תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

and the leopard lie down with the kid; then would the wilderness and solitary place be glad for them, and the desert rejoice; then, instead of the thorn would come up the fir-tree, and instead of the brier would come up the myrtle-tree; then would the inhabitants of the rock sing, and shout from the top of the mountains; the people would be all righteous, and inherit the land forever.

LECTURE XII.

OBJECTIONS. - THE PROPAGATION OF CHRISTIANITY. ITS

EFFECTS AND TENDENCIES. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION.

It has been my wish to present, in this course of lectures, as I was able, the positive argument for Christianity. I commenced the course with an invitation to the audience to go with me round about our Zion, and tell the towers thereof. Those towers are not yet all told. To some of the most common and effective topics of argument I have yet scarcely referred, and I ought, in logical order, to proceed at once to the consideration of them. This I have thought of doing, and of omitting to say any thing upon the objections against Christianity. If the time would admit of it, I should be pleased to devote at least a lecture to the consideration of these ; for, while there are objections which are unworthy of an answer, — while there are persons, who make them, who would be no nearer becoming Christians if their objections were all removed, - there are objections, the force of which I think may be removed, that weigh heavily upon some who are sincerely inquiring for the truth. To every such individual I would give my hand. I would make any effort to relieve him. I know what it is to wade in

the deep waters of doubt, and the blessedness of finding what seems to me to be the rock. For the sake of such I would gladly dwell upon this point at length; but as that is now out of the question, I will make a few observations on the subject of objections generally, and then go on with the argument.

And here, if I may be permitted to drop a word in a more familiar way in the ear of the candid and practical inquirer, referring to my own experience, I would say, that I have found great benefit in being willing- a lesson which we are all slow to learn — to wait. It has not unfrequently occurred that I have stood in such an attitude (perhaps for months or years together) to a certain objection as to see no way

of evading it, till, at length, light would break in, and I could see with perfect distinctness that there was nothing in it. Are there not many here who have unexpectedly met with something which has removed, in a moment, objections which have lain with weight upon their minds for years ? I well remember when it seemed to me that there was a direct contradiction between Paul and James, on the subject of faith and works. It seemed so to Luther, and, because he could not reconcile them, and was unwilling to wait, he rejected the Epistle of James, calling it a strawy Epistle. I can now see that Paul and James, not only do not contradict each other, but harmonize perfectly.

I have sometimes compared the path of a sincere inquirer to a road that winds among the hills. Who has not seen the hills, perhaps the high mountains, closing down upon such a road so as to render it apparently impossible he should proceed; and who has not been surprised, when he reached the proper point to see it,

to find the road taking an unexpected turn, and holding on its own level way. And to such a point I think every sincere inquirer will come, who is willing to follow the right path so far as he can find it, and to wait, putting up the petition, and adopting the resolution, of Elihu, -“That which I see not, teach thou me; if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.” I have the fullest conviction, not only of the truth, but of the philosophical profoundness, of that saying of our Saviour,—“ If any man will do bis will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”

But, leaving this, I observe, in the first place, that we are not to have our confidence in the Christian religion shaken, from the mere fact that objections can be made against it. There are those who seem to think that, if an objection can be made, some degree of uncertainty is introduced at once, and that there comes to be a balance of probabilities. But this is not so. When once a thing is fairly proved, all objections must go for nothing. Very plausible objections may be made to many things which we yet know to be true.

Thus objections have been made to the existence of matter, and to the truth of the evidence of the senses, which a plain man would find it difficult to answer, and which yet would have no weight with him whatever. We all believe there is such a thing as motion, and yet there may be some here who would find it difficult to answer the common logical objection against it. Let me put that objection. You will, I suppose, all agree that, if any thing moves, it must move either where it is, or where it is not. But certainly nothing can move where it is, for that would not

despised, and rejected, and oppressed! A Messiah who is to be slain, and yet is to reign forever! These assertions might, indeed, have been received separately, by faith, as the word of God; a reasonable Jew would have so received them; but, before the event, he could not have understood and reconciled them with each other; and yet the demand made by each of these aspects of the prophecy is fully met in Christ.

How, then, can the conclusion be avoided, that these prophecies were given by inspiration of God? Not by the supposition that they were fulfilled by human contrivance, for the enemies of Christ, far more than his friends, contributed to that fulfilment. As was said by Paul, (Acts xiii. 27,) “ They that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.” It was they that smote him, and hung him on a tree, and parted his garments among them, and cast lots, and pierced his side. It was they who paid the thirty pieces of silver, the goodly price at which they valued him, and who bought, with the price of blood, the potter's field. Nor can this conclusion be avoided on the supposition of chance ; for, as has already been said, it would surpass the power of numbers to express the extreme improbability of the fulfilment of such prophecies.

Nor is this all ; for it would be easy to show that the whole of the Old Testament dispensation, the ark of the covenant, with all its arrangements, the passover, the sacrifices, the ceremonies, the priesthood, were all typical, and therefore prophetic; and that the

« הקודםהמשך »