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you is admitted, but it does not reign over you ; it is before you as a lamp, but it is not in you as an unction from on high, a principle of light, a fountain of life! I do not believe that any Pope, even the most enamored with his priesthood, could with confidence utler his prayers before a dead person whom he himself, from the abundance of his plenary authority, had placed in the rank of demi-gods, by canonizing him. How then can a reader of the Bible, who has himself just canonized a sentence of the Scriptures, (however much he may be enamored with his own wisdom) be in respect to such a passage, in the disposition of a believer? Will his understanding descend from its pontifical chair, to abase itself before that word, which, were it not for it, would remain human, or at least doubtful ? We do not study to the bottom the sense of a passage, when we have pronounced it legitimate, only in virtue of a sense already discovered. We but half submit to any authority which we can reject, and which we have placed in doubt. We adore but imperfectly that which we have degraded.
Moreover,—and let us beware of it,—the entire divinity of such or such a word of the Scriptures being dependent, in your eyes, not from the fact that it is found in the oracles of God, but from its presenting to your wisdom and your spirituality, certain characters of spirituality and of wisdom, the opinion which you form cannot always be so exempt from hesitation that you should retain in relation to it none of the doubts with which you commenced. Your faith will, therefore, necessarily partake of your doubts, and it will be itself imperfect, undecided and conditional! Like opinion, like faith; and like faith, like life! But faith is not there; the life of God's elect is not there!
But that which will better demonstrate the importance of the ques. tion which is about to occupy us is the fact, that, if one of the two sys. tems to wbich it may give existence has, as we have said, all its roots steeped in doubt, it brings forth inevitably as fruit, a new incredulity. Why is it that we see so many thousands of men open the Bible, morning and evening, without ever perceiving the doctrines which it teaches with the greatest clearness? Whence comes it that they can thus walk in error, for so many years, with the sun as it were in their hands? Yes; but preoccupied by false notions on the subject of inspiration, and believing that there exists still in the Sacred Scriptures some admixture of error, but desirous, however, to be able to find some sentences which are in their opinion reasonable, in order to be able to believe them divine, they study, even without being conscious of it, to give to them a meaning which agrees with their own wisdom. And thus it is, that they only put themselves in a state of incapacity for recognizing what is God's meaning, but what they represent to themselves as despicable. They strive, for example, when reading the epistles of St. Paul, to find in them the doctrine of man's justification by the law, his native innocency, his inclination to what is good, the moral omnipotence of his will, the merit of his works. But then, what happens ? Alas! After they have attributed, by violence, some such thoughts to the sacred writer, they find a language so badly conceived for the supposed end, terms so badly chosen for that which they wish to say, and reasonings so inconclusive, that they lose, in despite of themselves, whatever of respect they may still have preserved for the letter of the Sacred Scriptures, and bury themselves in Rationalism. It is thus that having com. menced in incredulity, they have gained, as the fruit, another incredulity; darkness in recompense for darkness; and they have fulfilled that dread. ful word of Christ : “ From him who has not shall be taken away even that which he thinketh that he has.".
Such is then the fundamental importance of the great question which is about to occupy our attention. According to the answer which you have made to it, has the arm of the word of the Lord been weakened for you ; the sword of the Spirit has been blunted; it has lost its temper and its incisive power. How could it from thenceforth penetrate even to the "joints and the marrow ?" How could it be powerful against your lusts, your doubts, the world and Satan? How could it give you light, strength, victory, peace? No! It might indeed be that through the pure grace of God, and notwithstanding the unhappy state of the soul, one divine word might suddenly arrest it; then Zaccheus descends from the sycarnore; Matthew quits the custom-house; the paralytic takes up his bed and walks; the dead arises. That may happen without doubt. But it remains not the less true, that the disposition of mind which judges the Scriptures, and doubts, in advance, of their universal inspiration, is one of the greatest obstacles which we can oppose to their action. "The word preached,” says Paul (Heb. 4: 2), “ did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it ;' whilst the most abundant bene." dictions of the same Scritpures have always been the inheritance of those souls which have received it, “ not as the word of man, but (as it is in truth) as the word of God, which effectually worketh in those who believe.” 1 Thess. 2: 13.
