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and retentive mind will not exhaust. And whence this peculiarity which may be claimed for the Bible? It is not voluminous ; though on the subjects which it professes to treat it contains more than all other volumes combined. Whence is it that this little book should be literally so exhaustless? There is but one answer to this question. It is the production of the Infinite Mind. The Mighty Intelligence of the Only Wise God employed its energies in composing the Bible, and has condensed in this little volume facts, thoughts, principles and counsels, which will remain a source of instruction till the heavens shall pass away, and still be inexhausted and inexhaustible. We add,
V. The inspiration of the Scriptures may also be conclusively argued from the ELEVATION AND GRANDEUR OF THEIR DESIGN.
The Bible, as a composition, exhibits a unity and greatness of contrivance and plot, if I may so speak, altogether above the reach of human invention. Let a man sit down to the perusal of this book from beginning to end, as he would sit down to the perusal of a tragedy or epic poem, and he will discover the traces of a plan, which, in its commencement, its progress, its filling up, its close and catastrophe, lies far beyond the most inventive genius that was ever created. If the Bible be a human production, then with respect to its general device and contrivance, it is a most wonderful production, and such as never has been and never can be equalled. No unprejudiced man can take a comprehensive view of this Book, without being convinced that it presents a view of traths, and a system of operations, and a motive and end of its constitution, which could have been devised only by the All-Wise God. The Bible presents a plan which none but God knew, and which therefore none but God could reveal.
The Bible carries you back into the ages of eternity, where its wonderful plan was devised. It tells you of a method, a scheme of operations, which was laid out by the Eternal Deity, when there were no depths and no fountains of water, and before ever the earth was. The first visible expression of this mighty design was made in the creation of the world; and the earth we inhabit, was constituted the beautiful theatre on which this wonderful drama was to be exhibited. The Actors in this drama are the three glorious Persons in the Ever-blessed Godhead, angels, and men ;--the inanimate creation, with all its richness, grandeur, and beauty, having been made and continued only in subservience to these, and destined to pass away at the consummation of this extended design. The spectators of this great drama are all intelligent beings. They constitute “the eye of the Universe :"' and while each in his proper place has a part to act, he is the immediate witness of the whole transaction. The time occupied by this sublime and momentous exhibition, extends from the creation, down to a period yet far distant and unknown, when time shall be lost in eternity, and these heavens and this earth shall flee away, and no place shall be found for them. The interest involved is the interest of every mind in the universe; for on the part he acts, is suspended the painful or blissful immortality of every individual in all worlds. In the early and progressive developement of this design, the Scriptures inform us, that a part of the angels kept not their first estate, and that through their instrumentality, the first parents of the human race fell, and introduced sin and misery into this world from generation to generation. On this apostacy they reveal a promised Mediator, who was to be the seed of the woman, and to the introduction of whom, in the fulness of time, all the dispensations of a general and particular providence bore a visible relation, and maintained a uniform tendency. They speak of a universal deluge—of the division of the earth among the descendants of its survivors of the separation of a particular family and nation from the rest of this corrupted world, as the lineage of the predicted Deliverer ;-they speak of the revolution and destruction of empires with a view to His advent, and the establishment and final glory of His kingdom. He is the Hero of the mighty drama, and when he appears, the Scriptures in vest him with a character which the human mind would never have thought of. He is the child of an humble virgin, and yet the Mighty God; he is an infant in the manger, and yet the Everlasting Father; he is the reproach of men, and yet the adoration of angels; he is the crucified Saviour, the only Propitiation for sin, and yet the Lord of life, the Prince of the kings of the earth, the Head of a redeemed and sanctified kingdom, for whose sake he controls the kingdom of providence, sends down his Holy Spirit, and involves in his Administration all the concerns of men. As the part he acts becomes more prominent, and his merciful designs are evolved, every thing gradually assumes a new aspect. The conflict between light and darkness, holiness and sin, truth and error, happiness and misery, between himself and the powers of darkness, becomes more vigorous, and less doubtful in its issue, till he triumphs over all his enemies, and his kingdom is established from the rising to the setting sun, and maintains its supremacy, its purity, its peace, its joy, till near the close of this earthly creation. This great mystery is to be perfected,—the wonders of this august scheme are to be fully unfolded at the Last Great Day. Then the Hero—the Great Redeemer, shall be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe: Then the ultimate end of the whole plan shall be brought out to the view of an admiring universe, and it shall be seen that the glory of its Author and the happiness of all the holy, were the moving impulse of the entire design : Then will the Redeemer descend from heaven in clouds, surrounded by the glory of his Father, and attended by all his holy angels : The dead will be summoned from their graves, and innumerable nations gathered around the throne of Eternal Justice : Then the wicked shall go away into ever, lasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal: Then will the visible heavens pass away with a great noise; the elements melt with fervent heat; and the earth be burnt up: Then the Son will deliver up the kingdom 10 God even the Father, and God will be all in all.
