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the divine thoughts are transfused into human thought, and, for the time, constitute an integrant part of the human consciousness, when the words by which this consciousness is to be expressed, may be safely left, as in all other cases, to take care of themselves, so it might be supposed without any over, straining of the language, that, when it is said, holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, this occupancy of the ent ire consciousness by the Holy Spirit, is all that was meant; while the man was left to express the thoughts of which he was thus made conscious, freely in his own words, and according to his own individuality of character. And such, probably, would be the view of inspiration most likely to present itself to minds fully aware of the great difficulties attending the other view of the matter. We find, accordingly, both these views maintained with equal earnestness by the believers in a supernatural revelation, in all ages of the church. And, what is painful to add, we find also, very uniformly, a disposition in the advocates of the extreme views on one side, to misapprehend or to misrepresent those entertained on the other. There are difficulties indeed, on both sides — difficulties which laid hold of and pushed hard by an adroit objector, could be answered by most persons no otherwise than by saying: yes, you make out a strong objection to my doctrine, and I cannot reply to you; only that I believe it notwithstanding. You point out to me certain discrepancies of statement in the Bible which, to be candid, I can neither deny nor explain. Still I hold them to be capable of explanation and that every word is inspired ; for how else could Scripture be infallible? Or (on the other side) you accuse me of allowing to the sacred penmen a liberty in (heir choice of expressions and in their statement of facts, inconsistent with the idea of their infallibility. I do not deny the charge, nor can I fully explain the difficulty. But still I believe in the authority of Scripture as an absolute rule of doctrine and life, and I also believe that the inspired writers expressed their own convictions in their own way and in the full consciousness of their freedom; for there are all the marks of it on every page that I read.
To all, except such as boldly deny the fact of a supernatural revelation, and who explain inspiration as being simply the genius for religion, which in Moses and the Hebrew prophets existed in an extraordinary degree and which dwelt in Jesus beyond measure; who see inspiration, therefore, alike in every instance where the sense of the divine has taken powerful hold of the imagination, directing it to teach men obedience to God, instead of science or the admiration of the beautiful 1 —to all, in a word, except the naturalists in religion, the doctrine of inspiration, though clear to that faith which sees at a glance the infinite distance between the truth so suited to meet our deepest wants, which Scripture reveals, and all that has ever been found out by man's wisdom alone, must, no doubt, ever have its difficulties, lying as it does, like every other profouudest spiritual truth, quite beyond the grasp of our finite understanding.
We may* venture, however, merely to suggest, that if the view above given of what, constitutes a revelation be correct, if God's revelation of himself comprehends all the facts, connected with his direct and miraculous interposition in the affairs of the world, investing the least of them with an importance which they could not have in any other connection, inasmuch as, like the smallest epithelial scale on the surface of the human body, they grow out of, and, each in its proper time and place, contribute their humble share to, the great organic whole to which they belong, then the objection which many feel to the plenary inspiration of Scripture, arising out of what seems to them the altogether tem
1 See the Tractatus thcologico-politicns of Spinoza, in which this view of the matter was first clearly set forth. The pantheism and determinism, or rather necessitarianism, which characterize the whole school of the mere sjM-rnlntive theologians in Germany, plainly enough point hack to the true origin of this school. Says Bnnillier: ''Si Spinoza est le pcre des systemes panthe'i-tcs qui tin siecle plus tard. ont rcjrne' ct regncnt encore cn Allcmagne. il est aussi le pi're de cctte cxege'sc bibliquc savante et bardie, qui. a la memo- cpoque, y a fait de si grand projrre's. Lc ci'lchre doclenr Paulus, dans la preface de son edition des oeuvrcs de Spinoza, dit que le Tractatus thtologico-politiaui non settlement cn avail preMit, mais memc de'jl demontre la plupart des resultats.— IIi<t. de la philosophic Cartcsienne, Vol. I. p. .')98.
porary and insignificant, or it may be, the partial and defective character of many of the statements to be found therein is disposed of at once.
