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sage in the Scriptures not dictated by the Holy Ghost, would make void the declaration, that 'all Scripture is given by inspiration of God,' and would render inspiration necessary to tell us what part of it is inspired, and what is not. According to those writers who deny the doctrine of plenary verbal inspiration, we have not the pure Word of God; for much that we have, under that designation, is solely the word of man.” P. 115.
One other particular must be noticed by us; viz. the supposed admissions of the Apostle on certain occasions, that he is not speaking by inspiration. (See 1 Cor. vii, 6 and 40; 2 Cor. viii, 3 and 10; xi, 17.)
We should swell this Review to too great length were we to follow Mr. H. through all his arguments on this and many other points; and therefore we can only observe, that, after satisfactorily vindicating those passages from ordinary mis-interpretation, he adds ; that even if the mistaken meaning, so often attributed to them, were the just one, they would not at all militate against the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures; because in that case Paul must be viewed having been inspired to write precisely as he has done, since they form a part of Scripture, all of which is given by inspiration of God." (P. 104.) Echoing which Mr. Carson says: Though Paul were not inspired to decide "the questions, yet he was inspired "to write the account which he has given of the matter. If the Apostle has told us, that he is not inspired in this point, he has been inspired to make the denial. Not
a line has he written in that chapter, which is not immediately "from the Holy Ghost. Gamaliel was not inspired; but inspiration "has recorded his advice, and that document, as recorded by the Holy Ghost, suggests inspired instruc"tion to us.
We shall now exhibit the manner, in which many of the modern theories of inspiration indirectly undermine and subvert the scriptural principle here contended for. And this we shall do by means of a few further extracts from Mr. Carson's Work, which is entirely devoted to the refutation of the theories of "the Rev. Daniel Wilson, Rev. Dr. Pye Smith, the Rev. Dr. Dick, the Christian Observer, and the Eclectic Review."
We make our selections from his remarks on the theory of the Rev. Daniel Wilson, for the following reasons. First, Mr. Carson considers his theory the least exceptionably stated, and the most plausible of any; and therefore if it shall nevertheless fail before the Scripture tests here brought to bear upon it, the examination of the others, in which the leaven is more perceptible, is the less necessary. Secondly, Mr. Wilson is the more influential writer, from the larger share which he enjoys of the suffrages of God's people, both in and out of the establishment. And if therefore a man who is so deservedly popular, and so justly loved and esteemed both publicly and privately, may nevertheless be clearly proved (as we humbly think) to be wrong on this fundamental and very important point; ought it not to operate as a warning to all christians to cling more tenaciously than ever to every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God? of God? We by no means think the error of Mr. Wilson to be of a determined character. There are too many expressions of an unqualified nature, intermingled in his statement, which (though they render that statement more dangerous to many) prove that his feeling and intention are correct. Having been committed to write an Essay on this subject, his mind appears to have
been prepossessed by the difficulties which others have alleged; and instead of first investigating whether these difficulties have any real foundation to support them, he has at once admitted them.
Mr. Carson states Mr. Wilson's
theory to be that the making of the Bible has been a partnership business in which God and man have had their distinct provinces. It is both human and divine without mixture." Mr. W., having pointed out what is the work of God, viz. the inspiration of suggestion, direction, &c. says at page 499 :—
"In order to collect the phenomena on the other side, let us open the New Testament again. We see on the very face of the whole, that the writers speak naturally, use the style, language, and manner of address familiar to them. There are peculiar casts of talents, expression, modes of reasoning in each author. The language is that of the country and age where they lived. They employ all their faculties; they search, examine, weigh, reason, as holy and sincere men, in such a cause, might be supposed to do. They use all their natural and acquired knowledge; their memory furnishes them with facts, or the documents and authentic records of the time are consulted by them for information. They plead with those to whom they are sent, they address the heart, they expostulate, they warn, they invite. The mind of man is working every where. In the historical books the Evangelists follow their own trains of recollection; they relate incidents as they struck them, or were reported to them. In the devotional and epistolary books, again, natural talent, appropriate feelings and judgment, the peculiarities of the individual are manifest. Once more, St. Luke preserves his characteristic manner in the Gospel and the Acts; St. Paul is always the same; St. John may be known in his several productions. productions. Lastly, the prophetical parts are more elevated; and yet breathe the spirit, and retain the peculiar phraseology of the writers. These are the part of man.”
