For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall you be saved…
1. It is our duty to recognise the inevitable margin of difference among those who substantially agree. It is only in the exact sciences that a formula has absolutely the same value for all men and for the same man at all times. But theology is not an exact science
2. It is the second duty of conservatives in a time of theological conflict to recognise the margin of error in all human views of truth. If the writers of the Bible were infallible, the readers of it are not. But have we not, it may be asked, the promise of the Paraclete to lead us into all the truth? Yes, and wonderfully has the promise been fulfilled. But here again two things should be observed.
(1) That promise was not given to any particular branch of the Church.
(2) It guarantees infallibility, to no one.
3. It is especially the duty of conservatives at the present moment in the history of the Church to discriminate between those who are seeking defend and those who are seeking to overthrow the fundamental principles of Christianity. Criticism must be met by criticism, scholarship by scholarship.
4. We should beware of testing the views in regard to the Bible, which are now more and more freely expressed, by what seem to be their tendencies.
(1) One of these is the tendency to unsettle the minds of simple and devout believers. They certainly have such a tendency, and it is much to be regretted. But the questions are here. We are not responsible for their presence. They are forced upon us.
(2) Another thing concerning which no little apprehension is entertained is that these discussions may tend to diminish the reverence which is felt for the Bible, and to weaken the faith of men in Christianity itself. The apprehension is natural. So Erasmus felt concerning what he called "the noisy quarrel of religion" that had broken out in his day, when (as he says) "I wrote frequently and industriously to my friends, begging that they would admonish this man ( Luther) to observe Christian meekness in his writings, and to do nothing to disturb the peace of the Church." The true conservative is always prone to apprehend the worst results from anything that disturbs the ancient order of ideas and practices. But how many times over has experience shown these fears to be groundless? In quietness and in confidence is our strength. Let us be honest. Let us not be afraid. "If this counsel or this work be of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, ye will not be able to overthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to be fighting against God."
(E. B. Coe, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.