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crown which has dropped from the solemn brow of “old Pan," “sole king of rocky Cumberland ?" ?—Echo, from Glaramara, or the Langdale Pikes, might well answer,' Where?
We have, however, a notion of our own, which we mean, as a close to the article, to indicate. The laureateship was too long a sop for parasites, whose politics and poetry were equally tame. It seems now to have become the late reward of veteran meritthe Popedom of poetry. Why not, rather, hang it up as 'a crown, to be won by our rising bards—either as the reward of some special poem on an appointed subject, or of general merit? Why not delay for a season the bestowal of the laurel, and give thus a national importance to its decision? Only we should insist on some other committee for settling the point than her Majesty's Ministers, who, since Macaulay resigned, possess not one man who can distinguish between bathos and beauty-we had almost said, between poetry and prose-who, but for the fact of his being a Tory, might by this time have interwoven the laurcl with the wig of Patrick Robertson--and who, perhaps ere this paper has seen the light, have insulted the literature of the country by bestowing it upon Monckton Milnes, or on some similar . sublime of mediocrity,' who happens to have Longman or Moxon for his accoucheur, and the 'Edinburgh Review for his godfather.
ART. VI.--Lectures on Christian Theology. By the late Rev. George
Payne, LL.D., Professor of Divinity in the Western College.
MR. DAVIES says, in his short and modest Preface to these goodly volumes, that the work of editing them could not but prove a labour of love to a former attached pupil. How many grateful recollections it has called to mind! How greatly it has deepened the sense of obligations previously felt! And in the performance of such a duty, love could not fail of assuming the form of reverence! The occupation related to the dead ! On the spot stood his monument, erected by his own hands, it could have been reared by no other; and the editor esteemed it no small honour to be employed in removing some of the scaffolding which no one was permitted to touch till the revered
builder had retired to REST! The employment has been solemn, but instructive! Here words should be few; and, therefore, he will only suggest to the reader, that when he comes hitherto the literary monument of his venerated tutor—thought and reflection are needful and appropriate !'
We accept the suggestion, simply premising that the terms literary monument' do not sufficiently characterise the work to which they refer. Yet we thank Mr. Davies for the expression, inasmuch as we have long felt that the craving for literary fame, which seeks to realize the object of its ambition by a systematic avoidance of reference to the Christian doctrine, pursues exactly that course which ensures its speedy mortality. Rounded periods, elegant conceptions, beautiful ideas, flights of 'winged" fancy, are all very well in their own province--and it is not our habit to chain the children of genius--but it has often been noted, and prolonged experience confirms the observation, that those authors have the surest prospect of an abiding name who subordinate their talents and acquirements to the truth of God, and the immortal interests of man. Milton and Cowper will live when Byron and Shelley are forgotten. Those will be household words, when these, with all their acknowledged genius, will be discovered only by the literary antiquary in the national
And much of that which now passes for brilliance will be eclipsed by the steady light reflected from the everlasting ray. In fact, literature, like philosophy, is in her loftiest mood and noblest position when she is doing service at the footstool of Christianity. The highest form of truth takes to its bosom and immortalizes with itself those who, like the departed author of these volumes, devote to its service the mental powers with which they have been entrusted. This we take to be the solution of the problem and the philosophy of the fact under notice.
We have said, departed author. These volumes are posthumous—as such they are suggestive. Another standard-bearer has fallen; another voice, which uttered from an earnest heart the living truths of Christianity, is still; another well-instructed seribe rests from his labours ; but the thoughts of a mind consecrated to the highest kind of service in which any of the sons of men are permitted to engage, are generally diffused far beyond the local habitation of the labourer during his lifetime, and long survive the period when devout men carry him to his burial.' Many ministers, now labouring in their respective spheres, gathered from the lips of Dr. Payne seeds of truth far more valuable than the sands of the Sacramento-seeds of truth, which they in their turn have scattered only to be reproduced in a still more glorious form in regions of purity and light. And the
volumes which we now introduce to our readers are a treasury of thought, theological, metaphysical, and polemic, which many a diligent student will open in years to come, and find himself refreshed, enlightened, and invigorated.
We shall return to the preliminary matter, purposing, meantime, to put those of our readers who
these volumes into direct contact with the opinions of Dr. Payne on some of the subjects which are at present agitating the public mind. We do not recollect any reply to Hume's famous argument against miracles more convincing, and at the same time popular, than the following :
• But though we should discard the atheistical opinion that miracles are beyond the power of God, or that the laws of nature are too sacred to be suspended even by their Author, so that every miraculous report ought at once to be rejected, it is still objected that no accumulation of testimony will justify us in admitting such a report. This is the celebrated objection of Hume. * Experience,” says he, “is our only guide in judging of matters of fact; a miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; a firm and invariable experience has established these laws; and therefore, experience has furnished us with proof against a miracle, stronger than any which can be brought to support it by testimony." I agree with the writer quoted a short time ago [Dr. Channing), that "infidelity has seldom forged a weaker weapon than this argument of Hume;" and that it would not deserve notice, were it not from the name of its author. Yet, as it is well known, and may do mischief to those who cannot unravel the sophistries of this writer, I will make a few remarks
it. * 1. We might except against the statement, that we can only judge of the truth of a matter of fact by experience. On this, however, I cannot enlarge
2. We might ask him, what he means by experience? If by this term he intends to designate our own personal or individual experience," then must we, in addition to miracles, reject ten thousand facts which no one in his senses can deny. We must maintain that the sun is never vertical between the tropics; and that there are three hundred and sixty-five days and nights in the year at the poles—though it is demonstrable that there can be but one of each.