The words which are in italics in the above account are, for the sake of perspicuity, marked by ourselves.
We shall occasionally take the same liberty in what follows from Mr. Carson, to which we are induced from the necessity of greatly contracting his reply.
"Now that I might do the writer and
my readers justice, I have quoted every
line, and even every word of the account of the second class of phenomena. And what is the whole but one fact, one phenomenon; namely, that each of the inspired writers, exhibits his own characteristic style and mode of reasoning, and makes possessed without inspiration! use of knowledge which could have been Mr. Wilson then imposes on his careless reader, when he gives to the illustration of one phenomenon, the appearance of a collection of phenomena; and he misinterprets that part which exhibits it, as in any way contradictory to the entire inspiration of the Scriptures.
Mr. Wilson's two classes of phenomena must either be reconciled on my plan, or they cannot be reconciled at all. If there is any thing in the Scriptures merely human; if man has one part in such a sense, that the same thing cannot be ascribed to God; then such a part is not inspired, and cannot in any sense be called God's If the Bible is a book partly human and partly divine, it cannot, as a whole, be the word of God, nor be justly ascribed to him as its sole author. Accordingly, if Mr. Wilson's paradoxes are not explained on the view which I have given, they are real contradictions. 'If every thing,' says he, is divine, how is it that we see every thing human?' Now, how is it that this paradox can be explained as a truth? How is it that any thing in the word of God can be said to be human? Only in the sense of having been written by man. But agreeable to the theory that God and man has each his distinct part in this composition, this paradox is a contradiction. If man has a part solely his own in the composition of the Bible, every thing in the Bible is not divine; if God has his part in this composition, every thing cannot be human. The paradox must be harmonized, not by
thing that ascribes distinct parts to God and the writers in the com
position of the book; but by supposing that the Bible, being the word of God, may in another point of view be as
cribed to man as the instrument. In this sense, the epistle to the Romans may be
called Paul's epistle, while it is the word of God in a higher sense; such a mode of speaking is common on all subjects. The king built the palace, the architect built the palace, and the masons built the palace. In this obvious light we are to understand the passages that ascribe the different parts of the book of God to the writers of them." P. 8.
"When Mr. Wilson's second class of phenomena are introduced to us for the purpose of reconciling them with his first class, they have the most innocent face imaginable, without the smallest appearance of an intention to derogate from the honours of inspiration. • Instead of addressing us immediately," says the author, 'God is pleased to use men as his instruments.' Now what can have less appearance of contradiction to the in
spiration of every word of Scripture than this? 'Instead of making known His 'will,' says Mr. Wilson, in the language
of angels, or by the skill of poets and 'philosophers, God has been pleased to choose the unlettered Apostles and Evangelists.' What has this to do with the subject of inspiration? How does it appear to contradict the passages that ascribe the Scriptures wholly to God? Why is it introduced as a fact to be reconciled with the first class of phenomena? Does the fact, that in the Scriptures God has not addressed us in the language of angels, appear to contradict the notion of their inspiration, either as to matter or manner? If God should speak to men in the language of angels, would the revelation be God's, in any sense, in which it is not His, as contained in the Scriptures? Had he spoken by the skill of poets and philosophers, would the manner have been divine, in any sense in which it is not now divine? Has he not given some parts of the Scriptures in the language of poetry? Are these more divine as to manner, than the parts written by the fishermen ? 'And," says Mr. Wilson, 'instead of ' using these as mere organic instruments 'of his power, he has thought right to 'leave them to the operations of their own minds, and the dictates of their own 'knowledge, habits, and feelings, as to the manner of communicating his will.' This is the only thing that can be said to have any reference to the subject at all; yet, if unexceptionably expressed, it would not have even the appearance of a contradiction to the phenomena of the first class. God did not leave the writers of
"A man's memory might be so fortified, that he could remember every fact and circumstance with the utmost exactness; he might be able to relate every thing that ever he heard, with every word in its proper place; and after all, be unfit for writing any of the gospels. Were an illiterate man to be put in possession of every fact in Gibbons' History, would he be fit to write the decline and fall of the Roman empire? Such a man will have full as much need of words as of ideas. Much more in the history of Christ, must an inspired writer have all the matter and all the words." P. 19.
