Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

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.

A.

A FRAGMENT.

“ 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.”

B.

No. V.*

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 more accurately, an existing fact, which cannot be naturally known to

* This article is part of a letter (in French) written in answer to an “ 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.

[ocr errors]

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.

A man 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 answer. 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,

a liar.

which it is important to point out here; they differ totally from each other and are morally quite opposed to each other. Suppose that some one tried to prove God

I answer that cannot be! I condemn your reasoning as false, a priori. My judgment is sound, perfectly logical and philosophical (if you like to take that ground); because it is much more sure, nay, it is infallibly sure, that God cannot lie; whilst it is very possible, that your reasoning is false, even though I were unable to detect the fallacy. How many things there are as to which man wants the capacity for reasoning rightly! And this is the safeguard which God has given to the simpleminded, namely, a divine conviction with respect to those things which are beyond their reach— beyond the reach of man; while the philosopher who undertakes to explain them sinks in the mire. It is also what is called a priori reasoning, to say "God ought not to be so and so, but of an entirely different kind. In the first case, I measure the folly of man by the certainty of what God is; in the second, I measure what God ought to be, taking man for my measure; which is necessarily false. “ Thou thoughtest,” said God," that I was altogether such a one as thyself; but I will reprove thee, and set before thee the things which thou hast done.” In the first case, I say God is true, therefore your argument which denies it must be false! In the second, I say, this is my thought, and God must be according to my thought. To measure man by the certainty of what God is, and to measure God by man are two very different things. This may be termed a priori reasoning. It is true, that it presumes there is the knowledge of God; and all men have not the knowledge of God. "He hides these things from the wise and prudent, and reveals them unto babes."

It is evident, that whatever may be the competency of of witnesses, from their own faithfulness, and from the ever interesting and important fact of their proximity to the circumstances they relate, and to the living source of Christian doctrine, yet to deny direct inspiration, and to put in its stead the competency of witnesses; is to substitute a merely human belief for a divine testimony. The aim of such

system is to shut out God.

say on God's

But I pursue my subject. It is asserted (for without this it would be open infidelity) that Revelation is allowed, although not inspiration. That is to say, that the Apostles, or others, employed to communicate truth, had a Divine basis for their faith; but that other believers have not. For that is plainly the effect of this supposition. Truth has been revealed from heaven, that is, divinely communicated, to the Apostles and others; but since then there has been only a human testimonyhowever godly it may be, only human-no Divine basis, as to testimony, which, on God's part, could shield the church from error. I

part,

because no one disputes the possibility of man's falling into error through his own folly or negligence. The mere statement of this doctrine is almost its refutation; but it is needless to dwell further upon it, since it is formally contradicted in the word itself. But God," says the Apostle, who carefully states the opposite of the notion which we combat, “God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit" (I suppose no one would venture to assert that the communications made through Paul were of a different character, or of another nature than those given through Peter or John or any other prophet). The reason the Apostle gives for this revelation is very striking! “ For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are given to us of God.” I was going to dwell upon this argument, forgetting that the

Apostle had used it; I will now only insist on the force of what he says: "Without a divine communication there can be no faith.That which belongs to man, which is within the limits of his intelligence, may be known to man through sight, through reasoning, or through the testimony of man; but it is not so in the things of faith, in Divine thoughts and truths. God alone knows them, and God alone can make them known; consequently, man must be entirely ignorant of them, unless God reveal them. But He makes them known by His Spirit, that is, by Revelation; giving the Holy Ghost Himself, who reveals it in the heart. I

« AnteriorContinuar »