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THE INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY nunciations breathe the wrath and assumpI SCRIPTURES.
tion of infallibility which in other times We have been far more pleased with the
have persecuted even unto death. Nor is
it much better, when every variation from interesting little tract mentioned below,
the opinions of Wesley, Booth, Gill, or than with any production of the same size which we happen to have seen. None of
Fuller, is regarded as a movement towards
latitudinarianism or infidelity. the larger treatises, Dr. Henderson's for
bible is the word of God, that is, in opposiinstance, much less Dr. Carson's, have met
tion to ancient Fathers or modern sectour own views of the subject'so nearly; and
founders, the only authority to which a we do strongly recommend Mr. Gotch's
christian ought to bow, this is heartily, discourse to such of our readers as feel any
joyfully recognised by every true disciple interest in the present controversies on In
of Christ. But that any disciple is permitspiration. We saw it asserted in a contem
ted to say to his fellow-disciple, you must porary last month, that Mr. Gotch had
believe Inspiration to be “ verbal,” or “dic“conceded” too much. Probably Mr.
tation," or "possession by the Divine Gotch, like ourselves, had nothing to con
Spirit;" or that messages about “cloaks," cede, having never been able to accept
and genealogical tables, are equally inspired those extravagant views of Inspiration,
with doctrinal teachings or predictions of which endanger, rather than strengthen,
the Messiah ; otherwise you are an infidel the faith of reflecting and intelligent chris
in heart, - every christian who really betians.
lieves in the duty of private judgment, will It is very important to bear in mind what is the real nature and importance of the
at once indignantly deny. How Inspiration
took place is not recorded. We may gather question of Inspiration, as amongst sincere christians. It is not whether there be such
some dim conceptions from casual hints ;
we may feel it of interest to discuss these a thing as Inspiration, nor whether the
hints; but while the result, viz., that the Scriptures are inspired or not, but how
bible is the word of God, is a proper object Inspiration takes place. All men “who
of faith,-how God brought about that have the spirit of Christ,” who are “born
result cannot be an object of faith, for it is of God,” have the “witness in themselves :"
never required of us to believe either one they recognize the divinity of God's word
theory or another. by the Spirit of God dwelling within them. Their faith in its being a divine communi
Indeed, a great part of the question is cation does not rest on external evidences
purely metaphysical. It turns on the means
by which God can communicate knowledge merely or chiefly. Like the men of Samaria, although their first interest may have
to the human mind. Some conceive he been attracted by miracles or other evi cannot do it except by language, and that dences, they have heard the Lord himself, to describe accurately Divine ideas, men and know that this is indeed “the Messiah,
must be supplied with words by the Divine the Saviour of the world.” Religion, as
Being himself. Others think it more naturevealed in the Scriptures, is to every be
ral to suppose, that except it be expliciily liever as manifestly the moral work of God
recorded that certain words were delivered as the starry firmament or the wonders of
by God himself to the sacred writer, that animated creation are his natural work. It
the ideas were presented to the mind of the is deeply to be regretted, therefore, when
latter, and that he was left to clothe them good men, like Dr. Carson, so far forget
in his own language. It is clear that the their fallibility as almost to anathematize
difference between these conceptions does any other theory of Inspiration than their
not at all affect the result. The latter view, own. They contend for the Inspiration of however, has the advantage of explaining the very letter of Scripture, and verily in naturally the exceeding variety of style and their hands the letter killeth ; for their de- | language in the sacred writers. “Holy
* The Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, a Discourse by F. W. Gotch, A.M., Classical Tutor of the Bristol Baptist College. 16mo.' Pp. 39. London: Hamilton, Adams, aud Co.
men of old spoke," not as they were dic-1 tated to, but “as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." The impetus was divine and controlling, but the words were those of the man. To account for the unquestionable fact that the language of the books of the bible is as various as the number of the authors, and is not, as it ought to be on the dictation theory, of the same character throughout (the one Holy Spirit dictating, of course, in the same style by all his agents), Dr. Carson and others affirm that those words were dictated by the Holy Spirit which the writers themselves would have used! But thus God is made to deceive us. He presents to us every reasonable evidence, that whoever supplied the thoughts, the writer ordinarily supplied the words, that while the treasures were divine, the vessels were earthen; while the only proof that God herein deludes us is a most unnatural straining of two or three passages. We once heard a Professor of Theology affirm that the fossil skeletons and remains of animals which prove that there was death in the animal world before the introduction of sin, indeed before Adam's creation, were created as they are to beguile infidels; his only reason being, that he chose to believe that even animals did not die before the Fall! Divines should beware of all such violent and unnatural attempts to sustain old or favourite interpretations of the Divine Word. It is the certain way to generate scepticism in the minds of the enquiring. It surely should never be forgotten, that though the word of God be infallible, men's interpretations of it, and theories about it, are as fallible as the men themselves.
