THE TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURES TO
GEORGE S. BISHOP, D. D.,
East Orange, New Jersey
My subject is, The Testimony of the Scriptures to Themselves — their own self-evidence — the overpowering, unparticipated witness that they bring. Permit me to expand this witness under the following heads:
3. Transcendent Doctrine.
4. Direct Assertion.
1. IMMORTALITY — “I have written!” All other books die. Few old books survive, and fewer of those that survive have any influence. Most of the books we quote from have been written within the last three or even one hundred years.
But here is a Book whose antemundane voices had grown old, when voices spake in Eden. A Book which has survived not only with continued but increasing lustre, vitality, vivacity, popularity, rebound of influence. A Book which comes through all the shocks without a wrench, and all the furnaces of all the ages — like an iron safe — with every document in every pigeon-hole, without a warp upon it, or the smell of fire. Here is a Book of which it may be said, as of Immortal Christ Himself: “Thou hast the dew on Thy youth from the womb of the morning.” A Book dating from days as ancient as those of the Ancient of Days, and which when all
that makes up what we see and call the universe shall be dissolved, will still speak on in thunder-tones of majesty, and whisper-tones of light, and music-tones of love, for it is wrapping in itself the everlasting past, and opening and expanding from itself the everlasting future; and, like an all irradiating sun, will still roll on, while deathless ages roll, the one unchanging, unchangeable Revelation of God.
2. Immortality is on these pages, and AUTHORITY SETS HERE HER SEAL. This is the second point. A Standard. Useless to talk about no standard. Nature points to one. Conscience cries out for one — conscience which, without a law, constantly wages the internal and excruciating war of accusing or else excusing itself. There must be a Standard and an Inspired Standard — for Inspiration is the Essence of Authority, and authority is in proportion to inspiration — the more inspired the greater the authority — the less, the less. Even the rationalist Rothe, a most intense opponent, has admitted that “that in the Bible which is not the product of direct inspiration has no binding power.” Verbal and direct inspiration is, therefore, the “Thermopylae” of Biblical and Scriptural faith. No breath, no syllable; no syllable, no word; no word, no Book; no Book, no religion.
We hold, from first to last, that there can be no possible advance in Revelation — no new light. What was written at first, the same thing stands written today, and will stand forever. The emanation of the mind of God it is complete, perfect. “Nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it”; its ipse dixit is peremptory, final. “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this Book; and if any man shall take away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book Of life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this Book.”
The Bible is the Word of God, and not simply CONTAINS IT. This is clear.
Because the Bible styles itself the Word of God. “The Word of the Lord is right,” says the Psalmist. Again, “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet.” “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.” “The grass withereth,” says Isaiah, “the flower thereof fadeth, but the Word of our God shall stand forever.” Not only is the Bible called the Word of God, but it is distinguished from all other books by that very title. It is so distinguished in the 119th Psalm, and everywhere the contrast between it and every human book is deepened and sustained.
If we will not call the Bible the Word of God, then we cannot call it anything else. If we insist upon a description rigorously exact and unexposed to shafts of wanton criticism, then the Book remains anonymous. We cannot more consistently say, “Holy Scripture,” because the crimes recorded on its pages are not holy; because expressions like “Curse God and die,” and others from the lips of Satan and of wicked men, are unholy. The Bible, however, is “holy” because its aim and its methods are holy. The Bible, likewise, is the Word of God, because it comes from God; because its every word was penned by God; because it is the only exponent of God; the only rule of His procedure, and the Book by which we must at last be judged.
(1) The Bible is authority because in it, from cover to cover, God is the Speaker. Said a leader of our so-called orthodoxy to a crowded audience but a little while ago: “The Bible is true. Any man not a fool must believe what is true. What difference does it make who wrote it?” This difference, brethren; the solemn bearing down of God on the soul! My friend may tell me what is true; my wife may tell me what is true; but what they say is not solemn. Solemnity comes in when God looks into my face — God! And behind Him everlasting destiny — and talks with me about my soul. In the Bible God speaks, and God is listened to, and men are born again by God’s Word. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” It is God’s Revelation that faith hears, and it is on God revealed that faith rests.
