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offensivo a form. Sometimes the spirit of unbe- This is easily said, and we know is often said, lief even assumes an air of sentimental regret at and loudly. But the justice with which it is said its own inconvenient profundity. Many a worthy is another matter; for when we can get these youth tells us he almost wishes he could believe. cloudy objectors to put down, not their vague asHe admires, of all things, the “moral grandeur" sertions of profound difficulties, uttered in the -the “ethical beauty" of many parts of Christi- obscure language they love, but a precise stateanity; he condescends to patronize Jesus Christ, ment of their objections, we find them either the though he believes that the great mass of words very same with those which were quite as powerand actions by which alone we know anything fully urged in the course of the deistical conabout himn, are sheer fictions or legends ; he believes troversies of the last century, (the case with far
- gratuitously enough in this instance, for he has the greater part,) or else such as are of similar no ground for it—that Jesus Christ was a very character, and susceptible of similar answers. We
great man,” worthy of comparison at least with say not that the answers were always satisfactory, Mahomet, Luther, Napoleon, and “other heroes ;''nor are now inquiring whether any of them he even admits the happiness of a simple, child- were so ; we merely maintain that the objections like faith, in the puerilities of Christianity-it in question are not the novelties they affect to produces such content of mind! But alas ! he be. We say this to obviate an advantage which cannot believe-his intellect is not satisfied—he the very vagueness of much modern opposition to has revolved the matter too profoundly to be Christianity would obtain, from the notion that thus taken in; he must, he supposes, (and our some prodigious arguments have been discovered beardless philosopher sighs as he says it,) bear the which the intellect of a Pascal or a Butler was penalty of a too restless intellect, and a too spec- not comprehensive enough to anticipate, and which ulative genius ; he knows all the usual argu- no Clarke or Paley would have been logician ments which satisfied Pascal, Butler, Bacon, enough to refute. We affirm without hesitation, Leibnitz; but they will do no longer : more radical, more tremendous difficulties have suggested whether the philosopher be not aiming to communicate
of communication rather then elsewhere ; and indeed, themselves, " from the depths of philosophy,” thoughts on subjects on which man can have no thoughts and far different answers are required now !*
to communicate. Socrates would add, perhaps, that lan
guage was given us to express, nut to conceal, our thoughts; * We fear that many young minds in our day are ex- they doubtless are, we had better keep them to ourselves;
and that, if they cannot be communicated, invaluable as posed to the danger of falling into one or other of the pre- one thing it is clear he would do—he would insist on prevailing forms of unbelief, and especially into that of pan- cise definitions. But in truth it may be more than surtheistic mysticism, from rashly meditating in the cloudy mised that the obscurities of which all complain, except regions of German philosophy, on difficulties which would seem beyond the limits of human reason, but which those (and in our day they are not a few) to whom obscurity that philosophy too often promises to solve-with what speculate in realms forbidden to its aecess; of venturing
is a recommendation, result from suffering the intellect to success we may see from the rapid succession and impen- into caverns of tremendous depth and darkness, with will men learn that one of the highest achievements of nothing better than our own rushlight. Surely we have philosophy is to know when it is vain to philosophize. reason to suspect as much when soine learned professor, When the obscure principles of these most uncouth phi- with his logical formulæ, surprises you by saying that losophies, expressed, we verily believe in the darkest he has disposed of the great mysteries of existence and language ever used by civilized man, are applied to the the universe, and solved to your entire satisfaction, in his solution of the problems of theology and ethics, no wonder that the natural consequence, as well as just retribu- Infinite! * the cardinal truths of philosophy and re
own curt way, the problems of the ABSOLUTE and the tion, of such temerity is a plunge into tenfold night. ligion hitherto received are doomed to be imperilled by Systems of German philosophy may perhaps be advan- such speculations, one feels strongly inclined to pray with tageously studied by those who are mature enough to the old Homeric hero-" that if ibey must perish, it may study them ; but that they have an incomparable power be at least in daylight.” of intoxicating the intellect of the young aspirant to their mysteries, is, we think, undeniable. They are producing study of German philosophy, at least till he has matured
