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them feel that there is but one name which they obey, the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This moral power, as we before said, we esteem to be truly supernatural, and the great standing miracle and evidence of Christianity. And this power, as it distinguishes the religion of Jesus from all false religions, so will it distinguish the true Gospel from the inventions of man. The experiment is making with every form of doctrine. The false will be abandoned because they are useless. The true only can build up the kingdom of the Redeemer. Men are destined, we believe, to arrive at religious truth through their moral nature. Naked metaphysics we fear have done little, either in settling, or in recommending truth. “He that will do his will, shall know of the
“ , doctrine." So it is on the great scale. Men learn little as they ought, till “they receive the Gospel as a little child.” Then it is that the mounds and walls of sects and parties begin to disappear, and the soul embraces with joy whatever of truth and goodness it perceives scattered among the different tribes of men. Such we hope and believe will be the order of things, when the present chaos of the religious elements assumes the form of a new creation. In the mean time the great warfare which is ever waging between “the flesh and the spirit,” will still be going on. While the freedom of the will remains, “though one should rise from the dead," men will still continue to range themselves on the one side and the other, as the race move on to assume other stations in other spheres of being, some in the resurrection of life," and some in “shame and everlasting contempt."
Art. II. – An Argument to prove the Truth of the Chris
tian Revelation, by the EARL OF Rosse. London. 1834. 8vo. pp. 443.
A WORK like this on the Evidences of Christianity by a nobleman, though not without honored precedents, must still be numbered with the rarest productions of the press, Lord Chancellor King's “Enquiry into the Constitution and Worship of the Primitive Church” and his “ History of the Apostles' Creed”; Lord Barrington's “ Miscellanea Sacra," * with other considerable productions by the same learned
writer ; * and Lord Lyttelton's well known popular work on the “Conversion of St. Paul," are among the few theological productions, that may claim nobility for their authorship. or the writer of the book before us we know nothing but that his title designates him as an Irish nobleman, and the dedication of his work to the memory of a lamented son shows his family name to be Parsons. Whatever may be the merits of the author, recent or ancient as may be the honors of his house, t we see from this dedication that he has at least the heart of a father; and we find ourselves favorably disposed to the book by the touching mention of the domestic sorrow, that called it forth.
“ To the memory of my late dear Son
I dedicate the following Pages
and great acquirements
and his laudable ambition
to render himself
to his country:
when it was fondly hoped
of his honorable labors.
During the long period of deep affliction
for so great a loss
Rosse." From the circumstances suggesting the work, it might perhaps be expected, that the author would have taken only
* Lord Barrington is the author of a considerable work on “Natural and Revealed Religion,” and of another on “The Dispensations of God to Man."
+ The family of the Earl of Rosse, as appears from Brett's Peerage, is one of no inconsiderable antiquity and honor in Ireland. The author of this work, now in his seventy-fifth year, besides other publicytions of an earlier period, has distinguished himself among the political writers of the day, and still holds at his advanced ag an honorable post in the government of Ireland.
the most practical views of his subject; or have been disposed to exhibit for others, as he needed for himself, the grounds of those hopes of immortality, which are the Christian's solace in adversity. But whatever of consolation he may have derived from these, - and they are the peculiar treasure of the bereaved and sorrowful, - he has wisely sought the relief that never fails from continued intellectual employment, and has produced a work of no ordinary scheme and enterprise.
To establish the truth of the Christian religion, he goes back to the very beginning of things. He first refutes the Aristotelian hypothesis of the eternity of the world. The truth of the Mosaic account of the creation, of the formation of the sun and the other heavenly bodies, he establishes from its accordance with the modern discoveries of science, those especially of La Place, Cuvier, Humboldt, and the latest philosophers. The date of the creation he considers as established by geological and astronomical facts, some of which have been recently ascertained ; and as they could not have been known in the time of Moses, he considers their agreement with the Mosaic account as an evidence that the Jewish Lawgiver must have derived them from revelation.
The miraculous history of the Jewish people, as selected of God to preserve the knowledge of his name and the purity of his worship, is the subject of several introductory chapters. Neither our limits nor inclination allow us to refer to them, except as they are parts of a comprehensive plan, and as auxiliary to the direct testimony the author afterwards adduces in support of the Christian dispensation. And of the various evidence, by which this is sustained, his remarks are chiefly confined to that of miracles and of prophecy. These two subjects, including under the former the resurrection of Jesus as the “great miracle,” without which
" preaching were vain, and faith also vain, occupy the larger half of this volume.