(2) The Bible is the Word of God. It comes to us announced by miracles and heralded with fire. Take the Old Testament — Mount Sinai; take the New Testament — Pentecost. Would God Himself stretch out His hand and write on tables in the giving, and send down tongues of fire for the proclamation of a Revelation, every particle and shred of which was not His own? In other words, would He work miracles and send down tongues of fire to signalize a work merely human, or even partly human and partly Divine? How unworthy of God, how impious, how utterly impossible the supposition!
(3) The Bible comes clothed with authority in the high-handed and exalted terms of its address. God in the Bible speaks out of a whirlwind and with the voice of Elias. What grander proof of literal inspiration can be than in the high-handed method and imperative tone of prophets and apostles which enabled them — poor men, obscure, and without an influence; fishermen, artisans, publicans, day-laborers — to brave and boldly teach the world from Pharaoh and from Nero down? Was this due to anything less than God speaking in them — to the overpowering impulse and seizure of God? Who can believe it? Who is not struck with the power and the wisdom of God? “His words were in my bones,” cries one. “I could not stay. The lion hath roared, who will not fear; the Lord hath spoken, who can but prophesy?”
(4) The Bible is the optime of authority, because it is from first to last a glorious projection on the widest scale of the decrees of God. The sweep of the Bible is from the creation of angels to a new heaven and new earth, across a lake of fire. What a field for events! What an expanse beyond the sweep or even reach of human fore-thought, criticism, or co-operation! What a labyrinth upon whose least and minutest turning hangs entire redemption, since a chain is never stronger than its smallest link! Who then will dare to speak till God has spoken? “I will declare the decree!” That pushes everything aside that makes the declaration an extension, so to say, of the Declarer. “I will declare the decree!” When we consider that the Bible is an exact projection of the decrees of God into the future, this argument is seen to lift, indeed, to a climax; and, in fact, it does reach to the very crux of controversy; for the hardest thing for us to believe about God is to believe that He exactly, absolutely knows, because He has ordained, the future. Every attribute of God is easier to grasp than that of an infallible Omniscience. “I will declare the decree,” therefore, calls for direct inspiration.
(5) The Bible is the optime of authority, because the hooks at the end of the chain prove the dictated inspiration of its every link. Compare the fall in Genesis — one link — with the resurrection in the Apocalypse the other. Compare the old creation in the first chapters of the Old Testament with the new creation in the last chapters of the New. “We open the first pages of the Bible,” says Vallotton, “and we find there the recital of the creation of the world by the Word of God of the fall of man, of his exile far from God, far from Paradise, and far from the tree of life. We open the last pages of the last of the 66 books dating 4,000 years later. God is still speaking. He is still creating. He creates a new heaven and a new earth. Man is found there recovered. He is restored to communion with God. He
dwells again in Paradise, beneath the shadow of the tree of life. Who is not struck by the strange correspondence of this end with that beginning? Is not the one the prologue, the other the epilogue of a drama as vast as unique?”
(6) Another argument for the supreme authority of Scripture is the character of the investigation challenged for the Word of God. The Bible courts the closest scrutiny. Its open pages blaze the legend, “Search the Scriptures!” Ereunao — “Search.” It is a sportsman’s term, and borrowed from the chase. “Trace out,” “track out” — follow the word in all its usages and windings. Scent it out to its remotest meanings, as a dog the hare. “They searched,” again says St. Luke, in the Acts, of the Bereans. There it is another word, anakrino — “they divided up,” analyzed, sifted, pulverized, as in a mortar — to the last thought.
What a solemn challenge is this! What book but a Divine Book would dare speak such a challenge? If a book has been written by man, it is at the mercy of men. Men can go through it, riddle it, sift it, and leave it behind them, worn out. But the Bible, a Book dropped from heaven, is “God breathed.” It swells, it dilates, with the bodying fullness of God. God has written it, and none can exhaust it. Apply your microscopes, apply your telescopes, to the material of Scripture. They separate, but do not fray, its threads. They broaden out its nebulae, but find them clustered stars. They do not reach the hint of poverty in Scripture. They nowhere touch on coarseness in the fabric, nor on limitations in horizon, as always is the case when tests of such a character are brought to bear on any work of man’s.
You put a drop of water, or a fly’s wing, under a microscope. The stronger the lens, the more that drop of water will expand, till it becomes an ocean filled with sporting animalcules. The higher the power, the more exquisite, the more silken, become the tissues of the fly’s wing, until it attenuates almost to the golden and gossamer threads of a seraph’s. So is it with the Word of God. The more scrutiny, the more divinity; the more dissection, the more perfection. We cannot bring to it a test too penetrating, nor a light too facinating, nor a touchstone too exacting.
