« PreviousContinue »
Lord of hosts, saying”—of the word of the Lord having come to Zechariah, who saw visions and held converse with the angels of God—and lastly, of Malachi, whose prophecy is in the terms of a direct communication from God himself, speaking in his own person,
“ I will send my messenger," “ I will come near to you to judgment,”
” “ I am the Lord, I change not."
3. Now that the apostles were similarly inspired, * may be inferred from the promises made to them by the Saviour. " It is not ye that speak, but the spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”
“ It is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” “ The Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” “ He shall abide with you for ever, even the spirit of truth." “ The Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
" When he the spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.” The spirit, we read historically, did come. The illumination was given; and, as the fruit of it, the apostles could say, “they had the mind of Christ.” They were all filled with the Holy Ghost.”
“ The spirit gave them utterance.” “ They spake the word of God with boldness.” “Which things we speak,” says Paul, “ not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.” “ Christ speaking in me.” “ So ordain I in all the churches.” “ The
* The identity of the inspirations of the Old and New Testament seems strongly pointed at in 2 Cor. iv. 13.
things I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” “My speech and my preaching is in demonstration of the spirit and of power." speak the wisdom of God." “ Ye received it not as the word of man, but as it is in truth the word of God." “ It seemed good unto the Holy Ghost and unto us.” These are direct proofs from the New Testament, of the inspiration of the apostles. But what gives such importance to the Old Testament evidence for the inspiration of the prophets is, the similarity in point of endowment and of authority, which is alleged to have obtained, between the teachers of the Old and those of the New dispensation. “ God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.”
“ That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before, by the holy prophets, and of the commandments of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.” “ We are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone."
4. But many are willing to admit the inspiration both of prophets and apostles, who stand in doubt of certain of the other scriptural writers. For aught we assuredly know, the historical, and some of the other books in the Old Testament, may have been written by men, not invested with the prophetical office; and we do assuredly know that the Gospels of Mark and Luke, with the book of Acts, were written by men not investep with the apostolical office. In regard to many of
the elder scriptures, so far from knowing whether the men who wrote them were inspired, we do not even know the names of their authors. And besides, we might know of certain writers that they were at times visited with extraordinary communications from on high, or were occasionally inspired; but when the question relates to a composition, of which perhaps they were the undoubted authors, the writing of it might not have been one of these occasions. They might not have been under the prompting or guidance of this heavenly power, when writing the book in question. They might not have been inspired ad hunc effectum. No one who has a general faith in the records of the Old and New Testament, resting on the common evidences of their general credibility, can doubt the special communications which Solomon received from God. But this does not settle the question, whether he was under the special and infallible direction of God in writing the book of Proverbs, or of Ecclesiastes, or of the Canticlesso as that these should be regarded as the Divine workmanship, God himself being the author of them. Nothing that has yet been produced, in behalf of the words and writings of those men, who properly and strictly were prophets, or of those whom scripture has fully equalled to them as being apostles, can serve to establish the inspiration of the historical or certain of the poetical books in the Old Testament; or the inspiration of two of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles in the New.
5. Now, to meet this allegation of deficiency,
and the demand founded upon it, let it be observed that there are two forms in which a testimony regarding inspiration might be given.
It is an ascription which either might be given to the author, or which might be given to his work. The affirmation might be made that Solomon was inspired to write the book of Ecclesiastes; or, without the mention of Solomon at all, it might be affirmed, that the book of Ecclesiastes is the product of inspiration. And in like manner, we may know nothing of the human authorship of the books of Joshua, and Judges, and Ruth, and Samuel, and the Kings, and Chronicles; and yet, we might have abundant evidence of their divine authorship—for though nothing may have been said of the penmen of these books, viewed as writers; enough may have been said of the books themselves, viewed as works. Now it is this which gives such mighty importance to the voces signata—the special designation that rested exclusively, and by appropriation, on the Hebrew selection of sacred writings, and were applied to none others. No one, of our own day, would misunderstand either the application or extent of that most familiar of all names, the Bible ; and every one knows that Ruth, and the Lamentations, and Zechariah, form parts of the Bible. And the name of scripture, or scriptures, or as you pai, or τα ιερα γραμματα, Or τα λογια του Θεου, stood expressly in the place, and answered all the purposes of our own names the Bible, and the Holy scriptures, or the Old and New Testament. We, of the present age, might not know the author of
Ruth; but we know that Ruth is in the Bibleand, without being informed who the author of this particular book was, without even the information of it in particular being inspired, we, if credibly informed that the whole Bible was inspired, would thenceforth believe in the inspiration of the book of Ruth, as part and parcel of that Bible. And the very question on which we have been engaged, when labouring to determine whether this one and that other book was canonical, is, whether it entered as a constituent, or formed an integral part of the Jewish scriptures. If first we have testimony for the book of Kings being in scripture, even that scripture recognised by all the Jews, quoted by the apostles, and sanctioned by the Saviour himself; and afterwards have the information which can be depended on, that all scripture is inspired--we require nothing further to be satisfied of the inspiration of the book of Kings. Once its rightful place in the canon of scripture is determined; and then, whatever qualities of worth and perfection belong to scripture generally, must belong to this book particularly. The settlement of the question whether or not a book is canonical, leads, by a direct transition, to the settlement of the question whether or not that book is inspired.
6. There is a two-fold advantage in those testimonies, which speak, not of the powers imparted to the writer, but of the properties impressed upon the book; and, more especially, when these are predicated, not of one particular book, but of the whole collection comprised under the general name