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entreating that some other person might be employed for the purpose, the Lord was pleased to give him a helper in the person of Aaron his brother, saying, “And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth; and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.” Thus Moses and Aaron were fully inspired and directed in what they should say, and what they should do; and they were equally inspired as to how they should both say and do what the Lord had commanded them to speak and perform..
The case of the prophets is exactly of the same kind. Take, for example, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. When the Lord first called Jeremiah to the prophetical office, he felt and spake very much like Moses. He said (ch. i. 6), “Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak : for I am a child.” But the Lord said, in reply, “Say not, I am a child : for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak” (v. 7). And again, in verse 17, it follows, “Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee." If words have any meaning, here is evidently a full and distinct inspiration. Nothing more than what the Lord spake to him, was he to speak to the people; and all that the Lord thus spake was he thus to deliver.
This fact applies equally to the writings of the prophets, as well as to their words. In Jeremiah xxx, 1-4, we read, “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book;” and in verse 4 it is said, “These are the words which the Lord spake.” Again, in chapter Xxxvi. 1, 2, he is again commanded to “take a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken." And when the wicked king had burnt that roll of the book, the Lord commanded the prophet to “take another roll, and write therein all the former words that were in the first roll.” Thus “all the words” which he had received from the Lord he is now commanded by the Lord to write” in this manner; that is, by a plenary inspiration both of the words spoken and written.
We observe the same of the prophet Ezekiel. We read, “The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him." (Ezek. i. 3.) Again, “the Spirit entered into me, when he spake unto me.” (Ezek. ii. 2.) The Scripture proceeds, "and thou shalt speak MY words unto them.” (Ezek. ii. 7.) And further, it is recorded, “Moreover he said unto me, All my words that I shall speak unto thee, receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears ;” and, in verse eleven, "speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord God.” (Ezek. iii. 10, 11.)
Surely, nothing can be plainer than these injunctions, in proof of the point before us. The prophet was to speak “all” that the Lord commanded him to speak, and nothing more. He was to speak all that the Lord commanded him in the very "words," and “all” the very “words," and nothing but the very “words," and what was contained in them, to the people to whom he was to go. Clearly this was a plenary inspiration. There was nothing omitted which the prophet was to supply, either as regards the matter or the manner in which he was to discharge his inspired prophetical office; and what applies to one equally applies to all the inspired writers. They all spake, and they all wrote, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; and this constitutes the great glory of the Sacred Volume, as being the inspired testimony of heaven. It is altogether the word of the living God, both in the matter it reveals, the manner of its revelation, and the mode by which the inspired record is given. It is not the word of man; it is, in truth, the Word of God that liveth and abideth for ever.
Indeed, in the nature of things, how can it be otherwise ? If, as the apostle affirms, no man can know the things of a man, save the spirit of mau which is in him; then how is it possible that any man can know the things of God, except by the Spirit of God, by whom alone they can be revealed and made known? For instance; the creation of the world took place more than two thousand years before Moses was born; nor does it appear that, during all that time, any written record of the event was in existence till Moses wrote. Now, how was it possible that he could have given the narration of all the circumstances connected with that great event, in the manner he has done, but by the special and full inspiration of God ? for this substantially is, that “THESE are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
The same consideration will apply with equal force to the whole of his portion of the Inspired Volume. The fall of man, as well as the creation of the world; the history of Cain and Abel; the age and character of the antediluvian fathers; the destruction of the world by the flood, and the preservation of Noah in the ark; the call of Abraham; the history and actions of the patriarchs; the bondage of their seed in Egypt, and many other things up to the time of his birth, could only be known, as he knew them, by direct information from above. And, as he thus became acquainted with them, so, also, in like manner, did he record them. The Spirit of God instructed his mind; and the same Spirit formed his phraseology, and guided his pen.
And as this was the case in the review of the past, so likewise was it exactly the same in prospect of the future. How, for instance, could he have foretold the “Prophet” who was to arise like unto himself, and the many distant events which would befall his people, if the Lord had not revealed them to him? Or how could he have spoken and written of all these matters, in the manner he has done, unless the Lord had inspired, guided, and directed him ? And what are we again hereby taught, but the plenary character of divine inspiration ?
