Imágenes de páginas

can manifest the secrets of his heart, so as that he shall acknowledge God to be in them of a truth.

And here, by the way, we cannot but remark, what a powerful argument the subject we have been illustrating furnishes in behalf of Bible and Missionary Societies. Did we propose to make our next door neighbour a believer unto life, we should feel that the most direct instrumentality we could bring to bear upon him, would be to ply his conscience with the word of the testimony. And, did we go to the neighbour beyond him, we would just do the same thing. And though, in passing from one man to another, we widen the distance from our own home, we would never think of making any change on the kind or on the method of application, by which we tried to subdue them all unto the faith of the Gospel. And in this way would we proceed till we got to the verge of Christendom-and if such be the right and the effective treatment for the last man we found within its limits, tell us, for in truth we cannot perceive it, why, on leaving him, it should not be a treatment equally right and equally effective for the very first man we meet with beyond it. How can the evidence lose its power in the transition which we make at this particular moment? What ingredient of strength has fallen away from it? What is it that the man on this side of the line has, which the man on the other side of the line has not? Neither of them is made to witness a miracle. Neither of them has heard a single word about the original vouchers for Christianity, or about the faithful transmission of its credentials along the line of many generations. Neither of them has been ini

tiated into the scholarship of its argumentative evidence; and if you will just demand no more for the Christianization of the latter, than what you count to be enough for the Christianization of the former, it were easy to prove, that the man who is standing without has just as much to help on his discipleship as the man who is standing within. Both of them have the same mental constitution. Both are in the same state of darkness and alienation from God. Both labour under the same fears, and may have the same feeling of their moral and spiritual necessities. In a word, each of them possesses a bosom alike framed to meet, by its responding movements, the message and the information of the New Testament. The thoughts of the one heart are as effectually reached by the word of God, which discerns and divides them asunder, as the thoughts of the other heart. And if, on the strength of these principles, we may go, by a single inch, beyond the outskirts of Christendom, on the very same principles is the whole extent of the habitable world laid open to the enterprises of Bible Societies and Christian Missionaries. There is not a human being who does not carry within him a mould of correspondence to that die which was wrought by the wisdom of God; and which is fitted to meet the case and the circumstances of all his children; and which, in fact, makes the evidence of the Bible as portable, as Bibles and teachers are portable, and which may, and therefore ought, to be carried round the globe; and should be made to traverse in every direction the wide domains of humanity, and be carried to every island and every district where men are to be found, and to cir

culate in full throughout all the tribes of this world's population, and to leave not so much as one straggling remnant of the species unvisited, nor to stop short in this noble enterprise, till the word of the testimony has been proclaimed among all nations, and kindreds, and families.

And if it were not so-if there was no such evidence, as that for which we are contending, by what practical avenue could the faith of the Gospel be made to find an entrance and an establishment among the great mass of our own population? Take away from us the self-evidencing power of the Bible, and you lay an interdict on the Christianity of cottages, on the Christianity of workshops, on the Christianity of crowded and industrious establishments, on the Christianity of nearly all our cities, and all our parishes. That the hope which is in us may have the property of endurance, there must be a reason for the hope; and where, we ask, in the whole field of their habitual contemplations are the toil-worn children of poverty to find it? they to search for this reason among the archives of history? Are they to gather it out of the mouldering erudition of other days? Are they to fetch it up from the profound and the puzzling obscurities of argumentation? Are they to encounter the toils of scholarship, and ere the light of revelation can guide or can gladden them, think you that they must learn to number, and to balance, and to confront the testimonies of former generations? No! Refuse us the evidence we have been insisting on, and in doing so, you pass an obliterating spunge over nearly all the Christianity that is in our land.


It might still continue to be talked of in the cloistered retirements of literary debate and speculation. But the mighty host of our people could take no more rational interest in its questions, than they could in any controversy of the schools. And if the truth of this volume be not legibly stamped upon its own pages if all the evidence by which we have affirmed it to be most thoroughly and most visibly impregnated be a delusion-if all the varied points of accordancy, between the book of revelation and the book of human experience, be not sufficient to attest the divinity which framed it—or if this attestation be beyond the understanding of an ordinary peasant then must Christianity be ever shut up from the vast majority of our species: nor do we see one possible way of causing it to circulate at large among the families of our land.

But let us not be understood, by these remarks, to undervalue the power and the importance of the external evidences of our faith. Though it is to the subject matter of the testimony itself, that we would send the inquirer for the most satisfying conviction of the truth; yet we bold it of paramount importance to exhibit the strength of argument, and the irresistible force of evidence, which can be adduced for the authenticity and divine authority of Revelation, to silence the gainsayer, and to vindicate Christianity from the assaults of infidelity. And we know not a finer assemblage of evidence for the divine Record, to meet and to overthrow the sophistries and objections with which scepticism is ever assailing it, or to resolve the doubts and difficulties which may agitate the mind of the honest

inquirer, than the able and interesting Treatises of which the present Volume is composed. The writers display, in an uncommon degree, extensive knowledge and profound erudition; and they possess every talent and qualification which is essential to solid argument, legitimate reasoning, and sound induction. With

a manly spirit, suited to the rectitude of their cause, and possessed of an experimental assurance of the truth which they advocate, their arguments are more characterized by heartfelt power than subtle ingenuity; and, with a feeling of confidence in the strength of their cause, they manifest that dignity which best comports with the sacredness and majesty of truth, by rearing the fabric of their own evidence, without descending to notice all the oft-refuted, yet still re-echoed sophistries and cavils of infidelity. The evidences they present, however, are so extensive and varied, that every order of mind is addressed with suitable proofs for its conviction; and though it would be impossible to advert to every trivial objection which infidelity has invented, or every cavil which impiety has urged, yet without fear or evasion, they have fairly selected, and triumphantly met those difficulties and objections, which infidelity has represented as most formidable to Christianity. Aware that there are infatuated men who reason against Christianity, as if it were pregnant with every mischiefwho seem to delight in the imagination, that such an overwhelming calamity as a belief in its doctrines shall never overtake them and who resist its pretensions with such inflexible obstinacy, as if the abrogation of Christianity would introduce a new order of blessing into our world,the writers in the

« AnteriorContinuar »