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thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldst take my covenant in thy mouth ?” brought Origen to a solemn publie repentance after his shameful apostacy.

Many other striking examples of the salutary tendency of reading the sacred records might be collected from ecclesiastieal history, and even from the reports of those Bible Societies which have been formed within the last thirty years. The regular and devout perusal of the Scriptures, however, is peculiarly encouraged by correct views of their divine inspiration. Whether the person who regards them as nothing more than partially and occasionally inspired, or the individual who, in every chapter and in every sentence, hears the voice of the Blessed God demanding his attention, is likely to read them, not only, as was stated above, with deeper veneration, but also with greater frequency, more lively delight, and with superior probability of reaping spiritual profit, it cannot be difficult to decide.

The same remark seems applicable to that practical improvement of the sacred oracles, without which neither the frequent perusal of them, nor committing large portions to memory, nor even the critical study of their import, or an ability to explain and defend their doctrines, can make us truly and everlastingly happy. Every king that ascended the throne of Israel was enjoined, not merely to write for himself a copy of the law in a book, but to reduce it to practice in his conduct: “ It shall be with him," says Moses, " and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law, and these statutes to do them.”+ The exemplary temper and behaviour of Ezra the priest are thus described :—“ Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” From the whole tenor of the Scriptures, indeed, it appears that their chief object, in subserviency to the glory of their Author, is to induce mankind, of every order and degree, to believe in the Son of God, as the way, the truth, and the life, to glory in his cross, to copy his example, to obey his institutions and laws, and to aspire after that conformity to his image which is an indispensable preparation for dwelling with him through a blessed eternity in his heavenly kingdom.

In reference to this sacred design of the Scriptures, the prin

The Inspiration of the Holy Writings, by Edmund Calamy, D.D., pp. 235, 236. † Deut. xvii. 19.

# Ezra vii. 10.

ex

ciple of Plenary Inspiration has a far more favourable aspect than the contrary tenet.

Who is the man that may be pected to excel in a real practical attention to the word of God, or an habitual care to improve it as the test of character and the directory of conduct, and, in a manner suited to his own spiritual state and exigencies, to profit by its doctrines, precepts, promises, threatenings, examples; in short, by all its beautifully varied and unceasingly interesting parts? Not the reader who assents to the Scriptures only as in part inspired, but he who peruses them under the impression that, in sentiments and language, and from beginning to end, they are wholly given by inspiration of God.

This impression, too, it may be observed, in conclusion, is peculiarly calculated to promote an humble dependence on the Holy Spirit, earnest prayer for his influence, and an assiduous improvement of his gracious illuminations and aids. Who but that same Spirit by whom the Scriptures were inspired can enable us savingly to discern their meaning, to experience their salutary power, and to improve and apply them aright, as “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness ?”. And to whom is there ground to expect that the influences of the Spirit will be most readily and abundantly imparted, but to those who humbly acquiesce in the testimony of the Holy Ghost respecting the complete inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures, and who importunately solicit his guidance in their attempts to understand, and to profit by, the whole Book of God? “ The meek will he guide in judgment,” says the Psalmist, “ and the meek will he teach his way. “ If any man will do his will,” says our blessed Lord, " he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”+

Amid all our endeavours to form accurate sentiments regarding the divine inspiration and the precious contents of Scripture, let us cultivate the temper expressed by the man after God's own heart, in the following petitions:-“ O send out thy light and thy truth-Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Anen. Ps. xxv. 9.

+ Jolin vii. 17.

NOTES.

A, p. 431. Although, in the text, all inquiry is waived with respect to the reasons for which our blessed Saviour himself wrote no part of the New Testament, the following observations on this point, quoted from Dr Dwight's Theology, well deserve the attention of the reader. They are introduced by that able and original writer in a discourse containing a series of reasons, for which the Apostles and their inspired coadjutors were employed, “ in the Divine Economy of Redemption,” to bear testimony to Christ. We extract part of what he says on the second reason assigned, and the entire illustration of the sixth:

• 2dly. Because the Apostles survived the Ascension of Christ.

“ From this circumstance many advantages were derived of very great importance. Had Christ written the whole Gospel, that is, all which he can be supposed to have written, and written it at the only time wlien he can reasonably be imagined to have written it; not a small nor uninportant part of the things pertaining to his own history and discourses, as we now find them in the Gospels properly so called, must have been lost to the world. The account must, I think, have been closed antecedently to the institution of the Lord's Supper; for, from the commencement of the celebration of the passover preceding it, he does not appear to have had any opportunity of writing at all

. Of course, the celebration of this pass. over; the institution of the eucharist; his washing the disciples' feet, and his instructions on that occasion; his consolatory discourses; his intercessory prayer;

his

agony in the garden; the treachery of Judas; his trial, condemnation, death, and burial; his resurrection; his subsequent appearances to his disciples; and his final ascension to the heavens; together with all the things connected with them, could have found no place in the Gospel. But these constitute a large part of the objects of our faith, the means of our instruction, and the rules of our duty. I need not observe that these, also, are objects of the utmost consequence to every man who reads the Gospel; essential parts of the dispensation; without which the system would be broken and lame; without which the most important inquiries of the mind could never be satisfied; and without which the chief wants of the probationer for eternal life could never be supplied.

