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sage in the Scriptures not dictated by the We shall now exhibit the manner, Holy Ghost, would make void the decla

in which many of the modern theories ration, that 'all Scripture is given by inspiration of God,' and would render inspi- of inspiration indirectly undermine ration necessary to tell us what part of it

and subvert the scriptural principle is inspired, and what is not. According here contended for. And this we to those writers who deny the doctrine of shall do by means of a few further plenary verbal inspiration, we have not

extracts from Mr. Carson's Work, the pure Word of God; for much that we have, under that designation, is solely the

which is entirely devoted to the reword of man."

futation of the theories of “ the

Rev. Daniel Wilson, Rev. Dr. One other particular must be Pye Smith, the Rev. Dr. Dick, the noticed by us ; viz. the supposed ad- Christian Observer, and the Eclecmissions of the Apostle on certain tic Review.” occasions, that he is not speaking by We make our selections from his inspiration. (See 1 Cor. vii, 6 and

remarks on the theory of the Rev. 40 ; 2 Cor. viii, 3 and 10; xi, 17.) Daniel Wilson, for the following We should swell this Review to

First, Mr. Carson contoo great length were we to follow siders his theory the least exceptionMr. H. through all his arguments ably stated, and the most plausible on this and many other points ; and of any; and therefore if it shall therefore we can only observe, that nevertheless fail before the Scripture after satisfactorily vindicating those tests here brought to bear upon it, passages from ordinary mis-inter- the examination of the others, in pretation, he adds that even if the which the leaven is more perceptible, “ mistaken meaning, so often at- is the less necessary. Secondly, “ tributed to them, were the just

em, were the just Mr. Wilson is the more influential one, they would not at all militate writer, from the larger share which

against the plenary inspiration of he enjoys of the suffrages of God's " the Scriptures; because in that people, both in and out of the estab

case Paul must be viewed lishment. And if therefore a man “ having been inspired to write who is so deservedly popular, and so

precisely as he has done, since justly loved and esteemed both pub

they form a part of Scripture, all licly and privately, may nevertheless “ of which is given by inspiration be clearly proved (as we humbly «c of God.” (P. 104.) Echoing think) to be wrong on this fundawhich Mr. Carson says : Though mental and very important point; “ Paul were not inspired to decide ought it not to operate as a warning “ the questions, yet he was inspired to all christians to cling more te" to write the account which he has naciously than ever to every word

given of the matter. If the which proceedeth out of the mouth Apostle has told us, that he is not of God? We by no means think inspired in this point, he has been the error of Mr. Wilson to be of a inspired to make the denial. Not determined character.

There are • a line has he written in that too many expressions of an unquali

chapter, which is not immediately fied nature, intermingled in his from the Holy Ghost. Gamaliel statement, which (though they ren

was not inspired; but inspiration der that statement more dangerous has recorded his advice, and that to many) prove that his feeling and document, as recorded by the Holy intention are correct. Having been

Ghost, suggests inspired instruc- committed to write an Essay on this uction to us.

subject, his mind appears to have


been prepossessed by the difficulties We shall occasionally take the same which others have alleged; and in- liberty in what follows from Mr. stead of first investigating whether Carson, to which we are induced these difficulties have any real foun- from the necessity of greatly condation to support them, he has at tracting his reply. once admitted them. Mr. Carson states Mr. Wilson's

“ Now that I might do the writer and theory to be " that the making of my readers justice, I have quoted every

line, and even every word of the account the Bible has been a partnership of the second class of phenomena. And business in which God and man what is the whole but one fact, one phenohave had their distinct provinces. menon ; namely, that each of the inspired It is both human and divine without writers, exhibits his own characteristic mixture.” Mr. W., having pointed style and mode of reasoning, and makes

use of knowledge which could have been out what is the work of God, viz.

possessed without inspiration! Mr. Wilthe inspiration of suggestion, direc

son then imposes on his careless reader, tion, &c. says at page 499 :

when he gives to the illustration of one " In order to collect the phenomena on

phenomenon, the appearance of a collec

tion of phenomena ; and he misinterprets the other side, let us open the New Testament again. We see on the very face

that part which exhibits it, as in any way of the whole, that the writers speak natu

contradictory to the entire inspiration of

the Scriptures. rally, use the style, language, and manner

Mr. Wilson's two classes of phenomena of address familiar to them. There are

must either be reconciled on my plan, or peculiar casts of talents, expression, modes

they cannot be reconciled at all. If there of reasoning in each author. The lan

is any thing in the Scriptures merely huguage is that of the country and age where

man ; if man has one part in such a sense, they lived. They employ all their faculties ;

that the same thing cannot be ascribed to they search, examine, weigh, reason, as

