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on the internal evidence of Christianity.
It deserves, and I hope will receive, a careful perusal, from those persons especially, who whilst they readily assent to the authenticity of the Bible, are too little acquainted with "the internal structure" of that religion which it teaches : It is a specimen of sound and ingenious argumentation, conducted in a perspicuous, and animating style, whose attractions will be very soun felt and confessed, by the attentive reader. It abounds with striking, yet chaste illustrations ; presents elevated views of evangelical truth ; and cherishes a pure and enlightened piety, offeriog no offence to true christians of any denomination. It is the author's design to enforce the sentiment, that as the Bible embodies in itself the principal evidence of its truth, he who desires to form a correct judgment of the character of this book, instead of reading many elaborate works on the external proofs of its inspiration, should first of all, give a candid and careful attention to the Bible itself: leading us to this most consolatory inference, that men of learning are not the only persons capable of obtaining an intelligent assurance of the truth of the gospel, but that this assurance is alike attainable, by the poorer and less instructed portion of mankind.
Believing that by reprinting this interesting book, you will be instrumental of promoting the best of causes, I have, agreeably to your request, transmitted these remarks to your disposal.
Respectfully, &c. .
T. H. SKINNER.
The Rev. Dr. A. Alexander says, in relation to this work,' “ This is the production of a superior mind, on which the truths of Revelation seem to have operated effectually."
There is a principle in our nature which makes us dissatisfied with unexplained and uncondected facts; which leads us to theorize all the particulars of our knowledge, or to form in our own minds some system of causes sufficient to explain or produce the effects which we see ; and which teaches us to believe or disbelieve in the truth of any system which may
be presented to us, just as it appears adequate or inadequate to afford that explanation of which we are in pursuit. We have an intuitive perception that the appearances of Nature are connected by the relation of cause and effect ; and we have also an instinctive desire to classify and arrange the seemingly confused mass of facts with which we are surrounded, according to this distinguishing relationship. these principles have proceeded all the theories wbich were eper formed by man. But these principles alone can never make a true theory: They teach us to theorize ; but experience is necessary in order to theorize justly. We must be acquainted with the ordinary
operations of causes, before we can combine them into a theory which will satisfy the mind. But when we are convinced of the real existence of a cause in nature, and when we find that a class of physical facts is explained by the supposition of this cause, and tallies exactly with its ordinary operation, we resist both reason and instinct when we resist the conviction that this class of facts does result from this
On this process of reasoning is grounded our conviction that the various phenomena of the heavenly bodies are results from the principle or law of gravitation.
That great master of theories, Adam Smith, has given a most appropriate and beautiful illustration of this principle, in his “ History of Astronomy. He has there shown, how the speculative system was always accommodated to the phenomena which had been observed ; and how, on each new discovery in point of fact, a corresponding change necessarily took place in the form of the system.
There is another process of reasoning,, differing somewhat from that which has been described, yet closely allied to it; by which, instead of ascending from effects to a cause, we descend from a cause to effects. When we are once convinced of the existence of a cause, and
are acquainted with its ordinary mode of operation, we are prepared to give a certain degree of credit to a history of other effects at. tributed to it, provided we can trace the connexion between them. As an illustration of this, I shall suppose, that the steam-engine, and the application of it to the movement of vessels, was known in China in the days of Archimedes ; and that a foolish lying traveller had found his way from Sicily to China, and had there seen an exhibition of a steam boat, and had been admitted to examine the mechanical apparatus of it,--and, upon his return home, had, amongst many palpable fables, related the true particulars of this exhibition-what feeling would this relation have probably excited in his audience ? The fact itself was a strange one, and different in appearance from any thing with which they were acquainted : It was also associated with other stories that seemed to have falsbood stamped on the very face of them. What means, then, had the hearers of distinguishing the true from the false ? Some of the rabble might probably give a stupid and wondering kind of credit to the whole ; whilst the judicious but unscientific hearers would reject the whole. Now, supposing that the relation had come to the ears of Archimedes, and
that he had sent for the man and interrogated him ; and, from his unorderly and unscientific, but accurate specification of boilers, and cylinders, and pipes, and furnaces, and wheels, had drawn out the mechanical theory of the steamboat-he might have told his friends, “The traveller may be a liar; but this is a truth. I have a stronger evidence for it than his testimony or the testimony of any man : It is a truth in the nature of things. The effect which the man has described is the legitimate and certain result of the apparatus which he has described. If be has fabricated this account, he must be a great philosopher. At all events, his narration is founded on an unquestionable general truth.” Had the traveller committed an error in his specification, that defect would have operated as an obstacle to the conviction of Archimedes; because, where the facts which are testified constitute the parts of a system, they must, in order to produce conviction, be viewed in their relation to one another and in their combined bearing on the general result. Uoless they are thus viewed, they are not seen as they really exist,--they do not hold their proper ground. A single detached pipe or boiler or valve could not produce the effects of the steam-engine ; and a man who knows no more