Imágenes de páginas

period the ædiles were commanded to take care that no gods were worshipped except the Roman gods, and that they were worshipped after no manner but the established manner of the country. Mæcenas recommended Augustus to worship the gods himself according to the established form, and to force all others to do the same, and to hate and punish all those who should attempt to introduce foreign religions. It is true, indeed, that instances of persecution on account of religious opinions or practice, were rare among the Heathen. They did, however, occasionally take place, as is rendered indisputable by the treatment which Socrates experienced. That persecution was not more frequently inflicted, may be fairly accounted for by the absence, not of a persecuting spirit, but of opportunity and temptation to persecute. This seems to have been proved on the appearance of Christianity. The peaceable, harmless, submissive conduct of the first Christians, entitled them, even on the shewing of their adversaries, to the fullest toleration. But did they receive it from "the mild spirit of polytheism?" So far from it, a cruel persecution was immediately raised against them, first by the multitude, and subsequently by the Roman Government, which continued, with a few intermissions, for nearly three hundred years, and terminated only when Paganism lost its power.

Mr. Haldane sums up his remarks on the intolerance of Paganism with the following pertinent observations:

"On the whole, the violent persecutions to which Christians were subject

ed, during the first three centuries, is a fact acknowledged even by those who most strenuously contend for Pagan to leration. The principles of all the other religions which the Heathen world embraced, were at bottom really one. All of them agreed to treat sin with lenity, and to allow one another's religion to be right on the whole. Even those phi

losophers among them whỏ denied a Providence, or such as laughed at their religious rites, themselves conformed to them; and they had no system of their own to bring forward, which radically opposed the prevailing superstitions. Amidst such agreement, the absence of persecution does not deserve the name of toleration. Far less was it a proof of that mild spirit, which has been falsely ascribed to Paganism. As soon as Christianity appeared, the most virulent opposition was excited. It is always to be recollected, that this perseThere was nothing political in it, not cution was purely of a religious nature.

even the pretence of any thing of this kind. The Christians under the Roman empire were the most peaceable citizens. Their submission to government, strictly enjoined on them by the Scriptures, formed a prominent part of their religion. Never were the principles of any set of men put to so severe a test. From their numbers, they at length possessed the means of opposition, had they chosen to exert them; but this they never attempted." Vol. I. p. 64.

Thus Mr. Hume's assertion concerning the tolerance of Paganism, is directly contrary to historical record and acknowledged fact. So, likewise, his representation concerning the intolerance of Christianity is calumnious and false. The charge of religious intolerance may, indeed, be fastened on many who have borne the Christian name, but it never never can apply to Christianity itself. That Divine religion disowns the cruelties perpetrated in its name, and under pretence of zeal for its honour and advancement. Its merciful Author came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them. His language was, "My kingdom is not of this world:" "Put up again thy that take the sword shall perish by sword into its sheath, for all they the sword." And, accordingly, his Apostles went forth declaringThe weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strong-holds." On this subject Mr. Haldane most justly remarks:

"Whoever knows and recollects,

that, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God; and that, No man can call Jesus Christ, Lord, but by the Holy Ghost, will not suppose that shedding a man's blood, or using violence of any kind, is the way to convert him, and make him obedient to God. There is no need of laboured essays on toleration to prove to the Christian, who studies the word of God, that he must not dare to use

violence to promote the cause of the Gospel. Liberty of conscience to all men from each other, is there written as with a sunbeam; and whenever any real Christians, misled by the prejudices of the age in which they lived, or giving way to the depraved principles natural to the human heart, have resorted to carnal weapons to propagate their reli. gion, they have always grievously erred from the faith, and have generally pierced themselves through with many sorrows." Vol. I. p. 63.

