began to compare the New Translation with the original Greek; and I convinced myself, by the comparison, that, however irrational the doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus Christ might be, it was, nevertheless, the doctrine of the Greek Testament. Nearly a quarter of a century has elapsed since this my first acquaintance with Biblical studies, through the instrumentality of the Unitarian Version of the New Testament; and these studies pursued from that time to this, with what diligence and conscientiousness it becomes not me to say, have only confirmed the convictions formed at their commencement. This digression will not be considered impertinent by those who recollect that it is the simple statement of the process by which one, far from predisposed against Unitarian opinions, was led to perceive their opposition to Scriptural truth, through the means employed to propagate them. May those of my hearers, who hold Unitarian sentiments, be led by a similar process, if they have never yet as I can easily believe to be the case-insti

tuted a comparison between the two documents—to the acknowledgment of the truth, as it is in Jesus!

But to return:-By the publication of the New Version, by the Unitarian body (I shall prove that it was their act, and not that of individuals), three positions were assumed. Two of these may be freely conceded; while it is the object of this discourse to contest the third.

And here let me pause for a moment. While engaged in the composition of this discourse, I have repeatedly sought the controlling influence of the Holy Ghost, the Third Person in the ever blessed and adorable Triune Jehovah. And I would now look to Him to preserve me, while I deliver it, from the indulgence of any feeling unbecoming a sense of the awful Majesty of Truth; or inconsistent with that charity which a disciple of Christ is bound to exercise towards all men!

The Unitarian body then assumed by the publication of their New Version, what is readily conceded, that additional light might be thrown upon the Interpretation of the original language of the Christian Scriptures; and that the authorized version was not perfect. The advanced state of philological learning, the accumulated results of critical labours, and the improved method of conducting intellectual investigation, justified this assumption. Since the first Translation of the Bible into any of the modern languages of Europe, scholarship has assumed a majestic dignity, unknown to earlier times: principles have been placed upon the basis of demonstration which used to rely on the shifting foundations of conjecture; and facilities for conducting the kindred enquiries have been multiplied to a vast extent by the collation of old manuscripts, and the discovery of new. That the Version of former times might be improved was, therefore, a very rational presumption; and to have forbidden the attempt at improve

ment would have been nothing less than to repress all the efforts of Biblical Criticism. The Unitarian Editors were perfectly just in assuming that Scholars and Critics had thus much property in our common Christianity.

Another presumption, equally well grounded with the former was, that from the extensive diffusion of education, a large class of the community, hitherto unaccustomed to such enquiries, might be induced to take an interest in Biblical studies; and, moreover, that the great elements of the subject of interpretation might be made intelligible to many, who, in a certain sense, from want of a literary education, may be described as occupying the place of the unlearned.

In fact, the only question, except that on the Inspiration of the Sacred Books, between Unitarians and Trinitarians, is one of interpretation. And this, in the more extensive, as well as in the restricted sense of the word, involves the application of scholarship and criticism. Yet, I agree with the Editors of the New Version, that persons who are not scholars and critics, by profession, may, if the case be fairly stated, be enabled to decide upon the great points at issue between us.

If it be asked then, how are we to know what Christianity is, the only answer given, I presume, by Unitarians, as well as by ourselves, must be; by examining the writings which profess to describe its rise and progress; and to develop its principles and doctrines. These writings, I presume, both parties admit to be the books of the New Testament. Neither party claims a private and independent Revelation; but both appeal to the same record. Unless this were the case, all controversy would be, not merely useless, but impossible.

And yet, in a certain sense, the character of these books has nothing to do with our present enquiry. I

believe them to be inspired by the Holy Ghost. Their inspiration I regard as their only claim to the submission of my understanding to what they teach. The mysterious doctrines which they contain I could never receive, but on the authority of a Revelation from Heaven.*

At present, however, we have nothing to do with the divine origin of the Christian Scriptures. Our attention. is to be confined to a subject, perhaps, more easily ascertained. Both are topics of intellectual investigation-the one being a matter of evidence-the other, which is before us, is to be decided by the acknowledged laws of interpretation. The latter may be pursued independently of the former; except, indeed, that the internal evidence, produced by a fair examination of the contents of the Bible, is powerfully corroborative of its other claims to a divine origin. But whether the Christian Scriptures be a revelation from Heaven or not, is one question: what they reveal, or pretend to reveal, is another.

We are not, in the present discussion, concerned even with the authenticity and genuineness of the writings of the New Testament. The subject of their being composed

* The inspiration of one part of the Bible we consider to be asserted in 2 Tim. iii. 16. "All Scripture"-or rather, according to Mr. Wakefield-“every writing” (alluding to the iepà yрáμμaтa just mentioned), “is given by inspiration of God." But it is contended by some-by Mr. Wakefield himself and, after him, by the Editors of the New Version, that the translation should be, "All Scripture," or "every writing given by inspiration of God is profitable." Every Greek scholar will, I think, admit, that this rendering cannot stand without the omission of the conjunction κal, for the exclusion of which there is not the authority of a single manuscript. The Æthiopic version is the only one, however, (we are informed by Mr. Wakefield,) which retains κal, and “the Æthiopic is, with him, equivalent to all the rest in a difficult or disputed passage." He, nevertheless, persists in rendering the words as above.-See Middleton, in loc. If, however, this translation be admitted, the text still proves that some writing is beóπVEVOTOS, and what can that be but the iepà ypaμμата mentioned in the preceding

verse? And were not these the books of the Old Testament ?


by men competent to bear witness to what they profess to have seen and known; together with the kindred subject, that they were as honest as they were competent, may be altogether excluded from our consideration. We have now to do only with the meaning of what they write; the impression which they desired to leave upon the minds of their readers by the use of the language which they employ, is our sole enquiry. As far as this argument is concerned, it might be conceded that they were weak men, and made statements which, with superior endowments, they would not have made. It might be conceded even, that they were designing men, and propagated notions which they knew would gain so much favour from the ignorant prejudices of their readers, as to be received without difficulty or examination. Our question is again, what statements did they make; what notions did they endeavour to propagate? In whatever light the Christian Scriptures are contemplated; whether as the result of plenary inspiration, as we Trinitarians believe; or as the uninspired productions of the first teachers of Christianity; or even as the forgeries of imposture, the meaning of their contents is a question apart from all others.

Upon this question the Unitarians are at issue with us. And the points on which we differ, in the interpretation of the pages to which we both make our appeal, are not few, minute, subordinate; nor, as they are sometimes, disingenuously, designated, matters of mere speculation. They belong to the essential elements of the system of the Gospel. No two theories can be more directly opposed to each other, than the different results of Trinitarian and Unitarian interpretation of one common record. The opposition between them is that which logicians call, the opposition of contradiction.

Now, the position boldly and unceremoniously taken

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