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refers particularly to the epistles of Paul, and, and Joseph ; that is, on the Friday evening; and ranks them with the sas AOPIAS 78&pas—“the that this was done with the full knowledge of other Scriptures," whose inspiration had been at- Mary and the other women, who were present at tested by Christ.

the crucifixion. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, 10. Here, then, we may rest the question re- however, state that the spices for embalming the lative to the inspiration of the didactic parts of body were purchased by the women after the the New Testament. That inspiration was neces- entombing, it being intended to perform the prosary, in order to a perception of the truths made cess of embalming on the Sunday morning. known by the writers—was promised by Christ (3) The numerous variations existing in the was claimed by the respective authors and was several narratives of the resurrection are obvious conceded by the persons to whom they wrote. enough to every reader of the gospels; the numeBeyond this point, however, we find no indication rous and fruitless efforts that have been made to of divine superintendence or suggestion having remove them sufficiently demonstrate them to be been afforded to the writers of the New Testa- more than apparent. ment. So far, indeed, are the evangelists from (4) To mention one case more. referring the origin of their narratives to any such counts which three of the evangelists have given inspired source, that in the only case in which we of a dispute that took place amongst the disciples

, can derive direct information relative to the sources for pre-eminence in the kingdom of the Messiah, of their knowledge, we are necessarily led to deny and of the conversation which subsequently took the assumption. In the preface to Luke's gospel, place between them and our Saviour, there is a that evangelist sets forth the pretensions upon very marked and striking difference; but between which he demands the credence of those to whom two of the narratives this difference is so great as he addresses himself. In alleging the motives to render them utterly irreconcileable with each from which he undertook the task of writing his other. According to Matthew, the disciples came narrative, he claims for it no higher origin than to Jesus to ask who should be the greatest in the was conceded to the “ many" to which he refers kingdom of heaven. According to Mark, however, (ver. 1), and no higher authority for the facts set the dispute amongst the disciples arose on the forth than was derivable from the diligence of the way from Galilee to Capernaum; and on their author, and the superior nature and credibility of arrival in the town, our Saviour excited their his resources (ver. 4).

surprise, by discovering to them his knowledge of 11. But we shall not dwell upon this circum- the controversy in which they had been engaged. stance, important as it is in relation to the theory He was the first to notice the occurrence. He of inspiration, so far as the evangelical narra- asked them of what they had been disputing on tives are concerned, but at once advert to certain the way; and so far do they appear to have been portions of these narratives, for the purpose of from soliciting his opinion, that they hesitated to showing, that to claim a constant superintending answer his question as to the fact, being by that control of the Holy Spirit on behalf of them, time convinced of the error and sin into which must necessarily lead to insuperable and very they had been betrayed. serious difficulties.

12. These discrepancies might be greatly multi(1) In the accounts which the evangelists have plied, but it is unnecessary to add to their number. given of the cure of a blind man, in the vicinity One such discrepancy, if its existence be assumed, of Jericho, there exists a difficulty utterly incom- is as conclusive against the plenary inspiration of patible with the notion of divine inspiration. the narrative in which it is found, as a thousand Luke states that the transaction occurred as our of them would be ; for it is to be observed, that Saviour was approaching towards Jericho ; while the cases we have produced, are not cases in which Matthew and Mark represent it as having taken there is a mere variation in the mode of relating a place after his departure from it.

