offensive a form. Sometimes the spirit of unbe- This is easily said, and we know is often said, lief even assumes an air of sentimental regret at and loudly. But the justice with which it is said its own inconvenient profundity. Many a worthy is another matter; for when we can get these youth tells us he almost wishes he could believe. cloudy objectors to put down, not their vague asHe admires, of all things, the "moral grandeur" sertions of profound difficulties, uttered in the -the "ethical beauty" of many parts of Christi- obscure language they love, but a precise stateanity; he condescends to patronize Jesus Christ, ment of their objections, we find them either the though he believes that the great mass of words very same with those which were quite as powerand actions by which alone we know anything fully urged in the course of the deistical conabout him, are sheer fictions or legends; he believes troversies of the last century, (the case with far -gratuitously enough in this instance, for he has the greater part,) or else such as are of similar no ground for it-that Jesus Christ was a very character, and susceptible of similar answers. We great man," worthy of comparison at least with say not that the answers were always satisfactory, Mahomet, Luther, Napoleon, and “other heroes ;" nor are now inquiring whether any of them he even admits the happiness of a simple, child- were so; we merely maintain that the objections like faith, in the puerilities of Christianity-it in question are not the novelties they affect to produces such content of mind! But alas! he be. We say this to obviate an advantage which cannot believe his intellect is not satisfied-he the very vagueness of much modern opposition to has revolved the matter too profoundly to be thus taken in; he must, he supposes, (and our beardless philosopher sighs as he says it,) bear the penalty of a too restless intellect, and a too speculative genius; he knows all the usual arguments which satisfied Pascal, Butler, Bacon, Leibnitz; but they will do no longer more radical, more tremendous difficulties have suggested themselves, "from the depths of philosophy," and far different answers are required now!*

Christianity would obtain, from the notion that some prodigious arguments have been discovered which the intellect of a Pascal or a Butler was not comprehensive enough to anticipate, and which no Clarke or Paley would have been logician enough to refute. We affirm without hesitation, of communication rather then elsewhere; and indeed, whether the philosopher be not aiming to communicate thoughts on subjects on which man can have no thoughts to communicate. Socrates would add, perhaps, that language was given us to express, not to conceal, our thoughts; *We fear that many young minds in our day are exand that, if they cannot be communicated, invaluable as posed to the danger of falling into one or other of the pre-one thing it is clear he would do-he would insist on prethey doubtless are, we had better keep them to ourselves; vailing forms of unbelief, and especially into that of pan- cise definitions. But in truth it may be more than surtheistic mysticism, from rashly meditating in the cloudy mised that the obscurities of which all complain, except regions of German philosophy, on difficulties which would seem beyond the limits of human reason, but which those (and in our day they are not a few) to whom obscurity that philosophy too often promises to solve-with what speculate in realins forbidden to its access; of venturing is a recommendation, result from suffering the intellect to success we may see from the rapid succession and impen- into caverns of tremendous depth and darkness, with etrable obscurities of its various systems. Alas! when will men learn that one of the highest achievements of nothing better than our own rushlight. Surely we have philosophy is to know when it is vain to philosophize. after muttering his logical incantations, and conjuring reason to suspect as much when some learned professor, When the obscure principles of these most uncouth phi- with his logical formula, surprises you by saying that losophies, expressed, we verily believe in the darkest he has disposed of the great mysteries of existence and language ever used by civilized man, are applied to the the universe, and solved to your entire satisfaction, in his solution of the problems of theology and ethics, no wonder that the natural consequence, as well as just retribu- INFINITE! If the cardinal truths of philosophy and reown curt way, the problems of the ABSOLUTE and the tion, of such temerity is a plunge into tenfold night. ligion hitherto received are doomed to be imperilled by Systems of German philosophy may perhaps be advan- such speculations, one feels strongly inclined to pray with tageously studied by those who are mature enough to the old Homeric hero-"that if they must perish, it may study them; but that they have an incomparable power be at least in daylight." of intoxicating the intellect of the young aspirant to their mysteries, is, we think, undeniable. They are producing this effect just now in a multitude of our juveniles, who are beclouding themselves in the vain attempt to comprehend ill-translated fragments of ill-understood philosophies, (executed in a sort of Anglicized-German, or Germanized-English, we know not which to call it, but certainly neither German nor English,) from the perusal of which they carry away nothing but some very obscure terms, on which they themselves have superinduced a very vague meaning. These terms you in vain implore them to define; or, if they define thein, they define them in terms which as much need definition. Heartily do we wish that Socrates would reappear amongst us, to exercise his accoucheur's art on these hapless Theaetetuses and Menos of our day!