The Bible is beyond all attempts at not only exhaustion, but comprehension. No human mind can, by searching, find out the fullness of God. “For what man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man save the Spirit of God.”
3. That leads up to the third point. The Scriptures testify to their Divine Original by their TRANSCENDENT DOCTRINE, THEIR OUTSHINING LIGHT, THEIR NATIVE RADIANCE, THE GLOW OF THE DIVINE, THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT.
We should expect to find a Book, that came from God, penciled with points of jasper and of sardine stone — enhaloed with a brightness from the everlasting hills. We should look for that about the Book which, flashing conviction at once, should carry overwhelmingly and everywhere by its bare, naked witness — by what it simply is. That, just as God, by stretching out a hand to write upon the “plaister” of a Babylonian palace, stamped, through mysterious and disjointed words, conviction of Divinity upon Belshazzar, and each one of his one thousand “lords”; so, after that same analogue — why not? — God should stretch out His hand along the unrolling palimpsests of all the ages, and write upon them larger words, which, to the secret recognition of each human soul, should say, not only, “This is Truth,” but “This is Truth, God-spoken!”
The Bible is the Word of God, because it is the Book of Infinites — the revelation of what nature, without it, never could have attained, and, coming short of the knowledge of which, nature were lost. The greatest need of the soul is salvation. It is such a knowledge of God as shall assure us of “comfort” here and hereafter. Such a knowledge, nature outside of the Bible does not contain. Everywhere groping in his darkness, man is confronted by two changeless facts. One, his guilt, which, as he looks down, sinks deeper and deeper. The other, the justice of God, which as he looks up, lifts higher and higher. Infinite against infinite infinite here,
Infinite there — no bridge between them! Nature helps to no bridge. It nowhere speaks of atonement. Standing with Uriel in the sun, we launch the proposition that the Scriptures are Divine in their very message because they deal with three Infinites: Infinite Guilt; Infinite Holiness; Infinite Atonement.
A book must itself be infinite which deals with infinites; and a book must be Divine which divinely reconciles infinites.
Infinite Guilt! Has my guilt any bottom? Is Hell any deeper? Is there, in introspection, a possible lower, more bottomless nadir? Infinite guilt! That is what opens, caves away under my feet, the longer, the more carefully I plumb my own heart — my nature, my record. Infinitely guilty! That is what I am far, Oh, how far, below the plane of self-apology, or ghastly “criticism” of the Book which testifies to this. Infinitely guilty! That is what I am. Infinitely sinking, and, below me an infinite Tophet. I know that. As soon as the Bible declares it, I know it, and with it I know that witnessing Bible Divine. I know it — I do not know how — by an instinct, by conscience, by illumination, by the power of the Spirit of God, by the Word without, and by the flashed conviction in me which accord. And, counterpoised above me, a correlative Infinite — God! What can be higher? What zenith loftier? What doming of responsibility more dread or more portentous? Infinite God above me — coming to judge me! On the way now. I must meet Him. I know that. I know it, as soon as the Bible declares it. I know it — I do not know how — by an instinct. Even the natural man must picture to himself when thus depicted, and must fear,
“A God in grandeur, and a world on fire.” An infinitely Holy God above me, coming to judge me. That is the second Infinite. Then the third and what completes the Triangle, and makes its sides eternally, divinely equal Infinite Atonement — an Infinite Saviour God on the cross making answer to God on the throne — my Jesus — my Refuge my Everlasting Jehovah.
By these three Infinites — especially this last this Infinite Atonement, for which my whole being cries out its last cry of exhaustion — by this third side of the stupendous Triangle — the side which, left to myself, I could never make out the Bible proves itself the soul’s Geometry, the one Eternal Mathematics, the true Revelation of God. We take the ground that these three things — Guilt, God, Atonement — set thus in star-like apposition and conjunction, speak from the sky, more piercingly than stars do, saying: “Sinner and sufferer, this Revelation is Divine!”
We take the open ground that a single stray leaf of God’s Word, found by the wayside by one who never had seen it before, would convince him at once that the strange and the wonderful words were those of his God were Divine.
