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supernatural endowments. The supposition of Shaftsbury, that a divine revelation must exhibit a style of writing essentially different from what is in common use, is manifestly inconsistent, and cannot for a moment be admitted. And as it is perfectly clear, that various kinds of writing are calculated to answer important ends, which could not be answered by any one kind alone; it would be altogether reasonable to expect, that God would employ such a variety, if he wished to make special communications to men ; that he would sometimes give instruction by history; sometimes by poetry; sometimes by allegory; sometimes by proverbs or maxims; sometimes by rational arguments; sometimes by impassioned appeals to the heart; and sometimes in other ways; and that he would make use of all those figures of speech, which are suited to make a deep impression on the mind, or to rouse its dormant faculties. The propriety and utility of this variety in the mode of conveying truth, result from the constitution which God himself has given to the human mind. And surely, it is but natural to expect that, in all his instructions, he will have a regard to the nature which, in the exercise of his unerring wisdom, he has given to man; and that he will employ that mode of teaching, which shall be best adapted to produce the desired effect. And when we find that the writers of the sacred volume made use of human language, and of all the common modes of writing; most surely, we cannot consider it as affording any argument against the position, that those writers were under the guidance of the divine Spirit. That the Scriptures were written in the best manner, that is, in the manner best suited to answer the ends of a revelation, is a fact which clearly shows them to be worthy of God; and if it cannot, by itself, prove conclusively that his agency was specially concerned in the production; it certainly can prove nothing to the contrary. If, in one way or another, there is evidence of the general fact, that the Scriptures were given by inspiration of God; the circumstance of their appearing in such a form as they do, cannot furnish any ground to question the fact of their having been inspired, or to suppose that their inspiration must be understood in a restricted, imperfect sense.
4. The manner in which the writers of the New Testament sometimes quote from the Old, has been thought to be an objection to their inspiration. The ground of the objection is, the alleged incorrectness of the citations.
In reply, I maintain, that what is called incorrectness in the citations is no incorrectness at all; and that the mode of quotation is no other than an example of a manner of writing perfectly conformed to good use, and adapted to produce the best effects. I shall not think it necessary or proper to enter on a particular discussion of this subject at the present time, as the limits I have prescribed for myself would hardly admit of it, and as the manner of
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quotations from the Old Testament, by the writers of the New, has been carefully and satisfactorily vindicated by various authors. Now if it is indeed so, as I am fully persuaded it is, that the writers of the New Testament make quotations from the Old in a manner suited to accomplish the ends they have in view, and to accomplish them in an eminent degree,—in a manner, too, which agrees with common use among men of good sense; then this mode of quotation is no more an objection against the inspiration of the Scriptures, than any other example of what is proper and excellent in the sacred writings.
Let us inquire, for a moment, what is it in the mode of quotation, against which the objection is urged ? It is this ; that, in some instances, when a text is cited, it is not cited in the exact words of the original ; and that, in other instances, the texts which are quoted, are applied to subjects different from those to which they were originally applied. But was this mode of quotation ever made an objection against any other writer? Is it true of the best modern authors, that they refer to passages in the Bible in no other way, than by an exact quotation of the whole? When they would cite a text containing a prediction, a doctrine, or a promise, do they not very frequently make the citation in an abridged form, or in a form different in some other respect from the original,—only taking care to show, to what particular text they mean to refer, and what is the object of the reference? And what is more common, than for writers of the best reputation to take a striking passage from the Bible, or from some other book, and make use of it for the purpose of illustrating a subject diverse from that to which the original writers referred? How often are historical facts produced for the sake of illustrating other similar facts, or some moral principle involved? How often is a sentiment, or trait of character, which was, on some occasion, aptly expressed by a distinguished writer, made a kind of maxim, or general principle, and applied with effect in all similar cases ? More than half the real value of ancient history and poetry would be lost, were it not for the use which is made of them for the purpose of illustration or impression. Now if the practice of making citations from books, in the manner above described, is of important use, and is regarded with universal approbation in other men; why should it be thought exceptionable in the writers of the New Testament? And if such a mode of quotation is in itself proper, and is adapted to answer valuable ends; why should the use of it by the apostles be deemed inconsistent with their inspiration? Would not the presumption rather be, that the Spirit of God, being the Spirit of infinite wisdom, would lead those who were under his influence, to avail themselves of a mode of writing, which is universally considered so valuable? And as this mode of writing was, in an uncommon degree, suited to the taste of those
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who first received the books of the New Testament, and so was adapted, in an uncommon degree, to be useful to them; would it not be reasonable to think, that the authors of those books, supposing them inspired, would be led to make a free use of it? The obvious conclusion, then, is, that quoting from the Old Testament in the manner and for the purposes described, can no more be objected to the inspiration of the apostles, than their use of metaphors, or even of human language.
THOUGHTS ON REVIVALS OF RELIGION.
(Continued from p. 361.)
A standing topic of declamation against revivals of religion, is their supposed tendency to melancholy and mental aberration. Hence, on the approach of a revival, there are many who flap the dark wing, and lift up the monitory voice. They are sometimes persons who have themselves felt and resisted the power of conscience, and hate the light for the pain it has given them. Always, they are unfriendly to evangelical doctrine, and list the standard, around which all the vicious and irreligious rally. They know, usually, very little, personally, concerning a revival, and receive and repeat, with the credulity of dotage, the rumor and misrepresentations which circulate around them ; while, with inveterate scepticism, they refuse credence to results in favor of revivals, however manifest and glorious. With oracular confidence, they speak and decide on subjects, concerning which they are no more competent to judge, than the busy merchant or mechanic is qualified to judge concerning medical practice, in the hospitals and families of a great city.
