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pearance, obtained the same Title every where.?
St. Peter gives it by the plainest Implication to
what St. Paul wrote a: and doubtless what He,
and the rest of the twelve, wrote, equally deserved
it. Inspiration is any particular Influence of
God on the Mind: whence we pray in the
Communion Service, that he would cleanse our :
Hearts by the Inspiration of his Holy Spirit.
But, in the Cafe before us, it must fignify such
Influence, as will be effectual for the Purpose
of writing such Books. And of this there may
be various Degrees requisite, and therefore
granted, according to the Variety of Circum-
stances. Moving a Person inwardly to under-
take the work is one Degree. Superintending
him during the Execution of it, so as to pre-
serve him from any considerable Mistake or
Omiffion, is another. Preserving him from all,
even the least, is a higher still. Enabling him
to express himself in a Manner loftier, clearer,
more convincing or more affecting, than he
could have done otherwise, is yet a further
Step.' Suggesting to him also the Matter,
which he shall deliver, goes beyond the former,
especially if he was unacquainted with it till
then. And putting into his Mouth the very

# 2 Pet. ii. 16.

Words

Words he shall use, is the completest Guidance, that can be.

Now we say not, that God hath done all these Things in every Part of Scripture : but so, many in each, as were needful. That He directed Mofes to write his Laws', and Ifaiab, and Ezekield and Habakkuk", Part at least of their Prophecies, and Jeremiah the Whole of his , and St. John the Book of Revelations, they themselves positively affure us: and by Parity of Reason we may presume it concerning the rest: nor can we doubt, but that, writing in Obedience to his Command, they wrote so, as he approved. On some Occasions perhaps they wanted, and therefore had, no extraordinary Assistance. Without this, the Historians amongst them might relate several Facts from their own personal Knowledge, others from authentic Records : and Mofes might receive his Accounts of the earliest Ages from undoubted Tradition. For Tradition was much longer credible, when there were but few Things to commit to Memory, and there was no other Way of preserving them, and two or

• Exod. xxxiv. 27. Comp. xxiv. 4. Deut. xxxi. 9, 22. « Il. viii. 1. XXX. 8. d Ezek, xliii. 11.

. Hab. ii. 2, Jer, xxx. 2. xxxvi. 2, 28.

three

Rev.i. 11, 19.

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three Generations lasted many Centuries. The Writers of the Psalms might often chuse their own Subjects, and treat them suitably to their own Genius. The wise King, and other Compilers of the Proverbs, might perpetuate their own Maxims. The Authors of the Epistles may well be supposed to have given the many small Directions, which we find in them, solely from the Dictates of their own Prudence. The Authors of all the Books might be trusted very commonly to use their own Stile and Method, (in which accordingly there is much Diversity) nay, even their own Illustrations, Arguments and Reasonings, on the Points before them. And yet, amidst all this, the watchful Eye of God might sufficiently provide against their misleading into Error and Sin, or omitting to instruct in any Thing essential, those, whom they were appointed to make wise unto Sal vation".

That he hath fuperintended them thus far, is evident from the Necessity of his doing it. The Patriarchal, Jewish and Christian Revelations, which are contained, with their principal Evidences, in these Books, could not be known with Certainty otherwise than by Means

bo 2 Tim. iii. 15.

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of them, after some Time, though they might at first by Word of Mouth. And therefore to prevent his gracious Intention towards every succeeding Generation from being frustrated, undoubtedly God would take Care, that the Scripture should teach us infallibly what he required us to believe and do: which was impofsible, if his Truths and the Imaginations of his Creatures were blended in them promiscuously: or indeed, if they were only left to express themselves as they could, properly or improperly, concerning abstruse and difficult Matters, (as there are many such in the sacred Writings,) where a finall Error in their Phrase might occasion a great one in our Belief or Conduct. For on this Supposition, how should we distinguish with Safety in Matters of such Moment: and where shall they, who reject any one Article, find a sure Place to stop at? Fatal Experience hath proved continually, that they can find none. And consequently our wise and good Maker would effectually preserve Writings of such infinite Importance, not only from gross Errors, but from the very smallest in Faith or Practice, and, one should think, in Arguings and Facts also: the former being often affected by the latter,

But

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: But this is not all : he must have interposed
much farther. We find Passages throughout, so
sublime, so pathetic, full of such Energy and Force
upon the Heart and Conscience; yet without the
least Appearance of Labour and Study for that
Purpose: indeed the Design of the Whole is
fo noble, so well suited to the fad Condition of
human Kind; the Morals have in them such
Purity and Dignity; the Doctrines are many of
them so much above Reason, yet all of them
fo reconcileable with it; the Expression is so ma-
jestic, yet familiarised with such eafy Simpli-
city; that the more we read and study these
Books with pious Dispositions and judicious
Attention, the more we shall see and feel of
the Hand of God in them; and without fixing
diftin&tly on this or that Text, be fully satis-
fied in the Gross, that no' mere Men, and yet
less unlearned Men, as several of the Writers
were, could ever approach to such Perfection,
(far superior to that of the most admired Hea-
thens,) without being raised vastly above them-
selves by supernatural Aid. But then if we
consider also the accurate Agreement and Cor-
respondence of the several Parts, though of
very

different Natures, written at very different
Times, under very different Dispensations of
6

Religion,

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