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stance it signifies the whole period of John Baptist's ministry; in the second, the time which elapsed between the reception by the Corinthians of the two Epistles of St. Paul written to them; and in the third instance, the whole term of the desertion of Onesimus from his master Philemon. In John xvi, 2, and 25, 26; also 1 John, ii, 18; it is translated time. In the first instance it applies at the least to the whole period in which the Christians were persecuted by the Jews, who blindly thought they were doing God service. In the second instance it relates to the whole period (according to Beza's interpretation) from the ascension of Christ to the end of time; in which the Lord teaches men by his Spirit, and they pray to the Father in his name.* And here it is to be remarked, that the phrase " the time (<bpa) cometh" in verse 25, is from the context exactly equivalent to the words "at that day" in verse 26, and applied to the very same period. The third instance, e' Little children
it is the last time," (ojpa) is interpreted by Scott and other commentators to signify " the last dispensation /' and therefore must be taken to extend through the whole space of years from the time of John to the second Advent of our Lord.]"
The conclusion therefore at which I arrive is this: that as the whole period of depression and vengeance on the Jews is the day of their visitation; so the day of Judgement is the period of their restoration and triumph. And again, that as the whole Church of Christ has been conflicting through a long night of trial in various ways; so ' that great day' is to consist in bringing all her enemies under her feet;—she shall be no more oppressed, but triumphant and glorious to the end. J (To be continued.)
Having given insertion to AbdieVs Letter in reply to P. R; we are obliged, in justice to other Correspondents, to divide this.
* Beza on this place says " Spiritus sanctus db ascensione Christi in Apostolos effusus, summa quaeqne mysteria et salutis nostrse arcana, turn ipsos, turn etiam Ecclesiam per ipsos, erudiit, et adfinem usque seculorum erudiet."
f In further corroboration of this sense of the word <hpa I would observe, that the Seventy most commonly translate the Hebrew ny by it; which is the more remarkable because Legh, in his Critica Sacra, says it answers to the Greek iccapog. Parkhurst states concerning this same word n^ "That it particularly denotes the time of vengeance or punishment." He insfcaur.es Jer. xxvii, 7; Ezek. vii, 7, and xxx, 3 ; and directs us to compare Luke xxi. 24, which relates to the whole period of " the times of the Gentiles."
X I ought to notice that Mr. Begg, an able writer in the Morning Watch, advocates from Daniel xii, 2, a resurrection of some of the more eminent wicked before the Millennium; which would render it more decidedly a prolonged period of judgement in the way of vengeance. His arguments are not convincing to my own mind ; though I own I cannot refute them.
THE CHRISTIAN REVIEW."
To the Editor of the Investigator.
In turning over a volume of a quarterly publication which fell in my way, called the Christian Review for 1828, I was attracted by an article professing to be a Review of Cuninghame, on the second coming of Messiah. The writer professes in the outset to offer a few plain and sober thoughts on a question that has much agitated the religious world; and then proceeds to make very satisfactory admissions as to the great importance of prophecy; but which he afterwards so qualifies as to more than neutralize. He likewise says much upon the forbearing temper and spirit with which writers on this subject should enter into the discussion; yet he soon after charges Mr. Cuninghame with "unfairness and dishonesty .■" and again he endeavours to toss him on the horns of a dilemma, as to whether he will have imputed to him " the want of common sense and logic, or shameful dishonesty."
I am not about either to defend Mr. Cuninghame, or to controvert the Review; and had this writer contented himself with unqualified censure, I should not have deemed the Article worthy of any notice: but because I deem plausible admissions very dangerous, when made by individuals, who are not cordially disposed towards the subject whilst they make them; therefore I think it useful to show the unsoundness of those arguments, by which after all they encourage indifferent persons in their neglect.
The chief—the only dissuasive affecting to have a scriptural foundation, is to be found in page 288; to evince the inconsistent and contradictory character of which with the former part of the Review, I shall first extract a previous admission.
