Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
THE BIBLE: ITS INSPIRATION
ITS DESCRIPTION. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS. BIBLE PASSAGES. BIBLE FACTS. HIGHER CRITICISM. OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED.
HAVING ended our discussion of "The Bible: A Divine Revelation," it will be in order as an introduction to our present subject, "The Bible—Its Inspiration," to distinguish between the meanings of the word Revelation and the word Inspiration. The word revelation, as pertinently used of God, has in the Bible two meanings: (1) God's pertinent act itself and (2) the product of that act. By God's act of revelation is meant the disclosing, the unveiling, the making known of something by God to the mind of someone, the impressing of something on his mind (Gal. 1: 12). This has been done in a variety of ways: (1) by audible voice, e.g., by God's speaking to Adam, Eve and Satan (Gen. 2: 16, 17; 3: 9-19), to Noah (6: 13—7: 4; 8: 15-17; 9: 1-17), to Moses (Ex. 3; 4; 20: 22—23: 33; 25: 1—31: 18; etc., etc., etc.), to Israel (Ex. 20: 1-17; etc.), etc.; (2) by dreams, e.g., to Jacob at Bethel (Gen. 28: 11-15), Joseph (Gen. 37: 5-10), Pharaoh (41: 1-15), Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2: 1-45; 4: 1-27), the Millennial Ancient Worthies (Joel 2: 28), etc., (3) by visions, e.g., to Isaiah (Is. 1: 1; 6: 1-13), the Millennial Youthful Worthies (Joel 2: 28), Peter, James and John (Matt. 16: 28—17: 9), Paul (Acts 9: 3-6; 26: 13-9; 2 Cor. 12: 1-5), John (Rev. 1: 10-20), etc.; (4) by symbolic institutions, like those of the Law Covenant, baptism and the Lord's Supper of the Sarah Covenant; (5) by direct impression without external means on the mind, as in the case of many of the prophets (1 Pet. 1: 10-12; 1 Cor. 14: 29-32); (6) by acts, like miracles; and (7) by character manifestations, e.g., Christ's character is God's revelation of His own character (John 14: 8, 9), the character of second-deathers
is God's revelation of Satan's character (2 Tim. 3: 1-9; 2 Pet. 2: 10-22; Jude 8-16; 1 John 3: 8-10), as by fallen man God gives a revelation of the curse (Rom. 1: 21-32). Revelation as a product is the thing disclosed, unveiled, made known to, and impressed on the mind, e.g., (1) any book of the Bible is revelation as a product, e.g., the book of Revelation (Rev. 1: 1), (2) any teaching of the Bible (1 Cor. 14: 26, 30; 2 Cor. 12: 1, 7; Gal. 3: 23; Eph. 3: 3-5), and (3) the Bible as a whole as the Word of God is the Divine Revelation (Deut. 29: 29; Heb. 4: 12; 2 Tim. 2: 15). Inspiration also is an act and a product. As a product it is the same as revelation as a product; and as an act it is the road over which revelation travels to become revelation and inspiration as a product. 2 Pet. 1: 21 proves this of it as an act; and 2 Tim. 3: 16 proves it of it as a product. This will appear more clearly as we proceed.
This brings us to our definition of inspiration as an act. It is that act of God by which His Spirit (power) moved certain humans to speak or to write out the thoughts that He revealed to their minds, and that in such words as He selected for, and moved them to use. Some explanations will clarify this definition. First of all, it is an act of God, not of man; for God, not man does the inspiring. But it is an act of God to perform which He moves men as agents or instruments, after they have received the thoughts that He revealed to their minds, to speak out or write out these thoughts. And in such speeches or writing God Himself selected the words that they spoke or wrote. This is a definition of inspiration that will fit either of its forms, speech or writing. If in defining the inspiration that produced the Bible we would have to omit from our definition the word "speak," in its strict sense of using oral language, and retain in it the words "write out," in the sense of reducing thought to written language, we would define the inspiration that produced the Bible as follows: It is that act of God by which His Spirit (power) moved
certain humans to write out the thoughts that He revealed to their minds, and that in such words as He selected for, and moved them to use. Accordingly, there can be revelations without inspiration, but there can be no inspiration without revelations; for St. Paul had some revelations that he could not put into words or into writing (2 Cor. 12: 4). But in the nature of the case there can be no inspiration without revelation; for inspiration moves an agent to put into speech or writing the thing or things revealed. It will also be noted that in our definition it is stated that not only the thoughts of revelation are expressed by inspiration, but also that the words that are used are likewise inspired. We trust that the above explanation will make clear the sense of our definition of inspiration as an act.
