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recollect that others besides believers may have been present at the time; that many others besides believers would certainly hear of its performance from those who witnessed it; that other miracles were exhibited to believers only; and that the objection would apply with equal force to the supernatural character of the transfiguration, which none but "a company of professed believers" saw. Another reason why the Doctor does not believe it was a miracle is, that the prophet cut down a stick. He asks, "if he were going to perform a miracle, what did he want with a stick?" He might as well have asked, if our Lord was going to do miracles, "what did he want with water to produce wine at the marriage-feast in Cana; or with a few loaves and fishes when he fed the multitudes in the desert of Bethsaida; or with clay and spittle when he gave sight to the man born blind; or with a fish when he needed means to pay the tribute money?" Another objection to the miraculous character of the transaction is, that the prophet inquired the place where the accident had happened. "Why did he want to know where it fell, or where it lay, if he were going to perform a miracle?" How much force there is in this objection will be readily perceived by the reader, when he recollects that the very same question was asked by our Lord with reference to the body of Lazarus before he raised him from the dead. We presume that was a miracle: yet Jesus asked, "Where have ye laid him?" John xi. 34. Upon these three wretchedly slender objections does he pronounce the belief of a miracle in the case as "preposterous," and explain it to mean nothing more than the insignificant affair of the prophet's "hooking up" the iron with a stick, "depressed" at "one end," (the Scripture says "cast in thither,") which any one else could have done as well as he.
This is really no trifling matter: for, on the ground here taken by the author, it is no difficult thing to proceed very far in setting aside all the miracles. We might remark further upon the author's method of despatching the miraculous cures related by the Evangelist St. John, as having been performed at the Pool of Bethesda. See his article Bethesda, p. 66. It is, in fact, just the infidel explanation of the German neologists, and rests entirely upon gratuitous assumptions, such as-that the sacred writer did not intend to declare it as a fact that cures were really and miraculously wrought, but only to state the "prevailing opinions" of the Jews; and that the waters had no other than a natural effect, and that only in "nervous diseases;" an assumption, by the way, directly contradicting the declaration of Scripture (whether that declaration be merely a statement of
the prevailing superstition of the Jews, or something more,) as to the curing of the "blind, the halt, and withered," and "whatsoever disease" any might have.
But we have even more serious fault to find with this most obJectionable" Defensive Dictionary." Under the article BIBLE, p. 70. our author says, that the "book consists essentially of,1st. Historical facts, faithfully, and to the best of the knowledge of the writers, recorded; 2d. Divine commands and divine communications; and 3d. Human commentaries which the writers, as honest men, made, to the best of their judgment and opinion." Is this a full and exact statement of the character of the Holy Book? Are its historical details given to us merely according to "the best knowledge of the writers"? This can be said of Hume's History of England, and of Marshall's life of Washington, or of any other book written by a man of ordinary credit. To our view the historical statements of the Bible stand upon the high and holy authority of God's unerring supervision and guidance of the composers; and do not depend upon the mere "knowledge" of men, which might, after all, be founded upon mis-information, or mistake, or inadvertence, or forgetfulness. Then again, to hear our "Advocate of Divine Revelation" asserting that the sacred Scriptures contain "human commentaries," made according to the best of their judgment and opinion," by the writers who recorded the divine commands and communications"! Where is the unauthorized 66 commentary" they ever permitted themselves to make upon what they received from the suggestions of the inspiring spirit? If there are passages in Scripture containing mere "human commentaries," founded upon the "opinions" and "judgment" of its writers, how shall we distinguish what is divine from what is human? This difficulty did not fail to strike the author as the inevitable result of his most unwarrantable admission. But how does he endeavour to meet it? It seems to us that his solution of the difficulty thus created, is quite as dangerous as the statement it is intended to explain. He says, "the very book itself tells you how you are to distinguish the human parts of the bible from the divine part." Thus: "The Lord said," &c. "God spake these words," &c. "Hear the word of the Lord," &c. Thus saith the Lord," &c. So, then, we are to understand that those parts only of the Bible which are introduced with one or other of these declarations, or with some declaration of that sort, are to be regarded as "the actual words of God," of divine authority, and as "the product of divine inspiration ;" while all the rest are to be regarded as "the human parts" containing the "commentaries," "opinions," and "judg
ment," of the men by whom they were penned. But to what a frightful issue will this criterion lead us. That only is inspired which comes to us with a "thus saith the Lord," or "God spake these words," &c. Then we must give up by far the greater part of the Book, as of mere human composition, and of course of no authority. Whole books must by this rule be rejected. A large portion of the Old Testament, and nearly the whole of the New, must come down upon the footing of mere human compositions. As to the attempt the author makes to show that the sacred writers were not" at all times under the influence of the spirit of God;" and that, because "their actions were not all times under divine influence," we cannot say that "their writings were ;" it betrays a wretched want of discrimination. Who ever pretended that every thing that the men who penned the sacred Scriptures did, and said, and wrote, in the course of their lives, was dictated by the influence of inspiration? Nobody certainly ever maintained such an extravagance. But what has that to do with the question of the inspiration of our Scriptures? Whatever else they may have written, to "the best of their knowledge," and according to their "opinions and judgments," we have nothing to do with when the question is concerning the inspiration of the Bible, and the fact asserted has no bearing upon that question. But we do not design to enter upon the discussion of this question. It is sufficient for our purpose to indicate the author's view.
