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their difficulty is proved by this fact, that all have differed * about them except the writers of the Bible. Their writings, and theirs only, are as rays of the sun beaming forth from a common centre, to warm and enlighten the world.

(2.) Yet, as further illustrating how wonderful is their agreement, observe the different forms in which the writers of the Bible have treated these subjects.

One frames laws, as Moses ; another gives an abstract of the history of the Jewish nation, as Joshua; another of a private family, as that of Ruth; another writes Psalms, as David; or Proverbs, as Solomon. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others, give us prophecies; the four Evangelists, a biography; Paul and others, letters.

Between the Old and New Testaments there is a most striking contrast as to the forms of religion inculcated by Moses and by our blessed Lord.

Moses gives a most complicated system of religious worship, abounding in ceremonies, and of so exclusive a character as to be totally unfit to be the religion of mankind (Deut. xvi. 16). The writers of the New Testament have given a system as simple, as that of Moses was complicated; and one of universal application (Mark xvi. 15), enjoining, as of Divine appointment, only two sacraments. How wonderful, that these two systems, at first sight so dissimilar, should be found, on a more careful study, to be in exact agreement; that a work so written should present throughout the same views of the purposes of God, the only views worthy of him which have ever been given; that it should present throughout the same views of the nature of man, different from all others, yet showing that knowledge of his character which is alone found to agree with fact; that it should present the same views of the nature of true happiness, and which are the only views proved by experience to be true; that the religious systems of the Old and New Testament, as unlike as the scaffolding to a building, should yet be found to have the same connection as the scaffolding has to a building!

Whence such agreement in all its parts? Surely, a Divine Architect must have superintended such a building! Surely the holy men, who composed the Bible, “spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. i. 21); “ All Scripture is given by inspiration of God "* (2 Tim. i. 16).

* See Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., vol. i., on the absurdities, and opposition to each other, of the Greek and Roman philosophers.

The Bible is THE BOOK OF God, the only, and the perfect, revelation of God's will to man; and TRUTH, LOVE, HOLINESS, SUPREME REGARD TO God's GLORY, distinguish it as such.

This is the character the writers display; this is the character which it is the great object of their writings to form in all who read them.

$ iv. The Spirit of the Writers of the Bible.

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I. The Bible is distinguished as the word of God by its perfect regard to TRUTH.

(1.) Take a general illustration, which runs through almost the whole book-namely, the character given of the Jewish people. What, for instance, does Moses say of them, at the close of his ministry? “Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you” (Deut. ix. 24); and again, “For I know that after


will utterly corrupt yourselves,” &c. (Ib. xxxi. 29.) And

every subsequent writer presents the same view: see Judges ii. 19; 1 Sam. xii. 12; Neh. ix. ; Ps. lxxviii. ; Isaiah i.

It is not to be supposed that the Jews were so much worse than any other nation. As to their knowledge of Divine truth, the general purity of their worship, and the instances among them of individual piety-as Joseph, Moses, Samuel, Daniel, and others, they were very far superior to every other people. But contrast their history, as given in the Bible, with that of every nation in the world, where is a nation so condemned by its own historians; so fearfully threatened with punishment ? (See Levit. xxvi. &e. Jeremiah, and the Prophetie Writings throughout.) And

Inspiration has been accurately defined to be “such an immediate and complete discovery by the Holy Spirit, to the minds of the Sacred Writers, of those things which could not have been otherwise knownand such an effectual superintendency as to those matters which they might have been informed of by other means--as entirely preserved them from error in every particular which could in the least affect any of the doctrines or precepts contained in their books." -Scott's Essays.

why this difference? Moses and the Prophets wrote under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thus were they taught to estimate charaeter justly, as in the light of eternal Truth; and by the same guidance being raised above every prejudice, they were enabled to state the truth faithfully.

(2.) The same uniform regard to truth distinguishes their writings when called to speak of themselves, or of those whose reputation would reflect credit on themselves. Thus Moses records, without any palliation,

The sins of the Hebrew Patriarchs-Abraham (Gen. xx.); Isaac (Gen. xxvi.) ; Jacob (Gen. xxvii.).

The sins of his grandfather, Levi (Gen. xxxiv. 25; xlix. 5-7).

The sins of his brother, Aaron (Exod. xxxii.); and his two eldest sons. (Levit. x.)

But especially his own sin. From himself we learn that God was once so much displeased as to seek to kill him (Exod. iv. 24). Three times he mentions the sin which excluded him from Canaan (Numb. xx. 1—12; xxvii. 12-14; Deut. xxxii. 51); and his unsuccessful prayer for the reversal of the sentence (Deut. iii. 23, 27).

• While we see other writers,” remarks Lowth, “ambitious of shewing their wit and eloquence, and telling their story in an eloquent, plausible style; a simplicity quite peculiar to itself distinguishes the Bible, forcing on the mind the conviction that these men had no other object than by a naked manifestation of truth to commend themselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."

