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of inquiry, and to arrest the progress of religious knowledge. But, on this objection I shall not insist, as the force of it will appear in the ensuing chapter, to which I now proceed.
Dr. Bruce's attack on the plenary inspiration of the Scrip
HAVING in the preceding chapter stated my objections to the Doctor's mode of managing the controversy, I come now to the defence of those doctrines, which, in his sermons on the study of the Bible, he has so boldly assailed. In " contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, it is sometimes necessary to defend one particular truth, and sometimes another. At present the attack is general. Our learned author, with an intrepidity altogether unparalleled, at least in this country, has attempted to raze the very foundations of the Christian system. He has attacked, not merely the doctrines of the Bible, but the BIBLE ITSELF. That this charge, though awful in the extreme, is not unjust, the following quotations too clearly prove.
Page 60- Respectfully and gratefully receive that vas riety of religious knowledge, which is communicated in - the Acts of the Apostles, and their Epistles ; but fix upon * the words of Jesus as the standard of your faith, &c."
Page 49<«s. It is evident, that we should collect the " whole of the Christian doctrine from the words of Jesus,
as recorded in the four Gospels.-For the knowledge of 66 God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the terms of acceptance, 6 and other doctrinal points, we should depend solely on 6 the gospels."
Page 87426 We should interpret their (the Apostles) rea
soning in conformity with his precepts, not his precepts 1,66 by their reasoning.”
P. 500ste But you are never to set up the anthority of 14 the disciples against that of their master ; nor consider "their writings as the primary source of knowledge on doc• trinal questions, as is too often done. On the contrary, “ you should form your opinions from the discourses of
“ Christ, on every branch of his religion, and consider the “ writings of the Apostles as comments upon them,” &c.
P. 180% If I can explain these (the 8th and 9th char“ ters of the Romans), it will not be necessary to occupy
your time with any others. If we cannot interpret them * conformably to our Saviour's doctrine, we should rather « abandon them as unintelligible, than prefer the lower au“ thority to the higher, and what we cannot understand to " what we do.”
P. 91.-"For the general purport of their writings (the “ sacred penmen's writings) coincides with the declarations 66 of our Lord."
P. 123—“ Is it not clear, that the authority of our Lord “is paramount to every other ; and that if any of his Apos“ tles differ from him, their authority must be set aside ? Is " it not absurd to suppose that they should ; and most of " all, that any of them should contradict their master and " one another, and even themselves."
P. 26– Being now well grounded and settled in the 66 genuine doctrine of Christ, as delivered by himself in the * Gospels, his faithful followers must take it for granted " that the chosen disciples of our Lord taught nothing in“ consistent with it,* and that any obscurity in their wri“ tings must be cleared up by referring to his own words. " He will therefore expound those texts which are hard to « be understood by the plain doctrine of their master—the " sincere and singleminded reader of the Bible will look to " his Saviour as his polar star, and, in perusing the Epistles - will dwell and rely on those points of edification in which “ the Apostles and their master coincide.'
P. 19—“ He will, however, distinguish the history from “ the divine communication. He will see, that it has been
composed by fallible men, but under such direction and "superintendence, that though left to themselves, as to pe« culiarities of style, the narration of ordinary facts, and the "insertion of occasional reflections, they hand down the “ revelation itself, as it was actually made.”
* If we must take it for granted that “the chosen disciples of our " Lord taught nothing inconsistent with his doctrine"--what does our author mean by telling us that the general purport of their writings coincide with the declarations of our Lord; that if any of his apostles differ from him, their authority must be set aside—and that we should dwell and rely on those points of edification, in which the apostles and their master coincide?-I say, what does the Doctor mean?' The most charitable answer is, he means--NOTHING AT ALL.
In confirmation of these sentiments, he quotes with approbation (P. 297) the following sentence from Grotius " It was not necessary that the histories (in scripture) " should be dictated by the Holy Spirit ; it was enough " that the writers had a good memory.”
Such is the humble rank, to which the inspired Apostles are degraded !—We must not depend upon them for any doctrine! Tne WHOLE of Christian doctrine we must receive from our Saviour, and not from the apostles. On him we must depend soLELY for our knowledge of doctrines. The writings of the Apostles are only to be regarded-s0 far as doctrine is concerned-as 6 comments” on the discourses of our Lord. Nay, the Apostles are to be regarded, if our author's doctrine be true, not only in the humble capacity of commentators, but-shall I utter the impiety ?as BAD COMMENTATORS ! Our learned author constantly represents the Redeemer's doctrines as plain, but those of the Apostles as obscure. Of course, the Apostles must be bad commentators ; for their commentary is more obscure than the text ! Instead of their commentary explaining' our Saviour's text, his text must explain their commentary ! “ We should interpret,” says the Doctor, “ their reasoning " in conformity with his precepts, and not his precepts by "s their reasoning !” Now, if the reasonings of the Apostles do not assist us in the interpretation of our Saviour's precepts, they must be useless commentaries indeed ; and the Apostles themselves silly commentators! Such is the impious, but inevitable conclusion.