To clear away misunderstandings it may be well to show what is not meant by inspiration as its product. Above it was shown that both revelation and inspiration as a product are the Bible; but the Bible that we hold to be the product of inspiration is not any translation of it; for all of them are of human origin; and even the best of them contain mistranslations, interpolations and misunderstandings. Nor are any of the recensions of the original texts inspired in their entirety; for all of these have lacks in some case, in others interpolations, in others variant readings on which the editors are not certain, and in still others undoubtedly false readings. The lately discovered science of Biblical Numerics enables us to detect and dismiss interpolations, and to judge as between variant readings, which are the right ones; but as yet there is no certain way of supplying lacking words. Thus Biblical Numerics has enabled us to see that quite a number of passages which were considered spurious are genuine, e.g., Mark 16: 9-20; John 8: 1-12, etc., that quite a number of readings that were regarded as genuine are false, e.g., the reviser's "men of good will," instead of "good will to men" (Luke 2: 14), "Church of the Lord" instead of "Church of God" (Acts 20: 28), "righteousness of
God," instead of "the righteousness of our Lord" (2 Pet. 1: 1), and that a number of passages that were regarded as genuine are spurious, e.g., the earthquake reference and its accompaniments in Matt. 27: 51-54; the statement on "three that bear record in heaven," etc., of 1 John 5: 7 and the clause, "the rest of the dead," etc., in Rev. 20: 5. It is only of the original texts as written by their human authors to which full and verbal inspiration is to be ascribed. It is not to be expected that the full inspired text will be completely restored in the present Age; but in the near Millennium the inspired writers will be here and will fully restore it. In the meantime the text as now restored by Biblical Numerics has such inconsequent imperfections as will affect the Truth illy as little as the breathing of but ten people will pollute the air of well ventilated Madison Square Garden of New York, Royal Albert Hall of London or St. Peter's at Rome. Hence whatever lacks, interpolations, false readings or variant readings may remain, so far as practical purposes are concerned, need trouble God's people but negligibly.
Inspiration has often been confounded with other features of the Bible. From these it should be kept separate and distinct in our minds. Some confound inspiration with the integrity of the Bible. The latter refers to the incorruptness of the text on all matters. While conceding that some slight discrepancies still remain in the text of the Bible, since it is now being corrected by Biblical Numerics, facts and the purpose of the Scriptures prove that our present text is in such a condition of purity as to give us certainty on all points of doctrine and practice. Hence the natures of these two things are separate and distinct, one showing how the text has been produced, the other showing in what condition as to purity it has been preserved. Sometimes the inspiration and canonicity of the Bible are confounded. Canonicity refers to what books are authoritative and thus by right belong to the Bible, e.g., some deny the right of certain books to be in the Bible as
parts of it. Thus some deny the right of the books of Esther, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John and Revelation, to be in the Bible as parts of it, i.e., to be of the canon, to be a part of the rule of faith and practice,—canon being the Greek word for rule. While all inspired books belong to the canon, and do so by virtue of their inspiration, God's causing the books of the Bible to be written is not the same thing as the right of a book or books to be a part or parts of the canon or Bible, i.e., inspiration, especially as an act, and even as a product, is different from the question as to the canonicity of a book or books of the Bible; for the latter question is one that concerns what books God's people of the Jewish and Gospel Ages have accepted as authoritatively parts of the Bible as the sole source of faith and the main rule of practice. Romanists accept seven books of the Apocrypha as belonging to the canon, which we deny, because the Jews, to whom God committed the Old Testament as His Oracles (Rom. 3: 1, 2) did not accept them as such. We accept all 66 books of the Bible as canonical, because the Divinely appointed custodians of them, the Jewish Church of the Old Testament and the Christian Church of the Old and New Testaments, have accepted and preserved them as canonical. Again, some confound the inspiration and genuineness of the Bible. Its genuineness refers to the authorship of its several books, as to whether they really were written by the human authors to whom they are ascribed as their authors, or in case of those books of the Bible whose human authors are not known, whether they originated at the time and amid the circumstances to which they are assigned; but certainly the question as to the fact of their inspiration, which is an act of God, is separate and distinct from the question as to whom He used to be the Bible's human authors, and from the question as to the time and circumstances of their human authorship.
