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since he himself is indebted to the same Benefactor for his health, or, to speak more properly, for his being afflicted with a less degree of sickness.
O the unsearchable seduction of pernicious friendship, the avidity of doing mischief from sport, the pleasure of making others suffer, and this without any distinct workings either of avarice or of revenge! Let us go, let us do it, and we are ashamed to appear defective in impudence. Who can unfold to me the intricacies of this knot of wickedness ?
It is filthy, I will pry no more into it, I will not see it. Thee will I choose, Orighteousness and innocence, light honourable indeed, and satiety insatiable! With thee is perfect rest, and life without perturbation. He who enters into thee, enters into the joy of his Lord, and shall not fear, and shall be in the best situation in thee, the best. I departed from thee, and erred, my God, too devious from thy stability in my youth, and became to myself a region of desolation.
CHALMERS: Works.-Evidences of Christianity. Vol. III.
and IV. W. Collins, Glasgow.
The treatise of Dr. Chalmers on Natural Theology, noticed in a former number, is appropriately succeeded by the present work on the Evidences of Christianity, with which he occupies two most interesting and instructive volumes. Its commencement is novel; for, before entering on the direct argu, ment, he discusses the objection of Hume to miracles, founded on the want of experience. He meets the Infidel Philosopher on his own grounds; and, having shewn that it is altogether unnecessary to have recourse, with Campbell and others, to the evidence arising from testimony, and an instinctive confidence in its informations, he proves that a belief in the miracles of the New Testament is founded upon and agreeable to experience, inasmuch as all our experience goes to demonstrate, that we never were deceived by such evidence as that which is offered for the truth of Christianity. His principle here is similar to that by which he meets the objection of this philosoper to the argument for the existence of God, drawn from the existence of the present world, and which was laid before our readers in our review of bis Natural Theology. Neither, it is alleged, can be made the basis of an argument, as we have no experience of either the creation of a world, or the performance of a miracle; whereas, our author most triumphantly shews they are both exactly accordant with the whole of our experience. With this topic the entire of the first book is occupied.
The way being thus cleared, he enters directly on the subject; and the second book is devoted to the miraculous evidence for the truth of Christianity. Here the principles of historical evidence are first expounded, and the reader is put on bis guard against a prejudice that lurks,in perhaps every mind, unfavourable to the evidence of the Bible,-a disposition to be more easily satisfied with the testimony of others than the sacred writers. Let Tacitus testify, and we are content; but let Luke, and we suspect. This is most unreasonable and absurd; for who has ever proveil the former to be more worthy of credit than the latter? It is a mere prejudice, and the fair inquirer ought to be aware of it, and have his mind armed against it. This is a chapter of much original thought, and great practical utility. The plan pursued by our author, in the prosecution of this subject, we shall give in bis own words :
“ The argument for the truth of the different facts recorded in the gospel history, resolves itself into four parts. In the first, it shall be our object to prove, that the different pieces which make up the New Testament, were written by the authors whose names they bear, and in the age which is commonly assigned to them. In the second, we shall exbibit the internal marks of truth and honesty which may be gathered from the compositions themselves. In the third, we shall press upon the reader the known situation and history of the authors, as satisfying proofs of the veracity with which they delivered themselves. And in the fourth, we shall lay before them the additional and subsequent testimonies, by which the narrative of the original writers is supported.”-p. 175, vol. III.