Dr. Bruce maintains, that the authority of the Apostles is inferior to that of the Redeemer—that his authority is paramount—that they were fallible men, &c.-As men, the Apostles were fallible, I grant ; but as writers of the sacred volume, they were infallible. The authority by which the whole Bible was written is the same--THE AUTHORITY OF God. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable.” Holy men of God spake as they were " moved by the Holy Ghost.” These declarations, I know, refer to the Old Testament Scriptures ; but they are equally applicable to the New. Jesus Christ is the author of all the scriptures ; both Old and New Testaments.
It is on this account, that his name is called “ THE WORD OF GOD." It was the spirit of Christ, which dictated the Old Testa
ment Scriptures. (1 Pet. i. 10, 11.). "Of which salvation " the prophets have inquired, and searched diligently, who s prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
Searching what; or what manner of time, the SPIRIT OF 6- CHRIST which was in them did signify, when it testified “ beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that bi should follow.”—The same spirit of Jesus that inspired the Old Testament prophets, inspired also the New Testament writers. The Redeemer, in the days of his flesh, had
many things to say and to write,” which the disciples, at that period, could not bear. He, therefore, promised his Holy Spirit; to: « teach them ALL THINGS ; and to lead " them into A'LL TRUTTT." Dr. B. asserts, that the authority of the Apostles is inferior to that of the Redeemer ; but the Apostle Paul asserts the contrary. He asserts that they are the same. (Gal. i. 11, 12.) ás But I certify you, e brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not
after-man For I neither received it of man, neither was *P taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
And to the Corinthians, he says, “ For I have received of the 6 Lord that which also I delivered unto you.' The Revelation of John the Divine claims the same high original. It is expressly styled the "Revelation of Jesus Christ."The writer of it it was in the Spirit on the Lord's day;" by the inspiration of that spirit he wrote sever letters to the seven churches in Asia ; and assures us, that the prophecies of Divine revelation are the " testimony of Jesus: (Rev. xix. 10.) "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of pro. • phecy.”.
Thus it appears, that the Redeemer is the author of the whole sacred volume. To say, therefore, with Dr. B. that the authority of one part of scripture is inferior to that of another, is grossly absurd; for they were all penned by the same authority. If the authority of the other parts of the sacred 'volume be inferior to that of the gospels, I ask, What is the difference? There can be no difference but this, that the authority of the latter is divine, and that of the former human—or, in other words—That the gospels' are the word of God; but the rest of the scriptures the word of man !--If this is not Deism, it is something very
like it. The Deist, indeed, rejects 'the whole of the Bible, whilst Dr. B. retains, perhaps, one hundredth part of it!
I am quite sensible, that our author sometimes speaks, not only of the gospels, but of the other scriptures, as if
they were divinely inspired. His language, however, is so vague, ambiguous, and contradictory, that it is impossible to ascertain his real sentiments. With great respect I call upon him to speak out.. Either the other scriptures, as well as the gospels, are divinely inspired, or they are not. If he say that they are; then he contradicts his favourite sentiment—That they are of inferior authority. If he say that they are not divinely inspired; then he rejects ninetynine hundreths of the sacred volume, and wants only one hnndreth part of being a Deist !
The truth is, that the Doctor's principles appear to me quite subversive of the scriptures of truth. If his views be correct, I do not see that we can place any confidence whatever, in any part of the sacred oracles, not even in the four gospels. If I believed that the sacred penmen were left to themselves, even with regard to style and language, this very circumstance would shake my confidence.* prophecies, such as those of Ezekiel, Daniel, and John the Divine ; and in other communications, which were above the comprehension of the writers, it is self-evident that not only the matter, but the language must have been inspired. and, even in the recording of those facts or doctrines, which were quite level to the understandings of the penmen, I do not think it at all reasonable to suppose, that they were left to the use of their own language without any divine superintendence. I do not think it reasonable ; because I do not conceive that it would have been safe. Is it reasonable to suppose that illiterate fishermen, mechanics, &c. could accurately record either facts or doctrines ? Would they be in no danger of blundering ?-of exhibiting to the world erroneous views ? Even men of learning frequently fail in giving a true picture of their own ideas. Even Doctor B. whose whole life has been principally employed in the study of languages-even the learned Doctor himself sometimes fails. He fails so far, as to publish doctrines which he does not believe, and to exhibit ideas which he never entertained nay, he sometimes fails so far, that his language conveys no meaning at all. Does the Doctor believe, that the whole world are saved ? Does he believe that the whole world, prior to the coming of Christ, were damned ? Does he believe either of these contradictory doctrines ? Surely