Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

present Volume not only introduce Christianity as presenting her credentials, but as stating and expounding her beneficent message. While deducing the legitimate internal evidences, arising from the nature, character, and design of Christianity, and its peculiar adaptation to renovate the moral condition of man, they intermingle their evidences with a luminous exbibition of the dispensation of grace-a dispensation so holy, perfect, and beneficent in its character and operation, that while it is well fitted to bless the life that now is, it furnishes the only solid and comfortable hope for eternity.

In Leslie's “ Short and Easy Method with the Deists,” and “ The Truth of Christianity Demonstrated," we have the historical evidence for the truth of Scripture exhibited in a form so convincing and satisfactory, that the mind which can reject such evidence must evince a total perversity of reason, as well as an abjuration of all such testimony as can substantiate the truth of any bygone event in this world's history, which would go to expose every authentic record to the charge of fabulousness, and reduce the best established facts into a state of doubt and uncertainty. The firm coherence of his argument, and the soundness of his marks for distinguishing between truth and falsehood, which he so legitimately applies for ascertaining the authenticity of the facts of Scripture history, render his statements so conclusive and irresistible, that no reply can be made to his demonstrations, which does not imply a dereliction of reason and principle which the bitterest enemy of Christianity would be ashamed

His proofs possess that speciality of

to avow.

[ocr errors]

character, that; even by the confession of infidelity itself, they can belong only to genuine records, and can never be found but in connection with events which, in truth and reality, had a positive existence. It must, therefore, be a daring and hardy scepticism indeed, which can elude or resist the force of those unequivocal proofs, by which the author indubitably establishes the authenticity of the facts which are recorded in Scripture.

Not less, conclusive, in another department of evidence, do we hold Lord Lyttelton's " Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul.” The soundness of his reasonings, established on the wellkuown principles of human nature, and the no'less sound and philosophical deductions which he makes from the whole sentiments and conduct of the Apostle, render his arguments in favour of Christianity so elear and irresistible, that we think no honest mind can give his , Observations” an attentive and unprejudiced perusal, without arriving at a thorough and well-established conviction of the truth of Christianity. To reject such evidence, or to arrive at any other conclusion, would be to betray a most wilful perversity of mind, and to commit a most grievous outrage on the soundest principles and laws of human judgment. From the impossibility of accounting for such conduct by the ingenuity of imposture, it must be by a total inversion of all the motives and principles which are kņown to influence human conduct, that an opposite conclusion can be drawn to what our Author has deduced from an examination of the life and labours of St. Paul—that he was indeed a divinely-commissioned agent of heaven, and that the Christian dispensation, which he laboured to estáblish, has indubitable claims to a divine original.

In Dr. Doddridge's Discourses on the Evidences of Christianity,” we have a full and comprehensive survey of all the variety of evidence which is generally adduced in support of the authenticity and divine authority of the New Testament. The Treatise is no less characterized by the clear and forcible argument which pervades it, than by the affectionate earnestness which it breathes, and the close and pathetic appeals which the excellent Author makes to the minds of his readers, on the pre-eminent importance of the truths of the divine récord, and of the no less unspeakable danger of neglecting or contemning the gospel message...

The next Treatise, by Dr. Bates, on “ The Divinity of the Christian Religion,?? contains a no less comprehensive, and still more powerful exhibition of the various evidences which can be adduced for establishing the truth of Christianity. The evidences from history, from prophecy, from miracles, from the testimony of credible witnesses, are all brought in distinct and convincing review before the mind; and our readers cannot peruse this admirable Treatise, without an increased feeling of confidence in the variety and, fulness, and invincible character of that rich assemblage of evidence, on the immoveable basis of which Christianity is established. And while he satisfactorily establishes the truth of Christianity, he does not leave his readers in ignorance of what Christianity is. He not only presents the testimony which accompanies truth,i: to carry .conviction to the understanding, but he presents the

[ocr errors]

truth itself, in such a form as is fitted to commend it to the conscience. And such is our feeling of confidence in the truth, for attesting its own divinity, that we hold the truth itself to possess a power of manifestation, which addresses the heart with a more prevailing and resistless energy, than either the power of demonstration can press, or the evidence of the most incontestable miracles can enforce.

Dr. Owen's Treatise " On the Divine Original, Authority, and Self-Evidencing Light and Power of the Holy Scriptures;" embraces a distinct, but most important species of evidence; and this article will be held in high estimation by those who desiderate a satisfactory conviction of the claims of the Bible to divine inspiration, of which he adduces the most solid and indubitable proofs; and he affords a no less clear and satisfactory explanation to those who possess no distinct apprehension of the manner in which the word came forth from God, and was again given out by those inspired men to whom it was communicated, as well as the security and infallible certainty that what they gave out as the mind and will of God was indeed of divine original, and a divine communication. On this form and immoveable basis he establishes the authority of the Scriptures, their claim to a supremacy over the mind and will of those to whom this revelation has come, and the fearful danger of a neglect or a rejection of the message. And the truths which are made to evolve, in the progress of his demonstration, bear a hard and humbling aspect to that proud philosophy which cherishes a feeling of sentimental adoration of the works of nature, which are but the subordinate reflectors of the glory of the Deity, while it turns with antipathy and disgust from that word which the Deity has magnified above all his works, as giving a fuller and more glorious manifestation of his mind and character manifestation of the Deity so surpassing and exalted above that which is exhibited in the visible creation, that, in comparison with the light, and power, and extent of that manifestation which is given out in the Bible, it may well be said to have no glory, by reason of the glory that excelleth. And while we award our meed of praise to the writers of the previous Treatises in this Volume, who have reared such a collective body of evidence to meet and overthrow the no less impotent than impious assaults of infidelity, yet do we hold Dr. Owen to have rendered a more essential service to the cause. of Divine Revelation, when, by his clear and irresistible demonstrations, he has proved that the written word itself possesses a self-evidencing light and power for manifesting its own divine original, superior to the testimony of eye-witnesses, or the evidence of miracles, or those supernatural gifts with which the first teachers of Christianity were endowed for accrediting their divine mission. And well may the profane or the infidel contemners of revealed truth tremble at their presumption, when they are told not only of the superiority of the word of God in its power of manifestation above all his works, but of the light and power which the written word possesses to attest its own divinity, above all that external evidence which infidel philosophers so much desiderate for establishing the truth of divine revelation.

The Treatise of Richard Baxter “ On the Folly

« FöregåendeFortsätt »