The first of these, or, as it is commonly styled, the genuineness of the New Testament, is proved by the greatest variety of argumentation, shewing that, if history.can prove any thing, this is proved; for it is its universal and unanimous voice, that the names attached to the books of the New Tes. tament are those of their real authors. Under the second, there is introduced a surprising mass of matter, to wbich we cannot now advert. It contains more than we ever read before in the same compass, in any of Dr. Chalmers' works. We did not think he possessed the power of compression, as it is there exhibited. He groups together an amazing variety of particulars, which, he shews, are the characteristics of an author's production. Especially does he manifest the strict accord. ance between the whole Gospel history, and the
manners and usages of the times in which they were written. This is shewn in matters of trivial moment, where an impostor would have been most likely to betray himself and his forgery. We give the following instance :
“ As a specimen of the argument, let us confine our observations to the history of our Saviour's trial, and execution, and burial. They brought him to Pontius Pilate. We know, both from Tacitus and Josephus, that he was at that time governor of Judea. A sentence from him was neces. sary before they could proceed to the execution of Jesus; and we know that the power of life and death was usually vested in the Roman gover
Our Saviour was treated with derision; and this we kcow to have been a customary practice at that time, previous to the execution of cri. minals, and during the time of it. Pilate scourged Jesus before he gave him up to be crucified. We know, from ancient authors, that this was a very usual practice among the Romans. The account of an execution generally ran in this form : He was stripped, whipped, and beheaded, or executed. According to the Evangelists, his accusation was written on the top of the cross; and we learn from Suetonius and others, that the crime of the person to be executed was affixed to the instrument of his punishment. According to the Evangelists, this accusation was written in three different languages; and we know from Josephus, that it was quite common in Jerusalem to have all public advertisements written in this manner. According to the Evangelists, Jesus had to bear his cross; and we know, from other sources of information, that this was the constant practice of these times. According to the Evangelists, the body of Jesus was given up to be buried at the request of friends. We know that, unless the criminal was infamous, this was the law, or custom with all Roman governors.”—p. 205, vol. III.
An impostor never could have so accommodated his narra. tive to the real state of the circumstances and times. These incidental notices, therefore, are artless but most convincing proofs of the truth and honesty of the writers. “And the more this argument is examined, it will be found the more interesting and satisfying. It resembles that of Paley, with respect to the writings of St. Paul.
In considering the testimony of the original witnesses, the object is to point out those peculiarities in their case which give them a special claim on our confidence and credence. Their sufferings and persecutions are particularly noticed. And it is convincingly shewn that there is no example of men bearing such a testimony, in such circumstances, to what they knew to be false. If ever men deserved to be believed, they are the men.
Under the last particular, the testimony of subsequent witnesses, it is manifested that, from the earliest period, witnesses have been raised up, without interruption or cessation, who have declared their unqualified confidence in the books of the New Testament as an infallible rule of faith and practice, They have referred to them, quoted them, transcribed them as authority into their own pages, and uniformly made it to appear, that they held them to be decisive on every question of which they treated. This unbroken and unanimous concurrence of so great a cloud of witnesses, is undeniable proof of the sacred regard with which the New Testament Scriptures
have ever been regarded, by those who were best acquainted with their subjects and merits.
The whole of this part of the argument is concluded by some general observations on the stability of the historical evidence for the truth of Christianity, where two objections are taken up, the one founded on the speculations of Geology, and the other on the supposed incongruity between the Theology of the Bible and the Theology of nature,--and where it is shewn, at the same time, that so long as the true Baconian principle of philosophising is applied to Christianity, the evidences for its truth must be felt and acknowledged to be irresistible.
