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Origen," he who believes the Scriptures to have proceeded from Him who is the author of nature, may well expect to find the same sort of difficulties in it as are found in the constitution of nature.' Mystery in creation is no proof that God did not make the world; so mystery in revelation can be no proof that God did not make the Bible.

But infidels further object, saying that mysteries make the Bible inconsistent with itself; that its title is a misnomer; that that cannot be called a revelation which cannot be understood. This is an objection of ignorance. What is revelation? A discovery intelligible to all? No, but a discovery not known before. And to ask, Of what use is that which is unintelligible? is in effect to ask, Of what use is the infidel himself? of what use is grass? of what use is food?-for the infidel cannot comprehend these. When he has comprehended the mysteries of the earth on which he treads, the mysteries of the ocean on which he sails, the mysteries of the sky on which he looks, he may with some reason urge his objection,—but not till then.

But the difficulties of infidelity do not end here: they multiply as the mysteries of Christianity advance. Let us therefore proceed with our contrast, glancing at the writings, doctrines, miracles, predictions, and effects of our holy and reasonable religion.

I. Writings.-By these we mean the Old and New Testaments. That these writings are genuine and authentic, facts as wonderful as they are incontrovertible, may not be a mystery; but their inspiration is a mystery. By inspiration we mean that the sacred penmen "wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." This is evident from the contents, harmony, and sublimity of their productions; the more remarkable, if you consider that the Bible was not written in one age, or by one man, but in different ages, and by different men, some of whom were illiterate to a proverb,-for "the Sanhedrim soon perceived they were unlearned and ignorant men," and yet immeasurably surpassing the conceptions of the wisest philosophers, each adding some new fact or characteristic, and yet all combining, without exception, concert, or collusion, to form one comprehensive, consistent, unbroken whole. This led Rousseau, a celebrated infidel writer, to deliver himself as follows: "The majesty of the Scripture strikes me with admiration. Virtue never spoke in gentler terms; the profoundest wisdom was never uttered with greater energy or more simplicity. Peruse the works of our philosophers, with all their pomp of diction; how mean, how contemptible are they when compared with Scripture! Is it possible that a book at once so simple and sublime should be merely the work of man? Shall we suppose the evangelic history a mere fiction? Indeed, it bears not the marks of fiction. On the contrary, the history of Socrates, which nobody presumes to doubt, is not so well attested as that of Jesus Christ. The supposition that several persons had united to fabricate this book is more inconceivable than that one

person should have supplied the subject of it. The spirit which it breathes, the morality which it inculcates could never have been the invention of Jewish authors; and the gospel possesses characters of truth so striking, so perfectly inimitable, that the inventor would be a more astonishing character than the hero."

Now, to substantiate the truth of infidelity, its advocates must show how, without inspiration, these things could be?-how, supposing the writers of the Bible were bad men, they could have written such good things?-how, supposing they were good men, they could have written so many falsehoods?-how, supposing they were fools, they could have written so much good sense?-and how, supposing they were wise, they could have suffered, as is undeniable they did suffer, some even unto death, to propagate a lie, which could do them nor any one else any good, but both much harm?

II. Doctrines.-That there is a God-that there is a Saviour→→→ that there is sin-that there is death-that there is a resurrectionthat there is immortality, are all mysteries. To get rid of these, our opponents must establish as follows:

1. To prove there is no God, they must prove that they have ranged through infinite space, and explored this and other worlds, worlds on worlds, and been everywhere at the same time, (for how otherwise can they tell?) which would be to prove themselves God; or they must prove the eternity of matter and of spirit; effects causeless, which are downright absurdities.

2. To prove there is no Saviour, they must demonstrate either that we are innocent, while conscience accuses us guilty; or that guilty, we can save ourselves, and therefore need no Saviour; or that a Saviour, in the person of Jesus Christ, never entered our world-conclusions these which go to make the most palpable truth a lie, and the most credible history a fiction.

