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The same passages are vindicated in a Review of Noble on the Inspiration of the Scriptures, which appeared in the CHRISTIAN Instructor, vol. xxv, for the year 1826, pp. 109, 110. After noticing 2 Tim. iv. 13, and recommending Bishop Bull's Sermon on that text, the reviewer proceeds to refute the reasoning founded on the other passage, in the following terms:
* Another text relied on in support of this argument is 1 Tim. v. 23, *Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and thine often infirmities.' Now, are we to suppose that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul with peptic precepts for Timothy? Even if there were nothing more in the verse, we shall presently produce an argument which, we hope, will render a reasonable man cautious how he rejects it. But we may first remind our readers that the Faustinians, and some other ancient heretics, carried their notion of the unlawfulness of tasting wine to such a length as to pass the cup in the eucharist. Now we may well suppose such a dialogue as the following to have taken place between an orthodox disciple and one of the heretics :
Orth. You seem to have no good reason for your rigid abstinence from wine, since drunkenness is no more an argument against drinking, than gluttony is against eating; and every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused that is received with thankfulness.'
* Her.- True; the juice of the grape is indeed the work of God, but the process by which it is manufactured into wine, makes it the work of man.'
Orth. But our Saviour changed water into wine, for the accommodation of a marriage party.'
Her.— True; but that was under the Jewish dispensation.'
Orth.-- Well, then, here is a text from which there seems to be no evasion-Paul advises Timothy to use wine.'
“And what will the heretic reply to this? If, with the open candour of a manly mind, he allows the argument to be decisive, then the religious use of the text is clearly taught ; or if, with the incorrigible madness of unconvincible and unconvertible fanaticism, he exclaim, “O argument! argument ! the Lord rebuke thee, O argument !-still the force of the text is proved. But if, with many of the learned, the wise and the good, he reply that the Apostle, in penning this passage, cannot be supposed to have been under the influence of inspiration, we must then demand farther explanations. We call for some general rule, some fixed principle, by which we may determine when the Apostles wrote by inspiration, and when they did not; when we may consider their writings as infallible rules of faith and practice, and when we may safely set them aside as not proceeding from the Spirit of God, nor having any relation to us or our affairs. If you take one stone out of this temple, however unimportant or superfluous a one it may appear to be, where is the lapidation to stop?
If one or two particular texts, such as those that we have now been considering, were expunged from the Bible, perhaps we might not deeply feel the loss; but if the principle be once admitted, we see no limit that can be assigned to it, till it has shaken our faith in inspiration altogether, and fairly launched us again in the wide ocean of uncertainty and doubt, without a compass and without a helm."
D, p. 479. Mr Haldane, in his Appendix to his excellent treatise on the Evidence and Authority of Divine Revelation (vol. ii. pp. 497-506), as also at the close of bis small volume on Verbal Inspiration (pp. 197207), has collected a great number of “ Extracts on the Verbal Inspiration of the Scriptures, from the Works of eminent Christian Writers." He very properly disclaims giving them “in the way of authority," and says "they are introduced in opposition to the assertions of those who speak as if the verbal inspiration of the Bible were a novel doctrine." These extracts are taken from the following authors, namely, Irenæus, Origen, Francis TURRETINE, MAESTRICHT, Calvin, Marckius, CLAUDE, Hooker, the Honourable Robert Boyle, Dr John Owen, Estius, the Theologians in the University of Douay, and Bishop JEWELL.
To these quotations we may here add a few passages, to the same effect, from several other writers of celebrity.
“Let it be observed,” says Dr Gill, “ that not the matter of the Scrip. tures only, but the very words in which they are written, are of God." - Complete Body of Divinity, vol. i. p. 172.
Dr RIDGLEY expresses warm disapprobation of those writers who allege of the sacred penmen, “that they were only inspired as to the substance or general idea of what they committed to writing, and were left to express the things contained therein, in their own words; which, as they suppose, has occasioned some contradictions.” “If this account of Scripture be true,” he adds, “it would hardly deserve to be called the word of God." -Body of Divinity, pp. 18, 19.