I have been conversant with revivals, and the arts of opposition to them, for almost thirty years; and I know the stories which are commonly circulated against them are malignant fictions, or exaggerated facts—mere caricatures of the reality. No record of human transactions was ever made, of things so notorious, embracing so little truth and so much falsehood, as the accounts of revivals given by their enemies.
It is important, therefore, in this day of revivals, and of obloquy, and misrepresentation, that the intelligent and candid part of the community should be apprised of the facts in the case, and not be the sport of unfounded apprehensions.
It is proposed, therefore, to give in this paper, some account of the origin, properties, and tendencies of that solicitude, which usually precedes the renovation of the heart.
It is caused by a quickened sense of accountability, and guilt, and danger. The rule of accountability, the moral law, and the evidence of transgression, were manifest before, but not apprehended, or, if perceived intellectually, were not felt. But the Holy Spirit, by an illumination peculiar to himself, gives reality to the law, in the presence of which the heart is realized to be without holiness, and under the predominant influence of selfishness, unfit for heaven, fitted for destruction, and exposed to a fearful and just condemnation, which, without a change in the affections, will be certain and eternal. Thus, is the moral government of God revived, which, through the darkness of the mind, had faded from recollection, or through the hardness of the heart, had applied its power unselt. In what manner the Spirit of God thus enlightens the mind, and gives reality and power to neglected evidence of obligation, guilt, and danger, it does not become philosophy to say, at all more than to deny the fact, because it cannot perceive the the peculiar mode of the divine operation. · That he, who formed the mind for moral government, should be able to administer that government, by giving presence to the mind of its precepts and motives, is certainly most credible. And, that man is so stupid and blind as to need a more vivid apprehension of his guilt and danger than he would obtain, or others could communicate, is most certain.
This sense of guilt and danger, resulting from the transgression of law, is aggravated by the recollection of abused mercy; for when He, the Spirit, comes, Hé reproves the world of sin, because they believe not. The obligations of the Gospel are felt; and the guilt of violating them, the ingratitude, the hardness of heart, and voluntary obstinacy in rejecting its reasonable requirements, increase both remorse and fear. These apprehensions of guilty character and danger are sometimes instantaneous; but, not unfrequently, they are progressive, and the result of faithful instructions on the part of Christian friends, and of voluntary attention and effort on the part of the subjects.
The following are some of the properties of religious solicitude occasioned by a sense of accountability and guilt.
1. It is rational.
Man is an accountable creature, and, compared with the law of God, his heart is desperately wicked. It is without holiness, and full of selfishness. The command, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,” is violated; and the prohibition, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” is disregarded. This perverted state of the affections is voluntary, criminal, and deadly; and if not removed in time, will settle down into an obliquity, hopeless as it will be miserable. It is also true, that God has provided a Saviour, and with great sincerity of mercy, offers pardon upon terms practicable and reasonable, which the sinner, with entire voluntariness and pre-eminent ingratitude, rejects. These truths the awakened sinner feels. He realizes that it is his duty to repent immediately, and that his sins are multiplied and aggraVOL. I.
vated by the delay of every moment. He is well apprised that the Holy Spirit, which has awakened him, may justly abandon him, while he wilfully refuses to yield to his requirements, and anticipates that probably a crisis has arrived in his moral history, in which what he may do speedily, or neglect to do, may be the means of perpetuating a holy or unholy character through eternity. In such circumstances, the distress of an awakened sinner is rational ;—never beyond, always below, the occasion. To be unholy in presence of the law of God, and an unbeliever in the presence of his Gospel, and a resister of the Holy Ghost when he strives, constitutes both guilt and danger, surpassing all which the awakened sinner feels when his eyes are most open, his conscience most awake, and his heart most tender.
2. The solicitude which precedes renovation is indispensable.
No man can be saved without repentance. But who can repent truly, without a deep sense of sin ; and who can perceive and feel his guilt and danger while impenitent, and not tremble? No man will apply to Jesus Christ to save him, who does, feel his need of a Saviour ; but how can this necessity be felt, without clear, and just apprehensions of guilt ; and how can these be experienced by a sinner under condemnation, and not occasion pain? It is persons in this awakened state, that Jesus Christ came to call to him; not the righteous, but sinners,—to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to captives, to set at liberty those that are bound.
3. The distress of an awakened sinner is always, in its moral tendencies, salutary.
It puts an end to stupidity and procrastination, and supersedes the fear of man, the diversions of care, the fascination of pleasure, and concentrates the energies of the soul for self-denial, and a vigorous attention to the means of grace, while it brings upon the mind the blaze of truth, and the power of obligation, by which, in the day of His power, the Holy Spirit produces repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. In all ordinary cases, it is a state of mind entirely safe.
Conviction of sin never produces any injurious effect upon body or mind, which is not produced, upon the same principles, by other causes, and much oftener. The mind is capable of stronger action and feeling than the body can endure. Intense protracted study, or long continued care, or joy, or sorrow, as well as sudden powerful emotion, affect sensibly the health, and the mind itself. But there is nothing in religious solicitude which has any peculiar tendency to produce such results, and the reiterated allegation of such tendencies, is the result of a malignant or a weak credulity, the whisperings of rumor, or the clamor of fame with her thousand tongues. I have observed carefully and long the effects of religious solicitude, and of other causes upon the nervous temperament,