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(p. 74.)

[The simplest view of Inspiration the truest and the best.]

“I SUPPOSE all thoughtful persons will allow that intellectual licentiousness is the danger of this our intellectual age. For speculation indulges our pride. Faith is an inglorious thing; any one can believe, a cottager just as well as a philosopher: but not all can speculate. The privilege of an intellectually advanced person is that. And the more novel the view he offers, the more evident the proof it gives of an independent mind. Therefore the danger of a highly advanced state of society like our own, is Theory, as distinguished from Catholic Truth. And the most inviting field of theory, is that high subject, the intercourse which hath gone on between the Intellect above us, and our own; the communications which have been made from the Creator to His creatures. In a word, man is under a temptation to frame a theory of Inspiration; whether his attempts to frame one have been successful, is a matter of much interest to consider.

“I am going to offer a few plain remarks on what the Bible professes to be. I say, professes to be, because those whom I speak to will believe that what it professes to be, it is. I mean they will not suspect the writers of any dishonesty or ambitious pretence. But there may be some readers of the Bible, among persons whose profession is the exercise of the intellect, who are impatient at being left behind in the intellectual race; who, when continental critics are going on into theories of inspiration, do not like the imputation (so freely cast upon us by foreign writers) of being unequal to such things, of having no turn for philosophy. So they must have a theory, or go along with one; they 266must receive the Bible,—for they do receive it,—in some intellectual way; through some lens which they hold up; with a consciousness of some intellectual action in receiving it, something which not every one could practise, something beyond the mere simple apprehension of terms, and simple faith in embracing propositions.

“But in striking contrast with all such views and all such desires, stands the singular character of the sacred volume itself. It manifestly addresses itself to a mind in an attitude of much simplicity; to a mind coming to receive a theory, not to hold up one; corning to be shaped, not holding out a mould to shape a communication made. For it presents itself as a document containing a message from on high; as conveying the Word of God; nor can all that is ever said on the subject get beyond this plain account of its contents, the Word of Gm’ Nor need any one who desires to impress on his own mind and that of others the true character of the sacred page, try to do more than to remind himself that it professes to convey to him the Word of God.”—Sermons by the Rev. C. P. Eden, pp. 148-150.

“What I desire to impress upon myself and those who hear me is this, that the words of God are always perfect, always complete; and that the feeling with which a poor cottager sits down to his Bible is the right one, and that the student hath the best hope of successful study who in attitude of mind is most likened to him.”—Ibid., p. 192.

“The conclusion, then, is this; that Faith hath not been wrong through these many years, in her simple acceptance of God’s Word. To come round to simplicity, is what we have always had to do in the great questions of Divinity. There have been great questions; they have agitated the Church; but, as I said, to come round to simplicity hath ever been her work first or last. When in the fourth century men refined upon the doctrine of the holy Trinity, and Arians and semi-Arians would be telling us how these things could be, the unity of God in three Persons; to come round to the simplicity of the Athanasian doctrine, and to disown the several explanatory statements which, offering to explain, explained away, was the Church’s work. I am not sure that since the days of the Arian dispute, a more important question has arisen than that which seems likely to be ere long forcing itself upon us, of the inspiration of Holy Writ. I freely permit myself to anticipate that the simplest possible view of the subject, that on which rich and poor may meet together, is the one to which we shall come round.”—Ibid., pp. 172-3.

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