The Inspiration Of The Bible

The facts and views presented in the preceding pages compel a restatement of doctrine concerning the inspiration of the Bible. The traditional thought on this subject does not afford an adequate explanation of the wonderful variety of phenomena now brought before us, just as the Ptolemaic astronomy would be too small to fit the enlarged heavens observed by Kepler, Newton, and Newcomb. We require a more ample conception of the nature and the method of inspiration than that which has prevailed heretofore—one more comprehensive, flexible, natural, and vital, covering a wider range of facts, and implying deeper processes of the Divine. Spirit in our human world. In order to attain, if possible, to such a better conception, it is desirable to recall the customary ideas, to indicate their sources, to show their insufficiency, and then to suggest a few considerations which may form at least the outline of a more satisfactory view.

I. As was stated in the second chapter, the vast majority of Protestant Christians until lately have believed the Bible to have been peculiarly and completely inspired; that is to say, they have thought it, in a unique sense, the direct gift of God and absolutely infallible. They have deemed it wholly free from error and fault, whether of scientific or historical fact, or of moral precept and example; they have regarded it as “the Word of God” throughout, and have held that a denial of any portion of it was an invalidation of the whole, while an acceptance of any portion was an acknowledgment of its entire accuracy and binding force. This notion was expressed by Theodore Parker, in his day, for the purpose of refutation, as follows :

The Bible is a miraculous collection of miraculous books; every word it contains was written by a miraculous inspiration from God, which was so full, complete, and infallible that the authors delivered the truth and nothing but the truth; that the Bible contains no false statement of doctrine or fact, but sets forth all religious and moral truth which man needs, or which it is possible for him to attain, and no particle of error:—that therefore the Bible is the only authoritative rule of faith and practice. To doubt this is reckoned a dangerous error, if not an unpardonable sin.

Of course, since Mr. Parker’s time, some modifications of this view have been brought about, especially among those familiar with the methods and results of modern biblical criticism; but essentially it still obtains among the masses in nearly all sections of Evangelical Protestantism. It is only in recent years and in limited circles that this conception of the Bible in general, and of its inspiration in particular, has begun to lose its former power.

The view is, indeed, an ancient one, if not taken too narrowly. In its main features it prevailed among the Jews of Christ’s time and earlier (as respects the Old Testament) ; while, concerning both Testaments, numerous expressions occur in the writings of the Christian Fathers, both Greek and Latin, which may be held to support it. From Justin Martyr, Origen, Eusebius, Tertultian, Jerome, Augustine, and from Schoolmen and Reformers, may be cited passages setting forth opinions of Scripture so exalted as to justify the belief, looking at these alone, that they entertained the current Protestant idea of the plenary inspiration and infallibility of the Bible. Nevertheless, a fair construction of their various utterances shows that they wrote, not in exact language, but uncritically and even loosely, and merely recorded their general impression of the spiritual power and the practical value of the Bible as a whole. Certainly the exegetical treatment accorded the Scriptures by St. Jerome, for example, in which he speaks in quite disparaging terms of St. Paul’s style, does not comport very well with that idea of inspiration which regards the entire Bible as divinely given, pure, and inerrant. A similar remark is applicable to Luther’s familiar allusion to the Epistle of James as “an epistle of straw,” and to many of his expositions of Scripture, as well as to his customary exaltation of faith and the Spirit above the Bible not less than the Church.

Much the same thing may be said of the opinions of Calvin and Zwingli, and still more of the leaders who breathed the freer air of England.

II. While the generic idea of inspiration is an ancient one, by no means confined to the Israelitish people, and while the remote sources of the doctrine of biblical inspiration just mentioned are to be found as far back as the age of the Old Testament prophets; while, too, as remarked above, the essence of the doctrine prevailed in the last two centuries before Christ and in the early centuries of our era, yet the doctrine did not assume its rigid, dogmatic form, both extreme and imperative, until after the Protestant Reformation. Then, through the exigencies of the situation—the rejection of papal authority, the necessity thence arising of having some other court of final appeal, and the lack of learning among the leaders of public thought—resort was naturally had to the Bible, and erroneous ideas concerning it grew up and became fixed, which is not surprising in view of the ignorance of the Scriptures prevailing among the masses. Says the learned Rev. Dr. Tholuck, of the German Lutheran Church :

And he concludes a careful historical review by saying further, that the assumption of an inspiration extending to the entire contents, to the subject-matter and form of the sacred writings, has so little claim to the honor of being the only orthodox doctrine, that it has only been the opinion of, comparatively speaking, a very small fraction.’

