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tion in a far more respectful and amicable spirit toward the Essayists and Reviewers. It is, however, but just that we should listen to his reasons for plain speaking; and accordingly the following remarks are interesting as a specimen of what has been preached from a University pulpit, and this very recently (p. 57):—
-“The record of the Apostle is express and emphatic:All Scripture (every book of the Bible) is given by inspiration of God. In the face of such testimony, by the way, we deem it not a little extraordinary to be assured (by an individual who has acquired considerable notoriety within the last few months) that for any of the higher or supernatural views of Inspiration, there is no foundation in the Gospels or Epistles.'*
“Strange to say, there is a marvellous indisposition in man to admit the notion of such a heaven-sent message. Not to dispute with those who deny Inspiration altogether, (for that would be endless,) there are many,—and we fear, a daily increasing number of persons,—who, admitting Inspiration in terms, yet so mutilate the notion of it, that their admission becomes a practical lie. "St. Paul was inspired, no doubt, so was Shakspeare.' He who says this, intending no quibble, declares that in his belief St. Paul was not inspired at all.
“But this is a monstrous case, with which I will not waste your time. Far more numerous are they, who, admitting that the authors of the Bible were inspired in quite a different sense from Homer and Dante, are yet for modifying and qualifying this admission after so many strange and arbitrary fashions, that the residuum of their belief is really worth very little. One man has a mental reservation of exclusion in favour of the two Books of Chronicles, or the Book of Esther, or of Daniel.—Another is content to eliminate from the Bible those passages which seem to him to run counter to the decrees of physical science; the history of the Six Days of Creation, -of the Flood, -of the destruction of Sodom,—and of Joshua's address to Sun and Moon.-Another regards it as self-evident that nothing is trustworthy which savors supremely of the marvellous ;-as the Temptation of our first parents,—the Manna in the Wilderness,— Balaam reproved by the dumb Ass, -and the history of Jonah.—There are others who cannot tolerate the Miracles of the Old and New Testament. The more timid explain away as much of them as they dare. What remains, troubles them. The more logical sweep them away altogether. A miracle (they say) cannot be true, because it implies a violation of the fixed and immutable laws of Nature.
* Rev. B. Jowett, in Essays and Reviews, p. 345.
“And then (so strangely constituted are some men's minds), there are not a few persons who, without exactly denying the inspiration of the Bible in any of its more marvellous portions —(for that would be an inconvenient proceeding),—are yet content to regard much of it as a kind of inspired myth. This is a class of ally (?) with whom one really knows not how to deal. The man does not reason. He assumes his right to disbelieve, and yet will not allow that he is an unbeliever. The world is singularly indulgent toward persons of this unphilosophical, illogical, presumptuous class.
“Now I shall have something to say to all these different kinds of objectors, on some subsequent occasion. But I shall be rendering the younger men a far more important service if, to-day, I address my remarks to a different class of objectors altogether : that far larger body, I mean, who, without at all desiring to impugn the Inspiration of God's Oracles, yet make no secret of their belief that the Bible is full of inaccuracies and mis-statements. These men ascribe a truly liberal amount of human infirmity to the authors of the several Books of the Bible ;---slips of memory, misconceptions, imperfect intelligence, partial illumination, and so forth ;-and, under one or other of those heads, include whatever they are themselves disposed to reject. The writers who come in for the largest share of this indulgence, are the Evangelists; because the historians of our Lord's life having happily left us four versions of the same story, and often three versions of the same transaction, the evidence whereby they may be convicted of error is in the hands of all. Truly mankind has not been slow to avail itself of the opportunity. You will seldom hear a gospel difficulty discussed, without a quiet assumption on the part of the reverend gentleman that he knows all about the matter in question, but that the Evangelist did not. His usual method is calmly to inform us that it is useless to look for strict consistency in matters of minute detail; that general agreement between the four Evangelists there does exist, and that ought to be enough. The inevitable inference from his manner of handling the Gospels, is, that if his actual thoughts could find candid expression, we should hear him address their blessed authors somewhat as follows: You are four highly respectable characters, no doubt; and you mean well. But it cannot be expected that persons of your condition in life should have described so many intricate transactions so minutely without making blunders. I do not say it unkindly. I often make blunders myself,-1, who have a ‘elearness of understanding,' a 'power of discrimination between different kinds of Truth,'* unknown to the Apostolic age!... Of course the preacher does not say all this. He has too keen a sense of the dignity of the pulpit.' And so he puts it somewhat thus :—While we are disposed to recognize substantial agreement, and general conformity in respect of details, among the synoptical witnesses in their leading external outlines, we are yet constrained to withhold our unqualified acceptance of any theory of Inspiration, which
should claim for these compilers exemption from the oscitancy, and generally from the infirmities of humanity.'... This sounds fine, you know; and is thought an ingenious way of wrapping up the charge which the reverend preacher brings against the Evangelists ;-of having, in plain terms,-made blunders.
