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of superintendence," "an inspiration of elevation," and "an inspiration of suggestion,” to which, by a recent author,* has been subjoined " a spirit of direction,” but to which, moreover, should have been added "an inspiration of no inspiration at all;" inasmuch as, after upholding “ PLENARY inspiration ” in its full extent-reprobating all divines who have lowered the standard of inspiration--and quoting with confidence those who insist that
a partial inspiration is to all intents and purposes no inspiration," he proceeds to talk of the parts obviously human,” to notice “the plan upon which the Spirit proceeds,” to distinguish the 66 extent of inspiration according to the variety of matter” in Scripture, to assign to each portion “a correspondent degree of inspiration, in proportion as each part stands related to religion," and to dilate upon “ the striking advantages which we derive from the plan and extent of the divine inspiration as illustrated." Thus again we have Bishop Burnet (on Art. 6,) distinguishing inspiration into three sorts, according as the books are preceptive, prophetical, or devotional ; a distinction, the invalidity of which at once appears, by considering that prophecy as well as precept is bound up in the most devotional books--the Psalms for instance. We have theological professors, such as Dr. Smith † and Mr. Parry, restricting inspiration to things “ of a religious nature," and cutting off such inspiration as unnecessary for the detail of common or civil affairs," the latter author being largely extracted from, and quoted with great approbation by the Rev. Mr. Horne, in his “ Introduction ;” a circumstance the more to be regretted, considering the countenance and extended currency thus given to the erroneous views of an obscure author, by means of that invaluable publication. And, finally, as the practical conclusion from such premises, we find parts and parcels of Scripture removed from the canon as uninspired productions. Thus Dr. Smith removes the Book of Esther; the Song of Solomon still more generally suffers
among dissenting divines in the sister country; during the Apocryphal Controversy there, the Hagiographa, including as it does the Books of Psalms and Daniel, was uncanonized in the mass by what are styled Evangelical Periodical Works, among which may be mentioned “the Eclectic Review.” Professor Michaelis informs us & that “ to the Epistles inspiration is of real consequence, but with respect to the Gospels and Acts, we should really be no losers if we abandoned the system of inspiration, and in some respects have a real advantage ;"--an' opinion which the learned Bishop, his annotator, only notices by the observation of its being “ by no means new," leaving it apparently to stand as
• Evidences of Christianity, by Daniel Wilson, A.M. Vicar of Isliogton, Lectures 12 & 13.
t" Scripture Testimony of the Messiah.”
f Parry's enquiry into the nature and extent of Inspiration,” used by Mr. Horne, Vol. 1, Appendix, as “the just conclusion of a late learned and sensible writer."
☆ Marsh's Michaelis, vol. 1. p. 75, &-380. VOL. VU.
perfectly plausible, if not altogether sound; while, on the other hand, Socinians to a man, when pressed, rely upon the Gospels, and cast away the doctrine of St. Paul's epistles, as destitute of inspiration.
From such a heterodox and heterogeneous medley of opinions, it is the duty of the believer in divine revelation, to turn away with disgust: to Christians now, as to the Jews of old, are committed " the oracles of God”-let them beware how they part with the smallest portion of them,--they are “ the Scriptures” (Rom. i. 2) of God," the words of the Lord,” (Ps. xii.6)
pure words” and perfect, (Ps. xix. 7) “ the Scriptures of truth,” (Dan. X. 21).Let Christians beware, too, how they detract from that perfection, by substituting the pernicious theory of man for the testimony which they themselves give of their origin : "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” (2 Tim. iii. 16): degrees of inspiration are not recognized in those Scriptures, which could alone authorize such an adoption ; all distinctions are the devices of vain man who would be wise, and they partake of the characterestic infidelity of the present age, which would reason away, and undermine that, upon which its open attacks have proved ineffectual. Scripture is (€OAVEVOTOS) given by inspiration of God;" all which is written, (the Scripture mentioned in the preceding verse) was breathed from God, and thus infused into the minds of those who were employed as his scribes ; that which is written is the words of which the writing was composed, and these words were what was thus communicated ; if furnished with ideas and facts alone, and left to clothe them in their own phraseology, the sacred penmen, for ought we can tell, might have chosen very wrong words ; human infirmity would not be excluded from the document issued, a door would be opened to every kind of corruption ; our Bible after all, might be a mass of smaller errors, and implicit dependence could not be placed upon its every direction; the mind of the Spirit 'might have been erroneously, and must have been inadequately represented; the theory is akin to the absurdity of Romanists, who hold the doctrinal decrees of their councils to be infallibly true, though the councils may have erred in the very terms in which the decree is propounded for belief.