To the same effect writes Archdeacon Farrar in his scholarly and very valuable History of Interpretation :

It is easy to see how the doctrine arose. Papal in-fallibility had been set aside. In the perplexity of opinions men yearned to substitute some objective authority in the place of it, and so to acquire, or to imagine that there could exist, respecting every conceivable detail of theological speculation, a certitude which, as regards such details, is nothing but an idle dream. The Reformed and Lutheran Churches having gained—often by heroic struggle and through seas of blood—the undisturbed possession, not only of certain Christian verities, but also each of its own special theories ; and, being compelled to maintain this heritage of opinion against Anabaptists, against Socinians, against Romanists, wanted something to which they could appeal as a decisive oracle. They made the Holy Scriptures such an oracle, but they made the oracle answer them according to their own idols. They substituted for its interpretation their own ready-made theology. They assumed that the Bible formed a homogeneous, self-interpreting, and verbally dictated whole, and that the inferences drawn from it by dialectics and compacted into a technical system were as certain and as sacred as itself. In this way a difference of exegetical opinion became, not only an intellectual error, but a civil crime. Step by step we mark the full imposition of this dogma. It was not itself discussed. There was no attempt to place it on a scientific basis. It was an a priori assumption which was pushed into the utmost extreme of unreasonable fanaticism It was based, not on exact principles, but on vague assertions which floated in the air. The great Reformers, as we have seen, never attempted to bind themselves by the only consequences of such a doctrine. They used current phrases, but practically they left themselves a wide liberty to criticise, not only the separate utterances of individual writers, but even the very composition of the canon. They preferred to be inconsequent rather than to be fettered, and gave to Faith an authority coordinate with that of Scripture. But their successors regarded Faith as the exclusive product of Scripture, and dependent for its authority on Scripture only. They turned the inspiration-dogma into “an iron formula, a painful juridical fetter of conscience to be imposed on Christians to the detriment of fresh religious life and the destruction of the just appreciation of the Bible.”‘

III. Seeing, then, that this doctrine is not, in the largest sense, historically orthodox, even though certain aspects of it have always prevailed, a presentation of some arguments against it may be the more boldly made.

1. First to be mentioned among these. is the fact that there is so little positive argument for it. As ex-President John Bascom says :

Its proof is null ; it is a pure invention in the face of obvious facts No doctrine could be more in contradiction of the general providence and government of God than this of final, exact, sufficient, verbal truth. None springs from a more complete misunderstanding of rational life and religious sentiment, and none, therefore, could offer itself to our faith burdened with heavier presumptions against it.

2. It involves an undisguised distrust of the human mind and a depreciation of the religious instincts of the human heart. One reason why it is maintained is the fear that, if it were given up, there would be no end to the skepticism and infidelity ensuing. It has been supposed that the whole superstructure of Christianity might totter if it were ever admitted that there are any serious discrepancies, inaccuracies, mistakes, untruths, or immoralities in the Scriptures—that everything must be definitely and positively settled, or men would not know what to believe regarding Holy Writ, and would discard religion entirely. In other words, if the fence should be let down at a single point, the sheep would immediately leave the green, fertile pastures, and rush out into the arid wastes of the desert, to be destroyed or to perish with hunger! This is the reason of expediency—the reason which, at different times, has led the Christian Church to oppose the doctrine of the earth’s rotundity, the Copernican system of astronomy, the teachingso of modern geology, and the theory of evolution; it has been imagined that, if the customary view were abandoned, God would be driven out of human life, the whole established order of things would crumble into dust, and people would run wild intellectually and religiously. As if the Almighty had no more secure tenure in this world or in the hearts of his children ! It is good to be able to believe that religion is too vital and permanent a reality to be so easily overthrown; and we may well heed the remark of one of the writers already quoted, that “the Christian who can feel his faith certain and out of danger only in a diplomatic attestation from without, can find peace only by repairing to the (so-called) infallible Roman pontiff.”

