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The prophetical part of a book, therefore, not on-, ly proves itself to be inspired, but proves likewise the inspiration of the whole of the book; for God would not allow a man, to whom he had given his Spirit, to mix his own sentiments with the revelation which he was empowered to make, and to im pose his own ideas on the world, as of equal authority with those which had been supernaturally communicated to him. Hence, we infer, concerning some books of the Old Testament, that every part of them is inspired, because we observe that some of the parts consist of unequivocal predictions. A prophet would not lie to us in the name of God; nor though he were inclined, would he be suffered to deceive us. The power of God is certainly sufficient to overrule all the propensities of the human heart, and to suppress such of them as would interfere with his designs; and we have the highest assurance from his holiness and goodness, that he would not permit a man to abuse a commission from himself, in order the more successfully to mislead others, in the most momentous of all concerns, those of the soul and eternity.

IV. I proposed to make some remarks on those books of the Old Testament, which have not been included under the preceding division.

Notwithstanding this imperfection, I adopted that division in preference to the Jewish, which comprehends all the books, because in consequence of the very injudicious manner in which they are arranged by the latter, the same arguments which apply to some of one class, are not applicable to others. Prophetical and historical books are jumbled together. In the Jewish division, the holy writings

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include the Psalms and the Chronicles. But the books of Chronicles are historical, and admit of a different kind of proof from that which is adapted to the Psalms for though many of these are purely devotional, yet I hesitate not to rank them, as forming one collection among the prophetical books, not only because David, the principal writer, is termed a prophet, but because they contain many predictions relative to the Messiah, his sufferings, his glory, and his kingdom. The attentive reader would observe, that agreeably to this view of them, several of the prophecies mentioned under the last head, were quoted from the Psalms. Since, then, some books of the Old Testament have not yet been considered, it is necessary, before this chapter be closed, to say something concerning them.

It would be highly unreasonable to demand, and difficult, if not impossible, to give, separate proofs of each particular book. Separate proofs of each indeed are not necessary. As they constitute one volume, one whole, one entire revelation, if some of them, and especially if the greater part of them be proved to be inspired, the inspiration of the rest, which are so closely connected with them, cannot be denied. On this ground we feel no hesitation in acknowledging the authority of the books of Esther, Ruth, Job, and the writings of Solomon. They have been always classed by the Jews with those books, of the inspiration of which we have undoubt. ed evidence; and they are attested, in common with them, by Christ and his apostles.

Though, however, these considerations may suffice to remove any scruple in our minds, with re

*Acts. ii. 30.

gard to their divinity, it may be useful farther to observe, that on examining them, they appear to be equally worthy to be accounted inspired, as other books of the same nature with them, concerning which, after the arguments formerly advanced, there can be no dispute. The book of Esther records a signal instance of the care of providence over the church, and a deliverance not less wonderful than any of those related in the other historical books. It holds out a striking example of the unexpected methods, by which God defeats the purposes of the wicked, and saves his people, when standing on the brink of destruction. The book of Ruth will not seem undeserving of a place in the sacred volume, when we consider, that besides giving an example of the observance of a peculiar law, it takes occasion, from the marriage of that woman with Boaz, to trace the genealogy of his great-grandson David up to Judah by Pharez, and is introductory to the history of that eminent progenitor and type of the Messiah. Thus, what at first appears to be the simple story of a virtuous but obscure woman, rises into importance from its connexion with the royal family of the Jews, and the evidence which it supplies of the descent of Jesus Christ in the exact line pointed out by prophecy. The sublimity of the book of Job equals that of any other portion of scripture, and leads us, therefore, to attribute the composition of it to a higher author than man; not to mention the admirable and edifying example of patience and resignation which it sets before us, or the majestic and affecting representations which it gives of the great† Gen. xlix. 10.

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ness and sovereignty of God. The wisdom displayed in the writings of Solomon, corresponds with the exalted character which he bears in scripture; and far exceeds what in his circumstances he could be supposed to have acquired by natural means. This superiority is acknowledged by a celebrated author, who hath pleaded the cause of infidelity with insidious eloquence. Having quoted these words, "Vanity of vanities; all is vanity," as the words of Solomon, he subjoins," If the Ecclesiastes be truly a work of Solomon, and not, like Prior's poem, a pious and moral composition of more recent times, in his name, and on the subject of his repentThe latter is the opinion of the learned and free-spirited Grotius; and indeed the Ecclesiastes and the Proverbs display a larger compass of thought and experience than seem to belong either to a Jew or a king." The suspicion, founded on their intrinsic excellence, that they are the works of some other person of a different rank and nation, is proved to be destitute of any foundation, by the unanimous testimony of past ages; and as we certainly know that they were written by Solomon, we may convert this concession of an enemy into an argument for their heavenly origin.

ance.

CHAP. VI.

Proofs of the Inspiration of the Scriptures in general.

BESIDES the proofs of the inspiration of the scriptures in the preceding chapters, there are some arguments of a more general nature, which

* Gibbon's History, chap. xli. Note 33.

it would be unwise to overlook, not only because nothing should be omitted, which is calculated to confirm our faith and arm us against the assaults of infidelity; but because they are sufficient, independently of every other consideration, to beget a strong conviction in our minds. They turn chiefly on the internal evidences of the divinity of the scriptures, arising from the sentiments contained in them, the spirit which they breathe, and the effects which they produce on the soul of man. Different kinds of evidence affect persons of different dispositions. Some are most pleased with a chain of reasoning which bears a resemblance to the demonstrations of science; while to others, that evidence is more agreeable, which is addressed to the moral principles and feelings of the heart. Some demand external proofs of the truth of revelation; others fix their attention principally on the arguments arising from its genius and tendency. It is by means of both kinds of evidence that we may expect such a persuasion of the inspiration of the scriptures to be produced, as shall rise superior to the sophistry and the sarcasms of unbelievers. The impression which miracles and prophecy have made upon our minds, will become still deeper, when we perceive, that the revelation which they attest, has unequivocal characters of divinity stamped upon it, which shew it to be worthy of all acceptation.

Of the six arguments which I propose to illustrate in this chapter, five are drawn from the scriptures themselves; while the last infers their inspiration from the care which providence hath exercised about them.

I. The inspiration of the scriptures may be proved from their sublimity.

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