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in the Bible, and with a clearness of utterance altogether beyond that which we can find in our own consciousness, or in the works of creation around us and therefore it is the duty of men to hear, to believe, and to obey. The Bible itself is the revelation, and not merely the record of a revelation.
Now, with these premises to start from, what is the only proper and safe method of dealing with this matter? By the appropriate methods, by strict, laborious, faithful, historical and critical research, we must ascertain what books were recognized by Christ and his apostles as of divine authority; then in like manner must we ascertain the condition of these books as to integrity and incorruptness; and, finally, having thus made ourselves sure of the words, we must learn the meaning of the words just as we learn the meaning of the words of any other book-only, never forgetting that the Holy Ghost, which inspired the writers of the sacred volume, is also needed. and promised to aid the readers of it-and here our responsibility ends. The meaning being ascertained, all we have to do is, to take the meaning just as it is given, to yield at once unconditional, unquestioning submission to the divine authority, without any reservation or equivocation. Now, here is a resting place, and our only resting place. Here we have a firm foundation which can never be moved; and this is the position, and the only position exactly adapted to the human mind—which fully meets its capacities and emotions, its oft recurring fears, and its conscious weaknesses. A fellow man may tell me what he pleases about what is perfectly plain to his reason, and what he knows by his own consciousness; my reason and my consciousness are as good for me as his are for him (at least, good or bad, they are all that I have, and I must use them for want of better;) but when God speaks to me, then I know, then I can believe, then I can safely submit. In short, the enlightened Christian must put the Bible and its authority, just where the blinded papist puts the church and its authority. The want which drives the papist to the church is a real one, a want inseparable from human nature in its present state; but he goes to the wrong place to find a supply for it. Let the Christian go to the right place.
And it is wonderful how Divine providence, in these days, is opening the resources for ascertaining the integrity and incorruptness of the Bible, beyond what has been done in any former age.
The monumental hieroglyphics of Egypt, keeping pace with the Bible history from the age of Abraham, to the time of the latest Jewish kings; the mysterious arrow-headed characters on the archi
tectural remains of the ancient Persian empire, involving the Bible narrative from the destruction of the Hebrew monarchy, to the very close of the Old Testament canon-have both been deciphered and read during our own generation, and with the most wonderful and gratifying results. And even now, the long buried monuments of the old Assyrian empire, of which almost nothing had before been known, which, like a restless ghost, has only occasionally appeared on the field of history, and then instantly vanished; but which yet is intimately interwoven with the Bible history, from the very commencement of historic narrative in the tenth chapter of Genesis, quite down to the minor prophet, Nahum, a period of not less than 1500 years,
the chroniclers, I say, of this old monarchy, are now emerging from their 3000 years' burial under ground, talking in their strange old half Hebrew tongue, and telling us important passages of their eventful story, which modern linguistic skill has already begun successfully to interpret. Who can fail to see, that as man becomes sceptical and unbelieving, God too takes care to turn his scepticism and unbelief to shame ?
But here we are met with an objection. How are the people to make these learned and laborious investigations? How are they to know what is the word of God, and whether we have it entire and incorrupt?
The people at large are not to make these investigations. It is impossible that they should make them. They have neither the time, nor the opportunity, nor the capacity to do it; and God neither requires nor expects it of them. And therefore he has not given the Word alone but the Word in connection with the unperishing Church and the living Ministry—that Church which will never cease till Christ again appears to reestablish forever his authority over man, and that Ministry which is to be Christ's Ambassador and Christ's Interpreter on earth, till his great and final advent.
It is the business of the ministry to make these investigationsto ascertain these points to be the divinely authorized teachers in regard to them-to be the mouth of God to the people. If the people will have a ministry incapable of making these investigations, or unwillingly to attend to them a ministry incompetent, unfaithful, or dishonest, the reponsibility is their own, and they must bear the loss.
There have always, from the beginning to the present time, been teachers incompetent and false; men in all ages have been misled and
1 How much is to come of this, time only can show.
ruined by them; the prophecies, the gospels, the epistles abound with warnings against them. Still, the living, teaching ministry is an essential, integral part of the Divine economy, an indisputable link in the chain of salvation; and the Bible for the people, without the ministry, is quite as far from God's plan, as the ministry without the Bible for the people—which last is the pernicious, corrupting, mischief-making error of the Romish church. The ministry must teach, and teach, too, with authority; and the people must be taught. The people, in order to be taught, must be teachable; and the minister, in order to teach, must first himself learn; and then, according to the apostolic injunction, he must let no man despise him.
A good man, pleading a good cause, has an influence which no bad man can have; his words have an authority which the words of no bad man ever can have. People who have neither learning nor acuteness enough to detect a false statement or sophistical argument, yet, if their hearts are in sympathy with the good and true, are very quick to feel the difference between a false teacher and a true oneand these, if I may so call them, moral instincts of the regenerate, are often appealed to by the sacred writers in reference to this very point of distinguishing the true teacher from the false.