Many such youths might no doubt reply at first to the sarcastic querist, (who might gently complain of a slight cloudiness in their speculations,) that the truths they uttered were too profound for ordinary reasoners. We may easily imagine how Socrates would have dealt with such | assumptions. His reply would be rather more severe than that of Mackintosh to Coleridge in a somewhat similar case ; namely, that if a notion cannot be made clear to persons who have spent the better part of their days in resolving the difficulties of metaphysics and philosophy, and who are conscious that they are not destitute of patience for the effort requisite to understand them, it inay suggest a doubt whether the fault be not in the medium

study of German philosophy, at least till he has matured We earnestly counsel the youthful reader to defer the and disciplined his mind, and familiarized himself with the best models of what used to be our boast-English clearness of thought and expression. He will then learn to ask rigidly for definitions, and not rest satisfied with half-meanings-or no meaning. To the naturally venturous pertinacity of young metaphysicians, few would be disposed to be more indulgent than ourselves. From the time of Plato downwards-who tells us that no soon

er do they "taste" of dialectics than they are ready to disscarcely even the lower animals," if they had but a voice pute with everybody-" sparing neither father nor mother, to reply. They have always expected more from meta. physics than (except as a discipline) they will ever yield. trait. He compares them to young dogs who are perHe elsewhere, still more humorously, describes the same petually snapping at everything about them: Oiμar yuo

σε οὐ λεληθέναι, ὅτι οἱ μειρακίσκοι, ὅταν τὸ πρῶτον λόγων γεύωνται, ως παιδιά αὐτοῖς καταχρῶνται, ἀεὶ εἰς ἀντιλογίαν κρώμενοι καὶ μιμούμενοι τοὺς ἐξελέγχοντας αὐτοὶ άλλους ἐλέγχουσι, χαίροντες ὥσπερ σκυλάκια τῷ ἕλκειν τε καὶ σπαράττειν τοὺς πληρίον ἀεί. But we hope we shall not see our metaphysical "puppies" amusing themselves-as so many "old dogs" amongst our neighbors (who ought to have known better) have done by tearing into tatters the sacred leaves of that volume, which contains what is better than all their philosophy.

If an

that when the new advocates of infidelity descend pose a case (and a possible case is quite sufficient from their airy elevation, and state their objections for the purpose) which would neutralize the obin intelligible terms, they are found, for the most jection. Of this perverseness (we can call it by part, what we have represented them. When we no other name) the examples are perpetual in the read many of the speculations of German infidel- critical tortures to which Strauss has subjected the ity, we seem to be re-perusing many of our own sacred historians.* It may be objected, perhaps, authors of the last century. It is as if our neigh- that the gratuitous supposition of some unmentioned bors had imported our manufactures; and, after re- fact-which, if mentioned, would harmonize the packing them, in new forms and with some additions, apparently counter-statements of two historianshad re-shipped and sent them back to us as new cannot be admitted, and is, in fact, a surrender of commodities. Hardly an instance of discrepancy the argument. But to say so, is only to betray an is mentioned in the "Wolfenbüttel Fragments," utter ignorance of what the argument is. which will not be found in the pages of our own deists a century ago; and, as already hinted, of Dr. Strauss' elaborate strictures, the vast majority will be found in the same sources. In fact, though far from thinking it to our national credit, none but those who will dive a little deeper than most do into a happily forgotten portion of our literature, (which made noise enough in its day, and created very superfluous terrors for the fate of Christianity,) can have any idea of the extent to which the modern forms of unbelief in Germany —so far as founded on any positive grounds, whether of reason or of criticism-are indebted to our English deists. Tholuck, however, and others of his countrymen, seem thoroughly aware of it.

