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sented as a “seal” – that which stamps, as it were, the divine image on the soul.9 Whence both himself, and perhaps his gracious influences, are represented as “the earnest of future blessings :1 as his influences are the first fruits.”2
9 2 Cor. i. 22. Eph. i. 13; iv. 30. Comp. 2 Tim. ii. 19, &c.
1 Eph, i. 14. 2 Cor. i. 22.
2 Rom. viii, 22. On the Witness of the Spirit, on bis being the Seal, Earnest and
First Fruits, see Dr. Owen on the Spirit, Appendix 404 409; Presid. Edward's Relig. Affect. part iii. sec. 1, or Works vol. iv. p. 134, &c. ; Kypke Observ. Sac. ad Epis. II. Corin. cap. i. 22.
On the Practical Bearings of the
And of these, the following remarks are confined—to the light in which the Scriptures should be viewed-to the affecting view which the subject gives of the divine disposition—to its aspect on the interests of genuine piety—the future triumph of Christianity, and the consequent harmony of the world --and to its finally developing individual character.
I. The light in which the Scriptures should be viewed.
Without urging the imperfection of oral tradition, which, the farther it is removed from its original source, becomes, in exact proportion, more corrupt, and therefore the less to be depended upon ;that written documents are consequently necessary to perpetuate and extend any religion ;-and that human authority can never be definitive in matters of such moment;—the probability of a revelation being given to man, is inferred both from his capacity, and also from the known benevolence of the Deity; and that he has actually conveyed his mind, at such times, in such a manner, and by such persons as seemed fitting to his own unerring wisdom, appears indubitable.
The works of the Deity in nature bear his impress, and carry their own evidence with them to the mind of a reflecting spectator ; and no less do the truths of revelation bear upon their front the inimitable impress of their Author: while the nature, the kind, and the variety of the evidence, direct and collateral, ancient and modern, which accompany them, corroborate their claims.
A revelation being granted; Inspiration seems the only means by which it could be written, and that inspiration we should naturally expect to possess, under all the circumstances of the case, the character, or variety assigned to it in the definition, chap. ii. More cannot, it is presumed, be unobjectionably maintained by its most strenuous advocates ; nor can less be consistently predicated of it, by those whose views coincide with the lowest degree of inspiration.
But if that view of it be just, the plenary inspiration of the Scripture follows of course.
A consequence of vast importance. For, in this case, the Bible does not merely contain, but is itself the word of God; having been, in some parts of it, immediately revealed, and in all expressly sanctioned by him. The contrary hypothesis is repugnant to the very idea of a revelation being vouchsafed at all. Since, if there be an admixture of human opinions and fallible reasonings with the divine communications, an inquisitive mind, at least, will always be hesitating as to which is human, which is divine ?_which is the mind of the writer, which is the mind of God ?—such a vacillation is unavoidable. Nay, the contrary would be an abuse of our reasoning faculty, and would betray an undue sense of our accountability.
Is it of no moment, whether I bow to the dictates of infinite wisdom, or adopt implicitly the sentiments of an erring fellow mortal ?—whether my hope is based on the will of my Maker, or on the private opinion of a descendant of Abraham ? There is no alternative. It must be either the former or the latter. If the latter, then does each Christian require a distinct revelation to certify him that his hope is based on a wrong foundation. But this will not be maintained.
Nor, be it remembered, do either our Lord or his apostles, when recognising the inspiration of the Old Testament,
1 See Matt. iv. 4,7, 10; v. 17, 18; xxi. 42 ; xxii. 29, 31,
43; xxiv. 15; xxvi. 54, 56. Mark xii. 24, 36. Luke i. 70 ;