Mr. Gotch's chief position is, that Inspi. ration belonged to the writers, properly speaking, and not to the words ; that it was not, however, a mere subjective brightening or strengthening of the ordinary faculties of the writer, but a communication of objective knowledge; in all this we fully agree. We would add, that we cannot conceive that knowledge having been once fully communicated, did not abide as a constant possession, as well as the mental and moral fitness to be vehicles for imparting divine knowledge to men. Hence it appears to us that “ Paul was as much inspired in his speech at Athens, and in all his religious teachings, as in writing the Epistle to the Romans.” Indeed to us it appears to involve much more unsettling consequences, to deny the permanent inspiration of the apostles, than to deny the mechanical, dictation, or verbal theories on the subject. ,
Let not, however, the faith of good men be shaken by subtle discussions. Let the grand fact to which the apostles, as mere men, were amply competent to bear witness, and for which above all they contended, the Resurrection of Christ, be but cordially believed, and all the rest will inevitably follow:-his divine mission, his expiatory sufferings, his competency to inspire his servants, the evidence in what they wrote that he did so, the verisimilitude of every important fact and doctrine in the New Testament, and by implication in the Old, too, all naturally follow from faith in him as a RISEN Saviour. The foundation of God standeth sure. The theories of divines prove too often but a house built upon the sand.
Tales and Sketches.
SANDY WRIGHT AND THE POOR
ORPHAN. Early in the month of April, 1734, three Cromarty boatmen, connected with the Custom-honse, were journeying along the miserable road which at this period winded between the capital of the Highlands and that of the kingdom. They had already traveled since morning, more than thirty miles through the wild Highlands of Inverness-shire, and were now toiling along the steep side of an uninhabited valley of Bade
noch. A dark sluggish morass, with a sur. face as level as a sheet of water, occupied the bottom of the valley; a few scattered tufts of withered grass were mottled over it, but the unsolid, sooty-coloured spaces between were as bare of vegetation as banks of sea-weed left by the receding tide. On either hand, a series of dreary mountains thrust up their jagged and naked summits into the middle sky. A scanty covering of heath was thrown over their bases, except where the frequent streams of loose debris
? which had fallen from above were spread | ta'en ye here in a night like this?"
over them ; bat higher up, the heath alto I was going to, Edinburgh, to my friends," gether disappeared, and the eye rested on I replied the boy, " for my mother died and what seemed an endless fall of bare gloomy left me among the freines; but I'm tired, cliffs, partially covered with snow.
and canna walk, farther; and i'll be lost, The evening-for day was fast drawing
I'm feared, in the yown drift.” “That ye to a close-was as melancholy as the scene.
winna, my puir bairn," said the boatman, A dense volume of grey cloud 'hung over "if I can help it ; gi’es a hand or your ban," the valley like a ceiling, and seemed de grasping, as he spoke, the extended hand of scending along the cliffs. There was
the boy ; "dippa tine heart, an' lean on me scarcely any wind, but at times a wreath of
as muckle's ve can." But the poor little vapour would come rolling into a lower re
fellow was already exhausted, and after a gion of the valley, as if shot out from the
vain attempt to proceed, the boatman bad volume above; and the chill bleak air was to carry him on his back. filled with small specks of snow, so light The storm burst out in all its fury, and and fleecy that they seemed scarcely to the travelers, half suffocated, and more descend, but, when caught by the half-per
than half blinded, had to grope onwards ceptible breeze, went sailing past the boat along the rough road, still more roughened men in long horizontal lines. It was evident by the snow-wreaths that were gathering there impended over them one of those over it. They stopped at every fiercer blast, terrible snow-storms, which sometimes and turned their backs to the storm to reoverwhelm the hapless traveller in these cover breath; and every few yards they golitudes; and the house in which they were advanced, they had to stoop to the earth to to pass the night was still nearly ten miles ascertain the direction of their path, by
catching the outline of the nearer objects The gloom of evening, deepened by the
between them and the sky. After many a
stumble and fall, however, and many a groan coming storm, was closing around them as they entered one of the wildest recesses of
and exclamation from the two boatmen the valley,-an immense precipitous hollow
behind, who were well-nigh worn out, they "scooped out of the side of one of the hills;
all reached the clachan in safety about two "the wind began to howl through the cliffs ;
hours after nightfall. and the thickening flakes of snow to beat
The inmates were seated round an imagainst their faces. '" It will be a terrible
mense peat fire, placed, according to the ' night, lads, in the Moray Frith,” said the
custom of the country, in the middle of the foremost traveller, a broad-shouldered, deep floor. They made way for the travellers, chested, strong-looking man, of about five and Sandy Wright, drawing his seat nearer feet eight; " I would ill like to hae to beat the fire, began to chafe the hands and feet up through the drift along the rough shores of the boy, who was almost insensible from o' Cadboll. It was in just such a night as cold and fatigue. "Bring us a mutchkin this, ten years ago, that old Walter Hogg