3. Again, the inequalities of the Bible are inconsistent with the mechanical theory of inspiration here repudiated. Can anyone read the genealogical lists of the books of Numbers, Chronicles, Nehemiah, and elsewhere in the Bible, or read many of the ceremonial laws recorded in Leviticus, or read the book of Ecclesiastes, or the Song of Songs, or the Revelation, and say that they impress him as being of equal value, authority, purity, beauty, sublimity, or excellence in any other respect, with the wise words of Moses, the impassioned utterances of Isaiah, the fine, poetic reasoning of Job, the sweet and tender piety of the trustful psalms, the eloquent and practical appeals of St. Paul, the deep-hearted meditations and counsels of the loving John, or the spiritually divine, life-giving sayings of the Son of Man? The truth is that there is the greatest variety in the quality of the Sacred Writings, not only as to their literary style, but as to their quickening and nourishing power; and it can scarcely be doubted that the inculcation of the doctrine in question is largely responsible for the lack of intelligent discrimination regarding this variety in the reading of the Scriptures by the common people.

4. Further, the undeniable existence of disagreements, mistakes, and errors in the Bible, many of which refuse to be reconciled, would appear to be a conclusive prof of a larger human factor in its production than would be compatible with the theory of its plenary inspiration and infallibility. The erroneous quotations from the Old Testament in the New, which are sometimes wrongly credited—as, for instance, Matt. xxvii. 9, where a prophecy that was delivered by Zechariah is referred to Jeremiah; a circumstance which Calvin acknowledged his inability to explain, saying, “I confess I do not know, nor am I anxious about the matter;” which are sometimes materially altered, sometimes taken from the inaccurate Septuagint, and sometimes evidently made from memory without respect to exactness and precision—these constitute one class of cases in point. Another class consists of discrepancies between the historians of both Testaments, as between the Kings and the Chronicles, or as between the gospels; for example, the different wordings of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew and Luke, the different genealogies of Jesus given in these two works, the different accounts of the movements of his parents after his birth, and the different statements about his reappearance after his resurrection, not to mention the more serious discrepancies between the Synoptics and the Fourth Gospel. Then there is the unscientific story of creation in the first chapters of Genesis, which no scholar can accept as exactly true, even when applying poetic license to expand the six creative days into six vast cycles of time (and what right has one to use poetic license with the Bible, if it is such a book as this theory pro-pounds?) ; there are the deeds and precepts, the examples and teachings, set forth in the Old Testament, which no true-hearted man can sanction —for instance, the merciless slaughter of men, women, and children, as well as domestic animals, by the Israelites in the conquest of Canaan, or in their feuds with the Philistines, of which we read in Joshua, Judges, and Samuel, and which are there approved; there are also the sins of David and Solomon, the skeptical expressions of the book of Ecclesiastes, and the vindictive curses of the imprecatory psalms—all these facts demonstrate the fallible, imperfect, human character of many portions of these writings, and render untenable the doctrine of inspiration here controverted. These facts are easily enough accounted for by another view of inspiration, presently to be stated, which makes room for the great principle of development in the life of the Hebrew people, finding natural expression in the literature which reflects the spiritual progress of the nation ; but the traditional, mechanical theory of inspiration, recognizing no such principle, overlooks all such progress, and reduces the rich variety of this literature to a dead level of sameness.

5. Finally, if the Bible were miraculously written, that is, completely inspired of God and made infallible, it would be necessary that it should be miraculously preserved, translated, and interpreted, in order to be kept free from error and misunderstanding; and this would involve an endless succession of inspired human agents and teachers. The gist of this truth has always been insisted on by the Roman Catholic Church, and recognized by not a few other authorities. At any rate it is hard to see how one who claims infallibility for the Bible can gainsay the like claim put forth for the great Church that has so steadfastly made it. If one must lean upon a staff in order to walk, there is small choice between a crutch and a crook.

The argument against this conception might be closed by showing how it robs the Bible of its true glory; how it lies across the path of Christian progress as a serious obstacle; and how it hangs like a leaden weight on the wings of the free, spiritual, vital gospel of Jesus Christ. But there is room only for a brief quotation from Samuel Taylor Coleridge :

Let me once be persuaded that all these heart-awakening utterances of human hearts—of men of like faculties and passions with myself, mourning, rejoicing, suffering, triumphing—are but as a Divina Commedia of a superhuman–0, bear with me if I say—Ventriloquist; that the royal Harper to whom I have so often submitted myself as a many-stringed instrument for his fire-tipped fingers to traverse, while every several nerve of emotion, passion, thought, that thinks the flesh and blood of our common humanity responded to the touch—that the sweet Psalmist of Israel was himself as mere an instrument as his harp an automaton—poet, mourner, suppliant, all is gone ; all sympathy at least, and all ex-ample. I listen in awe and fear, but likewise in perplexity and confusion of spirit.’

