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subjects; nor so clearly reveal it upon some subjects, as to prevent all human doubts, mistakes, or disputes. But yet he ineant, that the Bible should be free from all human errors and imperfections, and contain all the truths, which were necessary to be revealed, in order to answer the purposes of his providence and grace. And it is easy to see, that every sentence, and even every word in such a Book as this, was of too much importance to be written by any unassisted pen. Hence it is natural to conclude, the Holy Ghost suggested every thought and word to the sacred Penmen, all the while they were writing the holy Scriptures. Besides,
4. To suppose, that they sometimes wrote without the inspiration of Suggestion, is the same as to suppose that they sometimes wrote without any inspiration at all. The distinguishing of inspiration into three kinds, is a mere human invention; which has no foundation in scripture or reason. And those, who make this distinction, appear to amuse themselves and others, with words without ideas. The Supreme Being is able both to superintend and elevate the minds of men, in the common dispensations of providence and grace. Solomon tells us, “The preparations of the heart in man and the answer of the tongue is from the Lord." In the exercise of such a universal control over the views, and thoughts, and words, of men, God does nothing which is either supernatural or miraculous. But Inspiration, in every degree of it, always means something which is truly supernatural and miraculous; and which is essentially different from both common and special grace. This clearly appears in the case of the primitive Christians. They were the subjects, not of common and special grace only, but of divine inspiration. “For to one was given by the Spirit the
word of wisdom: to another, the word of knowledge by the same spirit; to another, prophecy; to another, discerning of spirits; to another, divers kinds of tongues; to another, the interpretation of tongues.” Allthese spiritual gifts partook of the nature of inspiration, and were truly miraculous. They were above nature, and such as the natural powers of the mind could not attain, by any mere common or natural assistance. But the inspiration of Superintendency and the inspiration of Elevation have nothing supernatural or miraculous in them; nor can they be distinguished from common and special grace. This may be easily illustrated. Common and special grace leave all the intellectual faculties of the mind, in their natural state; and so does what is called the inspiration of Superintendency. Common and special grace sometimes enliven and invigorate the natural powers of the mind, to a great and unusual degree, and so does what is called the inspiration of Elevation. In short, 'no person is able to describe, nor even to conceive, of any inspiration, which is higher than common assistance, and, yet at the same time, lower than the inspiration of Suggestion. It is no less contrary to reason to suppose, there are three, than to suppose there are thirty kinds of Inspiration. And the dictates of reason upon this subject, are confirmed by the dictates of Scripture, which speaks only of one kind of inspiration, and rep. resents that one kind to be the moving of the Holy Ghost, or the inspiration of Suggestion. This, therefore, was the only inspiration, under which the sacred Penmen wrote, so long as they were divinely inspired. And if they were divinely inspired, all the while they were writing, then they all the while enjoyed the suggesting influences of the Spirit. But it is generally believed and maintained, that they were in some
measure, really inspired, all the time they were writing the Books of the Old and New Testament. And if we allow this to be true, then we must necessarily suppose,
that every book, and every sentence in every book, was written under the plenary inspiration of Suggestion. I may now add,
5. That the sacred Penmen profess to have written the Scriptures under the immediate and constant guidånce of the Holy Ghost. The Writers of the Old Testament tell us, that they saw visions; that the Word of the Lord came to them; and that they were divinely authorized to sanction their warnings, their reproofs, and their predictions, with a Thus saith the Lord. By all these modes of expression, they solemnly profess to have written, not according to their own will, but as they were directed and moved by the divine Spirit. And this testimony of the Prophets to their own inspiration, is fully confirmed by the united testimony of the Apostles. Peter says, “No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." And Paul says, “ All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” The Apostle here asserts, that all scripture in general is given by inspiration of God; and that all parts of scripture in particular, which are profitable either for doctrine, or reproof, or correction, or instruction, are given by the same inspiration. These parts taken together, evidently comprise all the history, all the biography, al! the poetry, all the prophecy, and all the precepts, promises, and threatenings, to be found in the law and
the Prophets. This passage, therefore, testifies to the immediate inspiration of the whole, and of every part of the Old Testament writings. And the same Apostle gives as ample testimony to the inspiration of the Writers of the New Testament. He speaks of his own inspiration, with great assurance. “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel, which was preached of me, is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” In another passage, he more fully and expressly asserts, that both he and the other Apostles were favored with the inspiration of Suggestion. “But, as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nei. ther hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit; -which things also we speak; not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.” The Apostle John also professes to have been divinely taught and directed, in writing his Revelations. “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” Thus the Apostles and Prophets profess to have written under the immediate inspiration of God, who dictated the matter, manner, and style of their writings. And from this and a the other considerations which have been offered, we have sufficient reason to believe, that the Bible was written from beginning to end, by the inspiration of Suggestion.
But since this is a very important subject, which claims a fair and full discussion; it may be proper to
take particular notice of the most weighty objections, which may be made against the plenary inspiration of the holy Scriptures.
1. It may be said there appears a great diversity in the manner and style of the sacred Penmen, which cannot be easily reconciled with the supposition of their being equally and constantly guided by the inspiration of Suggestion.
It is true, indeed, we plainly discover some variety in the manner and style of the sacred Writers. Isaiah and Paul, as well as Moses, David, and Solomon, who were men of education and refinement, write in a more pure and elevated style, than the prophet Amos, who lived among the herdmen of Tekoa, and the Apostle John, who lived among the fishermen of Galilee. But this is easy to be accounted for, by only supposing, that God dictated to each sacred Penman a manner and style corresponding to his own peculiar genius, education, and manner of living. Were a parent to dictate a letter for a child, would he not dictate it, in a manner and style somewhat agreeable to the age, genius, and attainments of the child? And is there not as much reason, why God should dictate a different manner and style to the different Authors of the Old and New Testament; as why he should employ so many men of such different degrees of knowledge and refinement, to write the sacred Scriptures? We do not discover, therefore, any greater diversity in the manner and style of the sacred Penmen, than we might reasonably expect to find, in case they wrote exactly as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
But, on the other hand, we find a much greater similarity in their manner and style, than could be reasonably expected, on supposition of their writing agreeably to their own genius and taste, without the sug