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nothing but the merest unauthorized assumption. It is guesswork in the face of stupendous difficulties. There is not a man of science on earth to-day who claims that there is a particle of reliable evidence that life originally came into this world through spontaneous generation. The assumption has been made, but the eridence is utterly wanting. Nor is there a noted man of science anywhere to be found, deist, atheist, or agnostic, who claims that there is a shred of evidence that life has ever appeared on this earth except through the presence of antecedent life.
The distinguished advocates of spontaneous generation, one after another, have been completely silenced. The unbelieving scientist, with shortened breath and with blanched cheek, can see at present one alternative--only one--divine interposition or spontaneous generation ! But the closing words of Professor Tyndall's lecture on “ The Origin of Life,” before the Royal Institute at London, leave at present no alternative; and the intelligent scientist now stands face to face with divine interposition, and nothing else. “This discourse," says the professor, “is but a summing up of eight months' incessant labor. From the beginning to the end of the inquiry, there is not a shadow of evidence of spontaneous generation. There is, on the contrary, overwhelming evidence against it.
. . I am led inexorably to the conclusion that in the lowest as in the highest organized creatures, the method of nature is, that life shall be the issue of antecedent life."
But this admission and conclusion of Professor Tyndali call for the interposition of the Author of all life; and the moment His interposition is admitted, then every difficulty vanishes, and the path of every true believer is as bright as sunlight can make it. For, if divine interposition can make a world, then divine interposition can control it and all its affairs after it is made; if divine interposition amid primeval darkness can call into existence a universe of flames (" star
stuff”), then divine interposition can send flames from the sky to light the altar built by Elijah; if divine interposition can fashion and send forth every planet and every star on its stupendous journey, and can bind star and planet in their courses, and can arrest in their development astronomical and geological epochs, then divine interposition can arrest other processes, and cause the sun to stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of · Aijalon; if divine interposition can stir the winds of the Sea of Galilee, then divine interposition can hush them when they are stirred; if divine interposition can build healthy physical tissues in our bodies, then divine interposition can restore them to health when they are sick of fever or palsy ; if divine interposition, out of crude materials, can build an eye so that it can see, then divine interposition can give sight to that eye after it has become blind; if divine interposition can, from the dust of the ground, build a human body, and animate it, and present to the world its Adam, divine interposition can reanimate the full-formed and dead body of Lazarus and present it to his weeping sisters.
The question, therefore, as to miracles is not, at the present date, one of possibility. The only question is this : Were there at the inauguration of the Jewish religion, and at certain critical periods in the history of that religion, and were there at the inauguration of the Christian religion, purposes of sufficient magnitude to justify divine interposition? When that question is settled, the whole matter as to miracles is settled. And your judgment, my Christian brother, on the question whether it were wise for God to interpose and work miracles in the interest of the Jewish and of the Christian religions, is of just as much value as is the judgment of David Hume, Benedict Spinoza, Thomas Paine, Theodore Parker, or Robert Ingersoll.
Are we through? Nearly, but not quite. For there is one straw that extreme scepticism will struggle to clutch before sinking. It is this: though the hope of establishing the hypothesis of spontaneous generation has for years been a vanishing one, now altogether extinguished in the minds of the most scientific men, still, "maybe," "perhaps," as one noted writer on scientific matters lately has reasoned, science will yet discover a way of producing life by spontaneous generation.
O Science! are you reduced to such straits? “Maybe," “ perhaps," on the lips of modern science is nonsense. When science will present something beside such groundless vagaries, we will listen; not till then.
The entire scope of the discussion is now fully before us, and is this:
First. Christ's miracles (we confine the conclusion to IIis miracles, because, in the main, the argument has had reference to those rather than to the miracles of the Old Testament), owing to their lofty character, their noble object, their beneficent results, and their counection with Christ and Christianity, are probable if they are possible.
Second. Christ's miracles, owing to the massive chain of evidence in their support, consisting of testimony, traditions, monuments, and perpetuated observances, are credible if they are possible.
Third. That Christ's miracles are possible is a scientific fact placarded upon every new order of things that has come into this universe since the dawn of light. Therefore, Christ's miracles are possible, and they are probable, and they are certain.
I could wish, at this point, that the great Cicero were here; for, in view of the facts existing on every hand, he, with an eloquence grand, like that of yonder sea, would say to the little sceptics and to the blatant scoffers of this city and everywhere: “ There is the argument in support of the miracles of Christ; take it, and break it if you can.”
PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION.
WILLIAM DINWIDDIE, D.D.
God hath spoken to us in His works of creation. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. xi. 3). “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth." “For IIe spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. xxxiii. 6, 9). “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmainent showeth His handywork. Day unto day nttereth speech, and night unto night show. eth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (Ps. xix. 1-4). “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Rom. i. 20). The creation is not now the scene of order and beauty that it was when it came fresh from the hands of the Beneficent Creator. It is made subject to vanity, and the whole of it groaneth and travaileth in
ain together until now, in earnest expectation awaitin the manifestation of the sons of God, when the creation itself also shall be delivered into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. Still, even in its present condition, it gives such manifestation of God as to leave men without excuse in their sin (Rom. i. 20; viii. 19-22). God hath also spoken to us by His Son, by Him who is the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (John i. 1, 2). “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.” “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him” (John i. 14, 18).
And this declaration or manifestation is clearer and fuller than that made in the creation. For the Son by whom God hath spoken to us in these last days is the brightness of His glory and the express image of His per
He said of Himself, “He that hath seen me, bath seen the Father.”
In the third place, God hath spoken to us in His written Word, the Scriptures, which not only tell us of His power and Godhead, and of His glory as embodied in His Son, but they express to us in the language of men, with all the impressiveness to us of human speech, and with great amplitude of detail, who God is, what He has done, and what He will do according to the purposes of His own most wise, gracious, loving, and holy will in execution of plans as comprehensive as the universe and reaching from before the foundation of the world into and through the ages to come. In this precious treasure committed to our keeping for our guidance and the sustenance of our spiritual life, men of every class and condition of life, widely separated in time and place, kings, statesmen, warriors, poets, orators, prophets, priests, ploughmen, fishermen, sailors, masters, servants, men, women, and children, doctors, rustics, are all used through the mighty energies of the Holy Spirit to declare to us the wonderful works and ways of God.