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of place here to examine how far the principles current in the religious world, have given occasion to this inroad of the enemy. Whatever saps the foundations of faith, in opposition to the express declarations of the Spirit of God, comes from the enemy; and I have always found that to deal with that which is of the enemy openly and publicly as from the enemy, is the wisdom of God and is accompanied by His strength and His blessing: I deal thus with the doctrine that denies the inspiration of scripture.
There is one kind of proof of the authority of Scripture, that is to say of a collection of writings having the authority of the Word of God, which is difficult to produce, on account of the very thing which constitutes its value. I mean; the constant appeal to the Written Word when addressing believers as to a recognised authority. It is used as an authority which no one, except a professed unbeliever, would think of disputing. Open the New Testament at almost what page you like, you will find a proof of this. "It is written, it is written,' settled every question, decided every controversy. It is not the Scriptures which have to be proved, they serve themselves for an absolute and final proof. This is the strongest testimony we can have. If I say—in canvassing some point of human conduct—the law says this, and the law says that, as settling the question ; that takes for
; granted the existence of the law and its sovereign authority over all disputed points—an authority which no one can gainsay. Thus it is in the use of Scripture. If the word of the Apostles were the word of authority, like that of the Church (as has been said) and were not the word of God, which I entirely believe it to be, even this word of authority submits itself most absolutely to the authority of the Word. The Scriptures are searched to ascertain whether the teaching of an Apostle were true. " These things were done that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”—“Jesus, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst." _“ Well spake the
“ Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers.”— "Promised afore by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures.” -"Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures,
and was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures."—"And the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith.”—" And the Scripture cannot be broken." Give place unto wrath ; for it is written." -- " That by comfort of the
” Scriptures we might have hope.”
It was the highest of all the Jewish privileges, that the oracles of God” were committed to them. 6. For what saith the Scripture?”—“The Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation.” The Jews made “the Word of God of none effect through their traditions.”.
“ Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures: and said unto them, Thus it is written." Is it in accommodating Himself to man, that the Lord opens the understanding that they may understand things which have not divine authority? No, the Scriptures are treated by the Apostles, by the Lord himself, as having an incontestable and divine authority as the Oracles of God, as The Word of God. This is so entirely true, that when-in fulfilling his divine mission-it behoved the Lord to undergo the temptation of the enemy, this was the weapon He used as being divinely temperedagainst which Satan had no power, and his devices no possible success. It sufficed to say,
It is written.” The tempter would have betrayed himself if he had questioned the absolute authority of the quotation: his best resource was to quote Scripture his own way; but it does not fail under this trial. The second Adam still replies, “ It is also written.” One may, without blame, prefer the wisdom and the perfection of one's Saviour, to the self-sufficiency and unbelief of human wisdom. And observe here, the importance of this use of the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, the Oracles of God, by the Apostles and by the Lord. People say, “But there are various readings, bad translations, statements which the increase of knowledge has proved impossible, so that Scripture cannot be used as an authority.” The Lord, then, was mistaken!
There were various readings, bad translations (especially that of the Septuagint), pointed out by those who deny Inspiration, and supposed inconsistencies,
time when the Lord said, “ The Scriptures cannot be broken.” When, in his controversy with Satan, he employed the Scriptures, Satan, lest he should appear to be Satan undisguised, durst not question their authority. These things existed too when the Apostle called them the Oracles of God. None of these things prevented the Lord's recognising their absolute authority on every occasion. “ The foolishness of God is wiser than men.” As to proofs which may be given of the authority of The Word, it carries its own proof with it, as does every testimony from God. This is a fundamental principle. It does not require proof, it furnishes its own proofs of every thing to the soul. We do not bring a light to the sun in order to discern it, it enlightens us. The Word of God is not judged, it judges. If God speaks, and we have seen that the Scriptures are called His Word, woe unto him that knows not it is God who speaks. There are those assuredly who will not own that it is He. If this refusal to believe be final, they are lost, sentence has already been passed upon them; the light is come, and the darkness comprehends it not. The word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing, even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit
, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” It is received, whether spoken or written, as the Word of God; he who rejects it is lost. If any remain in ignorance of some of its details, if any are mistaken as to some book, they lose just so much of it through their pride. "The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple..... moreover by them is thy servant warned.”—“ The entrance of thy word giveth light, it giveth understanding unto the simple.” Read the whole cxixth Psalm. This conviction that the Word is its own evidence, is all-important; this alone maintains the true character of the Word of God. Like Jesus, it "receives not testimony from man.” He who believes not in the Son of God will be condemned. He that believeth not the record that God
of his Son hath made God a liar, and hath not life. Now, according to the Lord's own words, the Scriptures
testify of Him. The fundamental principle is this—The Word of God must be received by Faith; and the reasonings of man cannot be the foundation of faith; if they were, it would not be faith in God, nor faith in His word. “He believed God.”—“They shall be all taught of God; every man, therefore, that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me.”
Having established this principle, I would enter into some details respecting the ways of God in this matter. We have seen the Lord setting his seal to the Scriptures, but observe, in so doing, He has set his seal to the faith of all those who had previously believed in them. It was not because He had done so that those faithful ones believed. Their heart, their faith, had been previously tested. They had faith, because they had received the testimony of the Scriptures before they were thus sanctioned, at the time when they were presented to their faith, on the ground of their own authority. When Jeremiah spoke, it does not follow that all received his testimony; there were some who had not ears to hear, but who listened to false prophets. When God is to be owned it becomes a moral question: but in all ages, believers have received the testimony of God, and unbelitvers have not been able to discern God in the testimony; it is so now. God gives, in His word, sufficient moral evidence to commend it to the conscience. When He has set up a new thing, or when He has sustained faith at a distance from the sanctuary, He has added a sufficiency of extraordinary evidences. But with this comes the moral responsibility of him who hears, which God never sets aside; and also the grace which acts in giving and in establishing faith: the reception of the Word, and afterwards the understanding this Word, is a thing presented to the responsibility of man. Grace alone can enable him to receive and to understand it. Nothing can set aside this responsibility, or take away the necessity of this grace, or destroy its efficacy. The positive authority of the Apostolic testimony, claiming submission, as it does, in the most peremptory manner, cannot alter this. 6. If any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you
are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." An Apostle cannot go beyond that. For the things which are communicated in words taught by the Spirit, are spiritually discerned. It was thus in the days of all the prophets. “Hear ye and give ear,” said Jeremiah, “be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken. But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride." Now, the condition which brings judgment upon the house of God is marked by this—the Word loses its authority, excepting over the remnant preserved by Him." And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed. And the book is delivered to him that is not learned; saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.” This is the condition of the people and the cause of the judgment which falls upon them.
Then the Lord said “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples . To the law and to the testimony.” Thus also in the New Testament “ In the last days perilous times shall come.” What is then the resource? “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them, and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The resource in the last days, is reverence for the Holy Scriptures, and the assurance of their sufficiency. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. Therefore whether amongst the Jews, whether in the Church, the resource in evil days is confidence in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. The Lord has pointed it out, and sanctioned it, but this confidence in the authority of the Word existed before he had given it His sanction.