Again, some confound inspiration with truthfulness,
factuality. While the product of inspiration is true (John 17: 17), there are many true things that are not inspired, e.g., there are, apart from inspiration, historical, philosophical, scientific, educational, financial, sociological, artistic, mathematical, etc., truths that are the invention of uninspired man. Thus while what God inspires as to content is true, or what He inspires as a record of the contents of evil beings' sentiments is true as a matter of record, yet all truth is not contained in the Bible; and its extra-Biblical forms are not inspired. Still others confound inspiration with credibility, worthiness of belief, acceptance and confidence. Here, too, it must be said that what is inspired is credible but the credibility of the Bible is not only based or even mainly based on its inspiration, but upon the inherent value of its contents, the credentials which accompany it and the external corroborations that it has, e.g., under the discussion of the Bible as a Divine Revelation we gave numerous proofs, under three separate lines of thought: internal, internalo-external and external, that the Bible is a Divine revelation, without discussing its inspiration at all; for only now have we come to the discussion of its inspiration; but the proofs that were given that it is a Divine revelation demonstrate that it is worthy of belief, acceptance and confidence—credible. So, too, some confuse the authoritativeness of the Bible with its inspiration. While these thoughts are related, as we saw the other five features above discussed to be related, to inspiration, yet there is a distinction between them, for the authoritativeness of the Bible is only partially dependent on its inspiration as an effect of the latter. But its authoritativeness is based mainly upon God as its Source and upon His Sovereignty. And, finally, some confound inspiration with the Bible's sufficiency as the sole source of faith and as the main rule of practice. These confound inspiration as the act that caused the Bible to be written with an attribute of the Bible's contents after being written.
Next we will consider the implications of inspiration, both negatively and positively. It does not merely imply illumination, such as all Christians, especially such as the non-apostolic star-members, have had and such as occasionally other scribes instructed in the Kingdom have had, all of which occurs in the realm of grace, while inspiration occurs in the sphere of the supernatural. Nor is it merely the elevation of the natural faculties, such as the natural genius experiences e.g., poets, like Shakespeare, Homer, Milton, etc., orators, like Demosthenes, Cicero, Fox, Webster, etc., or authors, like Plato, Aristotle, Luther, Hooker, Macaulay, Dickens, Hawthorne, etc., or inventors, like Watt, Morse, Bell, Edison, Steinmetz, Marconi, etc., had. It does not imply sinlessness in its human agents, as the cases of Balaam, David, Solomon, Peter, etc., prove. It does not imply perfect preservation of the Bible text, as its interpolations, lacunae, corruptions and variant readings prove. Nor does it imply perfect errorlessness in copyists and translators, as the Greek and Hebrew MSS. and all translations prove. It did not imply the loss of individuality in its agents, as the differences of style in the writings of Paul, James, Peter and John prove. Nor is it to be understood as justifying the conduct of all of whom it treats, e.g., Judah's and Amnon's incest, the rape of the Levite's concubine, etc. Nor does it imply that its agents were well versed on other subjects than those on which they wrote. Nor does it imply that they understood everything that they wrote (Dan. 12: 8, 9; 1 Pet. 1: 10-13). Neither does it imply that everything was true in the sayings that it quotes, e.g., Satan's lies to Eve and to Jesus narrated in the Bible, the sayings of the Sanhedrin of Jesus and Paul, of the fool, that there is no God (Ps. 14: 1), of job's four friends against him, etc., etc., etc. Nor is inspiration as a product, which is synonymous with revelation as a product, limited to merely the doctrinal and ethical contents of the Bible, as some, higher critics, affirm, who claim that promissory, hortatory, prophetical,
historical and typical parts of the Bible contain more or less error and so-called pious frauds.