But again, if the view we have taken of revelation be correct,; if God reveals himself not only by abstract teachings of his will and of his truth infused into the minds of his chosen instruments in the form of thought, and thought moulded into truest expression; if he has revealed himself no less really, in a miraculous providence, by the leading of his chosen people, and last of all by the actual appearance of the Word made flesh and dwelling among us; if he has revealed himself in these great facts of history, and if the veracious statement of these facts makes up the great body, the bones, flesh, and sinew of his written word, then inspiration must surely consist, to a great extent, in simply that state of mind which constitutes the truthful historian. The facts are the revelation, just as they actually transpired; the inspiration is whatever secured the sufficiently exact report of these facts. We say sufficiently exact; for from the very nature of the case, facts are relative to the observer. No two witnesses can possibly look at them from the same point of view. No two reports, from different sources, can possibly be exactly the same. We cannot demand, in the case of sacred facts, a different kind of exactness from that which belongs to the true report of all historical facts. Variation, to a certain extent, is here the very test of truth. Inspiration, therefore, cannot consist in such a miraculous infusion of light as would lead each historian to report facts differently seen, and differently related by different witnesses, precisely alike. Each can draw up his report only from one point of view, and differences are unavoidable. The truth is what can be made out from the reports on all sides. This is what we who read are left to gather. A degree of uncertainty, therefore, necessarily attaches itself to the truest of historical records, to sacred as well as to profane. We are not called upon to believe blindly, but thoughtfully; ever remembering that the value of the history is to be measured, not so much by the minute accuracy of the details, as by Vol. XV. No. 58. 29
the end of it all, which, hi the Bible, is to reveal God in his relations to man. We hold, then, that the facts of the Bible were reported by men sufficiently enlightened to secure the end intended by those facts. All necessary things, which might otherwise have been forgotten or accidentally omitted, were brought to remembrance by that Holy Spirit which guided them. Of this, in the case of the evangelists, we are assured by Christ's promise to his disciples, and from analogy we may conclude it was the same in every case. It was a supernatural guidance and assistance of the memory with reference to the one great end, the sufficiently exact transmission of all those facts by which God directly revealed himself to mankind.
But we are not to forget that God has revealed himself not only in a sacred history, continuous from Adam to Christ, from the fall to the redemption; but also, within the compass of that history, to prophets and apostles. God spake at sundry times, and in divers manners, by the prophets. Finally, he has spoken to us by his Son, and by those to whom the great Teacher said: "Behold I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." We cannot here, as in the other case, separate inspiration from revelation. We cannot, with any propriety, say of the things " which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets and in the Psalms, concerning Christ," that such things could be written otherwise than by immediate supernatural communication of the truth to the individual minds of those who wrote. We cannot say of Him who testified concerning himself: "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me: — I have not spoken of myself, but the Father which sent me, he gave me commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak," that the inspiration and the revelation were not identically one and the same thing. Neither can we say of the Apostle Paul, who affirms of himself: "The gospel which was preached of me is not after man; for I neither received it of man, neither was taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ," that inspiration, in his case, was simply an infallible bringing to remembrance of things he had outwardly witnessed and heard. Nor can it be said of the other Apostles, who had lived with our Lord, and might, therefore, truly affirm: "What we have seen and heard, declare we unto you," that the grand impression left on their minds by our Saviour's life and teaching, and called fresh to their recollection by the Holy Spirit, constituted all the inspiration of which they were the subjects. It is very evident that, in all these cases, inspiration was a direct revelation of the truth in the minds of those who spoke and wrote. This is evident, in the case of the last named Apostles, from the promise expressly given to them: "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." And how this was meant, is plain enough from the fact, that it was through the Apostles rather than through their Master, the natural and perfect body of Christian doctrines, so imperfectly understood by them in our Saviour's life-time, has come down to us.
With regard to this inspiration, which is so closely connected with revelation that one cannot be separated from the other, while we admit that, so far as the Spirit's operation is concerned, it remains an altogether transcendent fact, surpassing our power of explanation or of comprehension, yet in another point of view it is not so wholly incomprehensible but that we may know something of its nature by what is manifest in its effects. As our Saviour, who possessed the fulness of the Spirit, and at all times uniformly alike, still exhibits, in all that He does and says, the entire self-possession and self-consciousness of His human individuality; as He who presents the highest possible example of inspiration, presents also, at the same time, the most certain evidence of consciously possessing and using the reason, the understanding and the passions of a man, and in uttering what He received as a commandment from the Father, still uttered it as the man Christ Jesus ; — so His disciples