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French and Latin; I heard their music with great pleasure. The order of the house is admirable.
“M. Paulet related to us a circumstance from which you will conclude that the young people brought up by him have no need of a catechism. The Governor of the Invalides had spoken to M. Paulet of a man, who, in the last war, had his arm shot off. He was said to have carried a bomb to the battery after being thus wounded. He requested a comrade to lend him a knife, and completed for himself the severance of his arm, which was only hanging by a piece of flesh. Then placing the bomb upon his left shoulder, he said, Soldiers must serve as long as they have life in them. This trait of character being noised over Paris, excited a great deal of enthusiasm. The Chevalier Paulet invites this brave man to dine at his house: he introduces him to all his family of pupils ; and adds, My friends, I cannot place at table beside a man who has so well fulfilled his duty, any except those young people who have never failed in theirs. Assemble the council, consult the registers : those who have never been entered there for any fault are the only ones who will have the honour of dining with him.'
“In an hour after, an account of the scrutiny was rendered up to him. He found that half the family were in a state of exclusion from the table.
None of you,' said he, have anything to complain of. You are silent : that is a confession in itself, and does you honour, my friends; and in acknowledging your faults you repair them. I permit you to stand round the table during the repast.' He recounted to the brave soldier what had passed ; and, dinner being over, invited all, without exception, to drink the health of the French hero.
“Thus their attention is incessantly directed to the cultivation of morality. The principal law of his code is, ' Do unto others as you would they should do unto you.' The Chevalier Paulet appears to me to enjoy the recompences of virtue. He is lively, animated, always in action. I am persuaded that there is no happier man on earth. There is moral beauty in his physiognomy. His wisdom is precisely that which suits the life which he has embraced. He is more merry than grave; he has on his lips a smile of indulgence: he is familiar and caressing towards his pupils. I heard him calling some of the younger ones by tender and frolicsome appellations, as Fanfan, &c. &c. Fanfan not having his musical instruments in a good state, the Chevalier made him take off his uniform for two days. After this sentence he walked round the house, came back, and demanded a song. Fanfan, without any ill humour or pouting, prepared to sing with the pleasantest voice in the world.
“ I should become tedious were I to burthen myself with all the details; but I will come again to this house, which interests me more than I can express; and if I am struck by some new object of interest, you may depend upon my communicating, as a faithful friend, whatever may render you a sharer in my pleasures."
ART. IV.—THE INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE.
If it had been intended by Providence that the Scripture should exist as an ORACLE, from which Christians might derive infallible knowledge on theological questions, and if such was the importance of this object, that God performed as many miracles in the composition of this collection as there are writings in it, it is impossible to conceive that the whole of this mighty preparation of supernatural CERTAINTY should have been allowed to miscarry-not for want of another miracle, but by allowing a natural event, which has already happened, to be delayed some centuries. Had the invention of printing taken place in the time of Alexander or the Ptolemies, every critical doubt, at all events, would have been removed ; and though (unless we also possessed a divine declaration concerning the degree of inspiration of those writings, and the manner of arriving at the inspired sense,) we certainly should possess no Oracle, still we should have an infinitely greater degree of certainty, in regard to the mere authenticity of every part of the New Testament. Here is a natural method of attesting the supposed VERBAL Oracle, which no related miracle can equal in efficiency. Can it then be conceived, that if Divine Providence had purposed to make the salvation of millions to depend on the text of the Scriptures, so simple and yet powerful a means as the art of printing should have been overlooked ?
All these considerations apply with much greater force to the Old Testament. The power of superstition to blind even highlycultivated minds is in no instance so evident as in the real or apparent agreement of Divines on the inspiration of the Old Testament, taken as one individual book. We
We say real or apparent agreement, because we cannot but think that there is a certain number of Protestant Clergymen in England, who, entertaining great doubts on that point, yet fear to approach it; and keep themselves in ignorance of every thing which might overthrow their more than vacillating belief. This state of mind arises partly from fear of the orthodox, and partly from that intense awe which possesses men when on the point of laying a bold hand on any object of idolatrous veneration; and, unquestionably, the bibliolatry of England is boundless. The mighty theory which would set up every book of the Old Testament collection as an integral part of one great Oracle, beginning at Genesis and ending with Malachi, is so destitute of even the shadow of a foundation, that the fact would be almost mysterious, if we did not know how prone all men are to have some external object before which they may prostrate themselves. In regard to the New Testament, we know with some probability who were the authors of most of the writings contained in that collection; and being sure, in the same degree, that they were men highly endowed for the particular purpose of propagating Christianity, it is not surprising that the veneration due to their writings on that subject should gradually have settled into the notion which attributes to them infallibility. But any one who, having taken the trouble to acquaint himself with the uncertainty and obscurity which hangs over the books of the Old Testament, concerning their authors and the history of the respective manuscripts, still supports the infallibility of those books as a necessary condition of Christianity, must have subdued his reason more effectually than those who conceive the infallibility of the Pope as a legitimate consequence of the truth of the Gospel
The books of the Old Testament, as historical documents, have a very great value ; but he that proposes them as compositions miraculously derived from God, and directed by Him to all mankind as infallible oracles, lays such a burden upon Christianity as must inevitably sink it. To assert the infallibility of the Old Testament is to condemn the New.
