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thing more heavenly than this maxim, “We are the children of saints, and look for that life which God will give to those that never change their faith from him”?Tob. iii. 18. Is there any thing more beautiful and heavenly in the whole Testament than the martyrdom of the seven brethren and their heroic mother? 2 Macc. vii. We say it, then, confidently, if the heavenliness of the matter be a test of inspiration, those books which Protestants stigmatize as apocrypha” must have the first place in the canon of Scripture. So is it with error ; when its advocates try to cover one side opened to attack, they are forced to uncover another which they have equal interests in protecting; the present and the other tests of inspiration assigned by Protestants apply as well, and perhaps better, to those which they brand as spurious, than to those which they choose to retain.

The second test of inspiration is “efficacy of doctrine." The Bible is inspired because its doctrine is efficacious. So do our modern doctors think. But we should rather contend that the Bible is efficacious because it is divine. Will an unprejudiced man say a book is inspired because it persuades to the adoption of the doctrine it teaches? If so, immoral books would be the most certainly inspired of all; for their doctrine is terribly efficacious. The Koran also would be inspired; for it has been tolerably efficacious; and the Book of Mormon threatens to be the same. This mark of inspiration will not answer, even admitting a book to contain the best doctrine in the world. A man may write eloquent pages on the practice of virtue, and persuade others to adopt it, and we have still no voucher for his inspiration. Otherwise, all good and pious ministers of God would be inspired; which is somewhat more than anybody is prepared to admit.

The majesty of the style" is the next evident mark of inspiration adduced by the Westminster divines,—a queer test, we must confess. This test we take to be applicable to the original languages in which the Scripture was written; for otherwise the majesty of the style would prove the inspiration of the translator rather than that of the author; and we know of very clumsy translations of the Bible. The appreciation of this test would, then, require the full knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek languages ; for a smatterer in those languages would scarcely venture to decide upon the merits of the style. How many are competent to the task may be a delicate question; but we hardly think it would be excessive rashness on our part to doubt if the Westminster divines themselves were altogether competent judges. It is not among people involved in political turmoils, it is not in our parliaments, our houses of representatives or senate-chambers, that we find such eminent Greek and Hebrew scholars. Moreover, a portion of the Presbyterians themselves—the Cumberland Presbyterians—will reject this test, since they separated themselves from the main body chiefly because they would not subject their ministers to the necessity of learning Greek and Hebrew. We may

also remark that St. Paul did not insist very strenuously on this proof of his inspiration ; for in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, xi. 6, he says,—" Though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge." And when we reflect that many books, having no claim to inspiration, have a fine and majestic style, and that the appreciation of style presents so many difficulties, and varies so with different individuals, we can set very little, if any, value upon this test of inspiration.

Another evident mark of inspiration, according to the Westminster divines, is “the consent of all the parts." Taking this test of inspiration, we venture to say, that

, assuredly, the Confession of Faith is not a work inspired,that is, from above; for, whatever else it may claim, it can claim nothing like a “consent of all the parts." We have gone over only the first five articles, and it would puzzle the reader to count the many contradictions we have found in it. If the Bible be inspired from God, surely there can be no contradictions in it. But the fact, that there are no contradictions in a book, does not prove that it is inspired ; it

proves, at most, only that the author speaks the truth, and is a man of sound judgment. Who ever thought of ascribing inspiration to our mathematical treatises, because there is in them a consent of all the parts? But it cannot be denied that there are in the Bible many apparent contradictions, which it often requires no small amount of learning and research to remove or reconcile; and it is this fact that supplies infidels with their arguments against our holy religion. That all these apparent contradictions are cleared up, and very satisfactorily too, we cheerfully and loudly acknowledge; but we say, that, if we did not know from other independent and infallible sources of information that the Bible is inspired, this character of the consent

of all the parts could never lead to a firm assent to its inspiration.

The other means of arriving at the inspiration of Scripture, such as the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellences, and the entire perfection thereof,” are all as little conclusive as those we have just considered. When we once know, by some positive, undeniable fact, that the Scripture is the word of God, we may find all these excellences, but not before ; and to found the inspiration of Scripture upon such tottering motives is to deliver it up to the contempt of unbelievers. We say, then, that the external motives of credibility in the inspiration of Scripture assigned by Presbyterians are altogether illusory, and that the point can be settled only by recourse to the testimony and declaration of the church, whose doctrine has always received, and continues to receive, the stamp and approbation of Heaven.