It is time to bring this article to a close. We are justified, we think, in entering our protest against this work being considered as "the Christian's Defensive Dictionary." If a Christian had nothing more to say for his faith than is given to him here, his cause would stand upon a very feeble foundation. We warn the infidel party, then, that Dr. Sleigh is the self-constituted advocate of the cause of Revelation; and that we should be very unwilling to rest our cause upon the merits of his work. They may, if they please, assail his Dictionary; but if they succeed in demolishing that, which they can easily do, let them not think they have destroyed the evidence upon which our religion claims their faith. They will have a great deal more to do, after they have driven Dr. Sleigh from the field, before they can lift up the shout of victory over vanquished Christianity.
ART. X.-1. Journal of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, held in 1835. New-York: Protestant Episcopal Press.
2. The Present Condition and chief Want of the Church; a Charge to the Clergy of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Ohio. Delivered Sept. 9, 1836. By CHARLES P. McILVAINE, D. D. Bishop of the Diocese. Gambier: Western Protestant Episcopal Press, 1836.
3. Journal of a Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Maryland, 1837. Baltimore: 1837.
As Churchmen, we thank God for the signal favour he has shown to the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States. In the original settlement of the country almost excluded from gaining a footing; during the Revolutionary conflict the object of distrust, aversion, and obloquy; and for many years afterwards struggling under a weight of complicated prejudicethe Church has, nevertheless, advanced to her present prosperous and commanding position. During the last twenty years particularly her progress has been rapid and cheering; the number of her clergy has increased nearly fourfold, with a corresponding increase in the number of her congregations. In 1814 there were eight bishops, (three of whom were in New-York), and the number of the clergy was but little more than two hundred and forty. There are now twenty-two dioceses, seventeen bishops, and nearly nine hundred clergy.
Nor is it merely in external prosperity that we rejoice. We are heartily persuaded there is no religious communion in the country where the elements of true spiritual well-being are found in greater proportion. We believe there is no body of persons "who profess and call themselves Christians," of whom it may more truly be affirmed that they "hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life." This fact, at the present moment, when one of the largest religious bodies of the country is rent "from the centre to its utmost verge" by disastrous schism, is, to our feelings, a special confirmation of the fitness of the peculiar institutions of the Protestant Episcopal Church to secure the best interests of pure religion. Nor is it less a confirmation of our views, to trace the progress of this Church during the passing of those events which for several years have rendered the religious history of this country so remarkable. For fifteen or twenty years our
VOL. I.-NO. II.
country has been the theatre for successive scenes of vulgar extravagance and revolting fanaticism, which scarcely find a parallel in the worst and wildest days of the English Commonwealth. A period of comparative apathy, from previous overexhaustion, has now indeed succeeded; and although a virulent contest, growing out of those scenes, is now going on among the leaders of opposite parties in the communion referred to, in relation to points of ecclesiastical organization and discipline, yet we hear but little now of the motions and successes of those notorious perambulating apostles of fanaticism, whose "protracted meetings," "new measures," "revivals," and multitudes of "converts," were not long ago the theme of so many bulletins and jubilations uttered from the religious presses under their influence. In fact, they have worn out the excitability of the popular mind. They have administered continually increasing stimulants until nothing sufficiently exciting now remains. In the mean time many eyes among the people, once dazzled, have become open to see the legitimate fruits of their fanatical proceedings and licentious doctrines. These fruits are visible enough in the breaking up of the old ties that united their pastors and people-in the destruction of the appropriate authority and influence of their ministry—in the multitudes of unworthy members admitted to their communion, and subsequently falling off into open apostacy, or else continuing in their bosom the authors or dupes of all sorts of disorganizing and licentious principles-and finally, in the contempt which, from all these causes, has been brought even upon the venerable name of Religion itself, in the minds of the irreligious, and in the ten-fold increase of infidelity and skepticism.
We have neither time nor inclination to go into a detailed history of religious fanaticism in our country for several years past; otherwise it would be easy to justify all we have said, and much more than we have said, by the most abundant and unquestionable evidence. But the truth of these things is sufficiently known to most of those for whom we write, and we have adverted to them simply to direct attention to the contrast presented by the Episcopal Church during this period. Not only has she steadily advanced in numbers and influence, but she has presented an edifying spectacle of purity and order. Nor have the revolting scenes presented in other communions operated to preserve the Church in the repose of a mere cold and spiritless formalism, rejoicing in her external order and dignified" form of sound words," but indifferent or hostile to the inward power of genuine godliness, whose spirit it was intended, in the framing of the Church, should glow all the more