God; then such a part is not inspired, and holy and sincere men, in such a cause,

cannot in any sense be called God's might be supposed to do. They use all their natural and acquired knowledge ;

If the Bible is a book partly hutheir memory furnishes them with facts,

man and partly divine, it cannot, as a

whole, be the word of God, nor be justly or the documents and authentic records of

ascribed to him as its sole author. Acthe time are consulted by them for infor

cordingly, if Mr. Wilson's paradoxes are mation. They plead with those to whom

not explained on the view which I have they are sent, they address the heart, they

given, they are real contradictions. "If expostulate, they warn, they invite. The mind of man is working every where. In

every thing,' says he, “is divine, how is the historical books the Evangelists follow

it that we see every thing human?' Now, their own trains of recollection ; they re

how is it that this paradox can be explained as a truth?

How is it that any late incidents as they struck them, or

In the devowere reported to them.

thing in the word of God can be said to be tional and epistolary books, again, na

human ? Only in the sense of having been

written by man. tural talent, appropriate feelings and

But agreeable to the judgment, the peculiarities of the indivi

theory that God and man has each his dis

tinct part in this composition, this paradual are manifest. Once more, St. Luke

dox is a contradiction. If man has a part preserves his characteristic manner in the Gospel and the Acts; St. Paul is always

solely his own in the composition of the the same ; St. John may be known in his

Bible, every thing in the Bible is not diseveral productions. Lastly, the pro

vine ; if God has his part in this compo

sition, every thing cannot be human. phetical parts are more elevated; and yet breathe the spirit, and retain the peculiar

The paradox must be harmonized, not by

thing that ascribes distinct parts phraseology of the writers. These are the

to God and the writers in the part of man."

position of the book; but by supThe words which are in italics in posing that the Bible, being the word of the above account are, for the sake of cribed to man as the instrument. In this

God, may in another point of view be asperspicuity, marked by ourselves.

sense, the epistle to the Romans may be


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called Paul's epistle, while it is the word Scripture to the operations of their own of God in a higher sense ; such a mode of mind, &c. ; but he has employed the speaking is common on all subjects. The operations of their mind in his work. king built the palace, the architect built P. 11. the palace, and the masons built the palace. In this obvious light we are to un

Mr. Wilson next states, that derstand the passages that ascribe the dif- rs the divine inspiration was ferent parts of the book of God to the tended to every part of the canonwriters of them." P. 8.

ical writings, in proportion as each " When Mr. Wilson's second class of part stood related to the religion ;' phenomena are introduced to us for the and that «

whatever weight the difpurpose of reconciling them with his first

ferent parts of the sacred edifice class, they have the most innocent face

were intended to sustain, a corimaginable, without the smallest appearance of an intention to derogate from the

respondent strength of inspiration honours of inspiration. Instead of was placed as it were

were at the addressing us immediately,” says the

foundation.” And he next gives author, ‘God is pleased to use men as his a specification of different things instruments. Now what can have less

that require a different extent of appearance of contradiction to the inspiration of every word of Scripture than inspiration, declaring

declaring that though this? • Instead of making known His

sometimes the sacred writers were will,' says Mr. Wilson, ‘in the language wrapt in the overpowering comof angels, or by the skill of poets and “munications of the Spirit, at other philosophers, God has been pleased to times and as the matter varied, their choose the unlettered Apostles and Evan

gelists. What has this to do with the memory was fortified to recall the subject of inspiration? How does it ap

Saviour's life, doctrines, miracles, pear to contradict the passages that ascribe parables, discourses."

(P. 505.) the Scriptures wholly to God? Why is it On this statement Mr. Carson has introduced as a fact to be reconciled with

several pertinent remarks. We sethe first class of phenomena ? Does the

lect one: fact, that in the Scriptures God has not addressed us in the language of angels,

"A man's memory might be so fortified, appear to contradict the notion of their

that he could remember every fact and inspiration, either as to matter or manner?

circumstance with the utmost exactness; If God should speak to men in the lan

he might be able to relate every thing that guage of angels, would the revelation be

ever he heard, with every word in its proGod's, in any sense, in which it is not His,

per place; and after all, be unfit for as contained in the Scriptures? Had he

writing any of the gospels. Were an spoken by the skill of poets and philo- illiterate man to be put in possession of sophers, would the manner have been

every fact in Gibbons' History, would he divine, in any sense in which it is not now

be fit to write the decline and fall of the divine? Has he not given some parts of

Roman empire ? Such a man will have the Scriptures in the language of poetry?

full as much need of words as of ideas. Are these more divine as to manner, than

Much more in the history of Christ, must the parts written by the fishermen ?

an inspired writer have all the matter and • And,” says Mr. Wilson, instead of

all the words."