The very words they wrote," says the worthy Thomas Boston, of Ettrick, “were from Him. The Apostles spoke the very words of the Holy Ghost, and far more wrote so, 1 Cor. ii. 13. And therefore God is said to speak by and in the holy penmen, 2 Sam. xxiii. 2; Luke i. 70; Acts i. 16. He did not give them the matter to put in their own words, but put the words in their hearts too; but in a manner suited to their native style. And truly it is hard to conceive how the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures could reach the end without it, seeing so much depends on the suitable expressing of matter.” — Illustration of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism, vol. i. p. 71.
That excellent man, the Rev. John Brown of Haddington, expresses his views on this topic in the following terms :—“Some distinguish this inspiration of the Holy Ghost into Suggestion, which infallibly directed them, in the declaration of things secret, mysterious, and future;—and SuPERINTENDENCY, which secured them against gross blunders in representing that which they knew before_leaving them to express their thoughts in the manner they judged best. But, if such superintendency be admitted, as the whole of inspiration in lesser matters—(1) Thousands of things, which we, from plain language of Scripture apprehended to be true, may be nothing but blunders of less importance. (2) The most peremptory, clear, and certain testimonies of the Holy Ghost, may be easily rejected, under pretence that they are lesser blunders of penmen. (3) If the penmen had been left to the choice of their words, the meaning of Scripture must be altogether uncertain. The Prophets and Apostles might have had very proper ideas, and yet their words be very improper to express and convey them to us. Erroneous persons may pretend, whenever they please, that such words of Scripture are not proper to express the inspired ideas, and substitute others, which they judge more meet, in their stead."
Compendious View of Natural and Revealed Religion, book i. ch. 3, $ 7,
Omitting similar statements that might be cited from individual writers, we may notice Dr Marsh's general account of the prevailing opinions in Germany on this point. He mentions that the inspiration of words as well as ideas was held by most of the German divines in the seventeenth cen. tury, and by many in the eighteenth. - Translation of Michaelis's Introduction, vol. i. ch. 3, § 1, notes.
It seems right also to insert the following expressions in a declaration on this head, contained in a Testimony in behalf of divine truth, emitted by a Scottish Synod; consisting of upwards of three hundred ministers :
We oppose as hostile to the just claims of the Scriptures, the opinion that the sacred writers were not fully inspired—that their inspiration extends only to the matter of their writings, not to the words.”_" Unless the words can be depended upon as infallibly conveying the mind of the Spirit, the matter of Revelation must be quite undetermined; and to have left us to this uncertainty, would neither have been worthy of the goodness of God, which disposed him to grant such a communication to men, nor of his wisdom, which always selects adequate means for accomplishing his purposes."— Testimony of the United Associate Synod, Part ii. ch. 1, $4.
Whatever ridicule, then, some may have ventured to pour forth on the Verbal Inspiration of the Scriptures, it sufficiently appears, that this doctrine is neither novel, nor universally forsaken. It has been embraced, if not by the majority, at least by a considerable proportion of eminent Christian writers, both ancient and modern. It is still maintained, we trust, by many of the clergy, as well as by the generality of the truly Christian people.
Impartiality, however, requires us to mention some of the many distinguished writers, who have held an opposite opinion.
Even JEROME, that celebrated Father, seems to have denied the inspi. ration of the words of Scripture. This at least has been plausibly inferred from some expressions he uses in his Commentary on the book of Amos; particularly from the following sentence, which occurs in his Preface to that Commentary:~" The prophet Amos was skilled in knowledge, not in language; for the same Holy Spirit spoke in him that spoke by all the Prophets."
