Mr. Bartlett's Bampton Lectures on the Letter and the Spirit.

1888 191 The author writes without faith. It is not incompetence only. The late Dean Burgon was not always wise in what he wrote, as indeed he was not without strong prepossession and prejudice; but he was never without confidence in every tittle (not of the Received Text, but) of God's written word.

Not so Mr. R. E. Bartlett, who, in the spirit of this evil age, asks, "Do men care less for the spirit of the Bible, because the superstitious reverence for its letter has been overthrown?" He is a sceptic of the Farrar school or worse, if this can be. Just weigh the wicked folly of his hypothesis. "A man full of the Holy Spirit will strive to pour forth to others the gift which God has committed to him to profit withal; but when he would do this in words, he finds that the more he is possessed with the Spirit! the more he is straightened, hampered, baffled by the limitations of speech!! He speaks with stammering lips! his utterances are broken, abrupt, inconsequent!! And still more in writing does the mechanical process tend to check and impede the spiritual force!

It is evident that Mr. B. derives his ideas either from his natural mind, or from assuming that the irrepressible (and indeed demoniacal) enthusiasm of Pagan seers is no less true of God's inspired instruments. 1 Corinthians 2 teaches doctrine irreconcileably opposed to this. Revelation and communication in words are both of the Holy Spirit; so that the failure perfect expression, which he is daring enough to take for granted, is excluded. He has evidently not the mind of Christ to appreciate God's word, and therefore feels and writes as an enemy. The plain facts of scripture manifestly refute this base and baseless theory. Its profoundest revelations are given in the calmest language. What can be found so deep as Christ's words in the Gospels, especially in the Fourth? Where is language so simple and pellucid to the spiritual ear?

Like many other doubters, Mr. B. looks for inspiration since the Bible. This is natural for one who denies its reality there. "The tendency of the exaltation of the Bible into the position of God's final utterance to His church has been to weaken the belief in the constant presence of the divine Spirit." Has Mr. B. been more or less with Quakers, or the like dreamy enthusiasts, to imbibe thoughts so opposed to the truth? It is well known that the Christians who believe in the personal presence of the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, are precisely those who adhere unflinchingly to the divine authority and perfection of God's written word, in the face of the popish idol of tradition, or the rationalistic idol of man's mind, both of them tools of Satan.

The last Bampton Lectures were Christless; these are a lower depth. Is Oxford to be ever and only the playground of Tractarians and Sceptics?