This wondersul plan is revealed in the Bible. And was such a de. vice, such a drama within the scope of human invention ? Could such elevation and grandeur of design ever have entered into the head of man? O how God-like! Kings and heroes, nations and empires, in their earthly relations, are here as the drop of the bucket. Patriarchs and prophets, apostles and martyrs—the general assembly and church of the First Born-principalities and powers in heavenly places—the glorious Persons in the Godhead-earth, heaven, and hell; these are the persons and objects which here pass in review. Here are presented the perfections of God in unexampled greatness, loveliness, and beauty. Here are unfolded the mysteries of providence and the wonders of re, demption. Every thing is noble, every thing refined, every thing holy, every thing advancing toward an issue which will ascribe " Salvation to him that sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb for ever!” Well may angels desire to look into these things. Well may they watch the progress of this magnificent system with anxious scrutiny; for it is enough to enlarge the understanding and exalt the views of seraphim before the throne. We ask again, is such a plan the result of merely human invention ? Is there not something here which must for ever have remained far beyond the grasp or discovery of mortals unenlightened from above ? Would any child of Adam ever have thought of inventing such a plan? What human mind ever possessed so mighty a grasp, as to comprehend and originate this God-like design ? But this God-like design is revealed to us by men, in most instances of no extraordinary talents ; some of them plain shepherds, or humble, illiterate fishermen and carpenters: and yet they speak of these great subjects with the facility and dignity with which men of sound judgment speak of the common concerns of life. And how do you account for this mysterious fact? expanded the minds of these humble men over this unlimited field of thought? Whence is it that they never fell beneath the grandeur of their subject--never wandered amidst its complications"-never sunk in its unfathomable depths? We leave these inquiries with the rejecters
" What cause
of revelation. To us it is clear, that no human mind ever invented this wonderful design, -that it bears the intelligence and signature of Heaven,-and that the men who were selected to disclose it, spake not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth. There is a majesty in this plan and in the manner of disclosing it, an elevation of thought, a strength, and extent, and greatness of conception, which cast the proudest efforts of human genius into the shade, and which indicate a far higher Source.
To the preceding we will only add, ! VI. The inspiration of the Scriptures abundantly appears from THEIR POWER AND EFFICACY.
It is impossible to exhibit the force of this argument within the compass of a few paragraphs, when volumes have not exhausted it. It is a species of evidence of great importance, particularly to the mind of an unlettered man, while it has equal influence with the learned. Many an unlearned Christian may not be able to give a single reason for his confidence in divine revelation, deduced from a course of logical argumentation; while he can say, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation." He can tell you with emphasis, that he knows the Bible to be true, from the testimony of his own heart. “ He that believeth hath the witness in himself.” As he takes the Bible into his hands, he can declare that this book, under the influence of the divine Spirit, is able to separate his soul from sin; and that because the best feelings of his own soul are in such exact accordance with what the Bible reveals, he is abundantly satisfied it is the word of God. Others may hesitate and “ go away;" but he will say, with Simon Peter, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life; and we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the Living God." He has a knowledge of the truth of divine revelation which is peculiar to himself. He knows the Bible to be true by his own experience. He loves the truths it reveals, and sees the beauty, and feels the infinite importance of them, as the food of his spirit and the foundation of his eternal hopes. The weakest and most ignorant child of grace will tell you, 1. Whereas I was once blind, I now see.” And if you hesitate and complain, he will reply,
Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.” Once I was dead in trespasses and sins; now I am alive unto God. With all my remaining imperfections, I trust I am a new creature. I have new objects of affection, new motives of conduct, new hopes, new fears, new joys, a new character. I dwell as it were in a new world. I seem to have passed from death unto life, and to be under the influence of principles, which
while they humble, exalt me; while they purify, make me supremely happy; and the only counterpart to what I find within my own bosom, is in that sure word of prophecy, which shone as a light in a dark place, till the day dawned and the day star arose in my heart.
To this we know the infidel may reply, All this is of no avail so long as it extends not beyond the bosom of the narrator, nor can it be considered in any other view than as the result of strong impulse and ardent enthusiasm. But what if we could show the infidel ten thousand instances of this sort,--and these not confined to the unlearned, -nay, ten thousand times ten thousand instances in which men of the soundest discretion, and of acknowledged integrity should furnish the same narration! Ought not the testimony to avail ? and would it not avail with ingenuous minds? And if in addition to this, it should appear, that in each of these multiplied examples, the transformation within has been followed by an accordant transformation without, and that the moral influence of the Bible upon the visible character and conduct is as great as its moral influence upon the soul !— Would not this constitute evidence which even a disingenuous mind would find it hard to resist ? And yet, this is the evidence which has been constantly accumulating wherever the Bible has exerted its native energy. Witness the extensive propagation of Christianity and its correspondent results. Destitute of every adventitious advantage, supported by no secular power, and upheld by no worldly interest, —with no other recommendation than its intrinsic excellence, and no other patron than the God of heaven, the gospel of Jesus Christ has triumphed over the opposition of men and devils,—visited every land and nation, and in all its progress has multiplied its converts like the drops of morning dew. Its primitive promulgators and their successors have gone forth under the high sanction, "Thus saith the Lord," -and nothing has been able to retard their
They have marched onward in defiance of all the indifference of a world that lieth in wickedness, of all the arts of philosophy, and all the virulence of relentless persecution. Other religions have been devised by human wisdom, and propagated by the secular arm, and they have passed away, and left no memorial behind them, except the deleterious influence they have exerted on the human character; while the religion of the Bible has lived, and spread, and left its memorials in the moral purity and happiness of a great multitude which no man can number. There is not a spot on the globe, where the Bible has been suffered to exert its influence, but it has produced a moral reformation. Paul informs us what the effect of the gospel was upon the early Chris. tians, where, after having enumerated “idolaters, effeminate, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners," he adds, "And such were