As another branch of the miraculous evidence, we have next a chapter on Prophecy. Our author has placed the subject in a just light; yet we would have expected to have found him laying more weight upon it. He admits that it is, perhaps, among the strongest evidences, but the Scriptures themselves seem to rest most upon it. Compared with the testimony of the original witnesses, they say,—“ we have also a more sure word of prophecy.' This chapter, however, contains many beautiful and most instructive passages ; and as the subject is one which has, of late, occupied a large share of public attention, it will be gratifying to our readers to know the sentiments of such a man as Dr. Chalmers, particularly on that topic which has attracted most attention,—the millennium and reign of Christ. We therefore copy the following passage :
"In justice, however, to one at least of their general views, let us state our own suspicion of what we hold to be a prevalent opinion, and by which we have no doubt the great majority of Christians is actuated. We cannot get the better of an impression, grounded on what we hold to be the general sense of Scripture, and which we think may be distinctly traced in many of its passages, that the next coming of the Saviour is not a coming to the final judgment on the day of the general resurrection. This we hold to be the faith of the great majority; and yet there is much in the Bible to discountenance it. In prophecy there is a dis. tinct millennium foretold, nor do we see how this can be expunged from the future history of the divine administration ; and this indefinite period of peace and prosperous Christianity upon earth, is to be ushered in, it would appear, not as the ultimate term of a progressive series, along the successive steps of which, one nation is to be converted after another, till in the triumphs of a universal faith, made out by the gradual ad. vancement of light and knowledge, to the uttermost ends of the world, the earth is at length to be transformed into the fair habitation of piety and righteousness. We would speak with diffidence; but as far as we can read into the propbecies of the time that is before us, we feel as if there was to be the arrest of a sudden and unlooked for visitation to be Jaid on the ordinary processes of nature and history; and that the millennium is to be ushered in, in the midst of judgments, and desolations, and frightful convulsions, which will uproot the present fabric of society, and shake the framework of its machinery into pieces. It is still as much the part of missiorraries to carry the gospel unto every people under bea. ven, as it was of the apostolic missionaries who went forth over all the then known world, previous to the destruction of Jerusalem. But though in these days they preached it universally, they did not plant it univer. sally; and in hike manner, we can imagine now a general publication without a general conversion of the nations, and that, instead of a dif. fused and universal Christianity being anterior to the next coming of the Saviour, that coming may be in judgment and sore displeasure on the irreligion and apostasy of a world that had now prepared itself for the outpourings of an accumulated wrath, be its continued resistance to all the ordinary demonstrations. Iøstead of a diffused and universalChristianity being anterior to the next coming of the Saviour, that coming itself may be anterior to a diffused and universal Christianity,—to the restoration of the Jews, and the consequent fulness of the Gentiles. We speak not of a personal coming; there was done such at the destruction of Jerusalem, though it seems,
at least, as if the Son of Man was then said to come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. But certain it is that a coming is spoken of as yet in reserve, when, instead of being met by the glad acclamations of a christianized world, He will come like a thief in the night, and with sudden destruction as with a whirlwind, -when, as in the days of Noah and Lot, He will abruptly terminate the festivities and the schemes, and the busy occupations of a secure and wholly secu. lar generation,-and, so far from coming down on a regenerated species, then waiting in joyful expectancy for their King, it is asked whether, when this descent, whatever it may be, is accomplished, Verily shall the son of Man find faith on the earth ?" We say this not in full confidence, or for the purpose of dogmatizing any, but for the purpose of exciting all to an inquiry of deepest interest ; and we should not advise & perusal of the more recent interpreters of prophecy, till Mede, and Chandler, and Newton, and Hurd, and Horsley, and Davison, have become familiar to them. Then may they address themselves to the lu. cubrations of Cunninghame, and Faber, and Irving, and M‘Neile, and Bickersteth. The litile work of the last mentioned author is written with so much caution, and is at the same time so pervaded by the unction of personal Christianity, that it may with all safety be made the subject of an immediate perusal.”-p. 371, vol. II.
We specially entreat the attention of our dogmatizers to the modesty with wbich this great theologian expresses his senti. ments. One cannot but think of the immortal Newton, the principles of whose philosophy he has so thoroughly embraced, and whom he so much resembles in humility and caution. True genius is always marked by such characteristics.
With much propriety this department of the subject is conduded with a chapter on the connexion between the truth of a miracle and the truth of the doctrine in support of wbich it is performed.” It is urged that a miracle alone is insufficient, as God may furnish evil agents, for his own wise pur.. poses, to arrest the ordinary course of nature. And our author's doctrine is, that the truth to be substantiated by miracle must be brought to the test of anterior Natural Theology, apd be found to be agreeable to the character of a boly God, and