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added to the number of the 'excellent of the earth,' whom it had been my privilege to know. Some of the peculiarities of his religious faith, and those in pretty insportant particulars, were widely different, I had reason to think, from those of any other good man I had met with He did not believe in a tri-personal Deity; and this was a sort of unbelief, which I, like ten thousand others, looked upon with a vague sort of horror, I knew not whence nor why. For a long time, therefore, I could not believe that he was so good a christian as he seemed to be; and when it was impossible to doubt this, my next conclusion very naturally was, that Trinitarianism, though the truth, yet could not be essential to the christian, for here was a christian without it. This discovery did a great deal to set me a thinking and to enlarge my views. But its best and happiest consequence was, to confirm me in my persuasion, that the great practical and vital principles of our religion are common to all believers. From this persuasion I have never varied. Experience has every year confirmed it; and it is still one of the most comforting convictions of my heart. I look forward with the most delightful anticipation to the day, when I shall join in one communion the souls of those many good men, whom I have honoured and loved here, but from whose fellowship I have been shut out, by the miserable bars which prejudice and pride have put up amid the churches on earth.
Jotham Anderson is an old friend of the readers of the Christian Register, in which paper his adventures were first published in separate numbers. To those who have not yet seen his simple narrative, we recommend it, for the happy and liberalizing impression which we think it calculated to make on every unshackled mind.
Questions for Trinitarians.
From the Gospel Herald. OUR Trinitarian friends who worship in the Episcopal form, after the Church of England, in repeating their Litany, say, they supplicate the mercy of God
by his holy nativity, and circumcision-by his fastings and temptations—by his agony and bloody sweat-by his precious death and burial.
Please to answer-Do you really believe that God was born? Do you believe that God was circumcised? That God fasted, and was tempted? Do you believe that God was in an agony of pain, and sweat blood? Do you believe that God died, and was buried? If you believe these things, you outrage reason,
and deny the Scriptures. If you do not believe them, why do you make a solemn mockery of absurdity?
We make this appeal to reasonable beings. Let every rational person ponder well these things, before they shall again address the great Jehovah in this unjustifiable and absurd manner.
Unitarian Chapel in Calcutta.
The Unitarian Society lately established in Cal. cutta, has made great efforts for the erection of a place of worship. About 11,000 sica rupees have been subscribed for this purpose in Calcutta; 7,000 sica rupees of this sum were subscribed in the month of September last. The estimated expense of the Chapel is from 30,000 to 40,000 sica rupees. If one half the sum can be realized in Calcutta, it is hoped that the remainder may be furnished by Unitarian Christians in England and America.
Remarks on the Inspiration of the Writers of the
Old and New Testaments.
The value of the Holy Scriptures is admitted by all christian professors. They are persuaded that the Bible contains an authentic account of revelations from God, commencing with Adam, continued to patriarchs and prophets, and more abundantly granted to our blessed Lord. But, among those who are thus far agreed, a question has arisen, whether the authors of the books, which compose the canon of Scripture, wrote them under the special and extraordinary direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. According to some persons the Spirit of God dictated the identical words which they used; others represent their inspiration as only operating to prevent them from falling into any mistake, or omitting what ought to be recorded. A third class readily admit that most, if not all of the sacred writers were inspired men, but they deny that this inspiration was extended to them as writers; alleging that no inspiration was necessary to enable them to give a correct and faithful account of what they previously knew; whether their knowledge was originally derived from divine communications, authentic testimony, or personal observation.
A minute superintendence, extending to the very words of the writers, must have produced similarity of style and sameness of language; so that the same incidents would have been related by different writers precisely in the same manner; but, as this is not the case, such a notion of inspiration cannot be maintained. Even the hypothesis of a less special inspiration, if strictly examined, will not be found of any practical importance; nor is it wholly free from difficulties and objections.
The original writings of the Books of the Old and New Testaments have long been extinct; and it is well known that the copies of the existing manuscripts differ from each other. Who has not heard of the various readings collected by Dr. Kennicot from manuscript copies of the Old Testament; and of a still greater number of various readings in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, which Professor Mill and others have published. Although these variations are not so important as to undermine the foundation of our faith and hope, they are amply sufficient to convince us, that in a great number of instances, it is impossible to attain absolute certainty as to the precise words used by the sacred writers.
As Scripture is quoted in support of the common notion of inspiration, the principal text usually produced by the advocates of that opinion will now be considered. It is 2 Tim. iii. 16. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.” As the New Testament was not written when Paul thus addressed Timothy, the reference must be to the Old Testament. Taking the passage as it stands in our common translation, the first inquiry will naturally be, what is meant by all scripture? Are we then, by this term to understand the whole of the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi inclusive, comprising not only an account of divine communications, prophecies delivered by inspired men, and laws given by God to his chosen people, but also a history of the Jews, of their origin, journeyings, rebellions, sufferings, and deliverances;--catalogues of Hebrew names;-language uttered in contempt of the authority of God, and some expressions which cannot now be publicly recited.--Surely, all these were not given by inspiration of God. There is something in the very suggestion at which a serious mind almost instinctively revolts. The word "all” must therefore be taken in a restricted sense; and what is the proper restriction in the passage before us, may easily be perceived by referring to the preceding verse. "And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation." This is the Scripture which is given by inspiration of God; not when it was reduced to writing, but when it was originally delivered; in whatever manner the communication was made. Such Scripture is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness;"—but can this be said of the whole of the Old Testament? Is it credible that Paul intended that such a construction should be put on his language, knowing, as he did, that the Old Testament contains matter respecting which such a declaration would be wholly inapplicable? For example, the tenth chapter