P. 19. • using these as mere organic instruments ' of his power, he has thought right to

Mr. Wilson occupies another • leave them to the operations of their own

page in portioning out the different minds, and the dictates of their own • knowledge, habits, and feelings, as to the subjects of Scripture : (e. g. the

manner of communicating his will." inspiration of suggestion to the proThis is the only thing that can be said to phetical parts; of direction to the have any reference to the subject at all; Gospel and Acts; &c.) which he yet, if unexceptionably expressed, it would

concludes by stating, not have even the appearance of a con

“the slightest allusions to proverbial tradiction to the phenomena of the first class. God did not leave the writers of sayings, to the works of nature,

" that even


“to history, were possibly not important and interesting extracts:

entirely out of the range of the « watchful guardianship of the Holy

6 My seventh observation is, that the

author seems to admit the dangerous poSpirit.” On this Mr. Carson says:

sition, that some things delivered by the

inspired writers, may not belong to the re“How could we say that all Scripture is

velation ; and that speaking on subjects of given by inspiration of God, if it is merely

a religious nature, they may have erred. To possible that some things in them are not

shew that I am justified in ascribing this entirely out of the range of the watchful

sentiment to him, I will quote his languardianship of the Holy Spirit ? Is the

guage on which I found my charge. 'How Christian then to be sent to his Bible to

' far the inspiration of the Scriptures exdecide how far each of its parts is in

tends to the most casual and remote alspired ? If he is set loose from the au

·lusions of an historical or philosophical thority of the divine declaration that as

' kind, which affect in no way the docserts the inspiration of the whole equally,

trines or duties of religion, it is not, perwill Mr. Wilson's ' possibly' be an anchor

' haps, difficult to determine.' Does not to him, when his passions, or his interests

this seem to betray a fear, that history urge him ? If Mr. Wilson by his own au

and philosophy may detect something false thority decides, that inspiration possibly extends so far, others, by a like authority,

in the Scriptures; for which the author

good naturedly provides, by supposing that may decide, that possibly it does not go so

such things do not affect the doctrines far. Though I should displease all the

and duties of religion. God asserts most evangelical ministers of London, and of expressly, that · All Scripture is given by Europe, I will express my utter abhor

inspiration ;' but history and philosophy rence of sentiments so dishonourable to

may find falsehoods in it.

Mr. Wilson, the word of my Lord, so injurious to the

in this critical situation, most generously edification of Christians, so destructive to

steps forward and excuses them by althe souls of men.

leging, that they do not affect the docThis distinction of inspiration is indeed

trines or the duties of religion. Would an attempt to explain away the thing, and

Mr. Wilson take it kindly, if any one retain the word. In fact, not one of the

should attempt a like apology for himself? divisions is inspiration but the first. Di.

Would a jury look on it as no invalidation rection is not inspiration, elevation is not

of evidence, that the witness is proved to inspiration, superintendency is not inspi.

have uttered many falsehoods on his oath, ration. Do not all the evangelical minis

though not bearing on the question at isters of London claim these three ? Do

Would they not utterly discredit they not constantly pray for them? Do

the whole testimony, if they found a they not ask direction from God in their

known falsehood in his evidence, even on teaching ? Are they not elevated some

the most unconnected matters that are times above the power of nature ? Do they not speak of divine superintendency usually brought forward in cross-examina

tion? If God avows the whole Scriptures in their places of worship ? But were I

as his word, a falsehood as to any thing to assert from this, that Mr. Wilson pre

will affect the revelation. The Bible tends to be inspired, I would represent

must not utter a philosophical lie, nor an him as a fanatic; and my representation

historical lie, any more than a religious lie. would be a calumny, not justified by his

If it lies on one subject, who will believe pretensions to divine direction, elevation,

it on another! If it lies as to earthly and superintendency. If then the Scrip- things, who will believe it as to heavenly tures are in many things the work of man

things? But Mr. Wilson asserts, that merely directed, elevated, and superin- • The claims of the sacred penmen to an tended by God, it is erroneous to say,

unerring guidance, are, without excepthat they are all inspired. We may thus

'tion, confined to the revelation itself.' both admit and deny any thing. We have

God's assertion of inspiration extends to nothing to do but in our explanation to

every thing that can be called Scripture. subject the word to an analysis, not di

All Scripture is given by inspiration of rected by its use, but by our own fancies,

God.' Even the sayings of wicked men or the necessities of our system, and the

and of devils are recorded by inspiration, work is accomplished.

as truly as the sayings of Christ himself.