Abundance of other testimony, were it necessary, might be easily adduced in proof of this most wholesome truth. We might speak of the holy character of the Inspired Writings; of the consistency of their spirit and truth from beginning to end, though written at various
their beneficent tendency; of the predicted events contained therein, and the literal accomplishment of many of them, even to the very tittle of what was foretold; as, for example, the Saviour's miraculous conception, birth, life, doctrine, miracles, sufferings, and death ; his resurrection and glory; even the very manner of his death, with all the several incidents connected therewith ; such as his betrayal, sufferings, condemnation, crucifixion, the piercing of his hands and feet, and many other interesting particulars connected with the whole scene of his humiliation and glory. All these, and many more, were clearly foretold in the prophetic writings. To which may be added, the predictions of the dispersion of Israel; the captivity of Judah, their return, and the means of their restoration; the overthrow of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires; the name and character of Cyrus; the future kingdoms that would spring out of his dominions; the rise of the great apostasy; the persecuting actions of the mystical dragon and beasts, true to this day; and many other events, yet to take place, of a similar character, which would far exceed the limits of this address to specify. We trust that quite enough has been adduced to convince any candid and impartial mind, not only that the Word of God is an inspired production, taken as a whole; but that the Sacred Writings, of which it is composed, are altogether inspired, in matter and manner, throughout. We shall do well always to bear this great truth upon our hearts, whenever we approach the Sacred Volume. Any thing short of this plenary character of its divine inspiration lowers the standard of its excellence and worth, and is derogatory both to its Giver, grace, and glory.
It avails nothing for persons of a captious disposition to object, and say, If such be the case, how is it, then, that people have not always regarded the doctrine of the divine inspiration of Holy Scripture in this light, and that many persons still hesitate in ascribing to those inspired records this plenary character? The true cause of such an objection may easily be discovered. If men
will not investigate a subject with a candid mind, free and open to conviction; or, if they make
We hold, then, that God hath sufficiently furnished us with the knowledge of his truth and will, in the Scriptures which we possess, for all the purposes of life and salvation; that what we have, contained in the several books of the Old and New Testament, is furnished for our use by the plenary inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God; and, being thus given, is perfectly adequate for the blessed purpose of leading sinners into the way of life and peace, through the faith of Christ our Lord, and for building up believers in the hope of eternal glory.
And, on the other hand, we may as safely affirm that, whatever has been passed over, or omitted in silence by any of the inspired writers, either was not presented to them by such inspiration, for the purpose of being thus recorded, and, therefore, it was the will of God that such things or events should not be so written; or that they were restrained by the influence of the Holy Spirit from making any mention of them in the Sacred Volume (as, for example, Rev. x. 4); and, consequently, we may as truly maintain that the very omission of such things, instead of arguing against our doctrine, does, in fact, strengthen and confirm it; inasmuch as it was by the Divine Spirit's influence that such omissions were made at all, and no more; and inasmuch as it was by the influence of the same Divine Spirit that the Sacred Record which we possess was divinely inspired and written, containing just so much of the word and truth of God as it really does, and neither less nor more. In other words, we maintain, that those very omissions, if such there were, (for we only argue the point upon a mere supposition,) were as truly omitted from the mind of the inspired prophets and apostles, as what they have actually written was recorded by them under the special and plenary operation of the Holy Spirit.
Nor is there any more weight in what some objectors say about the mistakes which may have possibly been made, from time to time, and the variations of manuscripts in some incidental passages and readings. For, if we admit, and who can deny, that God is the author and giver of his own Word; there can be no great difficulty in believing that he can keep such a watchful eye over it, as to prevent the grand point of its inspired testimony, namely, the making of sinners wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, alike from being impaired by the ignorance or carelessness of some, and from being rendered nugatory by the subtilty or wickedness of others.
