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therefore simply says that whatever scriptures are given by inspiration of God, are thus profitable.
2. Since Paul first speaks generally of those scriptures with which Timothy had been familiar from his youth, and then proceeds to select from these a certain class, as given by inspiration of God, his description extends to no portion of the New Testament, and only to some writings of the Old. The purpose for which he recommends them, indicates what books were in his thoughts. As they were to aid Timothy in his public duty of convincing his countrymen that Jesus was the Messiah, he refers to those books which had sustained the expectation of a Messiah,—the Jewish Prophets. “The whole extent of his doctrine, I conceive to have been expressed by the Apostle Peter thus: “prophecy came not in old time by the will of men; but holy men of God spake, moved by the holy spirit;'*that those also who recorded these speeches, wrote by the Holy Spirit; that, in addition to the superhuman message, there was a superhuman report of it, is a notion of which no trace can be found in the Apostolic writings. The whole amount, therefore, of the Apostle's doctrine, is this: that the prophets had a preternatural knowledge of future events; and that their communications were recorded in the prophetic books. By the admission of these points, the theory of inspired composition obviously gains nothing
No appeal can be more unfortunate for the advocate of plenary inspiration, than to the writings of the great Apostle of the Gentiles. Not a trace can be found in them of the cold, oracular dignity,—the bald, authoritative enunciation,—the transcendental exposition, equally above argument and passion, in which conscious and confessed infallibility would deliver its decisions. All the natural faculties of the man are shed forth, with most vehement precipitation, on every page. He pleads with his disciples, as if kneeling at their feet. He withstands Peter to the face,-though no less inspired than himself, because he was to be blamed for unsound sentiments and inconsistent conduct. He hurries so eagerly, and sinks so deep into an illustration, that scarcely can he make a timely retreat. He too quickly seizes an analogy to apply it with exactitude and precision. And above all, he is incessantly engaged in reasoning: and by that very act, he selects as his own the common human level of address,generously submits his statements to the verdict of our judgment, and leaves that judgment free to accept or to reject them. Nor is it on
*2 Pet. 1:21.
mere subordinate points that he contents himself with this method, which, by challenging search, abandons infallibility. The great controversies of the infant church, which involved the whole future character of Christianity, which decided how far it should conciliate Polytheism, and how much preserve of Judaism, the Apostle of the Gentiles boldly confides to reasoning: and his writings are composed chiefly of arguments, protective of the Gospel from compromise with Idolatry on the one hand, and slavery to the Law on the other.
Nor is this denied by any instructed divine of any church. In insisting “upon the duty of professed Christians to abstain from all compliance with the idolatrous practices of the heathen around them,” says Dr. Tattershall, “St. Paul, even though an inspired Apostle, does not proceed upon the mere dictum of authority, but appeals to the reason of those to whom he writes; and calls upon them to reflect upon the inconsistency of such conduct, with the nature of their Christian profession. In fact, he produces arguments, and desires them to weigh the reasons which he assigns, and see whether they do not fully sustain the conclusion which he draws from them. I speak,' says he, .as to wise men, JUDGE YE what I say.'"
If then the Apostle wrote his letters under inspiration, have we not here direct authority to sit in judgment on the productions of inspiration, or the contents of the word of God; not merely to learn what is said, but to consider its inherent reasonableness and truth? No one, indeed, can state more forcibly than Dr. Tattershall himself, the principle of which this conclusion is only a particular case.
66 When I reason with an opponent,” says he, “ I do not invade his acknowledged right of private judgment, nor do I require of him to surrender that judgment to me. I am, in fact, doing the precise contrary of this. I am, by the very act of reasoning, both acknowledging his right of judgment, and making an appeal to it."