We see, then, that this question is one of immense gravity for the life of our faith ; and we are right in saying that between the two an. swers which may be made to it, there is the same abyss which separated the two Israelites who had seen Jesus Christ in the flesh, and who had equally recognized him as a prophet. But whilst one of them, consider. ing his carpenter's dress, his mean food, his hands rendered hard by labor, and his rustic suite, believed him to be still liable to error and to sin, as an ordinary prophet; the other recognized in him the Emmanuel, the Lamb of God, the Lord our Righteousness, the Holy One of Israel, the King of kings, the Lord of lords.” Preface, pp. 1–7.
This extract, though long, will be received with interest by our readers. It gives a very clear and just idea of the importance of the subject, and the necessity of having correct and well established views of it.
In the first chapter of the work, Professor Gaussen gives us Some account of the word θεοπνευστία :
It is, the name of that mysterious power which the Holy Spirit exercised upon the writers of the Old and New Testaments, to cause them to compose them such as the Church of God has received them from their hands. "All Scripture,” says an apostle, “is JEÓN VEVOTOS,' -inspired of God.'
He then proceeds to tell us in what this Theopneustia—this Inspiration of God—consists :
Theopneustia is not a system, it is a fact. Like all the other events in the history of Redemption, this fact, attested by the Holy Scriptures, is one of the dogmas of our faith. Nevertheless it is necessary to say, and it is necessary to understand, that this miraculous operation of the Holy Spirit had not the sacred writers for its object, who were but instruments, and who must soon pass away. But it had for its object the Sacred Books themselves, which were destined to reveal, from age to age, to the church the counsels of God, and which must endure forever.
The power which was exercised over these men of God, and which they did not themselves feel but in very different measures, has not been defined to us. Nothing authorizes us to explain it. The Scripture never presents to us the mode or ihe measure of it as an object of study. It only speaks incidentally of these things, and which do not concern our piety. That which it (the Scripture) proposes to our faith, is solely the inspiration of its words, the divine nature of the books which the writers have written. It has established, in this respect, no difference between them. Their words, it tells us, are Theopneustic-irspired of God; their books are of God, whether they recite the mysteries of a past more ancient than the creation, or those of a future inore distant than the return of the Son of Man, or the eternal councils of the Most High, or the secrets of the human heart, or the deep things of God; whether they recount their own emotions, or relate their recollections, or repeat contemporaneous narratives, or copy genealogies, or make extracts from uninspired documents,—heir writings are inspired; their recitals are directed from on high: it is always God who speaks, who recites, commands or reveals by their mouth, and who, to do this, employs, in different measures, their personality. For “the Spirit of the Lord was upon them," it is written, "and this word was upon their tongue." And if it is always the word of man, because it is always inen who utter it, it is also the word of God, because it is God who watches over them, who employs them, who guides them. They give us their narrations, their doctrines, or their commandments, “ not with the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but with the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth;" and thus it is that God himself is not only the guaranty of all these facts, but he is also the author of all these commandments, and the revealer of these truths. Still more; he has caused them to be given to his church in the order, and in the measure, and in the terms which he has judged to be most suitable for his heavenly design.
If then we should be asked how this work of inspiration was accom. plished in the men of God, we would reply that we do not know, that we need not know ; and that it is in the same ignorance, and with altogether a similar faith, we receive the doctrine of regeneration, or that of sanctification of a soul by the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Spirit enlightens the soul, purifies it, elevates it, fills it with consolation, melts it ; we recognize all these effects; we know and adore their Cause ; but we must be content to be forever ignorant of the means by which they are accomplished. Let it also be so with the doctrine of Theopneustia. If we were asked, again, to say at least what the men of God expe. rienced in their organs, in their will, or in their intelligence, whilst they were tracing the pages of the sacred volume, we should answer that the power or influence of inspiration was not felt to the same degree by each of them, and that their experiences were not uniform ; but we would add that the knowledge of such a fact hardly concerns the inte. rests of our faith, because it (our faith) is concerned in the book, and not the author. It is the book which is inspired, and which is wholly in. spired. This assurance ought to satisfy us. pp. 2–5.
