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certainty are required. It was fitting that an all-provident God should provide man with this means of certitude, and we believe that he has done so, and these considerations are leading us to investigate and establish it. The Prophets and Apostles merited divine faith for what they taught, because they, by miracles, established their divine commission to teach. In such case, this faith was rendered divine by the corroborative attestation of God through these miracles. But how shall man always and in every case be able to discriminate between the divine writings and books of purely human origin? The Prophets are gone, the Apostles are gone; their writings have undergone great vicissitudes. “We live amid the dust of systems and of creeds.” In this remote age, is there any adequate criterion, in virtue of which man can say, this book is of God, and this other is not? Were there not, God would not have sufficiently provided for man; he would no longer be the Heavenly Father. Men, who still believe in a personal God, and a definite form of religion, generally admit that some such criterion must exist, but differ widely in defining it.
The early Anglicans set up as a criterion, the sublimity of the doctrines, and the divine harmony of the elements in Holy Writ.
We admit that such propriety does exist in the Holy Books, but we deny that it can form a criterion by which we may discern the effect of God's authorship always and infallibly from everything else. The mutilated gospel of Marcion, the Koran of Mohammed, the apocryphal gospels, all have more sublimity than the Books of Chronicles and the Book of Nehemias. Yet the Chronicles and Nehemias are divine; and the others are founded in error.
Luther and his followers place their criterion in the effect produced in one's soul by the reading of the book. Food, they say, is judged by its savour; so, also, Holy Scripture, by the soul's taste. That which feeds the heavenly hunger of the soul is of God; that which does not, is spurious. This system once received much favor, but it is now considered untenable by the protestants themselves. John David Michælis, the learned professor of Göttingen, [t 1791] speaks thus of this means: “This interior sensation of the effects of the Holy Ghost, and the conviction of the utility of these writings to better the heart and purify us are entirely uncertain criterions. As regards this interior sensation, I avow that I have never experienced it, and those who have felt it are not to be envied. It cannot evince the divine character of the book, since the Mohammedans feel it as well as christians, and pious sentiments can be aroused by documents purely human, by the writings of philosophers, and even by doctrine founded in error.' Burnett also, in his Exposition of the XXXIX Articles, speaks thus of this subjective criterion: “This is only an argument to him that feels it, if it is one at all; and, therefore, it proves nothing to another person.” No subjective criterion could ever be apt for such use, since it would depend on the subjective dispositions of individuals, and one and the same individual would, at different times, be differently affected by the same book. Moreover, this pious movement can come from other than inspired books. A man will feel more religious emotion from the reading of the Imitation of Christ than from the Book of Judges. But experience itself disproves this system. Honest men attest that they do not feel this pious movement, and the opinion may now be said to be obsolete.
The Calvinists and Presbyterians set up as a criterion, the particular inspiration of the Holy Ghost in the individual's soul. This system is cognate to the Calvinistic theory of the invisible church, and they both fall together. Once establish a visible authoritative Magisterium, and such means of interpreting Holy Scripture would be incompatible with it. It is evident that such a system of private inspiration can never be proven. There never can be any available data to establish such secret action. It must ever remain a gratuitous, groundless assumption. It is exactly opposite to the economy of God. When he would teach the world, he did it by means of divinely commissioned men, directly establishing that such mode of teaching truth would last always. This were absurd, were the evangelization of mankind to be effected by the sole direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost on the heart. To be sure, no man can be brought to Christ without that working of the Holy Ghost in his heart. “Nemo potest venire ad me, nisi Pater traxerit eum." But the error of protestants is to believe that this energy of the Spirit in man's soul excludes the external authoritative Magisterium. The power of the Spirit and the Magisterium are two causes co-operating to produce one effect. All the texts of Scripture alleged by the protestants, in support of this system, simply prove that the Holy Ghost moves man to Christian belief and to Christian action; and the same power energizing in the Church vitalizes it, and renders it capable of its great mission to teach all mankind. We will leave the prosecution of this train of argument to the tract, De Locis Theo
*Einleitung in die Göttlichen Schriften des Neuen Bundes.
logicis, and content ourselves here with a few a posteriori arguments. In the first place, did the Holy Ghost exert such action, he would, doubtless, move to a unanimity of faith; but the exact contrary is in fact verified. The sect of presbyterians are split on some of the basic truths of Christianity. Can the Spirit of truth inspire them with doctrines directly opposed ? The recent Briggs controversy has shown the lack of any religious harmony in the Presbyterian church.