The history of the miracles, somewhat more than twenty of which are considered, is judiciously given. The objections, that have been urged against a part of them, are candidly met; the incidental circumstances showing their reality, or enhancing the direct testimony, are skilfully exhibited; and on the whole, whether as a narrative of extraordinary events, or illustrative of the character of Christ, or establishing
the claims of his religion to the faith of mankind, - this part of his Lordship's work will be read, we are persuaded, with edificarion and pleasure.
The following are bis reflections on the miracle of restoring to sight the blind man of Bethsaida, who upon our Lord's first putting his hands upon bim, said, “I see men as trees walking.” In most other instances of the gospel
” miracles, their publicity and investigation on the spot by disinterested or jealous witnesses are proofs of their reality. In this, the privacy of the transaction, and the obscurity of the individual who was the subject of it, are justly adduced as evidence that there was no temptation to imposture from vanity or any more selfish consideration.
“No miracle, perhaps, could be more clear than this from the suspicion of imposture. For what was to be accomplished by it, that would compensate for the difficulties and risk of a fabrication ? It was not performed in public, in the presence of a multitude, but on the contrary, from the account we have of it, we have no reason for supposing, that any one was present at it but the disciples. Therefore, there was nothing ostentatious in it ; nothing to be obtained in the way of character and reputation. Jesus carefully avoided all display upon the occasion. He led the man out of the town in order to do it privately, and forbad him to enter the town, or to tell any person in the town. It cannot therefore, be supposed, that any one, in the character in which Jesus appeared, would. for the purpose of pretending to work such a private miracle, venture to engage in a confederacy with a man who was to counterfeit blindness. For it is obvious, that it is only by a person counterfeiting blindness, and then pretending to be cured, that a fictitious miracle of this kind would be attempted. Observe then the risk, that would be run. The person, personating blindness, might whenever he thought fit, discover the imposture, and thus bring Jesus into derision and contempt with his own followers. This would be no small risk. A wise man would scarcely incur it for the chance of any advantage so perilous, even if he were unprincipled enough to work by such means. But that any one should do so, only for a private exhibition, which could add nothing to public fame, is altogether incredible.
Besides, what means had Jesus to compensate such a coadjutor? How was he to pay him ? He had no money; he had no patronage. He had nothing that wealth and power could bestow; no, not even in the lowest degree. Is it then
credible, that a man should personate such an irksome and dismal defect for no advantage whatsoever ? And that he should act the falsifier and impostor, and pretend to be cured, without a prospect of obtaining the slightest remuneration or reward thereby? Whether, therefore, the improbability be considered, of Jesus running the risk of the man betraying him; or whether the improbability of the man's acting such a part be considered, when he had no chance of recompense,
alike incredible, that this was a fabricated case of blindness. And when, in addition to all this, it is considered how difficult, if Jesus had been an impostor, it would have been for him, without the knowledge of his disciples to form such a plot, they being constanıly with him ; how difficult again it would have been for him, even if he had so formed it, to have deceived them by pretending to cure a man who only counterfeited blindness, when they had ample time and opportunity for observing whether the disease was real or assumed; and, finally, when it is considered how absurd it would have been that all this should have been thus planned, merely for the purpose of exhibiting it in private to these disciples, and of imposing on them, nothing can well be conceived more improbable, than that this was a case of imposture. And if it was not, it must be admitted to have been a real miracle, performed by a more than human power, and that consequently his mission was divine." -pp. 266-269.
The evidence from Prophecy is another of the prominent topics of this work, and is discussed, though less fully, with adequate learning and judgment. Of the prophetic writings in general, the noble author remarks, that they present us with the most exalted ideas of the Deity, the justest notions of piety and virtue, and the most awful denunciations against wickedness in every form, public or private. “But it is,” he adds, “their peculiar use and value to us, that in them are foretold the most remarkable circumstances of the birth, life, ministry, miracles, doctrines, sufferings, and death of Jesus of Nazareth ; and that, too, in so minute and exact a manner, that it might almost be thought, that they were describing those things after they had happened, if it were not known, that these prophecies were written many hundred years before his birth, and were all that time in possession of the Jews, who were the mortal enemies of Christianity, and who, therefore, would not have forged, or suffered to be forged, or altered any passage in them to adapt it to the founder of that religion, to which they were so hostile."