We earnestly counsel the youthsul reader to defer the this effect just now in a multitude of our juveniles, who and disciplined his mind, and familiarized himself with are beclouding themselves in the vain attempt to coinpre- the best models of what used to be our boast-English hend ill-translated fragments of ill-understood philoso Clearness of thought and expression. He will then learn phies, (executed in a sort of Anglicized-German, or Germanized-English, we know not which to call
it, but half-meanings-or no meaning. To the naturally ven
to ask rigidly for definitions, and not rest satisfied with certainly neither German nor English,) from the perusal turous pertinacity of young metaphysicians, few would of which they carry away nothing but some very obscure he disposed to be more indulgent than ourselves. From terms, on which they themselves have superinduced a the time of Plato downwards-who tells us that no soonvery vague meaning: These terms you in vain implore them to define ; or, if they define them, they define them er do they "taste" of dialectics than they are ready to disin terms which as much need definition. Heartily do we pute with everybody—“ sparing neither father nor mother, wish that Sucrates would reäppear amongst us, to exer- scarcely even the lower animals,” if they had but a voice cise his accoucheur's art on these hapless Theætetuses physics ihan (except as a discipline) they will ever yield.
to replý. They have always expected more from meta. and Meuos of our day!
Many such youths inight no doubt reply at first to the He elsewhere, still more humorously, describes the same sarcastic querist, (who might gently complain of a slight petually snapping at everything about them : Qiuai yao
compares them to young dogs who are percloudiness in their speculations,) that the truths they uttered were too profound for ordinary reasoners. We may
σε ου λεληθίναι, ότι οι μειρακίσκοι, όταν το πρώτον easily imagine how Socrates would have dealt with such λύγων γεύωνται, ως παιδιά αυτούς καταχρώνται, αεί εις assumptions. His reply would be rather more severe | αντιλογίαν κρώμενοι και μιμούμενοι τους εξελέγχοντας than that of Mackintosh to Coleridge in a somewhat sirm- αυτοί άλλους ελέγχουσι, χαίροττες ώσπερ σκυλάκια τα ilar case ; namely, that is a notion cannot he made clear EnELV Te xai oragÚTTEIN TOUS Narpior del. But we hope to persons who have spent the helter part of their days in we shall not see our metaphysical puppies" amusing resolving the difficulties of metaphysics and philosophy, themselves-as so many
is old dogs amongst our and who are conscious that they are voi destitute of pa- neighbors (wbo ought to have known better) have done tience for the effort requisite to understand them, it nay - hy tearing into tailers the sacred leaves of that volume, suggest a doubt whether the fault be not in the medium, which contains what is better than all their philosophy.
that when the new advocates of infidelity descend | pose a case (and a possible case is quite sufficient from their airy elevation, and state their objections for the purpose) which would neutralize the obin intelligible terms, they are found, for the most jection. Of this perverseness (we can call it by part, what we have represented them. When we no other name) the examples are perpetual in the read many of the speculations of German infidel- critical tortures to which Strauss has subjected the ity, we seem to be re-perusing many of our own sacred historians.* It may be objected, perhaps, authors of the last century. It is as if our neigh- that the gratuitous supposition of some unmentioned bors had imported our manufactures; and, after re- fact—which, if mentioned, would harmonize the packing them, in new forms and with some additions, apparently counter-statements of two historianshad re-shipped and sent them back to us as new cannot be admitted, and is, in fact, a surrender of commodities. Hardly an instance of discrepancy the argument. But to say so, is only to betray an is mentioned in the “ Wolfenbüttel Fragments,
