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of their due proportions and dependencies; and then, with all his names of pågan splendour, what becomes of rivalry with the Fishermen of Galilee?
But, besides rules of duty, man requires to be made acquainted with those principles within him which war against it, and which, when he knows the right, still induce him to prefer the wrong ; with the power and prevalence of those principles, and with the misery to which they lead; but above all, with the way by which that fearful issue may be averted. Let it be granted, that the necessary rules of duty might be found elsewhere; let it be also allowed, that in self-knowledge some discoveries, far from adequate, had been made by man's unassisted reason ; still, on the last, incomparably the most important point, nature through all her works is dumb, and reason utterly foiled. How shall man escape the consequence of his sins ? How shall his nature become duły upright, that so he may attain to the perfection of his being ? These are questions to which no oracle professed to give an answer, which no philosophy pretended to resolve. These were questions often put, but all was silence, while hope would sometimes whisper, that the time would come when Heaven would reveal the glorious secret ? When Socrates, Plato, Cicero, con. fessed themselves to be baffled, how came the Authors of the Christian Scriptures to grasp these questions? How came those uninstructed men to reach their depth and height, to understand their various bearings, and, with constant regard to justice, truth, and purity, without by the least shade obscuring the honours of the universal Law-giver, or involving any of the interests of intelligent, accountable beings, exist in what world they may, to give explicit, unembarrassed answers ? To conceive aright of what was due to Him who is at once the highest Legislator and the supreme Benefactor; to harmonize these characters, to adjust the several claims of each,-of law, justice, and veracity, on the one hand ; of mercy, grace, and love on the other; what an amazing. attempt for uneducated men! Who, then, were these men, and whence their knowledge ?
To attack their system on these momentous topics, how often soever attempted, has been proved to be a hopeless undertaking; and to change or mutilate it but a little, has been shewn to introduce eonfusion somewhere,—to dethrone the Heavenly Law-giver, ; to impair the mercy of the universal Father, to endanger the safety of those spirits who still retain their allegiance, or to intercept recovering interference.
How, again, are other subtile questions disposed of in the Scriptures,--those of freedom and dependence ?-questions full of mystery, giving rise to interminable discussions among ingenious men, and almost always dividing the disputants into opposite parties, of which the one virtually destroys the sovereignty of God,
VOL. VIII.- N.S.
the other the moral agency of man? Have the sacred writers, on any of the points which involve these abstruse inquiries, been at all convicted of error? Have not the fallacies of every metaphysical system which has impugned their dicta, been successively exposed? And has it not been proved, after the most elaborate researches, that man is, in fact, what the Scriptures every where represent him as being, at once a free and accountable agent, and yet, dependent upon his Maker for all the good he has or needs, moral as well as physical ? Who taught the despised men of Galilee this profound philosophy ?
Many difficulties, indeed, appear on the surface of the Scriptures, relating to the state and prospects of man, the methods of Providence towards him, the threatened results of his conduct hereafter, and its actual consequences in this life. But how stand the statements with the analogies of constituted nature, with the events occurring before our eyes, which implicate similar principles? How happens it, that the closer the comparison insti. tuted between the God of nature and the God of Revelation, the more do they appear to be the same? Who gave to the sacred writers that glance so searching through the vast field of operations in the world around them, especially as those operations bear on man and sentient beings ? Who taught them not to err in drawing the portrait of their Deity, and of His various dealings with His creatures? Far from throwing themselves on the current of ordinary notions, their thoughts on these subjects have met the powerful tides of men's opinions; while yet, when tried by the only proper test, not by what man thinks, but by what God actually does before our observation, they are found to bear down all resistance.
Of the two portions of the Sacred Writings, the Old Testament and the New, the diversity in many respects is very striking; while yet, it seems impossible to deny, on close inspection, that there is discovered, a singular uniformity of design, a gradual unfolding of the same comprehensive scheme, a constant keeping in view of the same purpose to be accomplished,-a purpose of which, however, the precise nature was hidden for ages. Had there from the beginning been some presiding intelligence perfectly acquainted with the facts and doctrines to be promulgated in a distant age, intending to announce them gradually, to interweave them with other matters, to introduce such notices of them as might excite ambiguous hope at the time, and which, when accomplished, should become entirely unequivocal; it cannot be denied, that some such work as the Old Testament would have been the production of that intellect. That design it exactly answers. But since, without a governing intelligence, no such design could by possibility have been entertained, the result actually existing is left without a cause, and can on no principles whatever be accounted for. Can ignorance be supposed to have for ages performed the work of knowledge ? Of the existence of the Old Testament before the events recorded in the New, it is impossible to doubt : of its anticipation of those events, the appearances are too plain to be denied. Yet, whence could arise this anticipation ? A seeming foresight of few and common events creates no difficulty ; but when the circumstances are numerous, the events entirely singular, events which the human mind is slow to apprehend, slower still to credit, even though clearly announced and well attested; then, in this case, that the coincidences could be casual, cannot be admitted. With this difficulty, the infidel has never seriously attempted to grapple. The only effort towards it displays at once its unmanageable nature. His method is, to try to defeat the forces of his adversary in detail He insulates every reference, calls it an extravagant figure, divests it of its meaning, applies it to some common occurrence, and then presumes to treat its resemblance to a prophetic announcement with contempt. The difficulty is thus left unheeded, or rather, acknowledged to be insuperable. Of that difficulty, the very essence consists in the number and the peculiarity of the references, and in the exactitude of their agreement, when collected and combined, with subsequent events most complicated and unexpected.