“It will be convenient that we should narrow the ground to this single issue, for the time is short. And in the remarks I am about to offer, I shall not imitate the example of those preachers who dress out an easy thought in a superfluity of inflated language, only in order that its deformity may escape detection. Be not surprised if I speak to you this morning in uncommonly plain English; for I am determined that the simplest person present shall understand at least what I mean. The dignity of the blessed Evangelists, who walked with Jesus, and whom Jesus loved, -the dignity of that Gospel which I believe to be penetrated through and through with the Holy Spirit of God, for that, I confess to a most unbounded jealousy. As for the dignity of the pulpit,' I hate the very phrase! It has been made too often the shield of impiety and the cloke of dulness.
“To begin, then : Is it, I would ask you, a reasonable anticipation that the narrative of one inspired by God would prove full of inconsistencies, mis-statements, slips of memory; or, indeed, that it should contain any mis-statements, any inaccuracies at all? What, then, is the difference between an inspired and an uninspired writing--the Word of God and the word of man?”
In the sequel of the same discourse, Mr. Burgon makes some remarks on the alleged opposition between Science and Theology; and after observing that Theology is itself a Science,-nay, the queen and mistress of all other Sciences, but that the latter have become insubordinate, he observes (p. 80) :
“When Language impugns those Oracles which she was hired to decipher, and pretends to doubt the Inspiration of that Book of which, confessedly, she barely understands the grammar; when History and Chronology cry out that the annals of Theology are false, and her record of Time a fable; --that the Deluge, for instance, is an old wife's story, and the economy of times and seasons a human fabrication ;when Astronomical and Mechanical Science strut up to the throne whereon sits the Ancient of Days,-prate to Him (the first Author of Law) about the 'supremacy of law,' and tell Him to His face that His miracles are things impossible; when Physiology insinuates that mankind cannot be descended from one primæval pair, and that the lives of the Patriarchs cannot be such as they are recorded to have been; when the pretender to Natural Philosophy* gravely assures us that we ought not to pray for fair weather, because the weather depends not upon 'arbitrary changes in the will of God, but upon laws as fixed and certain as the laws of gravitation,'which, mark you, Sirs, is no longer a dry verbal speculation, but is nothing less than an invasion of that inner chamber where you or I have retired to pour out the fulness of an aching heart in prayer that God would prolong, if it may be, the life of the dearest thing we have on earth, and rudely to bid us rise from our knees and be silent, for that the health of man depends not on the will of God, but on fixed physiological laws; lastly, when the pretender to Geological skill denies the authenticity of the first chapter of Genesis,—which is to deny the Inspiration of all the rest, and therefore of the whole Bible,—and thus to rob life's weary pilgrim of that rod and staff concerning which he has many a time exclaimed * They comfort me!'—whenever, as now, such things are spoken and printed, -not in a corner, and by insignificant persons, and in ambiguous language; but in plain English,
* See Mr. Kingsley's Sermon on “ Prayer for Fair Weather."