3. To prove there is no sin, or that depravity in man is not innate,— that it is produced by circumstances over which man has no control, and for which, consequently, man is not responsible, they must do away with the testimony of individual consciousness, confirmed by universal experience and example, to the contrary; in other words, they must show how God can hold us irresponsible to him, while we hold ourselves responsible to one another, a principle this which goes to disorganize the whole framework of society, and to overwhelm the world with the direst confusion.

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4. To prove that death is annihilation, is to prove what, discarding revelation, nobody knows; for if the sceptic asks us how do we know there is life after death? we ask him, how does he know to the contrary? If no one came to tell us, no one came to tell him. But, according to the Bible, Moses, and Lazarus, and Christ did come to tell us; and the onus lies upon him to prove that there never were such persons; or, if there were, that they did not really die; or, they really died, that no more was seen of them; and consequently, that what is represented they said is altogether untrue.

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5. To prove there is no resurrection is to subvert all analogy. The spring of life succeeds the winter of death; flies go and return; we ourselves once had no being, but that did not prevent us coming into being; here we all are, once we were not, and if that that was not is now, may it not be so again?

6. To prove there is no immortality would be to make man an enigma to himself, to blast his fairest hopes, to brutify him, to cut the cords that bind him to infinity, to turn the current of his being downwards, to reverse the whole designs and tendencies of his nature, and to make him incomparably wretched;—findings these which, thank God, never have been found, and never can.

III. Miracles.-A miracle is Divine power setting its seal to Divine revelation. But, asks the infidel, is not nature fixed? Itis; but who fixed it? If God, (for no other being could fix it,) could not he unfix, transform, or suspend its operations? Not satisfied with this, the infidel demands, "Show me a miracle, and I will believe you when you say such things have been." "Show us Alexander the Great, Julius Cæsar, Buonaparte, Voltaire, Paine, and we will believe you when you say such individuals have been." What is the infidel's rejoinder? Is it that history proves that such individuals have been? In like manner history proves that such miracles have been; and as soon may a honest man dispute the one as question the other. "The wax attached to a lease or document, on which is struck the crest of the party, is valid at the end of centu ries." So with a miracle. "O but," says the infidel, "there have been false miracles." Does that prove there have been no true miracles? Then, because there have been bad shillings, there never were any good shillings; because there have been forged notes, there never were any real notes. The very fact that there have been false miracles proves that there must have been sometimes true miracles; for forgery always follows reality. False miracles had been worthless if true miracles had not been of some value. To set aside the evidence of miracles, infidels must prove either that there never were any miracles, or that the spectators of things called miracles were duped, and consequently that the parties who performed such things deceived. If the former, then the most credible testimony is incredible: if the latter, then bad men opposed their own cause; for the miracles wrought were good, not evil; and "if Satan cast out Satan, how can his kingdom stand?"

IV. Predictions. Our space admits only of the specification of a few. It was predicted that Babylon, and Nineveh, and Egypt, and Jerusalem should be spoiled. Are they not spoiled? Ask the modern traveller, and he will tell you. Babylon is a mass of ruins; Nineveh is no more; Egypt lies waste; Jerusalem is overthrown. It was predicted of the Asiatic churches that some should be threatened with severe tribulation, and others with utter extinction; and awfully have the words of Him that liveth and was dead been verified. In Smyrna the light is burning dimly. A feeble remnant

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worship in Pergamos and Thyatira. Philadelphia is still erect, column in a scene of ruins." Ephesus has perished. Sardis has perished. Proud, lukewarm Laodicea has been desolated by the plague and the earthquake. It was predicted that the Jews should become a scattered people, and a byword in all kingdoms. Are they not so? When a person is deceived, is it not said he is "Jew'd?" To disannul the evidence of prophecy, sceptics must show how the writers of the Bible, not being inspired, could prognosticate these events? The results unquestionably prove them true prophets. Can they be both false and true?