objection be founded on the alleged absolute contradiction of two statements, it is quite sufficient to show any (not the real, but only a hypothetical and possible) medium of reconciling them; and the objection is, in all fairness, dissolved. And this would be felt by the honest logician, even if we did not know of any such instances in point of fact. We do know, however, of many. Nothing is more common than to find, in the narration of two perfectly honest historians-referring to the same events from different points of view, or for a different purpose-the omission of a fact which gives a seeming contrariety to their statements; a contrariety which the mention of the omitted fact by a third writer instantly clears up. Very for

The reader may see some striking instances of his of the Church." Tholuck truly observes, too, in his disposition to take the worst sense, in Beard's "Voices strictures on Strauss, "We know how frequently the loss of a few words in one ancient author would be sufficient to cast an inexplicable obscurity over another." The same writer well observes, that there never was an historian who, if treated on the principles of criticism might not be proved a mere mythographer. *** "It is which his countryman has applied to the Evangelists, plain," says he, "that if absolute agreement among historians"-and still more absolute apparent agreement"be necessary to assure us that we possess in their writings credible history, we must renounce all pretence to any such possession." The translations from Quinet, worth reading. The last truly says, "Strauss came to Coquerel, and Tholuck are all, in different ways, well the study of the Evangelical history with the foregone conclusion that 'miracles are impossible;' and where an investigator brings with him an absolute conviction of the guilt of the accused to the examination of his case, we know how even the most innocent may be implicated and and various are proofs of truth and reality in the history condemned out of his own mouth." In fact, so strong of the New Testament, that none would ever have sus

The objections to the truth of Christianity are directed either against the evidence itself, or that which it substantiates. Against the latter, as Bishop Butler says, unless the objections be truly such as prove contradictions in it, they are "perfectly frivolous;" since we cannot be competent judges either as to what it is worthy of the Supreme Mind to reveal, or how far a portion of an imperfectly developed system may harmonize with the whole; and, perhaps, on many points, we never can be competent judges, unless we can cease to be finite. The objections to the evidence itself are, as the same great author observes, "well worthy of the fullest attention." The à priori objection to miracles we have already briefly touched. If that objection be valid, it is vain to argue further; but if not, the remaining objections must be powerful enough to neutralize the entire mass of the evidence, and, in fact, to amount to a proof of con-pected the veracity of the writers, or tried to disprove it, tradictions—not on this or that minute point of historic detail—but on such as shake the foundations of the whole edifice of evidence. It will not do to say, Here is a minute discrepancy in the history of Matthew or Luke as compared with that of Mark or John;" for, first, such discrepancies are often found, in other authors, to be apparent, and not real-founded on our taking for granted that there is no circumstance unmentioned by two writers which, if known, would have been seen to harmonize their statements. We admit this possible reconciliation readily enough in the case of many seeming discrepancies of other historians; but it is a benefit which men are slow to admit in the case of the sacred narratives. There the ob- + Any apparent discrepancy with either themselves or jector is always apt to take it for granted that the profane historians is usually sufficient to satisfy Dr. Strauss. He is ever ready to conclude that the discrepandiscrepancy is real; though it may be easy to sup-cy is real, and that the profane historians are right. In


