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* word, that he may be nourished thereby,' meets in the word of God with the desired satisfactionthe means of grace, and the hopes of glory’are completely accessible to him. He becomes apprized that it is his duty, and will be for his eternal advantage, to renounce what God forbids, to believe what he teaches, and to do what he commands; and this, joined to the knowledge that the scriptures alone are • able to make him wise unto * salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus,' is, to his devout mind, better than if it had even ' the gift of prophecy, and understood all myste* ries;' the more ercellent way of charity' having been previously · shewn' to him, he • believeth all * things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.' On the other hand, the disputer of this world, the man more ambitious of literary fame than of religious edification, sits down to the study of the scriptures with no disposition to be converted, 4 and become as a little child.' To inherit' even the kingdom of heaven, on these terms, would be, in his esteem, an act of self-degradation. Facts must therefore be investigated, although they even should be facts of God's revealing. He must, in all the pomp of philosophical induction, examine the modus, and analyse the properties of divine essence itself; and because his reason cannot tell him, how one God can be three Persons ; how God can become man, be born and die ; how the same identical body can be raised to life, after mouldering for a season in the grave, he first cries out against the ob
scurity scurity of revelation, then discards it altogether; and professing himself to be wise, (suwpar Sno:), he becomes
μωρος '-an ideot, one void of reason, of such reason as thinks it no scorn, that God be wiser than man !
After all, should occasional obscurities occur to the humble-minded enquirer into revealed truth, there are other causes, to wbich such obscurities may and ought to be assigned, than the immediate imperfections of the original revelation. It is well known that authors of every description have suffered, and do suffer by translation ; nor can it be supposed, without a miracle, but that the divine Author of the scriptures must thus have suffered. Let me not however be suspected of disparaging translations of the Bible, and least of all the English translation, which the church adopts. I mean only to put the reader in mind, that translations are human productions, as well as commentaries and annotations; and that, where obscurities do occur, it is more becoming the pious soul to impute these to human misconception, than to divine production. Even the Greek translation of the Septuagint, the oldest translation extant, may fairly be supposed, notwithstanding the high estimation in which it is holden by some, to be liable to imperfections and difficulties, both as the natural consequence of human weakness, and from the acknowledged insufficiency of other languages fully to express the force and intendment of the original Hebrew. I could
exemplify this in many instances ; but shall merely recur to the fundamental instance, which has already been brought forward, the Old Testament designation of the Divine Essence, by the words * JEHOVAH ELOHIM or ALEIM,'a designation, to denote which, no language that I am acquainted with, not even the Greek, though it be adopted by the inspired authors of the New Testament, (but least of all the Latin), possesses terms fully adequate; that is, capable of conveying the whole meaning of the original, as that meaning imports relation as well as nature ; without attending to both of which we can form neither. just conceptions of, nor a right faith in, Him, whom our language most inadequately denominates · God.'
From these causes, and others of less moment, though of more dangerous tendency, which could be mentioned, what wonder is it, that there should be thought to exist, nay even found to exist, difficulties, and perplexities in the volume of scripture? Not, I must insist, in that volume as originally delivered, but as now generally rendered and read ; yet even these, I am bold to add, the scriptures, as now rendered and read, are abundantly able to remove or to explain, if they are only permitted to interpret themselves. Upon the whole, such is the veneration which the Episcopal Church of Scotland has erer shewn for the Holy Bible, even with all the defects incident to translation, that, in common with the venerable church of England, it
has always esteemed the public reading of the sacred books to be a most necessary and most beneficial part of worship, and does not fail to recommend to the people the private reading of these books, without prejudice and partiality, as the primary means of religious edification-being stedfastly of the apostle's mind, that` all scripture is given by • inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, ' for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righte
ousness, that the man of God may be perfect, • throughly furnished unto all good works':
HAVING now, to the best of my ability, given the biblical and theological student such a view of the sacred volume, and of the leadiny truths which its inspired authors were commissioned to reveal, as may, in the further prosecution of his studies, afford him the means of detecting error, it remains only that I should say something of a subject, partly doctrinal, and partly practical I mean the obedience which christians owe to the civil magistrate. Viewing this important article abstractedly, we have the authority of scripture, clear and determinate, that • every soul be subject to the higher powers, that all power is ordained of God,' and that • sub*jection should be, not only for wrath, but also for • conscience-sake!!!
Indeed, so very plain and urgent is the language of scripture on this head, and the doctrine itself of such necessary observance, for the being and the
i See Rom. xiii. 148. i St Peter ii. 13-17. and many other places where such obedience is enforced both by argument, and by positive command.