V. Effects.-Witnesses may lie, but effects cannot. What are the effects of Christianity? Opposed at every point to depraved human nature-using not a word of conciliation-stooping to no error, or passion, or custom-striking at the root of what was everywhere called glory-its poor, homeless Founder slaughtered in the very attempt to establish it-its first followers, poor, friendless, without eloquence, without power, preaching a doctrine which offended alike the Jew and the Gentile, no better treated in the end—and yet succeeding on every hand; idols fallen, temples demolished, oracles struck dumb, ancient habits changed, going on conquering and to conquer, repelling every temptation, surviving every attack, outliving every rival system, and, after centuries of contumely and of conflict, extending still, converting the barbarian, the Scythian, the bond and the free, the black and the white, the peer and the peasant, the monarch and the slave, elevating all, comforting all, saving all, in sickness and health, in prosperity and adversity, in life and death,-could a lie have done all this? With all the emphasis which strong conviction can give to emphatic language, will not the infidel himself answer, No? Bingley.

W. ATHERTON.

FAITH'S PLEA FOR PARDON.

"For thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great."

I. THERE is nothing that a spiritual | genuine faith, whether weak or strong,

Christian feels more solicitous about than the removal of guilt; while sin remains unpardoned, nothing can prosper in his soul. The intercourse between him and his God is then interrupted. Grace is like a withered flower; his peace is broken, and his heart grows hard and insensible. Carnal minds labour to conceal and diminish sin by laying the blame upon others and excusing themselves; but

looks this great evil in the face, makes no attempts to disguise the fact, or extenuate the guilt, but makes a free and full confession before God, and flees to his gracious name for pardon-the great name proclaimed by himself: "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin." This name, as revealed in Christ, (our Pro

worlds: the source and supply of all natural and spiritual happiness to all his creatures, whether visible or invisible.

2. The evil of sin appears great in

pitiation and Advocate,) is to the believer a strong tower. Here he is acquitted from guilt, by faith in his blood; absolved from his great transgressions, and delivered from the curse! of the law, and from the wrath to the strenuous opposition it makes to God's come. Sinners, when soliciting the for-purpose of grace, and offers of mercy to giveness of each other, found their plea reclaim fallen man.-What can be so upon the smallness of the offence, using great, so benevolent, as the gospel every mitigating circumstance to make method of grace and salvation? This it appear as little as possible. But is sent openly from God as a gracious faith in the atonement is not under proclamation to the prisoners of sin such necessity; it places the great and Satan to go forth from their prisonname of God in Christ, as the God of house. What has hindered this word salvation, against the great offence and of salvation from reaching all such in malignity of sin, and with humble bold- every kingdom of the earth? What ness pleads for pardon. Every sin is has hindered those at home, who have great, being a just offence against the heard this truth from the cradle to the great God, and transgression of his grave, from believing it? What has holy law; yet there are degrees in sin. driven this light away from many king. There is a great difference between doms and people who once possessed actual presumptuous sins, whereby God it ? What encourages the outlay of is publicly set at defiance, and inward vast treasure and talent, to propagate sins of infirmity, which imprison the falsehood and error, in order to pervert believer's heart, and hinder his more it? The answer to all must be the vigorous growth in holiness. We have same. The enmity of the human heart now to consider the great evil of pre-against God and holiness, is the cause sumptuous sin, and the still greater of all this indifferency, apathy, and goodness of God's name through which opposition. this evil is pardoned and removed.

1. The great evil of sin appears in its rebellion against God.-It opposes his nature and his authority, and aims to cast him down from his throne; yea, it attempts to deny his existence: "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God;" or if there is, "He seeth not the Lord hath forsaken the earth." That thing which thus aims the destruction of the greatest good, must be the greatest evil. God is not only infinitely and eter ally good in himself, but also the fountain of superabundant goodness that flows continually in millions of pure streams to supply all

3. The evil of sin appears great in what it has done to men personally.It has destroyed his moral dignity and spiritual beauty. Man, when first made, was the finest specimen of God's creative power, wisdom, and intelligence. Intended as a middle link between the spiritual and animal creations, he was endowed with noble faculties suitable to both, made in the image of God, and constituted his representative on earth; having power over all the other creatures and perfectly happy in the fellowship of God. But sin degraded him, cast the crown from his head, destroyed his allegiance to heaven, removed all

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