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of God-it is to treat a book written with paper and ink as they treated a chest of wood -- as if some magical power resided in the thing itself: this is the Bibliolatry which carries its own condemnation with it.
The exigencies of controversy have driven well-meaning Protestants to this perilous expedient. They are challenged by a dogmatic Church to show their rule of faith, and, instead of discerning that the challenge is a mere bravado, that infallibility from intellectual error is of no use without infallibility from moral error (of which neither Church pretends that it has any promise), they hold up the Bible, and say that within the cover of that book is their infallible rule of faith, leaving, after all, each man to do the work for himself. If Protestants said, “The Word of God contains our rule of faith," they would have meant no more than the early Church which first took its symbolum fidei out of the Scriptures, and then tested it by Scripture. But most modern Churches (our own is a happy exception) set forth the inspiration of the Bible as the good wine at the beginning, forgetting that it is Christianity which vouches for inspiration, not inspiration for Christianity. As we said before of the incarnation, the fact is one thing, the proof of it another. The proof of the incarnation could never grow out of the fact itself, but out of another fact, the resurrection, which could be tested by evidence, and which is therefore the rock on which the building of Christianity, and with it the doctrine of theincarnation, all rest.
When Protestants see this as they ought, and do not put the proof of inspiration first, instead of last, in the order of evidence, a great point will be gained, and the ground laid for a rational defence of this important truth.
The stages through which the controversy about inspiration has passed, or is likely to pass, are similar to those through which the doctrine of the incarnation has passed.
1. As in the first centuries the question was mooted whether Christ was God or man, so for a century or more after the Reformation the chief question was whether the Bible was an entirely human or an entirely Divine book.
2. As between Nice and Chalcedon the question arose about two natures in one person, so through the critical divines of Germany the human and Divine element in Scripture have begun to be distinguished, and the Nestorian and Eutychian parties correspond to the semi-Rationalist party on the one hand, and to the supporters of verbal inspiration on the other.
3. As the controversy on the Person of our Lord was worn out when it reached the age of the Monothelites and Dyothelites, so the question of inspiration is nearly exhausted when it runs up into nice distinctions between inspiration of suggestion, or assistance, such as Henderson, and Pye Smith, and others, have invented.
1. The age of the Deists, which lasted down to the last century, may be compared with the first three centuries of the controversy upon the incarnation. In the one case men oscillated between Ebionitism and Docetism. Arius was a refining Ebionite, Apollinarius a refining Docetist ; the one said he was man, and not God; the other said he was God, and not man.
So the Deists and the orthodox disputed from the times of Lord Herbert to Hume. The Bible was either man's book or God's book. The question turned entirely on the fact of a revelation, not on the modus of it. Turn to the makers of evidences who wrote against the Deists; they all set out to prove the possibility and probability of a communication from God to man. They generally admit the existence of natural light, but deny its sufficiency. They say that man wants more light, and so revealed religion is given, in the first instance, to authenticate natural. This way of thinking has quite passed away among us.
We reverence the great names who have used and repeated their set phrases about natural and revealed religion, but we no more use these weapons than we do the crossbows which hang in our halls. Paley was the first great writer on the evidences who thoroughly separated the argument of natural from that of revealed religion ; and therefore he is the only writer whose book is fresh down to our own day. The question of inspiration, apart from revelation, had not yet risen out of the controversy: it was tacitly admitted on both sides, that if there was a revelation at all, the document which contained it was inspired, as Arius and Apollinarius would have admitted that if Christ had two natures, one must have been Divine and the other human. But the first point to be settled was, Who was Christ—was He man or God? If man, as Arius said, following the Gnostics, then He was a man enlightened by the Logos, the Archetype, or highest creature in the universe; but if He was God, as Apollinarius said, then His manhood was only a mask behind which the essential Godhead hid Himself for a little while. The doctrine of an incarnation had to be explicated by the Council of Nice; so the fact of & revelation was the point in debate up to the age of Butler. It is not likely that the “ Analogy," which so closely reflects the mode of thinking prevalent for a century before Butler wrote, could have been silent on the doctrine of inspiration, if it had risen to prominence before the middle of last century. As in the doctrine of the Person of Christ the incarnation is the first, the union of two natures in One Person the second in the order of proof; so with the Bible: first the fact of a revelation at all was established, afterwards the mode of its communication by a book.