Positively it implies that the Bible is God's Word, is the written Divine revelation, is infallible, is sourcal of salvation truth, was written by human agents at God's causation, is God's entire revelation as to the various elect classes for this life, though not His entire revelation as to the Worthies and the non-elect classes Millennially, since it is but part of it, the rest of it to come as "another book" (Rev. 20: 12) in the Millennium. In every case inspiration was God's act of causing the inspired ones to write out what He revealed to them. There was no exception to this even when they wrote on matters of natural theology, i.e., things of religion that by induction, deduction, observation or intuition man's reason gives him as matters of knowledge, like the existence and attributes of God and angels, the sense of obligation to do right to God, man and other animate beings and avoid wrongs as to them, etc. Whenever God brought those things to the minds of His agents as things to be put into the Bible they became revelation; and His act of causing them to write them out as a part of the Bible was inspiration, e.g., Acts 17: 23, 28; Rom. 1: 19-21; 2: 14, 15. This is also true of the historical facts that the writers knew from observation or investigation, and then wrote out under God's causation. However they were brought to their attention, the act of bringing them to their attention became by that act revelation; and the act of causing them to write them out, inspiration. This covers matters such as Moses (Mark 12: 20; Luke 20: 37), Samuel, Nathan and Gad (1 Chron. 29: 29), Matthew and John observed and wrote out, and such as Mark and Luke learned by study and wrote out (Luke 1: 1-4; anothen means from above, not from the very first, as in A.V.).
A few words on the sphere of inspiration. It is not of the sphere of nature, even if some matters of nature enter into it; for if it belonged to the sphere of nature practically any one would be an object of it. By the
sphere of nature we, of course, here refer to human as well as inanimate nature. And when we say that it does not belong to the sphere of nature we mean that neither human nature nor inanimate nature has it as an inherent possession. Neither do they have the power to cause it to come into existence and exercise. Both human nature and inanimate nature have it in their power to arouse an elevated state of the natural mind and to cause it at the glow of genius to produce works that the ordinary mortal cannot do. And some designate such a productive glow of genius inspiration. But such is not the Biblical thought of inspiration. It is not an operation of nature; for nature is not the sphere of inspiration, though nature yields some true thoughts on religion called Natural Theology. Nor is it a matter of the sphere of grace, by which we mean the field of the operation of enlightenment, justification, sanctification and deliverance. Indeed, as in the cases of Balaam (Num. 22—25), Saul (1 Sam. 19: 9-24) and Caiaphas (John 11: 47-53), one does not necessarily have to be in the state of grace in order to be used by God inspirationally. In the state of grace enlightenment comes to all therein; for all Christians share more or less in such enlightenment (1 Cor. 1: 30; 2: 10-16); but they are not thereby inspired. To the non-apostolic star-members regularly, and occasionally to the other non-apostolic scribes instructed as to the Kingdom, God has given special enlightenment directly, such as none of the other Christians get, yet this is not inspiration, though it may rightly be called special direct illumination. In measures far beyond those enjoyed by the star-members between the Jewish and Gospel Harvests has God illuminated the Laodicean Messenger; yet the two brothers who have constituted that Messenger have not been inspired and consequently have not been infallible. While their enlightenment has been very great, it has not transcended the state of grace, though the highest degree of it enjoyed in the state of grace. There is but one other state in which in this life some of God's
people have been, i.e., a supernatural state, which is the state of miracles; and to this state inspiration belongs; for it was a miraculous power. It was a miracle; for both revelation and inspiration are miraculous. It is because these belong to the miraculous that we are unable to understand fully how it worked as a psychological operation, though most of the features of it we do understand; and that in it which we do not fully comprehend we see can be, as is measurably illustrated in the way fallen angels inspire mediums, etc., to give their messages. Keeping in mind that inspiration, as well as revelation, belongs to the realm of the miraculous will help us better to see its nature.
