Page images

then recovers its colour: this is again another process by which another kind of vessels, the lymphatics, carry away the effused blood of the injured part. The blood furnishes all the secretions of the body, as the tears to the eyes, and every other.

The Author of being has told us (Gen. ix, 4) that "the blood is the life;" but it is not the soul; the mind is not material. How is the connection maintained between the soul and the body, the material and immaterial part of man? We answer, By means of the golden bowl and the silver cord, Eccles. xii, 4. By the former of these expressions commentators generally understand a delicate membrane, of a globular shape, which everywhere surrounds the brain; by the latter, the spinal marrow, from which and the brain beautiful white threads are sent all over the body, and are called nerves. By these we feel; by them the mind conveys its orders to the senses and the limbs, and receives again their reports-these are the messengers from the chambers of the soul. Do you ask where does it dwell? How does it convey its impulse? No man knoweth. "I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

"Our life is fed by thousand springs,
We die if one be gone,

Strange that a harp of thousand strings
Should keep in tune so long."

But this after all is only the casket which contains the jewel; it is only the shell which surrounds the kernel, the covering of immaterial man: "I call it mine, not me; distinct as the swimmer from the flood." "I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."

We have a soul capable of knowledge residing in this body, "majestic though in ruins." That soul can examine, can reason, and arrive at conclusions more or less certain. It can compare one subject with another. It can draw inferences. The mines of science and the riches of art are the produce of its labours. It can soar to that which is high, it can wing its flight to that which is afar off; it can penetrate a great deep; valleys are exalted, mountains are brought low before its painful tread. Nay more, the soul can communicate its knowledge: it makes sound the vehicle of sense; and one man, without empoverishing himself, imparts to thousands the riches he has accumulated.

The soul is capable of treasuring up what it has acquired; it has the faculty of memory, the power of recollection: many things are distinctly and almost constantly present to the memory, many more it can recall at pleasure.

The soul can not only examine the world of things which do appear, but it can call up a new world. It has the power of imagination, which travels beyond the visible diurnal sphere. By this we follow the traveller through all his journeys whithersoever he goes.

The soul has a power of choosing and rejecting, approving and disapproving. But alas! it is perverted from youth up. It has, above all, the power of affection, love and hatred. Bodily gratification gives some pleasure, that of the understanding more, but that of the affections most of all.

But why were all these powers given? why was man made in body and in mind the most glorious of the works of God-his body the temple of the Holy Ghost, the shrine of Deity? 1 Cor. vi, 19.

His understanding was given that he might know God; his memory, that he might keep in remembrance all the words of that law which was given him: for in paradise man had no other use for this faculty. His imagination, that when he thought of God, he might lift up his head to the star-paved sky, to the place where he unveils his glory, where he is seen face to face that when he heard the songs of birds or attempted the praise of his Maker, or caught the sound of celestial music from the angels who watched over him, he might imagine the incense evermore offered to the throne of God. His will was given, that he might evermore offer a willing, cheerful obedience to his Maker; and his affections, that he might love him perfectly and serve him acceptably. Man has received a greater proof of divine love than even angels. To save fallen man he sent his Son Jesus Christ our Lord to die for him, to atone for him; to exhibit a spotless example, and to obtain all spiritual gifts for man. In the formation of man and in his redemption, "marvellous are thy works, O Lord: and that my soul knoweth right well." Praise ye the Lord.

[ocr errors]



"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works," 2 Tim. iii, 16, 17.

THERE are two considerations which go to prove that the "Scriptures" in question must have been the Old Testament. The writings of the New Testament were not then collected into an accessible volume; and some parts of that book, such as the gospel of St. John and the Apocalypse, were not then written. And, again, the apostle congratulates Timothy on his early and intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures; but in the early part of his life no part of the New Testament was committed to writing, therefore it must have been with the Old Testament that he was, from a child, familiar. Whatever is said in the text, therefore, applies especially to that portion of the Scriptures. We propose, however, for a reason to be hereafter explained, to limit your consideration of the passage, in its present application, to the historical and narrative Scriptures of the Old Testament.

We proceed to explain the clauses of the verse seria


I. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God."

A gift supposes generosity on the part of the donor,

and necessity on the part of the befriended. Such were our ignorance and helplessness that we could never have arrived at the knowledge of the truth but for a divine communication, and such was the goodness of God that he did not leave us to ourselves. This clause, you will observe, is capable of a double interpretation; and it may be a question whether the inspiration applies to the writer or the reader of Scripture. That it belongs to the former, seems probable from another passage, "God in time past spake unto the fathers by the prophets," Heb. i, 1: it is explained by St. Peter to mean, 2 Eph. i, 21, "Prophecy came not in old time, by the will of man; but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." One who was mighty in Scripture renders it, “All Scripture is inspired of God," thus happily avoiding the ambiguity of the expression: and he maintained that, in point of fact, the word of God, when it proves spirit and life to the believer, is carried into the heart by the inspiration of that very Being who at first gave the word. This opinion is rendered more probable by what St. Paul saith to the Thessalonians, "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance," 1 Thess. i, 5. Two truths suggested by the passage are equally beyond the reach of doubt. The communications of Scripture are such as unassisted reason could never have reached or imagined: and this is as true when the creation of the world, the fall of man, and the history of patriarchs, are in question, as when prophecy and gospel are regarded. And these communications asked the agency of the Divine Spirit, not only in the first instance, to afford them, but daily and hourly, to

« PreviousContinue »