In conclusion, the words of Archdeacon Farrar may be profitably heeded :

Whoever was the first dogmatist to make the terms “the Bible” and “the Word of God” synonymous, rendered to the cause of truth and of religion an immense disservice. The phrase in that sense has no shadow of scriptural authority. It occurs from three to four hundred times in the Old Testament, and about a hundred times in the New; and in not one of all those instances is it applied to the Scriptures The formula of the Reformation in its best days, like that of the Church of England, was not, “Scripture is the Word of God,” but, “Scripture contains the Word of God.”‘

IV. Rejecting, then, this theory of the plenary inspiration and infallibility of the Bible as erroneous and unwarrantable, and as a burden upon the spiritual life of the Christian Church, what have we left and what position shall we take? The answer is at hand, clear, positive, and cogent.

Let us begin by saying that the Bible is to be regarded as literature first of all; for the various writings of which it is composed are literary productions before they can be anything else to us. If we ask what kind of literature, the answer is that it is religious literature, pervaded by a religious spirit, full of religious ideas, thoughts, convictions, and principles ; regarding and treating nearly all its subjects from a religious standpoint; that is, as related to the existence, providence, and government of God. If we ask, moreover, how this literature came to be so intensely religious, the answer is that its authors were strongly religious men; that is to say, were possessed, influenced, dominated by a deep and powerful religious spirit, which made it as natural for them to write in a religious vein as it is for a true poet to write poetry or a true singer to make music. Still further, if we ask how those authors came to be so profoundly and keenly religious, the answer again is, that the race to which they belonged, that is, the Hebrew, a branch of the Semitic, was preeminently characterized by the depth and strength of its religious life, by its development of an earnest sense of a moral order in the universe, so that the religious ideas, convictions, and spirit, as well as the ethical ideals, cherished by the representative men in Israel were more or less the common property or quality of all the members of the nation. And now if we ask how that race, particularly the Israelitish portion of it, came to be so very religious, the answer may be unhesitatingly given by saying that God made them religious, partly in that general way in which he has made all men religious by nature, and partly in that special or peculiar way in which, through a long educative and disciplinary providence, he trained and fitted them, developed and quickened them, to perceive and understand spiritual truth. This position, when clearly apprehended, will be seen to be susceptible of natural, easy, and satisfactory establishment.

1. For, in the first place, we cannot doubt that all men are naturally religious. The universality and the spontaneity of the religious sentiment, expressing itself in all manner of temples, shrines, ceremonies of worship, creeds, doctrines, and devotions, are a sufficient outward prof of this; and the consciousness of a worshipful frame of mind, a native sense of reverence, a feeling of dependence and awe, an upward-looking and yearning spirit, is the inner complement of this evidence to attest the depth, strength, and naturalness of the religious instinct in the human soul.’ Hence we may say that the Israelites, like all other men, were religious by nature, just as surely as they were rational and affectionate by nature.

2. We may hold that the providence of God concerned them, as it concerns all men every-where. It compassed them as a nation and as individuals; or, rather, the interests of both were at once subserved by that perfectly wise and beneficent government which was exercised over them and is exercised just as really and plainly over us. That government may not have been special and particular in the sense that it was unusual and irregular—certainly we are not to think that it was intermittent or capricious. We must conceive that the ends which the Almighty contemplates for men and nations are sought and gained, in the main if not entirely, by the perfect working of those general and blessed laws which he has ordained for all his children, and which operate with impartiality and inexorableness everywhere. Yet we are never to forget that our God is an immanent God, indwelling in humanity—”one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all.” Therefore we can never limit the power of the Divine Factor in human life. Because God is not outside of the world alone, but within it, we may be sure that he is its animating and guiding Spirit far more frequently and to a vaster extent than we may ever perceive. For this reason we may often comfort ourselves by saying of our own city and country, as well as of Jerusalem and Judea, “God is in the midst of her : she shall not be moved : God shall help her, and that right early.” And so we are to believe that he was the ruling and directing Presence in the hearts of the children of Israel long ago, and slowly wrought out his own great purposes in the complex affairs of their national life. If there is warrant for believing that in the drift, tendencies, events, and developments of our time, here in America, in Great Britain, in Germany, in Italy, in Russia, in the Far East, God is the Supreme Providence, working out through good and ill his wise and gracious plans, whose remote and stupendous issues we can but dimly apprehend ; there is warrant for thinking likewise of ancient Rome, Greece, and Israel; in each case, the divine endowment of faculty to serve the divine purpose, being somewhat different from that of others, and in the case of Israel being specially and preeminently religious.