,” utter ignorance of what the argument is. If an which will not be found in the pages of our own objection be founded on the alleged absolute condeists a century ago ; and, as already hinted, of tradiction of two statements, it is quite sufficient Dr. Strauss' elaborate strictures, the vast majori- to show any (not the real, but only a hypothetical ty will be found in the same sources. In fact, and possible) medium of reconciling them; and though far from thinking it to our national credit, the objection is, in all fairness, dissolved. And none but those who will dive a little deeper than this would be felt by the honest logician, even if most do into a happily forgotten portion of our we did not know of any such instances in point of literature, (which made noise enough in its day, fact. We do know, however, of many. Nothing and created very superfluous terrors for the fate of is more common than to find, in the narration of Christianity,) can have any idea of the extent to two perfectly honest historians—referring to the which the modern forms of unbelief in Germany same events from different points of view, or for a ---so far as founded on any positive grounds, different purpose—the omission of a fact which whether of reason or of criticism—are indebted gives a seeming contrariety to their statements ; a to our English deists. Tholuck, however, and contrariety which the mention of the omitted fact others of his countrymen, seem thoroughly aware by a third writer instantly clears up.t Very forof it. The objections to the truth of Christianity are disposition to take the worst sense, in Beard's " Voices
* The reader may see some striking instances of his directed either against the evidence itself, or that of the Church.” Tholuck truly observes, 100, in his which it substantiates. Against the latter, as strictures on Strauss, " We know how frequently the loss Bishop Butler says, unless the objections be truly of a few words in one ancient author would be sufficient
to cast an inexplicable obscurity over another.” The such as prove contradictions in it, they are “per- same writer well observes, that there never was an hisfectly frivolous ;” since we cannot be competent torian who, if treated on the principles of criticism judges either as to what it is worthy of the Supreme might not be proved a mere mythographer. *** ** It is
which his countryman has applied to the Evangelists, Mind to reveal, or how far a portion of an imper- plain,” says he, " that if absolute agreement among hisfectly developed system may harmonize with the torians”-and still more absolute apparent agreement
“be necessary to assure us that we possess in their whole ; and, perhaps, on many points, we never writings credible history, we must renounce all pretence can be competent judges, unless we can cease to to any such possession." The translations from Quinet, be finité. The objections to the evidence itself are, worth reading. The last truly says, “ Strauss came to
Coquerel, and Tholuck are all, in different ways, well as the same great author observes, “ well worthy the study of the Evangelical history with the foregone of the fullest attention." The à priori objection conclusion that 'miracles are impossible ;' and where an to miracles we have already briefly touched. If
investigator brings with him an absolute conviction of the
guilt of the accused to the examination of his case, we that objection be valid, it is vain to argue further ; know how even the most innocent may be implicated and but if not, the remaining objections must be power and various are proofs of truth and reality in the history
condemned out of his own mouth.” In fact, so strong ful enough to neutralize the entire mass of the of the New Testament, that none would ever have susevidence, and, in fact, to amount to a proof of con- pected the veracity of the writers, or tried to disprove it, tradictions—not on this or that minute point of his except for the above foregone conclusion" that miracles
are impossible.” We also recommend to the reader an toric detail-but on such as shake the foundations ingenious brochure included in the “ Voices of the Church, of the whole edifice of evidence. It will not do in reply to Strauss,". constructed on the same principle
with Whately's adinirable “ Historic Doubts,” namely; to say, “ Here is a minute discrepancy in the his- " The Fallacy of the Mythical Theory of Dr. Strauss, tory of Matthew or Loke as compared with that of illustrated from the History of Martin Luther, and from Mark or John;" for, first, such discrepancies are suhject for the same play of ingenuity would be Dean Swift!
actual Mohammedan Myths of the Life of Jesus.” What a often found, in other authors, to be apparent, and the date and place of his birth disputed - whether he was not real—founded on our taking for granted that an Englishman or an Irishman--his incomprehensible rethere is no circumstance unmentioned by two any hypothesis—his alleged seduction of one, of both, of writers which, if known, would have been seen to neíther-his marriage with Stella affirmed, disputed, and harmonize their statements. We admit this possi- his life full of contradiction and mystery-and, not least,
still wholly unsettled—the numberless other incidents in ble reconciliation readily enough in the case of the eccentricities and inconsistencies of his whole claracmany seeming discrepancies of other historians; ter and conduct! Why, with a thousandth part of Dr. but it is a benefit which men are slow to admit in to as fabulous a personage as his own Lemuel Gulliver.
