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were purified and elevated, not changed. Paul the apostle, the meek and humble disciple of Christ, brought over into his regenerate state all the individuality that belonged to Saul of Tarsus, the proud and haughty persecutor - his native temperament and peculiar turn of mind, as well as his education at the feet of Gamaliel and his rabbinic lore; in a word, all that belonged to him not as a sinner, but as a man. And he used all this individuality, not in show, but in reality. As remarked in a previous number, his epistles are thoroughly Pauline, as well in style and diction as in the mode of argumentation and presentation of truth; just as an oak-tree is oak throughout, not in its leaves and acorns alone, but also in its inmost texture. The Holy Spirit did not imitate his style and mode of reasoning; but he filled his mind with light and knowledge, thus enabling him to use in a free and natural way his peculiar endowments and acquisitions for the glory of God and the edification of his church. The same remarks hold good of the apostles Peter and John. Each one thinks and writes like himself, so that we have the same diversity in the writings of inspired, as of uninspired, men. If a further illustration of this truth were needed, it might be found in the writings of the three prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. What can be more unlike in style and manner than the books which bear the names of these three men! They are pervaded throughout with the individuality of their authors; because it was the plan of the Divine Spirit to use this individuality, not to supersede it. The same diversity is conspicuous in other books of the Old Testament; for example, in the writings of Hosea, Joel, and Amos.
Let us now consider briefly some inferences which naturally follow from the truth under consideration.
And, first, with respect to the matter of the sacred writers. The law of harmony and adaptation pervades the realm of redemption, not less than that of nature. When a man was wanted to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and to be the mediator through whom they should receive the divine law,
Moses was chosen, who had added to a mind thoroughly practical and juridical in its structure a twofold training: first, on the active side, by an education at Pharaoh's court in all the wisdom of Egypt; secondly, on the passive side, by a sojourn of forty years in the land of Midian, in the humble capacity of a shepherd. David, the man after God's own heart, whom he raised up to be the ruler of his people, had the natural endowments which fitted him to be a military commander, and to these was superadded a long and severe discipline during the reign of Saul. The man whom God placed on the throne of Israel had been thoroughly trained for the situation. It was not so with Absalom. He made a dash for the throne without any such preparation, and with a result familiar to all. The same great law of adaptation appears in the case of the inspired writers. There can be no doubt that Isaiah was prepared, as well by native endowments as by education, to be the recipient of those bright visions of the future glory of Zion which have been the stay and solace of her children through centuries of darkness and trial. Not less manifest is the adaptation of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, each to the work assigned him by the Divine Spirit. The Gospel of John is pre-eminently the gospel of of our Lord's person. The glorious revelations which it contains were received from God through the Saviour's personal teachings and the superadded illumination of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with his promise: "He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you;"1"When he the Spirit of truth is come, he shall guide you into all the truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he shall show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you." But the other apostles enjoyed the same personal teachings of Christ, and had the same Holy Spirit. How is it that the Gospel of John moves in such a peculiar sphere of revelation? It cannot be explained simply from
John xiv. 26.
2 John xvi. 13, 14.
the circumstances and wants of the churches at the time when John wrote. Doubtless, the apostle had respect to these; but how was he able to meet them in a way at once so original and so effective for all time? If one refer it to the sovereignty of the Divine Spirit, let him remember that his sovereignty is not arbitrariness. He works in harmony with the character of the men through whom he makes his revelations. The bosom disciple had from the beginning, as we may reasonably believe, listened with peculiar interest to those discourses of our Lord in which he unfolded the truth respecting his person and office as the Redeemer of the world. This was the part of the Saviour's teachings for which he had a special receptivity. They sank down into his memory; he pondered them long and earnestly; and now, in his old age, he was led by the Holy Ghost to record them, at a time when they were specially needed to counteract the errors of the false teachers. In a similar way might it be shown that the apostle Paul was wonderfully fitted by his native endowments, his education, and his early associations for the sphere of labor assigned to him by his divine Master. He had been a Pharisee, and he understood Jewish legalism as it lay in the minds of the Pharisees. When grace had delivered him from his error, and revealed to him the way of salvation through faith in Christ, his strong and acute logical mind and his education at the feet of Gamaliel found ample scope in unfolding the doctrine of justification by faith, and in defending the liberty of the Gentiles against those who sought to impose upon them the yoke of the Mosaic law. He did the work to which he was called thoroughly; and he did it, so far as the great principles of the gospel are concerned, for all coming generations. The plan of the Holy Ghost from the beginning was to employ each of the inspired writers in the sphere for which he was fitted. Revelation was not only progressive, but given in many parts (оλνμерws). Jesus Christ alone had the whole truth, withholding during his personal ministry only that part of it which his disciples were not yet prepared to re
ceive.1 To each of the apostles, as to each of the prophets before them, was assigned his measure of revelation. All that any one of them spoke or wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost was truth; but it was not the whole of the truth. The revelations given by each supplemented those received by all the rest; so that it is in the sum of scripture that we find its divine fulness and sufficiency.