Evidently inspiration is of various kinds. Some expressions of it are mechanical, e.g., Balaam's ass was seized by Divine power and uttered under its influence things that it did not understand (Num. 22: 28, 29). Moreover, Balaam was seized by Divine power repeatedly and as repeatedly uttered involuntarily things that he did not understand nor wish to say (Num. 23: 5-12, 16-26; 24: 1-24). This was true of Saul and his three delegations (1 Sam. 19: 19-24). The Apostle Peter tells us that this was the case with the prophets who prophesied of the Christ (1 Pet. 1: 10-12); and Daniel expressly tells us that he did not understand the greatest of all his prophecies (Dan. 10—12, compare 12: 8). In such cases God's Spirit laid hold on them, and moved them mechanically to write what they did not understand and what He dictated, somewhat after the manner of a musician playing on an instrument, or a speaker talking over the radio or telephone, which mechanically carries the sound of the speaker's voice, without, of course, understanding the thing said. Some inspiration, on the other hand, was entirely sympathetic, i.e., most of the inspiration of the Apostles. The Spirit enabled their minds to reason out the Divine revelation— the things that they were to bind on, and loose from the Church; and then by the Spirit's causation they wrote these out as matters which they clearly understood, with
which they were in heartiest sympathy, and which with fullest cooperation of mind and heart and will by the Spirit they wrote out as Gospels and Epistles. In some things of their prophecies the prophets enjoyed this form of inspiration. Parts of the book of Revelation John wrote without understanding; for they for the most part were not due to be understood in his day. There is a third form of inspiration; and this may be called directive inspiration. It is especially connected with the writing out of the events that the writers either observed as they happened, or learned by hearing, investigation or research. Their minds had to be directed by the Lord into settling on what they were to select for, and reject from incorporation into the writings that God caused them to produce. St. Luke intimates this when the word anothen is properly translated "from above" and not "from the very first," as the A. V. gives it (Luke 1: 3). And the facts of the case prove it; for all the histories of the Bible are types, i.e., tableau prophecies; hence their writers were Divinely moved to reject from their histories those events, etc., that were not types and to incorporate those therein that were types as parts of the Divine revelation. This kind of inspiration combines the mechanical and sympathetic—we say mechanical, for these writers had not the slightest idea that what they wrote were types, nor did they understand that God directed them to select some for, and reject other matters from their books—sympathetic, because they knew and understood the facts that they wrote out and were in mental, moral and religious harmony with their writing these things. All kinds of inspiration, so far as its agents are concerned, belong to one or the other of these three or to a, combination of two or all three of them: mechanical, sympathetic and directive.
Inspiration, like revelation, covers everything in the Bible as God originally gave it. It is true that the thoughts of wicked angels and men are stated in the Bible, which fact we are to understand, so far as inspiration
is concerned, to imply that while the sentiments of such are not inspired, the record of them as therein contained is inspired, which above-mentioned examples illustrate. The Scriptures in almost every such case dissanctions such sentiments, usually in connection with their recording. These, however, cover but a small part of the Bible, and as such are a part of the Divine revelation and thus contain things that God desires to have His people know as useful for them to know as related to His plan and as revealing negative features of it. All of its positive and negative features are summed up or divided into seven parts. The first of these is doctrinal, like its teaching on God, Christ, the Spirit, Creation, the Covenants, Man, the Fall and Curse, the Ransom, the Church, the World, the Second Advent and the Consummation. The second of these is ethical—pertaining to good and bad character development. The third of these is promissory, especially as contained in God's Covenants. The fourth of these is hortatory, covering encouragements toward the good, warnings against, and rebukes of the evil. The fifth of these is prophetic, predictive of future things. The sixth of these is historical, recording the course of the Divine revelation and God's various acts and dealings toward the subjects of that revelation. And the seventh and last of these is typical; for Scripture, reason and facts prove that the histories, biographies, persons, institutions, etc., of the Bible are prophecies in the form of types. It is because the Bible's historical, biographical, etc., parts are typical that they are revelatory and hortatory, even if the ethical value of their teachings were ignored. So far as we can see, everything in the Bible comes under these seven lines of thought.
