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the inconclusiveness of the arguments in favour of Christianity, the want of learning in its advocates; but this author fairly lays aside every pretence of the kind, and tells us that no evidence, no learning, and no power of reasoning, will ever be sufficient to convince him, inasmuch as his first principle is, that the alleged facts of Christianity are matters of impossibility. He does not pretend that his unbelief is the result of long and painful investigation, but admits that his rejection of the gospel is the result of his previous unbelief,—a confession that will help us to appreciate the impartiality with which his inquiry was conducted. His argument from the principle that miracles are contrary to experience has, in part, been advanced and answered long since, but as the application of it is somewhat novel, and as it is, in fact, the great essential difference between unbelief and faith, and the true source of all objections against revealed religion, it may

be well to show that in its new application also it is false. The first great and obvious objection to it is, that, when fully carried out, it puts an end to all religion, natural as well as revealed, deprives even the Almighty of free agency, and represents all creation as under the control of a blind and irresistible fate. When this author says that immediate divine interposition is contrary to philosophy and experience, he means to say that it is impossible, for if he admit the possibility his argument is inconclusive. What the Creator can do he may do,

and it is only a revelation that can assure us that he will not do it. It is only an impossibility, therefore, which must be necessarily fabulous. But if it be admitted that it is impossible for God himself to interrupt or suspend the chain of cause and effect, then is that chain necessary, and God himself is subordinate to that necessity, and if the Creator himself, how much more the weak and fleeting beings of an hour which inhabit this earth. If Omnipotence cannot burst the chain of fate, nor assert its liberty, it is certain that man must be a mere machine, whose thoughts and actions, love and hatred, hopes and fears, are altogether involuntary, the necessary effects of invincible and immutable causes, and consequently neither good nor bad, entitled to no reward, and exposed to no retribution. If whatsoever is contrary to experience is to be regarded as impossible, then a life after death and a judgment to come are amongst the things to be rejected by all living, and thus whether we look to the supposed adamantine chain of cause and effect, or to the given limits of experience, every system of religion that includes a hope of God's approbation, or a fear of his displeasure, is a fiction. The philosophy which this author professes teaches us that there is nothing to hope and nothing to fear, or that if there be, all attempt to avoid the one or to attain the other is useless, for that the whole creation, and the individuals of which it is composed, whether rational or irrational, animate or inanimate, are hurried on by an irreversible destiny, which the Almighty himself cannot stay, control, nor resist. Consequences so terrific might induce us to hesitate before we adopt the system from which they naturally flow; a little reflection will serve to convince us that it is false, and ought therefore to be rejected. The principle laid down not only takes for granted the matter in dispute, but is manifestly untrue. It is not even necessary to show that its plausibility rests altogether upon the ambiguity of the word experience—that when it is asserted that divine interposition is contrary to experience, the proposition obtains assentin one sense, that is, as referring to a portion of human experience, and is argued upon in another, that is, as referring to the universal experience of all created things: it is no difficult matter to show that it contains a plain and palpable falsehood. All creation and every part of it testify that this world is the result of design. No sound philosopher will believe that the frame of man or the system of the universe is the effect of anything else but of infinite wisdom, deliberately designing and freely executing its designs -if so, then is creation itself an example of direct and immediate divine interposition. Either we must admit that the creation is eternal, or that once it had no existence—that its laws had no operation, and that the divine Being, by an act of stupendous and immediate interposition, called them into Being. If the world and the things in the

world had a beginning, then the experience of the world, authenticated by the testimony of every created thing in heaven and upon earth, teaches us that divine interposition is a matter of fact and of history. But it is not merely the creation, the history of this change which this our earth has undergone proves that the principle on which the gospel history is rejected is contrary to fact. If whatsoever is contrary to experience is to be rejected, then that the human race had a beginning is also to be considered as a legend. That individuals of the human race should be produced except according to fixed, and so far as we know, universal laws of nature, is contrary to experience; therefore that they ever were produced in any other way is a fable—that is, the race of man is eternal. Such is the inevitable consequence from the principle laid down, and yet the discoveries of modern science compel the sceptic who would reject the Bible doctrine of the origin of the human race to admit that man has necessarily had a beginning, for that the state of this earth was such a few thousand years ago as to render its habitation by man impossible. Individuals of the human race, therefore, were once produced in some way contrary to the uniform experience of all mankind, and therefore the principle that whatever is contrary to our experience is legendary, is necessarily false. The fact, however, of the origin of man a few thousand years ago, gives us also another instance of direct divine

interposition. Before his creation, the sceptic will admit that the world was once fit only for the dwelling-place of fierce and gigantic animals—the chain of finite causalities, therefore, at that time, necessarily tended to the continuance of that state of things, and the experience of the infidel, if he could have been numbered amongst the then inhabitants of the world, would have been, that man's habitation on and dominion over the earth was impossible. But the Almighty burst the chain. An act of immediate divine interposition terminated the operation of the then existing causes, and produced an entire new state of things—man was created not according to any laws of nature known then nor now, not according to any experience of the present or the past, but by an act of the Almighty. The revolutions, therefore, which this earth has undergone, directly contradict that principle which would make the experience of any one period of the earth's existence the rule whereby to judge either of the past or the future, and as directly testify that those sources of information which scientific men regard as authentic, demonstrate that the Almighty has more than once interrupted the chain of second causes, and directly interfered with the course of the world and the laws of nature, and that on a scale the most stupendous and magnificent;-and reason and philosophy conclude that what has once been may

be again, and that therefore the principle on which the facts of revealed religion are rejected,

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