Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of an

necting Time with Eternity, and all progress in knowledge, virtue, and purity here with a hereafter, where a state of illimitable iinprovement awaits all the children of mortality. Hence, then, appears the necessity and the reasonableness express

Revelation from the eternal Father to his mortal child, on so important a subject, a subject so necessary to the full development of his intellectual and moral nature, to the full expansion of the Divine image in which he was created.

All intelligent modern Deists, although rejecting a Revelation, profess to believe in a future state. On what without a Revelation can they found their belief ? As has been already remarked, all Nature is profoundly silent upon the subject. If the query of Job be made, “ If a man die shall he live again ?” Nature gives no reply, the grave gives no reply, human experience replies positively in the negative ! Human physiology and animal chemistry present not a ray of hope on the momentous question. All Science has to do exclusively with the present order of things; hence it is demonstratively evident that Natural Religion must ever be utterly insufficient for the great end of Revelation, the disclosure of a new order of things, that is, of a future state. “ Eternal life" must ever continue to be “the gift of God," the especial gift of God! Too much stress cannot be laid upon this fact. It gives to Revelation its vast and incomparable importance. Some talk of a “period when human Reason might supersede the necessity of a Revelation.” But all Science most clearly proves that human Reason could never have a glimpse of the great doctrine of a “ Resurrection to life and glory," in the principles of Nature as at present constituted. The doctrine altogether depends upon a new and a different arrangement of things, or on a future state of being, not a single trace of which can be discovered in the universe as at present constituted. It could, therefore, be only known to Him who sees the “end from the beginning,” and must, if made known at all, be communicated directly to his creatures. The dictates of Revelation must also be perfect, and cannot in the slightest degree be "modifiedby any discoveries of Natural Science. All that can admit of modification in Christianity, is, what has been added to it, and mixed with it by “man's device,” all that is foreign to its pure nature and spirit. Men's opinions respecting it may vary and be modified by the light of modern Science, but the nature of the truths it unfolds cannot be either changed or modified. It is “the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." The peculiar province of Natural and Revealed religion is distinctly and broadly marked. And too much importance cannot be attached to this distinction, especially in the present day when so much confusion exists in many minds upon the subject.

Socrates, Plato, Cicero, &c., and many of the same school in modern times, have dreamed of Immorality, it is true, but the fairy vision vanished before the sober deductions of Reason. Some have assumed the Soul to be immaterial, and, therefore, judged it must be immortal. The assumption and the conclusion, are by others, deemed to be equally unphilosopbical, merely the Ægri somnia of the imagination. Revelation they conceive knows nothing of a supposed immaterial and immortal principle in Man. Its language is, “This corruptible shall put on incorruption and this mortal immortality.” It promises immortality to what is now corrupt and mortal, reorganization in a future state of what is now perishable, a resurrection from the dead! As unassisted reason and the dictates of Science are clearly inadequate to the development of this glorious truth, “the glad tidings of great joy," it must be communicated to man by express Revelation from Him "who knoweth our frame and remembereth we are dust.”

The only objection to the supernatural character of Christianity worthy of notice is the following :-“That it is highly unreasonable to suppose that the Author of Nature could expect from his rational creatures the assent to the truth of a doctrine which rested on the testimony of miracles, which, (it is asserted,) contradict the laws and dictates of Nature.”

This objection, involving really no difficulty to the truly philosophic and religious mind, demands, however, serious attention, as it has been urged by men of no ordinary acquirements.

God is the cause of all the powers or laws which operate throughout creation. The phrase, “Laws of Nature,” is applied by philosophers to that class of phenomena which succeed each other in the relation of cause and effect. When similar effects uniformly attend similar causes, this is said to take place by a law of nature. So that a law of nature implies no more than uniformity of action. The alternations of day and night, of summer and winter, take place by a "law of nature.” It involves, therefore, no peculiar difficulty, nor any thing incoinpatible with the strictest

[ocr errors]

principles of reason to suppose, that the Author of Nature's laws should, in order to give the strongest sanction to the mission of Him whom he anointed above his fellows, so arrange, order, or modify these laws or powers, as to cause them to realize effects, not contrary to, but different from, those of common occurrence. How could the Creator display his immediate power, or manifest his peculiar approval of a particular mission, otherwise than by acting in an extraordinary way? Is it not perfectly reasonable that an especial mission, should require especial testimony, and a direct message from God, proofs from God of its truth ? one implies the other. So that, if it ever seemed good to the Father of merciesto reveal his universal Paternity to his rational offspring, and extend man's hope beyond the grave, it appears both reasonable and natural, that such an unusual Revelation should be accompanied with unusual proofs, or with “Miracles,” or what our Saviour emphatically styles, “the works of the Father.” Of course the natural and supernatural are equally God's works; only the former is common, and the latter uncommon. Revelation, therefore, when properly understood, does not militate against any natural phenomena. Its peculiar province is to go beyond, not against nature, or the present order of things. It leads the human mind beyond nature; beyond what is created, to the Creator; beyond his works to the Author; beyond the present to the future; beyond the grave to a general resurrection.

