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church, delivered in the Acts, was written by a companion of the apostles--that the truth of the narrative contained in these writings is evidenced by their sober, simple, and unexaggerated tone, and by their agreement, often undesigned, with each other —that it is further confirmed by the incidental allusions to it which are found in the speeches of the apostles, and in their epistolary correspondence with their converts--that its main facts are noticed by profane writers, while a comparison of its secondary or incidental facts with the civil history of the times as otherwise known to us, reveals an agreement which is at once so multitudinous and so minute, as to constitute in the eyes of all those who are capable of weighing historical evidence, an overwhelming argument in proof of the authenticity of the whole story—that the narrative was accepted as simple truth soon after it was published in most parts of the civilized world, and not by the vulgar only, but by men of education and refinement, and of good worldly position—that it was received and believed at the time when the truth of every part of it could be readily tested by many hundreds of thousands, not withstanding the prejudices of education, and the sacrifices which its acceptance involved-and finally, that the sincerity of those persons' belief was in many cases tested in the most searching of all possible ways by persecutions of the cruellest kind, and triumphantly stood the test : so that the church counted her martyrs by thousands."-Pp. 226, 227.
Our anthor's theme led him to consider only those objections to the Scriptures that are founded on their historic statements. If tried by proper criteria, all other objections to their teachings will be found to be equally groundless and futile. Let the inquiry be instituted in reference to the great truths respecting the attributes of God, which the Bible itself affirms are made manifest by the works of creation, and it will be apparent to reason that such revelations of himself as God is there represented as making, the institution and administration of such a government as he is there exhibited as exercising, and the pursuit of the ends that are there ascribed to him, are consonant with his station and perfections, and marked by resistless evidence. Such a Being giving existence to such a material empire, peopled with rational beings, will infallibly establish and maintain such a government over them, as is embodied and described in the revelations of the Bible.
Let us take the great truths respecting his being, his selfexistence, and his deity, which are made known to reason by the works he has created, and trace the argument to the conclusion we have indicated.
“For that which may be known (is knowable) of God, is manifest among them (men), for God hath showed it unto (made it discernible by) them. For since the creation of the world, the invisible things of him are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; even his eternal power and godhead; so that they are without excuse (who fail to see and acknowledge his being and perfections, rights, and sway).” The invisible things of him, his eternal power and godhead that are clearly seen through his works, are, plainly, first, his self-existence and eternity; since eternal power can only be predicable of a being that is self-existent, and thence has existed and is to exist for ever; and next, his omnipotence; since a self-existence must necessarily be omnipotent; as power that is limited, by the terms, is not supreme and independent, but finite and thence dependent; and because it would be inadequate to create and uphold the universe which God has created and sustains. And in thus demonstrating his self-existence, eternity, and omnipotence, it demonstrates that all his other attributes, intelligence, skill, goodness, activity, are also infinite and divine. His works discriminate him in every relation, from finite and derived. existence, and prove him to be God.
But how is it that the world he has made thus proves that he is, and that he is eternal, self-existent, almighty, all-knowing, and in all other attributes infinite and divine? Plainly because the world is a derived and dependent existence; and thence must be the work of an underived and independent one; and therefore of a self-existence who is eternal, almighty, all-knowing, and perfect in every other relation.
But how is it seen with such clear and resistless self-evidence, that the world is derived and dependent? It is shown by the fact that as an aggregate, and in all its parts, it is subject to influences that are resistless from a cause that is exterior to its parts and to itself. Its subjection to such influences demonstrates its derivation and dependence; since were it
self-existent, as the reason that it exists in the mode and passes through the processes it does, would lie exclusively in itself, it would not be subject to influences from without, that in any measure affected its mode of existence or its condition. The mighty forces which are continually acting in every part of the visible universe--gravity, affinity, cohesion, repulsion, light, heat, organization, life, death, disorganization-are so many ceaseless and infinite demonstrations, therefore, that the bodies on which they act, are not self-existences, but have the ground of their being and nature altogether out of themselves; and thence those forces are equally vast and resistless proofs that there is a being who is wholly unlike them, to whom they owe their existence;namely, an Intelligence who is self-existent, eternal, independent, almighty, and of every other divine attribute; from whose power and skill it is that these changeable, dependent, and derived existences have received their being.
