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to quarrel with Mr. Carson throughout; for I much fear that the manner in which he holds up the intellect of eminent christians to scorn (all which you have properly suppressed) is calculated to prevent his otherwise excellent book from being useful.
But that I may not occupy the columns of the Investigator with secondary considerations, both Haldane and Carson appear to me to state the point in one instance very exceptionally; and forasmuch as you have quoted these passages without comment, I of course implicate you, Mr. Editor, in the same charge.
Treating at page 78 of certain supposed admissions of the Apostle, that on some occasions he is not speaking by inspiration, you quote form Mr. Haldane, "that even if 'the mistaken meaning, so often at'tributed to them, were the just 'one, they would not at all militate 'against the plenary inspiration of 'the Scriptures, because in that
* case Paul must be viewed as having 'been inspired, to write precisely as
* he has done, &c." Then from Carson you quote: "Though Paul 'were not inspired to decide the 'questions, yet he was inspired to 'write the account which he has 'given of the matter. If the Apos
'tie has told us that he is not in'spired in this point, he has. been 'inspired to make the denial. Not 'a Hue has he written in that chap'ter which is not immediately from 'the Holy Ghost. Gamaliel was 'not inspired; but inspiration has 'recorded his advice, and that docuf merit, as recorded by the Holy 'Ghost, suggests inspired instruc'tion to us."
Now, on a reference to the work of Mr. Haldane, I am satisfied with his previous vindication of these passages from ordinary misinterpretation ■ but not with these statements. If Paul plainly declares that his words are not inspired, it is a flat contradiction to say that they are inspired, by whatsoever sophistry they may be made to say so. Thus Mr. Carson says he was inspired to wrrite the accounts, when yet he himself says, he was not inspired. The case of Gamaliel is not at all in point. *' Gamaliel was not inspired, but inspiration recorded Iris advice." True: but Gamaliel makes neither profession nor disavowal of inspiration, nor is he one of the tar iters of Scripture; whereas St. Paul was the actual inditer of the very words in which he declares, that he does not speak by the Lord.
I am Sir, your's, &c.
We see nothing in the observations of either of our Correspondents to shake our full conviction, as to the correctness of what we have both quoted and written on this important subject.
In Nil's first objection we think he mis-apprehends the Author; who does not attribute artfulness of arrangement to the Evangelists, but states (as we understand him) that there is a certain design which per
vades the tohole of the historical Scriptures, of which the writers are evidently unconscious. They write with the most perfect simplicity: yet are they instrumental in producing that combination and harmony and completeness, which are observable in the entire Work.
In his second objection there likewise appears some misapprehension. He contends, that the discrepancy of honest witnesses in immaterial and minor facts is excused on the score of human infirmity. But Mr. Haldane does not maintain the consistency of inspiration with a discrepancy of facts • but with a variety in the mode of stating the same facts by different writers. There may be instances indeed in which this variety of language may involve a seeming contradiction in the fact; and yet, when we become acquainted with all the circumstances, we have no need to excuse the discrepancy on the score of any infirmity; but find it perfectly reconcileable with substantial truth. We may illustrate this observation by the inscription over the cross of our blessed Lord, in which the Evangelists profess to give us the actual words of the writing; and yet (strange to say!) they all four vary from each other.— Tins Is Jesus The King Of The Jews.
The King Of The Jews.
Jesus Of Nazareth The King
But St. Luke informs us, that it was written in three languages— Greek, Latin, and Hebrew; and consequently there were three ininscriptions. This w7ill immediately account for the difference in three of them, if we only suppose that one Evangelist transcribes the Greek, another the Latin, and a third the Hebrew. Let us further suppose that two of them are translations by the Evangelists Mark and Luke from the same original, and the difference is nothing more than what any two persons might consistently make, were a sentence of Greek or Latin given to them for each to
make an independent translation of.
