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word of God. I own that in my own mind, at first sight, I am naturally led to look not only there, but elsewhere for notices of sacred truth; and I consider that they who say that the Bible does contain the whole revelation (as I do say myself), that they and I, that we, have what is called the onus probandi, the burden and duty of proving the point, on our side. Till we prove that it does contain the whole of revealed truth, it is natural, from the prima facie appearance of Scripture, to suppose that it does not. Why, for instance, should a certain number of letters, more or less private, written by St. Paul and others to particular persons or bodies, contain the whole of what the SPIRIT taught them? We do not look into Scripture for a complete history of the secular matters which it mentions; why should we look for a complete account of religious truth? You will say that its writers wrote in order to communicate religious truth; true, but not all religious truth: that is the point. They did not sit down with a design to commit to paper all they had to say on the whole subject, all they could say about the Gospel; but they either wrote to correct some particular error of a particular time or place, or to " stir up the pure minds" of their brethren, or in answer to questions, or to give directions for conduct, or on indifferent matters. For instance, St. Luke says he wrote his Gospel that Christians might know "the certainty of the things in which they had been instructed." Does this imply he told all that was to be told? Any how he did not; for the other Evangelists add to his narrative. It is then far from being a self-evident truth that Scripture must contain all the revealed counsel of God; rather the probability lies the other way at first sight.
Nevertheless, at least as regards matters of faith, it does (as we in common with all Protestants hold) contain all that is necessary for salvation; it has been overruled to do so by Him who inspired it. By parallel acts of power, He both secretly inspired the books, and secretly formed them into a perfect rule or canon. I shall not prove what we all admit, but I state it, to prevent misapprehension. If asked how we know this to be the case, I answer, that the early Church thought so, which must have known. And, if this answer does not please, the inquirer
may look out for a better as he can. I know of no other. [ require no other. For our own Church it is enough, as the Homilies show. It is enough that Scripture has been overruled to contain the whole Christian faith, and that the early Church so taught, though its form at first sight might lead to an opposite conclusion. And this being once proved, we see in this state of things an analogy to Gov's providence in other cases. How confused is the course of the world, yet it is the working out of a moral system, and is overruled in every point by God's will! Or, take the structure of the earth; mankind are placed in fertile and good dwelling-places, with hills and valleys, springs and fruitful fields, with metals and marbles, and other minerals, and coal, and seas, and forests; yet this beautiful and fully furnished surface is the result of (humanly speaking) a series of accidents, of gradual influences and sudden convulsions, of a long history of change and chance.
Yet while we admit, or rather maintain, that the Bible is the one standard of faith, there is no reason why we should suppose the overruling hand of God to go further than we are told that it has gone. That He has overruled so far as to make the apparently casual writings of the Apostles a canon of faith, is no reason that He should have given them a systematic structure, or a didactic form, or a completeness in their subject-matter. So far as we have no proof that the Bible is more than at first sight it seems to be, so far the antecedent probability tells against its being more. Both the history of its composition and its internal structure are against its being a complete depository of the Divine Will, unless the early Church says that it is. Now the early Church does not tell us this. It does not seem to have considered that a complete code of morals, or of Church government, or of rites, or of discipline, is in Scripture; and therefore so far the original improbability remains in force. Again, this antecedent improbability tells, even in the case of the doctrines of faith, as far as this, that it reconciles us to the necessity of gaining them indirectly from Scripture, for it is a near thing (if I may so speak) that they are in Scripture at all; the wonder is, that they are all there; humanly judging, they would not be there but for
GOD's interposition; and, therefore, since they are there by a sort of accident, it is not strange they shall be but latent there, and only indirectly producible thence. GOD effects His greatest ends by apparent accidents. As in respect to this earth, we do not find minerals or plants arranged within it as in a cabinet,— as we do not find the materials for building laid out in order, stone, timber, and iron,―as metal is found in ore, and timber on the tree, so we must not be surprised, but think it great gain, though we find revealed doctrines scattered about high and low in Scripture, in places expected and unexpected. It could not be otherwise, the same circumstances being supposed. Supposing fire, water, and certain chemical and electrical agents in free operation, the earth's precious contents could not be found arranged in order and in the light of day without a miracle; and so without a miracle (which we are no where told to expect) we could not possibly find in Scripture all sacred truths in their place, each taught clearly and fully, with its suitable prominence, its varied bearings, its developed meaning, supposing Scripture to be, what it is, the work of various independent minds in various times and places, and under various circumstances. And so much on what might reasonably be expected from the nature of the case.
