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inconvenience to which we shall probablyexpose ourselves by such a name—what we suffer will remind us of our Lord's sufferings on the cross, which our sins called for; we shall remember that this outward act of humiliation is but a mockery, if it be not accompanied by repentance. We cannot forget that we are sinners while we are undergoing a discipline which our sins have made necessary for us. By strictly adhering to the rule that we lay down for ourselves, we shall accustom ourselves to resist temptation: let not those who have not tried it ridicule the idea that it is such. The very slightness of the temptation, if I may so speak, makes the trial. It is so trifling a thing, we are apt to say: true, we meant to fast, but to-day we particularly feel the need of our usual food ; in this one point we will transgress, and keep our resolution more strictly hereafter. Here is the discipline? we resist, and having overcome the temptation, are more likely to overcome the next that assails us. The habitaal practice of relinquishing some of the in ocent gratifications of this life for Christ's sake, and in obedience to the commands of His Church, will lead us on to self-denials in other matters. A little practical acquaintance with the inconvenience of privation would make us more compassionate to the wants of others. You esteem fasting in itself a slight and insignificant act: perform it in humble obedience to the Church of which you profess yourself a member, and it will encourage in you a disposition of submission and docility which is the greatest preservative against error."
For a moment there was a silence, and then Charlotte said, “Well, Anna-I appeal to you both--what have you to say ?"
“Nothing,” replied her cousin, “but that I am very glad your brother has left me nothing to say. I can only thank him for só well expressing what I would have endeavoured to have said, dear Lotte, if you had been without an abler guide than myself.”
“But I want particularly,” said Charlotte, “ to hear what you individually would say.”
“Why so ?" returned Anna. “Do I not tell you that Arthur has said all I think and feel much better than I could have done ?
“Yes, that is just it,” replied Charlotte, half pettishly, half in jest. "Perhaps I should have caught you in some absurdity. There might have been some weak point for me to put my finger upon; but all that Arthur has said sounds so reasonable, and yet is so opposite to all my preconceived notions and favourite opinions, that it rather puts me out.”
“My dear sister,” said Arthur gravely, “let me beg you never to approach the discussion of any thing bearing upon sacred
subjects in such a spirit as you have now avowed. Do not, I entreat you, listen or read with only a desire to cavil. Consider well upon what your opinions are grounded : if you have reason to think they have been taken up without due examination, and bitherto held carelessly, you will perceive that you cannot be wise or safe in driving from you, or in obstinately refuting, all arguments that tell against them."
Before Charlotte could reply he had left the room. She started as she heard the door close behind him, and hastily exclaimed,
“Oh, Anna! I have made him angry. How sorry I am! What did I say to make him speak so gravely and go so abruptly ?"
“I don't think he was angry, Charlotte," said Anna; “but he was grieved to hear you speak lightly of what he had been speaking so seriously."
“I am sure," returned Charlotte, “I did not mean to say any. thing to annoy him, or to speak lightly, as you call it. I only meant to say, I do not want to think with him; and I cannot help that you know, Anna. If he is right and it is necessary to lead as strict a life as he does, how wicked I must be. Even you, Anna, are not so particular in a thousand ways as he is; and I should be miserable if I were as strict as you are.”
“No, dearest Charlotte,” returned Anna, half smiling for å moment, “ if you were to be as strict as I am as a matter of duty, you would soon find it brought its own comfort with it. Miserable is a strong word,” added she gravely, “that I scarcely dare apply to you or to myself; but, doubtless, the more you succeeded in fulfilling any of your religious duties, the more bitterly you would lament any failure in doing so: but this would be a strange reason for not attempting to live a conscientious life. We are so much the creatures of habit, that there is no state of mind even to which we may not accustom ourselves ; but I can conceive none that so much deserves the name of miserable as a conviction, a fear even, that we are leading a life of sin and forgetfulness of God, without sufficient strength of resolution to amend our way."
“You mean to say that is my state ?” said Charlotte.
“Nay dearest, I know not,” replied ber cousin. “ You are the only judge; but, just now, you almost seemed to express such a feeling. If it is, so in any degree, do not force the subject from your mind, as if you feared the result to which reflection and prayer might bring you. Remember, if you are wrong-if á life spent in such enjoyment of its blessings as to leave no room for self-denial, with little time given to prayer, and none to
repentance, be sinful in itself, and an unmeet preparation for the eternal life of holiness we desire to live hereafter, how important it is you should, without loss of time, turn to some safer way."
The colour in her cheek rose rapidly as she spoke, but disappeared again without Charlotte's having perceived how deeply Anna felt what she had said, as she had not raised her eyes from the drawing that lay before her. She gave no reply, and after a moment's pause Anna said gently,
“Charlotte, I have not made you angry?”
“No," said she, rising from her chair; "you have only tired me.”
But the tear that she brushed from her eye as she turned away told of more than weariness.
INSPIRATION AND REVÉLATION.
