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testimony appears to be an insurmountable argument in favour of those writings, concerning which he made this declaration.
the inference is clear, that the Scriptures of the Old Testament, which were all that were then called the Holy Scriptures, were considered by the apostle as Divinely inspired ; and as answering to the character he gives in the 16th verse. It may be further observed, that without the xa, the passage may be translated thus: "All (or the whole) scripture being Divinely inspired, is profitable," &c. Even the Latin Vulgate, which is one of the Versions brought forward as favouring the omission of the and, will bear this rendering: "Omnis scriptura, divinitus inspirata, utilis est," &c.
3. The sense is, however, more clear and unequivocal, by the well supported reading of the word xa, or and, as given in our translation. This sense contains the reason why the Holy Scriptures were able to make Timothy wise unto salvation; but supposing the meaning simply to be, that all scripture which is Divinely inspired, is profitable, &c. without any connexion with the preceding verse, the position would become an unconnected truism; as no doubt could be entertained, that all scripture which was Divinely inspired, was thus profitable. Besides, this meaning would leave Timothy, and every other reader, in uncertainty, which part of the scripture was, and which was not inspired; it offers no rule to distinguish them. But had this been the apostle's meaning, there was a fair occasion, and indeed a call upon him, to offer some means of distinction.
From all these considerations, I am induced to believe, that the construction given by our translators, is supportable, not
4.-Although the latter arguments are applicable only to the Old Testament; yet the first relates to both; and it is presumed that none, but Jews, who acknowledge the inspiration of the Old Testament, will deny it to the New. The exception which the apostle Paul makes
only by all the Greek manuscripts, but by the just rules of criticism; and by every other reasonable consideration of which the subject is capable. See this matter farther dis.cussed by Findlay, on the Inspiration of the Jewish Scriptures, in answer to Dr. Geddes.
For the sake of some of my readers, it may be proper to take notice of an objection, which has been made from Robert Barclay having, in his apology, quoted the passage without the and: "All scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable," &c. In answer to this, it may be observed, that Robert Barclay originally wrote and published his Apology in Latin, and I believe generally quoted the texts of Scripture from the Latin Vulgate, of which this is a translation. Even supposing him to have preferred this rendering, yet, if we may judge from what he has written on the Scriptures, there is no reason to believe he doubted the Inspiration of any part of them. He begins his Thesis on the Scriptures thus: "From these revelations of the Spirit of God to the saints, have proceeded the Scriptures of truth ;" and this he applies to the historical, as well as the prophetical, doctrinal, and exhortatory parts of the Old and New Testaments.
It is hoped that the importance of the subject of this note, will excuse its length. To have incorporated it into the body of the work, would not have been so suitable for many readers,
in an instance or two, to his writing by commandment, is a proof of his writings at least being Divinely inspired.
After giving these reasons, I shall proceed to consider the principal objections to this inspiration, which I apprehend to be:
1. That some of the matters related, are of too trivial a nature to be the subjects of Divine inspiration.
2. That some others appear so inconsistent with the nature of the Divine Being, as to render it altogether improbable, that He ever warranted what is there expressed.
With respect to the first objection, I believe we are by no means competent judges. The Old Testament, to which this objection may be principally made, was not primarily written for us of the present day; but for a people, who had many peculiar customs and ceremonies, and to whom many things might be important, that to us may appear of a trifling nature. Nor is it improbable, that much of what these objectors consider as trifling, may, to others of
Lu buth importaut and
instructive. The pious and humble mind will often derive instruction from many of the works of Divine Providence, which may be overlooked by the vain and fastidious, as not worthy of their notice.
The second objection, it is apprehended, is meant principally to apply to those passages in the Old Testament, where the Almighty is represented as authorizing the destruction of man by man. This is an objection not only to the inspiration, but to the truth of the Scriptures; and though it appears to be the strong hold of the enemies of the Bible, it is by no means impregnable. It has, indeed, been often attacked and reduced; but such is their fondness for it, that they are continually rebuilding it, and resorting to it.
In replying to this objection, it may be proper, first, to consider the command of God to Abraham, to offer up his son Isaac, which has been much insisted on, as favouring human sacrifices, and as an argument against the Scriptures. It stands recorded as a trial of Abraham's faith; and as, after his full resignation,
his hand was stayel from the prim mance U the act, I am at a loss to conceive what infer ence can be drawn from this circumstance, derogatory to the character of the Divine Being, or of those writings which represent Him as putting the righteous patriarch's love and obedience to this great trial. Had the sacrifice been actually made, the objection to it might have had more appearance of validity; but as the case is represented, and no doubt rightly represented, it appears to afford an argument against, rather than for, human sacrifices. The conduct of Abraham is mentioned, in both the Old and New Testaments, with the most marked approbation and it has obtained for the obedient patriarch, the distinguished character of "the Friend of God."*
The command given to the Israelites, to make war on the Canaanites, and to destroy them, is an objection, which it is difficult to conceive can be seriously urged, by those who consider war to be lawful, even under the Christian dispensation. War is generally allowed to be one of those judgments, by which Divine Providence hath often afflicted a guilty nation; and,
* James ii. 23.