except for the above foregone conclusion "that miracles are impossible." We also recommend to the reader an ingenious brochure included in the "Voices of the Church, in reply to Strauss," constructed on the same principle with Whately's adinirable "Historic Doubts," namely; The Fallacy of the Mythical Theory of Dr. Strauss, illustrated from the History of Martin Luther, and from subject for the same play of ingenuity would be Dean Swift! actual Mohammedan Myths of the Life of Jesus." What a The date and place of his birth disputed-whether he was an Englishman or an Irishman-his incomprehensible reany hypothesis-his alleged seduction of one, of both, of lations to Stella and Vanessa, utterly incomprehensible on neither-his marriage with Stella affirmed, disputed, and his life full of contradiction and mystery-and, not least, still wholly unsettled-the numberless other incidents in the eccentricities and inconsistencies of his whole character and conduct! Why, with a thousandth part of Dr. to as fabulous a personage as his own Lemuel Gulliver. Strauss' assumptions, it would be easy to reduce Swift

translation into various languages-may not only be expected to occur, but which must occur, unless there be a perpetual series of most minute and ludicrous miracles-certainly never promised, and as certainly never performed-to counteract all the effects of negligence and inadvertence, to guide the pen of every transcriber to infallible accuracy, and to prevent his ever deviating into any casual error ! Such miraculous intervention, we need not say, has never been pleaded for by any apologist of Christianity; has certainly never been promised; and, if it had—since we see, as a matter of fact, that the promise has never been fulfilled-the whole of Christianity would fall to the ground. But then, from a large induction, we know that the limits within which discrepancies and errors from such causes will occur, must be very moderate; we know, from numberless examples of other writings, what the maximum is-and that it leaves their substantial authenticity untouched and unimpeached. No one supposes the writings of Plato and Cicero, of Thucydides and Tacitus, of Bacon or Shakspeare, fundamentally vitiated by the like discrepancies, errors, and absurdities which time and inadvertence have occasioned.

getful of this have the advocates of infidelity | constant transcription by different hands-their usually been nay, (as if they would make up in the number of objections what they want in weight,) they have frequently availed themselves not only of apparent contrarieties, but of mere incompleteness in the statements of two different writers, on which to found a charge of contradiction. Thus, if one writer says that a certain person was present at a given time or place, when another says that he and two more were there; or that one man was cured of blindness, when another says that two were such a thing is often alleged as a contradiction; whereas, in truth, it presents not even a difficulty-unless one historian be bound to say not only all that another says, but just so much, and no more. Let such objections be what they will, unless they prove absolute contradictions in the narrative, they are as mere dust in the balance, compared with the stupendous mass and variety of that evidence which confirms the substantial truth of Christianity. And even if they establish real contradictions, they still amount, for reasons we are about to state, to dust in the balance, unless they establish contradictions not in immaterial but in vital points. The objections must be such as, if proved, leave the whole fabric of evidence in ruins. For, secondly, we are fully disposed to concede to the objector that there are, in the books of Scripture, not only apparent but real discrepancies a point which many of the advocates of Christianity are, indeed, reluctant to admit, but which, we think, no candid advocate will feel to be less true. Nevertheless, even such an advocate of the Scriptures may justly contend that the very reasons which necessitate this admission of discrepancies also reduce them to such a limit that they do not affect, in the slightest degree, the substantial credibility of the sacred records; and, in our judgment, Christians have unwisely damaged their cause, and given a needless advantage to the infidel, by denying that any discrepancies exist, or by endeavoring to prove that they do not. The discrepancies to which we refer are just those which, in the course of the transmission of ancient books, divine or human, through many ages-their

The corruptions in the Scriptures from these causes are likely to be even less than in the case of any other writings; from their very structure

