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a dispensation of a confined range of influence and exertion if the Mosaic economy had inspired writers, has not the Christian dispensation much more its inspired writers—a dispensation universal and permanent, where all the blessings are spiritual—the last dispensation of God to man, and the fulfilment and accomplishment of the Jewish ;* under which the abundant effusion of the Spirit is bestowed; where, however, all extraordinary attendant aids are withdrawn-oracular responses, prophets, miraculous powers, the immediate government of the Almighty—and the whole church is left to this one single external source of truth in all successive ages? The Christian dispensation has surely a light at least equal to that of the dark and preparatory dispensation of Moses. It is not night to us as to an inspired scripture, when the legal economy had the day shining full upon it. We are not without writings with the will of God infallibly communicated in them, when the Jews had an unerring revelation of that will. We are not left to rely on the credit of books written merely by persons of sincerity and piety, whilst the Jews had, and still have, divinely inspired scriptures. No. We have not so learned Christ. The case is perfectly decisive. If we had no
• The lare made nothing perfect. Heb. vii. 19.
other arguments to adduce, we infer with undoubted certainty, that as the Old Testament was written under the superintendence and inspiration of God, the New was composed also with the same aid, and comes commended with the same features of infallible and unerring truth. • 2. But this is not all. Our inference is strengthened by the distinct recognition of the New Testament as of equal authority with the Old.
The writers of the Christian books speak with the same authority as those of the Jewish, and evidently consider them as standing upon precisely the same footing of inspiration. If the prophets began with the solemn formula, Thus saith the Lord; the apostles begin with the same claim of a divine command; Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Saviour.
If the authors of the Old Testament denounce the judgments of God against those who disobey their authority, demand implicit obedience to their decisions, and in every part of their writings exhibit the unequivocal marks of divine inspiration, the authors of the New Testament do the same. · We shall hereafter consider the direct claims of the apostles to divine inspiration, indepen
dently of any reference to the Old Testament. We now assert merely that their writings are considered by themselves as equal in authority, and as having the same measure of divine inspiration, as those of Moses and the prophets.
Further, when the apostles speak of the books of the first covenant, they class those of the second with them, as constituting together the one unerring standard of divine truth. Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.—That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.
Again, they cite without distinction the Old and New Testament by the peculiar and decisive name of scripture. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn; and, the labourer is worthy of his reward: where the first part of the authoritative citation is taken from the law of Moses; the second from the gospel of St. Luke.5
And yet more fully in our text, the apostle classes the Old and New Testament in common under the title of divINELY-INSPIRED SCRIPTURE. For though undoubtedly, as I have said, he more expressly refers to the Old Testament, yet he appears also by the general
5 1 Tim. v. 18; Deut. xxv. 4; Luke x. 7.
cast and comprehension of the whole passage to include those books of the New which were then extant, (which was alınost the whole volume,) as well as those that might be added to the canon by himself and his fellow-apostles. For he first addresses Timothy, as having from a child known the holy scriptures; and exhorts him to continue in what he had learned and been assured of. He then joins this with faith in Christ Jesus, as able to make him wise unto salvation. Surely this seems to direct him to the gospels and epistles, of which one probably had then been published twenty or thirty years.
But this becomes more evident, if we consider that the apostle, after thus speaking of faith in Christ Jesus, goes on to say, enlarging his terms, All scripture is given by inspiration of God; as if he intended purposely to comprehend those books which expounded the life and doctrine of the Son of God, in whom Timothy was to believe. He next declares that the effects of doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, would flow from it; which are
6 The Second Epistle of Timothy is of the date of A.D. 66; St. Matthew's Gospel of A. D. 38. The First Epistle to the Thessalonians A. D. 54. Timothy may be supposed to have been born about A. D. 46. The whole New Testament was extant in A. D. 66, except the books written by St. John and St. Jude. VOL. I.
surely, in the latitude in which they are here taken, the inseparable adjuncts of the brighter light of the New Testament. Much more, when the apostle adds, That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, a result which can only be produced by the last revelation of the Almighty. Bishop Warburton accordingly thinks that “ St. Paul, in the general proposition that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, necessarily includes the scripture of the New Testament; what it predicates of all scripture, taking in the New as well as the Old ; as well that which was to be written, as that which was already collected into a canon. For the term scripture, as the context leads us to understand it, is general, and means a religious rule, perfect in its direction for the conduct of human life in belief and practice; it being under this idea he recommends the scriptures to Timothy. The assertion, therefore, is universal, and amounts to this, That divine inspiration is an essential quality of every scripture, which constitutes the Law or RULE of a religion coming from God."?
7 Works, viii. 271. Besides Bishop Warburton, I am indebted to Bishops Horsley, Tomline, and Van Mildert, especially to the last; also to the works of Calamy, Horherry, Abbadie, Boyle's Style of Scripture, Williams, and