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Mr. F. ought to have stated the argument. There is nothing which does so much harm to Revelation, as by overcolouring the evidences of its truth. The next argument is physiological, arising from the existing phenomena of the globe, and here we have no particular objections to offer. But we do not think so well of his remaining proofs,-first from the progress of civilization, for instance he attempts to shew, that there could be no civilization, but what came originally from the East, and then he jumps to this strange extreme "ergo-the population of the world is comparatively recent."-P. 67.
All this we certainly believe; but we do not believe it from the reasonings and arguments of Mr. Faber; nor do we attach more importance to the subsequent reasonings of this section; which we think too frail to leave any impression either on believers or unbelievers.
The fourth section contains, "The Difficulties attendant on Deistical Infidelity, in regard to actually accomplished Prophecy." The prediction which Mr. Faber selects on the part of the Bible, is that of Moses, respecting the future destinies and fortunes of the Jews, which he rather whimsically contrasts with a supposed prediction of Seneca, in his Medea, about the future discovery of America. We think that such comparisons, are by no means calculated to support the dignity of Scripture, nor to remove the objections of unbelievers. Mr. Faber supposes that the knowledge of the existence of America was not unknown to the ancients; but if so, Seneca would not have spoken of it as a discovery reserved for future times:
Secula seris, quibus Oceanis
In the fifth section we are presented with "The Difficulties attendant on Deistical Infidelity, in regard to the Facts and Circumstances, and Character of the Christian Dispensation.' We consider this as by far the best part of the work; and it really contains some striking observations. Mr. Faber first con siders the present existence of Christianity as a naked fact, for which the unbeliever must account; he then leaves him to the dilemma, that Christ was either an impostor or an enthusiast; and afterwards considers the conduct of the apostles and first preachers of Christianity. The remarks on the resurrection, and the character of St. Paul, which terminate this section, are well deserving the reader's serious attention. In the sixth section, Gibbon's five natural reasons or causes for the rapid
diffusion of the Gospel, are briefly reviewed and refuted; but we do not think with the same force and clearness as in the celebrated Apology of Bishop Watson. We think there is too much of pertness displayed in the language of Mr. Faber, and that without rivalling the brilliancy of the Roman historian, he is not much behind him in his sarcastic asperity. The remainder of this section is devoted to the consideration of the miraculous powers of the primitive church, and to the confutation of Hume's arguments against miracles. It could hardly be expected that any thing new could be offered on subjects which have employed the talents of our ablest divines; but there is so much good sense compressed in the concluding portion of this section, that we shall present our readers with it, as a specimen of the better style and manner of the work.
"If certain miracles were performed, which cannot be accounted for save by the direct intervention of heaven, he, who performed them must have been a true prophet: but, if he were a true prophet, then all his other miracles, which we might haply have accounted for on the score of collusion, must have been genuine miracles; for it is at once absurd and superfluous to imagine, that he, who in some cases was empowered to work real miracles, should in other cases descend to a base and in fact an unnecessary collusion.
"The miracles, which I shall select to exemplify this position, are, the feeding of multitudes with food wholly inadequate to their numbers, and the sudden acquisition of various languages by men who were previously altogether illiterate.
"On two several occasions, each time in the neighbourhood of the lake of Tiberias, did Christ perform the first of these miracles. First, he fed five thousand men, beside women and children, with five loaves and two fishes: and, when the whole multitude had eaten to satiety, there remained of the fragments twelve baskets full. Next, he fed four thousand men, beside women and children, with seven loaves and a few little fishes: and, on this occasion, seven baskets full were left of the broken meat, when all had eaten and had been satisfied.
"Here, I maintain, there was no room either for collusion or deception. Two vast multitudes of both sexes and all ages, accidentally collected together, could not all have been confederates: and, as for any collusion on the part of the disciples alone, the thing was palpably impossible. Food, naturally sufficient for five thousand men only, women and children being excluded, at the rate of a pound weight to each man, would considerably exceed two tons. To convey this food to the place, where the multitude was assembled, would at the least require two stout carts. But these carts could not be brought unseen to the place of meeting: and, if the people had merely seen the disciples. serving them with food from the carts (which they clearly must have done, had such an action ever really taken place); nothing could have persuaded them, that a miracle had been wrought, and that they had all been fed from only five loaves and two fishes which some one happened to have brought with him in a wallet. Collusion, therefore, in
the present instance is manifestly impossible. Equally impossible also is deception. No sleight of hand, no dexterity of juggling, could convince a fasting multitude, that they had all eaten and were satisfied. Hunger would be too potent for imposture. Not a single man, woman, or child, would be persuaded, that they had eaten a hearty meal; if, all the while, they had received no sustenance.
"The same remark applies to the sudden acquisition of languages by the apostles, on the day of Pentecost. They had assembled together, it seems, with one accord, in one place: when there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty rushing wind; and cloven tongues, like as of fire, sat upon each of them. The consequence was, that they were instantaneously endowed with the power of speaking languages which were previously unknown to them*.