the varied and reiterated forms in which all the great truths are expressed; from the greater veneration they inspired; the greater care with which they would be transcribed; the greater number of copies which would be diffused through the world-and which, though that very circumstance would multiply the number of variations, would also afford, in their collation, the means of reciprocal correction;-a correction which we have seen applied in our day, with admirable success, to so many ancient writers, under a system of canons which have now raised this species of criticism to the rank of an inductive science. This criticism, applied to the Scriptures, has in many instances restored the true reading, and dissolved the objections which might have been founded on the uncorrected variations; and, as adducing some striking instances of the minute accuracy time rolls on, may lead, by yet fresh discoveries of Luke, only revealed by obscure collateral evidence (his- and more comprehensive recensions, to toric or numismatic) discovered since, Tholuck remarks, a yet "What an outery would have been made had not the further clarifying of the stream of Divine truth, specious appearance of error been thus obviated." Luke till the river of the water of life" shall flow calls Gallio proconsul of Achaia: we should not have expected it, since though Achaia was originally a senatorial nearly in its original limpid purity. Within such province, Tiberius had changed it into an imperial one, limits as these, the most consistent advocate of and the title of its governor, therefore, was procurator; now a passage in Suetonius informs us, that Claudius had Christianity not only must admit-not only may restored the province to the senate." The same Evan- safely admit-the existence of discrepancies, but gelist calls Sergius Paulus governor of Cyprus; yet we night have expected to find only a prætor, since Cyprus may do so even with advantage to his cause.



was an imperial province. In this case, again, says Tho- must admit them, since such variations must be luck, the correctness of the historian has been remarkably the result of the manner in which the records attested. Coins, and later still a passage in Dion Cassius,

have been found, giving proof that Augustus restored the have been transmitted, unless we suppose a superprovince to the senate; and thus, as if to vindicate the natural intervention, neither promised by God, nor Evangelist, the Roman historian adds, "Thus proconsuls pleaded for by man he may safely admit them, began to be sent into that island also."-Translated from because from a general induction from the hisTholuck, pp. 21, 22. In the same manner coins have been found proving he is correct in some other once disputed instances. Is it not fair to suppose that many apparent discrepancies of the same order may be eventually removed by similar evidence?

tory of all literature-we see that, where copies of writings have been sufficiently multiplied, and sufficient motives for care have existed in the


transcription, the limits of error are very narrow, mass of it to a caput mortuum of lies, fiction, and and leave the substantial identity untouched and superstitions, retains only a few drops of fact and he may admit them with advantage; for the doctrine-so few as certainly not to pay for the admission is a reply to many objections founded expenses of the critical distillation.* on the assumption that he must contend that there are no variations, when he need only contend that" there are none that can be material.


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Nor will the theory of what some call the intuitional consciousness," avail us here. It is true, as they assert, that the constitution of human nature is such that, before its actual development, it has a capacity of developing to certain effects only just as the flower in the germ, as it expands to the sun, will have certain colors and a certain fragrance, and no other; all which, indeed, though not very new or profound, is very important.

