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proves that “when men do not like to retain God in their knowledge, they are given over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient.” And Rome in the time of Tiberius and Nero reads the same lesson as Paris in the days of the Commune. A godless philosophy can never lay solid foundations for human virtue, and in its attempt to do without God, will only bring forth a monstrous abortion.
In this rapid review of heathen religions we have not thought it needful to refer in detail to all the nations of antiquity. The ancient civilization of Egypt and Assyria shows as few traces of a pure theology as that of India and China. Persia is distinguished by the great name of Zoroaster, around whom has gathered a halo of legend, like the mythical renown of Brahma and Buddha, but all that we can learn of religion from its modern representatives, the Parsees, proves that it has no more power to regenerate mankind, or even to enforce a virtuous life, than the Buddhist or Brahminical systems.
We find then that all the civilized nations of antiquity were without a true knowledge of God. Neither the light of nature, nor the light of conscience conducted them to a religion of holiness. They made no progress in finding out the truth as concerning God's relations to man; their philosophy was powerless to enforce morality, and their civilization contained the fatal germs of decay; so that when we look back on the ancient world, we see wave after wave of humanity breaking, and disappearing on the barren rocks of human speculation. The process is ever the same. Certain crude notions of the Divine are projected from man's consciousness, but they have no foundation in positive truth, and are successively swept away by the tide of time, leaving the race as poor in moral and spiritual intelligence as their remote ancestors.
But do we find that the savage races of the globe have succeeded better in the quest after God? Do we find anywhere traces of primeval innocence among them, or purer and holier notions of the Divine character than the civilized nations of antiquity developed ? It once was a dream of sophists that man in the savage state was comparatively pure, but the close researches of modern investigators have made it only too plain that the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations
of horrid cruelty. Whether we turn to the Red Indians of North America, the Negroes or Hottentots of Africa, the aboriginal races of the South Sea Islands, or the Esquimaux of Greenland, we come upon no traces of an elevated conception of the Deity, but we meet everywhere with a degraded fetichism, for the most part accompanied by the practice of barbarous rites, and we find that these various races, when they first come in contact with civilized man, are in no degree advanced beyond the place their ancestors filled thousands of years before. It is the extreme of folly to hold that savage man is gradually developing from his own barren soil a truer and holier religion. No one could assert this who was not entirely blinded by his aversion to revealed truth. Whatever arguments may be advanced for the need of a revelation from a review of the civilised or semi-civilised Pagan nations may be urged a fortiori from a review of the savage tribes of mankind.
The universal testimony of all humanity is that man cannot find out God, and so God must graciously reveal Himself to man, if His character and will are ever to be known at all.
THE BIBLE GOD'S REVELATION PROVED BY
N OW we contend that the Bible, and the Bible
only, contains a true revelation of God to man, or rather, we should say, the Bible contains a true record of all the revelations that God has made to man, ending with the crown and flower of them all—the Christian religion. Before we proceed to consider the fitness of God's revelation contained in the Bible, we will pursue the historical argument a little further to show that those nations alone which have received the Bible have developed a pure and Christian civilization. And first let us take the Jews. That nation was chosen by God to be the depositary of the earlier or Mosiac revelation, and at a time when the earth was overspread by idolatry, was selected to be a witness to the oneness of God. Do we find then such a moral superiority in the Jewish race over the contemporary Gentiles as to afford witness of the greater light they received? We unhesitatingly reply in the affirmative. We find all through the history of the Jews, from Abraham to Christ, a succession of holy men of God who bore testimony to one Supreme and Holy Being, whose will was the law of their lives, and whom they obeyed at the sacrifice of all that men count dear. No efforts of sceptical criticism can dispose of the fact that such men existed; it is childish to suppose that men like Abraham, Moses, and Elijah, were the creation of fancy, like the legendary prophets of heathen. dom. There is about their lives, as recorded in the Bible, such a perfect naturalness and consistency as utterly rebuts the idea of their being figments of human imagination. Their sins and shortcomings are narrated with the same simplicity as their virtues; there is never the least attempt to gloss over the failings of Old Testament Saints; there is no attempt to palliate sin, there is no attempt to bring down the claims of the Eternai to the level of feeble humanity. God is ever re. presented as claiming absolute homage, and man as