The third chapter, which treats of "The Credibility of Miracles," and the fourth, on "The Genuineness and Authority of the Holy Scriptures," we must pass over: but the following chapter, on "The Inspiration of the Scriptures," deserves very particular notice, both on account of the importance of the subject, and the able and judicious manner in which Mr. Haldane has discussed it. He introduces it by defining what is to be understood by the inspiration of the Scriptures, or in what sense and degree inspiration is to be attributed to them. He remarks;

"The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are not only genuine and authentic, but also inspired writings. The claim of inspiration which they advance, is a claim of infallibility and perfection. It is also a claim of absolute authority, which demands unlimited submission. It is a claim which, if set up for any other book, may, with the utmost ease, be shewn to be unfounded. The inspiration of the Scriptures is attested both by the nature and value of their contents, and by the evidence of their truth. On these grounds they stand without a rival in the world, and challenge from every man the highest possible regard." Vol. I. p. 134.

The author explains and guards


his meaning in a subsequent paragraph:

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"Inspiration," he says, belongs to for any degree of inspiration to the the original writings. No one contend's transcribers in different ages. Accuracy in the copies they have made, is, under God, secured by the fidelity of the keepers of Scripture; by the opposition of parties watching each other, as of Jews and Christians, and of va

rious sects; and by the great multiplication of copies and translations into different languages, which took place very early. The agreement among the ancient manuscripts, both of the Old and New Testament, has been ascer tained, by the strictest examination, to be astonishingly exact." Vol. I. p. 136.

Mr. Haldane examines, and satisfactorily refutes, a notion entertained by the late Dr. Doddridge, and some other writers, that different degrees of inspiration are to be attributed to different parts of the word of God. To some places belongs, as these writers supposed, an inspiration of superintendance; to others, of elevation; and to the rest, of suggestion. This, as our author proceeds to shew, is a mere fanciful distinction, to which no support or countenance is given in Scripture itself, the only source of accurate knowledge on the subject. Indeed, the admission of any such idea as that of different kinds and degrees of inspiration, must be attended with consequences the most injurious. It must have the effect of unsettling the mind, and making us doubtful as to the degree of authority and importance to be attached to the different parts of the word of God. How wide a door for every species of abuse and error would thus be opened, cannot escape those who are sensible of the perverseness and deceitfulness of the human heart. The full inspiration of certain parts of Scripture has been denied, on the supposition that the Apostles themselves admit, in these parts, that they are not speaking by inspiration, or that their inspiration is not of the highest kind. Mr. Haldane

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asserts that this objection proceeds on a mistaken view of the meaning of the passages in question; and he establishes the fact by an induction of the particular passages, and an examination of their real import. We shall offer no apology for extracting entire the paragraphs containing this examination.

"In the seventh chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul is supposed in some places to disclaim inspiration, and, in one place, not to be certain whether he is inspired or not. At first sight this will appear to be evidently contrary to the uniform style of this Apostle's writings, and very .improbable, when, as a commissioned and accredited ambassador of Jesus Christ, he is answering certain questions put to him by a Christian church, to whom he had just before asserted, in the most explicit manner, that he spoke not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; and that he was addressing them in the name of the Lord Jesus. Attention to this might have prevented the adoption of the unfounded and mistaken meaning which has been affixed to the passages referred to. If just, it would tend to unsettle the minds of Christians respecting the inspiration of the Scriptures, and to render it uncertain when the Apostles speak as inspired men, and when they deliver a doubtful opinion of their own. No such indecision, however, attaches to the passages in question. In answer to the question about marriage, Paul says, I speak this by permission, not of commandment,' Does this mean that the Spirit permitted him, but did not command' him, to give the answer he had done? If the Spirit permitted this answer to be given, it must be according to the mind of the Spirit; for Paul could not be permitted to say what was contrary to it. But this would have been a very extraordinary and unusual way of communicating that mind, and is plainly what is here not intended. The obvious meaning is, that what the Apostle here said was in the way of * permission, not of commandment. I

speak this," says he, as a permission, not as a commandment.'-Again; at the .tenth verse, Uuto the married I com

mand, yet not I, but the Lord.' This commandment had been delivered by the Lord Jesus himself. The Apostle,

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therefore, had no new commandment to deliver to them, or no commandment from himself, but one which the Lord had given. To the rest,' says he, ‘speak I, not the Lord.' Here there was no former commandment given by the Lord to which he might refer them. On this point, therefore, he himself now delivers to them the will of God. Indeed, so far was this commandment from having been given before, that it was a repeal of an old one, by which, under the Jewish dispensation, the people were commanded to put away their wives, if unbelievers. Can it be supposed that the Apostle is speaking from himself, and not under the direction of the Holy Ghost, when he is declaring the abrogation of what had been once the law of God?