The Scriptures are their own self-evidence. We take the ground that the sun requires no critic — truth no diving-bell. When the sun shines, he shines the sun. When God speaks, His evidence is in the accent of His words.
How did the prophets of old know, when God spoke to them, that it Was God? Did they subject the voice, that shook their every bone, and make their flesh dissolve upon them, to a critical test? Did they put God, so to say — as some of our moderns would seem to have done — into a crucible, into a chemist’s retort, in order to certify that He was God? Did they find it necessary to hold the handwriting of God in front of the blowpipe of anxious philosophical examination, in order to bring out and to make the invisible, visible? The very suggestion is madness. The Scriptures are their own self-evidence. The refusal of the Bible on its
simple presentation is enough to damn any man, and, if persisted in, will damn him — for:
“A glory gilds the sacred page,
Majestic, like the sun;
It gives a light to every age;
It gives, but borrows none.”
4. Glory spreads over the face of the Scriptures, but this glory, when scrutinized closely, is seen to contain certain features and outlines testimonies inside of itself, direct assertions, which conspire to illustrate again its high Divinity, and to confirm its claim.
This is our fourth point: THE SCRIPTURES SAY OF THEMSELVES THAT THEY ARE DIVINE. They not only assume it; they say it. And this, “Thus saith the Lord,” is intrinsic — a witness inside of the witness, and one upon which something more than conviction — confidence, or Spirit-born, and saving faith — depends. The argument from the self-assertion of Scripture is cumulative.
(1) The Bible claims that, as a Book, it comes from God. In various ways it urges this claim. One thing: it says so. “God in old times spake by the prophets; God now speaks by His Son.” The question of Inspiration is, in its first statement, the question of Revelation itself. If the Book be Divine, then what it says of itself is Divine. The Scriptures are inspired because they say they are inspired. The question is simply one of Divine testimony, and our business is, as simply, to receive that testimony. “Inspiration is as much an assertion,” says Haldane, “as is justification by faith. Both stand and equally, on the authority of Scripture, which is as much an ultimate authority upon this point as upon any other.” When God speaks, and when He says, “I speak !” there is the whole of it. He is bound to be heard and obeyed.
In the Bible God speaks, and speaks not only by proxy. Leviticus is a signal example of this. Chapter after chapter of Leviticus begins: “And the Lord spake, saying;” and so it runs on through the chapter. Moses is simply a listener, a scribe. The self-announced Speaker is God. In the Bible God Himself comes down and speaks, not in the Old Testament alone, and not alone by proxy. “The New Testament presents us,” says Dean Burgon, “with the august spectacle of the Ancient of Days holding the entire volume of the Old Testament Scriptures in His hands, and interpreting it of Himself. He, the Incarnate Word, who was in the beginning with God, and who was God — that same Almighty One is set forth in the Gospels as holding the ‘volume of the Book’ in His hands, as opening and unfolding it, and explaining it everywhere of Himself.” Christ everywhere receives the Scripture, and speaks of the Scriptures, in their entirety — the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, the whole Old Testament canon — as the living Oracle of God. He accepts and He endorses everything written, and even makes most prominent those
miracles which infidelity regards as most incredible. And He does all this upon the ground of the authority of God. He passes over the writer —leaves him out of account. In all His quotations from the Old Testament, He mentions but four of the writers by name. The question with Him is not a question of the reporter, but of the Dictator.
And this position of our Saviour which exalted Scripture as the mouthpiece of the living God was steadily maintained by the Apostles and the apostolic Church. Again and over again, in the Book of the Acts, in all the Epistles, do we find such expressions as “He saith,” “God saith,” “The oracles of God,” “The Holy Ghost saith,” “Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet.”
The Epistle to the Hebrews furnishes a splendid illustration of this, where, setting forth the whole economy of the Mosaic rites, the author adds, “The Holy Ghost this signifying.” Further on, and quoting words of Jeremiah, he enforces them with the remark, “The Holy Ghost is witness to us also.” The imperial argument on Psalm 95 he clenches with the application, “Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear His voice.” Throughout the entire Epistle, whoever may have been the writer quoted from, the words of the quotation are referred to God.