In the meanwhile the plain course seems to be, as the doctrine of the verbal inspiration of Scripture is clearly revealed, that we should quietly rest in that until the Lord give us light on those points which appear difficult; satisfied that they may be accounted for without any violence to this grand truth. Our esteemed Correspondent expresses dissatisfaction with his own mode of accounting for the case of Bartimeus at Jericho; which mode indeed, were he to follow it out in all its windings, would be found completely to undermine that principle for which Messrs. Haldane and Carson contend. We will just add for his consideration, that Doddridge explains ev no eyyi'(ziv to signify, not <( as he was come nigh," as if in the act of approaching; but ''whilst he was near," referring to the period of his being at Jericho, or sojourning in the neighbourhood. He defends this rendering by Luke x, 9; xv, 1; xviii, 40; xix, 29; Romans xiii, 12; and from the Septuagint, Isaiah 1, 8; and Jer. xxiii, 23.
Observator appears entirely to mistake the subject. We are not aware, that St. Paul in any instance says, he is not inspired; but merely that he has no commandment or instruction on the particular point in question. And even had he said so, inspiration might have recorded his denial, as well as Gamaliel's advice. Our Correspondent appears to us still to confound in some measure the personal inspiration of the writers of the Bible, with the inspiration of the writing.
the Prophet looks forward through a series of national visitations, beginning with the one about to fall on Zedekiah and the Jewish people, (in the course of which series both the righteous and the wicked of Israel as a nation should be cut off,) and ending only with the glorious return and reign of the true Messiah. But the 25th, 26th and 27th verses are the passages to which I particularly refer, and they appear to me very clearly to require this interpretation. "And thou profane wicked prince 'of Israel, wThose day is come, when 'iniquity shall have an end; Thus 'saith the Lord God, Remove the
* diadem, and take off the crown; 'this shall not be the same: exalt 'him that is low, abase him that is
* high. I will overturn, overturn, c overturn it; and it shall be no more
* until he come whose right it is; and ( I will give it him."
Now here, as I take it, we have an express prediction, that when iniquity should have an end, or the measure of the sins of the Jewish nation be filled up, (which was surely the case when they had crucified their Messiah,) the day of visitation should so fully come upon that nation, that the "diadem" and "crown" (emblems of sovereignty) should be "taken off" and "removed."—HE should be exalted, whose lowliness wTas their stumbling-block; and they, notwithstanding their pride and hardness of heart, should be abased.—The kingdom should not only be "overturned," but exist " no more," until the Son of David, "whose right it is,"* should again come; and then it should be restored and given to him, S Crib A.
* Christ may be declared the rightful heir to the throne of Israel in a twofold sense • viz. both as God and man. First as God, the supreme head of the state; the Jewish nation being originally a theocracy; and secondly as man, the lineal descendant of David
In the course of my Bible reading I came this morning to the 21st chapter of Ezekiel, and was particularly struck with some passages very strongly supporting (as I humbly conceive) the doctrine of the future Reign of Christ, personally ujDon earth, as the Messiah or Prince of Israel. Let me however first premise, that I read the Old Testament without any commentary, since I do not possess one; consequently, if I err in the view I take of the passages in question, the error originates with myself; and I am, I trust, open to conviction should arguments be adduced in favor of a contrary interpretation.
The chapter opens remarkably; inasmuch as the "righteous" are alike involved with the "wicked" in the predicted visitation.—" Say * to the land of Israel, Thus saith 'the Lord; Behold I am against thee, 'and will draw forth my sword out 'of his sheath, and will cut off from 'thee the righteous and the wicked. 'Seeing then that I will cut off from 'thee the righteous and the wicked, 'therefore shall my sword go forth 'out of his sheath against all flesh, 'from the south to the north: that 'all flesh may know, that I the Lord 'have drawn my sword out of his 'sheath. It shall not return any 'more." (v. 3—5.) This visitation (as it seems to me) was to be not only national, but more lasting and severe than that inflicted by the Babylonians. For if we were to suppose the prediction to have been fully accomplished in the Babylonian scourge, such would not come up to and justify the strong language employed. I therefore conclude, that
A CHAPTER OF DIFFICULTIES.
To the Editor of the Investigator,
Sir, Your ready insertion of my difficulties has at least had the effect of proving, that the Investigator is not disposed to shrink from the candid examination of both sides of the question. I must also admit, that some of my difficulties are greatly obviated; and if my mind still lingers about and is entangled with others of them, I again repeat, that I do not entertain them as objections, but only as difficulties: for I think it quite contrary to every sound principle of interpretation to reject a doctrine, which is first of all supported by so many clear and explicit testimonies; and which, secondly, harmonizes so consistently with the great body of Scripture.
