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they evidently joined in most earnestly with the Jewish mind on this subject; and instead of attempting to unsettle, aimed directly at increasing its habit of implicit submission to the Old Testament writings. But had the Jews been erroneous in that high degree of reverence with which they regarded those sacred books, such countenance and example on the part of our Lord and his ambassadors could not have been shown, consistently with the perfect truth and openness which marked all their dealings.
Now be it observed, that the Jews in the time of Christ considered the writings of the Old Testament as divinely inspired, not merely in respect to their doctrines, but their whole matter and substance. Josephus says, that in his time they were universally believed to have been written by men "as they learned them of God himself by inspiration,' were justly believed to be "DIVINE." He draws a wide distinction between the histories of the Jewish people which were written since the time of Artaxerxes, and those contained in the Bible, and gives as a reason why the former had not been received as having so much authority as the latter, that since Artaxerxes there had not been a succession of inspired men. "How firmly we have given credit," he says, "to these books of our own nation, is evident from what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one hath been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it is become natural to all Jews, immediately and from their very birth, to
esteem those books to contain divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and if occasion be, willingly to die for them."* Hence, we see that Jesus and his apostles, in coinciding with, and in employing and promoting the current sentiment of the Jewish people in their days, must be considered as having, really and in the broadest sense, espoused and confirmed the doctrine of the divine inspiration of the Old Testament scriptures.
2. But unanswerable as is the above attestation, we have a direct assertion on the part of St. Paul of still greater importance. Having reminded Timothy, that from a child he had known "the holy Scriptures," which were able to make him wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, he makes this positive and conclusive declaration: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."t
Here then is the plain testimony of one whose knowledge and veracity we have ascertained, that whatever in his time was included under the name of "Scripture," or "holy Scriptures," was of divine inspiration. We have only to ask, therefore, to what books Paul applied that name. It was a name of common use in his day. Josephus and Philo frequently speak of "the divine Scriptures," and “the holy Scriptures." It is manifest, therefore, that Paul meant to be understood as asserting the divine in
*Cont. Apion, b. 1, sec. 7, 8.
† 2 Tim. 3:15-17.
spiration of that collection of sacred books to which the Jews notoriously applied such names; in other words, the books of the Old Testament. He regarded them all as "Scripture." He declared them all inspired.
Now, that under the same title we have the same collection of writings is certain, not only from the important fact, that on this head there is a perfect agreement between our Bibles and those of the whole Jewish nation at the present day; but also from the testimony of Josephus, who, although he has not mentioned the names of the several books considered as Scripture in his time, has given us their number, and so described them that their identity with ours cannot be mistaken. He takes care to speak of them "as of divine authority."* In addition to this, we have the testimony of the New Testament as to the canon of the Old. For besides the books of Moses, which the former expressly mentions as of divine authority, it also specifies almost all the other books of our Old Testament as belonging, in the time of Christ, to the sacred canon of the Jews. Some are omitted, only because the mentioning of any is incidental. Nothing but a formal enumeration can be expected to be complete. That none are excepted against, is proof that all were received by the Lord and his apostles.
Hence, we are fully warranted to believe that "all Scripture," in the mouth of St. Paul, meant all the books of the Old Testament which Jews and Chris
* Cont. Apion, b. 1, sec. 8.
tians at present unite in receiving as divine oracles; consequently we have apostolic authority in proof that they were all "given by inspiration of God."
Much additional evidence to the same point might be added; but with any who acknowledge the argument of the previous lectures, and thence believe that whatever St. Paul asserted as a doctrine of Christianity is true, the above simple reasoning will be amply sufficient for the divine inspiration of the Old Testament.
II. Let us proceed to the second division of our subject, and carry our inquiry to the books of THE NEW TESTAMENT.
1. The inspiration of the New Testament may be naturally and reasonably inferred from that of the Old. In this we argue by analogy. No reason can be given why those holy men of old who composed the books of the other Testament, should have written, not "by the will of man," but "as they were moved by the Holy Ghost," that does not apply with much greater force to the writers of the later volume. The economy of the Old Testament was to cease at the advent of Christ; that of the New will endure to the end of the world. The former was intended primarily for a single nation, and adapted to a country of narrow boundaries. The latter was framed to include all nations, and is intended of God to be coëxtensive with the globe. The law had only "a shadow of good things to come;" the gospel has
"the very image of the things:" the first was a system of types, "which stood only in meats and drinks
and divers washings and carnal ordinances imposed until the time of reformation;" the second, the time of reformation being come, is a system of direct revelation; the veil has been rent in twain, so that it may be said, in comparison with the previous dispensation, that we no longer see "through a glass darkly, but face to face." One grand distinction of the economy of the gospel is, that it is the dispensa'tion of the Spirit. That peculiar feature in which its covenant is " a better covenant established upon better promises”—“a new covenant"—is found in this, that it is a spiritual covenant; its promises, its privileges, its duties, its parties, are all spiritual. Its character in this respect is seen in that stipulation of its divine Author: "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts." So much, therefore, does this "ministration of righteousness exceed in glory" all that preceded it, that although there had never risen, under the Old Testament system, a greater than John the Baptist, yet "he that is least in the kingdom of God," that is, under the New Testament system, "is greater than he."
Now, is it supposable that under a dispensation so limited in extent and duration as that of the law, so carnal in its ordinances, so obscure in its revelations, serving only "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things," the sacred books should have been given by inspiration of God; and yet, that under the far better covenant of the gospel, designed for all mankind and to stand while the world endures— a dispensation so eminently distinguished for the out