CHAPTER XIX
A RELIGIOUS REVOLUTION

THE view of the Bible held by a large school of theologians in the early part of the nineteenth century may be defined as follows: The Bible was dictated by God to amanuenses; it is wholly free from error; if in our version there are errors, they are due to copyists or translators; the inspiration is verbal, for there can be no inspiration of ideas or sentiments except by means of words; "as for thoughts being inspired apart from the words which give them expression, you might as well talk of a tune without notes or a sum without figures"; it is not only the infallible word of God, it is his final word and there can be no further revelation; the Bible is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This view of the Bible as "the very Word of God and consequently without error," though affirmed by a unanimous vote of the Presbyterian General Assembly in 1893, was not, I think, current in the Congregational churches of New England. I do not know that I ever regarded the Bible as an authority on scientific questions, such as the geological processes of creation, or the antiquity of man, but when I entered the ministry in 1860 I still held that it was an "authoritative and infallible rule of religious faith and practice," and so stated to the Council in Farmington which ordained me to the ministry. But the moral problems which this view of the Bible involves puzzled

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