I will here excerpt from Milner's End of Controversy a few examples of men who claimed this inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The instances are based upon incontrovertible histori. cal data. Montanus and his sect first claimed this private inspiration; we may see what spirit led him on, since he and others of his sect hanged themselves. After the great Apostasy, commonly called the Reformation, had been inaugurated by Luther, there arose the sect of the Anabaptists, who professed that it had been commanded them by direct communi. cation from God to kill all the wicked ones, and establish a kingdom of the just.* Bockhold, a tailor of Leyden was moved by the private inspiration of the Spirit to proclaim himself King of Sion. He married by the same impulse eleven wives, all of whom he put to death. He declared that God had given him Amsterdam, through whose streets his followers ran naked crying out; “Woe to Babylon ! woe to the wicked!" Hermann, the Anabaptist was moved to proclaim himself the Messiah, and to order: “Kill the priests; kill all the magis. trates in the world! Repent; your redemption is at hand." +
All these excesses were done upon the principle and under a full conviction of an individual inspiration. In England, Venner was inspired to rush from the meeting-house in Coleman St., proclaiming that he would acknowledge no sovereign but King Jesus, and that he would not sheathe his sword, till he had made Babylon (which emblemized monarchy) a hissing and a curse, not only in England, but also in foreign countries; having assurance that one of them would put to flight a thousand, and two of them, ten thousand." On the scaffold, he protested that he was led by Jesus. The records of George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, furnish abundant evidence of the abominable absurdities into which this supposed inspiration led the Friends. One woman rushed naked into Whitehall Chapel, when Cromwell was there. Another came into the
*Sleidan, De Stat, et Reip. Hist. Abrégé, de la Réforme par Brandt.
parliament house with a trencher, which she there broke in pieces, saying: “Thus shall he be broken in pieces.” Swedenborg declared that he had received, at an eating house in London, the commission from Christ : “I am the Lord Jesus Christ, your Creator and Redeemer. I have chosen you to explain to men the interior and spiritual sense of the Scriptures. I will dictate to you what you are to write.” Here, in the very position of the system, he contradicts himself; for, if Christ gave him a command to teach men, they must needs pay heed to him. Mohammed, and the founder of the foul sect of Mormons claimed private inspiration. Guiteau claimed the moving of the Spirit in the slaying of President Garfield. Wherefore, we maintain that the system of private inspiration, which logically leads to such absurdities, is in itself absurd and untenable.
We have before adduced David Michælis' rejection of the subjective criterions. He substituted for these an objective criterion, but one entirely inadequate to effect the certitude of inspiration. I am not aware that Michælis invented a criterion for the Old Testament; his criterion for the books of the New Testament was that any book that was written by one who had received the “ Munus Apostolicum” was divinely inspired. Of course, Michælis speaks only of such writings as the Apostles wrote on things in some way pertaining to religion. If, for instance, St. Peter bought a horse, and gave therefor a promissory note, that note would not be inspired. We fully admit, in its affirmative sense, the position of Michælis. If one who had received the apostolate wrote a book, it would be inspired. Yet, we deny that this is a criterion. In the first place, a criterion must tell me not only that, if a book be written under certain conditions, it is inspired, but it must tell me that certain definite books UNCONDITIONALLY ARE INSPIRED. What avails it, if a man tell me that, if the Second Epistle of Peter be written by him, it is inspired? What I must know is that it is the word of God. Again, although we admit the affirmative supposition of Michælis proposition to be true, we, by no means, admit it in the exclusive sense ; that is, we do not admit that only those books written by the Apostles are inspired. It is quite certain that Michælis intended the exclusive sense of his criterion, but, thus, it becomes manifestly false. Any criterion that would exclude Mark and Luke from the Evangelists must be rejected, even for that alone. We have in series weighed these several criterions and found them wanting, we now turn to the CATHOLIC CRITERION.
This criterion is no other than the Catholic Church, into
whose custody the Holy Writings have been given. The Church as an organized body has various elements and agencies, which functions to teach man that truth which the Redeemer promised should be taught by her to the end of time. One of these agencies is tradition, which is simply the solemn witness and testimony of what the Church taught and believed from her inception. We can see, at a glance, that the fountain source of our criterion is God himself, who, as the First Cause, wrought this effect in the mind of the writer. God through his living Magisterium of truth tells us what is Holy Scripture, and what is not, and those who refuse to hear that authoritative voice have come to reject even the Scriptures themselves. Such rejection must logically follow from disbelief in the Church. Augustine was never truer than when he said: “Were it not that the Authority of the Church moved me, I would not believe the Gospels." Rejecting the authority of the Church, the protestants have passed through a wondrous transition. Beginning by adoring even the Masoretic points, they have gradually lapsed to such a point, where those who believe in the Bible as the infallible Word of God are the exceptions. It excited no great surprise among protestants, when Dr. Francis L. Patton of Princeton University, at the session of the Presbyterian General Assembly in 1895, gave utterance to the following views: “It is enough when we are assured that the Bible is the infallible rule of faith and practice, and that it is given by inspiration of God. This question can not be adequately handled by quoting proof texts out of the Bible to prove its inspiration. It involves a great deal more than some suppose. Men are handling a very large topic when, under the conditions of modern thought, they ask, What is the Bible? What does it mean? How did this great literature step into the place it holds, and by what right does it claim to rule the hearts and consciences of men? I have great faith in the outcome of this discussion. I believe that we shall know the Bible, and value it and reverence it as we never did before. But I am not, I can not be, blind to the fact that the discussion is a broad one and a deep one; that it involves history and philosophy and literary criticism, that it was inevitable; that it is irre. pressible; that it could not have come earlier; that it could not be postponed. The attitude which men are taking in science,
. philosophy, and criticism makes it a foregone conclusion that the Bible must be subjected to the critical handling that is the subject of to-day."
The literature of the day abounds in expressions of defec