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we admit. It is well that, if not very great or sensible confirmations of, they are at least in coincidence with the main narrative. They shed a fainter light on the question, but they show nothing opposite to what is shown by the light of the direct testimonies. .
15. After all, they are the direct testimonies, handed down from one to another in the stream of Jewish and Christian Authors, which constitute the main strength and solidity of the historical argument for the historical fact of a Creation.
There might be fitter occasions for entering into the detail of this Evidence—but we hold it not out of place to notice even at present the strong points of it. In tracing the course upwards from the present day, we arrive by a firm and continuous series of authors at that period, when not only the truth of the Christian story is guaranteed by thousands of dying martyrsbut when the Old Testament Scriptures, these repositories of the Jewish story, obtained a remarkable accession to their evidence which abundantly compensates for their remoteness from our present age. We allude to the split that took place between two distinct and independent or, stronger still, two bitterly adverse bodies of witnesses at the outset of the Christian economy. The publicity of the New Testament miracles—the manifest sincerity of those who attested them as evinced by their cruel sufferings in the cause, not of opinions which they held to be true, but of facts which they perceived by their senses—the silence of inveterate and impassioned enemies most willing, if they could, to
have transmitted the decisive refutation of them to modern times—these compose the main strength of the argument, for our later Scriptures. And then, beside the references in which they abound to the former Scriptures—and by which, in fact, they give the whole weight of their authority to the Old Testament-we have the superadded testimony of an entire nation, now ranged in zealous hostility against the Christian Faith, and bent upon its overthrow. They who are conversant in the practice, or who have reflected most on the Philosophy of Evidence, know well how to estimate the strength which lies in a concurrence of testimonies where collusion is impossible; and still more where one of the parties, inflamed with hatred and rivalship against the other, could almost choose to disgrace themselves for the sake of involving their adversaries in disgrace and discredit along with them. It is this which stamps a character and a credit on the archives of the Jewish history, whereof it were vain to seek another exemplification over again in the whole compass of erudition. These memorials of our race, which they had no interest in preserving—for, mainly, they were but the records of their own perversity and dishonour, had been handed down to them by uncontrolled tradition from former ages; and were now embodied in the universal faith of the people. And when the two great parties diverged however widely asunder in every other article of belief_they held a firm agreement in this, the perfect integrity of at least the historical Scriptures. Had there been a juggle here why did not an enraged priesthood stand forth
to expose it—that along with it they might expose the weakness of that alleged prophecy which formed one great pillar of the Christian argument ? How, in the fierce conflicts of this heated partizanship, did not the secret break out of an imposition on the credulity of mankind, if imposition there was ?_and out of this fell warfare among the impostors who were for palming upon the world the miracles of the present or the memorials of the past, ought not that very effervescence to have arisen which would have swept the imposture of both religions from the face of the earth ? It says every thing for the truth both of the Christian story and of the Hebrew records, that they survived this hurricane ; and more especially that, ere the observances of the Mosaic ritual were done away, so strong a demonstration should have been given of the national faith in those documents by which the solemnities of the Jewish religion were incorporated with the facts of the Jewish history. The virtue of an institution like the Passover to authenticate the narrative in which it took its profest origin, and of which it is the standing memorial, has been ably expounded by Leslie and others. It is thus that we are carried upwards through a medium of historic light to the times of the Patriarchs—or even though we ascend not the ladder, but abide as it were at the bottom of it, we shall find in the Jews of the present day, the characteristics of a singular race which bespeak them to be a monument of old revelations. They have maintained their separate identity, as no other nation ever did, among the tempests and the fluctuations in which
they have been cradled for two thousand years and now stand before us as a living evidence of their past story_and an evidence along with it, that throughout the long succession of those fitful turmoils which have taken place in the wars and politics of our world for so many centuries—there has been indeed the controlling agency of a God · mixed up with the history of human affairs.
16. Now the truth of the continuous narrative which forms the annals of this wondrous people would demonstrate a great deal more than what we at present are in quest of_that the world had a beginning—or rather that many of the world's present organizations had a beginning, and have not been perpetuated everlastingly from one generation to another by those laws of transmission which now prevail over the wide extent of the animal and vegetable kingdoms. We hold the Jewish Scriptures to be authentic memorials of this fact-and although we might afterwards find a better place for the contents both of the Jewish and Christian revelations—yet we cannot forbear, amid all that is imagined about the sufficiency of the natural argument, to offer our passing homage to these greater and lesser lights of our Moral Hemisphere, which have both of them together poured a flood of radiance over the field of Natural Religion, and so as to have manifested many objects there which would have been but dimly seen by the eye of Nature. Believing as we do that the surest of all philosophy is that which rests on the basis of well-accredited facts, in justice to our views on the strict science of the question, we must state the informations even of the Old Testament to be far more satisfying to ourselves than all the vaunted theorems of academic demonstration. There is a great reigning spirit by which the varied authorship of this book is so marked and harmonized—there is such a unity of design and contemplation in writings that lie scattered over the tract of many centuries—there is such a stately and consistent march from the first dawnings of this singular history, towards that great evolution in which the whole prophecy and priesthood of the consecrated land converged and terminated—there is withal such an air of simple and venerable greatness over this earlier record—such loftiness in its poetry—such obvious characters of truth and sanctity and moral earnestness throughout all its compositions, as superadd the strongest weight of internal testimony to the outward and historical evidence by which it is supported. This may afterwards be more distinctly unfolded—but we cannot even at this stage of our inquiries withhold all reference to a Book on whose aspect there sits the expression of most unfeigned honesty, and in whose disclosures we have lessons of the sublimest Theism.