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will himself be a diligent student of the Word. He will bathe in God's revelation and be permeated by it, and so be proof against all the shafts of ignorance and conceit. He will become familiar with every detail of the sacred history, chronology, ethnology, geography, prophecy, precept, and doctrine, and will take nothing at second hand. He will not go to Pope or Council, nor to Calvin or Schleiermacher to know what to preach, but his delight will be in the law of the Lord, and in His law will he meditate day and night.
It is a lamentable fact, that in too many of our seminaries where preachers are prepared for their work, the Word of God is not taught, but in its stead the philosophic schemes of so-called “fathers” and great divines are given as the basis of doctrinal belief. It is true, that these schemes are bronght to the Scripture for support, and texts are quoted in their defence. It is true also that some of these schemes are consonant with Scripture more or less. But, with these admissions, the mistake still exists, that the Word of God plays a secondary part in the instruction. It is not taught; that is, it is not made the authoritative text-book. It is even sometimes introduced as a subject for criticism, and men like Reuss and Robertson Smith are brought in as the critical guides or, at least, helpers. As if a school of the prophets was intended to examine the credentials of God's Word, and not to take it humbly and gratefully for personal use and for use before the people. Some theological schools miglit, without exaggeration, be called “schools for turning believers into doubters.” The excuse, that men who are going to be preachers should know all that is said against the credibility, genuineness, and authenticity of the Scriptures, is a flimsy one. If that were the object, these objections would be considered only by way of parenthesis, and the overwhelming evidence of the Scriptures would
be the main current of thought; but this is not the way it is done. On the contrary, the objections are magnified, and their authors are commended to the students for their perusal, and the hint is often thrown out that conservative views of the inspiration of God's Word are antiquated, obsolete, and marks of ignorance. We have thus, in the very places where, most of all, we should expect to see the profoundest reverence for God's Word, and its faithful study for the understanding of the Divine will, the machinery for undermining the doctrine of Scripture inspiration and authority, on which all Christian truth rests, and that, too, in the young minds which are being prepared to become Christ's preachers to a sinful and dying world. It is a most painful thought, and it becomes the Church of Jesus Christ to arise to a sense of the evil, and to correct it before the whole Church is poisoned by this insidious influence.
We wish our young Timothys to go out to their work with the one controlling desire to put God's Word before the people and to avoid questions and strifes of words which do not minister to godly edifying, knowing that the power to convert and edify is not the wisdom of man, but the power of God.
In these days when so much is made of science, let them leave science alone. All the knowledge of the material world, which science deals in, has nothing to do with the soul's salvation. That is in a different sphere altogether. While it is in accordance with propriety that a preacher should have a general acquaintance with life and things about him, which would include the main principles of natural science (which is simply to say that he ought to be an educated man), yet it is not through material science that he is to teach heavenly truths, nor is he to waste his time on protoplasm, bathybins, and natural selection, into · which and like subjects Satan would gladly draw him, that he
may not present the subjects of sin and the cross of Christ. If a preacher illustrate Scripture doctrine from facts in the natural world, it is well. He follows the Master's example. But if he puts the natural world in its scientific aspects forward as the text of his discourse, he is using a Bible of a very weak and uncertain sort, and of which he knows very little, and he is making the Word of God subordinate to his own inferences and guesses from nature. Science and Religion are too often spoken of as if they occupied the same plane. Both those who say they are antagonistic, and those who say they are at one, equally talk of the two as on a level. You might as well talk of bread-baking and religion as if they were co-ordinates. Of course there is a connection between science and religion. So there is between bread-baking and religion. The scientific man ought to be religious. So ought the breadbaker. Science can furnish examples of God's wonders in nature. So can bread-baking. But such connections cannot put the subjects on the same level. Science is merely the study of matter, an examination into natural sequences; but what has that to do with man's immortal soul, and the Word of God to that soul? Who dares to bring the latter down to the level of the former ? What has the analysis of any body and its division into carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, to do with my eternal relation to God as a responsible and sinful being? Why mingle things so utterly diverse! And yet this babble about science and religion (where science is always ever put first), is heard ad nauseam from those who are commissioned to preach the Word. Is this Paul's way? Is this John's way? Is this Christ's way? Then why should it be the way of our modern Timothys ? Science, at its utmost reach, can never touch the sphere of the soul's pressing wants. All its truths together' can make no impression on a guilty conscience needing the divine pardon. Nature is as dumb
as any of its own stones in the matter of the soul's salvation. Then why meddle with it in the pulpit? Why bow to it as a teacher? Why be guilty of the blasphemy of putting it on a level with the Word of God ?
It is as preachers depart from that Word that their preaching becomes barren and fruitless. The Divine Spirit will only accompany the Divine Word. Ilis mighty power will act only in His own way and by His own means. The Word is supernatural, and woe to the preacher who leaves the supernatural for the natural; who sets aside the sword of the Spirit to use in its stead a blade of his own tempering!
It is a happy feature of our day, as over against the evils of which we have spoken, that God has caused His people to study the Bible as never before, and they are gathering in Sunday-schools and Bible-classes to counteract the mischief which so many pulpits are making. The faithful study of the Word will be blessed to the overthrow of the foes of the truth, and a new generation will arise strony in the Scriptures to purify the Church and rid it of its false teachers. God's truth needs no human additions. It is ample in itself to fit all the needs of the soul. One deeply versed in that truth is armed against all enemies, however forniidable, however insidious. Let us do all we can to make the Bible the constant study of the Church of Christ, knowing that in this study is the safety of the Church and the hope of the world.
THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD.
EVANG. GEO. C. NEEDHAM.
The Holy Spirit sustains varied relations to the Holy Scriptures. He is independent of them in personal sovereignty, yet identified with them in official ministry. The Spirit is known only through His word, eren as a man is known by his words, which are the outward expression of his thoughts. “ As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Yet not always is the man hereby fully known. Not so, however, with the Spirit, for through the revelation of Himself, we have accurate knowledge of Him—the IIoly Spirit. For He wears no mask, adopts no disguise, is not hypocritical, is no trickster, but is transparent as the sea of glass before the throne, clear as the sunbeam, in whom is no darkness at all. Through the mirror of His Word, He reflects His pure nature, His manifold characters, and the purposes of His ministry. By that Word, also, by the thunder of its power, by the sharpness of its blade, by the sweetness of its taste, by the richness of its mines, by the comfort of its promises, and by the nourishment of its doctrines, do we further know the Spirit in the majesty of His person, and in His multiform ministry. For, whatever may have been His modes of revelation in former ages to patriarchs and prophets, and however varied his operations shall be in the age to come, He seems to have limited the instrument of His ministry during this church dispensation to that Word, of which He is both Author and Finisher.