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and misrepresentation. Yet, in each of these cases, the claim on us for the regard due to divine authority is equal; since that which God attests as true, though it might have been originally acquired in the way of ordinary information, is not less true than that which HE communicates immediately from himself.” Page 100.
Not as authorities in themselves, but as writers likely to have deeply searched into the evidence of what they advance; and as affording corroborative illustrations upon the point, I have cited Calvin, Witsius, Calamy, Stapfer, Dwight, Parry, and Hill, of St. Andrews. To those passages I beg permission from the Editor of the Congregational Magazine, to add the following.
“ We must carefully distinguish betwixt what the Scripture itself says, and what is only said in the Scripture. For we must not look on the Bible as an oration of God to men, or as a body of laws, like our English statute-book, wherein it is the legislator that all the way speaks to the people: but as a collection of composures of very differing sorts, and written at very distant times; and of such composures that (though the · holy men of God,' as St. Peter calls them, were acted by the Holy Spirit, who both excited and assisted them in penning the Scripture,) yet there are many other, besides the Author and the penmen, introduced speaking there. For, besides the Books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, the Four Evangelists, the Acts of the Apostles, and other parts of Scripture that are evidently historical and wont to be so called, there are in the other books many passages that deserve the same name; and many others, wherein, though they be not mere narratives of things done, many sayings and expressions are recorded that either belong not to the Author of the Scripture, or must be looked upon as such wherein his secretaries personate others.”—“The several books that make up the Canop of the Scripture being primarily designed for their use that lived in the times wherein they were divulged, it need be no wonder if each of them contain many things that principally concern the persons that then lived, and be accordingly written in such a way that many of its passages allude and otherwise relate to particular times, places, persons, customs, opinions, histories, &c. which, by our formerly mentioned want of a good account of such remote ages and regions, cannot afford us that instruction and satisfaction that those to whom such books were immediately addressed. might easily derive from the perusal of them.” The Hon. Robert Boyle, on the Style of the H. Scrip. 1668, pp. 16, 23.
“ INSPIRATION, according to the Bible, is just that measure of extraordinary Divine Influence, afforded to the sacred speakers and writers, which was necessary to secure the purpose intended, and no more. If the purpose were to excite them to write that with which they were already well. acquainted, just this degree of influence was exerted. If there were the additional purpose of bringing fresh to their recollection things which had partly faded away, so much additional influence was given. If explanations and more full developments of principles were needed, the Holy Spirit gave the requisite illustrations. If truths before unknown were to be communicated, the Holy Spirit revealed them : and, if future events were to be foretold, the knowledge of them was imparted by the same Divine Agent. So far, also, as the mode of communicating was necessary to the purpose intended, this also was directed by the Holy Spirit.”- Introd. to the Criticism and Interpr. of the Bible, by the Rev. Calvin Ellis Stowe; p. 218. Cincinnati, 1835.
III. My respected friend is of opinion, that “the German Neologists have evidently too much influence over" me.
Well indeed do I know my liability to be mistaken, in regard to the state of my own mind. Who can understand his errors? The heart is deceitful above all things.”-Notwithstanding my strong conviction of the false fundamental principles, the dreadful errors consequent thereon, the impiety, the presumption, the real infidelity, of those men; the irreligious and immoral tendency of their systems in the present life, and their destructiveness to the best hope of man in the world to come ;-it is possible that the being in some degree conversant with their writings, may have wrought an undesirable effect upon me, by a gradual operation, unsuspected by myself. Certainly, I admire the erudition of some, and I have derived considerable benefit, in matters of philology and antiquity, from the writings of many of them: nor would I deny that I feel pity and compassion for them; especially where, as has been the case with some, the outward character was or is amiable and beneficent. O that such pity and compassion were stronger and more tender in my breast !-But still I am quite convinced that, if any of their friends were to read the very numerous passages, in which I have not merely undertaken to refute their notions, but have used no timid terms of disapprobation and abhorrence; he would not charge me with any inclination to them; he would be much more ready to impute to me an active, vigilant, unsparing, relentless hostility.
But, whatever may be the state of my mind in this respect, I assure Dr. Bennett that he errs greatly, if he ascribe to my study of their writings those views which he censures, upon Inspiration and the Song of Solomon. They have grown up during a period which I cannot estimate at much less than forty years. Their seeds were sown in my mind, more than that time ago, by a Minister of very eminent usefulness, a strict and high Calvinist, and to whom, as a friend, an instructor, and a pastor, my childhood and youth were under obligations never to be forgotten.
