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views-not to frame a scheme of doctrine for ourselves, and then to bend and distort the Word of God to make it fit our ideas-not to estimate the value of doctrines according as they seem to us suited to produce this or that effect: but to receive simply and trustingly the whole truth, as delivered to us, in the reliance that He who has given the medicine for our souls, best knows the disease; and that His Word in its fulness is "able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus 7."
Ours be it to remember, that all scripture is equally "written for our learning," and to endeavour to draw from each part the instruction it is most suited to convey. It arises necessarily from the very variety of tone and manner, of which we have been speaking, that different individuals find different portions of the Word of God most agreeable to their feelings-most accordant to their tastes. But they should remember, that, on this very account, these probably are the parts, on which it is least necessary for them to dwell. The scriptures are "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness? But they, who take most pleasure in speculating on the doctrines, may need rather correction and reproof. They on the contrary, who are inclined
to regard the oracles of God mainly as a moral rule to correct and reprove transgressions of the law, take all life, and spirit, and force from the very rules they most admire, unless they recur again and again to those doctrinal truths, which can alone give spiritual efficacy to the moral law, and make obedience effectual unto life. And it is only by uniting both-by imbuing the heart with the doctrines of faith, that reproof may be sure, and correction effectual-that the man of God can be so instructed in righteousness, as to be "perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works 9."
To this end the very variety of the tone of scripture may conduce, from the different features of the Christian character being more prominently brought forward in different parts of Holy Writ. Thus from St. Paul we may learn distinct views of the revelation of grace; and take in its plenitude the doctrine of justification by faith alone. From St. John we may imbibe the overflowing spirit of Christian love: while we are taught to regard the fruit of faith, and the works of love set forth as the only sure test of the presence of either in the writings of St. James.
In this way every page of revelation will teach its own lesson, and work its proper end. All will form together one complete system, and combine
9 2 Tim. iii. 17.
into one harmonious whole. From all we shall learn that lesson of faith, and obedience, and love, which alone, by conforming our hearts to the likeness of our perfect pattern, can fit us to be acknowledged by Him as his own, when He shall come again to judge the earth.
MORAL AND EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE.
Ps. XIX. 7-8.
THE LAW OF THE LORD IS PERFECT, CONVERTING THE SOUL: THE TESTIMONY OF THE LORD IS SURE, MAKING WISE THE SIMPLE: THE STATUTES OF THE LORD ARE RIGHT, REJOICING THE HEART: THE COMMANDMENT OF THE LORD IS PURE, ENLIGHTENING THE EYES.
IT has often been remarked that the evidence in favour of Christianity is cumulative; and ought to be taken in the mass, so that to each separate portion there should be attributed only that degree of weight which belongs to it, while we confidently rely on the whole, as infinitely overbalancing any arguments that can be placed in the opposite scale.
They, who instead of looking at the evidences of our faith in this light, consider each part of them as a link in a chain of demonstration, and therefore essential to the completeness of the whole, peril, as it were, their faith unnecessarily upon points, which they may find to be less certain than they had originally conceived. They so build up the superstructure of their belief, as not to allow any of the single stones of the foundation to be touched with
out endangering the whole edifice. At all events they are liable to be disturbed, and made uneasy, when they find objections, which they cannot answer, brought against truths hitherto deemed by them essential: while in fact such may, perhaps, be merely incidental circumstances, and supernumerary portions of testimony, the truth or falsehood, the proof or disproof of which in no way involve the general issue.
They, on the other hand, who have taken a more comprehensive view of the case, though they willingly use as subsidiaries, all branches of evidence, which they think capable of being profitably so employed, can part with some things, if they appear irrelevant, or give them up, if they prove untenable, without weakening thereby their confidence in those truths, for their reliance on which they have many other and independent grounds. portions of evidence are to the one, as the foundation stones of a column, essential to its stability, while, to the other, they are as the rooted branches of the Eastern tree, of which it is hard to say, whether they are more properly to be regarded as mere offshoots and dependencies, or supports.
And again-not only is there a great accumulation of arguments of the same kind, each of which has its proper force independent of the others, though doubtless a very increased strength in connection with them; but there are also entirely dis