Imágenes de páginas

This is yrses பர்மாவா 2nd Nari G, *****, ** 8X9,* WA WI W Tamb *** ******* es,

ut ruri i separate Is there tørx, tu sme pre tie ute of God *** ***, 022»» purzy from rezistans, with the wina whitn 2 drawn from other sources of te romhain o komunize. Xrstwithstanding tot water errent ad amiliar style in which we talk of external and internal evidences for the truth of revelatum, as if we perfectly understood what we were saying, there is a real difficulty in tracing the proxime line of demarcation between them.

%. But we are not bound to task ourselves with the labour of bringing about an adjustment between the real state of the case on the one hand, and the arbitrary names or distinctions which our predeceswors may have devised in the work of investigating it. Yet, in vindication of the title which we have prefixed to this book, it will be necessary to explain in what sense the various matters discussed in it should be brought within the department of the internal evidences. They all agree in this, that they have respect to the subject-matter of the Bible; but to a great deal more regarding this subject-matter, than to the consistency of its various parts with each other. Beside this, we found an argument on the consistency of that which is within the record, with that which is external to the record of which last, however, it is necessary that we should have the distinct and independent knowledge. There may be a perfect consistency between what the Bible tells us of angels, and what

objectively or externally true in regard to them. But we have no independent knowledge of this order of beings, and can found no evidence therefore on this information of the Bible—to which our only access is through the pages of the Bible itself. Whenever an evidence is founded on the harmony which obtains, between the depositions of scripture respecting certain things and the actual state of these things, we must have other means by which we know of these things than scripture itself; and so the argument is made to rest on the coincidence which obtains between the statements of the Bible, and what we know of the truth of these statements from other sources. Yet one of these sources must be excepted, else we shall lose the distinction between the internal and the external evidences. The Bible announces to us its own miracles, beside furnishing us with certain traces both of its own antiquity, and of the authors by whom it was penned. Its testimony in these matters is corroborated by the testimony of other and ex-scriptural authors; and the strength of this latter testimony forms the main strength of the external evidence for the truth of the christian revelation. exclude this, and there remains an internal evidence

- a great part of which is grounded, like the external, on a comparison between what we learn in the Bible, and what we know apart from the Bible; yet distinguished from the external, in that the knowledge is ours through another medium than the testimony of authors, deponing historically, either to the antiquity and genuineness and reception of the Bible, or to those miracles which constitute the first and most palpable vouchers for its authority.

Let us

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

A * , 1.4 tuman 2 1941 1 - 03.1) of , Vivre we u avail ourselves A4 1.4191ua bere battuen the truths of in***as nu tine inirmatum, we should of wil tharyument which is founded on the harmony het win writure and the former class of truths, that it belongs to the department of the internal

whereas when founded on the harmony between scripture and the latter class of truths, it belongs to the department of the external evidences. Yet such is the difficulty of framing an unexceptionable definition on this subject, that, on the one hand, the agreement between the subject-matter of the Bible and the informations of Josephus and other Jewishi or profane authors, is referred to the head of the internal evidences; and on the other hand, though a stronger argument for the miracles of the

Tomtament may be gathered, as we have litly endeavoured to show, from within than from without the canon, from the original testimony of scriptural than from the subsequent testimony of ex-scriptural writers--yet is the whole of this argument referred to the department of the external evidences.

4. But whether we succeed or not in this work of classification, it does not affect the substantive reality and strength of the various branches of evidence, however they may have been grouped when we view them separately. There is however one general remark applicable to almost all the evidence for Christianity, and which we are unwilling to pass over. It is well known that the defenders of Christianity have often been led to certain walks of argument and investigation, on which they might not otherwise have entered by some hostile assault or other of the enemies of the faith. When a combatant has pointed the finger of scorn to some alleged weakness; some vulnerable · quarter, whether in the outworks or in the substance itself of Christianity—it has often ended with the counter-demonstration of a strength in that very quarter, of which neither the church nor the public had any conception before. The objection of adversaries first drew to it the attention of friends; and they have achieved a great deal more than simply displaced the objection. They have built up a strong affirmative evidence in its room. They have not been content with the overthrow of that hostile argument which first led them to the ground, and there set them on some specific walk of reasoning or of inquiry. They have generally chosen to prosecute that walk further; and the fruit has been,

wna duten muu warst tik pertaniar infšeits watabas roky na to temat, but a great pasti se snazet gran it. The ai diprooi bantuan tind insta a san against teľacivertary; and, where we at one time in the battles of the faith wire wdro kok at a breach, an opening or place of expure there we now behold the firment of its bulwarks. Such for example we farver ourwelves to be the effect of Hume's peculiar weptiisis on the subject of testimony, when the right treatment is bestowed on it. A great positive gain redounds to the Christian argument, if it have been proved, not only that there is enough of that bent and highest testimony which neutralizes the improbability of a miracle—but as much more of it as creates a vast overplus of evidence in favour of the gospel miracles, and brings them down to posterity ais far the best authenticated facts which . have been transmitted to us in the history of ancient times. The same has been the upshot of the controversy, first provoked by infidels, on the alleged discrepancies between one part of scripture and another. The defenders of the faith have not only adjusted these; but they have made a more strenuous inquisition than was necessary for this service alone; and the result is that, beneath the surface of general observation, they have discovered such a number of before unobserved harmonies such minute and till then unnoticed coincidences, that no impostor could ever have devised, or, if he had, then, to serve his own purpose, he would have placed them re openly in the view of all men—such an artless

iously undesigned correspondence, in many

« AnteriorContinuar »