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way of peace ; his long struggle against inward and outward foes; lis earnest desires after a supreme power in which he may repose, whose aid he may invoke; his perpetual yearning for the sympathy of a great Heart, for a communion withont which there must ever be an aching void ; his painful consciousness of imperfection, disclosed to him more and more as he advances; his unspeakable aspirations that cannot be satisfied with earth's treasures, howsoever they may be heaped together; and his steady outreaching for another life where hope shall be exchanged for fruition,—these exercises and states exhibit man's spiritual necessities, all of which are met in the Scriptures, and there alone. The whole race may come and here find its wants supplied.
The Bible is adapted to every age and condition of human life. The young may read with erer increasing delight and profit its matchless biographies, especially those of Joseph and Samuel and Daniel, of Jesus and John and Timothy-object-lessons these of “the good, the true, and the beautiful”; and into the memory of the forming mind may be cast those golden texts, the maxims of imperishable worth, which shall be germs of exalted character. They who are in middle life will find here precious words for every hour of joy or sorrow, for every duty or trial ; words “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." The aged, “when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong inen shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few,” may turn to these pages and forget their physical infirunities, while they meditate on truths that lift their souls to heaven. The ignorant, the learned, the poor, the rich, the bond, the free, the low, the high, will find in this volume the record of those whose lot was like theirs, and who showed how their several stations may be best filled,-how adversity may be
borne, how prosperity may be blessed, and “how all things may work together for good.” This Book has a voice of warning for the sinner, a voice of invitation for the penitent, a voice of pity for the unfortunate, a voice of caution for the exalted, a voice of hope for the despondent, a voice of exultation for the dying.
The adaptation of the Bible to human need increases with the flight of time. Other books grow old and require revision, and are finally laid aside for others that contain fresher thought in recent dress. The text-books of the schools, used fifty years ago, have all been rejected. Histories of nations and of epochs, biographies of men, statements of doctrine must be rewritten at frequent intervals to meet the change in public opinion. How pompous and imperious is Modern Thought! Who dares to resist its dictum must endure odium, Even the few classics, the products of master minds in a foriner age, are no longer printed as they were written. Expurgated copies alone are tolerated in our families. But the Bible, the oldest, is at the same time the newest of books. No one seeks to make it other than it was at the beginning, in the hope of improving it or readjusting it to the spirit of the times. The universal desire is to preserve the original and make all transcripts conform to that. This Book, begun thirty-three centuries ago and completed after fifteen centuries, occupies to-day in the esteem of mankind a larger place than at any previous time. And it holds that position, not because of the decrees of any church council, not because of any legislative enactments, not because of any penalties proclaimed against those who reject it, nor yet because its writers are believed to have been in pired, but because the men of the nineteenth century have discovered in it what they need. And, whatever may be said of its origin, it will never be surrendered, so long as its exalted ministry continues.
And now for the “conclusion of the whole matter." Here is a very ancient volume, produced by many hands working without concert. In structure it is a masterpiece; its parts, like some beautiful mosaic, are laid together as if according to a preconceived pattern. Its truths, varied and far-reaching, meet the needs of every soul in every land, under every circumstance of life. They are "seed to the sower and bread to the eater." He who feeds on this bread, exclaims with Israel's songster, “I have eaten niy honey-comb with my honey.” The centuries come and go; times and seasons change; institutions rise and fall; civilizations grow old and perish—but this Book liveth and abideth forever. It leads humanity onward and upward, and at each stage of progress points to better things to come. It is, indeed, a lamp unto the feet and a light unto the path of the toiling millions who seek to know that which is highest and best. What shall we say concerning such a marvellous volume? Is it not the Book OF God?
THE BEARING OF PROPHECY ON
RT. REV. WM. R. NICHOLSON, D.D.
My theme is the Inspiration of the prophets. But I must limit my theme. For prophecy is a word of large meaning. The prophet had to declare God's will on whatever subject. As occasion required, and as the Lord directed, he laid down principles of religious belief and ethical obligation, he counselled, he rebuked, he comforted, he exhorted, and he foretold future events. It is this last-mentioned one of his God-given functions, that the formula of my subject intends. The prophet, as predicting future events, is his sole identity as now he comes before us.
In the utterance of their predictions, were the prophets supernaturally inspired ? Was their inspiration not only Divine, but miraculously Divine? Did they speak only from an immediate afflatus of God the Holy Ghost ? While it was they who spoke, were they yet but mouthpieces of God, who was Himself speaking in and through them, infallibly, and for mankind's authoritative guidance ? Were their predictions such as that they were superhuman, and were the words of their predictions, although being, at least in most instances, unrepressedly their own words, just such as God meant them to be? These are our questions.
But even our restricted theme, merely predictive prophecy, is so large a subject, the predictions being so numerous, the details so diversified, it would require no small
volume to give a commensurate exhibit of its bearings on Inspiration. In the time allotted, I shall only be able, after stating the principles of the argument, to apply those priociples to a few of the predictions.
The argument is twofold. There are predictions fulfilled, and there are predictions unfulfilled. Each class has its place in the discussion.
In the first place, as to prophecy fulfilled.
Here, the general structure of the argument is simple, exceedingly. It is the following syllogism :
Not man, but solely God, can foretell events and circumstances of a distant future.
But precisely this is what the Hebrew prophets have done.
Therefore, the Hebrew prophets were not self-moved in their predictions, but God did move them.
The major premise of this syllogism is self-luminous and irresistible. That no man can discern what events and circumstances distant years shall bring forth—that God alone can do this-is what all men instantly see to be absolutely true. The efforts of infidels to make it appear that the alleged predictions of the Bible were written after the events, are a concession that, if the Bible prophets did really foretell remote and improbable events, then were they supernaturally inspired of God. It is the minor premise that we need to discuss. Did the prophets really predict hidden things of the future?
This brings us to the question, How shall it be ascertained whether or no the prophets did lay open unguessable secrets of long years to come? In other words, What are the criteria of a genuine prediction ?
First, the alleged prediction must have been made known prior to the event. This is a principle self-evident. Only, it must be shown that the precedence of the prediction is an historical fact. In literature, fancy is sometimes