תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Divine Revelation, is spreading its demoralizing and antisocial influence, rapidly and widely, among the lower classes of society, from which it had, hitherto, been excluded; and He who knows the future, as well as the past and the present, alone knows what is to be the result of the awful crisis in which his church is placed. Its state exhibits a new edition of the Bush of Moses, ignited but not consumed; furnishing light in the midst of surrounding darkness; light inextinguishable because Divinely kindled, and illustrated the more, the denser the gloom in which it shines.

Efforts have been made, and are still in operation, for checking the tremendous progress of infidel opinion. In this warfare the following letters offer themselves as forming a corps of reserve. If arguments drawn from the external and internal sources, to which we usually refer in support of the authenticity of Divine Revelation, fail of their effect, in consequence of the inveterate blindness and perverseness of the human heart ;-If metaphysical inference prove too abstruse to produce conviction in the illogical minds of those who have, of late years, been infected with the mania of scepticism ;-If the poor, in general, have too little time at command to follow a vindicator of the Scriptures through pages devoted to the important purpose of showing the futility of objections, originating in ignorance or enmity, which are raised against specific parts of our holy Book, (objections which, though easily proposed in a few words, require pages for their removal); if these or other difficulties require a method of attack or defence, different from that which the accustomed tactics of sacred controversy furnish, the volume on which the reader is entering proposes a new experiment. For if Nature and Revelation can be proved

to be counterparts, the one of the other; if the connexion between them demonstrate that the same Omniscient and All-gracious Being must have been the author of both; controversy on the truth of the Scriptures, with all but avowed atheists, is brought to a close. In this mode of defending the Bible, the evidence is substantiated; it is, in some measure, subjected to corporeal sensation, of which the illiterate can judge as well as the most accomplished scholar. The argument is brought within a narrow compass—“ The heavens which we see, are made to declare the glory of the TRIUNE JEHOVAH; the expansion, in which we live, move, and have our being, to show the work of his hands: there is no speech, no words, no voice of them is heard; (yet) their sound goes throughout the earth.” Creation and Redemption are, as it were, grooved into each other, so as to afford mutual support. The doctrine of the one illustrates and confirms that of the other; and they concur in furnishing a foundation for human hope and comfort which cannot be shaken.

The object, then, of the following pages is to bring all the treasures of science to the stable at Bethlehem, and to consecrate them at the foot of the cross. As “Moses sprinkled with (typical) blood, the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry;” so it is the aim of these letters to sprinkle, as it were, the universe of nature, and all its parts, of which the tabernacle of Moses was a representation, with the blood of the great sacrifice, and to make creation subservient to redemption, by exhibiting a unity of design and plan in all the operations of infinite wisdom, love and power. Thus will it appear, in a new view of the subject, that “By Him who is the image of the invisible God," as light is of the sun, “ the first born of every creature,---were all things created, that are in

is easy

heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers ; all things were created by HIM AND FOR HIM;" that “He is before all things and by Him all things consist.”

Should it be asked, What benefit can arise to the church from mixing Philosophy and Theology together; the answer

and satisfactory. Indeed, the question resolves itself into another, Is that mixture justified by the joint testimony of Nature and Revelation? For if it be, the reply will instantly offer itself to the mind, “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder," And if the evidence of union between the true system of nature and that of revealed truth, which it is the object of these letters to propose, be supported by both, incalculable would be the advantage of giving that union a prominent place in our creed, and in its defence against its assailants.

Is the Christian's mind at any time staggered by sceptical infusions from the prince of darkness ;—Is he tempted, for a moment, to doubt the authenticity of that Book, whereon all his hopes are built, and from which, mediately, all his comforts flow ;-what rational consideration (for it is not intended to supersede the necessity of Divine influence, or the necessity of prayer for its communication, but) what, as means of re-establishment, could afford him such immediate relief from embarrassment as an appeal to the evidence of fact which it is the object of these letters to substantiate ? Could mathematical problems recover for him the possession of “joy and peace in believing," the route would be circuitous, and the process perhaps one, for which his reasoning powers, struggling with the unseen enemy, might be altogether disqualified. Could the inferences of logical syllogism restore his perturbed mind to rest ; this mode also would require time and deliberation to which he might find himself unequa . Besides, these ways of settling the great question, whether the Bible be the word of God, are adapted to the capacities of a very few among the persons who are beneficially and vitally interested in the subject. The illiterate can derive no advantage from them. These armouries furnish neither shield nor sword to the uneducated multitude, whose faith, in our own awful era of the world, the emissaries of the infernal spirit are assaulting by every specious sophism which subtlety can supply. But if it can be made to appear, that Creation and Christianity are counterparts, the one of the other ;-If the natural world be a mirror, * in which may be discerned all the leading features of the plan of redemption ;-If the truths from which all our comforts and our hopes flow, be not only written as with a sun-beam, on every page of nature, but are themselves sun-beams issuing from a spiritual luminary, of which that whose material light we enjoy is the symbol ; the evidence is too strong and full to be long resisted ;it is within reach of the most untutored understanding ;it requires no mathematical or logical process; it comes home to every man's reason and feelings who has a capacity

* See 1 Cor. xiii. 12. BRETOLEY yap apti

OL

εσοπτρου εν αινιγματι, , An enigma, in which one thing answers or stands in correspondence to, or as the representative of, another, which is in some respect similar to it. Now,” in this life, we see by means of a mirror, reflecting the images of heavenly and spiritual things, ev amiyatı, in an enigmatical manner, invisible things being represented by visible, spiritual by natural, eternal by temporal, but then face to face. The Apostle here seems to allude to Num. xii. 8, which is thus rendered in the LXX, ΣΤΟΜΑ ΚΑΤΑ ΣΤΟΜΑ λαλησω αυτώ εν είδει, και ο δι' αινιγματων, (7772 831 Hebr.), kai Tinu do çay Kupicu E.de.Parkhurst's Greek Lexicon on the word Αινιγμα:

of understanding that the exact model of a house, and the house built upon that model, are connected with each other.

It is not only Infidelity, but heresy also, that would thus meet with its surest and easiest confutation. Is the doctrine of a Triunity in the Godhead impugned, and ridiculed as an impossibility, as irrational and absurd ? If the doctrine of a triune consubstantial agency in the material heavens be received, the impossibility is at once disproved, a high degree of probability, a priori, arises in favour of a Triunity in the Godhead, and the Revelation of Jehovah ALEIM acquires little less than mathematical demonstration of its truth. The authenticity of a few texts may be disputed, new translations attempted, or whole books excluded from the canon of Scripture; still the heavens would declare the glory of THE ALEIM, and the firmament, or expansion, show his handy work;" still THE CHERUBIM OF GLORY would testify that there are “three that bear witness” in the heaven of heavens, as there were three that bare witness in the holy of holies; and that 66

THESE THREE ARE ONE; one in essence and glory, but three in personality and office.

Is it the duty of the Christian church to propagate its holy faith among heathen nations, who are incapable, at least in the first instance, of appreciating the evidence on which we have been accustomed to build, exclusively, the truth of our holy volume ?-How satisfactory would it be to a missionary, to be able to address his hearers, as St. Paul did the Ephesians (Acts xvii. 28.), with an appeal to their own senses: There is a material agency by which you “live, move, and have your being.” Fire is necessary to the circulation of your blood, light to every sensation, and air to the motion of your lungs. We can prove to you that this

« הקודםהמשך »