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INSPIRATION


in regard to the prophets. “ While entranced and deprived of their natural powers of reason by the influence of the Divine Spirit, they uttered that which was wrought in them, the spirit using them as its instrument, as a iiute player might blow a flute.” Other figures used are these; the inspired writer was the lyre, and the Holy Spirit the plectrum, or the writer was the vase, and the Holy Spirit filled it. The extravagances of Montanism threw some discredit on this conception, and we find Miltiades writing a treatise with the title That the Prophet ought not to speak in Ecstasy. But Gregory the Great called the writers of Scripture the ealami of the Holy Spirit. After the Reformation the Protestant Scholastics revived this view. Gerhard, Calovius and Quenstedt agree in ascribing to the Scriptures absolute infallibility in all matters, and describe the writers as “ amanuenses of God, or Christ, ” “ hands of the Spirit, ” “ clerks, ” “ secretaries, ” “ manus et Spiritus sive.” The Formula consensus Helvetica probably reaches the extreme statement, when it declares that the Old Testament was “tum quoad consonas, tum quoad vocalia, sive puncta ipsa, sive punctorum saltem potestatem, et tum quoad res, tum quoad verba 0e61rvev¢rros.” Seeing that the vowel-point system was introduced by Jewish scribes centuries after the books were written, this statement shows how recklessly theory may override fact. Of this theory, which has now few advocates, it is suihcient to say that it ignores all the data the Bible itself ofiers. On the one hand it is impossible to maintain the inerrancy of the Bible in matters of science, philosophy, history, and even in doctrine and morals there is progress; on the other hand the personal characteristics, the historical circumstances, the individual differences of the writers are so reproduced in the writings that the action of the human factor must be frankly and fully recognized as well as the divine activity.

The second theory is that of dynamic influence or degrees of inspiration. While the Spirit controls and directs, the human personality is not entirely suppressed. Even Philo recognized that all portions of Scripture were not equally inspired, and assigned to Moses the highest degree of inspiration. The Jewish rabbis placed the Law, the Prophets and the Writings on a descending scale of inspiration. “ The school men followed them, and some distinguished four degrees of influence: superintendence, which saved from positive error; elevation, which imparted loftiness to the thought; direction, which prompted the writer what to insert and what to omit; and suggestion, which inspired both thoughts and words ” (M. Dods, The Bible, its Origin and Nature, p. US, 1905). The co-operation of the divine and the human factors is recognized in Augustine's saying about the authors: “ Inspiratus a Deo, sed tamen homo.” It is interesting to note that Plutarch had to account for the same human peculiarities and imperfections in the Pythian responses as the Christian apologist in the Bible, and he offers a similar explanation. “ If she were obliged to write down, and not to utter the responses, we should not, I suppose, believe the handwriting to be the god's, and find fault with it, because it is inferior in point of calligraphy to the imperial re scripts; for neither is the old woman's voice, nor her diction, nor her metre the god's; but it is the god alone who presents the visions to this woman, and kindles light in her soul regarding the future; for this is the inspiration ” (op. eit. p. 119). While degrees of inspiration must be recognized, the distinction must be made objectively, and not subjectively. We may say that where the revelation is the clearest, there inspiration is the fullest, that nearness to the perfect fulfilment in Christ of God's progressive purpose determines the degree of inspiration; but we cannot formulate any elaborate theory of the operation of the Spirit from the standpoint of the psychic states of the writers. While subjectively we cannot separate the divine and the human spirit in the process, so objectively we cannot distinguish the divine substance and the human form in the product of inspiration. This theory neither helps us to explain the origin of the writings nor guides us in estimating the contents.

The third theory, which is a modification of the second, is that of essential inspiration, which distinguishes matters of doctrine and conduct as closely related to God's purpose in the Scriptures from the remaining contents of the Scripture, and claims for the Bible only such inspiration as was ecessary to secure accuracy in regard to these. The theology and the morality of the Bible are inspired, but not its history, science, philosophy. This distinction is already anticipated in Thomas Aquinas' theory of two kinds of inspiration, “the direct, which is to be found where doctrinal and moral truths are directly and the indirect, which appears in historical passages, the doctrinal and moral can only be indirectly evolved use of allegorical interpretation.” This view has the of such names as Erasmus, Hugo Grotius, Richard W. Paley and J. ]. I. von Dollinger. It is to be observed lays emphasis on the necessity of correct views about 647

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doctrine and conduct; and this is an intellectualise standpoint which is not in accord either with the character or the influence of the Bible. Further, it does not explain how the same human mind can by divine inspiration obtain infallible knowledge in some matters, and yet be left prone to err in others. Again it does not take account of the fact that the teaching of the Old Testament as regards belief and morals is progressive; and that the imperfections of the earlier stages of the development are corrected in the later. That it is an advance on the other theories must be acknowledged, as from this standpoint errors in history or science are no difficulties to the believer in the Bible asso inspired. It is necessary here to add that this emphasis on the infallibility of the knowledge of doctrine and morals communicated by the Scriptures had as its legitimate inference in the patriotic and medieval period the claim that the Church alone was the infallible interpreter of the Scriptures.-The fourth theory-that of the Reformers (though not of their successors, the Protestant scholastic)-might be called that of vital inspiration, as its emphasis is on religious and moral life rather than on knowledge. While giving to the Scriptures supreme authority in all matters of faith and doctrine, the Reformers laid stress on the use of the Bible for edification; it was for them primarily a means of grace for awakening and nourishing the new life in the hearts of God's people. By the enlightening work of the Spirit of God the World of God is discovered in the Scriptures: it is the testimonium S piritus Sancti in the soul of the Christian that makes the Bible the power and wisdom of God unto salvation. By thus laying stress' on this redemptive purpose of the divine revelation, the Reformers were delivered from the bondage of the letter of Scripture, and could face questions of date and authorship of the writings frankly and boldly. Hence a pioneer of the higher criticism in Great Britain, W. Robertson Smith, was able to appeal to this Reformation doctrine. “ If I am asked why I receive Scripture as the Word of God, and as the only perfect rule of faith and life, I answer with all the fathers of the Protestant Church, ' Because the Bible is the only record of the redeeming love of God, because in the Bible alone I find God drawing near to man in Christ Jesus, and declaring to us in Him His will for our salvation. And this record I know to be true by the witness of His Spirit in my heart, whereby I am assured that none other but God Himself is able to speak such Words to my sou1”' (in Denney's Studies in Theology, p. 205). The Reformers' application of this theory to the Bible was necessarily conditioned by the knowledge of their age; but it is a theory wide enough to leave room for our growing modern knowledge of the Bible.,

Briefly stated, these are the conclusions which our modern knowledge allows. (1) Inspiration, or the presence and influence of the Divine Spirit in the soul of man, cannot be limited to the writers of the Scriptures; but, comparing the Bible with the other sacred literature of the world, its religious and moral superiority cannot be denied, and we may, therefore, claim for it as a whole a fuller inspiration. (2) As different writings in the Bible have more or less important functions in the progressive divine revelation, we may distinguish degrees of inspiration. (3) This inspiration is primarily personal, an inward enlightening and quickening, both religious and moral, of the writer, finding

an expression conditioned by his individual characteristics in