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would have probably treated them with total neglect. This pleasing variety serves also to confirm their authenticity. Had the style of the whole Bible been exactly uniform, however excellent; had there been no differences in idiom, expression, and manner, corresponding to the diversified ages and countries, advantages and habits of the penmen, this monotonous exhibition would have been loudly appealed to by Deists as an incontestable proof of imposture. Besides, while the whole Canon of Scripture was intended for the permanent use of the church, the various parts of which it consists were, in the first instance, intended for the edification of those who lived at the period in which they were written; and how could that object have been satisfactorily accomplished, unless the penmen had employed a style suited to the prevailing taste and habits of their contemporaries whom they addressed?

It will not be denied that verbal inspiration is possible, and that, for aught we know, it might, to infinite wisdom, have appeared expedient. Supposing, therefore, that inspiration of this sort had been resolved on by the All-wise, and supposing also that one unvarying style was necessary to prove that the words were suggested by the Spirit, it belongs to objectors to point out the particular style fit to be selected. Would it have been right to prefer the style of one age or country, or of one sacred writer, as that of Moses, and appoint it the standard to which all other sacred writers were to conform, whatever might be the peculiarities of their own genius and circumstances, or whatever changes the course of time might produce on the customary, arrangement of words and idioms of speech ? Whether is a plain and popular, or a highly classical style, entitled to the preference? If a highly classical, is the palm to be assigned to that which is considered so in ancient or in modern times, in oriental or in western countries ? Or, should all inspired men have been made to employ a superhuman diction, an angelical style of composition, foreign to all the usual modes of communication amongst mankind, and too refined for them to understand ? If none of these forms be approved of, what other style can our opponents recommend as the most eligible vehicle of all inspired sentiments ? Let them attempt themselves to solve this difficulty, before they renew their vehement representations of the diversity of diction observed in Scripture, as an insuperable objection to verbal inspiration.

Allowing the propriety of diversified phraseology in Scripture, and of each writer being distinguished by his own style,

it was certainly not impossible for the omniscient and allpowerful Spirit to furnish every penman with terms and expressions adapted to his own capacity and circumstances. To render the whole current of Scripture language singularly good, and at the same time varied in its peculiar tints and features, according to the varied ability, education, and condition of the writers, was not beyond the circle of possibilities. The Spirit of God is not restricted to any one particular mode of operation or expression. With perfect facility, he could utter the same ideas in many different forms of speech, and cause each penman to employ his own characteristic style.

The words of the sacred writers are, in fact, at once God's words and their own. The words, and the style, which is just the arrangement of the words, must be attributed to God as the author, and yet to the penmen as the instruments from whom they naturally flowed according to the particular cast of their minds respectively. Whilst they exercised their own judgment and ability in the choice of expressions, the Holy Spirit, who has immediate access to the human soul, “ did so guide and operate in them,” to adopt the language of Dr Owen, “as that the words they fixed upon were as directly and certainly from him, as if they had been spoken to them by an audible voice.”* On these principles, verbal inspiration is not inconsistent with the most palpable differences in style; and it is no valid objection against the Spirit's dictating every word, that “ Isaiah is more florid and magnificent in his expression than Amos."

The objection before us, it must be further remarked, if it prove any thing at all, proves by far too much. The sacred writers are distinguished from each other, be it observed, not

* Owen on the Spirit, book ii. ch. i. sect. 20.

+ An able writer, formerly quoted, has the following remarks on “the argument against the plenary inspiration of the Apostles, drawn from the variety of style observable in their writings:"_" It is an argument,” says he, merely by their words and style, but in some respects by their matter. "Whilst they most harmoniously concur in teaching the same doctrines and duties, an obvious diversity exists among them as to their favourite views of a subject, the tenor of their arguments, the mode of their illustrations, and the pervading tone of their addresses. Among ancient Prophets, one is noted for pathos, another for sublimity of conception; one for alarming, another for consolatory messages. Among Apostles, one excels in ardour of spirit and profundity of reasoning, a second in a sweetly overpowering exhibition of divine love, and a third in awful gravity of exhortation and reproof. The sacred penmen are every where discriminated by peculiarities as well of mind as of manner; by characteristic intellectual operations, not less than by varieties in the selection and arrangement of words. But what is the consequence? Does any sober and reasonable Christian infer from this diversity that their matter is not from God? Whilst we are alive to the sentiments and the mental characteristics of a David, an Isaiah, an Ezekiel, a Paul, a John, and a Peter, do we not still recognise in each of them the effects of supernatural illumination—the dictates of the Holy Spirit? But were the diversity of style among the writers of Scripture a cogent objection against the inspiration of the words, the parallel diversity apparent in their modes of thought would be equally conclusive against the inspiration of ideas.

which leads to conclusions which, we suppose, they who use it never dream of. One of these is, that there is only one style in which truth can be accurately expressed; and another is, that with the exception, perhaps, of the 14th chapter of Isaiah, there is not an inspired chapter in the Bible. But that the real value of the argument may be clearly seen, we shall throw it into the form of a syllogism, which shall stand thus:- The Spirit of God who giveth to all men their knowledge, cannot adapt the expression of that knowledge to every man's peculiar habits of thinking, and modes of composition; but has a style of his own,

which must characterize every writing inspired by him. But great variety of style is observable in the writings of the Bible. Therefore, they cannot all be inspired by him."- Christian Instructor, vol. xxv. p. 107.

