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agency of God who inspired, then was tne lie indeed to God, but that God, according to Peter's own shewing, is the Holy Ghost, and a person.
One word, as we pass, on the subject of inspiration. The sacred scriptures are "given by inspiration of God.” The inspiration of God, is God inspiring, revealing and teaching men to speak and declare his will. It is not a physical or metaphorical afflatus-not a boldness of speech in reference to the perceptions or conceptions of the human understanding. A Newton and La Place, possessed of "extraordinary gifts," endowed with superior talents, have astonished the world with their discoveries in science, and a Homer and Milton have gained the admiration of millions by the sublimity of their thoughts, but they cannot therefore be said to have been inspired of God. There was nothing preter-natural in their knowledge and lofty conceptions. The objects and subjects on which their minds and imaginations were employed, all lay within the sphere of human observation and research. But the inspi
. ration of God taught its subjects things entirely unknown and inconceivable to man, as Paul says, and as we shall have occasion to see more fully in the succeeding chapter. It was God Himself, in some mysterious way, giving information to the minds of the prophets and other sacred writers, on themes and matters beyond the sphere of human ken.
But this very thing-this very God-inspiring, the Apostle Peter says, is the Holy Ghost.
“But holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." It is not the effect wrought in their minds
2 not their actual knowledge which constituted their inspiration; but the direct agency of God in giving that knowledge. It is this divine agency which identifies in our minds this knowledge with God, as we cannot separate the agency of God ererted in the communication of this
11 Cor. ii.-10.
22 l'eter, i. 21.
knowledge from God Himself. And it is that same divine
But from it the Unitarian seeks to escape by denying such inspiration. Hear Dr. Priestley—The scriptures were written without any particular inspiration, by men who wrote according to the best of their knowledge." Hear a later writer of the same school, “They, the scrip
11 Thess. ii, 13.
2 1 Cor. ï. 12, 13. 3 Priestley's History of Early Opinions, vol. iv. pp. 4, 5.
tures, are not themselves the word of God, nor do they ever assume that title;' and it is highly improper to speak of them as such, as it leads inattentive readers to suppose they are written under a plenary inspiration, to which they make no pretensions." We reserve a more minute examination of such a denial to the next chapter. At present we only remark, that if the Unitarian view of this subject be correct, it is folly to talk of inspiration at all. There is, in fact, no such thing. All human knowledge, all discoveries of human reason are alike an inspiration. Why then call any thing an inspiration of God by way of distinction? Why use the word at all? Talk not about a particular inspiration and a plenary inspiration. We cannot understand you: most unquestionably something more is meant than the general agency of God in the support of their mental powers, which they had in common with all rational beings, when it is said that "the holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost," and that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God.”3 If not the scriptures are pre-eminently calculated to deceive.
The above remarks are made to guard against an evasion of the argument for the personality of the Spirit, urged from Ananias' lying to the Holy Ghost. The inspiration of the apostles was the direct preternatural agency of God in their n.inds making krown the truth to them with infallible certainty. On no other supposition can Ananias be said to have lied to God. But our Unitarian paraphrast maintains that inspiration is not God operating: but something distinct and different from God. Thus does he make Peter lie most egregiously, in endeavoring to convict Ananias of falsehood!!!!
1 The reader may make his own comments on such assertions, when he has referred to Heb. iv. 12: 2 Cor. iv. 2: 1 Thess. ï. 13.
2 Belsbam's Rev. of Wilberforce, &c. Letter 1.
3 2 Tirn. iii. 16. πασαγραφη θεοπνευσος και ωφέλιμος. Every Greek scholar must see that there is an elipsis here which must be supplied by inserting the copula of existence esey either before 660 YEUSOS and woensuos both in the translation in our English bibles, or before GEOMYEUSUS Only, according to some of the Latin translations, or by inserting the words » S5Tuy after agzon according to Beausobre, Toute ecriture qui est inspiree. Whatever method of supplying the ellipsis however, is adopted, it does not invalidate the assertion which claims inspiration for the sacred scriptures, though we much prefer that of the French commentator, as being most consonant with the Apostle's design, and assuming it as fact, that some writings—the writings of the holy men of God, are inspired, (6.cofresos) in this thing differing essentially from any writings of men.
There is yet another passage on which we desire to examine the Unitarian comment. “When they shall lead you and deliver you," said the Saviour to his disciples, "take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, 'neither do ye premeditate; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost." Here the Saviour evidently distinguishes between that which might have been excogitated by the disciples, and something to be impressed on their minds, or communicated suddenly to them, from some source foreign from themselves. “Not ye;" “but the Holy Chost."
If by the Spirit is meant the "extraordinary power or gift”--the skill or ability of the apostles, then does the Saviour actually speak unintelligibly and falsely. It was the disciples that spoke. There was no communication made to them; the very thing that they should speak was not given to them; but by virtue of their gifts and skill it was, at the moment excogitated by them. If this was his meaning, did he not actually deceive as well as speak unintelligibly? For who upon hearing such language would not have understood him as assuring them, that some communication should be made directly to their minds, by that glorious personal agent whom He called the Holy Ghost? "Take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate-whatsoever shall be given you, that speak, for it is not ye that speak but the Holy Ghost.” Extraordinary language, indeed, if all he meant was "do not be solicitous about answering your enemies, your talents and skill, your extraordinary gifts will suggest to you instantaneously what to say!” The idea of Dr. Bancroft, that the Holy Ghost denotes only the means of intellectual and moral improvement, is too utterly ridiculous to deserve serious attention. It cannot at all apply here. It is even more absurd than the supposition, that the Saviour means the actual illumination of his disciples, or their minds uctually improved. The supposition all along is that the Holy Ghost is something different from God. Here it cannot mean the disciples for it is distinguished froin them. If it is these extraordinary gifts or the means of improvement they had, then it may be any thing, or nothing, just as you please! We candidly confess, that from such instructors we cannot learn what it means, and if they are to be our guide, we must abandon the study of the scriptures in utter despair of ever getting any distinct and intelligible idea, whatever, from them. No wonder that these learned divines are so perplexed, and talk so contemptuously of the sacred scriptures and their inspired penmen.'
1 Our readers perliaps will be surprised if we tell them that rather than abandon their false and ruinous notions, far greater liberties than this have been taken with Peter's conduct in this transaction. --Sec Kuinoel ad loc.
2 Mark, xiii. 11.
1 Mark, xiii, 11.
2 “These terms (Spirit, Spirit of God, Holy Ghost) are all used in the bible to express the means with which God has been pleased to favor men, to enlighten their minds and improve their dispositions.”—Bancroft's Sermons, p. 87.
3 We give a few specimens. The Evangelical histories contain gross and irreconcilable contradictions.-Evanson's dissonance, p. 1.
I think I ve often shewn that the apostle often reasons inconclus sively. ---Priestley's His. Corrup. Christ. vol. ii. p. 370.
Like other men they were subject to prejudice, and might be liable to