"Now, concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord; but I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.' Here, again, no former commandment had been given, to which he could refer them; but he gave his judgment, or 'sentence,' as one who was faithful to the charge committed to him.—' I think, also, that I have the Spirit of God.' In this, as in many other passages, the word translated I think,' does not mean If Paul doubting, but certainty *. meant it to be understood that he was not certain whether he was inspired or not, it would contradict all he has asserted on the subject of his inspiration. But, so far from this being the case, and in order the more deeply to impress their minds with the importance of what he had said, he concludes by assuring them that he was certain he wrote by the Spirit of God.

"The only other passage in which this Apostle is supposed to disclaim inspiration, occurs in 2 Cor. xi. 17:

That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.' In this passage Paul does not refer to the authority, but to the example of the Lord. I

speak not according to the example or manner of the Lord, but after the manner of fools;' a manner which, as he tells them in the next chapter, they had compelled him to adopt." Vol. I. pp. 139–143.

In these criticisms our author is supported both by the analogy of Scripture and the original text, as

See Macknight on the Epistles; and also Parkhurst.

well as by the concurrence of some: Spirit of God.

of the ablest expositors. And thus it appears that the passages in question not only give no countenance to the opinion in support of which they have been often adduced, but, understood aright, tend to overturn it. Mr. Haldane sums up his reasonings and proofs on this subject in the following paragraph. "On the whole, then, we see the nature of that inspiration by which the Prophets and Apostles wrote. The manner of communicating the revela tions might differ, as we learn from the Book of Numbers, xii. 6-8, but their certainty and authority was the same: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men

of God spake as they were moved by

the Holy Ghost.' Neither was it the Apostles who spoke, but it was the Spirit of their Father who spake in or by them. It is not for men, therefore, to fritter away this truth, and to introduce distinctions in the inspiration of the servants of God, unheard of in his word, and therefore totally unwarranted and unauthorized. It is not for men to say, How can these things be? No man can tell how, by a simple volition, he can move a finger. And shall' vain man, who would be wise, although man be born like the wild ass's colt,' stumble at the mode of the operation of the Spirit of God, either in the act of regeneration, and his effectual influence on the hearts of believers, or in that inspiration, by which he virtually makes known his pleasure? The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.' The Lord is able to communicate his will in what way he pleases, although we cannot trace the manner of his operation. In the word spoken by the ass of Balaam, we have an example of this communication, through an unconscious and involuntary instrument. In Balaam himself we have an example, through one who was conscious, but involuntary, in the declarations he made respecting Israel. In Caiaphas, through one who was voluntary in what he said, but unconscious of its import. And in the writings of the Scriptures we have an example of agents, both voluntary and conscious, but equally actuated by the

They spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Vol., 1. pp. 168-170.

We have already mentioned, as one of the chief excellencies of Mr.. Haldane's work, the circumstance of his having so constructed his plan as to admit full and clear statements of Christianity as the Gospel of salvation. Such statements are to be found in several places in his treatise; and they appear in it, not in the shape of digressions or episodes, but so interwoven into its texture as naturally to belong to the particular places in which they respectively stand. One of these statements, equally lucid and strikof his chapter on "The History of ing, occurs in the commencement the Old Testament."