II. The Bible is distinguished as the word of God by the spirit of Love which breathes throughout it.

(1.). The writers display the strongest love to their fellow creatures, For instance, Moses, while presenting, as has been already observed, such a picture of the crime and consequent misery of the Jewish people (Deut. xxxii., &c.) as is without a parallel in history, yet manifests such intense love to them as to be constantly interceding in the most earnest manner for them: see Numb. xiv. 11–19. His prayer on one occasion (Exod. xxxii. 32) was, that he might be blotted out of the book of life, rather than they should be destroyed; though that destruction would have been the just punishment of their sins, and would have led to the making of him a great nation, verse 10 ;

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instead of his family descending, as they did, altogether undistinguished.

St. Paul, who wrote fourteen of the twenty-one Epistles, displays exactly the same spirit. After having been for twenty-five years most bitterly persecuted by his countrymen, and while they were continuing those persecutions, yet this is the spirit of love in which he writes : “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart; for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Rom. ix. 1, 2). And wherever he went, his conduct testified the sincerity of such declaration. Compare Acts xiii. 46, with xiv. 1, and xvii. 1, &c. 9-11.

Is there not something Divine in this, especially when it is considered what was once the spirit of this man? See Acts ix. 1; xxvi. 11; 1 Tim. i. 13.

(2.) Consider the view given by them of the love of God. In what other book can be found such a display of it, às shines forth in the single parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke xv.), or the First Epistle of John ?

What a view of the love of God, in the life (altogether without a parallel) of the Lord Jesus Christ—God manifest in the flesh! weeping over apostate Jerusalem (Luke xix. 41), praying for his murderers (Luke xxiii. 34), dying for his enemies (Rom. v. 8.), delighting so to do (Ps. xl. 6, 8; Luke ix. 51; Heb. xii. 2).

(3.) Love is made by them the sum of man's duty. See Deut. vi. 5; Matt. xxii. 37–40; Rom. xii. 10.

To form some idea of the extent to which the love of our fellow-creatures is required, the Bible commands us to overcome evil with good, to bless them that curse us, and to love one another as Christ has loved us. (Matt. v. 44; John xv. 12, “Love one another, as I have loved you, and 1 John iii. 16, “we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.")

III. HOLINESS distinguishes the Bible as the word of God.

(1.) Whether it be laws, history, narratives of private life, prophecy, proverbs, letters or controversy, we are brought, and in a way in which no other book brings us, as into the

immediate presence of a Being of infinite holiness (Hab. i. 13), before whom the most exalted human characters appear as miserable sinners-Job (xl. 4); Isaiah (vi. 5); Daniel (ix. 4, &c.); Paul (1 Tim. i. 15).

(2.) While presenting to us God as clothed with every attribute that can exalt Him in our conceptions, the standard of duty they present is nothing short of an imitation of those perfections. See Lev. xix. 2; Matt. v. 48 ; 2 Peter i. 4, &c.

(3.) So directly are their writings in opposttion to every evil disposition of the heart, that they declare that he who hateth his brother is a murderer (1 John iii. 15), that a proud look (Prov. vi. 17), and pride in the heart (xvi. 5), are an abomination to the Lord; that a worldly spirit (Luke xiv. 16, &c. ; Rom. viii. 6 ; 1 John ü. 15) shews a heart to be utterly destitute of love to God; that covetousness is idolatry (Col. iii. 5); and that to be angry without cause, exposes to eternal wrath (Matt. v. 22.)

Has not the holiness of the Bible been the chief cause of its rejection as the word of God, a rejection arising from the effort of men to accommodate their belief to their practice? See 2 Thess. ii. 11, 12, and John vii. 17.

IV. The Bible is distinguished by a SUPREME REGARD TO God's GLORY.

This is a very remarkable feature of the Bible—that, throughout God alone is exalted.

(1.) Do the writers speak of any transaction in which they themselves were concerned ? there appears the utmost anxiety on their part to lead the reader to reflect on God as the sole Author of all the good done.

Thus Moses (see Deuteronomy throughout) never claims the credit of any of the wonders done by him. God is his great subject.

So Joshua, xxüi. 3; Nehemiah, ii. 12; David, 1 Chron. xxix. 11, 14; Peter and John, Acts iii. 12—16; Paul, Acts xxi. 19; 1 Cor. iii. 5, “who then is Paul ?" &c. : 2 Cor. iv. 7 ; iii. 5, “ not sufficient to think,” &c.

(2.) Do they speak of the operations of nature, it is not by a reference to its laws, but to the great Author of those laws. Thus (Ps. civ. 10, &c.) “ He sendeth the springs into the valleys which run among the hills" (see also Ps.

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