« VorigeDoorgaan »
BRIEF STATEMENT OF
THE EVI-, friends or foes of revelation by a AND USES OF DIVINE discussion of the question, whe
ther the writers of the Scriptures
were inspired, and acting voder. (Continued from page 261.)
that inspiration in every word and syllable, historical, doctrinal, or prophetical, which they have
written, or whether it was not It is needless to be too inquisi- the case that the ideas only were tive about the very modes in suggested by the Spirit to the which God communicated the penmen, leaving them to their doctrines of revelation to the pro. own feelings, the exercise of their phets and apostles, and guided own understandings, for the mantheir pens in committing them to per and the language in which writing. Whether he opened a these ideas should be clothed and communication directly with their communicated. This is rather a minds, or represented his will to curious than a useful or easily them in dreams or in visions, by resolved question. loferences the instrumentality of angels; or may be drawn from reason and whether be so affected their ex- Scripture in favour of both sides. ternal senses as to convey certain It is sufficient for Christian ideas into the mind, or made use piety to rest satisfied in the belief of all these methods as occasion that a merciful God has commumight render necessary, is of lit- nicated directions and instructions tle consequence to us. He might to dependent ignorant creatures; have used these and many other and, as he designed this for spemodes, for any thing we know, cial purposes, his overruling parand have answered the purpose ticular providence could not fail contemplated. He took his own to make provision, that its docplan of revealing his own will. trines, its sentiments, ils princiIn his superior wisdom our hearts ples, its precepts, its promises, ought to acquiesce, although we its prophecies, should not be in cannot completely explain the the least misrepresented by the manner of the Holy Ghost's in- penmen employed to record them, spiration.
so as to affect the security of those Neither can we see any great who reposed upon them with imend to be answered, either to the plicit confidence. Vol. II....No. 7.
This might also sufficiently think then of those who assert fortify a candid mind against the that it is immaterial what a man's illiberal criticisms or the impious principles are, provided his praccavils of infidelity.
tice be good. Without adverting We come now
at this time to the contradiction
which this proposition involves, 11. To demonstrate the proof that declaration. “The Scrip;
it is evidently opposite to the spirit position, that Divine Revelation is useful to Mankind.
tures are profitable for doctrines." They contain speculative princi
ples, and this part of their excelThis proposition is subdivided lency is the very first which into four distinct particulars : 1. Paul mentions, Rom. xv. 4. DOCTRINE, 2. REPROOF, 3. Cor- Whatsoever things were written RECTION, And, 4. INSTRUCTIon in aforetime, were written for our righteousness. We shall follow learning, that we, through pathis order, and briefly offer some tience, might have hope. observations on each of these The doctrinal propositions particulars.
which God bas revealed to us in 1. Divine revelation is useful the Gospel are very numerous. to man, on account of the doc- He has treated with us always as trines which it' proposes for his rational creatures ; and unless the reception.
Scriptures did address themselves God made man an intelligent to our reason, they could neither creature, capable of observation be bis Word nor the rule of our and reflection. He bestowed duty. Scripture doctrines will, upon us an understanding whose without doubt, afford matter for object is the investigation of truth. the Church's investigation in all The five external senses are cal- periods of her militant journey, culated to convey notices to the and, doubtless, matter of song in soul of what passes without; or her triumphant entrance into to speak more accurate, the soul, glory. Deity has, in them, rethrough their medium, acquaints vealed his own character, bis itself with external objects. The sovereign right and authority to understanding not only exa- dispose of his creatures, and his mines the ideas there formed, long-sparing mercy to sinners. but is also empowered to com- He has revealed doctrines which bine, abstract, and manufacture reason could not discover, and them into an infinite variety. which, when discovered, it canThe Author of human nature, in pot fully comprehend. : doctrines giving an extraordinary revela- which, although we can undertion to man, might be naturally stand and believe, yet we cannot supposed to address, at least a completely analyze. Among these part of it, to this speculative pow. the existence of three distinct er of the mind. He did so. persons, equal in every respect, “ Scripture is profitable for doc- in one indivisible infinite essence, trine.” It affords certain truths is the most inscrutable, awful, and for the exercise of the intellec- sublime. The mystery of the tual powers of man ; food for the hypostatical union of a divine and understanding. What are we to human nature, into one glorious
Person, appointed as a vicarious love of God and the good of socisubstitute to make atonement for ety are scarcely noticed by the sin, is no less admirable to the mass of the people. The hospeculative believer than it is nour of heaven is despised, and fraught with consolation to those futurity discarded from the who are weary and heavy laden. thoughts of the prince and the The doctrine of the unlimited subject. sovereignty of God, involving 'un If Deity was to address manconditional election and reproba- kind, we might conclude from his tion, is also a truth of dread im- nature that he would challenge port. It is calculated to fill the his creatures for transgressing souls of the guilty with horror against the general order. A reand dismay, while to him who has velation from the spotless Sovemade his calling and election sure reign of heaven and of earth must it is matter of confort and un- contain reproof to the guilty inspeakable joy. The doctrine of habitants of this domain. Was universal depravity, including sin our sensibility quick to virtue, imputed, inherent, and actual, is and our reason prompt in apa Scriptural proposition, address-proving of justice, less reproof ed to the human understanding would be required. Had we no by its divine Author. The Scrip- reasoning powers at all, or no tures also are profitable in reveal sense of general order, it would ing to us the doctrines of justifica- be as absurd to address us by retion by the imputation of Christ's proof, or doctrine, as to address righteousness, which secures thethe block or the statue. Undertitle to the inheritance of the standing and ratiocination are presaints ; and of sanctification by supposed to be in our possession the implantation of his Spirit in a by the revelation wbicb addresses dead and passive soul ; and the itself to us in the language of reco-operating exertions of the soul proof; and this being the case, it itsell, when regenerated by the cannot fail to be profitable to divine energy, giving a meetness sinners. for heaven, and a taste for the Reproof is administered to us enjoyment of its company and on account of our ignorance. blessings.