The writings of the New Testament display a similar feature, independently of prophecy. Those of them which are ascribed to authors who could be cognizant of the same facts, exhibit innumerable coincidences, where concerted design is impossible; of which coincidences, no reason can be given, but that the facts really occurred, and that the minds of the authors were alike imbued with their influence. Of this nature, examples are every where discernible, and, in those parts which have had a Paley to illustrate them, so established, that even Scepticism itself, the most inveterate, has been compelled to grant the inference, that those events at least were real.
Independently, therefore, of the personal character of the writers, as fairly to be deduced from the style, and the sentiments and feelings manifested in their writings, independently too of such proofs as demand Christian knowledge and experience to comprehend them, nothing less can be inferred from the various considerations of internal evidence, than that imposition in this case were the greatest of anomalies.
The external proofs of the truth of Scripture have, in like manner, often been shewn to be unassailable by any legitimate methods of reasoning. That a general change was effected in the opinions and practices of large masses of mankind, for which a growing belief of the facts stated in the New Testament will
satisfactorily account, no one will venture to deny. Of such a change, - which, whether we regard the extent of its operation, its completeness as a revolution of thought, opinion, and sentiment, or the learning, habits, and secular influence over which it prevailed, is absolutely without a parallel in the history of the human race,--no cause at all adequate to the effect, except the one above mentioned, has ever been as yet devised. And from what has been attempted, we may plainly infer, that to imagine such a cause surpasses the sagacity of man. . In addition to this fact, sufficient of itself to inspire confidence, no attempt has so far succeeded as to appear even plausible, which has been directed against the authenticity of the Sacred Books. It is supported by more historic document than on any other subject would be deemed at all needful; and there is no contradictory or conflicting testimony, except on questions of no importance, as applying merely to some insulated part. To evade the force of this testimony, nothing has yet been imagined, which in any other case would be allowed a moment's consideration. What is the refuge of the unbeliever? He is obliged to insinuate that some documents which might have opposed the present inferences, have possibly perished; or that some remaining works, in which there is no mention of them, would have adverted to the facts, if true. Thus, a conjecture respecting something which may possibly have existed, -not of what has any probability to support it, but of what by mere possibility may have been,-is alleged to disprove the verdict of direct and multifarious witnesses ; and the silence of a few, is to counterbalance the declarations of many. This is not the course of inquiry, but of determined prejudice; not of argument, but of subterfuge. To make the inference from historical proof to be dependent upon what we may conceive it might have been, instead of resting it upon what we know actually to exist, is plainly want of sense. What less can it be than an abandonment of reason, for us to assume the possibility of something unknown, to contradict what is known ? How little also can be fairly deduced from the silence of authors, even respecting the most unusual and interesting events,-events to the mention of which their subject directly led them, and respecting which they were in possession of all the means of information,-may be seen by the silence of Pliny, Suetonius, and Tacitus, respecting the destruction of Herculaneum; the two former not having alluded to the fact, and the latter stating only generally that cities were destroyed. For the New Testament, it may be therefore confidently asserted, that, in historic evidence, it is beyond the reach of assault.
But, besides direct historic proof, the external evidences of Scripture diffuse themselves over almost every tract of literature and science. It is true, that no science whatever is taught, as a science, in the sacred books ; not even that of theology or of morals; much less then are we to expect from them any other kinds of systematic knowledge. Nevertheless, the Sacred Writers have interwoven very much of fact, relating both to history and to the subsequent discoveries of science; much of events, which, though not the primary things intended to be taught, must still be either true or false ; that is, must either have really occurred, or have been invented for a specific purpose. The shrewd discovery of the Westminster Reviewer, that the Flood was only a moral event, is above the comprehension of ordinary people. Whether the inhabitants of the old world were punished by dreaming of a flood, or whether they imagined it in broad day light, does not exactly appear from the Reviewer's remarks ; but, whether a dream or a waking imagination, it seems to have been most deeply impressed on the minds of succeeding generations, if, at least, we may at all judge from the traditions of the various tribes which constituted the ancestry of all the races now inhabiting the different regions of the earth. It is pretended by writers of this insidious class, that since the Scriptures have for their object, the instruction of mankind in moral and spiritual truth, it ought to be conceded, that there is no reality in their history, nor truth in their statement of physical fact. On this hypothesis, the rank assigned to the word of divine truth, is the same as that of the fabulous and enigmatical instruction of Indian, Egyptian, and Grecian Mythology ; saving, perhaps, some superiority in its own department, in its exhibiting a better code of morals and a purer theology. Thus, the Bible is reduced to a level with the Shasters, as detailing to us no physical facts, or none on which we can place the least reliance, having merely interwoven its instructions with mystical legends! Because it does not deliver systems of astronomy, geology, mechanics; because it speaks the universal language of men, and employs such phrases as, the sun rose and the sun set, therefore the creation was no creation, the flood no flood, the Tower of Babel no such thing as a tower, nor the march of the Israelites through the desert, and their expulsion of the Canaanites, any thing else but mere figures, intending to describe some moral change, or to inculcate some abstract truth!
On the faith of this assumption, all who attempt to elucidate and confirm Scriptural fidelity, by subsequent discoveries, are to be lectured as introducing the “ Philosophia phantastica,” and the “ Religio hæretica," against which Bacon has remonstrated. Themselves constantly violating sundry maxims of Bacon, these writers try to persuade the ignorant, of their own most philosophic consistency, and, when confronted with a sturdy accuser, like an arraigned felon, to throw the guilt of some other crime at least, upon the witness. Thus have they treated De Luc, Granville Penn, Ure, and every man of science who has dared to cherish