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not imply its necessity, so in case of the soul, the naturalness of the religious result does not imply its necessity. And again, we deem it possible that the analogy may hold in a third particular :-as the power—be it a human hand, be it gravity, be it what it may–which brings the seed into contact with its favoring circumstances of soil, moisture, light and warmth, as this power does not inhere in the seed itself, but is every way external to it and independent of it; so is the power which brings the human soul into contact with the circumstance which quickens, sustains, and perfects its natural manifestation of a true religion—80 is this power a something not inhering in the soul, but every way external to it and independent of it. Admit the validity of the analogy in this particular, and the essential assumption of rationalism, in the technical signification of the word, receives its death-blow. Admit the necessity of the coöperation of this external power—this power which is in no sense the soul itself—and the way is open to show that this extra power is God himself in special coöperation and revelation. And so much established, the Christian is at liberty to identify this special and external illumination—this production of a power not in the soul—with the Christian revelation itself, the mission of Jesus.

We are aware, that to this reasoning one objection is ready. It will be averred that we have not made a complete statement of the data of which rationalism predicates the inevitableness as well as naturalness of true religion. It will be averred that—to refer once more to the case of the growing corn—although the mere naturalness of the phenomenon of seed germinating into the blade does not imply a necessity of this result, yet the necessity is involved when the seed is placed in contact with the circumstances already specified. Now rationalism, we may be told, finds in the religious history of man, not merely a religious tendency in his soul, but also those circumstances which form the conditions of the operation of this tendency. The argument is not, that inasmuch as religion is natural to man, the development of true religion is necessary or inevitable. The argument is, that inasmuch as religion is natural to man, together with the fact that he is naturally circumstanced in a way to bring this law of his soul into activity, the outgrowth of true religion is inevitable. It is not the seed alone, but the seed conjoined with the conditions of its germination, that completely illustrates the data of the rationalistic theory.

In this position, however, we can but think that a fundamental principle of the rationalistic theory is virtually surrendered—surrendered in the sense that it is compelled to assume the principal point in dispute. Admit that man of himself alone cannot discover the true religion—admit that the intermediate agency of God manifesting itself in and through the spiritual intuitions of the human soul, is not sufficient for such a result,admit that to all that is in man, must be added a certain complement of external influences as essential conditions of the true development of the soul, admit so much, and then it becomes a question of fact, what are those external agencies, and by what means have they been produced ? It becomes to a great extent, let us add, a question of historic fact, to be settled in the same way that all historic questions are settled, that is to say, by an appeal to the historic records. And yet we have never seen the rationalist who would concede the legitimacy of such an appeal. His constant appeal is to the soul; and this in a tone, if not in a phrase, implying contempt for the testimony of historic documents. He will indeed say, that the favoring external circumstances whereby the soul finds its legitimate activity, are provided for in the ordinary course of natural events——that they are necessary and inevitable products of laws inhering in nature, and never the products of special arrangements on the part of God. But what right has he to assume all this—to assume indeed the whole point in dispute ? The proper burden of rationalistic argument should be to disprove the fact of such special intervention on the part of Deity ; but to assume the contrary of this fact is not disproving the fact. And yet when the course of argument reaches this last point, namely, whether God has specially interfered for the enlightenment of the human soul, it proffers nothing but an assumption. And, we should add, it claims the right to assume the point ; for, as we had occasion to state in the outset, rationalism denies from the start that there can be such a thing as special revelation—that any form of proof in behalf of such a revelation can be legitimate. Nevertheless, it must be conceded that something which is not the soul must be

brought into contact with it—that an external agency is indispensable—before the soul can find its true activity and reach the true religion.

Now is the nature of this external agency a point to be assumed ? Is it perceived by any intuitional power, thus rendering any process of inquiry or argument respecting it superfluous ? Is any external fact, particularly any

historical fact, a matter of intuition? We grant that necessary truths—such, for example, as those involved in the relations of number and of space-are intuitively perceived. We grant that it would be both superfluous and absurd to attempt proof of the proposition that two added to two make four. We grant the same as respects the fundamental facts of moral right and wrong. We grant that on these and kindred points, the human mind may and must be oracular, may and must proffer only assumption ; but is a fact of history—is the nature of a divine plan wholly external to man-one of these kindred points ? Surely it is obvious at a glance that such cannot be the case. Facts of history, facts pertaining to matters wholly external to man, cannot belong to any class of intuitions; to aver that they do, is to utter a contradiction in terms.