In commencing a series of articles on Biblical subjects, it may be well to premise a few remarks on an important question, which used to be much agitated up to within a few years ago, and has been left in a very unsatisfactory state ;-i. e., the extent to which the Bible can be said to be inspired. Those, whom the readers of this MANUAL will be prepared to call orthodox, have always held, what may be expressed in the language of an Apostle, that “ ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God." There are some, however, who do not assent to this, in its full, obvious sense. It will not be necessary for our purpose, to repeat all the arguments which have been used on this side of the ques. tion, as is usual in controversy; one or two principal objections are urged, to which a number of mere cavils are appended, to make the theory appear plausible and complete.
Two principal objections have been urged against the orthodox view of plenary inspiration : first-that things of which a writer has been an eye-witness, needed not to be made known to him by inspiration; and as in this case, inspiration was not needed, as they supposed, we may assume that it was not granted. Secondly --they urged, that when the same event is recorded by different writers in the holy scriptures, or by the same writer in different places, or when one sacred writer quotes another, as when quotations are made in the New Testament from the Old, very sensible variations are often perceptible, which they suppose could not be the case if every word in Scripture were inspired; and hence they infer that, even in the case of prophecies, the substance matter
only was communicated to the original writer, but that he was left to his own discretion as to the manner and choice of words in which he communicated his revelation ; and on this supposition, they conceive the same subject might with propriety be repeated in different terms, without inspiration at all.
We shall not use it as an argument, but must point out the fact, that these notions in reality undermine the authority of the Scriptures. On the supposition, that the sacred writers were left to their own discretion in communicating what they knew, whether from personal observation, or having received the substance matter only by inspiration, we could never be sure that they did not make some mistake, either by taking an erroneous view of the subject, or by an nnhappy choice of words and figures of speech; and we could never be justified, to draw inferences from, or lay much stress upon, forms of expression. In reply to such arguments as in Matthew i. 22, 23, it might be objected that the prophet made a mistake, and wrote virgin, instead of woman ; and the same might be said on almost every quotation made in the New Testament from the Old. Such an argument as in Gal. iii. 16, would then seem the merest cavil in the world. Again, on the supposition, that the sacred writers were not inspired, in quoting former passages of scripture, when these quotations seem to vary from the original, we must conclude that these writers were very inaccurate : (compare Acts xv. 15-17, with Amos ix. 11, 12; Gal. iii. 10, with Deut. xxvii. 26, or Jer. xi. 3, &c., &c. ;) and how could writers--so inaccurate and so careless, as in matters of eternal importance, not to have taken the trouble of referring to the original, in order to avoid misquoting—be trusted at all? The mere faet, no doubt, that a certain theory would lead them to dangerous results, is no proof of its falsity; but it is to be borne in mind, how many prophecies have been literally and verbally fulfilled; yea, every prophecy has been so fulfilled, of which it can be said with certainty, that it referred to any past period.
But what shall we say of the extraordinary character of the scriptures, that upwards of thirty writers, living at different periods, during a space of more than fifteen hundred years, should all write as if they had all been brought up in the same school? And what makes this the more extraordinary, is the fact, that they wrote in different languges, Hebrew, Chaldee, and Greek, each in the language of the time, and the people among whom he lived, or to whom he addressed his writings; some again in a style, the most elevated and sublime, as Isaiah; others most unpolished,
and almost rustic, as Ezra, &c.; each, no doubt, according to the literary taste of the time in which he lived. The style also varies with the subject; but with all these differences, all the inspired writers are equally clear; all equally brief and concise, yet full and always to the point; all equally authoritive, and equally unassuming; not one of them enlarges on historical transactions and incidents, but all alike sketch the outlines of their historical facts, well connected and accounted for, with the same ease and facility; not one of them seemed to be concerned to guard against objections or cavils, or to offer apologies for what he states; but they all write with the confidence of men who know that what they say is indisputable truth. Their predictions, their injunctions, their histories, all partake of the same character; and there is no other writing in existence which partakes of these characteristics; and all these characteristics could not have pervaded so many writers, (and none others) living at such different times, and so variously circumstanced, as the inspired writers were, if they had all, or any of them, been left to their own discretion as to the manner in which they communicated what they knew. How much history is there contained in the books of Moses, and in what little space! (the laws, commandments, &c. being deducted.) Take the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, with the last two verses of the 52nd, and the first few of the 54th chapter, or the more compli cated prophecies of the four kingdoms in Daniel, handled with so much freedom in different chapters, the 2nd, 7th, 8th, and 11th ; to suppose that the substance matter only was communicated to the prophet in such cases, and that by his own effort, from memory only, he so faithfully reproduced what had been made known to him, is as irrational as to suppose, that the mere knowledge of the works in a watch, and how they acted upon one another, would enable a person to make a watch, and ornament it in a variety of ways, and introduce alterations, yet so as to preserve all the due requisites of a good time-piece. One more instance of brevity and fulness, we will take from the New Testament; let it be the dialogue of Christ with the woman of Samaria, contained in twenty verses, John iv. 7—26. How much do we learn from this short account ! a whole volume could scarcely contain more. The character of the Samaritans, their hopes, their religion, (worshipping they knew not what,) their quarrel with the Jews, the bearing of the Jews towards them, the character of the woman,—and how much of the character of Christ! There is certainly no reason for supposing that the woman at all exaggerated, as Paley supposes, when she said: "a man, which