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transactions referred to are grand beyond comparison. The writers related occurrences which excited a supreme interest in their minds. They were personally, as well as relatively, connected with the circumstances recorded. Many of them narrated their own exploits, as well as the exploits referable to anterior ages. The multifarious writers consisted of historians, legislators, biographers, moralists, poets, and prophets. The periods described, present a matchless assemblage of important events; the creation; the fall; the antediluvian corruption of man; the deluge; the confusion of tongues; the origin of all the great monarchies of the earth; the lives of the patriarchs, entering often into the minutest statements; their wonderful escape from famine ; the call of a particular people ; (springing from the patriarchs, in whom was preserved, amid universal polytheism, the knowledge of the one Living and True God ;) their ultimate bondage and miraculous preservation; their wandering, for forty years, through the desert; the giving of the moral and ceremonial law; the establishment of the same people in Canaan, where they were sustained for fifteen hundred years, till the coming of Christ, while all the great dynasties by which they were surrounded, successively crumbled away ;—the Babylonish; the Assyrian; the Persian; the Egyptian; and the Grecian. To these events must be added, the expulsion of numerous idolatrous long-established, and powerful nations of Palestine ; the reigns of an extensive succession of monarchs, in two different lines, under whom the grandest and most complex
transactions occurred which could pertain to so limited a region, including the destruction of Zion and its magnificent temple; the captivity of a whole people for twenty years; their ultimate redemption, with the rebuilding of their city and the temple of “their Great King. At length, in the fulness of time, the Saviour of the world appeared, in whom a thousand predictions all centred. His birth and ancestry are narrated, with many incidental occur
His sermons are given; his precepts; his important actions; his miracles, and his prophecies. To this are subjoined his arraignment at the bar of Pilate; an account of the indignities which he endured; his patient sufferings; his death, and his resurrection. To all this are added, the lives and travels of his Apostles; the establishment of the first Christian churches, with a narrative of individual and general persecutions; twentyone Apostolical epistles; a voyage abounding with striking incidents; and the whole concluding with a series of the sublimest Revelations; yet this diversified mass of materials is concentrated into a compass which a finger might suspend, and a wayfaring man can read !” 6 All must feel that a few words added to, or subtracted from, many of the precepts, or parables of our Redeemer, would have jarred, and brought down the whole, comparatively, to a human level; but they stand at present in a sacred investment of language, which, if they (with the other scriptures) were not guarded “by the plagues which are written in this book,' none would dare to violate. To furnish an additional example of the brevity contained in scrip
ture, it may be remarked, what an extent of condensed meaning appears in the explanation which Christ gave of his parable of the end of the world; He that soweth the good seed, is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom, but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them, is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels. In the attenuated thread of ordinary composition, what space would not have been occupied by this, and many other brief specimens of Biblical narrative.” “But to recur, finally, to the size of the Bible.' With such strong inducements to expatiate, in the respective writers, had it not been for an over-ruling Providence, in restraining their natural dispositions, a hundred folio volumes could scarcely have containeď so vast a depository as the sacred volume. In this case, for all practical purposes, it must have become nearly a sealed book; independently of the impossibility which would have existed, in a manuscript age, of disseminating copies sufficient to guard against the ravages of time, or to allow three transcripts to the whole world. This compression must be viewed as one of the most striking of the scripture miracles.” “ Jesus Christ, instead of preparing this well-digested statement of his actions, doctrines, and miracles, never wrote one word! Instead of selecting historians to record his life, from among the learned, and the refined, he chose rather for his coadjutors, and biographers, illiterate fisherinen!
Instead of providing for the future, and
testifying an earnestness, lest succeeding generations should but imperfectly comprehend his designs, arising from the incompetency of the agents who were to transmit a statement of them to posterity; instead of cautioning those of his followers who might project a history of their Master, for distant ages, to be faithful and to omit no part of those leading points, on which the strength of his mission rested, he absolutely gave no directions ; made no provision; and discovered no solicitude !"
24. As for those who object to a universal inspiration, because of the alleged insignificance of certain topics in the Bible, we would bid them consider how the divinity stands related to the various parts in the volume of nature. In that volume we meet with interminable variety, from things momentous to things minute and seemingly insignificant—from the mighty orbs of the firmament, to the particles of dust that float in the sunbeam—from organizations the most exquisite, to rude and unshapen masses strewn about in negli. gent confusion, and that appear subservient to no purposes either of utility or decoration. Yet we should not dissociate a God from even what to our eye is most paltry and worthless, in that vast assemblage of objects which make up His universe. Though we can find no meaning either in the loathsome or in the little of creation, we never once think that His power and His purpose had no concern either in the formation or in the continuance of them. We admit that His creative energy originated all, and that His sustaining providence upholds all—in a word, that every thing which is, though the least and the humblest of His creatures, was as much bidden by Him into existence, and so is as instinct with divinity, as the noblest and most stupendous of any of His works. It speaks not to the disgrace or degradation, but to the incomprehensible greatness and perfection of the Deity—that there should be room alike for the vast and for the puny, within the circle of His regards—that neither things of loftiest magnificence should be above the reach of His high contemplation, nor things the most minute and microscopical should be beneath His care—that He should comprehend in one wondrous range of providence the extremes of magnitude—and that while presiding over the circuits of immensity, still it is to a pervading energy from Him that we are beholden, for every pile of grass, for every insect which crawls on earth’s lowly platform.
25. Such being the character of His works, for ourselves we should not be startled or surprised at finding an analogous character in His word; or, though there should be things of exceeding various import there, from matters that appear to us though falsely of trivial interest, to matters on which there directly and evidently hinge the interests of eternity. We can see no incongruity, but the opposite—in that the God of nature, who has lavished such a profusion of workmanship on the curious tabernacle of man's body, and numbers even the hairs of his head-should be also the God of revelation, though He there manifests a wisdom alike inexplicable, in the minute and manifold directions which He gives for the complicated structure of