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ed to the sacred writers, that divine guidance or assistance having been such as entirely to guard them against error, and to lead them to write just what God saw to be suited to accomplish the ends of revelation.” Although we do not admire the way in which the thing is expressed, yet we concur with Dr. Woods entirely in his views of the plenary nature of that inspiration by which the Scriptures was written.
His views, also, on the subject of the manner in which inspiration must affect the language, as well as the ideas of the books of Scripture, are, in our opinion, just; and as this is frequently a subject of inquiry and controversy among young theologians, we will give a pretty long extract on this point.
“Some have supposed, that the influence which inspired men had, related exclusively to the thoughts or conceptions of their own minds. But this supposition seems to me not accordant with what the inspired writers themselves advance on the subject. Far be it from me to attempt an explanation of the specific mode of the divine agency in the work of inspiration. But as the writers of Scripture nowhere limit the divine influence which they enjoyed, to the conceptions of their own minds; neither would I do it. And as there are some texts which, according to any fair interpretation, clearly imply that the divine guidance afforded to inspired men, had, in an important sense, a respect to their language; how can I entertain any further doubt? And I find myself still more satisfied by considering the cases, in which the apostles and other Christians were miraculously assisted to speak with other tongues ; because, in all these cases, the agency of the Spirit related directly to the language they used. The very fact necessarily implies this. For to say that the divine Spirit assisted them to speak in a foreign language which they had not learned, and yet that the divine assistance afforded them had no respect to language, would be a contradiction. The remarkable instance of divine agency, now referred to, should at least prevent us from asserting in unqualified terms, that divine inspiration in the Apostles could have had no respect whatever to their language.
“ The general doctrine of inspiration, understood in any proper sense, seems clearly to imply, that the divine influence which the Prophets and Apostles enjoyed, must have pertained, in some way, to the manner in which they communicated divine truth. For can we suppose that God moved his servants to write a particular doctrine or fact, and yet did not influence them to write it in a suitable manner ?—that, after prompting them to communicate something of consequence, he so abandoned them, that they were liable, as every man without divine assistance is, to fall into mistakes, or
to make the communication in a manner less proper in itself, and less agreeable to the mind of God, than some other.”
The learned author then proceeds to answer some plausible objections to the opinion which he advocates. The first of which is, “ that the language employed by the -inspired writers exhibits no marks of a divine interference, but is perfectly conformed to the genius and taste of the writers.” While the fact is admitted, it is denied that it interferes with the theory advanced; for it is not pretended that the writers were in all cases furnished with words which they would not have themselves selected, but only that in making their selection, they were under such a superintendance as preserved them from employing unsuitable language. Another objection is, “ That even the same doctrine is taught and the same event described in a different manner, by different writers.” The fact is here also admitted, but it is shown to be perfectly consistent with the view taken of this subject. But the strongest objection is, “ That the supposition of a divine influence, in this respect, is wholly unnecessary.” This may justly be denied, for a truth clearly conceived in the mind may be unhappily expressed, through ignorance or inadvertence; and in that case, the truth would be imperfectly communicated, and the very end of inspiration would be partially defeated. The truth is, that we may as well concede, that the sacred penmen were capable of writing many parts of the sacred volume without any divine influence, as that they were able to clothe their ideas always in the proper language, without the aid of inspiration. It is true, they could have written, both as to ideas and language, substantially, what is found in some of their narratives; because, both the facts and the words were familiar to their minds; but in judging what was in every case proper to be said or omitted, they would have been liable to error; and in the narration of facts with which they were most intimately acquainted, through the imbecility of the human mind, they might have fallen into some mistake. And so, in the selection of their language, they would have been equally liable to error; and plenary inspiration, which extended only to the conceptions of the mind and not to the words, would fail of accomplishing the end designed.
This point is considered of so much importance by Dr. Woods, that he adduces several arguments from Scripture, in addition to his general reasons, to confirm it. The first is derived from the miraculous gift of tongues. The second,
VOL. III. No. I.-C
from the fact that the inspired writers had not, in some instances, a clear understanding of the things which they spoke or wrote. And thirdly, he argues from the texts of Scripture where inspiration is expressly mentioned, in favour of the doctrine which he maintains.
In the sixth and last Lecture, the principles of the preceding are applied to some particular cases: and, we were pleased to observe, that the first instance adduced, was the book of Job; concerning the right interpretation of which, we have felt no small perplexity, for a long time.