This inspiration is laid down by St. Paul as the attribute of the whole Scriptures, -as the essential quality of Scripture : his proposition is general; applying, as it does necessarily, to the Old Testament writings, it comprises also the great body of the New Testament then in circulation ; and designates, at thesame time, the characteristic nature of any part which yet remained to be written. The second Epistle to Timothy is one of the latest of the Apostle's records; it was written (2 Tim. iv. 8) upon the eye of his martyrdom; some of the Gospels had then probably been about twenty years in circulation; and we learn from St. Peter, (2 Ep.iii. 16) that very many of his fellow Apostle's letters were already published and recognised as “Scripture,” throughout the churches: it may be fairly inferred, then, that the writings of the New, as well as of the Old dispensation were those in which Timothy,
yet a youth, (1 Tim. iv. 12) had been so early instructed ; but, whether so, or not, the Epistles both of Paul and Peter are classed by the latter with the other Scriptures,” of which the essence is that they were inspired, and which I would explain by the words of an eminent writer," written by the dictation of the Holy Ghost, in such sort that not only the sentiments, but also every word and the order and entire disposition of the words should be from God, as though he spoke or wrote himself.” Poli Synopsis, in 2 Tim. iii. 16.
It will be my object now, to close this communication by shewing that such inspiration, absolute, plenary, and perfect, is attributed to the sacred writings in every part; it was promised to the Apostles, is invariably asserted by them, and was necessary in the discharge of the trust confided to them. 66 I will give you,” said the Saviour to them, “a mouth and wisdom,” (Luke xxi. 15.) “ It shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.”(Mat. X. 19.) 66 The Holy Ghost shall teach you what ye ought to say.” (Luke xii. 12.) “ It is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” (Mark xiii. 11.) Of the many things which Jesus had
yet to say,” (John xvi. 12.) The Holy Ghost was to tell them, He was to speak what he should hear,” (ver. 13,) to “guide them into all truth,” to “bring all things to their remembrance," (John xiv. 26,) and “abide with them for ever.” (ver. 16.) We accordingly find them speaking “ as the Spirit “ gave them utterance,” (Acts ii. 4,) and preaching “ the word of God with all boldness” when filled with the Holy Ghost. If this inspiration was necessary to render the apostles infallible teachers, the qualification was equally requisite, in the written rule left to supply their presence, as in their personal ministry; and by this means we have their verbal instruction still. If commissioned absolutely " to bind and to loose,” with the promised ratification of their every decree, we find that it is equally " the word spoken by Christ,” (John xii. 48.) and “the gospel” preached by his apostles, (Rom. ii. 16,) according to which mankind are to be ultimately judged; as in their oral instruction, (Luke x. 16,) so we find concerning their written directions, (1 Thess. iv. 8,) that “he who despiseth, despiseth not man but God ;" solemn denunciations against corrupters of the permanent code left to the Church, are annexed to every part of it, (Deut. iv. 2. Prov. xxx. 6. Rev. xxii. 18.) while it is declared, (Mat. iv. 4,) that man liveth “ by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” We find the apostles, then, appealing to what they taught in what they wrote, and placing their entire instructions upon the same footing with the sermons and writings recognized by our Saviour as forming the Canonical Scriptures of his ancient Church. It was to stir up the minds of Christians that St. Peter wrote his second Epistle, (c. ii. 2.) that they might “ be mindful of the words spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of the apostles ;" the secret mystery was made manifest (Rom. xvi. 26,) by Paul's Gospel, and
by the Scriptures of the prophets,” while the unteachable and unstable wrested his writings (i. e. the writings in which were contained the things wrested, some being hard to be understood
the writings of both Peter and Paul,) like the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. (2 Pet. iii. '16.) They assert, moreover, the full inspiration of their office. Paul spoke“ according to the wisdom given him,” (2 Pet. iii. 15,) not in “ words which man's wisdom” taught, (1 Cor. ii. 13,) but “the wisdom of God,” (v. 7.) “ which the Holy Ghost teacheth.” It was by reading that the disciples (Ephes. iii. 3,) were to understand his knowledge in the revealed mystery of Christ, that Gospel which he was taught only by revelation.” (Gal. i. 12 ) He had “ the mind of Christ, (1 Cor. ii. 16,) “ spoke in the person of the Lord Jesus, (c. v. 4. & 2 Cor. ii. 10,)-gave commandments in his name, (1 Thess. iv. 2.) exhorted to “ hold fast the form of sound words which had been heard,” (2 Tim. i. 13,)-declared that he wrote no other things” than the disciples acknowledged ; and when they sought“ a proof of Christ speaking in” him, (2 Cor. xiii. 3,) bid them believe that he was the same in word by letters, and in deed when present, (c. X. 11.); making it a proof of spiritual discernment, (1 Cor. xiv. 37), to receive the things written by him as “ the commandments of the Lord.” Thus it was that the apostles spake and wrote when the Lord breathed his Spirit upon them, and they had received the Holy Ghost; “ the Spirit of truth” could not be given to lead the Church into error; the word of God came to” the churches, (1 Cor. xiv. 36,) and hence it is said, in the first apostolic letter, (Acts xv. 28,)“ it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us ;" in short, their proceedings were by “the commandment of God,” (1 Tim. i. 1.) God spake by them, as “by the mouth of all his prophets” since the world began, (Acts iii. 18.); no prophecy of Scripture is of private starting, (2 Pet. i. 19,) “all” that Scripture is given by inspiration of God," (2 Tim. iii. 16.); holy men of God” ever spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Pet. i. 21.)
