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cies in Latin, Greek, Arabic, Coptic, Persic and various other languages, the rudiments of which they had never learned !
These divine endowments, miraculously imparted to them, enabled them to execute their high com mission, not only in preaching the gospel in all languages of the nations among whom they fulfilled their missionary labours, but in writing the sacred books of the New Testament. They confirmed the truth and divinity of the promises of Christ; and, while we reflect upon those distinguished men, as the divinely appointed instructors of all nations, and consider their perfect harmony in the doctrines which they delivered, if we admit the genuineness and authority of the books ascribed to them, we must possess the strongest assurance that the writers of the New Testament were directed by the inspiration of God.
Divine inspiration, however, it is to be remembered, belongs only to the original Hebrew and Greek scriptures. Yet translations are invaluable, and their worth depends on their agreement with the original writings. On this subject, Dr. Gill remarks :—“Inspiration is to be understood of the scriptures as in the original languages in which they were written, and not of translations; unless it could be thought that the translators of the Bible into the several languages of the nations into which it has been translated, were under the divine inspiration also in translating, and were directed of God to the use of words by which they have rendered the original; but this is not reasonable to suppose. The books of the Old Testament were written chiefly in the Hebrew language, except some few passages in Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezra and Esther, in the Chaldee language, and the New Testament in Greek; in which languages only they can be reckoned canonical and authentic; for this is like the charters and diplomas of princes, the wills or testaments of men, or any deed made by them ; only the original exemplar is authentic, and not translations, and transcriptions, and copies of them, though ever so perfect ; and to the Bible, in its original languages, is every translation to be brought, and by it to be examined, tried and judged, and to be corrected and amended; and if this was not the case, we should have no certain and infallible rule to go by; for it must be either all the translations together, or some one of them; not all of them, because they agree not in all things; nor one, for then the contest would be between one nation and another, which it should be, whether English, Dutch, French, &c.; and could one be agreed upon, it could not be read and understood by all; so the Papists, they plead for their Vulgate Latin version, which has been decreed authentic by the Council of Trent, though it abounds with innumerable errors and mistakes." *
Divine inspiration, moreover, cannot be claimed for the successive transcribers of the original scriptures. Various omissions and differences have been found in the numerous manuscripts that exist of the divine books, and this fact has opened a vast field for the labours of learned critics. For perfect accu
* Body of Divinity. Vol. i., pp. 18, 19.
racy in the numerous copies of them taken before the invention of printing, could not have been expected, unless a miraculous interposition had constantly attended every transcriber of the sacred books. Nevertheless, so great is the agreement found among the existing manuscripts, in relation to all the doctrines, precepts and facts of the Bible, that it has excited the wonder of learned men, who have beheld in this particular, a striking illustration of the admirable providence of God.
Reflecting thus on the character of the sacred books, we find such abundant evidence of their supernatural origin as to banish all doubt from a serious mind. And it seems impossible to imagine what evidence could be afforded that would be more convincing and satisfactory than they possess, of their being given to us by the wisdom and influence of the Holy Spirit! The apostle, therefore, commending the word of God as essential to the sanctification of the Christian, by its transforming power upon its devout reader, says, “But we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. iii. 18.)
GENUINENESS AND AUTHENTICITY OF THE SCRIP
The Sacred books are genuine; not falsified or corrupted— The
manner of their preservation-Early copies and translationsTheir facts indicate their authenticity_Of the Old Testament -Of the New Testament–Substantially the same as delivered by the inspired writers.
READERS of the Holy Scriptures, satisfied as to their divine inspiration, will yet be led to consider whether the sacred books, as we possess them, are really the genuine writings of the inspired men of God. Have they been exchanged, or in any way corrupted and falsified? These inquiries are altogether reasonable, and they deserve the most serious attention, as being vital in their importance regarding practical Christianity.
Divine revelation would have been seriously, or even fatally injured, if the sacred books had not been conveyed down to our times genuine and uncorrupted. But that they have been so preserved, we possess evidences the most conclusive and satisfactory. As to the original writings of Moses, or of the prophets, or of the apostles, it is not known or pretended that they are in existence. Their autographs may not have been preserved to our age, yet
no intelligent scholar, acquainted with biblical antiquities, doubts the substantial agreement of the Holy Scriptures with the original manuscripts of the inspired penmen.
In proof of the genuineness of the Old Testament books, we have the testimony of the Jews through successive ages. They exist now, both in Hebrew and in Greek, as they did in the time of our Saviour and his apostles; the latter being a translation made by the Jews for the use of their descendants, after having settled in Egypt, by the command of Alexander the Great, to aid the Greeks in peopling his new cities, especially Alexandria. This translation was made nearly three hundred years before the advent of Christ. But before that event, notwithstanding the national violation of the laws of God, and the repeated reproofs, warnings and denunciations, uttered against the people, on account of their practical infidelity, their multiplied idolatries, and their abounding wickedness, they preserved the sacred books with the greatest reverence, as the Oracles of God.
Evidence of the most convincing kind as to the genuineness of these sacred books is found in the character and condition of the Jews. Many private families possessed them. But, as the Rev. T. Hartwell Horne states, “If a Jew had forged any book of the Old Testament, he must have been impelled to so bold and dangerous an enterprise by some very powerful motive. It could not be national pride, for there is scarcely one of these books which does not severely censure the national manners. It could