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CATECHETICAL READINGS,

&c.

INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.

Q. WHAT reason have we for believing that the Bible is the Word of God?

A. Without attempting to trace the internal evidence which God by his Spirit vouchsafes to his adopted and believing children, and of which St. Paul testifies, as "the Spirit itself bearing witness with our spirit," (Rom. viii. 16) there are many external evidences from which we may gather abundant reason for believing that the Bible is the Word of God.

Of these (the many external evidences,) it may suffice to enumerate five. First. The great age, and the wonderful preservation of the Bible. The Pentateuch is one thousand years older than the oldest profane histories now extant, and its preservation we cannot but acknowledge to have been most wonderful, if we consider the many lapses into idolatry of which the Jews were guilty, and the desolating wars and captivities to which they were for this reason subjected; together with the destruction of their temple, and the consequent suspension of their religious rites and ceremonies. Secondly. The remarkable agreement between all the manuscript copies of the Bible, whether in its own original language, or in the many translations which it has undergone. Thirdly. The agreement of its several

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portions one with another, although written by different individuals, at different times, and under different circumstances. Fourthly. The exact fulfilment of the Old Testament types and prophecies concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded in the New Testament; the equally exact fulfilment of many prophecies concerning the Jews, whose present existence as a distinct and separate people, though exiled from their own land and scattered among all the nations of the earth, presents one of the most strikingly tangible and incontestable evidences of the truth of prophecy; and the extended and still extending realization of many predictions concerning other nations and countries which are recorded by modern historians and travellers, some of whom while professing a disbelief in revealed truth, have unconsciously been made instrumental in confirming its testimony, by simply recording what they heard and saw. Fifthly. And above all, the great moral power, which, in all ages, the Bible has exercised over the hearts of men, guiding, comforting, and sustaining the humble and contrite, and overwhelming with confusion all whose "words have been stout against it." (Mal. iii. 13-18)

Q. In what state of mind ought we to engage in the study of God's word?

A. We should engage in it prayerfully, diligently, humbly, fervently and meekly. Prayerfully, that by the enlightening of the Spirit of God, "we might know the things that are freely given to us of God," for "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. ii. 12—14.) Diligently, because our Blessed Lord has thus enjoined us, "Search the Scriptures: for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” (John v. 39.) Humbly and teachably, because "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." (Luke xviii. 17.) Fervently,

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as new born babes desiring the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby;" (1 Pet. ii. 2) and meekly, "as the engrafted word which is able to save our souls." (James i. 21.)

Q. How can we show that the genuineness of the Pentateuch is established by the New Testament?

A. By referring to many passages in the ministry of our Blessed Lord in which He alluded to Moses and to his writings. In the Sermon on the Mount He expressly says, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets : I am not come to destroy but to fulfil." (Matt. v. 17.) Again, after cleansing the leper, He tells him, "Go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded for a testimony unto them." (Matt. viii. 4.) In the same chapter our Lord refers to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whose histories form so prominent a part of the book of Genesis. Perhaps, however, the most remarkable of all the many references of our Blessed Lord to the Scriptures of the Old Testament, may be found in his parable of Lazarus; "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead." (Luke xvi. 31.) Words which were perhaps intended to predict that which has too surely and too often come to pass, viz., that they who have ventured to doubt or to neglect the Scriptures of the Old Testament and the testimony of Moses have made shipwreck of faith altogether, and have refused to be persuaded even by Him who "rose from the dead," and who, after his resurrection, thus confirmed the testimony of Moses and the prophets_concerning Himself: These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me." (Luke xxiv. 44.) St. Stephen laid down his life in testimony of the genuineness of the Pentateuch, as may be plainly gathered from the seventh chapter of the Acts of the Apostles; and

the Evangelists and Apostles frequently refer to it in their writings. St. Paul says of the unbelieving Jews, "Even unto this day when Moses is read the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless, when it" (that is, their heart) "shall turn to the Lord the vail shall be taken away;" and he goes on to speak of that person of the Holy Trinity by whom this impediment shall be removed. "Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Cor. iii, 15

17.) Liberty to discern through every (otherwise) blinding obstacle the perfect harmony, agreement, and truth of the several portions of the word of God.

Q. Explain the word Testament as applied to the scriptures of God.

A. The word Testament thus applied, signifies not only the declared will of God, but also a covenant between God and man. Thus, our Lord when He instituted the commemorative Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, declared, "This is my blood of the New Testament," (or covenant) "which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. xxvi. 28); and St. Paul, speaking of the Apostolic ministry, says, "Our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter but of the spirit." (2 Cor. iii. 5, 6.)

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