AGOBARD, Archbishop of Lyons, in the ninth century, whom Mosheim eulogizes as “a man of wisdom and prudence, and far from being destitute of literary merit,” contended in a controversial Tract, “ that it is absurd to suppose that the Holy Spirit inspired the terms and words”-Quoted by Pictet, La Theologie Chretienne, tom. I. p. 86.
LUTHER, BEZA, and Salmasius, considered Inspiration as extending only to ideas. See a Note by Marsh on Michaelis, vol. i. ch. 3, § 1. Pictet decidedly expresses the same opinion.
" It is not necessary,' says that able divine, “to suppose that the Spirit of God always dictated to the Prophets and Apostles all the words which they employed, and that he taught them every thing they wrote. It is sufficient that they wrote nothing but by the immediate direction of the Spirit of God, so that the Spirit never permitted them to err in that which they wrote.”.
Huet, Bishop of Avranche, in the seventeenth century, affirms, in his work entitled Demonstratio Evangelica. “ that the things are to be attributed to the Holy Spirit, but the words and the language to the Prophets.”
The celebrated Richard Baxter admits that “there is something human in the method and phrase, which is not so immediately divine as the doctrine.”-Saints' Everlasting Rest, 4to ed. London, p. 211.
The excellent Matthew Henry, speaking of the sacred writers, uses the following very moderate terms :- “ No doubt, as far as was necessary to the end designed, they were directed by the Spirit, even in the lan
• Il n'est pas necessaire de suposer que 1 Esprit de Dieu a toujours dicté aux Prophets et aux Apotres tous les mots dont ils se sont servis, et quil leur a apris tout ce qu'ils ecrivoient. Il sufit quils n'ont rien ccrit, que par la direction immediate de l'Esprit de Dieu, en sorte que cet Esprit n'a jamais permis, quils ayeut erré dans ee qu'ils ont crit.-In Theni. Chret. tomne i. p. 85.
guage and expression: For there were words which the Holy Ghost taught (1 Cor. ii. 13), and God saith to the Prophet, Thou shalt speak with my words (Ezek. iii. 4). However, it is not material to us, who drew up the statutes, nor what liberty he took in using his own words. When it is ratified, it becomes the legislator's act, and binds the subjects to observe the true interest and meaning of it."-Exposition of the Old and New Testament, Preface to vol. i. p. iv.
The inspiration of the words of Scripture is of course denied by all those writers who reject the doctrine of Plenary Inspiration. It does not surprise us, for example, to find Mr Parry, in a passage of his Tract on this topic, quoted with approbation by Bishop TOMLINE, delivering his opinion as follows:-“ With respect to the choice of words in which they wrote, I know not but they might be left to the free and rational exercise of their own minds, to express themselves in the manner that was natural and familiar to them, while at the same time they were preserved from error in the ideas they conveyed."— Tomline's Elements of Christian Theology, vol. i. p. 292.
Yet some authors who professedly hold Plenary or complete Inspiration, admit that a great proportion of the words of Scripture were uninspired. Dr DODDRIDGE allows the inspiration of the words in those portions of holy writ which he attributes to the inspiration of Suggestion; but in those passages that were written even by a full inspiration of Superintendency, he considers the writer as “left to the choice of his own words, phrases, and manner."-Family Expositor, vol. iii. p. 418.-Dissertation on the Inspiration of the New T'estament.
Dr Dwight, so far as we observe, does not expressly admit complete Verbal Inspiration; but he makes a near approach to this doctrine. In a passage, where he explains his views of the inspiration of the Apostles, he represents it as including, with others, “the following things :"_" That those things which they had once known, and which were parts of the Christian dispensation, were, by divine power, brought distinctly and fully to their remembrance, That they were directed by the Holy Spirit to the selection of just such things, and such only, and to precisely such a manner of exhibiting them, as should be true, just, most useful to mankind, and most agreeable to the Divine wisdom— That each one was left so far to his own manner of writing, or speaking, as that the style was strictly his own; and yet that the phraseology used by him, in this very style, was so directed and controlled by the Holy Spirit, as to lead him to the most exact and useful exhibition of divine truth; his own words being, in this important sense, words not devised by human wisdom, but taught by the Holy Ghost."-System of Theology, vol. i. ser. 49, p. 399.
