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been proved to be true in point of fact. The progress of many errors was stopped at the Reformation. Others still exist, and these of no little importance, which have been traced with great precision to the causes at which we have hinted. Our only inference is, that christians should study with care the grounds of their faith, and rejecting all systems of human invention in which these errors are found, should seek for truth in the Bible alone. Here, and here only, we have the religion of Jesus and his Apostles, unimpaired by the ravages of time, and unperverted by the vain imaginations and wayward designs of men.
On a Translation of the Scriptures.
UNITARIAN christians are sometimes accused of altering the language of the scriptures, and of supporting their doctrines by forcing a new translation upon those passages, which are alleged against them. To this charge we by no means plead guilty. Our doctrines are upon the face of scripture. The general tenour of the New Testament is one of our main arguments against trinitarians. No one, we believe, could rise from the perusal of the New Testament alone, with the conviction that Jesus of Nazareth was the Almighty. Trinitarians adduce a few detached text3-some of them would indeed be materially different in a more correct translation-but others would still retain all the force, which they can be allowed now to possess.
We are very free to say, that our views of the nature of the sacred writings, and of the use we are to make of them, differ from those of our orthodox breth
ren. We believe as sincerely as they can, that the Bible contains the rule of our faith and practice. But we do not believe that king James's version of the Bible is of divine authority. We are sure, although this version has many excellencies, and does undoubtedly give, on the whole, a fair representation of the original, that it contains many inaccuracies and faults. This has been the opinion of distinguished men of every denomination of christians. It has been proclaimed by the most learned English theologians, both in and out of the establishment. Archbishop Newcome, in a work entitled, An historical view of English biblical Translations, has brought together the opinions of a very large number of men eminent for learning and piety. They agree, that a much more correct representation of the original scriptures might, and ought, to be given to the public.
There are facts relative to the version in common use, which ought to satisfy every mind, that with the best intentions, the translators could not have given 80 correct a version of the sacred writings, as might be given at the present day. In regard to the New Testament particularly, we have now a much more correct text obtained from a most elaborate and faithful collation of a great number of manuscripts not then known, and of much higher authority than those which were compared to form the edition used by James's translators. Beza's edition was the one selected as the standard of our common English version, and that was founded upon the authority of a few manuscripts, of which only two were of great value, and of these he appears to have made but little use. Since that time, more than three hundred manuscripts have been discovered. These have been minutely examined, and from them
together with the ancient versions and writings of th Fathers, a text has been formed by Griesbach, which is by all, who are capable of estimating its value, acknow ledged to be the most accurate which has ever beer made. This would be a sufficient reason of itself fo making a new translation. But there are many othe
Since king James's time, the labours of the ablest scholars in Europe have been employed in the various departments of theology. Great light has been thrown upon the sacred writings. The original lan guages of the Bible are now far better understood, and the researches, which have been industriously made into antiquity, have tended to elucidate the sacred volume. Moreover, vast improvements have been introduced into the philosophy of the human inind; the nature of language has been thoroughly investigated, and important principles of interpretation thence deduced.
But the prejudices of men have enlisted in the defence of our common version. They feel a veneration for it, and are attached to it from habit and association. It is the book which they have heard spoken of with reverence from childhood, and appealed to in support of the most solemn truths; the book, which their fathers for many generations have read, and every part of it is held sacred. Such prejudices we would always treat with the greatest tenderness and delicacy. But they should not be suffered to gain the ascendency of reason and common sense. The saine veneration is not due to the words of James's Bible, as to the truths of revelation, and the two should not be confounded.
Is there not reason to fear, that apprehensions for their favourite systems, have caused some good christians to be alarıned by any proposals for a new version? Has it not thus become a party question? And while the zeal
for party is so much greater than the zeal for truth, the merits of the present version will not be fairly canvassed, nor can we ever hope easily to substitute a new and a better one in its place. To a certain extent, it may be desirable, perhaps, that these prejudices and fears should exist. If they retard the progress of truth, they may also prevent the intrusion of error. general principle, this may be admitted; but it should yield in extreme cases, like the one in question. Truth cannot suffer, but nuch error may be removed. Party feelings should be forgotten, sectarian prejudices suppressed, and every good feeling, principle, and honest intention, should be blended by all parties in a work, which aims only to exhibit the word of God in its proper force and purity.
S. J. M.
Rev. Mr. Campbell's Address on the Trinity and
A SMALL work has lately been published in Pittsburgh, by the Rev. John Campbell, of that place, entitled, An Address to professed Christians on the Unity of God, and the Reconciliation inade by Jesus Christ. The author manifests an intimate acquaintance with the subjects, which he undertakes to discuss, and sustains his positions by arguinents drawn chiefly from the scriptures.
He first examines the doctrine of the trinity, as it is usually received by its advocates, and proves it to be unsupported by the plain sense of the word of God, and opposed to the scripture views of the divine unity. He starts with the following propositions; "1. That the christian religion is wholly the subject of divine revelation, and to be learned from the scriptures alone. 2. That it is clearly and fully expressed in scripture, and ought to be presented, "Not in the words, which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.' 3. That the religion, which comes from God, cannot contain contradictions, but is necessarily one whole.” Taking these propositions as established, he proceeds to his work.
After having shown how the scriptures speak of the divine unity, and asserted, that the language commonly used by trinitarians to express their doctrine, has no resemblance to any language of the Bible, he asks,
“Shall we be told, that although the expressions themselves are not to be found, yet there are passages from which it (the doctrine] may be inferred? I would ask, does any man think, that if God meant to teach this doctrine, he would not clearly have expressed it, as well as he has done his unity, but have left it to be inferred by partial men, who draw their inferences according to their preconceived opinions? When men are under the necessity of using unscriptural terms to express their ideas, is there not reason to think, that the ideas themselves are as foreign to scripture, as the terms employed are? And is not every such subject condemned by our second proposition?
“Examine the doctrine by this rule. The term trinity is not to be found in the scriptures, nor any term like it. The divine unity, which, as we have seen, is clearly taught in scripture, is directly opposed to the trinity. If the unity is taught, and the trinity not taught; if it also contradicts the unity, ought we not to reject it as condemned by all our three propositions?
"Is it said, that the trinity is not opposed to the unity of God, as it respects his essence, but his personality, I ask, what are we to understand by a unity of essence, and division of personality?” p. 6.
The fact here urged is well worthy of observation. Are we to believe, that a fundamental doctrine of scripture can be one, which cannot be defined in the language of scripture? Instead of using the simple lan