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indited—to seal his word on your hearts, to “sanctify you through the truth.” Never be content with intellectual attainments merely in scriptural knowledge. This knowledge is valuable chiefly with a view to its practical influence. Let me particularly recommend that you daily read the Holy Scriptures, not only with seriousness but with prayer. Yes, let not the day pass, in ordinary circumstances, in which you do not attentively peruse at least a small portion of the word of life, accompanied with earnest prayer that God may bless it to your souls. I question if this practice was ever long continued without sensible benefit. Try it, precious youth, and may God grant that the benefit you derive from it, may be not only sensible but saving.
4. Take your part, cordially and actively, in endeavouring to put the Sacred Scriptures into the hands of those who have hitherto remained ignorant of them. It is your happiness to live at a time when vigorous exertions are making, both to translate the word of God into many languages in which it has never yet been read, and to enable and persuade those whom poverty or carelessness have hitherto kept from reading it in the languages into which it has already been translated, to avail themselves of the richest blessing which a gracious God has ever bestowed on a guilty world. In this holy work, this heavenly charity, cherish a sacred emulation to take your full share. Whether male or female, let no individual who is not now a member of the Bible society, or who has not contributed something to the Bible cause,' neglect any longer to partake in the honour, the happiness, and the duty, of patronising and promoting such institutions. To the rising generation, the whole of this labour of love, this inestimably important concern, must soon be committed. And as they will answer it to God and to perishing millions, they should look well, that they neither shrink from the labour, nor perform it slothfully. Rather let them far exceed, as we hope they will, all that their fathers have done; and receive, in the
largest measure, the high reward of those, who, having “ turned many unto righteousuess, shall shine as the stars for ever and ever."
WHAT RULE HATH GOD GIVEN TO DIRECT US HOW WE MAY
GLORIFY AND ENJOY HIM?
In our last lecture we entered on the discussion of the second answer in our catechism, in which it is affirmed that_“The word of God, contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, is the only rule to direct us, how we may glorify and enjoy
It is not my intention to recapitulate any part of what was then delivered; as we shall need the whole of our time to discuss the important points to which it was intimated that your attention would now be called. These are, the nature and evidences of divine inspiration and revelation ;--subjects which have filled volumes, and of which it will, of course, be practicable to give you, in a single lecture, (and more we cannot devote to them,) only a general outline—a summary statement of the principal matters which they embrace. It is hoped, however, that enough will be said, to enable every attentive hearer to give a reason for the hope that is in him; a reason why he is a Christian, and why he cherishes the high expectations which Christianity inspires.
If we make a distinction between inspiration and revelation we may say, that by INSPIRATION we understand those divine communications which are made to the minds of individuals; by REVELATION, the same communications made known to the world, by those who receive them from God. Revelation is a generic, inspiration à specific term. The Deity, usually, first reveals his mind and will to individuals, and then through them to the world. No one has a right to demand or expect that others should believe he has a direct communication from God, without verifying his pretensions by an undeniable miracle.*
We have nothing to do with any other claims to revelation, than those which we make for what is contained in our Bible. In no other revelation, at present known to us, do we believe; and if this be not defensible, the pretensions of any other cannot certainly be shown to be better founded.
1. Then, we can have no hesitation to assert, that a supernatural revelation from God is possible. I explicitly mention a supernatural revelation, because God has unquestionably revealed himself to us in his works;-and our reason also, by which we make all just inferences and conclusions, as well as many valuable discoveries, is his gift. But by the revelation of which we now speak, we mean some important discoveries, which the works of nature and all the exercise and ingenuity of human reason employed upon them, could never make. We here assert that such a revelation is possible. None who admit the being and attributes of God and with those who deny them we do not now contend—will be likely to say, that it is not possible for a Being of infinite power and wisdom to make a revelation, such as we have specified, to his creature man; and in such way too as perfectly to satisfy the creature that the revelation is from God. To deny this is, at once, to limit the power and the wisdom of the Supreme Being. It cannot, therefore, be denied. It not only involves no contradiction or absurdity, but it is no more, in fact, than to assert that God, who has actually revealed himself to us in his works, can further reveal himself, by additional and indubitable communications.
* When this lecture was delivered, the author read to his audience a number of passages from “ Dick's Essay on the Inspiration of the Scriptures," and recommended the careful perusal of the whole. That essay, in his opinion, is incomparably the best publication on the subject, which he has seen. Dick's explanation, in regard to the words or language of the sacred writers, is believed to be the only one that can be defended as rational and satisfactory.