2. With the decline of English Deism, or rather its transmigration of spirit into German Rationalism, we reach the second stage of the question. The Germans, from the days of Lessing, have not questioned so much the fact of revelation as its limitation to a single body of writers whose works are bound up in one volume, called the Bible. So far from extolling, as the English Deists did, the sufficiency of reason and the light of nature, they rather preferred to assert the need of revelation, but to deny that it was limited to Palestine. Lord Herbert of Cherbury, the earliest of our English Deists, was the only one who anticipated the later German Rationalism. He believed in revelation, and the personal communication of God's Spirit with his, as Herder and Lessing did. Revelation the Germans were ready enough to admit, but what they rejected was the notion of a book religion-of a revelation to Isaiah or Paul different in kind from that of the good genius of Socrates. Much more did they reject the notion of a revelation to Paul unlike that to Tauler or Luther. They would not even parley with the advocates of a book religion. The old Wolfian orthodoxy was swept away by a tide of illuminism and mystic naturalism. Leibnitz was supplanted by Lessing. The old mechanical philosophy was borne away in a flood of romanticism and spiritualism, let loose from all bonds of orthodoxy. The battle of inspiration had begun in earnest. Then there arose two schools corresponding to the Eutychian and Nestorian. When the French Revolution had burnt up the stubble of last century, the dry sticks of dogmatism and rationalism, a reaction of faith against reason set in under Schleiermacher, which corresponds pretty accurately to the rise of the school of Antioch out of which Nestorius grew. The Schleiermacher school were sincere believers in revelation, apart from what they called magical or book inspiration. Like Nestorius' protest against the Ocotókos, they were indignant at such mechanical views of the Divine Spirit. All must be genial and free, the Divine must grow out of the human, the Bible make itself felt to be from God, as Christ, according to Nestorius, was most truly Divine, because truly human.
But the Humanitarians provoked the theologians, who were not slow to answer the challenge. A Nestorius drew out a Eutyches, and à Schleiermacher a Haldane and a Gaussen. Both these writers took the highest views of mechanical or verbal inspiration, in the reaction against the denial of all plenary inspiration by the mystical school which Schleiermacher had drawn around him. One side saw only the human element in Scripture, the other the Divine. According to the one, the faculties of the writers were suspended, or played upon as the keys of the Freiburg organ, which is Gaussen's favourite illustration; while the other saw only in Paul the Christian consciousness of the age of the Apostles, which is an example rather than an authority to the consciousness of our age. Thus, as Dr. Newman says of the doctrine of the Trinity, the truth was hammered out on the anvil of controversy, “ by blows struck on both sides.” Those who take the mechanical view of inspiration consider the human element to have been passive or ministerial only—that Paul was the penman of the Spirit only in the sense that Tertius was the penman of Paul. It exactly corresponds to Cyril of Alexandria's view of the relation of the human to the Divine in the Person of Christ. According to Cyril,“ no significance attaches to the man Jesus as such, either ås a teacher in Himself, or as a mundane good, as was the case in that of Theodore of Mopsuestia ; but the human nature is simply the instrument employed by the Logos for the manifestation of His love; and it became capable of discharging this function in consequence of this appropriation of its weaknesses and of His communication of His Divine powers.” Cyril accordingly failed to realise all the mystery of the incarnation, for, according to him, the "humanity was a mere external ascititium of the Logos, and the union after all was no deeper than the superficial and inefficient one referred to when we say that in Christ there was the Divine nature, impassive, omniscient, and so forth, and alongside of it a human natare, subject to suffering, limited, and so forth.” Cyril eschewed