The extent of inspiration belongs to a study of our subject and will therefore be treated here. In addition to the limitations placed by some on the act of inspiration mentioned above: (1) a denial of it altogether; (2) making it a mere elevation of spirit such as fires the mental powers of a genius, and (3) restricting it
wholly to enlightening the Bible writers to inscribing true doctrinal and ethical teachings, there is a fourth way in which some limit inspiration as an act, i.e., God's causing the Bible's writers to inscribe all the Bible's thoughts but not its words. They allege in proof of this thought the patent fact that the various writers of the Bible use different styles of composition. It is undoubtedly true that various Bible writers use different styles, e.g., Paul's style in his epistles is markedly different from that of John's epistles, as well as from that of James', Peter's and Jude's epistles. Paul's style, as a rule, is very heavy, at times very involved, the other four's decidedly more simple. But conceding this, it must be admitted that the style of Paul's epistles differs greatly, e.g., the heavy and involved style of Ephesians contrasted with the graceful flowing style of Hebrews, which together with Luke's and James' writings are the most ornate of the New Testament. Hebrews in point of style and contents is easily the finest literary product of the New Testament. The same writer will often use different styles of composition, which often depend on the subject matter, his degree of grasp of his subject, his purpose in writing, his surroundings, his states of mind, his mental, artistic, moral and religious development in the interval between his compared writings, and the kinds of writing— poetry or prose, narrative or oratory, reasoning, persuasion, encouragement, restraint or instruction.
The differences in style in Biblical writers are due to God's respecting and using the individuality of His agents as writers of Biblical books. This variety of style in the Biblical writers can be illustrated by the difference in the quality of musical instruments. How varied is the quality of the music made by different pianos, violins, cornets, harps, even mouth-organs, yet the same expert musician playing on each one of these different musical instruments produces the same sounds but different quality of sounds. Thus God's respecting the individuality of the various writers is seen in the
general diversity of their styles of writing. The same instrument responding differently at different times, e.g., in hot, cold, damp or clear weather, illustrates the differences in Biblical writers as to their surroundings and states of mind. Their different degrees of development undergone between their different writings is seen in some instruments improving by use and the involved lapse of time. Corresponding to the difference in style due to the subject matter is the difference made in the music by its subject; and corresponding to the difference due to the kinds of literature is the difference between the different classes of music played—classic, popular, jazz, etc. But none of this, while proving that God respected the individuality of the Bible's writers, disproves the fact that God inspired the words, as well as the thoughts, of the Bible's writers; for the Bible, reason and facts prove this, as we will show later. Hence verbal inspiration is involved and included in the idea of the inspiration of the Scriptures. The Bible is, both in its contents and in its words, inspired.
The men that were inspired by God to write the Bible were fitted for the task. In every case they were faithful, consecrated men, despite the fact that at times God inspired some wicked men to utter inspired sayings, e.g., Balaam and Caiaphas, which were by other, but consecrated and faithful, inspired men incorporated into the Bible. Certainly God would not use wicked men to write the Bible! And the agents that He used thereto certainly were well fitted for the work. While some of them were not learned men, they were all able men. While Jesus was God's Agent in writing the book of Revelation, which He dictated to John (Rev. 1: 1), He did not, while in the flesh, write anything in book form for the Gospels, which, however, consist largely of His discourses. Admittedly Jesus was the greatest genius of the human race, and by far the most influential of mankind. Moses, David, Solomon and Daniel were statesmen and executives of the first order; additionally Moses and David were warriors of the highest
rank. Solomon, Ezra and Paul were scholars of the first order; and all of these were authors of the highest distinction. There is good reason for believing that Solomon was the writer of the book of Job, which confessedly is the supreme literary product of the world. Apart from Jesus, a deeper reasoner than Paul probably never lived. Samuel was not only great as an executive and warrior, but also was great as a writer, Joshua, Judges, Ruth and parts of 1 Samuel proceeding from his pen. Isaiah was also a literary light of the first rank, excelling especially in sublimity. Priests like Jeremiah and Ezekiel were certainly men of a high order of intellect. The writings of the Minor Prophets show them to have been talented, even if in some cases they were not learned. Luke certainly was a scholar. And the language of James and 1 and 2 Peter proves that while at first these two were unlearned and ignorant men, they became in the school of Christ talented writers from a literary standpoint. Sublimity is the highest quality of authorship; and certainly with great simplicity John in his gospel and epistles rises to sublime heights. Unlike many authors, the writers wrote the truth on every subject treated by them; and their fine characters, as well as their thought, commend their writings to us as worthy and uplifting.
