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of scripture. The first is that we learn, what is the amount of homage that we might render, and what the degree of confidence we might repose, even in those parts of the Bible of which the authors have not been named, and of whose qualifications as messengers from God to man we have never been told. The writings of the prophets themselves have a fulness of credit given to them from testimonies of this form, which they might not otherwise have possessed. For though repeatedly told of their supernatural converse with heaven, we are not told that the whole of their respective books were penned under the guidance of inspiration. But the term scripture covers the whole of their books, and comprehends also the historical and the poetical. From the lack of testimonies in one particular form, we are left uncertain who the authors were of most of the historical books, and are nowhere told of the inspiration of the writers; but this is completely made up by the abundance of testimonies in another particular form, and which speak to us most distinctly and decisively of the inspiration of the writings. We are not told of particular books, that they were written by God's messengers. But we are told of the books themselves, that they form God's message.
In fact, the second is a better form than the first. A book may be written by a divine messenger, and yet may not have been written, or at least not all of it have been written by him in that capacity; and so, for ought we know, there might be a mixture in it of the human with the divine, of the earthly with the
heavenly. Not so when informed, generally and without any specified exceptions, of the book being a divine message ; for then we read the whole of it with equal reverence, or at least with equal reliance on all its contents—with equal faith in one and all of its passages.
7. But another and no less important advantage of testimonies regarding inspiration in the second form, is that they supersede all the unwarrantable, and we would say all the senseless and unphilosophical speculation, in which the impugners, and occasionally even the defenders of a plenary inspiration, have indulged, on the modes and degrees of inspiration. In much that has been said by these scholastics, not of the middle ages but of the last and even of the present century, on the subjects of guidance and superintendence and elevation and infusion, we can perceive nothing but an illegitimate attempt to lift that veil, which screens from our discernment the arcana of a hidden operation-reminding us somewhat of the hopeless and irrational attempts, in other days, to seize upon and to define the occult qualities of matter. Instead of being satisfied to know of the virtues and properties of the resulting commodity, nothing will appease their spirit of ambitious inquiry, till discovery has been made of the process of the manufacture. Now enough for us to know of the result. For the imaginations of men as to the modus operandi, we infinitely prefer the palpable testimonies of Christ and his apostles as to the qualities of the opus operatum ; and, without prying into the distinctions of Christian, in
every way as fanciful as those of Jewish doctors of old, between one kind of inspiration and anotherit is enough for us to learn, that the Bible out and out is perfect, that the Bible is an infallible rule both of faith and manners.
8. Now in regard to the first of these advantages, how does the matter stand ? There is a book of special designation, and claiming from the earliest times to stand apart from all human compositions, and that because of the high character which it assumes as the word of God. From the age of miraculous evidence, there has been a distinct and a definite title to mark this book, and signalize it from all others, just as effectually as that appellative the Bible is understood by every peasant in Christendom, to specialize a certain volume which professes to be the word of God, and in this respect to hold an infinite superiority over all the other authorship in the world. But, ó Bilhos, the Bible, does not separate this volume more from all other books, than ús you ous, the writings in the days of the Old Testament, separated a part of that volume, or in the days of the apostles and Christian fathers separated the whole of it from all other writings. This designation was applied nat' eoxane to the Jewish Scriptures, by the Hebrews; to both the Jewish and the Christian Scriptures by the disciples of Jesus ; and, by general consent and estimation on their part, stood distinguished from all the other writings in the world—as being the product of God's own wisdom and will, instead of being either framed by the wisdom or brought into existence by the
will of man. Under this title thus understood, does our Saviour refer to them; and the sanction given in the New Testament to the Old Testament makes it in fact an easier task, to establish by argument the canonical authority of the whole Jewish scriptures, than that of some of the separate pieces which enter into the scriptures of Christians. Ερευνάτε τασ γραφας, search the scriptures, saith the Lord to his countrymen—a direction as distinct and unequivocal to them, as search the Bible would be to us. On another occasion He said to the Jews Ου δυναται λυθηναι η γραφη, Scripture cannot be broken—a term comprehensive of all and sundry that now enters into the Old Testament, and by which he homologates every distinct piece that enters into the Old Testament as at present constituted. Taon ngaon DEOT VEVO OS, all scripture is the breath and inspiration of God, said the apostle Paul; and this he affirmed to people who had no other understanding of the yga¢n, than just the very collection in all its parts from Genesis to Malachi that we have m our Bibles at this day. But we need not multiply quotations on a matter so obvious, as that, in the days of Christ and His apostles, this 75con or youcas formed the appropriate and universally recognised title of a volume, that was held to be the record of God's communications to the world. And then when the volume was augmented by additional communications from Him, and they too were admitted into the volume, the very title remained with it and served as a common designation to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. It
is in one of Peter's epistles, where we receive the first notice of this extension ; for there at least some of the epistles of Paul, that is as many as were in existence at the time when Peter wrote, are put on the same footing as the Old Testamentits different parts being still τας λοιπας γραφας, thus placing these productions of Paul on a level with the Old Testament; and referring to them as parts of those writings which secundum excellentiam are styled do you pai, or as we should express it—the Bible. This consecrated term then, authorized by our Saviour himself, as the one which distinguishes what we now receive as the Hebrew Scriptures, and extended by his immediate followers to what we now receive as the Christian Scriptures, till at length in the third century restricted to the very collection of pieces which make up our present canon, has, thus sanctioned in the days of highest and purest authority, been made ever since to rest exclusively on the book which in general understanding is the depository of God's communications to the world. This is our first advantage from the testimonies of that particular form which we are now considering. They lead us to extend our respects and give our reliance to the whole volume of scripture.
9. There is a second advantage in this distinct and definite way by which there has been segregated a volume, under a title understood by all, as expressive of its being the word of God, in contradistinction to the word of man; and in this character recognised by Christ and the apostles in reference to the Old Testament--by the apostles