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"HE inspiration of the holy Scrip

tures is a subject, on which it is of great importance to form just and accurate ideas. If they be the compositions of men, who, though honest, and upon the whole, well informed, were under no infallible assistance and direction, they are not entitled to the fame reverence, as if they had been dictated by the Spirit of God; nor can we read them with the fame confidence in their counsels and in. structions. Their contents must be fub. jected to a strict examination, and the truth of their doctrines must be ascertained by

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tures. That idea has become unfathionable; it is claffed with other opinions of our fathers, which are exploded as the fooleries of enthusiasm, and fuperftitious credulity; and he only is reckoned to think rationally on the subject, who looks upon the sacred books as partly human, and partly inspired; as a heterogeneous compound of the oracles of God, and the stories and sentiments of men. There are even some, by whom this partial inspiration is denied, and the Scriptures are regarded as the writings of faith. ful, but fallible men, who had nothing to preserve them from error but the accura. су of their information, and the integrity of their hearts. The spirit of infidelity is working among Christians themselves.

The inspiration of the Scriptures is a point which Christians are too generally ehargeable with taking upon trust. Few of them study the arguments by which it is evinced, and provide themselves with

answers to the objections which infidels oppose to it. It is a doctrine which hath been received by tradition from their fathers, and which, upon their authority, the greater part believe to be true. We need not wonder, then, that, in a time of trial like the present, when the efforts of infidelity are unusually bold and vigorous, there should be a great falling away among the professors of religion, nor can such apostacy be deplored on any other ground, than as it affects the immortal interests of those who are involved in it. It is attend. ed with no real loss to the cause of reve. lation, and it reflects no dishonour upon it : for of what advantage are numbers, if they be deftitute of principle; and what difcredit can arise to the Scriptures from the ' desertion of persons, whose attachment was less the effect of deliberate choice than of accident? There is no reason for being alarmed, as if such an event portended a general defection. Raw,


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