Mr. Wilson occupies another page in portioning out the different subjects of Scripture: (e. g. the inspiration of suggestion to the prophetical parts; of direction to the Gospel and Acts; &c.) which he concludes by stating, that even "the slightest allusions to proverbial I sayings, to the works of nature,
"How could we say that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, if it is merely possible that some things in them are not entirely out of the range of the watchful guardianship of the Holy Spirit? Is the Christian then to be sent to his Bible to decide how far each of its parts is inspired? If he is set loose from the authority of the divine declaration that asserts the inspiration of the whole equally, will Mr. Wilson's 'possibly' be an anchor to him, when his passions, or his interests urge him? If Mr. Wilson by his own authority decides, that inspiration possibly extends so far, others, by a like authority, may decide, that possibly it does not go so far. Though I should displease all the evangelical ministers of London, and of Europe, I will express my utter abhorrence of sentiments so dishonourable to the word of my Lord, so injurious to the edification of Christians, so destructive to the souls of men.
This distinction of inspiration is indeed an attempt to explain away the thing, and retain the word. In fact, not one of the divisions is inspiration but the first. Direction is not inspiration, elevation is not inspiration, superintendency is not inspiration. Do not all the evangelical ministers of Loudon claim these three ? Do they not constantly pray for them? Do they not ask direction from God in their teaching? Are they not elevated sometimes above the power of nature ? Do they not speak of divine superintendency in their places of worship? But were I to assert from this, that Mr. Wilson pretends to be inspired, I would represent him as a fanatic; and my representation would be a calumny, not justified by his pretensions to divine direction, elevation, and superintendency. If then the Scriptures are in many things the work of man merely directed, elevated, and superintended by God, it is erroneous to say, that they are all inspired. We may thus both admit and deny any thing. We have nothing to do but in our explanation to subject the word to an analysis, not directed by its use, but by our own fancies, or the necessities of our system, and the work is accomplished.
We subjoin two or three other
important and interesting extracts:
My seventh observation is, that the author seems to admit the dangerous position, that some things delivered by the inspired writers, may not belong to the revelation; and that speaking on subjects of a religious nature, they may have erred. To shew that I am justified in ascribing this sentiment to him, I will quote his language on which I found my charge. 'How 'far the inspiration of the Scriptures ex'tends to the most casual and remote al'lusions of an historical or philosophical kind, which affect in no way the doc'trines or duties of religion, it is not, per
haps, difficult to determine.' Does not this seem to betray a fear, that history in the Scriptures; and philosophy may detect something false in the Scriptures; for which the author good naturedly provides, by supposing that such things do not affect the doctrines and duties of religion. God asserts most expressly, that 'All Scripture is given by inspiration;' but history and philosophy may find falsehoods in it. Mr. Wilson, in this critical situation, most generously steps forward and excuses them by alleging, that they do not affect the doctrines or the duties of religion. Would Mr. Wilson take it kindly, if any one should attempt a like apology for himself? Would a jury look on it as no invalidation of evidence, that the witness is proved to have uttered many falsehoods on his oath, though not bearing on the question at issue? Would they not utterly discredit the whole testimony, if they found a known falsehood in his evidence, even on the most unconnected matters that are
usually brought forward in cross-examination? If God avows the whole Scriptures as his word, a falsehood as to any thing will affect the revelation. The Bible must not utter a philosophical lie, nor an historical lie, any more than a religious lie. If it lies on one subject, who will believe it on another! If it lies as to earthly things, who will believe it as to heavenly things? But Mr. Wilson asserts, that 'The claims of the sacred penmen to an
unerring guidance, are, without exception, confined to the revelation itself." God's assertion of inspiration extends to every thing that can be called Scripture. 'All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.' Even the sayings of wicked men and of devils are recorded by inspiration, as truly as the sayings of Christ himself. There is nothing in Scripture that does not belong to the revelation. What an invention
is this, that suggests a distinction in the book of God, between things that belong to the revelation, and things that do not belong to it! If even our evangelical divines will except from inspiration some things under the denomination of history and philosophy, not affecting the religion; what may not be expected from the daring profaneness of those who hate the gospel, and are willing to carry the theory to its utmost limits ?" Pp. 25-27.