Strauss' assumptions, it would be easy to reduce Swift the case of the sacred narratives. There the ob- † Any apparent discrepancy with either themselves or jector is always apt to take it for granted that the profane historians is usually sufficient to satisfy Dr.
Strauss. He is ever ready to conclude that the discrepandiscrepancy is real; though it may be easy to sup-Icy is real, and that the profane historians are right. In
getful of this have the advocates of infidelity constant transcription by different hands—their usually been : nay, (as if they would make up in translation into various languages—may not only the number of objections what they want in weight,) be expected to occur, but which must occur, unless they have frequently availed themselves not only of there be a perpetual series of most minute and apparent contrarieties, but of mere incompleteness in ludicrous miracles-certainly never promised, and the statements of two different writers, on which to as certainly never performed— to counteract all the found a charge of contradiction. Thus, if one effects of negligence and inadvertence, to guide the writer says that a certain person was present at a pen of every transcriber to infallible accuracy, and given time or place, when another says that he to prevent his ever deviating into any casual error! and two more were there ; or that one man was Such miraculous intervention, we need not say, cured of blindness, when another says that two has never been pleaded for by any apologist of were—such a thing is often alleged as a contra- Christianity; has certainly never been promised ; diction ; whereas, in truth, it presents not even a and, if it had—since we see, as a matter of fact, difficulty—unless one historian be bound to say that the promise has never been fulfilled—the whole not only all that another says, but just so much, of Christianity would fall to the ground. But and no more. Let such objections be what they then, from a large induction, we know that the will, unless they prove absolute contradictions in limits within which discrepancies and errors from the narrative, they are as mere dust in the balance, such causes will occur, must be very moderate ; we compared with the stupendous mass and variety of know, from numberless examples of other writings, that evidence which confirms the substantial truth what the maximum is--and that it leaves their subof Christianity. And even if they establish real stantial authenticity untouched and unimpeached. contradictions, they still amount, for reasons we No one supposes the writings of Plato and Cicero, are about to state, to dust in the balance, unless of Thucydides and Tacitus, of Bacon or Shakthey establish contradictions not in immaterial but speare, fundamentally vitiated by the like discrepin vital points. The objections must be such as, ancies, errors, and absurdities which time and inif proved, leave the whole fabric of evidence in advertence have occasioned. ruins. For, secondly, we are fully disposed to The corruptions in the Scriptures from these concede to the objector that there are, in the books causes are likely to be even less than in the case of Scripture, not only apparent but real discrepan- of any other writings ; from their very structure cies -a point which many of the advocates of the varied and reiterated forms in which all the Christianity are, indeed, reluctant to admit, but great truths are expressed ; from the greater venwhich, we think, no candid advocate will feel toeration they inspired; the greater care with which be less true. Nevertheless, even such an advo- they would be transcribed ; the greater number cate of the Scriptures may justly contend that the of copies which would be diffused through the very reasons which necessitate this admission of world—and which, though that very circumdiscrepancies also reduce them to such a limit that stance would multiply the number of variations, they do not affect, in the slightest degree, the sub- would also afford, in their collation, the means of stantial credibility of the sacred records ; and, in reciprocal correction ;-a correction which we our judgment, Christians have unwisely damaged have seen applied in our day, with admirable suc
and given a needless advantage to the cess, to so many ancient writers, under a system infidel, by denying that any discrepancies exist, or of canons which have now raised this species of by endeavoring to prove that they do not. The criticism to the rank of an inductive science. discrepancies to which we refer are just those This criticism, applied to the Scriptures, has in which, in the course of the transmission of ancient many instances restored the true reading, and disbooks, divine or human, through many ages—their solved the objections which might have been