This is supposed by many a The new covenant, with all its sufficient apology for error and connecting circumstances, the cer- misconduct. Prov. xix. 2. That tainty and permanence of its pri- the soul be without knowledge is vileges, and its dependence on not good. Ignorance is not only God's unchangeability, securing in itself culpable in proportion as for its subjects happiness on earth we enjoy opportunities of informand joys unspeakable and full of ation ; but it makes way for the glory in heaven, is a doctrine and commission of the vilest crimes. subject of profitable speculation To sit down in contented ignorfor a sincerely penitent sinner. ance of what God would bave us
2. Divine Revelation is profit- to do in our generation for the able for Reproof.
support of his glory, the honour Mankind are universally admit- of his Son, and the good of his ted to be guilty of transgression church, is a sign of awful obduagainst the laws of morality. The racy of heart. Alas ! how pre
valent is it in this generation.fence over the will and choice of
The Author of nature has wise3. Correction. The Scripture ly adapted revealed religion to is profitable προς επανορθωσιν. the complex nature of man. As
It is useful, in order to turn it is calculated to enlighten the men into the right way, from understanding, so it is to improve which they have been long wan- the heart. Is Scripture profitable derers. Man is not only an intel- for doctrine ? It is so for correcligent, but also an active being. tions also. Ps. xix. 7. God's law His choice is not perfectly regu. is perfect, and converts the soul lated by the light of his under that lies in sin. The statutes of standing, peither is the will al- the Lord are right, and do reways inclined by its last or high-joice the heart. They equally est dictate. This would be the err, though upon opposite ex. case, perhaps, if man was a per- tremes, who make religion to confect and siinple intellect : in his sist entirely in feelings, sensible soul is however implanted certain experiences, and lively affections ; innate propensities and septi- and those who make no part at ments : these have their influ-l all of it to consist in these: What
the Spirit of God hath joined in taidoiav, to complete our educarevelation let not man put asun- tion in the school of rectitude. der in practice. In our soul he ev dizaiorurn. They do not mereconjoined intellectual with active ly initiate us into the first rudi. powers : both these are to be ments of a virtuous life, but they sanctified by religion, that the continue their instructive lessons whole man may give glory to God. until the man of God be perDoctrines of truth must fill the fected. intellect, while salutary correc They have wrong conceptions tion is administered to the pas- of the Scriptures who wish to adsions and affections of the mind. minister instruction out of them If either of these parts be want only against sins in general, withing in the professors of religion, out a particular application to the they have not yet learned Christ time, place, and quality, of the as they ought. It is not enough bearers. lo a complete system to know the truth, if the heart is of education, every particular in cold and the soul inactive. In the student's character must be vain bave we zeal and industry considered, and application acfor the good of Zion, unless that cordingly made. This is that for zeal be according to knowledge. which the Scripture is intended, It is our duty to learn from the and is truly profitable. Isai, inspired penman of the Epistles lviij. 1, Cry aloud, spare not; to Timotby. While the Scrip- show my people their transgrestures describe the true character sions, and the house of Jacob of God, they detect and correct their sins. false modes of worshipping him, In this particular there are two and turn 06. avee opbou odov, to things to be noticed, 1. The inwalk through the right way of his struction itself, and 2. That in divine precepts. They lead those which it consists, i. e. in Rightethat are out of the way into the OUSNESS. paths of pleasantness and peace. 1. The instruction alluded to They correct immorality, by in- includes information, exhortation, troducing a reformation ; they and chastisement. Ps. xxxviii. 8, rectify all the misconceptions, 2. and Heb. xij. 6. Whom the Lord and mistakes, of those who listen loveth, he chasteneth. to the voice of their precepte. 2. The righteousness in which, Thus the Gospel of the Son of and for which, the tuition is adGod is not in word but io power. ministered, implies the meritori, 1 Thess. i. 5.
ous righteousness of Messiah's life 4. The apostle informs us that and death, and the sanctifying the holy Scripture is profitable righteousness implanted in the for our instruction in righteous- soul by the Spirit of adoption. ness. The word in the original Divine revelation then is useful is ngos suiderar. It implies the to inform us that Jesus Christ is whole system of tuition and disci- set forth to be a propitiation, pline, by which a youth is pre- through faith in his blood, for the pared for active life. The Scrip- remission of sins. It commands, tures then, as they are calculated it entreats, it exhorts, sinners to mpoc pravogewon, to introduce us believe in this crucified Saviour; into the right way, to also gasito come to him that they may