But it may be said, "May not we be permitted, while conceding the miraculous and other evidences of Christianity, and the general authority of the records which contain it, to go a step further, and to reject some things which seem palpably ill-reasoned, distasteful, inconsistent, or immoral ?" "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own But it is not so clear that it will give mind." For ourselves, we honestly confess we us any help on the present occasion. We have cannot see the logical consistency of such a posi- an original susceptibility of music, of beauty, of tion; any more than the reasonableness, after religion, it is said. Granted; but as the actual having admitted the preponderant evidence for the development of this susceptibility exhibits all the great truth of Theism, of excepting some phe- diversities between Handel's notions of harmony nomena as apparently at variance with the Divine and those of an American Indian-between Raperfections; and thus virtually adopting a Ma- phael's notions of beauty and those of a Hottennichæan hypothesis. We must recollect that we tot-between St. Paul's notions of a God and those know nothing of Christianity except from its of a New Zealander-it would appear that the records; and as these, once fairly ascertained to education of this susceptibility is at least as imporbe authentic and genuine, are all, as regards their tant as the susceptibility itself, if not more so; contents, supported precisely by the same miracu- for without the susceptibility itself, we should lous and other evidence; as they bear upon them simply have no notion of music, beauty, or religprecisely the same internal marks of artlessness, ion; and between such negation and that notion truth, and sincerity; and, historically and in other of all these which New Zealanders and Hottentots respects, are inextricably interwoven with one possess, not a few of our species would probably another; we see not on what principles we can prefer the former. It is in vain then to tell us to safely reject portions as improbable, distasteful, look into the "depths of our own nature," (as not quadrating with the dictates of reason, our some vaguely say,) and to judge thence what, in a "intuitional consciousness," and what not. This professed revelation from heaven, is suitable to assumed liberty, however, is, as we apprehend, us, or worthy of our acceptance and rejection of the very essence of Rationalism; and it may respectively. This criterion is, as we see by the be called the Manichæism of interpretation. So utterly different judgments formed by different long as the canonicity of any of the records, or any portion of them, or their true interpretation, is in dispute, we may fairly doubt; but that point once decided by honest criticism, to say we receive such and such portions, on account of the weight of the general evidence, and yet reject other portions, though sustained by the same evidence, because we think there is something unreasonable or revolting in their substance, is plainly to accept evidence only where it pleases us, and to reject it where it pleases us not. The only question fairly at issue must ever be, whether the general evidence for Christianity will overbear the difficulties which we cannot separate from the truths. If it will not, we must reject it wholly; and if it will, we must receive it wholly. There is plainly no tenable position between absolute infidelity and absolute belief. And this is proved by the infinitely various and Protean character of Rational-events-a perfectly accurate expression of truth. We ism, and the perfectly indeterminate, but always arbitrary, limits it imposes on itself. It exists in all forms and degrees, from a moderation which accepts nearly the entire system of Christianity, and which certainly rejects nothing that can be said to constitute its distinctive truth, to an audacity of unbelief, which, professing still vaguely to reverence Christianity as "something divine," sponges out nine tenths of the whole; or, after reducing the

classes of Rationalists as to the how much they shall receive of the revelation they might generally admit, a very shifting one-a measure which has no linear unit; it is to employ, as mathematicians say, a variable as if it were a constant quan

It may be as well to remark, that we have frequently observed a disposition to represent the very general abandonment of the theory of "verbal inspiration" as a concession to Rationalism; as if it necessarily followed from admitting that inspiration is not verbal, that, therefore, purely human. It is plain, however, that this is no necesan indeterminate portion of the substance or doctrine is sary consequence: an advocate of plenary inspiration may contend, that, though he does not believe that the very words of Scripture were dictated, yet that the thoughts were either so suggested, (if the matter was such as could be known only by revelation,) or so controlled, (if the matter were such as was previously known,) that (excluding errors introduced into the text since) the Scriptures as first composed were-what no book of man ever was, or can be, even in the plainest narrative of the simplest enter not here, however, into the question whether such a view of inspiration is better or worse than another. We are simply anxious to correct a fallacy which has, extensively. Inspiration may be rerbal, or the contrary; judging from what we have recently read, operated rather but, whether one or the other, he who takes the affirmative or negative of that question may still consistently contend that it may still be plenary. The question of the inspiration of the whole, or the inspiration of a part, is widely different from that as to the suggestion of the words or the suggestion of the thoughts. But these questions we leave to professed theologians. We merely enter our protest against a prevailing fallacy.

tity; or rather, it is to attempt to find the value of an unknown quantity by another equally unknown.

We cannot but judge, then, the principles of Rationalism to be logically untenable. And we do so, not merely or principally on account of the absurdity it involves—that God has expressly supplemented human reason by a revelation containing an indeterminate but large portion of falsities, errors, and absurdities, and which we are to commit to our little alembic, and distil as we may; not only from the absurdity of supposing that God has demanded our faith, for statements which are to be received only as they appear perfectly comprehensible by our reason;—or, in other words, only for what it is impossible that we should doubt or deny; not merely because the principle inevitably leaves man to construct the so-called revelation entirely for himself; so that what one man receives as a genuine communication from heaven, another, from having a different development of “his intuitional consciousness," rejects as an absurdity too gross for human belief;-not wholly, we say, nor even principally, for these reasons; but for the still stronger reason, that such a system of objections is an egregious trifling with that great complex mass of evidence which, as we have said, applies to the whole of Christianity or to none of it. As if to baffle the efforts of man consistently to disengage these elements of our belief, the whole are inextricably blended together. The supernatural element, especially, is so diffused through all the records, that it is more and more felt, at every step, to be impossible to obliterate it without obliterating the entire system in which it circulates. The stain, if stain it be, is far too deep for any scouring fluids of Rationalism to wash it out, without destroying the whole texture of our creed; and, in our judgment, the only consistent Rationalism is the Rationalism which rejects it all.