Before leaving this point, we must notice what seem to us grave errors respecting the authority of the human soul in matters pertaining to religions faith—errors both on the part of rationalists and also on the part of their opponents. It has seemed to us that rationalists indulge in indiscriminate statements respecting the positive capabilities of the soul—that they unduly enlarge the sphere of these capabilities; while the other party are prone to under-estimate and unduly limit the sphere of the soul's negative capabilities. We must broadly distinguish between the intuitive power of asserting truth, and the intuitive power of identifying error. We must distinguish between the power of discovering truth, and the power of apprehending truth when brought into its presence. Thus for example, and by way of illustration, science and experiment occasionally discover or invent a new article of wholesome food—thus occasionally do what the keenest instinct of appetite never could do. But no sooner is the new substance brought into contact with appetite, than the appetite instantly apprehends it to be what a different power has discovered it to be. Or we may suppose that science and experiment have erredhave proffered as a wholesome food, that which is in fact deleterious. In this case appetite may at once detect its harmful properties, and so authoritatively repudiate it. It may thus know at once what is bad ; though, in advance of other means of discovery, it may not know what is good. Its negative power may be clear in matters where it may lack any thing like positive capability.

Analogous reasoning, we think, holds of the soul in its relations to religious truth of the spiritual hunger in its relation to the bread of life. We

We may suppose the soul, of itself alone, wholly incompetent to discover many important religious truths; thus giving occasion for a special communication of such truths in the way usually called revelation. But such truths once revealed—once brought into contact with the soul, are immediately perceived by it to be truths—are authoritatively confirmed by it as truths ; so much so that subsequent attempts to take these truths from the soul—to destroy its confidence in them are necessarily futile. The spiritual eye once open to the clear light, no succeeding darkness or blindness can make it oblivious of the things it has really seen. In such a case, the distinction between the act of discovering truth, and the act of apprehending it after discovery, is sufficiently clear. Here the positive capabilities of the soul are restricted and secondary. But in case revelation, so called, brings to man certain errors of doctrine; we may consider the negative powers of the soul so prompt and authoritative, that its repudiation of them must be taken as final and conclusive.

Now it is our position,—if we may trust that its introduction in this connexion will be pardoned,—that God has made, and for aught man is authorized to say to the contrary, may continue to make, special communications of such divine truths as are necessary for the best welfare of men—truths which their unaided powers were and are not able to discover. But inasmuch as we deem the soul capable of apprehending truths which it was not able to discover, we should say that the best evidence of the authority of the revelation, is in the fact that its communications have been welcomed and confirmed by the soul. Distinguish the power of apprehending or identifying divine truth, from the power of first communicating or revealing it, and the



way is open to acknowledge the necessity of a revelation, and at the same time attribute unqualified confirmatory authority to the soul which receives the revelation. The doctrines of the Divine Paternity, of the salutary purpose of retribution, of the divine scheme for a world's redemption, we may suppose to have been above the reach of the human soul in the way of discovery; but the highest evidence for the genuineness of the revelation-of the truth of the matters revealed—is, we should say, the fact that the soul welcomes such doctrines, and identifies them as truths. But the dogmas of the trinity, of the imputation of sin, and of righteousness, of the endlessness of punishment for sin,-we must think the soul at liberty to reject these dogmas, no matter how communicated. If it is alleged that Scripture contains these dogmas, the soul is at liberty, not indeed to deny the truth of Scripture, but to assume that it is a false interpretation of Scripture which asserts such dogmas in its name. We should say that herein the negative power of the soul has full sway—that it may authoritatively and finally assert that such doctrines cannot be a revelation from God.' But in taking this position we by no means call in question the possibility, necessity or fact of revelation. Nor do we dictate terms to revelation—not any more than we should do were we simply to say that such a proposition as that a triangle has four sides cannot be revealed. The difference between the rationalist and ourselves is simply this: the rationalist prescribes beforehand what doctrines revelation must teach, and all the doctrines it must teach ; we simply specify certain doctrines which it cannot teach. He gives to the soul unlimited and unqualified positive authority ; we give to it a certain degree of negative authority. He

avers that the soul is able to discover, by its own unoriginated action, every necessary truth; we aver that there are many truths which it could not have discovered, but which being revealed, it can however identify and confirm as truth.

But whatever others may think of the distinction we have proffered between the power of discovering and revealing truth, and the power simply to apprehend, identify or confirm truth—whatever they may think of the theory of revelation which we have predicated of this distinction, we

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