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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 8

Verbal Inspiration

Verbal Inspiration.

In the matter of creed and doctrine, there are two or three articles of Faith which have more than any other stood in the way of the cordial and grateful reception of Ecclesiastical Christianity by the most pure and honest minds—those whose instincts of justice were truest and strongest—those whose con- page 178 ceptions of the Deity were the most lofty and consistent. These are the doctrines of Vicarious Punishment, of Salvation by Belief, and of Eternal Damnation. Of these doctrines—as now 'promulgated and maintained—three things may in our judgment be confidently asserted—that they were undreamed of by Christ; that they never can be otherwise than revolting and inadmissible to all whose intuitive moral sense has not been warped by a regular course of ecclesiastical sophistry; and that no Christian or sensible divine would think of preaching them were they not inculcated, or supposed to be cultivated, by isolated texts of Scripture; and were it not held that every text of Scripture is authentic, authoritative, indisputably true, and in some sense or other, inspired and divine. We are driven, therefore, to the conclusion that this proposition, or theory, or dogma—whichever we may please to call it—of verbal inspiration is mischievous and hostile to the pure religion of Jesus in two ways: it deters thoughtful and sincere minds from receiving it, and it corrupts and complicates and stains it to those who have received it, by mingling with it incongruous and deteriorating accretions. To destroy this dogma, therefore, to demonstrate its untenability, to shake its hold on both the teacher and the taught, is, we maintain, the most signal and the most needed service which a good and pious man win render to the sacred cause of Christianity and Truth.—W. R. Greg.