There is something in divine truth, worthily exhibited, which awakens a response in every human heart, not utterly given over to earthliness and degradation. Independently of all argument, independently of all views of utility, of all reachings forth for happiness, a divine truth fitly presented will force a throb in the soul as surely as a pulsation in the atmosphere will produce a sound in the air.
There is no need of argument the thing comes of itself— and our strongest, most abiding, most useful convictions, are often those which spring directly from the heart, without any conscious exertion of the discursive faculty. Says an eccentric but brilliant writer: "He who denies the existence of God is certainly a fool. He who thinks it always necessary to demonstrate his existence by argument, is a still greater fool." In the same strain writes Matthias Claudius: “No one can with truth reproach me for being a philosopher; yet I never go through the woods without having it whispered within me, Who made these trees grow so beautifully? and then softly and as if from a great distance, comes to me, as it were the voice of a great Unknown. I'll bet you, I am then thinking of God, with such joyous reverence do I tremble while I am thinking."
There is, at the present time, peculiar need of thorough Biblical instruction in all our colleges. The wants of the age on this subject
Temptations to Scepticism.
are imperative; the evil to be counteracted is wide-spread, insidious and most destructive. There are many who receive the Bible, on the whole, as a divine revelation, who regard Jesus Christ, especially, as a teacher sent from God, who would be shocked to be spoken of as infidels, and most of all, to be regarded as the enemies or the rejecters of Christ who yet, practically, give to the Bible very little authority, consider much of it as antiquated and even obsolete, and doubt whether the writers of it had an inspiration different in kind from that which other men have had, though perhaps in some respects higher in degree. This is an error particularly pervading the educated and active young men of the present generation throughout the world; and is one of the offshoots of a pernicious philosophy, which does not recognize the existence of a personal, self-conscious Deity, but regards the human mind as the only representative of the divine, and the creation of the human soul as the only act by which the Creator can become conscious to himself of his own existence. Of course, individual immortality is also denied, and the whole history of intellectual existence is nothing but an eternal emanation from and re-absorption into the in itself unconscious divine essence. This philosophy, like a miasmatic atmosphere, corrupts many who do not know of its existence, and undermines the whole authority of revelation with not a few who imagine themselves firm believers in revealed religion. Nowhere is this philosophy of negation and destruction working more mischief than among the young men of our colleges; and if prompt, efficient and appropriate measures are not speedily taken to counteract it, we shall soon have all our learned professions, not excepting even the clerical, controlled by subtle pantheists, who will insidiously profess all reverence for the Bible, pay the tribute of a simulated respect to piety, and perpetually use with all seriousness and gravity the technical phrases of the most orthodox theology, entirely emptied of their original meaning, and made simply the hieroglyphics of an atheistic mystery.
From such a consummation, already realized in some portions of the old world, may the good Lord forever deliver this land of the Puritans!
In some subsequent number of the Bibliotheca Sacra we shall show what this philosophy has already done and is now doing with the most sacred portions of the Christian revelation.
INTRODUCTION TO THE PASTORAL EPISTLES.
By B. B. Edwards, Professor at Andover.
Ir is a gratifying fact, that amidst the prevalent scepticism in Germany, the Scriptures have found able defenders. If the authenticity and integrity of the sacred books have been assailed with great pertinacity and acuteness, they have also been vindicated with signal ability and success. Talent has been matched with equal talent; learning has been confronted with still ampler knowledge. In the benignant providence of God, the country which has supplied the poison has furnished the antidote.
But however important the defence of the Bible may be in Germany itself, it is thought by some to be a superfluous task in Great Britain and in this country. Why should English and American scholars trouble themselves with the Teutonic scepticism? Why should our periodical publications lay before their readers the results of inquiries which would never else be entered upon, the solution of doubts which would never else be started? A sufficient answer is, that the scepticism is not confined, and cannot be, to the continent of Europe any more than English or French infidelity in the last century, could be confined to London and Paris. Error flies on the wings of every wind. It is impossible to lay an embargo upon it in any country of Christendom. It will meet and battle with truth on every field. Papal and neological dogmas cannot be imprisoned in the countries of their birth. Our candidates and ministers would do well to resort to the great Protestant armories of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and be prepared on all points to meet the Bellarmins and Bossuets of the present day. Alike necessary will it be to encounter the sophistries of the "higher criticism," which has had its congenial soil in Germany. The emigration to this country from the German States is very large, and will occasion, no doubt, the influx of no inconsiderable amount of learned rationalism. The new States will be particularly obnoxious to this evil. To encounter it successfully, truth must have her numerous and well-trained champions. Besides, the mischief is widely propagated through the written page. It is stated, on high authority, that well prepared translations of Strauss's "cunningly devised" work on the Gospels,