transaction, one writer supplying what another (2) Let the reader next turn to the accounts omitted ; they involve direct and palpable confurnished of the embalming of Christ at the tomb, tradictions; and, notwithstanding all the labour by Matthew, Mark, and Luke; and compare those and ingenuity which have been expended upon accounts with the narrative which John gives of them, they are utterly incapable of being removed. the transaction, and the discrepancies will be seen 13. Now, however unimportant such variations to defy human ingenuity to remove them. John, in the text of the sacred narratives may be, viewed who often appears anxious to rectify the trivial in themselves, and however little they affect the errors of the preceding evangelists, informs us, in general credit of the writers, as faithful and trustthis case, that previous to the entombing of the worthy historians, they are, as we have said, Saviour's body, it was embalmed by Nicodemus wholly irreconcileable with the notion of a constant divine inspiration; for where this exists, there ficulty in the way of embracing Christianity, while must be an absence of all error. To suppose, as they become to the timid Christian a fruitful source some have done, that these contradictions have of disquietude and perplexity. Let the evangelibeen allowed for the purpose of inducing a reli- cal histories, however, be regarded in the character ance upon the divine communications, even where in which they present themselves to the world. they are contradictory to human reason, appears to Let them be considered as mere historical combe, not only a palpable begging of the question, positions, where they assume no other character; but to savour of so much absurdity, as to preclude let their credibility be tried by the same tests as a serious answer. The inspiration of any writing any other literary work of the same species ; let is only to be gathered from internal evidence; and their general agreement among themselves, and where this evidence makes against the assumption, with other historical documents, be urged as inthe case is clearly and finally settled.

contestable proofs of their authenticity, while their 14. We may ask, too, what is gained by con- unimportant discrepancies are exhibited as proofs tending for the inspiration of those parts of Scrip- of the absence of all concert among the writers, ture which are the subjects of this inquiry? By and of their independent modes of proceeding ; its abandonment, no evidence of the divine origin and nothing will be lost, but much will be gained, of Christianity is given up—no doctrine of the by abandoning the notion of an universal inspiraChristian faith is rendered questionable or nuga- tion in the writings composing the Holy Bible. tory. These are not founded upon the fidelity III. We have thus established the proposition with which the minutiæ of events are detailed ; originally laid down ; namely, that the Scriptures but upon the fact of certain great occurrences, and are the media through which the divine revelation upon the truth of certain annunciations, whose in- is made to mankind, and also succeeded, we hope, spiration is placed beyond question. Of the truth in relieving the subject from some of the diffiof this remark, all persons appear to be fully sen- culties with which it is generally encumbered. If sible when engaged in defending the outworks of such be the character and claims of the sacred Christianity against the assaults of the deist. In writings, then—if they be the only source of divine controversy with such a one, no advocate of Chris- knowledge, the only authenticated medium through tianity attempts to argue the inspiration of the which the will of God and the knowledge of and sacred records; all his efforts are directed to ex- preparation for a future state of life and immorhibit the proofs and confirmatory evidences of their tality are to be obtained—how gratefully and degenuineness, authenticity, and general credibility; voutly should we avail ourselves of their light, and and it is only when these points have been settled, submit to their teachings ! “Coming to the word that the question of inspiration is adverted to. of God, we are like children brought into the con

15. In conclusion, it may be remarked, that the versation of experienced men, and we should absence of plenary inspiration, and the existence humbly listen and reverently inquire : or, we are of such discrepancies in the narratives of Scripture like raw recruits introduced into high and polished as those now pointed out, not only do not tend to life, and we should unlearn our coarseness, and weaken the evidences of the Christian revelation, copy the habits of the station : nay, we are like but, on the contrary, contribute most effectually to offenders caught, and for amendment committed to strengthen and confirm them. A universally in the bosom of honourable society, with the power spired writing can contain no real contradiction, of regaining our lost condition, and inheriting because this implies a departure, more or less, from honour and trust. Therefore we should walk softly the precise truth—the prevention of which enters and tenderly, covering our former reproach with into all our notions of inspiration. This has ever modesty and humbleness, hasting to redeem our been felt by the advocates of plenary inspiration; reputation by distinguished performances, against and hence the laborious but fruitless attempts to offence doubly guarded, doubly watchful for opporgloss over difficulties that could not be removed, and tunities to demonstrate our recovered goodness.” to disguise and mystify contradictions that could not be reconciled. To the conscientious deist these considerations must ever present an insuperable dif

* Irving, Oracles of God, pp. 21, 22.

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CHAPTER II.

