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tween God, and irrational creatures, she feels herself commissioned by the whole collection of beings to pay their debt of gratitude and love to the common Creator. Without her all nature is mute; and through her, whatever exists, proclaims the glory of its Author.” Thus, were reason to become silent, nothing would be heard through the universe but the yell of the passions, exciting on all sides senseless tumult and desolating confusion. The blessings of law are the dictates of reason; and “ of law,” says Hooker, “there can be no less acknowledged, than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the universe: all things in heaven and earth do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power."* From reason proceed the knowledge of the sciences, the sensibility to the beauties of nature and of art, and the charms of social life. The wonders of the Almighty have been proclaimed by reason, and the conviction of revealed truth is derived from her; she is continually calling us back to God and ourselves, inculcating the love of virtue, and the beatifying relish for Christian philosophy. Wherever the language of reason is not heard, there the order of creation must be necessarily disturbed. “I, wisdom,” says Solomon "dwell with prudence.”+ Reason is rarely the companion of a fierce and irritable mind. The explosion of a fire-work excites astonishment only for a moment; but reason was designed by its almighty Author, to contribute, like the steady fires which warm our apartments, to a thousand relative wants and comforts of life. Neither climate, nor education, are the parents of reason, as cer. tain lovers of paradoxes have pretended, the whole aim of whose declamations and writings is the establishment of singular or original opinions; though it cannot be denied, that the temperature of the atmosphere, and the cultivation of the mind, contribute very materially to expand or narrow the progress of the judgment. In this case, it is with reason as with our eyes: these possess at all times the powers of vision, but can exert them only in proportion to the degree of light which affects them. Thus the savage, as well as the philosopher, is endowed with the faculty of thinking; and if we do not exert it in an equal degree, it is because ignorance and barbarism have obscured its operations.
Vain, then, would be the attempt to stifle the inward voice of reason, which may be styled the organ of God himself: never would it cease to remonstrate, amidst all our passions, and prejudices, that we have been created for reflection, for discrimination, and for soaring up to the source of all existence. Reason would be nothing better than a transient instinct, unless it open to us at the term of our mortality, that unlimited career of being, which is alone commensurate to our souls, their longings, and their acquirements.
This is the grand and magnificent spectacle, which should fix our attention, and make us disregard the wretched trammels of this earthly body in which we are entangled.' For let our strength of intellect, or flights of fancy, be what they may, we shall be no more than stammering infants, if eternity, that perspective traced by the Deity himself, should be hidden from our eyes. Those prodigies of human genius, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and Tully, are chiefly entitled to the veneration of posterity, for having broken through the gloom which surrounded their cotemporaries, in search of a glimpse of that indefectible light, of which the sun itself can be scarcely deemed the shadow: who could have ima. gined, that the clouds, which began to disappear before those luminous minds, would again be invited in our day, to hover over the horizon of reason with tenfold obscurity? Although enlightened infallibly by a ray from Heaven, this noble faculty retains its language and its rights among a few wise mortals only, who generally pass for driveling enthusiasts. Men are seriously labouring to divest themselves of their spirituality, to descend to the level of mere animal nature, and affect to be surprised, if a doubt or regret be uttered at such a degrading metamorphosis: nay more, enthusiasm becomes a louder watchword, as soon as reason begins to expose these delusions, and call us back to God in whom we exist and live. But her voice will never cease to be heard,--no stormy passions can efface the image of the Eternal.
Reason will continue to tell us, if we choose to hear her, that truly wonderful is the beginning of our existence, and that every contemplation on this mysterious subject, must necessarily carry us back through all the generations that are past, to some original parent, who could not create himself, and of course, must be the work of some eternal, unlimited, and almighty power, whose will creates, extends and multiplies all things. Reason will continue to tell us, that thought being altogether of a spiritual nature, bears no affinity to the lymph or blood that circulates in our veins, and without any other vehicle than the memory and imagination, can range uncontrolled through all the regions of space. It will tell us, that, agitated with desires, which find no rest here below, we seek without even a conscious knowledge of their tendencies, the supreme and only term of excellency and happiness, the centre of whatever moves and breathes. It will tell us, that thrown upon this globe for a few years or days, our chief business should be to secure the inconceivable recompense which is promised to virtuous sentiments and exertion. It will tell us, that nothing can ennoble the nature of man but a meek, and patient, and generous frame of mind; and that the man who is wise enough to live within himself, is far more dignified and happy, than he who is ever aiming to extend his fame, and thus to live by the fleeting breath of perishing fellow mortals. It will tell us, that truth, being the object of universal inquiry and estimation, must necessarily exist, and can be found exclusively unmixed with errour in the bosom of Chris
tianity, the only sublime, and holy, and consistent religion. In a word, reason will tell us, that man only acts a rational part, when he honours his Creator, and that he can do this only by worshiping him in the manner which he has prescribed. These are the answers which reason will always make to those who consult her, instead of listening to the language of flesh and blood; which, all material as they are, have a language of their own, often too powerful for the heart. It is this portion of our nature, which maintains the sway of the passions, making us a prey to dangerous, and often criminal sensations: it triumphs over the shattered powers of our souls; it substitutes the pleasures of sense, to those of reason; in secret whispers it presumes frequently to insinuate that it constitutes our final happiness, and that neither our persons, nor consciousness, survives its extinction. Thus readily do our hearts become engrossed by the accommodations and luxuries of life; they appear the only needful blessings, and poverty, nay mediocrity, is regarded as the greatest of evils. Unfortunately, reason is compelled to sustain the constant attacks of our animal nature, and they only listen to her voice, who have courage sufficient to set at defiance the tyranny of fashionable opinions, and that of the senses. With great reason therefore, does the gospel enjoin a continual guard and vigilance over our animal propensities; and tells . us, that our greatest fear should be not of those who can destroy our bodies; and for the same purpose the apostle deems it highly important to inform us, that he “ kept under his body and brought it into subjection."