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BOOK III.

ON THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF
CHRISTIANITY.

CHAP. I.

Oh the Consistency of Scripture with itself and with contemporary Authorship.

1. It is not at all times possible to obtain a precise adjustment between the actual state of things in nature, and the definitions of our own artificial philosophy. There are often certain rebellious and intractable phenomena, which do not fully and properly belong either to one division or another; and, just from the impossibility of an exact classification, we fail in our attempts, completely to accommodate our schemes of universal science to the scheme of the existent universe. The line of demarcation between cognate subjects and cognate sciences, is often obscured by things of a common or ambiguous character, which partially belong to each, but fully belong to neither. Thus, for example, there are certain anomalies which serve to obliterate somewhat the distinction between the animal and the vegetable kingdom. Thus too, there is a midway—a debateable ground between the sciences of chemistry and natural philosophy. There are many other instances which might be specified—all serving to show that it is not by au immediate transition that we pass from one branch of philosophy to another. There is what painters would call a shading off between them. They do not pass instanter into each other by lines, the mathematical definition of which is length without breadth. But they melt into each other by stripes or margins of separation, across which intermediate boundary, the colour or character of the one region gradually dies away, till it fully emerges into the distinct colour and character of the other region.

2. What has suggested these observations is, that, in attempting to distinguish the internal from the external evidences of Christianity, we perceive the same sort of hazy undefined border between them, that there is between so many of the other contiguous provinces of human thought. The two kinds of evidence, in fact, run very much into each other. If it be meant of the external evidences for the truth of the Bible, that they are such as are gathered from places without the book, and of the internal that they are gathered from places within the book, it will be found of its largest and strongest evidence, that it comes not properly or fully under either the one head or the other. We scarcely know of any evidence purely external, but that which lies in the testimonies of writers not scriptural, to the existence and the authority and the early date and the reputed writers of scripture. ^pd we scarcely know of any evidence purely in^4, but that which is founded on the consistency of scripture with itself, on the characteristics of honesty which may be more or less obviously discerned in it, and perhaps on the pure and right morality whether of its sentiments or precepts. It will be found of most other evidence that, instead of being drawn exclusively from either that which is without or that which is within the Bible, it is in fact elicited by the comparison of the one with the other. In estimating the force of the argument, for example, founded on the references of the early fathers to scripture, and even on their testimonies to the miracles which are recorded there, there is the comparison of that which is said out of the Bible, with that which is said in it; and the mind must have respect to the contents of the book, when attending to the credentials by which they are thus verified. Again, when a credibility is founded on the accordance which there is between the Bible and history, in those numerous allusions which it makes to the state and customs and various circumstances of the age in which it was written— this too, though perhaps commonly ranking as an internal evidence, pre-supposes a comparison between that which is within and that which is without the record. Even that credibility so commonly spoken of as internal, which is drawn from the accordance of Bible statements with the felt state of man and of all his moral and spiritual necessities, rests on the comparison of the scriptural with the ex-scriptural—of that which is graven on the tablet of revelation, with that which is graven on the tablet of the human heart. The evidence too that lies in the suitable representations which A 2

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