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reclaim, and to convince, and to enlighten their darkest population, and to put the stamp of a sound and a clear intelligence on all the discipleship which it earns among them.
We do not see how we could have abridged our observations at any former point of this argument; and, after all, have we only arrived on the margin of a vast and untrodden field, and feel ourselves placed on the mere threshold of a subject far too big and too unwieldy for the present Essay. We will not attempt the impossibility of entertaining the question we have just now started, in such a way as to meet the every doubt, and to pursue the every illustration, and at length to bestow upon our argument its complete and conclusive establishment. We firmly believe, that there is no one position in Theology, which can be more strongly and more philosophically sustained, than the self-evidencing power of the Bible. For a full and satisfactory exposition of this subject, we must refer our readers to Dr. Owen's Treatise, in the present Volume, " On the Self-Evidencing Light and Power of the Scriptures," and all we shall do, at present, is just to bring forward as much, in the way of remark, as we have room for, on the important point which has been suggested.
When this evidence first dawns on the mind of an inquirer, there is one striking point of accordancy which generally offers itself to his contemplation ; even that accordancy which subsists between the inward experience of his own heart, and the outward description of it that is laid before him in the Bible; and is, in fact, like the exact correspondence which obtains between the cipher and the thing to be deciphered. There is no one announcement which the Bible maintains more steadily, and which it keeps by more perseveringly, and which, in opposition to all the wisdom of this world, and to all the delusion and vanity of the people who live in it, is it ever holding forth more fearlessly, and more unrelentingly, than the utter alienation and worthlessness of man in reference to God. It makes the entire corruption of our species the basis of its system. It never either questions or qualifies this position; but takes it up, and proceeds upon it; and we recognize it at every turn as the great and the pervading element of Christianity. And when a man, unwarped from all the influences by which he has hitherto been blinded, looks inwardly upon himself, and perceives that it is really so, when enabled to pierce his way through all those plausibilities of character which have hitherto lulled him into a deceitful security, he is made to see how utterly de. void he is of what may be called the main or the elemental principle of righteousness, even a principle of allegiance to God, when it becomes evident to him, that at the very moment that the virtues of instinct or of natural endowment, throw a lustre of moral accomplishment around him, and draw upon his persou the eye and the homage of society, he is neither
, thinking of the God who made him, nor making his will the standard of obedience; but, with the full bent of his affections to the creature rather than to the Creator, he is in fact making the world that divinity to which he renders the incense of a perpetual offering; and withholding his heart from Him who
claims the ascendency over all its desires, and giving it up in unreserved devotedness to the idols of sense and of time. Why, when he thinks of this as the very turning point of the controversy between God and his creatures; that to do this is to trample on the authority of the first and the greatest commandment; that let him be kind or amiable, or generous or upright, there is that universal attribute of the carnal mind, even enmity against God, which spreads itself. over the whole system of his feelings, and deeply infuses the very best of them with the guilt and the malignity of sin—when he contrasts his forgetfulness of God, and his utter indifference to God, with the weight of those unnumbered obligationsthat he owes to Him who called him into being, and who enriched him with all his faculties, and who gives him every breath, and whose right hand upholds him continually,when thus enabled to descry, through the mists of a pride that is now more tified, and the false brilliancies of an imagination that is now arrested, how, with a heart withheld from God, he in fact has been carrying about with him, from the first infancy of his recollection, the very seed and principle of rebellion against his Maker,when he comes to see all this, and, furthermore, to see how the same lesson, which his now enlightened experience is reading to him, in characters so distinct and so vigorous in his own person, stands engraven as vigorously and as distinctly on the record of Scripture; how the very thing has all along been most firmly, and in the face of this world's resistance, stated in his Bible, which is now opening upon his conviction, from the clearer
view that he now takes of the lineaments of his own heart. Is it, after all this, to-be looked at as a mystery, that he should proffer his respect to a volume which tells him what no other volume ever told him, but which he now sees, by his own discernment, to be true; that he should feel constrained towards that book in which he has found such an exact image of himself, as is not to be found within the whole range of human literature; or when an utterance of the Bible thus meets with its counterpart in his own bosom, and it be an utterance which nature never could have prompted, because revolting to all the pride and to all the sagacity of nature, shall he be any longer suspended in doubt or in amazement, though so convinced and so judged, and with the secrets of his heart so made manifest, his belief should at length be overpowered by this and similar instances of such a wondrous divination ?
There is no room for dilating on other instances, or for describing the whole compass of Scripture, with the view of pointing out the every passage from which there glances, on the reader whose eyes have been opened, this evidence of divination. We cannot show how the very offer of such a Saviour as can alone quell the apprehensions of sinful nature, and makes the conscience feel at peace with God, is virtually in itself an act of divinationor how the distaste of nature for the truths of the Gospel, a distaste asserted in the records of the Gospel itself, forms another striking example of divinationor how the way in which this distaste is made to give place to a spiritual relish, and a spiritual discern
ment of these things, tallies with other verses of the Bible, and goes to swell and to multiply the evidences of divination-or how the actual revolution, felt by every believer whose heart is now open to the charm and the significancy of that which he at one time recoiled from in nauseous antipathy, forms an argument here of a weightier character than that of divination, We cannot venture at present on so wide a field: the evidence is in fact too abundant for it. The number of verses is too great which exhibits a harmony between the doctrines of the Bible and the findings of experience. But it may at least be remarked, that it is an evidence out of which something may be gathered to meet the case of every inquirer. For first, if he be in a state previous to conversion, this evidence accumulates upon him by every statement he finds about the deadness, and the darkness, and the dread of his alienated bosom in reference to God--and he feels it to agree with the testimony of his own conscience--and he sees in the Bible the reflection of his own most intimate experience, as it tells him that he is living without hope and without God in the world, and that a moral impotency has got hold of him, and that he cannot render, in his own strength, a spiritual obedience, and that there lies upon him the utter impossibility of conceiving love to God, whom, without the faith of the New Testament, he ever will look upon as a distant and inaccessible Lawgiver. And secondly, if
. he be on the eve of conversion, he finds out other points of accordancy. He looks at the Gospel, and sees there what he can see no where elsea something to tranquillize the fears of guilt, to meet its