o brandy here," said the boatman, "to went down in the Red Sally.”—“It will be
drive out the cauld frae our hearts; an', as as terrible a night, I'm feared, just where
supper canna be ready for a while yet, get we are, in the black strath o' Badenoch,”
me a piece of brgad for the boy. He has said one of the men behind, who seemed
had a narrow escape, puir little fellow, an' much fatigued; “I wish we were a' safe i
maybe there's some that would miss him, the clachan.”—“Hoot, man,” said Sandy lanerly as he seems. Only hear how the Wright, the first speaker, “it canna now be win' roars on the gable, an' rattles at the muckle mair than sax miles afore us, an'
winnocks and the door. It's an awfu' night "we'll hae the tail of the gloamin' for half
in the Moray Frith." .:::. an hour yet. But, what's that?” he ex Sandy Wright shared with the boy his claimed, pointing to a little figure that seemed supper and his bed, and on setting out on sitting by the side of the road, about twenty the fallowing morning he brought him along yards before him; it's surely a fairy!" The with him, despite the remonstrances of the figure rose from its seat, and came up, other boatmen, who dreaded his proving an staggering apparently from extreme weak incumbrance. ness, to meet them. It was a boy, scarcely The story of the little fellow, though more than ten years of age. “Oh, my puir simple, was very affecting. His mother, a böy,” said Sandy Wright, "what can hae poor widow, had lived for the five preced
(ing years in the vicinity of løvernese, sup
porting herself and her boy by her skill as * a sempstress. As early as his sixth year he
had shewn a predilection for reading, and, with the anxious solicitude of a Scottish mother, she had wrought late and early to
keep him at school. But her efforts were · above her strength, and, after a sore struggle
of nearly four years, she at length sunk under them. “Oh," said the boy to his companion, “often would she stop in the middle of her work, and lay her hand on her breast, and then she would ask me what I would do when she would be dead, and we would both greet. Her fingers grew white and sma', and she couldna sit up at pights as before; but her cheeks were redder and bonnier than ever, and I thought that she surely wouldna die; she had told me that she wasna eighteen years older than mysel'. Often, often when I waukened in the morning she would be greetin' at my bedside, and I mind one day, when I brought home the first prize from school, that she drew me till her, an' told me, wi' the tear in her ee, that the day would come when her head would be low, that my father's gran' friends, who were ashamed o' her because she was poor, would be proud that I was connected wi' them. She soon couldna hold up her head at all, and if it wasna for a neighbour woman, who hadna muckle to spare, we would have starved, I couldna go to the school, for I needed to stay and watch by her bedside, and do things in the house; and it vexed her more that she was keeping me from my learning than that hersel' was sae ill. But I used to read chapters to her out of the Bible. One day when she was very sick, two neighbour
women came in, and she called me to her, · and told me, that when she would be dead
I would need go to Edinburgh, for I had no friends anywhere else. Her own friends were there, she said, but they were poor and couldna do muckle for me; and my father's friends were there too, and they were gran' and rich, though they wadna own her. She told me no to be feared by the way, for that Providence kent every bit o't, and he would make folk to be kind to me; and then she kissed me, and grat, and bade me go to the school. When I came out she was lying wi' a white cloth on her face,
and the bed was all white. She was dead, and - I could do nothing but greet a' that night,
and she was dead still. I'm now traveling to Edinburgh, as she bade me, and folk are
kind to me just as she said; and I have letters to shew me the way to my mother's friends when I reach the town; for I can read and write.” Such was the narrative of the poor boy,
Throughout the whole journey, Sandy Wright was a father to him. He shared with him his meals and his bed, and usually, for the last half-dozen miles of every stage, he carried him on his back. ....
“An' now, my boy," said the boatman, as they reached the West-port, “I ha'e business to do at the Custom-house, an' some money to get; but I maun first try and find out your friends for ye. Look at the letters and tell me the street where they put up." The boy untied his little bundle, which con. tained a few shirts and stockings, a parcel of papers, and a small box. “What's a' the papers about?" enquired the boatman, "an' what have ye in the wee box?” “My mither,” said the boy, “bade me be sure to keep the papers, for they tell of her marriage to my father, and the box hauds her ring. She could have got money for it when she was sick, and no able to work, she said, but she would sooner starve than part wi't; and I widna like to part wi't either, to ony bodie but yoursel'- but if ye would take it?" He opened the box, and passed it to his companion. It contained a valuable diamond ring. “No, no, my boy," said the boatman, “that widna do; the ring's a bonnie ring, an' something bye ordinar, though I be no judge; but, blessings on your head ! tak ye care o't, an' part wilt on no account, to ony bodie. Hae ye found out the direction ?" The boy named some place in the vicinity of the Cowgate, and in a few minutes they were walking up the Grass-market.