It has been also said, “that the doctrine proves the miracle, and not the miracle the doctrine.” But suppose we ask what the doctrine is that proves the miracle. The great and most iinportant principle in Christ's doctrine is a resurrection from the dead. The doctrine of a universal resurrection in a future state, according to this new logic, proves the resurrection of Lazarus, or of Christ two thousand years ago! But suppose we ask, what proves the doctrine ? Or can a rational being believe the doctrine of a universal resurrection without any proof? As regards mankind in general, the resurrection of Lazarus or of Christ can be of no importance, when viewed alone, and apart from the doctrine, But when a being appears as a divine Messenger, to announce “the glad tidings” of a universal resurrection to glory and happiness, and appeals to his own resurrection as a proof of the truth of his doctrine, the miracle becomes of incal culable importance!

That the miracle is of no peculiar value to us, except as affording direct evidence of the truth of the doctrine, we have the express

declaration of Christ. “If I do not the works of my Father (miracles) believe me not (attach no importance to my doctrine), the works I do in

my
Father's

name, they bear witness of me.” Thus the “Author of our Faith" appeals on all occasions to his miracles, as incontestible evidence of his doctrines. Jesus Christ invariably professed to work miracles, and to work them for a distinct and specific object; “that ye might believe.” The miraculous is essential to the very existence of Christianity. The "works of the Father” are so united and blended with the “doctrine which is from above,” that one cannot be separated, without destroying the other. The more extraordinary any doctrine may be, the stronger must be the testimony borne to its truth.

The general laws of creation, and the great plan according to which all is maintained and superintended, are left to the faculties of man gradually to decipher. Such investigations furnish sources of the purest gratification to a rational mind. But this is not enough. Human Reason seeks for something more. For ages it explored all nature for a glimpse of nature's origin; of nature's mighty Author! But human faculties could never raise the veil which separated the created from the Creator; the visible from the invisible. The child was left to wander among nature's beauties, not without sources of enjoyment, in search of the “pearl of great price,” his highest happiness. At last the “fulness of time” came, when the human mind had reached that maturity, which might enable it to comprehend and appreciate the great lessons of “wisdom and of power,” that were destined to render Man perfect, “ as his heavenly Father is perfect.” Jesus Christ came from the Father of lights; the Source of all truth, to be the “light of the world;" the light of the whole moral creation of God! Every accent that fell from his mouth, every trait in his character, every feature of his mind, bore Heaven's seal! He towered infinitely above Heathen

sages and Jewish prophets. He was the “Sun of righteousness;” the great luminary which was to dispense light, warmth, and vigour, throughout the moral universe, which was to dispel all darkness, ignorance, and vice, and vivify, strengthen, and invigorate every virtne; all that can adorn or bless humanity. The mighty object which he contemplated, and which his pure doctrines are fully able to

[ocr errors]

effect, was nothing less than the "gathering together” of all mankind in one fold, where there shall be “one Father and one Shepherd!” In the purity of his character, the extent of his views, and the depth of his love, he was "the express image of the Father's glory." To him the “spirit of God was given without measure.” How worthy of God is such a Messenger, and such a doctrine!

How full of encouragement, hope, and joy to man! How are all the paltry doctrines of "man's device,” obscured and lost by the heavenly rays of the mighty truths of Him, whom even his enemies acknowledged "spake as no man ever spake.”

This is Christian Unitarianism; and it has nothing to fear from the discoveries of true science. It ever “rejoiceth in the truth.” Christianity is the language of God; and God's language must ever be in harmony with his works ! Carmarthen.

D. LLOYD.

THE GERMANDER SPEEDWELL.

DEEP love, kind wishes, filled the heart,

That as it breathed a fond adieu,
And watched the much loved friend depart,

Beheld and named thee, flowret blue.
Lend me, sweet bloom, thy fairy voice;

I too would render homage due
To all who bid the heart rejoice,

The wise, the good, the pure, the true.
Speed well on your bright, your glorious way,

Speed well ye children of Peace and Love;
Leading gently back those who go astray,
Leading them back to their Father above.

Speed, speed ye well.
Speed well on the path your Master trod,

Labourers with head, and heart, and hand,
Spread through the Press the goodness of God,
Spread wisdom and happiness through the land.

God speed ye well.
Speed well, speed well, with your merry play,

Babes, yet unconscious of sin and blame;
Love God, who smiles in his sun's bright ray,
Honour, and bless, and love his name.

And so, speed well.
Speed well, speed well, on the path of life,

You have scarcely entered, ye youthful pair;
Speed well, kind husband, and gentle wife,
One in health and wealth, one in want and care,

One in heart, speed well.

« AnteriorContinuar »