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Among the list of his subscribers, he feels himself under peculiar obligation to that dear people, who heard these sermons delivered from the desk. No other town has given such an extensive and generous encoilragement to this publication. As the sermons were written and preached for their benefit, they are now offered to therri, as a memorial of the author's sincere regard. It is his ardent prayer, that they may be useful to them, and to their dear children, when they shall hear his voice no more. If he knows his heart, it was one leading motive for hi* first going into that town, that he might have an opportunity to do something, in his ministerial capacity, to vindicate the Divinity and atonement of Christ, and their kindred doctrines. He has reason, however, to mourn, that he has not done more service to the glorious cause, for which the Infinite Redeemer died. The author has no claim on God—no plea to make, but unworthiness—no other ground to hope but the Sovereign mercy of JEHOVAH ; through the atoning blood of "the Lamb of God, who taketh away . the sin of the world." To His blessing, therefore, the following sheets are prayerfully resigned,. by the author,
DAVID HARROWAR. Utica, June 4, .1822.
I JOHN, V. 7.
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Much has been said and written in the Christian world on this interesting passage. The opposers of the doctrine of the ever blessed Trinity, have labored to make it appear, that it is spurious—the insertion of an uninspired pen. They do not, however, undertake to inform us, when this text was added to the Holy Scriptures, nor what particular person, or number of persons, committed the forgery. To impress the public mind with the idea, that the words under consideration have been interpolated, is certainly very important for Anti-Trinitarians; for, if the divinity of this passage is admitted, the doctrine of a Trinity of persons in God, is at once established. It must be expected, therefore, that every argument which is calculated to shake its sacred authority, will be eagerly seized by them and improved to their own advantage.
In every age, they have displayed more zeal and assiduity, to overthrow the belief of a plurality of Persons in the Divine essence, than the friends, of that doctrine have done for its establishment. This may be easily accounted for on the principle, that man by nature is totally depraved. The enemies of divine truth, oppose it with. all their heart; but the best of the saints are only its imperfect friends; for they "are sanctified" but " in part."
Sinners, however, are more consistent with themselves; for as the Holy Scriptures state, they "are wise to do evil; but, to do good, they have no knowledge." The cause of error, has always been vindicated with ardor, and talents. When it is lost it is not, in general, for the want of an indefatigable, and learned defence. If there had never been any opposition to the doctrine of the Trinity, it is highly probable that the inspiration of the text before uy would never have been called in question. It must be allowed, that if it is the word of God, its divine authority ought to be vindicated on fair and candid principles.
There is no place, in which a proper defence of the text in dispute is more necessary than in this town; for opposition to the belief of a Triune God, has taken a strong stand here for a number of years. All, however, that has been said and written to prove that the passage before us is an insertion ; with all the concessions which hiiT? been made by Trinitarians. on the subject, have failed of producing in my mind a conviction of its spuriousness: I still believe it to be the fruit of divine inspiration—the real word of God. To shew the reasons for this belief, will be a leading object in the subsequent investigation. I have no other apology for undertaking an examination of this subject, than that it appears to be necessary, here; and that I feel disposed to do it all the justice that, lies within my power; the extent of which must be submitted to the candid judgment of my hearers. It would be « inadmissible for me to boast, either of my talents or advantages ; and to. depreciate them, is unnecessary. I shall speak to you as unto wise men, whose province it is to jvlnrp according to the evidence laid before you. That the important subject may be fairly canvassed, it is de^ signed,