Let us not forget to dwell somewhat on the advantages of an inspired Bible. Let us suppose that the Bible were not inspired. What disadvantages would result? Very many and great advantages that an inspired Bible gives us we would lack. If uninspired, the Bible could not be the sole source of faith and the main rule of practice, with the Holy Spirit and Divine providence as subordinate rules of practice. It would be a fallible book on which our faith could not rest, which our hope could not make its anchor, which our love could not find to be its power, and in which our obedience could not gain its inspiration; it would fail us in time of need; it would break down for us in our times of temptation and trial; it would lead us into error in life and
unto a delusion at death. We could not depend upon it to support our faith in controversy; and in the end it would leave us as dupes in despair; for an uninspired Bible would be Satan-made and man-palmed-off, just as the pseudo-Bibles of heathenism. But an inspired Bible proves to be the genuine sole source of faith and the main rule of practice, the Holy Spirit and Divine providence completing it as the rule of practice. It must be an infallible Book, and as such is the rock upon which our faith is built, the anchor on which our hope rests, the power that develops and perfects our love, and the inspiration on which our obedience thrives. It sustains us in our time of need; it strengthens us in our hour of trial; it gives us victory in our time of temptation. If we are faithful, by Jesus' ministry it will enlighten us in the Truth, will insure our justification, empower us to carry out our consecration and in our Christian conflicts make us victorious, and, finally, will make us more than conquerors through Him who loved us and gave Himself for us; for it is the power of God unto salvation. It is by its inspiration infallible, authoritative, indestructible, eternal, sufficient and efficacious. It is thus our guide, support, strength, help and power in the narrow way, even to the end. It gives us victory in Zion's controversy; it cleanses from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and enables us to perfect holiness in the reverence of the Lord. Surely the inspired Bible has all these and yet more advantages.
It is self-evidencing in its proof of its inspiration. While, as will be shown, reason corroborates, and facts substantiate it, the Bible is its main proof of inspiration. Some say that when we set forth the Bible's statements as a proof of its inspiration we reason in a circle, and that our argument from it as evidencing itself as inspired is invalid. To these we reply that if the Bible were an ordinary book of man's origination, this objection would be well taken. But we are to remember that it comes to us with unanswerable evidences of its being a Divine revelation. The main ones of these we gave
while discussing the proofs that it is a Divine revelation. We will briefly point these out as shown first in its internal, second its internalo-external and third its external evidence as such. Under the first, the internal evidence, we proved that it is a Divine revelation (1) from the harmony, perfection and practibility of the plan that it reveals, (2) from the perfection of the character and works of God that it reveals, (3) from the unique person, character, and also curse-delivering offices of Jesus, (4) from the self-harmony, reasonableness and factuality of it, (5) from its teachings as establishing good and suppressing evil, (6) from the fact that it alone of all alleged revelations gives a reasonable and factual solution of the problem of the permission of evil and (7) from its excellencies and the efficiency of the means that it sets forth to realize its ends. Under the second line of proof genuine and holy miracles and wide-flung and fulfilled prophecy were discussed as proofs of its being a Divine revelation. And under the third line of evidence there were adduced as proofs of its being a Divine revelation the following: (1) from the evidence of the elects' experiences, (2) from the fruits of the Bible in the elect, (3) from its being the beacon light of civilization, (4) from its corroborations by the Great Pyramid of Gizeh, (5) from corroborations of its plan in the analogy and constitution of nature, (6) from the corroborations of its plan symbolized in the constellations and (7) from the contour, etc., of the Holy Land. A book coming with such unanswerable proofs of its being a Divine revelation self-evidently has the right to give witness to its origin; and this right should be conceded by all. Being proven good and truthful in all respects, why should not its self-evidence be accepted? Do not courts rightly accept the evidence of known good and truthful witnesses as to themselves? Certainly the Bible deserves not to be treated less favorably than such in its witness as to itself! And from the nature of the case this is the only evidence that can be given apart from the corroborations
given its inspiration by the proofs of its Divine origin; for those who were inspired to write it are all dead; so, too, all who were their companions and witnesses, who might give corroboration to its inspiration, as claimed by its writers, are dead; for as an act its recipients alone could as an experience and observation testify to it, which they did while alive, orally and in writing, and this testimony we now have in the Bible alone. Hence we are justified in appealing to its testimonies, which are those of its writers, every one Divinely corroborated as inspired (Heb. 1: 1, 2; 2: 3, 4). Hence the burden of disproving its right (the right of its writers to give testimony as the only human witnesses of their inspiration) to testify of itself lies on those who object to this right; and this they never can disprove; for they witnessed not nor could they witness the pertinent facts.