"But,' observes Mr. Wilson, 'The Bi'ble was not given to make us poets, or orators, or historians, or natural philosophers.' Very true. We must overlook the bad poetry and bad oratory of the Bible, if we find any of this description in it; and we have no reason to expect a complete history of human affairs, nor a system of natural philosophy. But verily if the Scripture contained one rule of poetry or oratory, that rule must be a legitimate one, or the Bible is a forgery. And if it tells one historical untruth, it must forfeit its pretensions in every thing, seeing its pretensions extend to every thing in the book. The inspired writers may have been as ignorant of natural philosophy, as the most ignorant of British peasants, without affecting their inspiration; but, verily, if they have delivered one philosophical dogma, it must be true, or the Scriptures as a whole are false. For my part, I am convinced that to look into the Scriptures for a system of philosophy, is utterly to degrade them. But it would degrade them much more, it would utterly blast their pretensions, to allege that they have attempted and failed. I must have the inspired writers cleared of the accusation of pledging themselves to a philosophical untruth, as well as to a religious untruth. If the Scriptures are not designed to command our faith on points of philosophy, they do not teach any thing on the subject. How very derogatory then to the honour of inspiration, is the following conclusion:-' Many Many things which such persons, (namely persons, (namely 'poets, orators, historians, and natural philosophers,) might think inaccurate, may consist with a complete religious religious inspiration.' How can this be the case, when it is said, 'All Scripture is given by inspiration?' This pledges God equally for every thing in the Bible. Mr. Wilson's assertion gives the lie to God's declaration: God says 'All Scripture is given by inspiration; Mr. Wilson says it is false,
-only so much of the Scripture is given
by inspiration, as belongs to the revelation. This doctrine teaches Christians to go through the Scriptures, separating what belongs to revelation from what does not belong to revelation, in order to distinguish what is true from what may be false." Pp. 27–29.
""Their language too, (adds Mr. Wilson 'from Horsley,) notwithstanding the ac'commodation of it that might be ex
pected, for the sake of the vulgar, to the 'notions of the vulgar, is, I believe, far more accurate, more philosophically accurate in its allusions, than is generally imagined.' Indeed the language referred to can scarcely be called an accommodation to the prejudices of the vulgar, but is rather a speaking in the usual way of men, without excepting philosophers themselves. If the sun and the moon are said to have stood still in the time of Joshua, there is no philosophical sentiment expressed, more than when the philosopher himself now speaks of the rising and the setting of the sun. There is not the smallest difficulty thrown on the subject from this quarter. It is only divines who want employment for their learning and ingenuity, that contrive difficulties to be resolved by theoretical explanations." P. 32.
“But after our author doubtfully consents, that inspiration may extend to the least circumstances, (which in his estimation is more than necessary,) he gives two reasons for his opinion, which are almost as little satisfactory to me as unbelief itself. Why does Mr. Wilson believe, that inspiration is thus extensive? Is it because the Scriptures themselves say so, which are the only authority on the subject? No, truly; this is not the ground on which he rests the matter. His two reasons are,' that philosophy has no objection to this view, and that practical uses may be derived from the slightest details, and most apparently indifferent circumstances.' Now there can be no doubt, that divine truth must be perfectly consistent with true knowledge of every kind, and must have some use; but it is equally true, that this is not a proper criterion for judging of the contents of Scripture. A thing may be consistent with all other knowledge, and knowledge, and may have practical uses, yet not be a part of divine revelation. Had I, then, no other reason for the inspiration of the passages referred to, I would not believe it."
"I am convinced, that the glory of