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"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matt. v, 10.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country." (warρida.) Heb. xi, 13, 14.
"Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come." xiii, 12, 14.
REVIEW OF BOOKS, &c. HALDANE AND CARSON ON INSPIRATION.
Continued from page 51.
We resume the subject under review with mingled and conflicting feelings. We are on the one hand encouraged by a paramount sense of duty; and by the satisfaction expressed by some at that portion of our article already published: on the other hand we deeply feel, that we have not a gracious task to perform; and that some may be disposed to censure our proceedings, rather than approve. We have the more reason to entertain a misgiving on this latter point, from the remonstrances of a christian friend, and zealous promoter of the Investigator; whose strictures have led us to conclude, that the observations immediately introducing the Review in our last Number, are liable to serious misapprehension. We must ingenuously acknowledge, that the opinions, which have reached us of an encouraging complexion, are limited, as we presume, to the proofs of the authenticity of the Scriptures; and we are equally bound to confess, upon a re-perusal of that article, that our own preliminary views are exceptionably stated.
Differing as we do from the views on inspiration, propounded in the writings of those worthies noticed in that introduction; and holding them also to be exceedingly pernicious in their tendency; we do nevertheless rank the men themselves among the excellent of the earth nor is there one of them, whom we do not most unfeignedly in honor prefer,' and in piety and
talent esteem better than ourselves.' And paradoxical as it may appear, yet we never feel our own insignificancy more, nor are less disposed to be highminded, than when the errors and inconsistencies of eminently good men are forced upon our notice.
Now some are disposed to recommend, when error may be traced to pious and talented individuals, ‘Let them alone—the course of true charity is to conceal their errors.' But here it is, that we feel ourselves impelled, by the most constraining sense of duty towards Christ and his Church, to take a contrary part. Were the error of a private character, or likely to be detected as soon as seen, we grant that charity might better cover it; but when it is of a public character, and when it works so insidiously, that it is not suspected even by the individuals who are on the watch for it, then true charity requires us to consider the many, not the few, and to echo the alarm in God's holy mountain. And the superior eminence and piety of the infected persons, instead of forming an additional argument for the concealment of error, adds seven-fold cogency to the duty of exposing it. We fear not, as far as professors of religion are concerned, the infidel or the blasphemer: we tremble most when a Peter or a Barnabas, men full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, are likely to be carried away by the dissimulation of error. The vehemence of Paul was not any where more conspicuous,
than when he 'withstood the one to his face,' and had sharp contention' with the other.
We must further state, that if any have been led to infer from our remarks, that we would charge the whole evangelical body with denying the authority of the written Word in general; or that we consider all who revolt from prophetical studies, as necessarily infected with infidelity; we have given occasion to a sentiment which we have not intended to convey. We believe, on the contrary, that throughout what may with any propriety be called the evangelical body, there is a decided recognition of the authority of God in his revealed Word, so far as the principles of canonical authenticity and inspiration are understood; but we have also decided reason for saying, that parts of the revealed Word are not viewed with the same deference and submission of the mind, from the want of correct views on these points. Nor do we intend to assert, that the whole body is deficient even in these respects; for we know abundant instances to the contrary: but that the infection, or the defection, of which we complain, does, nevertheless, prevail to an alarming extent, is what we are equally persuaded of. We cannot, on any other ground, other ground, reconcile certain phenomena which are observable in the religious world. We meet with some christians, who are in the habit of reading the New Testament, but who never look into the Old. There are also New Testament Readers, who appeal to the Gospels, rather than to the Epistles; because they consider the former to be more the Word of God, than the latter. Some, on the other hand, refer only to St. Paul, and do not receive the entire even of his Epistles. We mean not, that the other portions of God's Word are formally
denied or rejected; but that from the influence of some erroneous principles, their authority is as completely neutralized, as if viewed through the medium of unbelief. And some indeed, as Mr. Haldane affirms, have actually proceeded to such a length, that in their published writings they have directly disparaged the authenticity of certain Books; among which are Esther, Proverbs, Daniel, the second Epistle of Peter, and the Apocalypse!
And where there is the want of reverential attention and submission to the whole Word of God, the result of course is a degree of inconsistency, corresponding with the extent of the evil. Some, though blessed with the influence of divine grace, are deformed by enthusiasm; some are exposed to the danger of Neologian subtleties, which they mistake for light; some insensibly decline into a greater dependance on their favorite Author or Commentator, than on "Thus saith the Lord;" and to many important truths of Scripture, when proposed to them, will appear novel and strange ;—all arising from a partial acquaintance with the counsel of God.'
We by no means limit these evils to the prophetical parts of Scripture; though, as we have before stated, we believe that portion of divine Revelation does specially suffer. The evils which we here deplore affect various doctrines and questions of importance; and we feel, that we cannot do a greater service to the household of God, than by bringing them to those elementary principles which shew the divine authority and consequent importance of every jot and and tittle of the written Word; by warning them at the same time of the subtle manner in which that authority may be disparaged, and so at last to all practical purposes absolutely denied. We turn, therefore,
to the doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures, as laid down by Messrs. Haldane and Carson.