founded on the uncorrected variations ; and, as adducing some striking instances of the minute accuracy time rolls on, may lead, by yet fresh discoveries of Luke, only revealed by obscure collateral evidence (his and more comprehensive recensions, to toric or numismatic) discovered since, Tholuck remarks,
a yet " What an outcry would have been made had not the further clarifying of the stream of Divine truth, specious appearance of error been thus obviated.” Luke till “ the river of the water of life” shall flow calls Gallio proconsul of Achaia : we should not have expected it, since though Achaia was originally a senatorial nearly in its original limpid purity. Within such province, Tiberius bad changed it into an imperial.one, limits as these, the most consistent advocate of and the title of its governor, therefore, was procurator ; now a passage in Suetonius informs us, i hat Claudius had Christianity not only must admit-not only may restored the province to the senate.” The same Evan- safely admit—the existence of discrepancies, but gelist calls Sergius Paulus governor of Cyprus ; yet we
He might have expected to find only a prætor, since
' Cyprus may do so even with advantage to his cause. was an imperial province. In this case, again, says Tho- must admit them, since such variations must be luck, the correctness of the historian has been remarkably the result of the manner in which the records attested. Coins, and later still a passage in Dion Cassius, have been found, giving proof that Augustus restored the have been transmitted, unless we suppose a superprovince to the senate ; and thus, as if to vindicate the natural intervention, neither promised by God, nor Evangelist, the Roman historian adds, "Thus proconsuls pleaded for by man: he may safely admit them, began to be sent into that island also.”—Translated from Tholuck,
In the same manner coins have been because—from a general induction from the hisfound proving he is correct in some other once disputed tory of all literature—we see that, where copies instances. Is it not fair to suppose that many apparent of writings have been sufficiently multiplied, and discrepancies of the same order may he eventually removed by similar evidence ?
sufficient motives for care have existed in the
Pp. 21, 22.
transcription, the limits of error are very narrow, mass of it to a caput mortuum of lies, fiction, and and leave the substantial identity untouched : and superstitions, retains only a few drops of fact and he may admit them with advantage; for the doctrine-so few as certainly not to pay for the admission is a reply to many objections founded expenses of the critical distillation.* on the assumption that he must contend that there Nor will the theory of what some call the are no variations, when he need only contend that “ intuitional consciousness," avail us here. It is there are none that can be material.
true, as they assert, that the constitution of human But it may be said, “May not we be permitted, nature is such that, before its actual development, while conceding the miraculous and other eviden- it has a capacity of developing to certain effects ces of Christianity, and the general authority of only—just as the flower in the germ, as it the records which contain it, to go a step further, expands to the sun, will have certain colors and and to reject some things which seem palpably a certain fragrance, and no other ;-all which, ill-reasoned, distasteful, inconsistent, or immoral ?" indeed, though not very new or profound, is very “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own important. But it is not so clear that it will give mind." For ourselves, we honestly confess we us any help on the present occasion. We have cannot see the logical consistency of such a posi- an original susceptibility of music, of beauty, of tion; any more than the reasonableness, after religion, it is said. Granted ; but as the actual having admitted the preponderant evidence for the development of this susceptibility exhibits all the great truth of Theism, of excepting some phe- diversities between Handel's notions of harmony nomena as apparently at variance with the Divine and those of an American Indian-between Raperfections; and thus virtually adopting a Ma- phael's notions of beauty and those of a Hottennichæan hypothesis. We must recollect that we tot—between St. Paul's notions of a God and those know nothing of Christianity except from its of a New Zealander-it would appear that the records ; and as these, once fairly ascertained to education of this susceptibility is at least as imporbe authentic and