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duced to favor orthodoxy. And is it altogether unreasonable to suspect, that, besides these spurious readings which we have detected, some others of the same kind may
have crept into the received text, whose spuriousness, however, we may not at this late day have the means of detecting? We are to remember, that all the documents which we have for forming a pure text, have been from the beginning in the hands of the orthodox; in times too when they are known not to have been very scrupulous as to the means which they employed for advancing their opinions, and when their ability to corrupt the text of Scripture was greater than we can well imagine in the present state of things. Our suspicions on this subject may be confirmed still more, by finding that the manuscripts which have come down to us, bear frequent marks of attempted alterations, though with very unequal success. Mark xiii. 32: • Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.' Those important words, 'neither the Son,' are omitted in a few manuscripts, and were rejected by some fathers because they were thought to favor the Arians. As we find, therefore, that some vicious readings favoring the Trinity have found their way into a few manuscripts, and others again into a great many, and others into almost all, is it unreasonable to suppose that some few vicious readings favoring the Trinity may have found their way into all the manuscripts now extant, and of course cannot be detected ? It is idle, then, to pretend that the proofs of the Trinity are not shaken by the acknowledged spuriousness of some of the principal texts supporting it; for not only are its authorities diminished, but suspicion is also brought upon those that remain. The proofs of the Trinity are not only shaken, but shaken to the very foundations.
“We have been led to make the preceding reflections
from considering the peculiar effrontery of the orthodox, in reproaching the Unitarians with altering and corrupting Scripture for party purposes, when, in fact, it is they themselves, who are alone liable to this charge. Suppose i could be shown, that some of the principal texts favoring! Unitarianism were spurious, as has been done respecting some of the principal texts favoring Trinitarianism, we can well imagine with what exultation it would be rung in the ears of the people. But this has never been done, and cannot be done, and is not to be pretended. In no one place is it pretended that Unitarians have corrupted the genuine reading; for it is known that, whatever may have been their disposition, they have never had the power to do it. Still Unitarians are reproached with using another Bible, and the vulgar believe this, because they do not know any better, and they dare not or will not inquire. But what shall we say of the men who invent such calumnies, or assist in circulating them, or even connive at them, knowing them to be unfounded? What shall we say of a man, who will in the first place misrepresent Unitarian writings, and Unitarian preaching, and then caution the people against examining either? We are told that faith and piety are essential to salvation, and we believe it. We had thought also, that truth and common honesty were essential, and we hope the time will come when all Christians will think the same, and act as they think.”
SECTION X I.
ON THE SUPPOSED SCRIPTURE EVIDENCE OF
PLURALITY OF PERSONS IN GOD.
I. A plurality of persons in the Godhead is argued from the plural termination of Aleim, Adonim, and other Hebrew names for God. Elohim, or ALEIM, (being written without points) is the first word in the Hebrew Bible which is translated God. It is the plural of Al, or El; the proper sound of Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, being now unknown. Dr. Adam Clarke, in his Commentary on Gen. i: 1, says, “ The original word Elohim, God, is certainly the plural form of El, and has long been supposed by the most eminently learned and pious men, to imply a plurality of Persons in the Divine nature. As this plurality appears in so many parts of the Sacred Writings, to be confined to three Persons, hence the doctrine of the TRINITY."
1. If the word Aleim, Adonim, &c. necessarily implies plurality at all, it denotes a plurality of Gods. It is impossible to translate the word Aleim so as to favor the Trinitarian hypothesis. It must be rendered either God, or Gods. If it be rendered God; the idea of plurality does not appear; if it be rendered Gods, we have a plurality of Gods, which no Christian will admit. Dr. Wardlaw, pressed with this difficulty, has translated Deut. vi. 4,
Hear, O Israel, JEHOVAH, OUR GODS (ALEIM) is one JEHOVAH."'* Mr. Robbins thinks the plural termination
* Wardlaw, Andover ed. 1815 ; p. 11.
implies a plurality of persons. After giving a few exam. ples, such as “Remember thy Creators,” he says, “These texts of Scripture seem to establish the fact that there is a „plurality of persons in God, though they do not fix the number."*
If the word Aleim necessarily implies plurality, how is it that the Jews have never understood it in that sense, wben applied to God? That they have not so understood it, is certain from the fact, that, in the Septuagint, they have al. ways translated it in the singular number. The Jews have never been Trinitarians. The very people by whom, and for whom, the Scriptures of the Old Testament werë written, in their own language, and from whom we have derived all our knowledge of that language, have always maintained the doctrine of the Unity of God, in opposition to a plurality. Is it possible that they could have remained ignorant, to this day, of the true meaning of a most important word in their native tongue; a word connected with every part of their religion? If we suppose the Jews to have been thus ignorant, is it possible that Jesus Christ and the Apostles should not have corrected their error, if indeed it was an error? Yet they have always translated the words Aleim, Adonim, &c. when they denote God, by a word absolutely of the singular number. The very passage which Mr. Wardlaw translates thus, “Hear, O Israel, Jehovah, our Gods, is cne Jehovah," is thus translated into Greek, by the Evangelist Mark: "The Lord, OUR God, is one Lord.”—Mark xii. 29. The plural form never appears in the New Testament, although the doctrine of the Trinity, which this form is supposed to support, is said to be the fundamental doctrine of the New Testament. As the Hebrew names of God, which have a plural form, are always translated into Greek by the word Otos, of the
* Robbins on the Trinity; p. 31.
singular number, instead of Oɛ01, of the plural, this ought to settle the question. Are not the inspired Apostles and Evangelists as sure guides to the import of a Hebrew word, as Mr. Wardlaw and Mr. Robbins ?
2. Mr. Christie, in his discourses on the Unity of God, says, "that in all languages there are words of a plural terinination, that have a singular signification, and that this is an idiom of the Hebrew language, and is acknowledged to be so by some of the best Trintiarian critics themselves.”
Wilson, in his Hebrew Grammar, p. 270, says, “ Words, that express dominion, dignity, majesty, are commonly put in the plural."
Thus it is evident to the mere English scholar, that the Hebrew names for God, which have plural terminations, may, according to a common rule of syntax, be used as singular, to denote but one. This rule may be illustrated by the following examples. On account of the authority and dignity of the patriarch Abraham, the Hebrew word Adonim, translated Master, (Gen. xxiv. 9, 10) is put in the plural number. Literally translated, the
Literally translated, the passage would read thus: “And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his masters, and sware to him concerning that matter; and the servant took ten camels of the camels of his masters, and departed; for all the goods of his masters were in his hand.” According to the same rule, Potiphar is called the masters of Joseph, in Gen. xxxix, 2, 3, 7, 8, 19, 20, and the Lords of Joseph, in verse 16, and x), 7. Joseph is called “ The man who is the Lords (Adonim) of the land,” Gen. xlii. 30, and “the Lords (Adonim) of the country,” in verse 33. God says to Moses, “See, I have made thee Gods (Aleim) to Pharaoh.”—Ex. vii. 1. Here we have the same evidence for a pluralityảof persons in Abraham, Potiphar, Joseph, and Moses, which is urged by Trinitarians for a plurality of persons in God.
3. If Aleim is of plural import, when applied to God,