"The place of man's habitation is represented to have been a garden, which he was enjoined to dress and to keep. For the support of his life, he was to eat freely of all that it produced, the fruit of one tree alone excepted. This was reserved as a test of his obedience, which, every way applicable to his circumstances, would make it manifest whether or not he possessed a spirit of obedience to the will of God., Tempted by one of a superior order of beings, who had previously rebelled against God, he transgressed the command, and fell from his state of innocence and happiness. In this situation, he stood exposed to the full rigour of the punishment which he had been informed was annexed to disobedience. But God in judgment remembered mercy; and, when all hope from every other quarter was cut off, interposed in his behalf, and provided a way of salvation. This salvation was to be in all respects worthy of its Author, and such as no other could either propose or effect. Salvation was to flow to the guilty through the medium of the woman, who was first in the transgression. In this salvation the demands of justice were not to be com promised. Sin was not to go unpunished, neither was disobedience to obtain reward. The abhorrence of God against the former, was to be expressed in a manner the most awful; while eternal life and happiness, beyond the reach of forfeiture, were to be awarded, in consequence of the most perfect obedience

to the law of God. But as, in no point of view, could the conditions of this covenant be fulfilled by man, who was already obnoxious to punishment,' God laid help,' as the Scriptures express it, on one that was mighty." In the fulness of time, he was to send forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under

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the law, that they might receive the adoption of sons.' Thus God so loved the world that he was to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in him might not perish, but have eternal life.' He was to make him to be sin, who knew no sin, that they who should believe in his name might be made the righteousness of God in him; and by one offering, he was for ever to perfect them that are sanctified. Thus, as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.' The sentence, however, on account of disobedience, to the extent of temporal death, after a life of sorrow and trouble, was still to be carried into effect, even against those who should be heirs of the promised salvation. But although this would prove painful to flesh and blood, yet all ultimate evil arising from it was removed. The sorrows and troubles of life were to be overruled for good, to all who by faith looked to the promised Saviour; while the sting of death, which is sin, was, as to them, to be taken away, and the victory to be wrested from the grave. Death was to transmit the soul to heaven, and the grave at length to yield up the body; that all who believed might thenceforth, in soul and body, be for ever with the Lord. These great truths, confirmed by miracles, and couched under the veil of types and prophecies, were gradually developed more and more under the Old Testament dispensation, till life and immortality were clearly brought to light by the Gospel," Vol. I. pp. 175-177.

not to record those events which lead
to temporal aggrandizement; these it
but touches on occasionally, and only as
they stand connected with the great and
only end it has in view, the coming of
the Messiah, and the setting up of his
kingdom." Vol. I. p. 179.

The erroneous view which has
frequently been taken of the con-
duct and character of the Israelites,
is well accounted for in the follow-
ing paragraph.

"Of the character of the Israelites many form a more unfavourable opinion than is warranted by fact. Whatsoever doth make manifest is light;' and in the Scriptures, Divine truth shines forth in so conspicuous a manner, that every thing of a contrary nature is strikingly exposed. On this very ac count, the character of those whose histories are recorded in the Scriptures appears to be worse than that of other men. When we peruse the histories of the Greeks and Romans, we read very partial accounts. The great facts are indeed recorded. We have a detail of battles, and abundant proof that the earth was filled with violence; but all is glossed over and concealed under the guise of false principles, denominated virtues, while the secret motives of the actors in these scenes are unknown. In the Scriptures, on the contrary, nothing is disguised or kept back. As far as relates to the subject in hand, all is impartially narrated; and the whole being brought forward in continual connexion with the purity and excellency of the Divine character, the contrast is more apparent and striking. Not attending to these things, the men of the world are often shocked with the narratives which the Scriptures contain. The character of the people of Israel appears to them to be greatly worse than that of the grossest idolaters; and the accounts given in Scripture of men whose conduct on the whole stands approved by God, seems to sink below that standard of moral rectitude, to which they suppose they themselves, and many who make no pretensions to religion, have attained: Not being accustomed to try themselves by a perfect standard, but by one reduced on principle to their own imperfection," as they term it, they are not aware of the real state of human nature, either "The object of Scripture history is in themselves or others; and so are

In the course of this chapter, in which our author in a most interesting manner sketches the his tory of the Old Testament, several very instructive remarks occur. The following is one, which it is always necessary to bear in recollection when we examine the records of the Divine word...


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