If by experience he intended to denote general or universal experi, ence—the experience of all men, in all ages and countries; then, we answer, that experience in this sense is not against a miracle—that the laws of nature are not established by a firm and invariable experience; for, in the experience of many thousands (and Mr. Hume cannot deny this, without the most flagrant assumption of the very point in dispute), the laws of nature have been actually suspended; so that the fact of occasional deviations from the laws of nature is as really established by experience, as the fact of the general observation of those laws.
• Further, we would ask Mr. Hume how he has gained the knowledge of experience in this extended sense of the term ? How he has
ascertained what is, in point of fact, the experience of all men in all ages and countries? He can only reply, By testimony. So that testimony must be believed, before he can obtain the verdict of experience; and yet such is the gross contradiction in which he involves himself-experience is to guide us whether to believe the testimony or not; i.e., the cause must first produce the effect, then the effect is to decide whether the cause shall exist! It is some consolation to recollect that this is the reasoning, not of a Christian, but of an infidel.
• Further; to say nothing more at present of the hocus pocus manner in which Mr. Hume gains his knowledge of experience, we might ask him whether he can possibly persuade himself that he is acquainted with the experience of all men in the world, in all ages and countries, in reference to any one of the laws of nature. It was contrary to his experience, we admit, that a dead man should come to life againcontrary to the experience of all the men with whom he had conversed -contrary to the experience of most of the men of whom he had ever heard. But had Mr. Hume conversed with all the men in the world? Had he received information of all the men in the world? Was there not a single being with whose experience Mr. Hume was not acquainted ? Now if there were one, that individual—for aught that Mr. Hume could know or say to the contrary—might have had experience of a miracle; the experience of that individual might establish the possibility of a miracle. The fact is, that the attribute of omniscience is requisite to the knowledge of experience in that sense of the term which can alone support Mr. Hume's argument; for if it be any thing short of what it professes to be firm and unalterable, i.e. the experience of all men, in all ages and countries; it cannot justify any one, even on Mr. Hume's principles, in rejecting testimony in support of a fact, which may be in harmony with the experience of multitudes, though we, in our ignorance, know it not.'-Vol. ii. pp. 371-373.
We commend to the modern school of anti-supernaturalists an attentive examination of the argument in the lecture from which we have quoted. The disciples of that school will find in these pages abundant evidence that they have much to learn before the world gives them credit for a monopoly of reason; and that their frequent indictment, both by assertion and implication, of Christianity as a system which throws a cloud around the human understanding, and demands the surrender of philosophical inquiry, as the condition of faith, is wholly unsupported. On the contrary, the evidence is all the other way. George Payne was not a man to assume a premiss without investigation. He takes nothing for granted. With a power of analysis rarely surpassed, he subjected every proposition, metaphysical or theological, to the severest inspection. By a process
of anatomy, for which he was greatly distinguished, combined with a perseverance which no difficulty could overcome, he reduced every theory that lay in his path to its constituent parts, and rested not until he was satisfied either of its truth or falsehood.
It has, indeed, been alleged, that he carried this mental tendency to such an extent as to make the style of his prelections somewhat cold and uninviting. This mental trait, however, warrants the notion that, if either the miracles or prophecies of the Bible were false, Dr. Payne was eminently fitted to detect the imposture. Surely it is a question worthy of consideration by those who are labouring to destroy all the peculiarities of Christianity, how it comes to pass that some of the clearest intellects and most profound thinkers that England has produced, have devoted their best years to Christian theology, and yet, with one voice, have declared the Bible to be, 'in deed and in truth,' a revelation from God? Nor is the unanimity of their yerdict affected by variety of opinion on questions of ecclesiastical polity. Churchmen and Dissenters, with their respective subdivisions, have been represented in this court of inquiry by
representative men,' whose names are venerated in every region where a Christian literature has found its way.
But, in view of this class of objectors, we go a step further, and submit that Christianity, so far from darkening or enfeebling the intellectual
powers, is the 'true light' which illumines and invigorates them. Its value in this respect may be briefly tested. Whatever tends to divorce man from the dominion of his mere instincts, to make him recognise the superior claims of his intellectual nature, and to induce self-respect, is valuable in proportion to the power which it possesses to effect all this. The means are valuable, on account of, and because in harmony with, the desired end. Now, if Christianity clearly avows it as its purpose thus to elevate man, to control his wayward and degrading passions, and to forward the true interests of individuals without detriment to those of others, why should any class, professing anxiety for the elevation of their species, turn away with gestures of impatience when the aid of Christianity is offered to realize the end which they desire? If it can be shown that Christianity contains principles which are inimical to the moral and intellectual nature of man, then, of course, it clashes with the progress of the race; but if, on the contrary, it is acknowledged, by all who have examined the matter, that it contains the purest morals, and presents the most sublime motives for the improvement of the heart, that it encourages the student to acquire elevating knowledge, and in no instance prohibits investigation into any subject fitted to make men wise, then it is entitled to the suffrage of all who would either rise themselves, or aid others to rise in the scale of morality and wisdom. It is entitled to be ranked first among educational agencies. It is the most powerful and successful teacher which the world possesses. It has penetrated those recesses of dark