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We are by no means surprised to find the attention of the Christian world much directed to the proem to St . John ' s Qospel . It occupies a distinguished place , certainly , in the controversy concerning the Divine Unity , on account of the apparent evidence which it yields in favour of the existence of more than one divine person . Yet the impartial inquirer ought to admit that nothing like the Athanasian Trinity is contained in the passage , and
that there is no clear statement of it in any portion of the Bible . Even if it were granted that by 6 Aoyo <; , the Word , one of the persons of the Triune Deity were intended , we cannot see why it should bs always presumed that the person with whom he was , wpo ? rov ® eov , should be the Father rather than the Holy Spirit . The common usage of the original term , God , with the article ,, o @so $ , one would think , should be conceded to be the whole Deity ; and if that concession be applied in the present instance , it will prove that 6 Aoyotf , the Word , forms no part of the Godhead , a conclusion which we think inevitable .
The two publications which we ha , ve now to notice , are proofs of the diligence , talent , and learning which are brought by our American brethren to bear upon questions of Christian theology . They both proceed upon what may be termed the impersonality of the Logos . Professing our general agreement with the authors of these treatises , we shall endeavour to convey an adequate idea of the hypotheses which they advocate , and freely suggest our remarks upon such parts of their interpretation as we may think less
satisfactory , persuaded that they are animated by a love of truth , which is superior to all other considerations . The Sermon , the publication of which precedes the Letters in point of time , contains little that is original ; and , from the limits which the author has prescribed to himself , cannot be expected to offer much in the way of investigation ; yet it is a simple , perspicuous , and impartial statement of the two principal theories which Unitarians have adopted . The preacher himself agrees with Lardner , rather than with the Improved Version .
We are inclined to think , and we shall probably furnish other illustrations of this remark , that interpreters of the proem sometimes profess to find more ideas in the distinct clauses than the writer himself intended to convey . Thus the preacher understands the Evangelist John to assert that the power and wisdom exerted in creation were not spontaneous , did not act by chance , but were with God , or with a great first cause , i . e . he means to overthrow
and sweep away by this little sentence the whole fabric of Atheism . P . 13 . No objection can be felt to the assertion , that " power , wisdom , command , or word , cannot exist of themselves , or separately from the Being who puts them forth / ' And we make the quotation in order to notice an ingenious illustration contained in a note , derived from the late Professor Brown , of Edinburgh , whp wps led to the remark evidently by a very different process . u The power of God is not any thing different from God * " " This acutely discpvere ( J truth , " remarks our author , " at once confirms and illustrates the explanations in the present discourse . "
^ A Sermon on the Introduction the Gospel St . John . By Samuel Oilman . Boston , 1828 . 2 d ed , pp . 24 . Letters on the Logos . By Charles W . Uphara , Associate Minister of the First Church in , Salem , Boston . ; Jiowlea and Dearborn , 1 S 28 . 12 mo . Pp . 215 .
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PAMPHLETS ON THE LOGOS . *
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Oct. 2, 1828, page 687, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2565/page/31/