The only other writer on this interesting topic we shall liere parti. cularly notice, is the late Dr Dick, whose views on the Verbal Inspiration of the Scriptures seem, in his advanced years, to have become somewhat less strict than they had been at an earlier period of his life. In the first edition of his Essay on the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, published in the year 1800, pages 9-25, whilst he maintains the hypothesis of different kinds of inspiration, he not only holds “ Plenary Inspiration," and represents the sacred penmen as constantly under infallible guidance," but reasons warmly in support of the inspiration of the language; and that not only in " those passages of Scripture which were written by re. velation,” but “in other passages of Scripture, those not excepted in which the writers relate such things as had fallen within the compass of their own knowledge.” No reserve or exception whatever is stated. In the third edition of the same excellent Essay, however, whieh appeared in
1813, and in his Lectures on Theology, published since his lamented decease, this learned and worthy Professor adopts more qualified terms in reference to the last of these points. Instead of calling it, as at the first, a question “ of very great importance,” he now says, “there remains a question which has engaged a considerable share of attention, whether Inspiration is to be understood as extending to the language, as well as to the sentiment?”—“ In answering this question,” he continues, " it is necessary to distinguish one part of Scripture from another. In those parts which are delivered in the name of God; which are commands, messages, and communications from Him, we cannot suppose that the writers were left to choose their own words, but are necessarily led to conceive them to have adhered with equal strictness to the words as to the thoughts.”_" With regard to other parts of Scripture, consisting of histories, of moral reflections, and devotional pieces, I would not contend for the inspiration of the language in the same sense. It is reasonable to believe that the writers were permitted to exercise their own faculties to a certain extent, and to express themselves in their natural manner.”“ It must be granted, that even in relating what they knew, what they had seen, what they had learned from the testimony of others, the sacred writers were assisted, although we should concede only that occasionally a more proper word or expression was suggested to them than would have occurred to themselves; and consequently, the style was not strictly their own, but was a style corrected and improved, and different from what they would have spontaneously used." --Lectures on Theology, vol. i. pp. 203, 204.
For what purpose, the reader may now ask, are these short notices collected of the discordant opinions held by different Christian writers on this contested point? The object, we reply, is not merely to gratify curiosity; far less is it to determine the question by human authority, or, as it is expressed in the text, * by comparing the numbers, the talents, or the virtues of the opposing parties, to form a probable conjecture on which side the scale preponderates.” We cordially adopt the sentiment, that “on such a subject no authority, except that of the Scriptures, is admissible.” We are not ashamed, however, to avow our conviction, that these notices are calculated to teach us a useful lesson of Christian candour and charity, and to restrain the overflowings of excessive zeal.
To contend earnestly for the complete inspiration of all the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testaments, is our imperative duty; yet to assert the impossibility of the salvation of every one who questions the divine origin of some particular book or books of Scripture, or who erroneously imagines that some parts of these sacred books are not fully inspired, would be rash and unwarrantable. Luther himself, as we have seen, refused for some time to admit the inspiration of the Epistle of James; and that of the Apocalypse was questioned, not only by Luther, but by Gre. gory of Nyssa, and some other fathers. RICHARD Baxter, and many other popular divines, have expressly allowed that it is possible for men to obtain salvation by faith in Christ, who, from ignorance or prejudice, are not prepared to recognise the inspiration of several Canonical books. Even Carson, notwithstanding the sharpness with which he criticises unscriptural Theories of Inspiration, expresses his Christian regard for the authors of these theories in the following terms :
" Yet while I spare not errors, my love to those in error is not abated. My brotherhood extends to the whole household of God. While I labour to unfold truth, I presume not to dictate; and though a Christian should reject