"It will be allowed on all hands, 'that from jDrophecy we derive some 'of the clearest and most indispu'table evidences of the truth of our 'religion, in order to the confirma'tion of our faith. This is indeed* 'from those predictions which have 'already been clearly fulfilled. But 'unless we diligently study the f subject, how are we to discern 'what has been fulfilled? Unless 'we keep the whole volume of In'spiration before us, how are we 'to perceive in what a wonderful 'manner this kind of evidence in'creases and gathers strength from 'age to age? Thus far indeed the 'consideration of prophecy may be 'fitly regarded as milk for babes; 'and thus we find the Apostle re'presents it: 'We have also a more 'sure word of prophecy; wheref unto ye do well that ye take heed, 1 as unto a light that shineth in 'a dark place, until the day dawn, c and the day-star arise in your 'hearts/" (2*. Pet. i. 19.)
Now contrast with this the following :—
'But it is far otherwise in re'spect of prophecy. The know'ledge I seek and desire is cerc tainly not essential to my soul's c health. It is even possible that 'it may be improper and unpro4 fitable for me. It might only
* We presume something is here omitted, as it does not appear to make sense, is correctly copied from the original. Ed.
tend, in my peculiar case, to 'draw me off from the plain and 'humble duties which belong to 'the station I occupy, and in which 'God has called me to work out 'my own salvation with fear and 'trembling, or to labour for the 'welfare of others. Are all apos
* ties? Are all prophets? Are all
* teachers? certainly not. Neither 'is it fit that all should be. And 'I must accept and occupy with 'thankfulness and diligence the 'station which God has appointed 'me, however humble."
Herein the writer instead of viewing prophecy as part of the sincere milk of God's word, considers that it may prove '' improper and unprofitable;" an apprehension which an individual can no sooner entertain, in regard to a question which he does not esteem important, than he ought, consistently with his own opinions, firmly to reject it from him. And is it possible, that an individual can seriously esteem prophecy as important, who, instead of receiving it as a portion of Scripture which ought to quicken him in the discharge of his duties, imagines that in his peculiar case it may " draw him off from his duties, and prevent him from working out his salvation with fear and trembling?" Prophecy is thus spoken of as a friend; but actually treated as one who is probably infected with some contagious disease, round whom a sanitary cordon must be established in order to prevent intercourse.
But I must finally notice the Scripture brought forward to support the unimportance of prophecy. "Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers ?" ' Certainly not: (con'tinues the Reviewer,) neither is it < fit that all should be." But here the
Reviewer most completely begs the the question. The controversy at present existing in the Church is not, whether it be essential for us to become prophets; but whether we ought to take heed unto those who were prophets, and to make ourselves acquainted with their writings. It is also written, 'He gave some 'apostles, and some evangelists, and 'some pastors and teachers: are all 'apostles? are all teachers?" #c.a But who would conclude, because all men are not to be apostles and teachers, that therefore what the apostles have written and our teachers preach is not important? All these gifts (prophets as well as evangelists and teachers) are declared to be "for the perfecting of the saints; that they may not be as children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine .b And even with regard to the actual gift of prophecy itself, St. Paul declared, that it was the most precious of all gifts; and exhorted the Corinthians to "covet it earnestly" and to desire it in preference to all others.0 I shall not trespass further than to subscribe myself, yours &c.
It may be proper to observe, that The Christian Review is no longer published; and that the Numbers of that work, subsequent to the one commented on by our Correspondent, exhibited views, both in regard to the study and students of prophecy, far more according with Presbyter's opinions. We nevertheless insert the letter, lest any of our readers may have been stumbled by such an argument as is herein refuted.
ON THE INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE.
Strictures On Haldane And Carson.