To acknowledge the right of judgment, is to forego the claim of infallibility, and to concede the privilege of dissent; and thus frankly does St. Paul deal with me. Vainly do his modern expounders attempt to make him the instrument of their own assumptions. To appeal to my reason, and then, if I cannot see the force of the proof, io hold me up as a blasphemer and a rebel against the word of God, is an inconsistency, of which only the degenerate followers of the great Apostle could be guilty. His writings disown, in every page, the injurious claims which would confer on them an artificial
authority, to the ruin of their true power and beauty. In order to show the absolute divine truth of all that
be written by an inspired man, it is not enough to establish the presence of inspiration: you must prove also the absence of every thing else. And this can never be done with any writings made up, like the Apostle's, of a scarce-broken tissue of argument and illustration. It is clear that he was not forbidden to reason and expound, to speculate and refute, to seek access, by every method of persuasion, to the minds he was sent to evangelize; to appeal, at one time to his interpretation of prophecy, at another to the visible glories of creation, and again to the analogies of history. Where could have been his zeal, his freshness, his versatility of address, his selfabandonment, his various success, if his natural faculties had not been left to unembarrassed action? And the moment you allow free action to his intelligence and conscience, you inevitably admit the possibilities of error, which are inseparable from the operations of the human mind. To grant that Paul reasons, and be startled at the idea that he may reason incorrectly,—to admit that he speculates, and yet be shocked at the surmise that he may speculate falsely,—to praise his skill in illustration, yet shrink in horror when something less apposite is pointed out, is an obvious inconsistency. The human understanding cannot perform its functions without taking its share of the chances of error; nor can a critic of its productions, have any perception of their truth and excellence, without conceding the possibility of fallacies and faults. We must give up our admiration of the Apostles as men, if we are to listen to them always as oracles of God.
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
How shall a man, to whom all characters of individual men are sealed books, of which he sees only the title and the co rs, decipher and depict the character of a nation? He courageously depicts his own optical delusions; notes this to be incomprehensible, that other to be insignificant; much to be good, much to be bad, and most of all indifferent; and so with a few glowing strokes, completes a picture, which, though it may not even resemble any possible object, is to be taken for a national portrait.
HYMN OF THE PILGRIMS.
Hear us, almighty Father!
Darker and darker gather
Hear while we pray!
Hear us, thou great Jehovah! When, wandering through the tangled wilderness,
Cloud after cloud goes over, Forsake us not in our loneliness!
Shield us to-night!
When trials deeper and stranger
O guard us still!
From the wild foeman's arrow-
From sickness and from sorrow,
And unto thee, great Spirit,
Not for thy children's merit,
Keep us, we pray!
A SHORT DISCOURSE ON DEATH.
Among the many mysteries which weigh upon us as we pass through life, there are none so great or so fearful as Death. We ask, and cannot but ask, why it is that our hearts grow to other hearts, only to be torn from them again. Why is there not for us, as for the flowers, a season of life, and then an autumn, when all may die together? Or why might we not live on here for countless ages, realizing the dreams of the alchymist, ever extending our sympathies, ever widening our knowledge? Or why, when our friends die, do they pass so utterly away? why not revisit and refresh us? why not assure us of that better world, and warn us from sin? And why, in the last hours, this struggle that we call disease? Why comes not Death quickly, without pain, as an angel to lead us to other scenes? Such questions, clearly or dimly, come often before the troubled mind; but the mind cannot answer them. So little do we know what we are; so perfectly mysterious are the relations of the life-giving principle and the living frame; so utterly do we walk in darkness, except we have the eye of faith-that philosophy is lost, imagination powerless, and our sole source of knowledge is the simple narrative of the Bible, which tells that for man's sinfulness it was ordained that, as from dust he came, to dust he shall return again.
And yet, mysterious as Death is, we become familiar with it; we make light of it; we caricature it; we bring it into picture books, and upon the stage. Ghost stories, growing naturally from our ignorance and vain questionings, are first our terror, then our laughing-stock. We speak of taking life, of summoning from the dread abyss the dark power, as lightly as if it were not blaspheming thus to assume God's judgment seat. No Eastern enchanter ever spoke so terririble a spell as he who declares forfeit another's life: not Merlin, nor Michael Scott, ever raised so fearful a spirit as he whose magic arts bring to his aid Death. And so men feel it when the spell is answered: over their wine they make merry with the king of terrors; over their wine they mock at him; and, quarrelling at some trifling word, invoke his presence. But, when he comes, silent and unseen, and they know that he is there, though no eye can discern his form, mirth ceases, the cup loses its power,—even the potent demons of anger and intemperance fly before him whom they