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than to the length of an anbiguous and mid-way scepticism. By adopting a decisive infidelity, we reject a testimony, which, of all others, has come down to us in the niost perfect and unsuspicious form. We lock up a scource of evidence, w...ch is often repaired to in other questions of science and history. We cut off the authority of principles, which, of once exploded, will not terminate in the solitary mischief of darkening and destroying our theology, but will shed a baleful uncertainty over many of the most interesting speculations on which the human mind can expatiate.
Even admitting, then, this single objection in the subject of our Saviour's testimony, the whole length to which we can legitimately carry the objection is scepticism, or that dilemma of the mind into which it is thrown by two contradictory appear
This is the unavoidable result of admit. ting both terms in the alleged contradiction. Upon the strength of all the reasoning which has hitherto occupied us, we challenge the infidel to dispose of the one term, which lies in the strength of the historical evidence. But in different ways we may dispose of the other, which lies in the alleged falsehood of our Saviour's testimony. We may deny the truth of the geological speculation; nor is it necessary to be an accomplished geologist, that
we may be warranted to deny it. We appeal to the speculations of the geologists themselves. They neutralise one another, and leave us in possession of free ground for the informations of the Old Testament. Our imaginations have been much regaled by the brilliancy of their speculations, but they are so opposite to each other, that we now cease to be impressed by their evidence. But there are other ways of disposing of the supposed falsehood of our Saviour's testimony. Does he really assert what has been called the Mosaical antiquity of the world? It is true that he gives his distinct testimony to the divine legation of Moses; but does Moses ever say, that when God created the heavens and the earth, he did more at the time alluded to than transform them out of previously existing materials? Or does he ever say,
that there was not an interval of many ages betwixt the first act of creation, described in the first verse of the book of Genesis, and said to have been performed at the beginning; and those more detailed operations, the account of which commences at the second verse, and which are described to us as having been performed in so many days? Or, finally, does he ever make us to understand, that the genealogies of man went any farther than to fix the antiquity of the specics, and, of consequence, that they left the antiquity of the
globe a free subject for the speculations of philosophers? We do not pledge ourselves for the truth of one or all of these suppositions. Nor is it necessary that we should. It is enough that any of them is infinitely more rational than the rejection of Christianity in the face of its historical evidence. This historical evidence remains in all the obsti. nacy of experimental and well-attested facts; and as there are so many ways of expunging the other term in the alledged contradiction, we appeal to every enlightened reader, if it is at all candid or philosophical to suffer it to stand.
On the Internal Evidence, and the Objections of
There is another species of evidence for christianity which we have not yet noticed, what is commonly called the internal evidence, consisting of those proofs that christianity is a dispensation from heaven, which are founded upon the nature of its doctrines, and the character of the dispensation itself. . The term “ internal evidence" may be made indeed to take up more than this. take up the New Testament as a human composition, and without any reference to its subsequent history, or to the direct and external testimonies by which it is supported. We may collect from the performance itself, such marks of truth and honesty, as entitle us to conclude, that the human agents employed in the construction of this book were men of veracity and principle. This argument has already been resorted to, and a very sub
stantial argument it is. It is of frequent application in questions of general criticism; aand upon its authority alone many of the writers of past times have been admitted into credit, and many have been condemned as unworthy of it. The numerous and correct allusions to the customs and institutions, and other statistics of the age in which the pieces of the New Testament profess to have been written, give evidence of their antiquity. The artless and undesigned way in which these allusions are interwoven with the whole history, impresses upon us the perfect simplicity of the authors, and the total absence of every wish or intention to palm an imposture upon the world. And there is such a thing too as a general air of authenticity, which, however difficult to resolve into particulars, gives a very close and powerful impression of truth to the narrative. There is nothing fanciful in this species of internal evidence. It carries in it all the certainty of experience, and experience too upon a familiar and well known subject-the characters of honesty in the written testimony of our fellow
We are often called upon in private and every-day life to exercise our judgment upon the spoken testimony of others, and we both feel and