And, if this be a valid supposition, then, may we not say, although such parties never meant it so, may not such mistakes and variations, if such exist, be as much overruled by the Spirit of God for the sake of preserving the integrity of the truth, as the inspired records actually were the productions of the Divine Spirit, when they were originally and consecutively given? Has any fundamental doctrine of the Gospel been vitiated ? Has any precept of the law been nullified ? Has any promise of mercy been obliterated ? or, at least, has any doctrine, precept, or promise, been so vitiated, nullified, or obliterated, in any such manner, but that it may be easily discovered and restored to its original purity?
Even the gross frauds of the Papists, in omitting the second commandment in their use of the decalogue, though still making up the number ten by dividing the last into two, in order to prop up their wicked scheine of diversified idolatry; and the equally wicked device of Socinians, in corrupting the sacred text, and giving an unnatural meaning to the divine original, for the purpose of representing Christ as a mere man, and divesting his glorious person of the godhead which dwelt bodily in him; only serve to prove the wickedness of some in their method of "handling the Word of God deceitfully," and to bring to light the care which He constantly exercises for maintaining the purity and authority of his revealed will. For, how many persons, in all ages, have been raised up in the order of his Divine Providence, to bring to light these
“hidden things of darkness," and to expose, before all the world, the wicked schemes of his opposing foes ? So that the truth has been more investigated, and the designs of its enemies have become more exposed, in consequence of the measures they have taken to corrupt its purity, and to obscure, not to say overthrow, its sacred testimony of divine mercy and love.
And, here again, for aught any man can say to the contrary, may not God, in his righteous judgment, permit the one to act in this manner for their just condemnation, as certainly as he may, by the superintending influence of the Spirit, make use of others to watch over the truth of his blessed Word; and thereby, whether knowingly or not, to slew forth his praise and glory? For, as no enemies, or trials, can hurt a true believer in Jesus Christ; he being always under his care and protection, and they being all sent or sanctified for his present and eternal good; so, in like manner, can no enemy or device succeed in preventing the success, or destroying the efficacy of the Divine Word; because He, whose Word it is, and whose mercy it reveals, hath decreed the contrary. The wicked may rage; the ungodly may project; and infidels and others may plot and scheme; but, after all that men may attempt or do to the contrary, “His counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure ;” because " the Word of our God shall stand for ever.”
In either way, therefore, and in every respect, our position respecting the plenary inspiration of the written Word of God remains just the same; nay, is more and more established thereby; and, consequently, we may rest assured of this infallible testimony, as being the sure and certain Word of the great and glorious Being who liveth and abideth for ever.
We hope, then, we have sufficiently demoustrated, and trust that it may be cordially received, as a most blessed and undoubted truth, that the whole Bible, the whole Book of God, the whole body of the Sacred Volume, as contained in the sacred writings of the Old and New Testament, is altogether inspired; as God's revealed word and will to sinful men; that the revelation thus given is not the word of men, but the word of God throughout; that the inspiration, under which it was given and written, is altogether of and from God himself alone; and that, as thus coming from him, it contains nothing but what is thus inspired in its sacred testimony; or, in other words, that it is plenary in its Author, substance, language, and manner. The record is fully and entirely GOD'S WORD, which is “able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
May it be thus regarded and received by all who may be led to value what the Author of the DOMESTIC COMMENTARY has written on its sacred contents! If this be the case, whatever may be thought of the productions of man, whether more or less of an instructive character, one great object would be certainly gained. God's Word would be read and heard with the highest reverence. While infidels and sceptics, of every shade and degree; and others, of a thoughtless and wicked disposition, were trying to weaken its authority and lessen its testimony, the humble disciple like Mary, will sit at the feet of Jesus to hear HIS gracious words, and will say, with the devout Psalmist, “I will hear what GOD the LORD will speak; for HE will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints; but let them not turn again to folly.” (Psalm lxxxv. 8.) May we remember, that the people whom he loveth, all his saints that are in his hand, sit down at his feet, and every one shall receive of his words ! (Deut. xxxiii. 3.) May we always bear in mind, what one greater than Moses or David hath said: “Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” (Proverbs viii. 32–36.).