THE OBJECT OF DIVINE REVELATION.

prepara

The Necessity for a Divine Revelation- The great Objects of great objects for which revelation was made, and

Revelation-- The Harınony subsisting amongst the various for which it is preserved and handed down to portions of Revelation-The Law introductory and

mankind. tory of the Gospel - Divine Revelation gradually developed --Its congeniality with the Nature and Destinies of Man.. 3. But though revelation refers principally to

the future state of man, its assurances and requiIn discussing the media of Divine Revelation sitions include the greatest possible degree of we have been compelled to speak incidentally of

present happiness. To know that when the its object; but we must now advert to this topic present life shall terminate, our existence will more particularly, and at large.

commence in a higher sphere; that intellect shall 1. Had time been nought but stagnant duration, be eternally expanded by fresh accessions of and man been exempt from the ravages

of death,

knowledge; that the sympathies shall increase no excursive conjecture would have wandered to with enlightened ardour, and be exercised upon the future, nor life been darkened by the shadow elevated and multiplied objects ; that the virtuous of its expected end. We should have compre-associations of earth shall be purified and recomhended our destiny, and experience would have menced ; that we are the objects of the Divine supplied all the knowledge our necessities required. solicitude and protection, and are regenerated and But our days are numbered, and our experience exalted by his love ;—are sufficient to create limited. That natural life would terminate, man

present delight, as well as to allay all apprehension kind have always been conscious : yet, to follow and anxiety as to the future. The prospective obthe victim of death beyond the tomb, and ascertain

jects of revelation thus unite with its more immewhether existence was continued or became ex- diate operations; and, what is not to be overlooked, tinct; to determine whether this was the only there is

, between the end and the means, the hapworld in which man lived, or but an incipient piness and its materia, a visible connexion, as stage of being indissolubly connected with the well as a mutual concordance. The one naturally future; human powers were wholly inadequate. produces the other, and they are thus closely But of all uncertainties, that which relates to allied, as cause and effect. existence or annihilation is the most gloomy and

4. What we have said of revelation generally terrible. Its tendency is to induce a stubborn comprehends all its parts. The spirit, import, apathy which prevents enjoyment, while it sus- and objects of the law, were in exact accordance pends apprehension, and renders man insensible with those of the gospel.* There is no opposition, to happiness as well as to danger. Of the anxiety but the strictest harmony, between them. of mankind to ascertain the realities and certainty evangelical and apostolic writings were penned of a future life, we have abundant proofs . It that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ

, was the great object of solicitude with the most the Son of God; and that, believing, we might enlightened of the heathen philosophers; but their have life through his name” (John xx. 31), it is unaided reason never carried them beyond the not less true, that eternal life through a divine probability of immortality. Man's reason was mediator is the great doctrine inculcated and illuscompelled to abase itself, after every attempt to trated throughout the law and the prophets. The penetrate into the future, and to confess its im- revelation, it is true, was gradually unfolded. Its potence whenever it affected to scan the unseen full light did not burst upon mankind at once ; mysteries of the eternal world.

they would have been unable to bear it. Hence 2. To illuminate that which was obscure, to it seems to be most wisely established in the divine turn doubt into certainty, to convert inference into proof, and to relieve the wretchedness of incessant and anxious conjecture; to extend the vision of

• The following remark of Josephus is most important, and

is moreover quite relevant to our purpose : To account for our faith where the eye of reason failed, and declare stedfast faith in God and his commandments, it is necessary to that happiness which hope had sought for in vain; recur to the fact, that our system of laws was far more useful to supply virtue with renovated motives, and appal than that of any other nation. For Moses regarded all the wickedness by the misery which its commission virtues as subordinate parts of piety to God, and not piety as

a mere subdivision of virtue. In his legislation, he recognizes entails; to change the aspect of humanity, and all our actions as having ávapopdv apos Ocov, a relation radiate the prospects of man ;—these were the I to Cod.” —Contr. Ap. ii. 16.