Our readers will by this time have obtained a pretty good idea of Professor Gaussen's view of the nature of Inspiration. It will have been perceived that he holds the doctrine of a minute and entire inspiration ; an inspiration which relates to the very words and style of the writers of the Bible, as well as to the facts, the doctrines, etc., which their writings contain.
According to our author there are three classes of persons, who, without disavowing the divinity of the Scriptures, and without pretending to decline their authority, nevertheless believe that they are allowed to reject this doctrine. One class is composed of those who deny the existence of this action of the Holy Spirit; the second class, its universality; and the third, its plenitude.
The first, as Schleiermacher,* De Wette, and many other Ger. man theologians,t reject all miraculous inspiration, and are willing to attribute to the sacred writers only what Cicero allowed to the poetsafflatum spiritus divini-"a divine action of nature, an interior power similar to the other vital forces of nature.
The second, as Michaelis, f and as formerly Theodore of Mopsuestia, whilst they admit the existence of a divine inspiration, are willing to acknowledge it only in a portion of the sacred books ;-in the first and the fourth of the four Gospels, for example, in a portion of the Epistles, in a portion of the writings of Moses, in a part of Isaiah, a part of Daniel. These portions of the Scriptures are from God; the others are from man.
The third, as Twesten in Germany, and as several theologians in England, $ extend, it is true, to all the parts of the Bible, the notion of a divine inspiration,-but not equally to all. Inspiration, according to them, may be universal, but unequal, often imperfect, accompanied with innocent errors, and carried, according to the nature of the passages, to very different measures, of which they constitute themselves more or less the judges. pp. 6, 7.
* Schleiermacher, Der christliche Glaube, Band. 1. p. 115.
+ De Wette: Lehrbuch Anmerk. Twesten: Vorlesungen über Die Dogmatik, Bd. 1. p. 424, etc.
| Michaelis, Introd. to the N. T.
$ Dr. John Pye Smith, Daniel Wilson (now Bishop of Calcutta), Dick, &c.
Professor Gaussen rejects utterly, and with good reason, as we think, the distinctions which some English authors and Dr. Dick among them, if we remember rightly-have made in the nature and degree of inspiration, calling one the inspiration of superintendence, another that of elevation, a third that of direction, and a fourth, that of suggestion. These distinctions are wholly fanciful. Such, too, is the distinction which Twesten makes when he says that “inspiration extends, without contradiction, even to the words, but only when their choice, or their employment, is connected with the interior religious life; for it is necessary,” he adds, “ to make a distinction between the Old and the New Testaments, between the law and the gospel, between the history and the prophecy, between the narrations and the doctrines, between the apostles and the helpers of the apostles.”
Our object is, (says Professor Gaussen, in another place) in this book-in opposition to all these three systems,—to prove the existence, the universality, and the plenitude of divine inspiration. In other terms, our object is to establish the truth, by the Word of God,-that the Scriptures are from God that the Scriptures are, in all their parts, from God-and that the Scriptures, in all their parts, are entirely from God. p. 9.
Such are the doctrines which our author holds on this important subject, and which he undertakes to establish from the Scriptures themselves.
In maintaining, however, that the Scriptures are wholly from God, Professor Gaussen is far from thinking that the agency of man was nothing. In one sense, all the words of the Bible are from God; in another sense they are from man. Pascal might have dictated one of his Provincial Letters to an artisan of Clermont, and another to the abbess of Port Royal. Would the former have been less the production of Pascal than the latter? The great Newton might have dictated to a child at Cambridge the fortieth, and to a servant the forty-first proposition in his immortal Principia ; whilst he might have dictated other pages to Barrow or Whiston. Should we have possessed, if he had done so, discoveries which are less Newtonian? Or the entire work, would it have been less his own? It might be a curious question to ascertain what might have been the emotions of these various amanuenses of the great philosopher.
Thechild and the servant may have had not one just conception of any thing which they wrote, as the language was Latin;