(2) But now let us come closer, to the very exact and categorical and unequivocal assertion. If the Scriptures as a Book are Divine, then what they say of themselves is Divine. What do they say? In this inquiry, let us keep our fingers on two words, and always on two words — the apostolic keys to the whole Church position: “Graphe” — writing, writing, the Writing — not somebody, something back of the Writing. The Writing. “He Graphe,” that was inspired. And what is meant by inspired? “Theopneustos,” God-breathed. “God-breathed!” That sweeps the whole ground. God comes down as a blast on the pipes of an organ — in voice like a whirlwind, or in still whispers like Aeolian tones, and saying the Word, He Seizes the hand, and makes that hand, in His own the pen of a most ready writer.
Pasa Grafe Theopneustos! “All sacred writing.” More exactly, “Every sacred writing,” every mark on the parchment, is “God-breathed.” So says Paul .Pasa Grafe Theopneustos! The sacred assertion is not of the instruments, but of the Author; not of the agents, but of the product. It is the sole and sovereign vindication of what has been left on the page when Inspiration gets through. “What is written,” says Jesus, “how readest thou?” Man can only read what is written. Pasa Grafe Theopneustos! God inspires not men, but language. The phrase, “inspired men,” is not found in the Bible. The Scripture never employs it. The Scripture says that “holy men were moved” — pheromenoi — but that their writing, their manuscript, what they put down and left on the page, was God-breathed. You breathe upon a pane of glass. Your breath congeals there; freezes there; stays there; fixes an ice-picture there. That is the notion. The writing on the page beneath the hand of Paul
was just as much breathed on, breathed into that page, as was His soul breathed into Adam.
The chirograph was God’s incarnate voice, as truly as the flesh of Jesus sleeping on the “pillow” was incarnate God. We take the ground that on the original parchment — the membrane every sentence, word, line, mark, point, pen-stroke jot, tittle was put there by God.
On the original parchment. There is no question of other, anterior parchments. Even were we to indulge the violent extra-Scriptural notion that Moses or Matthew transcribed from memory or from other books the things they have left us; still, in any, in every case, the selection, the expression, the shaping and turn of the phrase on the membrane was the work of an unaided God.
But what? Let us have done with extra-Scriptural, presumptuous suppositions. The burning Isaiah, the perfervid, wheel-gazing Ezekiel; the ardent, seraphic St. Paul, caught up, up, up, up into that Paradise which he himself calls the “third heaven” — were these men only “copyists,” mere self-moved “redactors”? I trow not. Their pens urged, swayed, moved hither and thither by the sweep of a heavenly current, stretched their leathered tops, like that of Luke upon St. Peter’s dome, into the far-off Empyrean, winged from the throne of God.
We take the ground that on the original parchment — the membrane every sentence, word, line, mark, point, pen-stroke jot, tittle was put there by God. On the original parchment. Men may destroy that parchment. Time may destroy it. To say that the membranes have Suffered in the hands of men, is but to say that everything Divine must suffer, as the pattern Tabernacle suffered, when committed to our hands. To say, however, that the writing has suffered — the words and letters — is to say that Jehovah has failed. The writing remains. Like that of a palimpsest, it will survive and reappear, no matter what circumstances, what changes, come in to scatter, obscure, disfigure, or blot it away. Not even one lonely THEOS. (God was manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16)) writ large by the Spirit of God on the Great Uncial “C” as, with my own eyes I have seen it — plain, vivid, glittering, outstarting from behind the pale and overlying ink of Ephraim the Syrian — can be buried. Like Banquo’s ghost, it will rise; and God Himself replace it, and, with a hammer-stroke, beat down deleting hands.
The parchments, the membranes, decay; the writings, the words, are eternal as God. Strip off the plaister from Belshazzar’s palace, yet Mene! Mene! Tekel! Upharsin! remain. They remain.
Let us go through them, and from the beginning, and see what the Scriptures say of themselves. One thing; they say that God spake, “anciently and all the way down, in the prophets.” One may make if he pleases the “en” instrumental — as it is more often instrumental — i.e., “by” the prophets; but in either case, in
them or by them, the Speaker was God. Again; the Scriptures say that the laws the writers promulgated, the doctrines they taught, the stories they recorded — above all, their prophecies of Christ — were not their own; were not originated, nor conceived by them from any outside sources — were not what they had any means before of knowing, or of comprehending, but were immediately from God; they themselves being only recipient, only concurrent with God, as God moved upon them.