The substance of it is contained in the following extract:
“A question of very great importance demands our attention, while we are endeavouring to settle, with precision, the notion of the inspiration of the Scriptures; it relates to the words which the sacred writers have expressed their ideas. Some think, that in the choice of words they were left to their own discretion, and that the language is human, though the matter be divine; while others believe, that in their expressions, as well as in their sentiments, they were under the infallible direction of the Spirit. It is the last opinion which appears to be most conformable to truth, and it may be supported by the following reasoning.
“Every man, who hath attended to the operations of his own mind, knows that we think in words; or that, when we form a train or com. bination of ideas, we clothe them with words; and that the ideas which are not thus clothed, are indistinct and confused. Let a man try to think upon any subject, moral or religious, without the aid of language, and he will either experience a total cessation of thought, or, as this seems impossible, at least while we are awake, he will feel himself constrained, notwithstanding his utmost endeavours, to have recourse to words, as the instrument of his mental operations. As a great part of the Scriptures was suggested or revealed to the writers; as the thoughts or sentiments, which were perfectly new to them, were conveyed into their minds by the Spirit, it is plain that they must have been accompanied with words proper to express them; and, consequently, that the words were dictated by the same influences on the mind which communicated the ideas. The ideas could not have come without the words, because without them they could not have been conceived."
2. Revelation is not only possible, but desirable; and if made, must be highly useful. Lord Herbert, the most learned of the English deists, has written largely and elaborately, to show that what he calls the light of nature is sufficient, without revelation, to teach us the knowledge of God and of our duty. He has been ably and triumphantly answered by several writers, especially by Hallyburton; but what is remarkable, he has virtually answered himself. Strange as it may seem, it is indubitably true, that he declares that he asked, and as he believed, received a revelation, or a miraculous intimation, to decide the momentous question, whether he should, or should not, publish his book De veritate; a book in which he sets himself to prove that all revelations, and all miracles, are unnecessary. You may find a fair transcript of the whole passage, in Leland's View of the Deistical Writers.*
It does seem to me, that no candid deist, will refuse to admit that it would be desirable, and so far as we can see, useful, that the Deity should, if I may so say, speak out, and tell us plainly the truth or falsehood of a great many important and most interesting points, about which human reason has been at
* The passage referred to in the lecture is the following :-Speaking of a writer who had seen a manuscript life of Lord Herbert drawn up by himself, Leland says—“After having observed, that Lord Her. bert's tract, De veritate, was his favourite work, he produceth a large extract relating to it in that Lord's own words, signifying, that though it had been approved by some very learned men to whom he had shown it, among whom he mentions Grotius, yet the frame of his whole book was so different from what had been written heretofore on this subject, and he apprehended he should meet with much opposition, he did consider, whether it were not better for him a while to suppress it. And then his lordship proceeds thus:
· Being thus doubtful, in my chamber, one fair day in the summer, my casement being open towards the south, the sun shining clear, and no wind stirring, I took my book, De veritate, in my hands, and kneeling on my knees, devoutly said these words, thou eternal God, author of this light which now shines upon me, and giver of all inward illuminations; I do beseech thee, of thine infinite goodness, to pardon a greater request than a sinner ought to make: I am not satisfied enough, whether I shall publish this book : if it be for thy glory, I beseech thee give me some sign from heaven; if not, I shall suppress it. I had no sooner spoken these words, but a loud, though yet gentle noise, came forth from the heavens, (for it was like nothing on earth,) which did so cheer and comfort me, that I took my petition as granted, and that I had the sign I demanded; whereupon also I resolved to print my book. This, how strange soever it may seem, I protest before the eternal God, is true; neither am I any way superstitiously deceived herein; since I did not only clearly hear the noise, but in the serenest sky that ever I saw, being without all cloud, did, to my thinking, see the place from whence it came.'
On this surprising but unquestionable fact Leland very justly remarks :-“I cannot help thinking, that if any writer, zealous for Christianity, had given such an account of himself, as praying for and expecting a sign from heaven to determine his doubt, whether he should publish a book he had composed in favour of the Christian cause; and, upon hearing a noise, which he took to be from heaven, had looked upon it as a mark of the divine approbation, and as a call to publish that book; it would have passed for a high fit of enthusiasm, and would no doubt have subjected the author to much ridicule among the gentlemen that oppose revealed religion. What judgment they will pass upon it in Lord Herbert's case I do not know." -Leland's View of Deistical Writers, vol. i. pp. 42–45.