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everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow : his ways are everlasting. I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction : and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. Was the Lord displeased against the rivers ? Was thine anger against the rivers ? Was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses, and thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. The mountains saw thee, and they tren-, bled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lift up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation : at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in
Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed,'
Now the question is, How are we to conceive of the in- .' fluence of divine inspiration in respect of these wonderful productions ? Three things seem to have been necessary to these productions. First, the presenting to the intellect of the inspired author the subject treated of in a clear, bright, grand, magnificent point of view. The kindling in his breast, secondly, a flame of pure devotion. And then, thirdly, assisting him with a kind of language suited to the dignity and importance of the subject.
It is not perhaps easy in treating of this matter to describe the exact boundaries between nature and an extraordinary divine agency. There is a manifest difference between the intellectual powers of one man and another. Some possess a wonderful descriptive genius. They have an imagination, vivid like the fire, and rapid like the wind. Objects strike them after a manner almost peculiar to themselves. An Homer and a Milton cannot be read without wonder. And the powers with which these men were endowed no doubt came from him who worketh all and in all a. And I do not know why we may not admit that all by whose instructions mankind
a 1 Cor. xii. 9.
have been greatly enlightened and benefited, were extraordinarily assisted by God. “ But it does not appear,” as a learned and pious writer on this subject observes a, “ that the design of Providence by such elevation of sentiment, style, and manner, was to bear testimony to the person
adorned with them as a messenger sent to speak in his name. For this is as effectually to be done in the plainest forms of expression.”
But, with respect to the writers of the Bible, they were, as we shall hereafter largely prove, moved by the Holy Ghost. And all we can say upon the question, In what manner they were moved by the Holy Ghost? is, that the types or images of heavenly things were held up clearly to their view; that those divine affections which had been implanted in their breasts, were enlivened and inflamed to an unusual degree; and that so by the guidance and energy of the Holy Spirit they spake and writ in the sublime manner the Scriptures relate. And special care was taken, by that superintending influence of which we spoke before, that not a tittle should escape them that bordered on untruth or exaggeration, or that was not perfectly agreeable to the mind and will of God. Thus Isaiah writ, thus the apostle Paul writ. And it is scarce possible methinks to read some portions especially of their writings, without observing in their style and manner the evident signatures of celestial inspiration. They seem to have been carried above themselves, and hardly to have known while they spoke whether they were in or out of the body. So much may suffice then for the second species of inspiration. The last and most perfect of all remains to be discoursed of, and that is,
3. Inspiration of Suggestion.
In this case, it should seem that the use of the faculties is superseded. God speaks directly to the mind, and the inspired writer is literally speaking his amanuensis. He not only makes discoveries to the understanding which could be acquired no other way, but dictates the very words. He suggests the ideas, reasonings, and language. This sort of inspiration is applicable to a great part of the
a Dr. Doddridge.
Bible. The ten commandments were not only spoken by God himself from the mount, but written by his finger on the tables of stone, and from thence transcribed into the Pentateuch. Many of the discourses of God to Moses and the Israelites reported in those books, seem to be of this description. As were also many of the messages sent by the prophets to the Jews and other nations, and which are strikingly prefaced with the emphatic phrase of Thus saith the Lord. The words of David to Solomon, when he gave him a pattern of the temple he was to build, are remarkable. All this, said he, the Lord made me to understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern a. In the New Testament we have the
words which our Lord spake on many occasions, his sermon on the mount, his parables, and his discourses with the Jews and his disciples both before and after his resurrection. The seven epistles to the seven churches of Asia were dictated by him to the
apostle John verbatim. And the apostle Paul speaks of his having received of him what he delivered to the Corinthians, respecting the institution of the Lord's Supper b. And there can be no doubt, as there are many mysteries revealed in the Bible not discoverable by the light of nature and reason, and many prophecies of future events that have been fulfilled, and others that are now fulfilling; there can be no doubt, I say, that these were delivered to the inspired penmen by suggestion.