Nor can we disguise from ourselves, indeed, that consistency in the application of the essential principle of Rationalism would compel us to go a few steps further; for since, as Bishop Butler has shown, no greater difficulties (if so great) attach to the page of revelation than to the volume of Nature itself-especially those which are involved in that dread enigma, "the origin of evil," compared with which all other enigmas are trifles-that abyss into which so many of the difficulties of all theology, natural and revealed, at last disembogue themselves -we feel that the admission of the principle of Rationalism would ultimately drive us, not only to reject Christianity, but to reject Theism in all its forms, whether Monotheism or Pantheism, and even positive or dogmatic Atheism itself. Nor could we stop, indeed, till we had arrived at that absolute pyrrhonism which consists, if such a thing be possible, in the negation of all belief-even to the belief that we do not believe!

But though the objections to the reception of Christianity are numerous, and some insoluble, the question always returns, whether they overbalance the mass of the evidence in its favor? nor is it to be forgotten that they are susceptible of indefinite alleviation as time rolls on; and with a few observations on this point we will close the present article.

A refinement of modern philosophy often leads our rationalist to speak depreciatingly, if not contemptuously, of what he calls a stereotyped revelation-revelation in a “book.” It ties down, he is fond of saying, the spirit to the letter; and limits the "progress" and "development" of the human mind in its "free" pursuit of truth. The answer we should be disposed to make is, first, that if a book does contain truth, the sooner that truth is stereotyped the better; secondly, that if such book, like the book of Nature, or, as we deem, the book of Revelation, really contains truth, its study, so far from being incompatible with the spirit of free inquiry, will invite and repay continual efforts more completely to understand it. Though the great and fundamental truths contained in either volume will be obvious in proportion to their importance and necessity, there is no limit to be placed on the degree of accuracy with which the truths they severally contain may be deciphered, stated, adjusted-or even on the period in which fragments of new truth shall cease to be elicited. It is true, indeed, that theology cannot be said to admit of unlimited progress, in the same sense as

At whatever point the rationalist we have attempted to describe may take his stand, we do not think it difficult to prove that his conduct is eminently irrational. If, for example, he be one of those moderate rationalists who admit (as thousands do) the miraculous and other evidence of the supernatural origin of the gospel, and therefore also admit such and such doctrines to be truewhat can he reply, if further asked what reason he can have for accepting these truths and rejecting others which are supported by the very same evidence? How can he be sure that the truths he receives are established by evidence which, to all chemistry-which may, for aught we know, treble appearance, equally authenticates the falsehoods he or quadruple its present accumulations, vast as rejects? Surely, as already said, this is to reject they are, both in bulk and importance. But even and accept evidence as he pleases. If, on the in theology as deduced from the Scripture, minute other hand, he says that he receives the miracles canonical authority, or the interpretation of portions of only to authenticate what he knows very well the records in which they are found, and is willing to without them, and believes true on the information abide by the issue of the evidence on those points-eviof reason alone, why trouble miracles and revela-dence with which the human mind is quite competent to tion at all? Is not this, according to the old proverb, to "take a hatchet to break an egg?""

* If such a man says that he rejects certain doctrines, not on rationalistic grounds, but because he denies the

deal-we answer, that he is not the man with whom we are now arguing. The points in dispute will be determined by the honest use of history, criticism, and philology. But between such a man and one who rejects Christianity altogether, we can imagine no consistent position.

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