decrees, that a ceremonial worship and a sacrificial ficial worship must be regarded as one of the most service should every where precede the worship unaccountable institutions of the ancient world. “ in spirit and in truth." We find, therefore, Strange, indeed, that uncorrupted nature even, among all the pagan nations, imposing ceremonies, without the aid of grace, should feel, in so lively and among the Jews also, a splendid external a manner, its dependance upon God, and its deep worship; but—and here is the striking difference pollution! The belief also in one only God, what monotheism, and a symbolical and typical mean- a tone of genuine piety it produced! This, as ing, stamp upon the Israelitish worship a peculiar Professor Tholuck remarks,+ has not been hitherto character.* The religious laws of the Jews had sufficiently appreciated. The gods of the Greeks plainly two grand objects in view :—to inscribe were exalted men, who, being unequal in might, monotheism upon the very tablet of the heart, were embroiled in mutual contentions. As he and to awaken a lively sense of sin. The priest- who knows no better protection and no surer dehood and the law were ordained for this purpose. fence than the favour of a powerful party, never Hence we find such frequent and striking allu- can attain to quietude and tranquillity, but is at sions to humility in the Old Testament. “ The one time full of anxiety lest his party should be Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken forced to succumb, at another disquieted with heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit,” solicitude, lest he should lose his favour, must Ps. xxxiv. 18. “He hath shewed thee, O man, cherish in his bosom an everlasting conflict and what is good ; and what doth the Lord require of dread ; so also was it impossible that an unclouded thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to spiritual life should dawn in the bosom of a walk humbly with thy God,” Mic. vi. 8. “For serious-minded Greek. He could not say, with thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth the Psalmist : “Truly my soul waiteth

upon God." eternity; I dwell in the high and holy place, with An unceasing ebb and flow must have disquieted him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, the fainting heart, when one deity was known to to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive hurl defiance in the face of another. I

Such was the heart of the contrite ones," Isai. Iviii. 15. far from being the case with the Hebrew. He - For all these things hath mine hand made, and knew that his God was the God of heaven and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to earth, who gave to all nations their habitations, this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and to whom “every knee shall bow, and every of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word,” tongue shall swear” (Isai. xlv. 23). The effects Isıi. Ixvi. 2. “ He resisteth the proud, but giveth of this constant flowing forth of the heart towards grace to the humble.” Sin, sin, then, is the word the only living and the true God, are known to which is heard again and again in the Old Testa- those who lead a spiritual life.

That it means, ment, and had it not there for centuries rung in to look away from man, and to look solely to God, the

ear, and fastened on the conscience, the joyful was well understood by all the holy men of the sound of grace for grace could not have been Jewish and the Christian church, by all the heard, at the time of Christ, as the watchword of martyrs, and by Luther also, when he replied to the New Testament. What need of grace have the prime elector, “ You cannot protect me by those heathen who will hear nothing of sin, while, your might, but I can protect you by my prayers.” alas ! they feel too much of its destructive conse- 5. Such were the effects of the faith in the only quences ? To this end was the whole system of true God. Still more beneficent was the faith in sacrifices; to this end, the priesthood—that all the only living God, as the Holy One who reigns flesh might know that it is grass. It was obviously above the powers of Nature. Of course, there essential that thereby the law should prepare the was nothing in their system by which the soul of way for Christianity. In every view, the sacri- man might range beyond the limits of time.

Nay, terrestrial things were even consecrated in

the eye of the Greek. It seemed, therefore, in The entire religions system of the Jews is, in the most them beneath his feet.

him temerity, to lift himself above them, and see appropriate sense, a prophecy; and the individual passages of their sacred books are merely the strongest expressions of that

6. If we direct our attention to the political spirit which enlivens the whole mass. To the saine purport portion of the Law, we shall find that in this are the passages, Col. ii. 17, and Heb. x. 1, where the okid, respect the institutions of Moses will cope with a shadow, is the obscure and imperfect resemblance

, which those of any other nation. The natural sentiment Lalls so far short of the glorious splendour of the reality, that it can excite but very faint ideas of it. Lehmus, Letter to Harms, p. 15, and Ran, Ueber die Typologie, p. 71, quoted in Thoturk's Hlints on the Importance of the Study of the Old Testa

+ Hints, &c., p. 214. 401, p. 250.