3. This conception grows upon us when we look more closely at the history of the nation. Remember the humble condition from which the people rose—a rude, nomadic life at first, and then a period of slavery in Egypt. Consider the character of the country in which they settled—Canaan—with the mountains on the north, the desert on the east and south, and the Mediterranean on the west, shutting them in from surrounding tribes, and helping them to develop a strongly marked individuality. Reflect how, under these circumstances, their peculiar religious ideas, particularly their monotheistic faith, gradually intensified and at length became all-dominant. Bear in mind the moral and spiritual influence of their wisest, purest teachers, appearing in every generation to exalt their ideals, to reprove their waywardness, to urge upon them the divine behests of their holy faith. Estimate thus the place and service of that unique and remarkable class of men, the prophets, who labored to guide the nation in the ways of righteousness, which are the ways of a deepening and broadening religiousness. Then measure the significance of the nation’s contact with the great powers, Syria, Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia; how it tried, tested, and disciplined the proud, suffering children of Abraham; how it broadened their outlook upon the world; how it strengthened their ethical and religious passion, when, in their adversity, Jehovah was their only Refuge and Solace; how, too, it both corrupted and enriched their traditional faith; and’ how the Nation was born a Church in the throes of these varied experiences. When all these facts and features are duly studied, we clearly see that the result which was at last produced was inevitable—the development, out of such racial material of an increasingly distinct and profound type of moral-religious life. Finally, let it be said again that, supplementing these varied processes of education and discipline running through the ages, we are to remember the constant, in-dwelling power of God—that God himself touched the hearts of the people, stirred within them, penetrated their consciences, prompted them to one course of action or another, swayed, guided, inspired them, working in them to will and to do of his good pleasure. Surely all this seems reasonable to be believed of the immanent and infinite Spirit, and is the very soul of that vast movement out of which came, in the course of centuries, the full-grown religion of the Israelitish people.

4. Now, out of the abundance of this religious life, so characteristic of the nation, that literature, those utterances and writings, of which our Bible is the garnered remains, sprang forth, just as all literature is produced, with all its human imperfections, limitations, errors, but full of the deep, earnest, holy thought and spirit which gave it its priceless value. And so the Bible today is simply the literary deposit of that full tide of religious life which laved the shores of Israel two thousand and more years ago—that life which was fed and led and blessed of God; which was developed under his providence through many centuries; and which gave birth at last to the great Teacher for whom the ages had toiled and waited, the Son of Man, the Revealer of the Father, the Prince of Peace, from whom the whole world may receive Israel’s best and highest gift, increased and made divinely beautiful by his own deep, pure, unerring insight into the things of the spiritual life.

This view of inspiration is natural, simple, rational, and vital; accounting for all the errors in the Bible, and for all its glorious truths; sparing us the necessity of apologizing for anything; saving us from those violent distortions of language, those far-fetched explanations, that unscientific exegesis, which, if not amounting to actual prevarication, do at least sap one’s intellectual integrity; and giving to us that freedom of contemplation and study in which are life, strength, growth, and joy.

In conclusion a little space may be taken for pointing out some of the specific benefits which may be expected to accrue from an adoption of the foregoing conception.

1. It will have the effect to transfer the basis of religion from the Scriptures to the human soul; to make men see that religion is a greater fact than the Bible; to show them that religion is not the product of Scripture, but Scripture is a product of religion; to exhibit religion as a natural, deathless reality, as deep as the human heart and as eternal as the grace of God ; to teach men that the natural is more wonderful than the miraculous; and, above all, to bring God out of the remote past, into the living present, and near to the soul of his every child, opening the way of spiritual approach and communion without the intervention of a sacred book.

