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full of grace and truth. “The Lord God is my strength and He will make my feet like hind's feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places." How hard it is for the human heart to give God His place, and to put man in his place ! and to walk and abide in the power of such faith !
Thus we see the beginning and end of that time or dispensation marked with this emphatic testimony. And what is witnessed to us in the Word for our own time, or during this dispensation in which the Church is gathered? The same truth. Blessed it is to know that while man fails, God does not fail. He may set aside or close dispensations, but His people " are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” istence of what is entrusted to man's hands will depend upon man's faithfulness. The existence, i.e. salvation, of the people of God depends on His faithfulness, our unfailing security. And it is good to remember this, for in such a scene as presents itself to many an eye now, souls may, through unbelief, begin to question God's purpose and grace. Now the Apostle Paul meets this very blessedly in his second letter to Timothy. There he draws a most dark fearful picture (chap. iii.) of the last days and perilous times in which our lot is cast. In his description of corrupt Christianity, the reader may remark that many of the terms employed by the Apostle describing the character of those of whom he speaks, are the same terms which are used in Romans i. in setting forth the horrible account of the gentile world; but the picture in 2nd Timothy is more fearfully bad, because of that word “having a form of godliness.'
The name of God is tacked on to the abominations of man. Now in this very letter, giving such an awful, frightful description of the time we are in, how truly precious are the words of comfort, the beacons of light for humble souls, brought into contrast with that which would alarm the soul. Mark the sentences of truth to support the soul cast upon God. We find in chap. i. that which is to be laid hold of by faith and gloried in, ver. 9, "Who hath saved us.” Ver. 14, “ The Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us." chap. ii. ver. 8, “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed
of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel.” Ver. 13, “ He cannot deny Himself,” the only thing our Lord Jesus cannot do! In chap. iii. ver. 16, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” How good how beneficent is God! With the sad, awful dark history of such a time. Our God furnishes that truth for humble weak souls who look to Him, which can raise them up, out of, and above all the turmoil, confusion and failure. “What hath God wrought!" Is the soul alarmed and confounded at what is passing? Sweet the assurance of our God " Who hath saved us and called us with a holy calling (just what Satan would have us to question and deny] not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death and hath brought life and immortality [incorruptibility] to light through the Gospel." Is there a "great house” containing those from whom a man must purge himself, if he be obedient, "a vessel unto honour sanctified and meet for the master's use”—The faithful man is thrown upon Him who cannot deny Himself, he has all Scripture and the Holy Ghost dwelling in him, to lead into all truth. How tender is our God! The witness of Jude is in the same strain. After a hideous picture of apostasy and man's corruption, the Spirit of God by Jude addresses a remnant out-side professing bodies“ building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God." Not their love to God, but their hearts being established in grace, to know God's love to them, and all His dealings according to His love and grace and not according to their apprehension of it. The Spirit then inculcates largeheartedness with faithfulness and abhorrence of the evil. "Of some have compassion, making a difference, and others save with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” O that such a heart were formed and found in us, because faithful and true to Christ, large towards the brethren (compare Job xlii. 10, “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for
his friends.”). The Holy Ghost then casts, as it were, this feeble remnant on the Lord Jesus Himself. As if He had said, you will be sensible of weakness and failure and your hearts may be sinking within you at times, but here is that which will never fail you (the point of testimony which we set out with). Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever, Amen.
“ Two passages in Revelation seem to admit of being more easily explained, and to save some controversy, if we adopt the simple interpretation, that Yux, in these places, means dead body' instead of soul,' see Numb. ix. One is Rev. vi. 9, describing the opening of the fifth seal, where we read of souls' under the altar, the other the celebrated passage in Rev. xx. 4, I saw the ‘souls' of them that were beheaded. An objection may be raised, How can dead, headless bodies speak? It may be a sufficient answer to say, How can a soul speak without a body at all ? To which we may add, It seems contrary to common sense to see a soul. To make a soul visible would not only be (we may suppose) to suspend the course of nature, and achieve what is called a physical impossibility, which is the very nature of a miracle, but, beyond this, to bring to pass what is rather a metaphysical or mathematical impossibility, i. e. that which, in the very nature of the case, can no more be than a sound can be seen, or a colour be heard, or two and two can make five: At all events, this difficulty is worth considering. Corpses cannot literally speak, no more can blood, yet in figurative, i. e. scriptural, language it has a voice, see Gen. iv. Heb. xi. Again, corpses, as such, do not live and reign, neither do souls (according to the common version) without bodies. In the one case the first resurrection unites body and soul, in the other it not only does so, but repairs the loss the mutilated body had sustained."
ON THE DIVINE INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE.
THE question which I would here consider, is not that of the amount of inspiration. I do not enter on the discussion of verbal inspiration-interesting as it is to those who believe in a revelation from God.
My object is the truth of inspiration itself, the reality of a written revelation, and indeed of all revelation given through the mouth of man.
It is not open infidelity as to the facts and doctrines of Christianity, which we have to combat.
Our subject is the Divine authority of the books which relate these facts and treat of these doctrines. The existence of these truths is admitted, but their immediate communication to us by God, is denied: with the exception possibly of the inward revelation of the person of Christ to the soul; if indeed that could be true consistently with these principles. It is the existence of the Word of God, having authority as His word, which is in question. It is owned perhaps that Christ bore the title of the Word of God. But according to their system, they have no real authority for this—it may have been a mistake of John's, or a rabbinical or rabbino-Platonic tradition; and in fact the expression is found in writings of this description. It is important to keep the question clearly on this ground. The denial of any communication of Divine truth which, coming from God, would have the authority of God as truth. For us, if there is no inspiration, there is no divine truth: because a truth which is not communicated with divine certainty, is not a divine truth to man. Or, to speak
Or, to speak more accurately, an existing fact, which cannot be naturally known to * This article is part of a letter (in French) written in answer to
“ Attack upon Divine Inspiration.” The author has corrected the present translation, and made many alterations and omissions from the original letter, which was not intended for publication. The remembering this will account to the reader for the abruptness and brokenness of the style.—ED.
man, because not belonging to this creation; cannot be a truth to my soul if it be not communicated with divine certainty. There might be an immediate revelation to each individual in each case; otherwise, in order to believe, there must be an inspired communication either written or by word of mouth. I am not speaking of truth being applied to the conscience by the Holy Ghost, but of the means of possessing a divine certainty of truth, by knowing from whom we have received it. A doctrine cannot have more authority, as a truth, than the means by which it is communicated. without being inspired may be the channel through which truth is imparted, and the truth may act through the Spirit's power, on the heart and conscience; but this does not constitute a divine basis for faith in him who hears. The effect has been produced in the soul by God; the man may say “I believe this;" but if I ask him, “Why do you believe it?" he has no
He can give no account of his faith. Let us remember, then, that when authority is spoken of, and it is said there is no authority, the words Divine certainty may be substituted for authority; and that the doctrine inculcated is, that there is no Divine certainty in the things of faith; that is to say, that there is no such thing as faith at all. John the Baptist describes faith in these words, “He that has received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God." But this no longer exists in the system which denies inspiration. There is no longer such a thing as faith. The testimony of God is excluded. This may be called an a priori argument. But no, I only place the doctrine in its true light; which is often enough to convince a sincere person. If any one disputed the interpretation of a text, and I could show that his mode of looking at it, the effect of his reasoning upon it, was to make Christ wicked, or to prove that He was not the Son of God; to state the real question, would be, in fact, to decide it, in the mind of one who knew Christ.
Besides, there are two kinds of a priori arguments,