The great truth, then, that a changeable existence is a proof of the existence of an unchangeable one; a derived and dependent existence is a proof that there is a self-existent and independent one; that a being of time, is a proof that there is a being who is eternal; a being of finite power, is a proof that there is a being who is infinite;—is a truth that is manifested to the eyes of men so clearly by the created universe, and is revealed with such self-evidence in their own consciousness, that they are without excuse, if they do not discern and recognise it. If it be properly unfolded, however, and allowed to make its legitimate impression, it will raise the mind to a vivid and awe-inspiring realization of the being, perfections, and agency of God. All objects will become proofs of his immediate presence, activity, and skill. As the ground of their existence does not lie in themselves, but in him, their subsistence from moment to moment will be seen to be the effect of his will ; and to proclaim him therefore by the most immediate and indubitable signals to the eye and to the mind, as present in the grandeur of his omnipotence, omniscience, and allfilling and all-controlling agency as God. And the sense of his being and greatness will be proportional in a measure, in vividness and energy, to the largeness of view which is attained of the extent and glory of his empire. When contemplated as present, and upholding and controlling all the countless worlds that fill the illimitable realms of space, the feeling that he is illimitable and infinite in all perfections, will rise to a distinctness and strength, proportional in a degree to his greatness and majesty. Now let us take this great truth as a test of the title of the sacred Scriptures to be received as a revelation from him. We have in it a criterion in a degree of what a revelation from him must undoubtedly be. If he has made a direct manifestation of himself, and disclosed his attributes, aims, and will, he has unquestionably revealed himself as identically such a being as he has shown himself to be by his works.
If, then, the Scriptures are from him, he has most certainly exhibited himself in them as self-existent, eternal, almighty, and infinite in all other perfections, and the creator, upholder, and ruler of the universe. And that is exactly the nature and agency that he affirms of himself there. He everywhere in the sacred word announces and proclaims himself as such a self-subsisting, eternal, omnipotent, everywhere-present, all-knowing, all-creating, all-sustaining and all-controlling being, as his works show him to be. And this is peculiar to the Bible. No Pagan mythology, no unassisted human speculation, has presented such a portraiture of the Deity. It is the pen alone by which his word was written that has drawn that delineation of his nature and acts; and it carries with it resistless self-evidence of its truth. Man, so far from accepting, retaining, and cherishing it as his great and distinguishing characteristic, has exhibited an astonishing disposition, in contravention of reason, to disregard and disown it; and form notions of God, that represent him as of the same nature as creatures, and of the weakest, most short-lived, and most odious of them. Ere Noah and his sons had passed from life, their posterity had, as a body, apostatized to the worship of creature deities and idols. And all the colored families of the race, comprising three-fourths of its numbers, have continued to the present day, to pay their homage to human beings, demons, animals, or mere material shapes. The white nations, also, of western Asia and of Europe, with the exception of the He brews, continued for ages the votaries of idolatry. And the Hebrews themselves, to whom he made the revelation of the Old Testament, rejected him generally throngh considerable periods; and the Gentile nations, by whom the gospel was first received, have in like manner returned in a great measure for ages to the homage of creature deities. The distinct, full, and emphatic exhibition of God as a selfexistence, of infinite perfections, the creator and upholder and ruler of all, and the only God, is peculiar to the Bible, and is a clear and decisive proof that it is a revelation from him.
It is apparent that a being who is of such a nature, and who gives existence to such a universe, must have ends in the creation, support, and government of his works, that are commensurate with his own and their greatness. It were contradictious to his attributes to suppose that he spoke them into being for the mere sake of exerting the acts by which they were created; or that he has no aims in upholding them beyond the exercise for the moment of the power, intelligence, and skill which their continuance involves. He acts with an aim that is suitable to the boundlessness of his knowledge and power, which are capable of accomplishing whatever he wishes. IIe acts for ends that are as vast as his empire, that contemplate all that he does and all that he permits, and that are to extend contemporaneously with his own being through the round of eternal years. A revelation from him will, accordingly, most certainly exhibit him as acting for such ends, and it may thence be taken as a test of the title of the Scriptures to be considered as a revelation from him.
And they bare in the most conspicuous form that mark that they emanated from him. For they exhibit him as acting—not fortuitously or inconsiderately—but on a plan that embraces all his works, and extends through all ages; as having formed purposes that contemplate not only all the acts he is himself to exert, and the effects to which they are to give birth; but all the agency also of all his creatures, and all the conditions that are to distinguish their existence. “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” And those ends they exhibit as lying in himself, in distinction from the created universe. They represent that he makes all things for himself; not that he exerts his creating and sustaining acts for the sake of that which he creates and sustains. And they teach that the issue of