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language imply a divine inspiration, if this does not? Can we suppose, that all this revelation and communication of the Spirit was not sufficient to enable the apostle by an infallible instruction, to place the faith of his converts, in every particular, however minute, relating to Christianity, on the footing he expressly statesnot the wisdom of men, but the power of God? But, to remove all possibility of doubt, the apostle declares this in terms which cannot be misunderstood, Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual ; or as some would render it, adapting spiritual expressions to spiritual things. And then in the close of the chapter, when with a noble freedom, in a consciousness of the distinguished character he bore, he had put the question to the whole world, Who hath known the mind of the Lord? He triumphantly adds, But we have the mind of Christ. · These are specimens of the assertion of direct inspiration, extending even to the words in which he was to convey the divine message. But observe, next, the authority with which he brings every pretence to the test, and proposes the admission of his inspiration, as the proof of the possession of spiritual gifts, and denounces miraculous judgments on the disobedient. If any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write unto you, are the commandments of the Lord. I told you before, and now tell you, as if I were present, and being absent, now I write unto them which heretofore have sinned, and to all others, that if I come again, I will not spare, since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.
Notice, further, the carefulness and conscientiousness of the apostle in the discharge of his function, so that if on any point he had no special communication, he avowed it, and thus doubly confirmed the full inspiration of all the rest of his writings. But I speak this by permission, not by commandment. Unto the married
I command, yet not I, but the Lord. To the rest speak I, not the Lord. Concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord.
Again, the solemn adjuration to the Galatians to adhere strictly to his instructions and doctrine, demands our especial attention. On a particular point of external discipline, such as the marriage of Christian converts under certain cases, he had received no injunction, and he mentions the exception. But on all the truths of the Christian revelation, he had received the most positive and plenary commandment. When he approaches the doctrines of
LECT. x11.] GALATIANS.
487 Christianity, how does he speak? I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you unto the grace of Christ, unto another gospelThough we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel to you than that ye have received, let him be accursed—I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me, was not after man ; for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ – It pleased God to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles. Now to what purpose is all this, if the epistle which it contains, and which proceeds to correct the errors that had crept into the church, was itself fallible and uninspired ?
But I will no longer press quotations, which may be multiplied to any extent.
To pass on to the writings of St. John. What, I ask, is the import of such passages as the following, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life-That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you—The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you : but as
the same anointing teacheth you all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, abide in him—Believe not every Spirit, but try the Spirits whether they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world— We are of God: he that knoweth God, heareth us; he that is not of God, heareth not us; hereby know we the Spirit of truth, and the Spirit of error- I testify to every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book : And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book. I will not insult the understanding of any hearer, by asking him, whether such declarations are consistent with a fallible and intermixed representation of the Christian faith? Or whether each of them does not imply, as the apostles were divinely commissioned, an inspired and absolutely perfect exposition of that faith?
Nothing can be added, I think, to this accumulated proof, except
IV. The uniform testimony of the EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH from the time of the con
temporaries of the apostles. I should not, indeed, adduce this as an independent proof of the inspiration of the New Testament. The testimony of the first ages of Christianity to the authenticity and credibility of the sacred books is incontrovertible, because this rested on plain matters of fact, which took place under their own eyes, and where they could not be mistaken. But the inspiration of scripture is a doctrine or sentiment, so far as the Fathers are concerned, and not a fact of which they were eye-witnesses. Still, if their testimony to the belief of the universal church on this subject is distinct and uniform, it must be allowed to have great weight in confirmation of the arguments deduced from the Holy Scriptures; just as, in the contrary case, if their uniform testimony were, that the first Christians did not account the New Testament inspired, we should naturally be led to examine with more care our previous conclusions. The testimony of the Fathers against or beside the scriptures, is to be at once rejected; but their evidence in concurrence with the scriptures, is, under certain circumstances, of great importance. And what were they more likely to know, than whether the New Testament was accounted to be written by the apostles under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, or not?