MODE IN WHICH FACTS OF HISTORY ARE CONTAINED IN SCRIPTURE.
I HAVE above insisted much upon this point,—that if Scripture contains any religious system at all, it must contain it covertly, and teach it obscurely, because it is altogether most immethodical and irregular in its structure; and therefore, that the indirectness of the Scripture proof of the Catholic system is not an objection to its cogency, except as it is an objection to the Scripture proof of every other system; and accordingly that we must take our choice (Romanism being for the time put aside,) between utter Latitudinarianism and what may be called the Method of Indirect Consequences. Now this argument depends evidently on the fact, that Scripture is thus unsystematic in its structure,—a fact which it would not be necessary to dwell upon, so obvious is it, except that examining into it will be found much to increase its appositeness as an argument, and to throw light upon the whole subject of Scripture teaching. Something, accordingly, I have already observed on the subject, from antecedent considerations, and now I proceed, in the course of several Lectures, to inquire into the matter of fact.
I shall refer to Scripture as a record both of historical events and of general doctrine, with a view of exhibiting the peculiar character of its structure, the unostentatious, indirect, or covert manner, which it adopts for whatever reason in its statements of whatever kind. This, I say, will throw light on the subject in hand; for so it is, directly we come to see that any thing, which has already attracted our notice in one way, holds good in others, that there is a certain law, according to which it occurs uniformly under various circumstances, we gain a satisfaction from the very coincidence, and seem to find a reason for it in the very circumstance that it does proceed on a rule or law. Even in matters of
conduct, in which an external and invariable standard might seem to interfere, the avowal, "It is my way," "I always do so," is often given and accepted, as a satisfactory account of a person's mode of acting. Order implies a principle; order in God's written word implies a principle or design in it. If I show that the Bible is written throughout with this absence of method, I seem to find an order in the very disorder, and hence become reconciled to it in particular instances. That it is inartificial and obscure as regards the relation of facts, seems to explain its being so in statement of doctrines; that it is so as regards one set of doctrines, seems to account for its being so as regards another. Thus, the argument from analogy, which starts with the profession of being only negative, ends with being positive, when drawn out into details; such being the difference between its abstract pretension and its actual and practical force.
In the present Lecture I propose to mention some instances of the unstudied and therefore perplexed character of Scripture, as regards its relation of facts; and to apply them, as I go, to the point under discussion, viz. the objection brought against the Church doctrines from the mode in which they too are stated in Scripture; and I shall begin without further preface.
An illustration occurs in the very beginning of the Bible. However we account for it, with which I am not concerned, you will find that the narrative of the Creation, commenced in the first chapter, ends at the third verse of the second chapter; and then begins a fresh narrative, carrying on the former, but going back a little way. The difference is marked, as is well known, by the use of the word "GOD" in the former narrative, and of "LORD GOD" in the latter. According to the former, GoD is said to create man "in His own image; male and female created He them" on the sixth day. According to the latter, the LORD GoD created Adam, and placed him in the garden of Eden, to dress and keep it, and gave him the command about the forbidden fruit, and brought the beasts to him and afterwards, on his finding the want of a helpmeet, caused him to sleep, and took one of his ribs, and thence made woman. This is an instance of the unsolicitous freedom and want of system of the