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the Prophets. This passage, therefore, testifies to the immediate inspiration of the whole, and of every part of the Old Testament writings. And the same Apostle gives as ample testimony to the inspiration of the Writers of the New Testament. He speaks of his own inspiration, with great assurance. "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel, which was preached of me, is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." In another passage, he more fully and expressly asserts, that both he and the other Apostles were favored with the inspiration of Suggestion. "But, as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit;-which things also we speak; not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth." The Apostle John also professes to have been divinely taught and directed, in writing his Revelations. "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw." Thus the Apostles and Prophets profess to have written under the immediate inspiration of God, who dictated the matter, manner, and style of their writings. And from this and the other considerations which have been offered, we have sufficient reason to believe, that the Bible was written from beginning to end, by the inspiration of Suggestion.
But since this is a very important subject, which claims a fair and full discussion; it may be proper to
take particular notice of the most weighty objections, which may be made against the plenary inspiration of the holy Scriptures.
1. It may be said there appears a great diversity in the manner and style of the sacred Penmen, which cannot be easily reconciled with the supposition of their being equally and constantly guided by the inspiration of Suggestion.
It is true, indeed, we plainly discover some variety in the manner and style of the sacred Writers. Isaiah and Paul, as well as Moses, David, and Solomon, who were men of education and refinement, write in a more pure and elevated style, than the prophet Amos, who lived among the herdmen of Tekoa, and the Apostle John, who lived among the fishermen of Galilee. But this is easy to be accounted for, by only supposing, that God dictated to each sacred Penman a manner and style corresponding to his own peculiar genius, education, and manner of living. Were a parent to dictate a letter for a child, would he not dictate it, in a manner and style somewhat agreeable to the age, genius, and attainments of the child? And is there not. as much reason, why God should dictate a different manner and style to the different Authors of the Old and New Testament; as why he should employ so many men of such different degrees of knowledge and refinement, to write the sacred Scriptures? We do not discover, therefore, any greater diversity in the manner and style of the sacred Penmen, than we might reasonably expect to find, in case they wrote exactly as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
But, on the other hand, we find a much greater similarity in their manner and style, than could be reasonably expected, on supposition of their writing agreeably to their own genius and taste, without the sug
gesting influences of the Spirit. That great christian philosopher, Robert Boyle, and many other excellent judges of good composition, have justly observed, that there is not only a simplicity, but a sublimity, in the style of Scripture, which cannot be found in any other writings. This is not all. The sacred Penmen have a manner, as well as a style, which is peculiar to themselves. They seem to avoid the common modes and forms of uninspired Writers. They write in the most free, easy, and authoritative manner. They enter upon their subject, without any formal introduction; they pursue their subjects, without any formal arguments, or dissertations; and they conclude their subjects, without any formal reflections, or recapitulations. Herein they not only differ from others, but agree with one another. And this general similarity of manner, as well as of style, is a stronger evidence in favor of their plenary inspiration, than any inaccuracy or inelegance of language is against it.
Besides, the manner and style of the sacred Writers were of too much importance, to be left to their own unassisted discretion and integrity. Will any wise general permit an under officer to deliver his special orders to the army, without dictating the expressions to be used? Or will any public body send an important message to any other public body without dictating the words of the message? Can it be supposed, then, that God would suffer his imperfect, fallible creatures to publish his will, without dictating the manner and style, in which his will should be published?
2. It may be said, that the mistakes and contradictions to be found in the Scriptures, plainly refute the notion of their being written under the inspiration of Suggestion.
To this it may be replied in general, that most of the supposed mistakes and contradictions to be found in the Scriptures, may be only apparent; and so might be fully reconciled or removed, if we were better acquainted with the original languages, in which the sacred books were written, and with the customs and manners of the different ages and places, in which the sacred Penmen lived. But the direct and decisive answer to this objection is, that it operates with equal force against every kind of inspiration. This all must allow, who suppose, that there are more kinds of inspiration than one; and who maintain, that all those parts of Scripture, which were not written by the inspiration of Suggestion, were written either by the inspiration of Superintendency, or the inspiration of Elevation. For, so long as God especially superintended, or especially elevated the minds of the sacred Penmen, he must have effectually preserved them from all real contradictions and mistakes. Indeed, this objection refutes itself. For, if nothing short of the inspiration of Suggestion could have preserved the sacred Writers from falling into real errors, then it must be supposed that they were constantly dictated by the Holy Ghost. And if they wrote under this plenary inspiration, then the merely apparent errors to be found in their writings must be placed to our own ignorance; and all the real contradictions and mistakes must be imputed to the ignorance, or inattention, or unfaithfulness of transcribers and of translators.
3. It may be said, since God originally intended, that the Bible should be transcribed by different hands, and translated into different languages, there was no occasion for his suggesting every thought and word to the sacred Penmen; because, after all, their writ
ings must be subject to human defects and imperfections.
It is sufficient to observe here, that every transcription and translation is commonly more or less perfect, in proportion to the greater or less perfection of the original. And since the Scriptures were designed to be often transcribed and translated; this made it more necessary, instead of less, that they should be written, at first, with peculiar accuracy and precision. Men always write with great exactness, when they expect their writings will be frequently copied, or translated into various languages. The instructions to an Ambassador at a foreign Court, are usually written with extraordinary care and attention; because it is naturally expected that such writings will be often transcribed and translated. And upon this ground, we may reasonably suppose, that the divine Spirit dictated every thought and word to the sacred Penmen, to prevent gross errors and mistakes from finally creeping into their writings by frequent transcriptions and translations.
4. It may be said, that the Apostle Paul seems to acknowledge, in the seventh chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians, that he wrote some things in that chapter, according to his own private opinion, without the aid or authority of a plenary inspiration. In one verse he says, "I speak this by permission, and not of commandment." And in another verse he says, "To the rest speak I, not the Lord."
If we understand these expressions literally, then we must suppose, that the Apostle and all the other sacred Penmen always wrote under a plenary inspiration, only when they gave intimations to the contrary. If it were proper for one of these Writers, then it was proper for all of them, to give notice when