"This was the miracle: and here again, as in the former case, there was no room either for collusion or deception. No juggling confederacy could enable men to speak suddenly a great variety of languages, with which they had previously been unacquainted: nor could any deception be practised upon those, who heard them speak. Jews and proselytes, from many different parts of the world, were then assembled at Jerusalem; to each of whom was obviously familiar the language of the country, where he ordinarily resided. When a man addressed them, they would severally know, whether he spoke in their native tongue or not. A Roman Jew, or proselyte, could not be ignorant, whether what he heard was Latin: nor could any argument convince a Cretan Jew or proselyte, that an apostle, though speaking his native Syriac, was yet all the while uttering Greek. Deception was plainly quite out of the question. A Phrygian Jew might rashly fancy, that the men were full of new wine and were mere unintelligible babblers, so long as he heard any of them addressing the Roman strangers in Latin; and the same opinion might be hastily taken up by a Cretan Jew, if listening to an apostle as he spoke to a Mede or an Elamite in their respective tongues. But, when each heard himself addressed in his own language by this apostle or by that apostle; he could have no doubt as to the language which was employed. He must know, whether he heard his own tongue, or whether he did not hear it. However the faculty might have been attained, he could not but see that it was actually possessed. The fact, presented to the general attention of all Jerusalem, was this. Twelve illiterate Jews, most of them Galilèan fishermen unacquainted with any language but their own, are suddenly enabled to address the various strangers then assembled at the feast of Pentecost, each in his own national dialect. That any trick should have been practised, is impossible; that any groundless pretence should have been made, is equally impossible. The strangers understand them; and declare, that they severally hear themselves addressed in their own languages: yet it is notorious, that these Galileans but yesterday knew no tongue, save the Hebrew-Syriac. How is the fact to be accounted for? Magic, we know, was the ordinary solution of such difficulties on the part of the Jews and the pagans: for, as to
Acts ii. 1-4.
miraculous facts, they denied not their occurrence. But it will be doubted in the present day, whether magic could enable an ignorant Galilean suddenly to speak Greek and Latin. Admit only the reality of the occurrence, and its proper miraculousness follows as a thing of course. The matter plainly cannot be accounted for without a miracle. Now, for the reality of the occurrence, both the Jews and the pagans are our vouchers: nor is this all; in truth, the history cannot proceed without it. We find these ignorant Galileans travelling to various parts of the world, both within and without the Roman empire. Whereever they go, without the least difficulty or hesitation they address the natives in their own languages. The natives understand them: and, through their preaching, Christianity spreads in every direction with astonishing rapidity. How could this be, if the men knew no tongue save the Syriac? Or, if they knew various other tongues, how did they acquire their knowledge? How came John and James and Peter and Jude to write in Greek, when we are quite sure that originally they could have been acquainted only with a dialect of Hebrew? Tỏ deny the miracle involves greater difficulties, than to admit it: to believe, that ignorant Galilèan fishermen could preach successfully tỏ foreigners, evinces more credulity, than to believe, that they were miraculously enabled to do what we positively know they must have done." P. 239.
The seventh section is occupied with an account of" The Difficulties attendant on Deistical Infidelity, in regard to the Internal Evidence of Christianity." For the reasons we have already stated, we think that Mr. Faber is not the best or most powerful reasoner on this subject; and the rashness and rapidity with which his reasonings are conducted, are strongly exemplified in the following paragraph.
"What then is the result of the preceding comparison, which has been instituted, between Christianity on the one hand, and certain acknowledged impostures on the other hand? The result is this.
"If the characteristics of those impostures form the internal evidence, that they are indeed nothing better than base and interested fabrications; then the characteristics of Christianity, being of a directly opposite description, must needs form a strong internal evidence, that it is in truth a religion sent down from God: and, by parity of reasoning, the more forcibly one set of characteristics evince imposture; the more forcibly also must the other set of characteristics evince genuineness. For direct opposites cannot bring out the same conclusion. Whence, if the characteristics of Paganism and Mohammedism bring out the conclusion of fraud, the opposite characteristics of Christianity cannot but bring out the opposite conclusion of truth. The infidel, however, has persuaded himself, that direct opposites may bring out the same conclusion; for he deems Paganism, Mohammedism, and Christianity, to be alike impostures. Can he be acquitted of illogical reasoning and blind credulity?" P. 167.
The last section forms a recapitulation of the argument, which,
we think, might have been as well spared; because it is so much better analyzed in the Table of Contents.
Having thus given our readers a general account of Mr. Faber's work, we are anxious that we should not be misunderstood in our opinions respecting it. As a mere essay, written to obtain a prize, we think it has its merits; but as a work intended for public use, on the evidences of Christianity, we fear that it is calculated to do little, if any service. The galloping dispatch with which arguments are stated, and objections answered, can seldom leave any favourable impression on the mind of an unbeliever; and the tartness with which he is always treated, is too apt to engender fresh opposition on his part. We know not, indeed, exactly, how Mr. Faber could have become a candidate for a prize proposed by "the Diocesan Church Union Society" of the Diocese of St. David's. We think that it would have been more appropriate to have left it to the younger clergy of that diocese. With all our respect for the motives which have led to the establishment of that Society, we think that it would become more useful, by confining its operations to the Principality; and that if a little more judgment were shewn in the selection of the subjects proposed for discussion, it would reflect no discredit on those who are concerned in its management. We allude particularly to a subject not many years ago proposed by this Society, "On the Marks of Regeneration in Ministers," than which we think a more mischievous and injudicious choice could not have been made by the bitterest enemies of our Establishment.
Correspondence between the Clergy of the Parish of Birstall, and certain Persons concerned in promoting in that place, a Bible Society, with a few Remarks. Addressed to the Inhahitants of that Parish, by the said Clergy. 8vo. pp. 26. Baynes and Son. 1824.
In presenting this "Correspondence" to the notice of our readers, we would first call their attention to the following communication, by which it was brought under our view, and which will perhaps open the subject of it more fully than any prefatory observations of our own.
"The small pamphlet handed to you with this note, contains some documents which may not be unsuitable for a page in your useful Miscellany. Every sound member of the Church of England and Ireland will rejoice in the spread of the Bible. But the Bible may be spread, as well as the peculiar doctrines of it preached of envy and strife.'-It will not probably be many months, before the notion that the Clergy of this country and dissenting teachers may be brought to a state of harmony in sentiment and feeling, by means of a Bible Society, will be practically