The difficulty is not in relation to the inspiration of the writer of this book, whoever he might be; but to the discourses of Job himself, and of his friends. Now the question is, whether these sublime discourses are to be considered as all given by inspiration; or, whether any part of them are inspired. Against the first supposition, it seems to be an unanswerable objection, that God himself declares that these men were in error, in their controversy with Job; and he himself was reproved for some of his speeches, which are of such a kind that they could not have been dictated by the Holy Spirit. And if all their discourses were not inspired, but only a part, how is it possible for us to distinguish between what was spoken by inspiration of the Spirit, and what was the fruit of their own unassisted minds. But, on the other hand, if we determine that no part of these discourses were inspired, we contradict the uniform opinion of theologians, ancient and modern, who have even treated the declarations of Job and Elihu at least, as the words of inspiration; and have fully adduced texts from them, and also from the other speakers, in proof of the most important doctrines. We did hope, when we saw this example brought forward, that we should find some solution of this difficulty, by one who has so profoundly studied the whole subject. But we confess that we have been disappointed. We have, indeed, no special objection to what Dr. Woods says in relation to this book, but we are of opinion, that he has left the difficulty where he found it. “ The Holy Spirit prompted the writer," says our author, “ to write a sacred poem, consisting chiefly of a dialogue between Job and his three friends, and of a solemn address to Job from the Creator and Sovereign of the world. The inspired writer was enabled to frame such a dialogue, and such an address from God, as should be agreeable to nature and truth, and convey with clearness and force the most im
portant knowledge respecting God and man." Very good; but how are we to distinguish truth from error in this important dialogue ? When Job says, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, &c.” are we to consider this as an inspired prediction of the Messiah? and if so, are all Job's words to be so taken? And so of the elevated sayings of his friends.
But we shall dismiss this perplexing subject, and hasten to the conclusion of our review, already too much extended, by observing, that the remainder of this Lecture is occupied with important remarks, “on the perfection of the Bible," on « the firmness of the basis on which our belief in the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel rests;" on the regard which we ought to pay to the Bible as the standard of our faith, and the source of our religious knowledge. He teaches, “that those authors who deny the inspiration of the Bible, are to be regarded as dangerous guides in respect to the principles of religion, and are to be read and studied with great caution." Also, that those who disbelieve the doctrines, or who despise or neglect the precepts contained in the Bible, subject themselves to a heavy charge of presumption and impiety,and, finally, he concludes with observing, “How important is the work of explaining and inculcating the Word of God, and disseminating it through the world.” On all these points we most cordially concur in the sentiments expressed by Dr. Woods; and although we have presumed to question the correctness of some of his positions, in the preceding parts of the volume, we are persuaded, that he will be the last man in the community to be offended with our freedom. The subject is far more difficult than is commonly supposed; and has been far less discussed, than its importance demands. In the general view of inspiration, we entirely agree with Dr. Woods, and have been instructed and gratified by his little volume. Indeed, we consider it as an important accession to our theological literature, and as supplying a desideratum to students of theology. And our prevailing reason for reviewing it in the Biblical Repertory, is, to bring it, as far as our influence extends, into more extensive circulation, for we have reason to think, that in this part of the country, it has, as yet, fallen into the hands of but few persons. We would, therefore, cordially recommend this little volume to the careful perusal of our readers, and especially to students of theology and young ministers; for we are persuaded, that this will become one of the most frequent grounds of controversy
with the enemies of evangelical truth. On this ground the assault has been most successfully made in Germany, and we shall soon have neology in its most abhorrent form imported into this country. Indeed, it is already here, and only needs the German literature to give it support; and let it be remembered, that the conquest over truth was there made by little and little, and, instead of conceding 'any part of the principles of truth, let us be determined “to contend earnestly for the whole faith.”
If we might take the liberty of suggesting a hint to the reverend author, it would be, that in a second edition, which we hope will be soon called for, the work should be considerably enlarged, so as to give room for the full discussion of some points, not sufficiently examined in these Lectures.
ART. II.-MANUAL LABOUR SCHOOLS.
To the Editors of the Biblical Repertory and Theological
I should be gratified to have your opinion, or that of some one of your correspondents, on what are called Manual Labour Schools, in which it is proposed to give young men, in indigent circumstances, an opportunity of paying for their education, at least in part, by their own industry. Will three or four hours labour each day interfere with their progress in learning, or be injurious to their future usefulness? What is the best mode of conducting these establishments? What proportion of the expense of his education may an industrious young man be expected to defray? Especially, I should like to know, whether a young man, in a course of education for the gospel ministry, who has an opportunity of attending one of these working schools, or who is in such a situation that he may earn something, however small, ought to receive any assistance from education societies, or others, if, from pride or indolence, or any other cause, he neglects to do what he can in paying for his education? In a word, I should be pleased to have your views on the subject, generally, or on any particular branches of it. With great respect, I have the honour to be,