Sometimes I have felt a disposition to envy my more happy brethren, who, setting out in the work of the ministry with a general conviction of the certainty of evangelical doctrines, founded on sufficient, though not widely comprehensive, knowledge of evidences, are never troubled with controversial difficulties, but continue in the works of zeal and love, their faith strong, their labours greatly blessed, and their joy increasing to the end. Different has been my lot. From early youth I was in private and friendly association with persons who had been brought up in a denial of the primary truths of the gospel. From the commencement of more serious habits and studies, I had Arian and Unitarian friends whom I could not but esteem; and some of them had expectations that I should join their party. When it pleased God to put me into a situation
of awful responsibility as an Academical Tutor, fully settled as my own mind was (-I can never sufficiently bless God for it!-) upon the truth of all the grand doctrines of Redemption and Grace, I could not think myself excused from the obligation of working up from the foundation. I had pupils to guide and assist in studying for the christian ministry. I could not satisfy myself with delivering to them only the positive form of doctrine. My duty was to go with them into the grounds of Biblical and Theological Science; to instruct and aid their understandings; not to bribe or force their judgments. Bound to look with equal steadiness at moral dispositions and at theoretical investigations, I felt it my duty to march with them through the enemies' territory, seeking to have, and hold, and wield, the armour which is mighty through God. After so many years of toil, anxiety, and I humbly add, prayer for the blessings promised by the Father of lights; accused, on the one hand, of obstinacy and prejudice, and, on the other, sometimes charged with anti-evangelical predilections; I have obtained help from God, and continue to this moment able, by his mercy, to say, that there is not a doctrine, or promise, or precept, or warning, contained in the glorious gospel of the blessed God, and generally understood under the term Orthodoxy, which I do not believe with the fullest conviction, and, as I am enabled, both obey and teach. Perhaps, in every punctilio, I agree with no party, with no man: but the whole gospel, its grace, its duties, and its blessings, as understood by such men as Edwards, John Erskine, Williams, Fuller, and Ryland, is the rock on which I stand, and believe that I shall stand for ever: “ The unsearchable riches of Christ! Not I, but the grace of God !"
In my whole course, I have thought it my duty to be frank and open, though aware that I should thereby greatly hazard my ease and comfort. A disquisition upon the Song of Solomon may seem utterly unnecessary and quite out of place, in an Inquiry into the Doctrine of Scripture concerning the Person of Christ; and I was not so blind as to fail anticipating the unpopularity to which it would expose me, and the pain which I should have to feel from the dissentient opinions of friends whom I love as my own soul. But it was with me a matter, not of choice, but of stern duty. I had to demonstrate the nature of the foundation on which my arguments must rest, the grand fact of the INSPIRATION of the Scriptures: and I thought it incumbent on me to bring into the light that which might wear the appearance of exception. I thought that the foundation would be shown more completely in its own strength, if freed from what I regarded as an incumbrance.
Dr. Bennett further says, “ The German Neologists, those writers who unsettle every thing and prove nothing, he frequently obtrudes upon our notice, when it is difficult to see why, except that the sentences were originally written in German.”
I do not complain of this assertion as unkind, for I ask no favour ; but I protest against it as in a high degree unjust. Of the passages referred to, numerous as they are, I am not aware of one, the motive of whose introduction was not its having an imVOL. I. N.s.
portant bearing, either upon the general subject, or upon the particular text or argument where it occurs.
This letter has proceeded to such a length, that I must request the Editor to favour me with the admission of a much shorter one, in the next number, upon the subject of the Song of Solomon, which in this I have not been able to touch.
J. Pre Smith. Homerton, Oct. 21, 1837.
ST. AUGUSTINE'S VISION.- FROM THE GERMAN.
As St. Augustine wandered once
Upon the barren sea-girt shore,
His hidden nature to explore,
What ne'er was understood before.
“ Can finite grasp Tue INFINITE!-
'Tis blindness to expect a sight Of the invisible below. Ilenceforward I'll contented be
With that which is reveal'd to me." Cunonbury Square.
ON TIIE GREAT FISH IN THE PROPHECY OF JONAH.
( To the Editor.) SIR,-I thank Aéra for his notice of my remarks on women's speaking in our churches. Your correspondent has done his best, but I take the great liberty of still adhering to my own theory.
In reading my Greek Testament this morning, I stumbled on the word añros, the name given, Matt. xii. 40, to the fish that swallowed up the recreant prophet Jonah, and which our translators have unhappily rendered whale. Permit me to submit a few remarks. I shall make use of our Lexicons, as I do not hope to achieve more than previous writers, and aim but to edify plain readers.
What was the fish that swallowed Jonah? This paper shall state why I conceive it to have been a shark, and not a whale. In those waters where Jonah was cast overboard, I have sailed many times, during my stay in the “ Great Sea," as the Bible styles the Mediterranean, and have had opportunities of inquiry not within the reach of all.
That there are whales in that sea, is a fact well known. I have repeatedly seen these monsters. I remember one night, when off Sciacca, a fearfully large one arose near our vessel, a Maltese brig, just as my little daughter was undressing for bed, and no sooner had she lain down, than the monster turned his head towards our ship, bore down upon us, and dived beneath our vessel, just where stood the berth of my daughter.
But it is equally a fact that the gullet of the whale would not admit a human body. John Faber saw a whale ashore in Italy, about eighty palms in length and fifty in girth; and avers there was one in Corsica, the birth-place of Napoleon, equally magnificent in bulk; but even these monsters could not swallow a man.*
Admit the weight of another fact, equally unproblematical; there are sharks in this great sea.” When I first sailed in the Mediterranean, a Portuguese on board our brig, having washed his shirt, was hanging it out astern, when a shark sprang at it, or at himself, and valiantly carried it off, to the poor man's great discomfiture. And yet, after seventeen years' perigrination in and about the classic land, after sailing several thousand miles in those waters, I own my impression that sharks do not greatly abound there.
Now, the capacious gullet of this appalling inmate of the deep waters is a fact of notoriety. My favourite lexicographer, Parkhurst, cites Bochart, in proof that entire human bodies have been found in the maw of this voracious brute. Kolben also names a species at the Cape, having jaws and gullet so large, that “ it may easily be believed he can swallow a full dressed man.”+ It is
* Brook's Nat. Hist. vol. iii. ch. ii. p. 6.