* The false and pernicious system of materialism derives its credit and support from that portion of our nature, which is constantly harassing us with its wants. Controlled by our feelings rather than by our perceptions, we are too prone to regard ourselves as mere earthly substances, unless by an effort worthy of our immortality, we shake off the degrading dust, and soar into the sublime regions of depurated ideas. There is a sanctuary in the bosom of our reason, where God himself resides, and delivers the oracles of his wisdom. Those inspirations, which we neglect, those compunctious visitations jof conscience which we stifie, those desires which we pervert, are nothing less than the echos of his voice: they are the communications of his will, the immutable economy of his law, which commands us to know ourselves, and to spiritualize all our faculties. To do this, no effort of enthusiasm, no quietism is required: it is merely the spring of an immortal substance conscious of its native energies, loosening its earthly ties, and soaring naturally to its source. Thus the silkworm divested of its unseemly integuments, expands its wings, and rises from the earth: thus the sluggish pool, after being lashed by the tempest, becomes pure and limpid. Were we fully sensible of the value of the operations of reason, were we convinced
that her voice is the interpreter of the most High, and the organ of his will, we should be more anxious to hear and obey her dictates, and to cherish this feature of the divinity in our nature. It is by reason, that man becomes in a great degree the sovereign of the earth: reason brings him acquainted with his Creator, and with himself; enables him to distinguish between good and evil; confers on him powers to calculate, combine, and measure all quantities, bodies, and distances; and begets a feeling conviction of his immortal destination. Man, therefore, by abusing his reason, must degrade his nature; and this is so evident, that even the weakest minds dread above all things the imputation of unreasonableness: and yet, it is assuredly from the abuse of reason that the mistakes both of the head and the heart proceed. Man, from his very birth, is a prey to prejudice, mistaking for genuine light the glimmerings of fancy. The Egyptians were acquainted with many sublime sciences, yet they worshiped as many gods as they had plants in their gardens. Reason is never despised with impunity; she will be heard, she will be respected, and her claims are founded upon the superiour value of her dictates to the counsels of fel. low mortals. Created for us, and ever active within us, her language is accommodated to our characters, our capacities, and our duties. Nothing in nature bears such direct and intimate relation to our propensities and wants, as our own reason: but to feel this truth we must listen to her injunctions, we must understand our obligations. Among all nations reason is the same, but to obtain her ends, she varies her expressions; without encroaching upon the freedom of the will, she suggests motives most appropriate to every character; and while speaking soothingly to some, and vehemently to others, becomes all to all; but her language is always the same;---it is always the language of truth.
FOR THE THEOLOGICAL MAGAZINE.
On the TESTIMONY, or, rather, on the silence of Josephus, con
cerning Jesus Christ.
THE following is a faithful translation of the famous contested passage in the history of Josephus." About this time lived Jesus, a wise man, if, indeed, we may call him a man, for he performed marvellous things. He was an instructor of such as embraced the truth with pleasure. He made many converts both among the Jews and Greeks. This was the Christ. And when Pilate, on the accusation of the principal men among us, had condemned
him to the cross, those who before had entertained a respect for him, continued still so to do: for he appeared to them alive again on the third day; the divine prophets having declared these and many other wonderful things concerning him: and the sect of the Christians, so named from him, subsists to this very time.”—This passage is cited by Eusebius, who lived near the end of the third century; and Josephus died in the second.-It is also mentioned by St. Jerome, Sophronius, Rufinus, Issidore of Damietta, Sozomene, Cedrenus, Nicephorus Callistus, and Suidas, all of whom considered it as authentick. It is probable that these writers, living in different ages and in different places, did not possess the same copy of Josephus's history; yet all these copies agreed, as do those which are still extant. -After reading what has been said by the best modern criticks for and against the authenticity of this passage, we are induced to conclude with the pious and learned Dr. Milner, * “ that the doubts which have been started on its authenticity seem mere surmises. One of them, the supposed inconsistency of the historian, in testifying so much of Christ, and yet remaining an unconverted Jew, affords an argument in its favour. Inconsistencies ought to be expected from inconsistent persons. Such are many in the Christian world at this day, who in like circumstances would have acted a similar part. Such was Josephus. He knew and had studied something of all sorts of opinions in religion, and his writings show him to have been firm in nothing, but a regard to his worldly interest. To me he seems to say just so much and no more of Christ, as might be expected from a learned skeptick, of remarkable good sense, and supreme love of worldly things.” But let us allow that this passage has been foisted into the history of Josephus, and that he makes no mention whatever of Christ, what are the inferences, which we may naturally draw from his silence? In the first place, this historian, who was born three or four years after the death of Jesus Christ, could not but know, that there had appeared in Judea one Jesus, called a cheat, an impostor, a magician or prophet, who had performed wonderful works, or had found out the secret of persuading a number of persons that he had done so. He could not but know, that in his own time, there were still in that province people who professed to acknowledge him for their master. When he was carried to Rome, he could not but know, that Nero had caused a great number of Christians, who were in that city, to be destroyed with unusual and excessive cruelty: he could not but know that their death was a kind of show for the Rornans, of so publick and striking a nature, that Tacitus and Suetonius thought it worthy to be recorded in the annals of the empire: he saw, that under Domitian, both at Rome and in the provinces, persecutions were issued
* Hist. of the Church of Christ, vol. 1. p. 111.