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and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting. Whatsoever I speak, therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”i And, because he knows all truth, and is able and willing to teach all that men need to know, he says of himself: “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life”; “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness ;” 3 “ As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” 4 – words which would be blaspiiemy in the lips of a fallible man. The same great truth is taught in another form, when the Saviour says: “ Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away.”5 Here the Saviour places himself side by side with Jehovah, who says, in the Old Testament: "Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beDeath ; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner; but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” 6 The same attribute of infallibility is implied in all those passages in which he offers himself to men as worthy of unlimited confidence, such as the following: “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock”;7 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls,” 8 and many like passages that might be added. The Saviour's infallibility as a teacher being thus established on an immovable foundation, we have a sure point of departure from which to proceed in our inquiries respecting the inspiration of the New Testament record, which is that now under consideration.
1 John xii. 49, 50. 4 John ix, 5.
7 Matt. vii. 24.
2 John viii. 12.
8 John xii. 46.
6 Isa. li. 6. 8 Matt. xi. 28, 29.
VOL. XXIX. No. 113.
First of all, it is necessary that we carefully consider the relation to Christ held by the writers of the New Testament; since, as already remarked, it is here, if anywhere, that we shall find the warrant for receiving their writings as inspired. There are but two grades of relationship to Christ with which we can connect the high endowment now under consideration -- that of apostles, and that of their associates in the work of the Christian ministry. Our plan will be to consider, first, the case of the apostles; secondly, that of their acknowledged companions and helpers in the work of preaching the gospel ; and finally, to add some remarks that apply equally to the writings of both classes.
The Inspiration of the Apostles. Early in our Lord's ministry he chose twelve apostles, “that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils.” 2 In this brief notice we have all the distinguishing marks of an apostle. He was chosen that he might be with Christ from the beginning, and thus be to the people an eye-witness of his whole public life. When an apostle was to be chosen in the place of Judas, Peter laid particular stress on this qualification : “ Wherefore, of these men who have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” 3 In the case of Paul alone was this condition of apostleship wanting; and the want was made good to him by the special revelations of Jesus Christ, on which he lays particular stress. An apostle, again, was one who received bis commission immediately from the Saviour — a qualification which Paul strenuously asserted in his own behalf, saying: “Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, 1 See Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. xxviii. p. 637.
2 Mark iii. 14, 15. 8 Acts i. 21, 22.
* Gal. i. 11, 12.
who raised him from the dead."1 An apostle, once more, was one who received directly from Christ the power of working miracles. This was the seal of his apostleship before the world. In the three particulars that have been named the apostles held to Christ the nearest possible relation, and were by this relation distinguished from all other men. Their mission was to preach the gospel and establish Christian churches in all the world : “ Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you ; and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” 2 Hay we evidence that these men, holding to Christ such an intimate relation, and receiving from him such a broad commission, sealed by the power of working miracles, were divinely qualified, through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, to preach and record the facts and doctrines of the gospel without error ?
1. Our first argument that they were thus qualified is drawn from the analogy of the Old Testament record; the Old Testament record, namely, as it is uniformly regarded by our Lord. We leave out of view, for the present, the judgments expressed by the New Testament writers themselves, so far forth as they may be regarded as authorities. Our sole aim is to gather from them the Saviour's position in respect to the books of the Old Testament. No unprejudiced reader can study the gospel narratives without the profound conviction that he everywhere assumed the divine authority of the Hebrew scriptures. This conviction is forced upon us not simply by his express declarations, but also by the reverential attitude which he everywhere takes tuwards them. In his first encounter with the prince of darkness he drew his weapons from the storehouse of scripture. The threefold assault of the devil he met with the threefold answer: It is written. No one who reads the narrative with an unprejudiced mind can doubt that he received all that is written in
1 Gal. i. 1.
2 Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.
the Hebrew scriptures as of divine authority. So also in his encounters with the Pharisees, his constant appeal is to the record of the Old Testament - Have ye not read? What is written in the law? How readest thou? Objections drawn from the record he meets, not by repudiating it wholly or in part, but by a fair interpretation of its meaning. A notable example of this we have in his solution of the question put to him by the Pharisees respecting the Mosaic law of divorce 1 In answer to his exposition of the primitive law of marriage, they asked: “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?” The reply of Jesus was: “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives ; but from the beginning it was not so.” In another place he said of the hundred and tenth Psalm : “David himself said in the Holy Ghost, the Lord said unto my Lord,” 2 etc. He recognized this psalm as written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; nor is there the shadow of a reason for supposing that he wished to distinguish it from the psalms as a whole. He simply referred to it as containing one of the declarations concerning the Messiah made, like all the rest of them, “ in the Holy Ghost.” Again, after his resurrection he said to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus: “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken ! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory ?”3 How necessary ? Plainly, because there must have been a fulfilment of all things written concerning him in the scriptures of the Old Testament. Accordingly,“ beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself";4 and afterwards said to the assembly of the apostles in Jerusalem : “ These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, 1 Matt. xix. 3-9.
2 Mark xii. 36. 3 Ουχί ταύτα έδει παθείν τον Χριστόν και εισελθείν εις την δόξαν αυτού; Luke xxiv. 26.
4 Luke xxiv. 25–27.
and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me.” 1
is, that the Saviour received the whole Old Testament as a divinely authoritative record of God's dealings
men, and of the truths which he has revealed for their salvation.
Will it be said, in reply, that herein the Saviour accommodated himself to the current belief of the age ? That he spoke and acted in harmony with that belief, ancient and venerable, coming down from the days of Ezra, is certain. When Paul affirmed of the Old Testament as a whole : “ all scripture is given by inspiration of God”;3 and Peter, that I Lake xxiv. 44. 2 Matt. v. 17, 18.
8 2 Tim. üi. 16.