“ Further, Christ uttered a number of predictions which were not fulfilled during his life, nor intended to be; but which, according to the nature of his declarations, were to be fulfilled soon after his ascension. Among these were his prophecies concerning the descent of the Holy Ghost at the day of Pentecost; the success of the Apostles in preaching the Gospel; the miracles which they were to accomplish; the sufferings which they were to undergo; and the extensive establishment of the Church, by their preaching, among the nations of men. All these prophecies are of such a nature, that the mind of every reader would unavoidably demand an accou of their fulfilment. Had no such account been given, as, if the Gospel had been finished by Christ, must have been the fact; the omis. sion would have been perceived hy every reader to be an unhappy chasm in the history of the Church, which nothing could successfully fill up, and about which there would have arisen many doubts, perplexities, and distresses."

one manner.

Finally, the whole history of the Church contained in the Acts of the Apostles, would, in this case, have been lost to the Christian world. No part of the Word of God is, in many respects, more filled with instruction, or consolation, than this book. The doctrines which it contains are of the highest importance for their wisdom; the precepts for their plainness and excellence; the examples for their number, their variety, and their adaptation to the different circumstances and characters of Christians. The history of this book, also, is of the greatest value for its edifying and instructive nature ; for the satisfaction which it furnishes concerning the state of the Church at that interesting period; for the life, sufferings, and deliverances, the preaching and success of the Apostles, the opposition which they met, and the causes which produced it; the sufferings, patience, and perseverance, the errors and faults, of the first converts; the progress of Christianity, and the extension of the Church; together with à multitude of other things interwoven with these. How useful, how necessary these things are to instruct, edify, and comfort every Christian, particularly every minister, I need not explain; nor need I observe that, in a Gospel written by our Saviour, they could have had no place."(Vol. i. Ser. 49, pp. 396_398. Glasgow edition, 1821).

“ 6thly. Because the Gospel, in its present form, is far more useful to mankind than if it had been written by one person, on one occasion, and in

By the Gospel, here, I mean the whole New Testament. Christ, I acknowledge, could have written it, if he had pleased, in the very form, nay, in the very words in which it is now written. But it would have been a plain and gross absurdity for Christ to have written a history, such as the Acts of the Apostles, or such as that of the events immediately preceding and succeeding his own death, concerning facts which had not yet happened; or Epistles to Churches not yet in being, concerning business, duties, and dangers, of which no vestige had hitherto appeared to have existed. It is not, therefore, irreverent or improper to say that Christ could not, so far as we can conceive, have written the New Testament in its present form, without palpable improprieties, inwoven in the very nature of the work.

“ In its present form, the Gospel is far more useful than it would have been, if written in the manner which I have supposed, in many respects. It is in a much greater degree composed of facts; unless, indeed, the same facts had been communicated in prediction. In the historical form in which they now appear, they are much more easily and strongly realized; more readily believed; more capable of being substantiated by evidence; and more powerfully felt, than if they had been only predicted. The Epistles are also, in a great proportion of instances, written on subjects of real business; and for that reason are more easily proved to be genuine, are far more interesting, and far more instructive, than would otherwise have been possible. Their different dates continue the indubitable history of the Church through a considerable period; and furnish us with a num. ber of very important facts, which we could not otherwise obtain. Their directions to Churches in different countries present us, also, with the extension and state of the Church in different parts of the world at that time. The business, concerning which they were written, occasions a display of the difficulties, doubts, errors, temptations, controversies, and backslidings; the faith, comforts, hopes, repentance, brotherly love, piety, and general excellence, of the Christians to whom they were addressed. These are the peculiarly interesting circumstances of all other Christians. The instructions, therefore, the exhortations, commands, reproofs, encouragements, and consolations, addressed to these Churches, are to all other Christians, as to thein, the very best means of reformation, improvement, and comfort.

The examples of the Apostles, which, in a Gospel completed by Christ, could not have been recorded, are among the most edifying, as well as most interesting, parts of the sacred Canon.

The variety of form and manner, now introduced into the New Testament, is attended with peculiar advantages. It renders the Scriptures far more pleasing. A greater number of persons will read them. All who read them will read them oftener, and will more deeply feel their contents. It renders them far more instructive. In consequence of the various application of the doctrines and precepts to so many different concerns of mankind, clearer views are given of their extent and comprehensiveness. By a comparison, also, of the different passages thus written with each other, as they are thus written with a various reference and application, new truths are obviously, as well as certainly, inferred from them, almost without any limitation of their number. The truths, also, which are thus inferred, are always important, and frequently of very great importance. By this variety of manner, application, and inference, the Scriptures are always new, improving, and delightful; and exhibit incontrovertible evidence of Divine wisdom, in the manner in which God has directed them to be written, as well as in the wonderful and glorious things which they contain.” (Vol. i. Ser. 49, pp. 400, 401).

B, p. 466. It seems proper to quote here the following passage from the Westminster Confession of Faith, chap. i. $ 8. The reader will observe that its statements are entirely accordant with the views expressed in the text, relative as well to the authority of the Scriptures in the original languages, as to the necessity and usefulness of faithful Translations :

“ The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and provi. dence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical ;* so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them ;therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation into which they come, that the word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner ; || and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.”T

C, p. 478. For an ample and satisfactory illustration of the importance of the two passages of Paul's Epistles to Timothy, adverted to in the text, we cheerfully refer the reader to the works of ROBERT HALDANE, Esq.---The Evidence and Authority of Divine Revelation, vol. i, ch. v. pp, 173-186, 2d edition; The Books of the Old and New Testaments proved to be Canonical, pp. 127-142, 4th ed.

+ Is. viii. 20; Acts v. 15; John v. 39, 46. John v. 29. $ 1 Cor. xiv. 6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 27, 28.

(Rom. xv. 4.

• Mat. v. 18.

1 Col. iii. 16.

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