Let no one rashly adopt, or pertinaciously retain, a principle which leads to so astounding a conclusion. Let us adore the condescension, wisdom, and sovereignty of the blessed Spirit, in adapting his suggestions, with reference both to matter and style, to the varied features, intellectual, moral, and physical, of those holy men whose instrumentality he was pleased to employ in imparting infallible instruction to the church. Let us exercise a salutary caution, lest we make this gracious procedure on the part of the Spirit a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence. Rightly understood, it will powerfully establish our faith in the Sacred Volume as completely inspired ; unhappily perverted, it may at length serve the purpose of a specious pretext for an unqualified denial of its divine inspira

tion.

IV. Another objection to Verbal Inspiration is derived from the supposition, that it is quite unnecessary. “ Provided the matter were inspired,” it is alleged, “ there was no need for the inspiration of words. The sacred writers, impressed with

the interesting thoughts revealed to them, could of themselves, without difficulty, express these thoughts in appropriate language; and we ought not to imagine that miraculous aid was vouchsafed any further than the exigencies of the case required. ”

This objection has been partly obviated by the remarks formerly made on the close connexion betwixt thoughts and words. It becomes us, first, to inquire what the Scripture saith on this subject; and when we find it plainly affirmed that the words of the Apostles are “ words which the Holy Ghost teacheth,” we should rest assured that verbal inspiration was neither profitless nor unnecessary. The only wise God, most certainly, does nothing in vain. Miraculous operations, in particular, are not lavished away without cause. Yet who can contemplate the numerous miracles that confirmed the divine mission of Moses, and more especially the vast profusion of mighty works employed to establish the divinity of the Saviour's mission and the truth of his doctrine, without concluding that the God of wisdom is not sparing even of his miraculous agency, where it is conducive to a valuable purpose. The inspiration of the Prophets and Apostles, suppose it confined to the ideas, was unquestionably miraculous; and if this be granted, why should we be reluctant to believe that the miracle was carried a little further, and included the inspiration of the words? Did the Creator of the ends of the earth faint, and become weary of working ? Or were his mercies towards us restrained, so that he left it to fallible men to finish a perfect law—a precious revelation of his character and will, which he himself had commenced? The diction could not fail to be more excellent if the words were suggested by the Spirit, than in the event that they were merely of human selection, or chosen by men guarded only by a general superintendence that prevented glaring improprieties. Whatever may be alleged regarding Moses, and Paul, and several other writers of the Scriptures, it cannot be denied that some of them stood in peculiar need of being supplied by the Spirit with words, as well as with ideas. Fishermen and publicans, who had never made grammar or composition their study, and had not been accustomed to arrange their thoughts, or seek out acceptable words for the instruction or persuasion of others, must have felt themselves very inadequately qualified for writing a history of Christ, or any illustration of his doctrines and precepts, unless the Spirit of God had taken the entire command of their minds, and afforded them sentiments, and expressions for clothing those sentiments, with equal liberality

Man is ever apt to indulge a proud self-sufficiency, that ineites him to arrogate as much as he can to himself, and to aseribe as little as possible to God. This deep-rooted principle in fallen humanity is the secret spring of those widely prevalent errors, by which mankind attribute to their own righteousnesses, and their own moral powers, that praise and glory which exclusively belong to the finished work and all-sufficient grace of Christ. It is by no means surprising to see men who have embraced that class of specious, but self-flattering and pernicious tenets, prepared to spurn the doctrine of plenary and verbal inspiration. Whilst they unduly limit the operations of the Holy Spirit, and reserve a great share of the honour to themselves, with regard to the conversion and progressive sanctification of the soul, they naturally withhold also from the Spirit a portion of the glory which pertains to him, with reference to the inspiration of the Scriptures. The professed friends of a more Evangelical creed, however, are under special obligations to act a very different part. Might it not be useful to inquire how far it may be owing to that propensity to magnify the capabilities of human nature which lurks in the human heart, and to the subtlety of the tempter, that some even of those who sincerely recognise the divine Spirit as a Spirit of grace, who worketh in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure, discover a backwardness to acquiesce in the statements of Scripture regarding the complete and verbal inspiration of that blessed book?

It deserves to be considered, that, both in the sanctification of our nature and in the writing of the Scriptures, God does all, and man does all; but in different views. Holy inclinations and truly good works are entirely the effects of the Spirit's influence; yet all in whom the Spirit of God resides, do themselves exercise every holy inclination, and perform every good work. The sacred writings, too, both in thoughts and words, are wholly the productions of the inspiring Spirit; yet the honoured penmen did unquestionably, under his inspiration, form those thoughts, and select those words. How difficult soever we may feel it, in either case, to understand the precise mode of the Spirit's operation, or the manner in which the human faculties are exercised under his influence, these difficulties should not lead us to question the truth of the facts. The plea that there is no necessity for the divine agency to

Compare Haldane's Evidence and Authority of Divine Revelation, vol. i. pp. 165, 166.

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