There is nothing in Scripture that does not We subjoin two or three other belong to the revelation. What an invention

sue ?

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is this, that suggests a distinction in the by inspiration, as belongs to the revelation. book of God, between things that belong This doctrine teaches Christians to go to the revelation, and things that do not through the Scriptures, separating what belong to it! If even our evangelical di- belongs to revelation from what does not vines will except from inspiration some belong to revelation, in order to distinthings under the denomination of history guish what is true from what may be and philosophy, not affecting the religion; false."

false.". Pp. 27–29. what may not be expected from the daring profaneness of those who hate the gospel, ""Their language too, (adds Mr. Wilson and are willing to carry the theory to its ' from Horsley,) notwithstanding the acutmost limits ?" Pp. 25–27.

commodation of it that might be ex

pected, for the sake of the vulgar, to the ""But,' obserres Mr. Wilson, ' The Bi- notions of the vulgar, is, I believe, far ble was not given to make us poets, or more accurate, more philosophically acorators, or historians, or natural philo- curate in its allusions, than is generally

sophers. Very true. We must over- imagined. Indeed the language referred look the bad poetry and bad oratory of the to can scarcely be called an accommodation Bible, if we find any of this description in to the prejudices of the vulgar, but is rather it; and we have no reason to expect a a speaking in the usual way of men, withcomplete history of human affairs, nor a out excepting philosophers themselves. If system of natural philosophy. But verily

But verily the sun and the moon are said to have if the Scripture contained one rule of stood still in the time of Joshua, there is no poetry or oratory, that rule must be a le

philosophical sentiment expressed, more gitimate one, or the Bible is a forgery. than when the philosopher himself now And if it tells one historical untruth, it speaks of the rising and the setting of the must forfeit its pretensions in every thing,

There is not the smallest difficulty seeing its pretensions extend to every thrown on the subject from this quarter. thing in the book. The inspired writers It is only divines who want employment may have been as ignorant of natural phi- for their learning and ingenuity, that conlosophy, as the most ignorant of British trive difficulties to be resolved by theopeasants, without affecting their inspira


affecting their inspira- retical explanations.” P. 32. tion; but, verily, if they have delivered one philosophical dogma, it must be true, " But after our author doubtfully conor the Scriptures as a whole are false. sents, that inspiration may extend to the For my part, I am convinced that to look least circumstances, (which in his estimainto the Scriptures for a system of philo- tion is more than necessary,) he gives two sophy, is utterly to degrade them. But reasons for his opinion, which are almost it would degrade them much more, it as little satisfactory to me as unbelief itwould utterly blast their pretensions, to self. Why does Mr. Wilson believe, that allege that they have attempted and failed. inspiration is thus extensive? Is it beI must have the inspired writers cleared cause the Scriptures themselves say so, of the accusation of pledging themselves which are the only authority on the subto a philosophical untruth, as well as to a ject ? No, truy ; this is not the ground religious untruth. If the Scriptures are

on which he rests the matter. His two not designed to command our faith on reasons are,‘that philosophy has no objecpoints of philosophy, they do not teach tion to this view, and that practical uses any thing on the subject.

How very de- may be derived from the slightest details, rogatory then to the honour of inspiration, and most apparently indifferent circumis the following conclusion :- Many stances.' Now there can be no doubt,

things which such persons, (namely that divine truth must be perfectly con' poets, orators, historians, and natural sistent with true knowledge of every kind, philosophers,) might think inaccurate, and must have some use; but it is equally may consist with a complete religious true, that this is not a proper criterion inspiration. How can this be the case, for judging of the contents of Scripture. when it is said, 'All Scripture is given by A thing may be consistent with all other inspiration ? This pledges God equally knowledge, and may have practical uses, for every thing in the Bible. Mr. Wilson's yet not be a part of divine revelation. assertion gives the lie to God's declara- Had I, then, no other reason for the intion: God says “ All Scripture is given by spiration of the passages referred to, I inspiration ;' Mr. Wilson says it is false, would not believe it." -only so much of the Scripture is given I am convinced, that the glory of

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