We come, lastly, to consider the evidence to be adduced to this important subject from the records of the Old Testament. 66 I will be " with thy mouth and teach thee,” was the promise of God to Moses and Aaron, (Exod. iv. 15.) “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word,” saith David," was in my tongue," (2 Sam. xxiii. 2.) God uttered words by his mouth, (Acts iy. 25.) He spake “ in Spirit," (Mat. xxii. 43,)“ by the Holy Ghost.” (Mark xii. 36.) When the prophets delivered instruc·tion, it was because the word of the Lord came” to them, (1 Kings vi. 11; xvi. 1. Hos. i. 1. Zep. i. 1, &c.), “ the burden of the word of the Lord,” (Mal. i. 1.); and hence they preface their message with the assurance of “ Thus saith the Lord,” and “ the Lord hath spoken.” (Is. i. 1.) If Balaam spoke as well as his beast, it was because “ the Lord put a word in his mouth," (Num. xxiii. 5,) as he also“ opened the mouth of the ass ;” (c. xxii. 28.) 66 the word which I speak unto thee,” said God, “ that shalt thou speak,” (v. 35,) “ the word that God putteth into my mouth,” said Balaam, " that shall I speak." (v. 38.) "I have put my words in thy mouth," is the testimony of the Lord to Jeremiah's prophecies. (Jer. i. 9.) “I will make my words in thy mouth
fire." (c. v. 14.). « Is not my word like a fire and like a hammer ?!? (c. xxiii. 29.) 66 All my words which I shall speak unto thee, receive,” and “speak with my words unto them,” (Ezek. iii. 10. & 4,) was the commission of Ezekiel. As 6 the Holy Ghost spake by the mouth of David,” (Acts i. 16.) and “by the prophet Esaias,” (c. xxviii. 25,) so it was God who spake by the mouth of all his prophets, (Luke i. 70. Acts iii. 18,) what was spoken by them was * spoken of the Lord;” (Mat. ii. 15. i. 22.) it was “the Spirit of Christ " which testified in them,” (1 Pet. i. 11,) they “ spake moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Agreeably to this, we find the written Scripture quoted by our Lord as of equal authority with his own divine declarations, (John v. 47.) and referred to synonimously with him from whom it originated. “Scripture saith,” “ what saith the Scripture," “ Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the Heathen through faith,” (Gal. iii. 8.) " The Scripture had concluded all under sin," (c. iii. 22.) “ Two saith He shall be one flesh.” (Matt. xix. 5, and 1 Cor. vi. 16.) “ He saith also in Hosea,” (Rom. ix. 25.) “Of the Angels Hesaith" (Heb. i. 7–13.) “as the Holy Ghost saith," (c. iii. 7.)“ He” (God) “saith in another Psalm,” (Acts xiii. 35.) “ He saith” when he ascended up on high ; (Eph. iv. 8.) in short “Scripture” is referred to as “the oracles of God,” (Rom. iii, 2.) a complete thing, every particle of which must be fulfilled, (John xv. 25, and Luke xxiv. 44.) not “ a jot or tittle” of which can fail, (Matt. v. 18.) which cannot be broken," (John x. 35.) of which nothing can be altered, seeing that whole arguments depend upon its separate words. (Gal. iii. 16, Heb. xij. 27, ii. 8.) It is that which in its fulness, is rendered effectual to the salvation of Saints, and that by which sinners shall be at last condemned. It is “ perfect and pure converting the soul ;” (Ps. xix. 7, and cxix. 140.) % of his own will begat he us with the word of truth,” (James i. 18.) “ believers are born of the incorruptible seed, by the word of God," (1 Pet. i. 23.) “ which word endureth for ever.” 66 The sword of the Spirit,” (Eph. vi. 17.) “ the word which is sharper than any two-edged sword,” ere it proceeded out of the Redeemer's mouth (Rev. i. 16.) was placed there by the Father. (Deut. xviii. 18.) “I will raise them up,” it is written, “ a Prophet, like unto thee, and will put my words into his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I command him.” He declared this fact himself in his mediatorial character when upon earth; “the words which I speak unto you, I speak not of myself;” (John xiv. 10; xii. 49; xvii. 8.)
my doctrine is not mine but his that sent me,” (John vii. 16.)
I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.” (c. viii. 26.) They were the revealed words of the Godhead; the same God who in times past spake by the Prophets in the last days
spake by his Son,” (Heb. i. 1.) he left “many things to say," (John xvi. 12.) which he told them the Spirit of truth should declare, “ speaking not of himself but what he should hear,” (v. 13) it is the same God, then, who addresses us by the Apostles, it is a continuation of the same word which was revealed through the Prophets, and which emanated from the Godhead during the days