We yield to no one in our appreciation of the value of faith—a correct faith, faith in God, faith in the precious blood, faith in the Bible as the Word of God, faith in the exceeding great and precious promises. We realize that without such a faith we could never be conquerors, overcomers, but would succumb either to the wiles of the Adversary or to the spirit of the world or to the weakness of our own flesh. The proper faith is an anchor to our souls, sure and steadfast, entering in within the veil and holding us serene in all the storms and difficulties of the journey to the Heavenly Kingdom. Hope also is a necessary element of Christian character; it is built upon our faith. Without faith we cannot have hope. Hope is faith in activity; it is the anchor within the veil. Faith is the cable by which we are held firmly to it. Who does not see the importance of holding fast, being well anchored in the hopes and promises given us by our Lord directly and through the Apostles and Prophets. Ah! we must hold both to our faith and hope— nothing can persuade us that these are unimportant, trivial. As the Apostle declares, these have abode throughout the Age. But when he speaks of
love the Apostle declares that it is the greatest of all. Why? we ask. Indeed many would be inclined to suppose that love would be much less important than any other quality. They would speak of rugged, rude faith and hope, and of rugged characters whose lives represent little of love. What, then, shall we strive for most particularly? The Apostle's declaration is that love is the greatest of these great qualities; but his advice is very contrary to the sentiment of the world. It tells us that if we have love we cannot be successful, that the quality would interfere with us whatever our ideals might be. From the world's standpoint love would hinder a politician from crushing down others that he might rise to prominence himself; love would hinder the merchant from crushing his competitors that he might amass the larger fortune. Large love for others, they tell us, would lead us to esteem others better than ourselves, and mean that we would be hindered in the great race that is going on amongst men for riches and honor and power. Shall we heed the world's advice or shall we follow the inspired testimony of the Apostle?
The two standpoints are totally different. The New Creatures cannot follow the advice of the world; to do so would be to renounce and deny all the new ideals we have accepted, and toward which we have been laboring. If as New Creatures we would gain the great prize of our calling in Christ Jesus, we must hearken to Him that speaketh from Heaven; we must hearken to the words of the Lord through the Apostles and Prophets; we must note our Master's testimony, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another"; "Herein shall all men know that ye are My disciples if ye have love for one another" (John 13: 34, 35). His further message through the Apostle is, "Love is the fulfilling of the Law"; and again, in the text "Love is the principal thing," the greatest thing in the world. The New Creature must attain this character of love; for all of his hopes depend upon his attaining this character-likeness of his Lord. Otherwise he will not
be fit for the Kingdom or be granted a place in the elect Little Flock, which is to inherit it and to be used of the Lord during the Millennium for the blessing and uplifting of the world in general out of sin, degradation and death. Love is the principal thing, then; for whatever knowledge we might gain, whatever talents we might possess, whatever faith, whatever hope, none of these could bring us to the Kingdom. They can all merely assist us in developing this love-character which is the Kingdom test—the fulfilling of the Law. Nor do we mean that the perfection of love-character can be manifest in our fallen flesh. Its weakness, its kinks, its peculiarities are hindrances, so that the Apostle declares, "We cannot do the things that we would" (Gal. 5: 17). But our hearts must be up to this love standard; we must will lovingly. In our hearts we must love the Lord supremely, we must love the brethren, we must love our neighbors, we must love our enemies; and if we so do, the effect will be that so much as lieth in us this love will be manifested to others in our words, in our looks, in our tones, in our actions. Whatever imperfection there is in the matter must not be of the heart but merely of the flesh, and such imperfection because of heredity is counted a part of what our Lord redeemed us from and the merit of His sacrifice is counted as covering all those unwilling blemishes so that the love of our hearts carried out in our lives to the extent of our ability is counted of the Lord as perfect love—perfection of character. Such are counted copies of God's dear Son, who was an image of God.
We answer that love is perfection of character. "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God"—is fully in accord with God, and hence in the condition pleasing to the Father unto eternal life. According to His covenant with those who have become the followers of Jesus, He is pledged to give them upon demonstration of this character, glory, honor and immortality in association with their Redeemer (Matt. 5: 48). Let us take the analysis of love that is given by