The utility however of discussing these difficulties must be evident; and therefore I mean now to propose a few more. But in this instance I shall not confine myself to those points only which lie against the millennarian view: for as my mind has progressed in this inquiry I have been led to examine more accurately some of those texts, which have been usually conceded to the other side; and I am quite as much perplexed with certain of these, if not more so, than with that class of texts already adduced.
1. First, an objection has reached me through an indirect source, which I think important. It is educed from Gal. hi, 1. "O foolish Ga• latians," who hath bewitched you, < that ye should not obey the truth 'before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath
'been evidently set forth crucified 'among you? On these words it is observed, that Jesus notoriously was not crucified among the Galatians: and yet the Apostle here writes of his death in such manner, that any person not acquainted with history might take for granted, that the Galatians had actually with their own eyes witnessed his death. And from thence it is argued, that if language such as this does nevertheless require to be interpreted figuratively • upon what principle can the literal sense of many other passages be insisted on, the meaning of which is not so obvious?
2. I perceive from what has appeared in the Investigator, that the view taken of the harvest in Rev. xiv, 15, and again in Matt, xiii, 30 is, that both relate to the gathering of the elect. A difficulty however here presents itself. The parable speaks as if the tares were first to be burned, and then the righteous to be gathered into the barn. But if the burning of the tares is to precede the ingathering of the harvest, (which is taken to signify the gathering of the elect,) then the righteous, who shall be alive in the last times, are to be exposed to all the horrors and dangers of that burning, and saved so as by fire; and the gathering of the elect will not take place until the burning is over. This difficulty is discussed in the Dialogues on Prophecy, and got rid of by supposing two acts of judgement to precede the millennium; the one represented by the burning of the tares, which is made to correspond with the shaking of thrones during and subsequent to the time of Buonaparte: the other represented by the vintage, and to be after the gathering of the elect. I must say however, that this cuts the knot, but does not untie it; and is to me very unsatisfactoiy.
3. On the other hand I now feel a great difficulty with John xiv, 2, "In my Father's house are many 'mansions: I go to prepare a place 'for you." If a figurative view be taken of this: as that Jesus by his mediation and Spirit is now preparing his people for that heavenly house which is to be from heaven, (as Abdiel insists at p. 60,) then I can understand it: but when it is brought forward to overthrow the expectation of the saints' reign on earth, it must of course be taken in a literal point of view; and then what sense is there in it? How is Jesus now literally preparing a mansion for any in heaven? Is he building for them? Or ornamenting
a place already built? or what? I speak all with reverence; but I really wonder, how I could ever have rested in a passage so obscure in itself, as if it were destructive of the view to which I was once opposed. 4. In Isaiah ii, 19, and Rev. vi, 15, 16,—passages which are commonly applied to the judgement of the present day—the wicked are said to go into holes and caves of the earth, and dens and rocks of mountains, and to call on them to cover them, that "they may be hid from the face of him that sitteth on the throne." But if the same class of interpreters make the earth flee away on that day, at the very instant that He appears for whom the white throne is placed, I first of all cannot comprehend on what platform the wicked stand to be judged; nor how they can go into the holes of the earth, &c. when it has fled away!
As you have favoured "Amicus" by admitting into your valuable columns his first Chapter of Difficulties, I am encouraged to request of you a similar favor. I feel greatly indebted to "Abdiel" for his clear and scriptural views of the Advent and Kingdom of Christ; which quite accord with my own: yet still passages do now and then present themselves to my mind, which I can not explain consistently with these views. The following passage presents a difficulty which I have never seen satisfactorily solved. In Matt, x, 23, our Lord says, that his disci
ples "shall not have gone over the c cities of Israel till the Son of Man 'be come." Now, as I am a great advocate for the literal exposition of Scripture; and understanding, as I do, "the coming of the Son of Alan' to refer always to his second appearing to set up his universal kingdom; I am much perplexed with this passage: since it is the only one which to me seems to militate against the literal acceptation of the terms afore-mentioned. If any of the contributors to your valuable work will solve the difficulty for me, I shall feel greatly obliged. $i\oq.
1. In respect to the first difficulty of Amicus, we think he replies to it himself, when he says, that Jesus
was notoriously not crucified among the Galatians: for we hold it to be a clear principle of Scripture in