Some of the speakers of the Bible, as Balaam, the Old Prophet of Bethel, Caiaphas, are seized and made to speak in spite of themselves; and, with the greatest reluctance, to utter what is farthest from their minds and hearts. Others — in fact all — are purblind to the very oracles, instructions, visions, they announce. “Searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify!” i.e., the prophets themselves did not know what they wrote. What picture can be more impressive than that of the prophet him — self hanging over and contemplating in surprise, in wonder, in amazement, his own autograph —
as if it had been left upon the table there — the relict of some strange and supernatural hand? How does that picture lift away the Bible from all human hands and place it back, as His original deposit, in the hands of God.
Again; it is said that “the Word of the Lord came” to such and such a writer. It is not said that the Spirit came, which is true; but that the Word itself came, the Dabar-Jehovah. And it is said: “Hayo Haya Dabar,” that it substantially came, essentially came; “essendo fuit” — so say Pagninus, Montanus, Polanus — ie: it came germ, seed and husk and blossom — in its totality — words which the Holy Ghost teacheth — the “words.” Again; it is denied, and most emphatically, that the words are the words of the man — of the agent. “The word was in my tongue”. St. Paul asserts that “Christ spake in him” (2 Corinthians 13:3). “Who hath made man’s mouth? Have not I, the Lord? I will put My words into thy mouth.” That looks very much like what has been stigmatized as the “mechanical theory.” It surely makes the writer a mere organ, although not an unconscious, or unwilling, unspontaneous organ. Could language more plainly assert or defend a verbal direct inspiration? In the line with the fact, again it is said that the word came to the writers without any study — “suddenly” — as to Amos where he is taken from
following the flock. Again; when the word thus came to the prophets they had not the power to conceal it. It was “like a fire in their bones” which must speak or write, as Jeremiah says, or consume its human receptacle. And to make this more clear, it is said that holy men were pheromenoi, “moved,” or rather carried along in a supernatural ecstatic current — a delectatio scribendi. They were not left one instant to their wit, wisdom, fancies, memories, or judgments either to order, or arrange, or dispose, or write out. They were only reporters, intelligent, conscious, passive, plastic, docile, exact, and accurate reporters. They were like men who wrote with different kinds of ink. They colored their work with tints of their own personality, or rather God colored it, having made the writer as the writing, and the writer for that special writing; and because the work ran through them just as the same water, running through glass tubes, yellow, green, red, violet, will be yellow, violet and green, and red.
God wrote the Bible, the whole Bible, and the Bible as a whole. He wrote each word of it as truly as He wrote the Decalogue on the tables of stone.
Higher criticism tells us — the “New Departure” tells us — that Moses was inspired, but the Decalogue not. But Exodus and Deuteronomy seven times over declare that God stretched down the tip of His finger from heaven and left the marks, the gravements, the cut characters, the scratches on the stones. (Exodus 24:12). “I will give thee tables of stone, commandments, which I have written” (Exodus 31:18). “And He gave unto Moses, upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone written with the finger of God” (Exodus 32:16).
The tables were the work of God and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables. (Deuteronomy 4:12). “The Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire, and He declared unto you His covenant, even ten commandments and He wrote them upon two tables of stone” (Deuteronomy 5:22). “These words the Lord spake, and He wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me” (Deuteronomy 9:10). “And the Lord delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God”!
Seven times, and to men to whom writing is instinct; to beings who are most of all impressed, not by vague vanishing voices, but by words arrested, fixed, set down; and who themselves cannot resist the impulse to commit their own words to some written deposit, even of stone, or of bark, if they have not the paper; seven times, to men, to whom writing is instinct and who are inclined to rely for their highest conviction on what they have styled “documentary evidence,” i.e., on books; God comes in and declares, “I have written”!
The Scriptures, whether with the human instrument or without the human instrument, with Moses or without Moses, were written by God. When God had finished, Moses had nothing else to do but carry down God’s autograph. That is our doctrine. The Scriptures — if ten words, then all the words — if the law, then the Gospels — the writing, the writings, He Graphe — Hai Graphai expressions repeated more than fifty times in the New Testament alone — this, these were inspired.
Brethren, the danger of our present day — the “down grade” as it has been called, of doctrine, of conviction, of the moral sentiment — a decline more constantly patent, as it is more blatantly proclaimed — does it not find its first step in our lost hold upon the very inspiration of the Word of God?
Does not a fresh conviction here lie at the root of every remedy which we desire, as its sad lack lies at the root of every ruin we deplore?