For the Investigator. Sir, It was with no common degree of interest I perused your review of the works of Messrs. Haldane & Carson on the verbal inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. Habitually reverencing the Bible as the Word of God, I yet often detected with pain a latent scepticism in my mind, regarding its plenary inspiration. The ordinary hypotheses put forward by Doddridge and others had failed to produce conviction. They exhibited the throes and struggles of ingenuity; but wanted a solid basis to rest upon. They were not proofs, but suppositions; whereas what the mind craves on such an all-important subject is proof, and nothing less than proof. Besides, these ingenious schemes, by rejecting the claim of the sacred penmen to a general plenary inspiration, and substituting several degrees and distinctions as to the credit due to various portions of the Bible, plunged the reader into doubts and misgivings in the reception of any doctrine accompanied with difficulties, even when laid down in what he professedly considered the Word of God. It is cheering therefore to see so well supported, and at the same time so simple and so bold a theory advanced by the two writers above named. Contrasted with the gratuitous and baseless hypotheses of others, the declaration of Mr. Haldane goes straight to the understanding, when he asserts, that the whole of our knowledge of the inspiration of the Bible must be collected from the Bible itself. The general evidences of Christianity
prove the miracles of our Lord and his apostles; they prove the genuineness and authenticity of the books of the New Testament; and, when I am satisfied on these points, I then only want to know, in order to warrant my belief, what these accredited men have predicted touching the inspiration of the Writings claiming to be canonical. And I think Messrs. Haldane and Carson have laid down very strong grounds to shew, that the received authorities in the New Testament allege the plenary inspiration both of that portion of Scripture and also of the Old Testament.
Will it be thought inconsistent with this my general impression, if I point out one or two difficulties which occurred to me in the perusal of your review? When Mr. Carson remarks of history, that " no subject requires more art in the disposing of its matter, &c." and thence appears to infer, that the writers of Scripture history must have been inspired, in order to enable them to write with the art which their subject demanded; it seems obvious to reply, that their writings are considered by many as devoid of art, and that in truth the utmost simplicity of narration was all that was needed. If I understand his argument, he assumes, that their histories are artfully composed; and that this being incompatible with the illiterate character of many of the writers, the conclusion follows, that this artful arrangement must have been derived from above. But surely the fact of an artful arrangement must not be assumed, but proved, before the inference is warranted. I do not consider this point very material: were the idea struck out of the book altogether, abundance of more important reasoning would remain.
In another place Mr. Carson maintains, "that any variety that is 'warrantable in the different re4 hearsals of the same fact by an 'honest witness (query, by honest 'witnesses) in the things of man, is 'equally warrantable in the different 'relations of the same fact by the 'Holy Spirit:" and that "it is a 'fanatical misconception of the na'ture of truth and falsehood to 'suppose, that what is consistent 'with veracity in the language of 'man, would be inconsistent with * it in the language of God."
I conceive there is this very important distinction between the two cases. The discrepancy of honest witnesses in immaterial and minor facts is excused on the score of human infirmity. Did not that apology exist, perfect accuracy would be required in every particular. But as all room for this supposition is excluded, when we speak of the Holy Spirit; and still discrepancies in the narratives appear; are we not led to the conclusion, that the testimony is that of uninspired though faithful witnesses?
I have often been perplexed with the appearance of ineconcileable circumstances in the accounts of the different Evangelists: and finding
it impossible to attribute error or inadvertence to the omniscient Spirit, I have taken shelter in the idea, that the Writers were inspired to deliver that which was designed to be the instruction conveyed by each particular relation, without regard to the truth or accuracy of facts which did not affect the instruction intended. Thus, for instance, Matthew and Mark, in relating the case of Bartimeus, mention that it was when Jesus was</0/7<? out of Jericho: Luke on the contrary affirms, that it was as he drew near to Jericho; and that after that cure he entered and passed through Jericho. It is perfectly immaterial to us, whether the cure was before or after: the instruction conveyed is the same; and that was the object of the relation. The principle is similar in the parables. The design is to convey substantial instruction; the very truth of the facts is in this case immaterial; the truth of the doctrine alone is in question. And as the truth of the facts is not required in the parables, so, the accuracy of immaterial circumstances may be equally unimportant in the history. But I have not been satisfied with this supposition; and yet I see not how, consistently with the notion of plenary inspiration, such discrepancies as the one I have alluded to can be reconciled.
To the Editor of Sir, I for one am thankful for the subject brought before the Church by Messrs. Haldane and Carson— the doctrine of the Inspiration of the Scriptures. I must confess I never understood the subject before: I followed blindly in the path tracked for us by writers of modern repute, often suspecting that I was walking over ice and quagmires, and
sometimes faltering on the brink of a precipitous steep. I now feel that I am on terra firma, and that I walk in the broad light of the Scriptures of truth.
It must not however be concluded, that I am in love with the whole of your review, nor with the entire of the works which you have brought before us. I could find in my heart