Mr. HALDANE as we intimated in our former Number, takes the more methodical view of the subject. He begins by asserting that the whole of our knowledge of the inspiration of the Bible must be collected from the Bible itself; and he at once rebuts the idea of their being any difficulty on the subject (notwithstanding this idea is so prevalent among the learned) by declaring, that it has wholly arisen from a profane desire to penetrate into the manner of the divine operation on the mind of man, in the communication of revealed truth ;-that instead of humbly submitting, in a childlike spirit, to what the Scriptures themselves teach on this subject, many have occupied themselves in forming a scale to determine how far divine assistance has been afforded to the different Writers ; -that hence have proceeded Dr. Doddridge's distinctive terms of the inspiration of Superintendence, of Elevation, and of Suggestion; together with Direction and Revelation, which are definitions of later Writers. To those speculations, though very generally adopted, he declares the Writers of the Scriptures give not the slightest countenance or support; and he consequently stamps them as vain, unsubstantial, and pernicious theories.
The Works of both the writers now under review may be considered
a discourse upon one text of Scripture, which is continually recurring, and pressed upon the attention of those who profess to acknowledge the divine authority of the Bible. It is in the second Epistle to Timothy, chapter the third, and forms part of the sixteenth verse: "ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIBATION OF GOD, AND IS PROFITARLE, &c." From this text various
propositions are educed; and instead therefore of following Mr. Haldane regularly through his Work, which would oblige us to quote too copiously, we shall select out the heads of these several propositions, in the manner of a synopsis, and support them by a few brief extracts or notices from both Authors.
I. First, of course, it is necessary to determine, what is SCRIPTURE. This has been shewn, in the Treatise on the Authenticity of Scripture, to be applied to the whole of the Canonical Books; and here Mr. H. repeats:
"This declaration (viz. All Scripture is given by inspiration, &c.') refers to the whole of the Old Testament, which Timothy had known from his childhood. But as the greater part of the New Testament was at that time published, and as the whole of it is uniformly classed by its Writers with the Old Testament, this expression of St. Paul equally applies to the New Testament. The Apostle Peter classes all the Epistles of Paul, which he ascribes to the wisdom given to him, with the other Scriptures,' (2 Pet. iii, 15, 16,) thereby declaring them to be of the same authority, and showing that all the writings, both of the Old and New Testament, went by the name of Scripture.' P. 90.
II. Secondly, after having explained that the word inspire signifies to breathe into; as if it were written, “All Scripture is breathed into the writers by God;" it is declared that this inspiration, which is of the highest kind, is without any exception or gradation claimed in this text for the whole Bible, and therefore entitles it to be denominated "the Word of God," and "the Oracles of God."
III. From the same text the full or plenary inspiration of all the WORDS of Scripture are asserted. For Scripture, they justly contend, means writing; and a writing must signify words written.
thoughts and sentiments (says
Mr, C.) are the meaning of the words; and to say that a writing "is inspired whilst the words are not, is a contradiction in terms. The text is spoken of the words as "containing the meaning, and not "of the meaning as containing the "words." Thus the Lord Jesus in numerous places refers to what is
written;" and claims for it equal authority with his own declarations. This argument, brief and simple as it is, by making the question to depend upon the inspiration of the writings, and not of the writers, is highly important; in as much as it shifts the ground of the controversy, and establishes it upon a different, and (as we think) upon its proper basis. That there may be different degrees of inspiration in the writers is evident; and the divine revelation may have been communicated to them by different modes: but there can be only one sort of inspiration that can affect words; and that, as we have seen, is the highest-it is the “inspiration of GOD.” Our Authors therefore entirely reject the opinion, that the Bible is partly the work of man and partly the work of God,” in the sense in which it is generally held: as if the writers of it were gifted with the inspiration of thoughts only, and then left to themselves to express them; and as if, in regard to facts, they were often communicated in the same way, without the words, and that the writers were left to their own memory. Quoting Dr. Owen they contend, "That
though they [sometimes] used "their own abilities of mind and understanding in the choice of words, &c. yet that the Holy the Holy Spirit, who is more intimate into "the minds and skill of men than they are themselves, did so guide "and operate in them, as that the
"We may indeed have an inspired lations of the Scriptures; but that we have in uninspired words, as in transthe inspired thought, cannot be known on the highest evidence, but by knowing the inspired words. How can a thought be known, but by the words that express it?
And how can we know that the words express the thoughts of the author, if they are not the words of the author? Had the inspired writers been left to themselves, as to the choice of words in any part of their writings, they might have made a bad choice, and inadequately or erroneously represented the mind of the Spirit. The best writer that ever moved a quill may often fail in expressing his own sentiments. Instances might be given in which the most learned writers misstate their own meaning, and sometimes convey no meaning at all. Shall the fishermen of Galilee, then, be supposed equal to express themselves with unerring correctness, if left to their own phraseology?" P. 105.
And in regard to the supposition, that inspiration of facts, with a faithful statement of them, is all that is necessary, he observes
"No subject requires a fuller supply of phraseology than history. No subject requires more art in the disposing of its matter. So difficult is it, indeed, that few men in all ages have succeeded in it. The historian must be master not only of all things related by him, but he must be supplied with the terms and phraseology that respect all the objects, and all the relations, &c., which are to be represented in his history. Illiterate men have many ideas for which they have no wordslearned men are sometimes in the same predicament. Let an illiterate man be inspired with a full knowledge of all the affairs of Britain, throughout all ages, he will still be unfit to write a History of England. England. He must have a thorough
a Owen on the Spirit, Bk. ii, c. 1, s. 20.