But it is chiefly upon the internal motives of credibility that Presbyterians rely. They believe in Scripture because the Holy Spirit bears witness in their hearts. A man, when driven to this last resource of fanatics, visionaries, and impostors, the resource of Mahometans and Mormons, should at once own himself vanquished. This pretense is exceedingly convenient, for it supplies the place of argument and logic. I remain a Presbyterian, because God tells me in my heart that I am in the true religion. We do not think it worth while to undertake seriously to confute this assertion. All reasonable persons have an irresistible inclination to laugh at this peremptory mode of settling a controversy. Pity, disgust, or merriment, if the subject were not so grave,

would be the only answers suitable to be given. We know of a deluded lady, who, fearing she had

sinned the day of grace away,” staid on her knees some hours, and at last obtained full forgiveness, because she felt her heart as “ big as a hat.” When the Lord speaks in an extraordinary manner, he gives external miraculous signs of his presence, as one may read in so many different passages of Scripture, especially in the call of Moses, Gideon, and Samson. The ordinary operation of divine grace in the hearts of the just, though supernatural, can never be a foundation for any assertion or discovery; and this divine grace is never given as the ground for believing or main

VOL. VI-14

taining any thing contrary to the doctrine held and proposed by the church of Christ, which doctrine is founded, not upon internal and invisible revelation accessible to nobody, but upon facts performed in the face of the whole world, and of a brilliancy greater than that of the sun. Nor do we need to dwell upon the passage of St. John, with which visionaries would try to uphold their delirious notions,“ Ye have an unction from above, and ye know all things.” For such persons as bring forward their own visions and imaginations, on the strength of this text, should prove first that this is said of them, and not rather the following:

-“ Thou sayest, I am rich, and made wealthy, and I have need of nothing; and thou knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Yes, they have the best reasons for applying to themselves the following passages.

“If one will not hear the church, let him be to thee as a heathen and publican.” “O senseless Galatians ! who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth?” “ The animal man knoweth not the things that are of the Spirit of God.” Hence, it is not to every one that opens the Epistle of St. John, that this is said, “You have an unction from above, and ye know all things”; it is to such as love God with all their heart, are docile to their pastors, and revere in them the authority of Christ ; for St. John immediately adds, “ I have not written to you as to such as know not the truth, but as to such as know it.” He who does not acknowledge thoroughly and sincerely the church to be the ground and pillar of truth, to be the rock against which the gates of hell shall not prevail, has no share in those words of St. John, but rather in these of St. Jude :-" These are they who separate themselves, sensual men, having not the Spirit.”

But we must conclude here, for the present, our review of the Presbyterian Confession of Faith. We have found it full of false reasoning, of arbitrary and absurd applications of Scriptural passages, of obvious and strongly marked contradictions, of shallow views, and false conclusions. We have conclusively established, we think, that Presbyterians have in no respect whatever any reason or argument to offer in defence of the inspiration of Scripture, and that there is for them no rational ground on which to believe it to be the word of God. We have also shown, that, on every principle, even on their own, they cannot refuse to admit as Scripture some books which they choose to reject. We may, then, conclude that Presbyterianism precludes the very possibility of making an act of faith, of believing any thing reasonable this pretended Confession of Faith may contain, undermines Christianity, and leaves men with empty shadows and sonorous words instead of religious truth. It is not a confession, it is a real, stanch, bold, and blasphemous negation of faith.


In the foregoing article, we disposed of only the first half of the first chapter; we hope to be able in this to dispose of the remaining half, and present our readers a complete view of the tenets, or rather inconsistencies and contradictions, which the Westminster divines have contrived to compress within their preliminary chapter, “Of the Holy Scripture.” In reality, the controversy should be regarded as ended with the fact we have already established, that Presbyterians are utterly unable to prove the inspiration of the Scriptures; for, since they profess to found their doctrines on the Scriptures as inspired, it is evident, that, by failing to establish the fact of inspiration, they cannot proceed a single step in the argument, and that their whole fabric falls to the ground, and is only ruins and rubbish, if even so much. But waiving this, and granting them the inspiration of the Scriptures, —-not, indeed, on their grounds, but on the testimony of the Catholic Church, which has all the marks of credibility the most captious can ask,--we resume the discussion, and admire anew the beauty and vigor of logic, the marvellous concatenation of conclusions, the acuteness of judgment, the felicitous application of Scriptural texts, which they display throughout their formulary, and which they offer us as their credentials.

We have already examined the first five articles of the first chapter; we commence now with the sixth, which is as follows:-

“The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either set down expressly in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture ; unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the word ; and there are some circumstances concerning the worship

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