History, especially that of France, has shown how helpless Christianity appears when it is forced to make common cause with the Old Scriptures, considered as divine oracles. If, in the present state of knowledge, the whole Bible continues to be represented by Christian Divines as an Oracle from heaven, whose every proposition must be taken as a declaration to which all men must either submit their understanding or give up all hope of being benefited by the life and death of Jesus, the profession of the Gospel must soon be confined to the clergy, and a few unthinking women and peasants. This fear would deserve no regard, if the establishment of such an Oracle, inseparably connected with and forming the basis of Christianity, could be proved to rest on the direct command of its Founder. But, since all that can be alleged in favour of such a hypothesis is mere conjecture—a conjecture evidently arising from the supposed necessity of such an Oracle, a supposition entirely grounded on the controversial notion that the essence of the Gospel consists in assent to abstract doctrines—the anxiety for the fate of Christianity which arises out of this question is not a mere feeling, it is the voice of reason in unison with that of reverence and love to the author of the Gospel.
Let any candid man consider the state of the question ; and that we may do so as free from verbal fallacies as possible, let us
not call it a question on the inspiration of the Scriptures, but rather explain that vague word by the practical end to which a universal practice applies it. The practical result of admitting the inspiration of the Scriptures is to establish the Bible as an authority which can be infallibly used by man. The question is therefore reduced to this :-Is the Bible an infallible oracle ?
What proofs, then, have we of the affirmative conclusion ?Some texts of the Bible itself?-But is not this a glaring instance of the argumentation in a circle? In what does this differ from the Roman Catholic reasoning to prove the infallibility of their Church? If there is any difference, it is in favour of the Roman Catholic argument: for the infallibility of a living oracle would certainly answer the supposed purpose of that infallibility. The living oracle may give successive answers, and explain his meaning; but a written oracle could only be called infallible in relation to the meaning of the author of the oracle. The most genuine divine oracle, in human—and, what is still more, in figurative words, must be capable of more falsity than truth : since, of the many senses which it may convey, one alone would be true, and all the rest false. But let us, for argument's sake, forget this conclusive argument.
Let us examine the chief passages of Scripture which can be made the ground of Bible-infallibility.
Those passages appear the most plausible which contain expressions of Christ in which the authority of the Hebrew Scriptures is acknowledged: for instance, “The Scripture cannot be broken." But can such expressions afford a basis on which to establish the infallibility of the whole Bible? The Scripture of which Christ speaks is in the Jewish part of the Bible. The union of the New Testament with those Scriptures is an act, not of the Apostles themselves,* but of the early Christian Societies. The collection of the Bible, as we possess it, was a work of considerable time. Though we possess but a scanty information as to the manner in which this collection was made, yet we know with certainty that the collectors were under doubt, and had to proceed according to their fallible judgment in admitting or rejecting several books. To apply therefore the words of Jesus to
* The words relating to Paul's epistles (2 Pet. iii. 15, 16) are the strongest proof that Peter could not be the author of a writing which this very passage proves not to have been composed till the epistles of Paul were collected together as one book. Peter must have died long before, especially if it is admitted that he died under the same persecution with Paul. Paul had not even an anticipation that his epistles would he collected. In the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, ii. 15, he refers to his other létter to them. If he had intended or expected that his letters collectively should be a divine oracle for all Christians, how frequently would he have referred to that collection!
Vol. VI. No. 26. New Series.
the New Testament, is an assumption for which we have not the slightest ground. Equally ungrounded, indeed, is the application of the passages, in the Epistles, which refer to the Old Testament as an authority. But, in respect to Christ's, words, and indeed to all words addressed to the Jews on that subject, we should never forget that the Hebrew. Scriptures were, to the Jews, a divinely authorised law--religious, political, and moral. As long as the Jewish polity existed, “the Scripture could not be broken," i. e. the Hebrew Scriptures afforded to every Jew the authorized standard for the regulation of his actions, notions, and language. In the case to which the sentence before us was applied, Christ's enemies were ready to stone him for blasphemy, because, in their opinion, he had used expressions which made him equal with God. Christ uses the best justification of his language which was possible in those circumstances. The sacred Writings, he answers, call Gods (Elohim) the men who were placed as Judges over the people of Israel. If, therefore, David applied this appellation to common men without blasphemy, much more is the Messiah (for such I have declared myself) worthy of it.' Jesus and the Apostles, it is true, speak of David as a man to whom a holy inspiration (we must not forget the vagueness of the word) had at times, and for particular purposes, been granted—he was one of those divinely gifted men called Prophets, who from time to time were to appear, to assist by their instruction and admonition in the government of the Jewish people, modifying and explaining the original constitution given by Moses.* That great legislator himself had recognised and sanctioned the authority of these men—not as infallible oracles, since he provides against their possible errors, or, it may be, their evil designs, but as helps towards the great end of the Jewish dispensation. The Prophets were a regular class of men, educated to be teachers of the people, and regularly instructed in music and poetry, which, among the Hebrews, as with all primitive nations, were considered very conducive to a state of mind most fitted for communication with the Deity. Among these men some were selected by the peculiar Providence which guided the Jewish people, to be distinguished by the gift of foreseeing some events connected with the future destinies of their nation. But the chief employment of those whose writings have been
* See Deut. xviii. 15—19, comparing verses 19 and 20: where it is evident that a prophet is used collectively for the many prophets who appeared at different periods ; else the contents of verse 20 would be inconsistent with all that precedes. If Moses had spoken exclusively of one prophet, he could not have added, “but the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die."