upon the proportion which clearly expressed facts of Scripture bear to mere inferences, and upon the degree in which they all cohere about Christ, the central person and theme.
The progress of theology is progress in apprehension by man, not progress in communication by God. Originally in astronomy is not man?s creation of new planets, but man?s discovery of planets that were never seen before, or the bringing to light of relations between them that were never before suspected. Robert Kerr Eccles: ?Originality is a habit of recurring to origins ? the habit of securing personal experience by personal application to original facts. It is not an eduction of novelties either from nature, Scripture, or inner consciousness; it is rather the habit of resorting to primitive facts, and of securing the personal experiences which arise from contact with these facts.? Fisher, Nat. and Meth. Of Revelation, 48 ? ?The starry heavens are now what they were of old; there is no enlargement of the stellar universe, except that which comes through the increased power and use of the telescope.? We must not imitate the green sailor who, when set to steer, said he had ?sailed by that star.?
Martineau, Types, 1:492, 493 ? ?Metaphysics, so far as they are true to their work, are stationary, precisely because they have in charge, not what begins and ceases to be, but what always is... It is absurd to praise motion for always making way, while disparaging space for still being what it ever was: as if the motion you prefer could be, without the space which you reproach.? Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics, 45, 67-70, 79 ? ?True conservatism is progress which takes directon from the past and fulfills its good; false conservatism is a narrowing and hopeless reversion to the past, which is a betrayal of the promise of the future. So Jesus came not ?to destroy the law or the prophets?; he ?came not to destroy, but to fulfill? ( <400517>Matthew 5:17)...The last book on Christian Ethics will not be written before Judgment Day.? John Milton, Areopagitica: ?Truth is compared in the Scripture to a streaming fountain; if her waters flow not in a perpetual progression, they sicken into a muddy pool of conformity and tradition. A man may be a heretic in the truth.? Paul in <450216>Romans 2:16, and in <540208>1 Timothy 2:8 ? speaks of ?my gospel.? It is the duty of every Christian to have his own conception of the truth, while he respects the conceptions of others. Tennyson, Locksley Hall: ?I that rather held it better men should perish one by one, Than that earth should stand at gaze like Joshua?s moon at Ajalon.? We do not expect any new worlds, and we need not expect any new Scriptures; but we may expect progress in the interpretation of both. Facts are final, but interpretation is not.
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