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petent thing, to take, if we may so term it, of the cement which goes to consolidate the structure, and that for the purpose of giving firmness and solidity to the foundation. For example, whatever of evidence there might be for the authority of the Jewish Scriptures, we have a right to appropriate for the support of natural theology, in as far as its doctrines enter into the contents or informations of that volume. If, instead of a succession of Jewish, it had been an equally numerous and creditable succession of authors in any other nation, we should have made this use of them. Had there been a continuous chain of credible and well-supported testimony, passing upward through a series of approved and classical writers in Rome, and Greece, and Egypt_each reiterating from their predecessors a consistent testimony regarding a succession of patriarchs, and a flood in the early ages of the world, and a creation at the outset—their history would have been admitted to the proof, and been held as a most important witness in the question of a Deity. Now, what we contend is, that however insensible to the force and the value of it-this is a proof which we actually possessmand, by all sound criticism not the less valid or impressive, that it answers a double purpose—or that it makes at once for the leading truths of natural theology, and for the peculiarities both of the Jewish and the Christian faith. It is at all times competent for us to discuss the existence of God as a separate proposition—and to fetch from every quarter, where evidence can be found, all the arguments, whether of reason or of testimony, which can be brought to bear upon it. Though natural religion should be indeed the basis, and Christianity but the erection which springs from it --still it may so happen, that from one and the same source there might be extracted a material for the consolidation of both—and so the whole fabric of religion may suffer by our restricting ourselves to a partial instead of a full use of that material. If the testimonies we have for the recency of our world as now constituted, would have been so eagerly seized upon, in behalf of natural theism, had they come to us through the channel of secular or profane history—then, we are not to lose the service of them even as present auxiliaries to our cause, unless it can be shown to us in what way they have become impotent or worthless, by their having descended to us through the channel of sacred history. We thus hold, that in virtue of the artificial process by which the whole argument has been conducted, there has been created what we should call an artificial scarcity of argument for the doctrines of natural religion. For there is no real scarcity. On the firm and frequent stepping-stones of a sustained history, we may rise to the observational evidence of a creation and a Creator_but, by the general practice of our guides and conductors, we are kept at the present stage of our inquiries, from entering upon this path. The fact of creation is strictly an historical one, and is therefore susceptible of being proven by historical evidence, if such is to be
found. And by all the signatures of valid or incorrupt testimony, we are directed to a place and a people, among whom the registers both of creation and providence were deposited. Yet on the existence of God, as a preliminary question, these leading credentials are kept out of sight_and we are presented instead, with but the secondary or shadowy reflections of them in the oral traditions of other places and other people, or the dying and distant echoes of nations that had been scattered abroad over the face of the world. It is thus that the fundamental demonstrations and doctrines in a course of theology are made to lack of that strength which rightfully belongs to them. We go in pursuit of dim or mythological allusions, to be found in heathen writers; and should we catch at some remote semblance of the Mosaic story, whether in the literature of Greeks or Hindoos, we rejoice over it as if a treasure more precious than all that we possess. Now, whatever semblance may be found there, the substance of this argument is to be found in the succession of Jewish and Christian writers. We ask no special indulgence for them. We should like them to be tested in the same way as all other authors; and, ere they are admitted as the chroniclers of past ages, to pass through the ordeal of the same criticism that they do. It is thus that we would trace by its successive landmarks, what may be called the great central stream of that history which stretches from the commencement of our existing world to the present dayand it is only thus that our minds can be adequately
possessed with the richness and power of the historical evidences for a God.*
* Of the coincidences between profape authors and the Mosaic history, we have a very good precis in the 16th Section of the Ist Book of " Grotius on the Truth of the Christian Religion” with a copious exemplification in the footnotes which are appended to it-tending to show that the most ancient tradition among all nations is exactly agreeable to the religion of Moses. In support of this he quotes from the remains of the Phænician histories, from the accounts transmitted to us of the Indians and Egyptians, from the traditions preserved both in Greek and Latin and Jewish and Christian writers, of whom, from the stores of his vast and varied erudition, he presents us with many interesting specimens. The notices which he collects from these multifarious sources respect chiefly the chaos out of which our present system was formed, the framing of animals, the creation of man after the divine image and the dominion given to him over the creatures, the energy of the divine word in the production of all things, the priority of darkness to light, the infusion of life into all that is vital by the Spirit of God, the formation of man from the matter of the earth, the division of time into weeks, with the special honour rendered by various distinct nations to the seventh day. In further corroboration of the harmony between profane and sacred history, we are presented with allusions to the primitive nakedness of our race, to the innocence and simplicity and happiness of a golden age, to the history respecting Adam's fall and the great longevity of the patriarchs. To these must be added the almost universa) tradition of a deluge-with many gleanings of ancient authorship about its minuter particulars, as the ark in which a few of our race were preserved and other species of animals, the place on which it rested, the sending forth from it of a dove and a raven. Besides these, resemblances can be traced between the current legends of various writers on the one hand, and on the other the scriptural narratives of the tower of Babel and the rite of circumcision, the histories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses, the later scriptural narratives which respect Elijah, Elisha and Moses. It is well that in these shadowy reflections, there is none of that incongruity with sacred history which can affect the truth and authority of its informations. But when we consider the weight and number of the immediate testimonies that we possess in support of these informations, the continuity and strength of their evidence, the marks both internal and external which demonstrate the authenticity of the Bible, we cannot but regard it as a marvellous phenomenon, that inquirers should feel the satisfaction as of a stronger evidence in these hazy reflections of the truth, than when they view it in its own direct and primary radiance.
14. We are far from meaning to insinuate that, beside the direct testimony of the sacred volumes, there are not other memorials of the world's recency which are worthy of our regard—such probabilities, even within the range of Nature's discernments of a recent Creation, or at least of a first (however remote) origin of Things as might serve to demonstrate that we live in the midst of a derived and not of an everlasting system; that many of the most exquisite structures which arrest the eye and the admiration of beholders are in the only important sense of the term consequents, and that no other antecedent can be found for them than the fiat of an intelligent Creator. There have many such vestiges been collected and appealed to, such as the recency of science—the limited range of our historical traditions, mounting upwards to only a few thousand years—the vast capacity of the species for general or collective improvement contrasted with the little progress which they have yet made, and which marks it is supposed but a comparatively modern origin to the human family—the expansive force of population, and yet its shortness still from the territory and resources of a globe, that could accommodate so many hundreds more of millions upon its surface.
These and several more taken chiefly from the history of nations, and the migration of tribes as indicated by the spread and the similarity of cognate languages, have been much insisted on for the purpose of building up an argument, and strengthening the barrier against the tide of a desolating Atheism. They are of some value,