genuine, are all, as regards their tant as the susceptibility itself, if not more so ; contents, supported precisely by the same miracu- for without the susceptibility itself, we should lous and other evidence; as they bear upon them simply have no notion of music, beauty, or religprecisely the same internal marks of artlessness, ion; and between such negation and that ion truth, and sincerity; and, historically and in other of all these which New Zealanders and Hottentots respects, are inextricably interwoven with one possess, not a few of our species would probably another; we see not on what principles we can prefer the former. It is in vain then to tell us to safely reject portions as improbable, distasteful, look into the “depths of our own nature,” (as not quadrating with the dictates of " reason,” our some vaguely say,) and to judge thence what, in a “intuitional consciousness," and what not. This professed revelation from heaven, is suitable to assumed liberty, however, is, as we apprehend, us, or worthy of our acceptance and rejection of the very essence of Rationalism ; and it may respectively. This criterion is, as we see by the be called the Manichæism of interpretation. So utterly different judgments formed by different long as the canonicity of any of the records, or classes of Rationalists as to the how much they any portion of them, or their true interpretation, shall receive of the revelation they might generis in dispute, we may fairly doubt; but that point ally admit, a very shifting one-a measure which once decided by honest criticism, to say we receive has no linear unit; it is to employ, as mathematisuch and such portions, on account of the weight cians say, a variable as if it were a constant quanof the general evidence, and yet reject other portions, though sustained by the same evidence, * It may be as well to remark, that we have frequently because we think there is something unreasonable observed a disposition to represent the very general aban
donment of the theory of "verbal inspiration" as a conor revolting in their substance, is plainly to accept cession to Rationalism; as if it necessarily followed from evidence only where it pleases us, and to reject it admitting that inspiration is not verhal, that, therefore, where it pleases us not. The only question fairly purely human. It'is plain, however, that this is no neces
an indeterminate portion of the substance or doctrine is at issue must ever be, whether the general evidence sary consequence: an advocate of pleuary inspiration may for Christianity will overbear the difficulties which contend, that, though he does not believe that the very we cannot separate from the truths.
words of Scripture were dictated, yel that the thoughts If it will
were either so suggested, (if the matter was such as could not, we must reject it wholly; and if it will, we be known only by revelation) or so controlled, (if the must receive it wholly. There is plainly no
matter were such as was previously known,) that (exclud
ing errors introduced into the text since) ihe Scriptures tenable position between absolute infidelity and as first composed were-- what no book of man ever was, absolute belief. And this is proved by the infi- or can be, even in the plainest narrative of the simplest nitely various and Protean character of Rational- events- perfecily accurate expression of truth. We ism, and the perfectly indeterminate, but always a view of inspiration is better or worse than another. arbitrary, limits it imposes on itself. It exists in We are simply anxious to correct a fallacy which has, all forms and degrees, from a moderation which judging from what we have recently read, operated rather
extensively. Inspiration may be verbal, or the contrary; accepts nearly the entire system of Christianity, but, whether one or the other, he who takes the affirmative and which certainly rejects nothing that can be said or negative of that question may still consistently contend
that it may still be plenary. The question of the inspi10 constitute its distinctive truth, to an audacity of ration of the whole, or the inspiration of a part, is widely unbelief, which, professing still vaguely to rever- different from that as to the suggestion of the words or ence Christianity as “something divine,” sponges leave 10 professed theologians. We merely enter our
the suggestion of the thoughts. But these questions we out nine tenths of the whole ; or, after reducing the protest against a prevailing fallacy,
tity ; or rather, it to attempt to find the value Nor can we disguise from ourselves, indeed, that of an unknown quantity by another equally un- consistency in the application of the essential prinknown.
