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No discussion has excited more pro- could, that we state boldly and uncom found interest, or is fraught with more promisingly the ground we take, and are serious consequences, than that now so prepared to defend, in relation to the vehemently waged concerning the fact, present controversy. At the outset let the nature, and the measure of the inspira- us be candid with those whom we shall tion of Holy Scripture. We engage in it, be forced to treat as opponents in the therefore, with a grave feeling of respons- course of our argument. We foresee the ibility-accepting it as a duty from which momentous results pending upon the issue we dare not shrink, and would not if we of this discussion, and in the staunch de
fense of the truth, which we believe to
be imperiled, we must make an end of * Divine Inspiration : or, The Supernatural Influ- unmeaning compliments. There can be ence exerted in the Communication of Divine Truth. no dalliance in war. On either side the By the Rev. E. HENDERSON. London: Jackson and conflict is too serious to be staid or Walford. 1836.
The Miraculous and Internal Evidences of the assuaged by any weak considerations. Christian Revelation. By the Rev. T. CHALMERS, The battle must be resolutely fought withD.D., LL.D. (Vols. III. and IV. of collected Works.) out quarter, till by the strain of argument Glasgow: William Colling.
The Soul: its Sorrows and ils Aspirations. An against argument it be proved with whom Essay. By FRANCIS W. NEWMAN. Fifth Edition. the victory rests. All that can be reLondon: John Chapman. 1853.
Iquired, therefore, in any writer who enters VOL. XLIX.-No. 3
this controversy, is the clearest and most prevail; and it is far better to have an forcible statement of arguments, whether open and thorough criticism of its eviin exposure of an opponent's weakness, or dences which will triumphantly vindicate in the defense of his own position. To their strength, than to be dwelling in this law we pledge ourselves. We feel imaginary dread of their possible insuffitoo deeply and too strongly to write in ciency. But if there be such an honest doubtful language, or with impotent re-examination of this doctrine, that brazenserve. The question, whether there has throated artillery of menacing epithets been a Divine revelation or not, is the which has been pealing far and near must ultimate and essential form into which all be silenced. The strong reasons on either inquiries concerning inspiration resolve side must be scrupulously weighed, and themselves; and the answer to that ques- the balance fairly struck. If truth does tion manifestly involves our knowledge of not capitulate to bribes, neither will it to God, the existence of the Church, the threats; it must be solicited and won by standard of duty, and our hopes of a fu- the severe exercise of unimpassioned and ture world; in fact, every interest of man- unprejudiced reason.
We do not purpose kind that is revered and precious. Self- to collect within the limits of one or even respect, therefore, and respect for the con- two articles every quillet of proof either victions of those who differ from us, but for or against the doctrine of plenary inwho must acknowledge the vast import- spiration; but we trust to give a clear ance and far-reaching potency of the con- statement of the doctrine as we hold it, clusions which they seek to establish, to expound fairly the evidence which compel us to use the exactest and plainest vouches this doctrine, and to expose the language we can find to express and en- fallacy of the various theories which have force our opinions on this subject. been hatched to supplant it-only revers
Let it not, however, be conceived, that ing the order of these propositions, that we sympathize with the ignorant and by the destruction of false theories we bilious denunciations with which the may clear the ground for orthodox scrip doubters and impugners of orthodox be- tural truths. So far we hope to contribute lief on this subject are so frequently as our share to the settlement of the present sailed. Orthodox truth suffers more from disturbel controversy, in the renewed such an ignoble and cowardly mode of acceptance and the firmer establishment defense, than from the most virulent at- of the hitherto received doctrine, that tacks. If it is to be honorably maintained, the whole Bible is the word of God. it must be by the calm exposition of its In a controversy so important, there evidences, and not by a savage howl at its should be the most rigorous care in the opponents. Difficulties are admitted to definition of the terms that are employed. complicate the doctrine of inspiration, Of late, the embroilment of language has which may be supposed sufficient to be become almost hopeless, from the various wilder or to repulse many sincere inquiries, meanings into which the term “inspirawithout the further incentive of sinister tion” has been distorted; and the distincmotives. For their recovery to sound tion drawn by Coleridge, and since almost doctrine, angry threats and brow beatings very generally adopted, between revelaare the worst possible means to adopt. tion and inspiration, seems to us to have At any rate, they can be useful no longer. increased, instead of relieving, this perThis doctrine is now threatened on every plexity. According to this distinction, side. The sluices of the controversy revelation consists in the immediate comwhich has so long deluged Germany have munication from God by voice, dreams, been lifted up in this country. High visions, or by some transcendental mode authorities in the Episcopalian Church of impressing the consciousness with pronounce opinions widely at variance knowledge, which otherwise would have from the commonly received faith, and been unattainable by man; and inspiraloudly affirm that the commonly received tion consists in that spiritual aid which faith is indefensible. In every direction was given to writers of Scripture, to conit is intimated that the time has come for vey to their fellow-men the knowledge a thorough investigation and fresh settle- which had been thus supernaturally comment of the doctrine of inspiration. We municated to them, and whatever informare content that it should be so, since we ation or sentiment of their own they pleasare convinced that the old faith will yet | ed to combine with it Now, this dis