# Æschylus, Prometheus, verse 1045, ed. Glasgow.

of humanity and equity was laid at the founda-filled, and the revelations of the Almighty were tion, and from this principle proceeded most of divested of all their obscurity. the commands. Witness the humanity and 8. Such, briefly stated, are the great object and gentleness towards strangers, widows, orphans, gradual development of divine revelation. Had and even beasts. How tender is the prohibition it only amused the fancy with rhapsodies of future (Exod. xxii. 21, xxii. 9), “Thou shalt neither exaltation; had it prescribed no conditions and vex a stranger nor oppress him; for ye know the required no obedience; had it effected nothing but heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the expansion of eager hope and impetuous dethe land of Egypt.” And again (Lev. xix. 34), sire, there would have been no visible and “But the stranger that dwelleth with you, shall rational connexion between the cause and the be unto you as one born among you; and thou effect. It would have been a matter of investigashalt love him as thyself.” Witness also the tion, and not of reason. But now its first prinnumerous commands concerning widows and ciples rest on individual consciousness and experiorphans;* and, before all other commands, those ence. It propounds that which has been attested which enjoin as follows, “ Thou shalt love God by the collective generations of mankind, that supremely, and thy neighbour as thyself.” the human heart is evil, that evil incurs punish

7. This law and this religious service were, it ment, and induces misery, so long as it exists. is true, a mere reil. They became about the It proposes to emancipate man from darkness and time of our Saviour more and more spiritless and sin, to renovate his nature, and recover him from nerveless. Then it was that the winged Psyche spiritual and moral degradation. burst from its chrysalis state, and extended its wings does not terminate on the external man. It is toward heaven. Until this happened, holy men not a code of mere outward morality—a specious were sent continually, down to a very late period, mantle to conceal inherent defects : it penetrates who breathed forth the Spirit of the Almighty, the latent source of action; it demands an entire and enlivened the age; “but when the fulness of conversion from wickedness, and a restoration of the time was come, God sent forth his Son;" the the image of God in the human heart. It implies, law was communicated, the prophecies were ful indeed, a spiritual resurrection—an utter extinc

tion of the corruptions of the natural man. Is

not this an object worthy of the Almighty, and * Exod. xxii, 15; Lev. xix. 32; Deut. xv. 7; xxiv. 10,

identified with the highest and most enduring 14. 17; Exod. xxiii. 11; Numb. xxii. 24; Deut. xxii, J. Tholuck on the Study of the Old Testament, pp. 212, &c. interests of his creatures?

CHAPTER III

THE EVIDENCES OF DIVINE REVELATION.

The accumulated and concurrent Evidence of Revelation-, examined,” says an able writer,“ there is a certain the Genuineness of the Scriptures—the Authenticity of the body of evidence which, taken together, constiScriptures- Integrity of the Sacred Text-Proofs that the Scriptures comprise a Divine Revelation : Miracles; Pro tutes the proper and adequate answer to that inphecy; the Doctrines of Christianity; the Spread and Revi- quiry; which evidence, therefore, ought not to be val of the Gospel-Recapitulation.

divided so long as the inquiry is supposed to be The only difficulty connected with the subject still open. If it be asked, what are the constituto which this chapter relates arises out of the vast ent parts of this body of evidence, they include, accumulation of materials before us, and the ne- among other topics, the following, most commonly cessity we are under of making such a selection insisted on :- The miracles of our Saviour and his as shall indicate the nature and value of the seve-apostles—the series of prophecy—the extraordiral parts, without weakening or destroying the nary perfection and sanctity of Christ's moral doceffect of the whole.

trine_his own character as expressed in his life

upon earth—the rapid and triumphant propaSECTION I.

gation of his religion under the special circum

stances of that event—the singular adaptation of THE ACCUMULATED EVIDENCES OF REVELATION.

the religion itself to the nature and condition of 1. “WHENEVER the truth of Christianity is man, both in its form and in its essential pro

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