ciple of Rationalism would compel us to go a few We cannot but judge, then, the principles of steps further ; for since, as Bishop Butler has Rationalism to be logically untenable. And we do shown, no greater difficulties (if so great) attach to so, not merely or principally on account of the the page of revelation than to the volume of Nature absurdity it involves—that God has expressly sup- itself—especially those which are involved in that plemented human reason by a revelation containing dread enigma,“ the origin of evil,"compared with an indeterminate but large portion of falsities, which all other enigmas are trifles—that abyss into errors, and absurdities, and which we are to com- which so many of the difficulties of all theology, mit to our little alembic, and distil as we may; natural and revealed, at last disembogue themselves not only from the absurdity of supposing that God —we feel that the admission of the principle of has demanded our faith, for statements which are Rationalism would ultimately drive us, not only to to be received only as they appear perfectly com- reject Christianity, but to reject Theism in all its prehensible by our reason ;-or, in other words, forms, whether Monotheism or Pantheism, and only for what it is impossible that we should doubt even positive or dogmatic Atheism itself. Nor or deny ; not merely because the principle inevita- could we stop, indeed, till we had arrived at that bly leaves man to construct the so-called revelation absolute pyrrhonism which consists, if such a thing entirely for himself; so that what one man receives be possible, in the negation of all belief-even to as a genuine communication from heaven, another, the belief that we do not believe! from having a different development of “his intui- But though the objections to the reception of tional consciousness," rejects as an absurdity too Christianity are numerous, and some insoluble, gross for human belief;--not wholly, we say, nor the question always returns, whether they overeven principally, for these reasons ; but for the balance the mass of the evidence in its favor? still stronger reason, that such a system of objec- nor is it to be forgotten that they are susceptible tions is an egregious trifling with that great com- of indefinite alleviation as time rolls on ; and with plex mass of evidence which, as we have said, a few observations on this point we will close the applies to the whole of Christianity or to none of it. present article. As if to baffle the efforts of man consistently to dis- A refineinent of modern philosophy often leads engage these elements of our belief, the whole are our rationalist to speak depreciatingly, if not coninextricably blended together. The supernatural temptuously, of what he calls a stereotyped reveelement, especially, is so diffused through all the lation-revelation in a “book.” It ties down, he records, that it is more and more felt, at every is fond of saying, the spirit to the better ; and step, to be impossible to obliterate it without ob- limits the "progress” and “ development” of the literating the entire system in which it circulates. human mind in its " free” pursuit of truth. The The stain, if stain it be, is far too deep for any answer we should be disposed to make is, first, scouring fluids of Rationalism to wash it out, with that if a book does contain truth, the sooner that out destroying the whole texture of our creed; truth is stereotyped the better ; secondly, that if and, in our judgment, the only consistent Rational- such book, like the book of Nature, or, as we deem, ism is the Rationalism which rejects it all. the book of Revelation, really contains truth, its
At whatever point the rationalist we have at- study, so far from being incompatible with the tempted to describe may take his stand, we do not spirit of free inquiry, will invite and repay conthink it difficult to prove that his conduct is emi- tinual efforts more completely to understand it. nently irrational. If, for example, he be one of Though the great and fundamental truths contained those moderate rationalists who admit (as thou- in either volume will be obvious in proportion to sands do) the miraculous and other evidence of the their importance and necessity, there is no limit to supernatural origin of the gospel, and therefore be placed on the degree of accuracy with which also admit such and such doctrines to be true, the truths they severally contain may be deciphered, what can he reply, if further asked what reason he stated, adjusted-or even on the period in which can have for accepting these truths and rejecting fragmen of new truth shall cease to be elicited. others which are supported by the very same evi- It is true, indeed, that theology cannot be said to dence? How can he be sure that the truths he admit of unlimited progress, in the same sense as receives are established by evidence which, to all chemistry—which may, for aught we know, treble appearance, equally authenticates the falsehoods he or quadruple its present accumulations, vast as rejects ? Surely, as already said, this is to reject they are, both in bulk and importance. But even and accept evidence as he pleases. If, on the in theology as deduced from the Scripture, minute other hand, he says that he receives the miracles canonical authority, or the interpretation of portions of only to authenticate what he knows very well the records in which they are found, and is willing to without them, and believes true on the information abide by the issue of the evidence on those points-eviof reason alone, why trouble miracles and revela- deal-we answer, that he is not the man with whom we
dence with which the human mind is quite competent to tion at all? Is not this, according to the old prov- are now arguing. The points in dispute will be detererb, to “ take a hatchet to break an egg ???*
mined by the honest use of history, criticism, and philol
ogy. But between such a man and one who rejects * If such a man says that he rejects certain doctrines, Christianity altogether, we can imagine no consistent not on ralionalistic grounds, but because he denies the position.