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INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD TESTAMENT.

parts of these books, it is to be answered, that no general rule can be prescribed for that purpose. Nor is it necessary that we should be able to make any such discrimination. It is enough for us to know, that every writer of the Old Testament was inspired, and that the whole of the history it contains, without any exception or reserve, is true. These points being ascertained and allowed, it is of very little consequence, whether the knowledge of a particular fact was obtained by any of the ordinary modes of information, or whether it was communicated by immediate revelation from God; whether any particular passage was written by the natural powers of the historian, or whether it was written by the positive suggestion of the Holy Spirit.

We may in like manner suppose, that some of the precepts, delivered in the books called Hagiographa, were written without any supernatural assistance, though it is evident that others of them exceed the limits of human wisdom; and it would be equally impossible, as in the historical Scriptures, to ascertain the character of particular passages which might be proposed. But here again a discrimination would be entirely useless. The books themselves furnish sufficient proofs that the writers of them were occasionally inspired; and we know also, that they were frequently quoted, particularly the Psalms, as prophetical, by our Saviour and his Apostles, in support of the religion which they preached. Hence we are under an indispensable obligation to admit the Divine authority of the whole of these books, which have the same claim to our faith and obedience, as if they had been written under the influence of a constant and universal inspiration.

But whatever uncertainty there may be concerning the direct inspiration of any historical narrative, or of any moral precept, contained in the Old Testament, we must be fully convinced that all its prophetical parts proceeded from God. This is continually affirmed by the Prophets themselves, and is demonstrated by the indubitable testimony which history bears to the accurate fulfilment of many of these predictions; others are gradually receiving their accomplishment in the times in which we live, and afford the surest pledge and most positive security for the completion of those which remain to be fulfilled. The past, the present, and the future, have a connected reference to one great plan, which Infinite Wisdom, Prescience, and Power, could alone form, reveal, and execute. Every succeeding age throws an increasing light upon these sacred writings, and contributes additional evidence to their Divine origin. Bp. Tomline.

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