2. It will take the wind out of the sails of that arrant skepticism which has spread itself and flourished by virtue of its assaults on the misunderstood Bible. The doctrine which this chapter has antagonized invites such assaults; and, now that the science of historical and biblical criticism and the progress of the physical sciences have put into the hands of its enemies so many weapons, they are able to use them with very destructive effect. But when a more natural and rational conception shall be inculcated, which shall regard the Bible, not as a single, homogeneous work, not as a textbook of science or of systematic ethics, not as claiming for itself any infallibility; but as a mass of literature whose language is fluid, free, various, like all living language, not to be interpreted in a hard-and-fast literalism, but rather in accordance with a true literary instinct—when some such position. as this shall be taken, it will effectually spike all the guns of that skepticism which has flaunted its banners over its great victories in discovering “the mistakes of Moses !”

3. Another effect, scarcely less important, will be to free the Bible from that arbitrary usage to which, unfortunately, it has been too often subject. Those familiar with the vagaries and eccentricities of scriptural exegesis, from the rise of Rabbinism among the Jews and of Allegorism among the early Christians down to the Millenialism and the Christian Science of our own time, will see the significance of this advantage. By false methods of interpretation, or the absence of all method, the Bible has been made to teach almost every conceivable doctrine, and to support many a terrible wickedness-slavery, polygamy, and the subjection of woman; and the tap-root of all these erroneous teachings, darkening counsels, and unholy sanctions has been the idea of the plenary inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures. When this idea shall fade out of the popular mind, being replaced by the more valid conception here- in advocated, some of the perversions and absurdities of religious doctrine will pass away which have claimed, and still claim, their tens of thousands of adherents ; some hoary superstitions and cruelties which have darkened our world will disappear; and opportunity will be afforded for the upspringing of a fairer, more beneficent type of religion and civilization.

4. The remark just made leads us a step further. Perhaps the most valuable result of all will be to place the emphasis in our religious teaching and work, not upon the letter which killeth, but upon the spirit which giveth life. The great essence and priceless excellence of the Bible is its spirituality, its intense, living, palpitating, mighty, ethical and religious energy. It is this that makes it breathe, and makes us breathe, if we let it. And surely it is this vital and vitalizing spirituality that we need in our religion today, to feed the hearts of men and wake the music of a new, divine life within them. “God is Spirit, and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Our churches contain too many dead, perfunctory formalists, narrow dogmatists, hollow traditionalists, dry rationalists, mechanical revivalists; all “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” What they all need, and what alone can lift them out of the slough, is the quickening of a living spirituality by the Great Spirit that speaks through the Bible and in many other ways. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God”— the most real and certain testimony we can have. “The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God;” and “he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”

Now the Lord is that Spirit, and “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” “Everyone that is born of the spirit” is like “the wind, which bloweth where it listeth,” that is to say, is not confined, subject to human control or limitation, whose life is not bottled up in a sacred book any more than in a sacred church, thence to be drawn forth and inhaled upon the prescription of some theological doctor. The man whose religion is real and true is he whose soul is alive and throbbing with God’s own spirit; and this kind of religion is not wholly dependent upon any creed or church or set of sacred writings, although it may be vastly helped and nourished thereby.

There have been three great periods in the history of the Bible when Paul’s assertion that “the letter killeth” has been abundantly verified ; namely, that of the strict constructionists of the Judaism of the last few centuries before Christ; that of the hair-splitting Scholastics of the Middle Ages ; and that of the narrow Protestant dogmatists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Let us hope that the time has now come when “the spirit that maketh alive” is rising, like a mighty tide, in our churches, bringing liberty, light, and divine power upon the bosom of its sparkling waters, flowing in from the boundless ocean of the Infinite Love. If such shall prove to be the case, we shall find that the free, spiritual religion thus prevailing will both promote and be promoted by the vital conception of inspiration above sketched. Moreover, we shall find that this type of religion and this conception of inspiration make room for the progress of biblical scholarship, and cannot be disturbed by the most thorough research or discussion. For the only essential question involved in the whole problem of the origin and character of the Bible is identical with the one great, essential question involved in the life of the world today, namely, the question of an indwelling Divine Power; and the more traces of the presence and operations of this Power which may be discovered in any race or age, the broader and more solid will be the foundation upon which the Christian spiritualist can erect the temple of his faith, hope, and love.






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