Secondly, with respect to style and diction. The form and costume of a writer's thoughts is an outgrowth from the texture of his mind. So far as what he says is genuine and natural, it is the image of his inward personality. A page of Cicero is distinguished immediately from one of Tacitus, because each is instinct throughout with the writer's inward life with his peculiar mode of thinking, reasoning, and describing. As long as Cicero remains Cicero, he must speak and write like Cicero, not like Tacitus. All this individuality inspiration leaves intact. It does not imitate it, nor overbear it, but uses it. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, speaks and writes like Paul, because he remains Paul in the inmost texture of his mind. And so it is with John and all the other sacred penmen. Hence appears the irrelevancy of the question, once discussed with. so much warmth, whether the writers of the New Testament used pure Greek; as if the Holy Ghost were responsible for the classic character of their style, as well as for the great and mighty truths which he communicated through them to mankind. To go back, for a moment, to the Old Testament. The Aramaisms of Ezekiel and the other anomalies which appear in his writings came not from the immediate inspiration of the Spirit, but from the age and circumstances in which the prophet lived. It would be ridiculous, except in a purely philological respect, to raise any questions concerning the purity of Ezekiel's Hebrew as compared with that of the earlier writers - a thing about which the Divine Spirit does not concern himself. God took Ezekiel, with his Aramaisms and all his other peculiarities, and used him as the organ of
communication with his people. In the same way he took the writers of the New Testament, each with his individual culture in language, as in other respects. How far the style of the New Testament conforms to the classic standard of purity, or how far it departs from it, is a matter of philological, not of theological interest.
The obscurity of style which belongs to some of the sacred penmen is to be explained by the same comprehensive principle. We refer not now to difficulties of interpretation extrinsic to the writer's mode of presentation,-such, namely, as arise from the nature of the themes discussed, or such as have their ground in ignorance of the meaning of the terms employed by him, or in allusion to unknown usages or events of history. Over and above such extrinsic difficulties, there are those which may properly be called intrinsic to the style itself. No one, probably, will deny that obscurities of this kind belong to Hosea, for example, under the Old Testament, and Paul, under the New. Keil, having ascribed to Hosea a style "highly poetical, rich in bold and strong images, full of power in thoughts and beauty in presentation," adds that he is, nevertheless, " often abrupt, leaping from one image to another, and not free from difficulties and obscurities "1; a quality of style which Jerome sums up in the words: "Osee commaticus est et quasi per sententias loquens "2— "Hosea's discourse is broken up into short clauses, and he speaks, as it were, by maxims." That the main difficulties connected with Paul's writings grow out of the nature of the themes discussed by him is freely conceded. But, beyond these, there are obscurities belonging properly to his style; as when, for example, he pauses in the midst of a sentence to introduce and amplify a parenthetic thought, sometimes never returning to complete it in regular grammatical form. We need not ascribe such peculiarities of style to the immediate agency of the Holy Spirit, as if he had dictated to Hosea in Hosea's abrupt and sententious style, and to Paul in his peculiar discursive style, parentheses and all. No. 1 Introduction to the Old Testament, § 82. 2 Praef. in xii. Proph.