"Oh, yonder's my aunt,” exclaimed the boy, pointing to a young woman who was coming down the street; “yonder's my mother's sister!” and away he sprang to meet her. She immediately recognised and welcomed him; and he introduced the boatman to her, as the kind friend who had rescued him from the snow-storm. She related in a few words the story of the boy's parents. His father had been a dissipated young man, of good family, whose follies had separated him from his friends; and the difference he had rendered irreconcilable by marrying a low-born, but industrious and virtuous woman; who, despite of her birth, was deserving of a better husband. In a few years he had sunk into indigence
and contempt;and 16 the midst of a | Sandy Wright !" he exefaimed; "often, wretchedness, which would have been still often have 1 enquired after you, bet no one more complete had it not been for the efforts could tell me where you resided, or whether of his wife, he was seized by a fever, of you were living or dead. Come along with which he died. “Two of his brothers, me, my house is in the next square. What! said the woman, “who are gentlemen of not remember me;ah, but it will be in the law, were lately enquiring about the with me when I cease to remember you! boy, and will, I hope, interest themselves I am Hamilton, an advocate but you will in his behalf."
scarcely know me as that."
: In this hope the boatman cordially ac The boatman accompanied him to an quiesced. "An' now, my boy,” said he, as elegant house in Brown-square, and was he bade him farewell, “I have just one ushered into a splendid apartment, where groat left yet; it's an honest groat, any there sat a madonna-looking young lady, how; an' I'm sure I wish it luck."
engaged in reading. "Who of all the
world have I found," said the advocate to Eighteen years elapsed before Sandy the young lady, “but good Sandy Wright, Wright again visited Edinburgh. He had the kind, brave man who rescued me when quitted it a robust, powerful man of forty
perishing in the snow, and who was so trvo seven, and returned to it a grey-headed old
a friend to me when I had no friend beman of sixty-five. His humble fortunes,
sides." The lady welcomed the boatman too, were sadly in the wane. His son Wil with one of her most fascinating smiles, and Siam, a gallant young fellow, who had risen held out her hand. “How happy I am," in a few years, on the score of merit alone,
she said, “that we should have met with from the forecastle to a lieutenancy, had
you. Often has Mr. Hamilton told me of headed, under Admiral Vernon, some des
your kindness to him, and regretted that he perate enterprise, and from which he never should have no opportunity of acknowreturned; and the boatman himself, when ledging it.” The boatman made one of his on the eve of retiring on a small pension, I best bows, but he had no words for so fine from his long service in the Custom-house,
a lady. was dismissed without a shilling, on the The advocate enquired kindly after his charge of having connived at the escape of concerns, and was told of his dismissal from a smuggler. He was slightly acquainted the Custom-house. “I'll vouch," he ex. with one of the inferior clerks in the Edin claimed, “it was nothing an honest man burgh Custom-house, and in the slender | should be ashamed of.” “Oh! only a slight hope that this person might prove powerful matter, Mr. Hamilton," said the boatman; enough to get him reinstated, he had now “an' truth I couldna weel do other than traveled from Cromarty to Edinburgh, a what I did, though I should hae to do't o'er weary journey of nearly two hundred miles. again. .... I have an acquaintance He had visited the clerk, who had given in the Custom-house here, Mr. Scrabster, him scarcely any encouragement; and he
the clerk; an' I came up ance errand to was now waiting for him in a street near Edinburgh in the hope that he might do Brown-square, where he had promised to something for me; but he's no verra able, meet him in less than half an hour. But I'm thinking, an' I'm feared no verra more than two hours had elapsed; and willing; an' so, Mr. Hamilton, I just canna Sandy Wright, fatigued and melancholy, help it. My day, o'course o' nature, canna was sauntering slowly along the street, be verra long, an' Providence, that has aye musing on his altered circumstances, when carried me through as yet, winna, surely, a gentleman, who passed him with the
let me stick pow." "Ah, no, my poor quick, hurried step of a person engaged in friend," said the advocate; “make up your business, stopped abruptly a few yards away,
mind, however, to stay for a few weeks with and, returning at a much slower pace, eyed Helen and me, and I'll try in the meantime him stedfastly as he repassed. He again what my little influence may be able to do came forward, and stood. "Are you not for you at the Custom-house.” Mr. Wright?" he enquired. “My name, A fortnight passed away very agreeably Sir, is Sandy Wright," exclaimed the boat to the boatman. Mrs. Hamilton, a fasciman, touching his bonnet. The face of the nating young creature of very superior stranger glowed with pleasure, and grasping mental endowments, was delighted with his him by the hand, “Oh, my good, kind friend, character and his stories: the latter opened