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may not be capable of arguing with the learned skeptic, but he may know whether or not revealed religion is true. Jesus said, "If any man will do his [the Father's] will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself" (John 7:17). Revealed religion is the only religion on earth that is capable of being brought to an experimental test. This is one of its glories. It not only addresses itself to the intelligence of mankind, but it comes directly to the consciousness of every one who will put it to the test. John says, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself" (I. John 5:10). Millions have tested it in life and in death, and have said it is true.
Among the evidences that the Holy Scriptures are divine, we may mention the following, none of which can be elaborated in this connection:
1. It was possible for the Creator of all things to make such a revelation to man.
2. Just such a revelation is necessary. Without it we cannot arrive at any certain knowledge of God, of Christ, or of the Holy Spirit. Neither can we know anything about atonement, redemption, justification, regeneration, the resurrection of the dead, and future rewards and punishments.
3. The complete adaptation of the Holy Scriptures to mankind in all countries and in all the ages, proves their origin to be divine. Is it reasonable to suppose that wicked and designing men could write such a book?
4. The circulation and remarkable preservation of the Bible through all the ages, show a most wonderful and singular providence, which can only be accounted for on the ground that God is its author.
5. The contents of the Holy Scriptures are in perfect harmony with the highest order of reason. There is nothing in the doctrines, institutions, precepts, and promises but what we might expect from a Being such as the Bible represents God to be. They are such as cannot be found in any other book.
"Hast thou ever heard
Of such a book? The author, God himself;
6. That the Holy Scriptures are authentic and inspired must appear when we carefully consider the "manner, scope, predictions, and miracles they contain." The exact fulfillment of prophecies and the fact of miracles are as well attested by history as any other events that happened during those ages. If we set the one aside, we must, for the same reason, set the other aside, and destroy all history..
7. The effect of the Holy Scriptures in all nations and upon all the peoples of the earth where they have been freely circulated, proves that God must be the author. Millions have been reformed and made better by their influence. We boast of our civilization, our laws, and our freedom, but all these in a large degree owe their excellency to the influence of the Bible. The spread of Christianity in the face of the most determined opposition is further proof of the divinity of its origin.
THE BIBLE THE ONLY RULE AND GUIDE.
The article under review says that the Holy Bible "re veals the only true way to our salvation; that every true Christian is bound to acknowledge and receive it by the help of the Spirit of God as the only rule and guide in faith and practice." This is a most helpful article of faith. We do not affirm simply that it is a "rule and guide in faith and practice," but the only rule. Those who object to creeds and confessions of faith charge that they are substituted for the Holy Scriptures. This is a groundless charge, and not in any proper sense true in fact. Protestant denominations not only revere the Bible, but declare it to be the supreme authority- the only infallible guide in faith and practice.
To show how nearly Protestant denominations agree as to the supreme authority of the Sacred Scriptures, we will insert four articles from four different confessions.
1. Westminster Confession.-"The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory,
man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men."
2. Methodist Confession.-"The Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or to be thought requisite or necessary to salvation."
3. New Confession of the Presbyterian Church of England.-"We believe that God, who manifests himself in creation and providence, and especially in the spirit of man, has been pleased to reveal his mind and will for our salvation at successive periods and in various ways; and that this revelation has been, so far as needful, committed to writing by men inspired of the Holy Spirit, so that the Word of God is now contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, which are therefore to be devoutly studied by all: and we reverently acknowledge the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures to be the Supreme Judge in questions of faith and duty."
4. United Brethren Confession.-"We believe that the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, is the word of God; that it reveals the only true way to our salvation; that every true Christian is bound to acknowledge and receive it by the help of the Spirit of God as the only rule and guide in faith and practice."
These are but samples of what all Protestant denominations believe and teach concerning the authority of the Holy Scriptures they only are infallible, and furnish a perfect system of doctrine, and all that is necessary to salvation. Creeds and confessions do not propose to add to, or change anything in, the Word of God. What is claimed, and all that is claimed, is that a creed or confession contains an approximate statement of the fundamental doctrines taught in the Word of God.
The Holy Scriptures alone teach the way, and the only way, of salvation; we recognize no other standard; hence
the importance and necessity for each one to read and study the sacred Word. This is clearly implied in such scriptures as may be found in John 5: 39, I. John 2: 20, 27, Acts 17:11, Galatians 1:8. The Book of Psalms contains many allusions to the oracles of God.
As an encouragement to read and study the Word of God, the help of the Holy Spirit is promised (Romans 8:9; I. John 2:20, 27). "A personal spiritual illumination by the power of the Holy Spirit," says Dr. Hodge, "is necessary in every case for the practical and saving knowledge of the truth embraced in the Scriptures. This necessity does not result from any want of either completeness or clearness in revelation, but from the fact that man in a state of nature is carnal and unable to discern the things of the Spirit." This article of our Confession says that "every true Christian is bound to acknowledge and receive it by the help of the Spirit of God as the only rule and guide in faith and practice.'
The study of the Holy Scriptures is a most delightful employment. There is a majesty, beauty, and sublimity in the Bible not found in any other book. It is a "rock of diamonds and a chain of pearls." When Dr. Elliott, at seventy years of age, and very near the end of life, sat reading the Word of God, his daughter asked him what he was reading so diligently. He replied, "I am reading news." He had read the Bible through many times, and yet to him, sitting on the bank of the river of death, it was news,- news from that country to which he was soon going. It is a fountain of living water, a compass, a chart, and a guide. The heavens may pass away, the elements melt, and the earth be burned up, but the word of the Lord shall endure forever. Christians should not only feel that it is their duty to read the Holy Scriptures, but esteem it a very great privilege to do so. Rev. William Hamilton says, "The Word of God is solid; it will stand a thousand readings, and the man who has gone over it the most frequently and most carefully is the surest of finding new wonders there."
It is to be regretted that so many who profess to be the disciples of Christ devote so little time to reading and
studying God's Word. They seem not to know how rich and beautiful it is. There are promises like the most precious gems scattered all along the pathway of lifepromises for every day, for every hour, and for every condition of life. And the glory of it all is that not one of these promises will ever fail. Let all, therefore, that profess the name of Christ, thoughtfully and prayerfully read and study the Holy Scriptures "by the aid of the Spirit of God."