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In closing the labours of the year 1850, the Editors of the Primitive Church Magazine commend them to the gracious acceptance of God, and to the kind consideration of their Christian brethren. They look back to the past with gratitude, and to the future with hope, adopting as their motto the language of the Psalmist,—“The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Israel is our refuge."
Although, as will be perceived from the accompanying Annual Address to their friends, the Editors are still intent on the improvement of their periodical as it regards materials and arrangement, yet have they in this day of fickle change and unholy compromise, no new doctrines to propound, and no old ones to retract or to modify. They prefer the old wine of the kingdom as it has come down to us from Christ and the apostles, to all the mixtures of modern apothecaries. They have endeavoured, and will endeavour to maintain with Christian meekness and firmness, “ according to the ability God giveth," the glorious doctrines of grace, and the apostolical constitution of our churches.
Most sincerely do the Editors of the Primitive Church Magazine ask for the prayers of their beloved brethren in the Lord, that they may be enabled to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, and that they may be endued with wisdom from above, to promote just views on all those subjects which come before them. The scene is even now rapidly changing, error is shifting its ground from one position to another ; but every change is bringing the conflict nearer, and at the present moment we seem to be entering on a new and arduous campaign. Christian brethren! “pray for us." Christian brethren! co-operate with us. Christian brethren I share with us our toil and with us our gracious reward. Christian brethren ! let us together seek the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us, and upon all the Lord's people during
the year 1831. Christian brethren! let us be more than ever steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as we know that our labour is not in vain in the Lord.
" Tell us not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream ;
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real, life is earnest,
And the grave is not its goal;
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
Find us further than to-day.
Let us then be up and doing,
With our hearts to heaven elate;
Learn to labour and to wait.”
November 26, 1850.
PRIMITIVE CHURCH MAGAZINE.
No. 73. - JANUARY, 1850.
ON THE INSPIRATION OF THE SCRIPTURES.
The possibility of inspiration seems the matter, but the words also were to be granted by all who profess to be communicated to the minds of the sacred Christians, though there is a great di- | writers. 1. The Scriptures themselves versity of opinion with respect to its take notice of only one kind of inspiranature and degrees, as applied to the tion, and represent it as extending to all Scriptures. Some are of opinion that the the parts of Scripture,—to those which inspiration of the Scriptures amounted are historical and moral, as well as to to nothing more than a mere superin those which are prophetical and doctendence over the minds of the sacred trinal. The word prophecy is evidently writers, so as to prevent them from used by Peter,when speaking on this subpublishing gross errors. Others go a lject, in a large sense, as including at once little farther, and maintain that, besides the prophetical, doctrinal, historical, and superintendence, the understandings of moral writings of the prophets ; but he the several writers were enlarged, -that declares that “ the prophecy came not their conceptions were elevated above in old time by the will of men, but holy the measure of ordinary men,-and that men of God spake as they were moved with their minds thus elevated, they by the Holy Ghost:" 2 Pet. i. 21. were left to their own judgment both as 12. There must have been more than to matter and words. The advocates an enlargement of the understanding of plenary inspiration, again, maintain and an elevation of conception in inspithat the Holy Spirit suggested to the ration, since a great many of the things minds of the persons inspired not only were such as could not have entered the matter to be communicated, but also into the hearts of men or of angels, the words in which the communication had they not been suggested to the was to be made. A fourth party are mind by the divine Spirit. Of this defor taking in all these supposed kinds of scription were the events foretold by the inspiration now mentioned; and they sacred writers many years before they maintain that the sacred writers some took place, and the whole of the doctimes wrote under mere superintendence, trines that relate to the supernatural sometimes under superintendence ac plan of man's redemption. These doccompanied with a high elevation of con- trines are so deep and mysterious, that ception, and at other times under divine they were not fully understood by the suggestion, or what is called plenary inspired writers themselves, even when inspiration, according to the nature of revealed ; they could not therefore be the subject on which they wrote. the result of any process of thought in
We are humbly of opinion, that in their minds, and must consequently spiration, as employed in communicating have been communicated to them by the the sacred oracles to men, is only of one inspiration of suggestion. kind, and that this is the inspiration of 3. For similar reasons we must insist suggestion, according to which not only for the suggestion not only of the ideas,
VOL. VII.-NO, LXXIII.
but also of the words of Scripture. To / ral instruction, with regard to God's disus it is altogether inconceivable how the pensations both of mercy and judgment, sacred writers, who, like other men, towards individuals and nations, as these were accustomed to think in words, dispensations are connected not merely could have the ideas suggested to their with men's actions, but with the secret own minds except in words; or how springs of their actions; and also to point they could have written intelligi-l out the tendencies which these actions bly about future events, with which have, not merely to affect the political they could have had no previous ac- and temporal, but also the spiritual and quaintance, and on doctrinal subjects eternal interests of men, as subjects of far above their comprehension, had not the moral government of God. But if the language as well as the matter been we consider the different colorings which furnished to them by divine suggestion. different historians of the same age have The apostle Paul seems to put the matter given to the same actions, (though they beyond a doubt: "Which things also came under their observation respectwe speak, not in words which man's ively,) when left to their own judgment wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy and inclination, it is impossible for us to Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual conceive how the actions recorded in things with spiritual :" 1 Cor. ii. 13. sacred history could have been selected,
4. If what has been called the inspi- the principles and motives from which ration of superintendence and elevation, they proceeded traced out, and their could in any case be deemed to have moral tendencies, as they affect not only been sufficient, it must have been in the temporal destinies of nations, but the cases where the sacred writers may be spiritual and eternal state of individuals, supposed to have had a prior acquaint- delineated, as they have been, by the ance, from other sources, with the sub- sacred historians, had they not written jects on which they were called to write; l by divine suggestion or plenary inspisuch as subjects of morality and history. ration. But even in these cases plenary inspi- We may add farther, that the typical, ration seems to have been absolutely prophetical, and even chronological wrinecessary. With regard to moral sub-tings of Moses and the prophets, pointed jects, it may be observed, that although uniformly to the person, offices, sufferthe remains of the law of nature fur- ings, and future glory of Christ, as the nish man with certain moral senti- magnet does to the pole.“ To him gave ments, yet, in his fallen state, his views all the prophets witness.” But this of right and wrong are so dark and could not have been the case had they confused, that there is not perhaps any been left to their own judgment in the case in which plenary inspiration was choice either of matter or words; for it more necessary than this, in order that was after they had received these comman might be furnished with a perfect munications, and not before, that their rule of duty. This seems to have been judgment was employed in diligent the judgment of God, which is always search to find out their typical and proaccording to truth. Accordingly, in phetical references to this glorious pergiving the decalogue to the church, son, and the period of his advent. which contains a summary of the whole "They searched diligently what or duty of man, he did not employ the what manner of time the Spirit of ordinary means of communicating his Christ which was in them did signify, will to men, but spake it with his own when it testified beforehand the suffermouth, and wrote it with his own finger ings of Christ, and the glory that should upon two tables of stone. With respect to follow :" i Pet. i. 11. history, where the facts recorded may be Neither does the variety of style supposed to have been known by the sa- found throughout the Scriptures form, cred writers, from their own observation, in our apprehension, any valid objection or from other authentic sources, it may be to the doctrine of plenary inspiration. observed in general, that sacred history Though the inspired penmen were under differs, in the main ends proposed by it, infallible direction both in regard to the from profane history. One grand end pro- sentiments to be communicated by them, posed bysacred historyis religious and mo- and the phraseology best adapted to ex