In these instances we are to consider the writers of the Bible, not merely as assisted in their reasonings about what was generally intimated to them, but as receiving by immediate and express declaration from the Holy Spirit what they were to communicate to us. But though this mode of inspiration is not applicable to every part of Scripture, yet there is none of it but is in a sense inspired, and may be brought under one or other, or both of the former heads. So that we may depend upon the truth of every matter reported in our Bibles. And this leads us to our third head of discourse, which is, a I Chron. xxviii. 19.
61 Cor. xi. 23.
III. To prove that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are thus inspired. And in the prosecution of this important question many things will occur, which will throw further light upon what has been said concerning the nature and mode of divine inspiration. At present we shall content ourselves with a few reflections on what you have heard. And,
(1.) The account we have given of inspiration clearly shews, that their objections who treat this whole business as mere enthusiasm, are totally groundless.
Will infidels dare affirm that God cannot reveal his will to men in the manner we have stated ? What! Has he who made the intellectual spirit no mode of access to it? Is it unworthy of him to enlighten the human understanding ? Having formed a gracious design of making us happy in the world to come, is it beneath him to point out the way to it? Having raised up men of approved integrity to communicate his will to us, is there any thing irrational in the method he has taken to communicate his will to them? What! Cannot he exercise a superintending control over the mind, so as to secure fallible men from erring, in a matter of such infinite importance as instructing us how to escape the just demerit of our guilt, and how to attain to eternal life ? Cannot he assist their memory in reporting facts which lay the foundation of our hope? Cannot be who made the sun to warm and irradiate this material world, and who lighted up reason in the human breast, that candle of the Lord which folly and sin had nearly extinguished; cannot he so enlighten the minds of men, so strengthen their faculties, and so influence and elevate their hearts with divine truth, as to qualify them to become the infallible instructors of others ? What is there unreasonable in his suggesting to their minds what they should commit to writing for the information of mankind, in points of the greatest acknowledged importance, to be transmitted to the latest posterity? Is all this enthusiasm ? God forbid ! How strange a part then are they acting who thus treat the doctrine of divine inspiration! Should it be found another day, that through inveterate prejudice, and a criminal
attachment to worldly pleasures, they have stifled the dictates of reason and conscience, and done despite to the Spirit of grace, how deplorable will their condition be!
(2.) The view we have taken of this important subject furnishes us with a ready reply to the little trifling objections of minute philosophers to the divine authority of Scripture.
The objectious I refer to are such as arise from difference of style, and other seeming imperfections and inaccuracies, in the Bible. Objections many of them without any foundation in truth, and which therefore only serve to betray the ignorance and conceit of those who would obtrude them upon us.
But whatever weight there may be in any of them, which our time will not allow us now particularly to consider, I persuade myself an attentive recollection of what has been said respecting inspiration, will possess us of the means of easily solving these pretended difficulties.
(3.) How amazing is the condescension and goodness of God, in opening a way of intercourse with men so natural, easy, and pleasant as this of an inspired written revelation.
For the book of nature and providence held up to the view of reason it becomes us to be thankful. But what wise man is there who will not acknowledge, that the human intellect itself is weakened and impaired, as well as that many of the objects with which it is conversant are enveloped in mystery and darkness? If God then will deign to communicate his will to us in the same familiar manner that men communicate their ideas to one another, surely we ought to acknowledge our obligations to his goodness with the warmest devotion and gratitude. And having affixed those ideas to the words he speaks which they were evidently meant to convey, it is most reasonable to admit that what he says is and must be true.—Once more,
(4.) Let me remind Christians, for their comfort, of the analogy there is between the divine communications with the inspired writers of the Bible, and those they are themselves warranted to seek and expect.
Here it behoves me to speak with the greatest caution, and to guard against every possible misconstruction of a sentiment, which some may perhaps think of dangerous tendency, I