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deavouring to shew that no law of them. Still they are strange and astonature was violated, or that there was nishing events-prodigia, infanda et no deviation from established laws, in stupenda, seeming to require a power the case of the resurrection of Laza more than human to accomplish them, rus. Indeed, he seems to me to reduce and that is enough—enough to gender it to what we may call a no-miracle- doubt. For to some men's minds they at-all, and to make it merely a case of will always remain a stumbling-block; suspended animation, differing in al- to some their expediency can never be most nothing from the feats performed made evident; to soine we can never by the members of the Humane So- render palatable the prodigiosa fides. ciety with the aid of a pair of bellows. Why, they will ask, should any mode For he assumes, that putrefaction had of religion require the support of minot yet taken place, which will, per- racles? If it is good, can we not find it haps, imply, that life was not extinct, out without them; and if it is bad, will though I am by no means prepared to miracles convince us of the contrary? admit the fact, as we really know no I do not desire to advocate the cause thing about it. If Lazarus was not of infidelity and scepticism, but the dead, there was no miracle in the case. cause of free and impartial inquiry, But if he was dead, then the restoring concealing no difficulties, and taking of him again to life was really and no fact or doctrine upon trust. And truly a miracle, and a violation or sus- he who has examined every thing for pension of an established law of nature. himself on the score of religion, will For, the general and established law of be the most disposed to make all due nature in this respect is, that if the allowances for the rational doubts of vital principle is once extinct, if what others ; practising the precept of the we call the soul has once left the body, Apostle, which says, that “ the strong, if, in short, the body is once fairly dead, ought to bear with the infirmities of it never more revives. Such is the the weak.” I am even persuaded that law of death. Its decree is irreversi- a man may doubt in some things, and ble-Mors nescia flecti; and from the yet not be damned. For although it "bourne" of its dominion “no travel- is said in one of the Gospels, that “He ler returns”-Et calcanda semel via that doubteth * is damned,” yet I prelethi. By means of the application of sume it refers only to the case of those the Galvanic pile, we have heard, in- who doubted, after seeing the very mideed, of frogs and chickens that were racle performed in their own presence, made to jump after they were dead; or had some proof equally good ; thus and of a human being who shook his resisting the clearest and strongest evifist in the face of the experimenter, dence, and shutting, as it were, their after he had been hanged his full time eyes upon the very light of day. Did and cut down again; but still this is far, not several of the apostles doubt the very, very far from a restoration to life. fact of the resurrection of Christ, till
Thus have I ventured to undertake they saw him in person ; and did not the proof of that which Bereanus be- the Apostle Thomas doubt; till he was lieves “no man will be able to prove even suffered to inspect the prints of till the end of time.” And in the face the nails, and to put his hand into the of this opinion, perhaps I may be side that was wounded with the spear? thought by some to have betrayed Is it strange, therefore, that some more of zeal than of prudence in my should be found to doubt, now-a-days, attempt-Satis eloquentiæ, sapientiæ after the long lapse of 1800 years ; parum. But the scrupulous inquirer some who have not, perhaps, had opafter truth, is not to be deterred by the portunities of examining the evidence expression of bold opinions. If I have for miracles in its full extent; some failed, there is no help for it ; and if I who are, perhaps, naturally a little have succeeded, the credibility of mi- sceptical, and not sufficiently acquaintracles is not in the least affected by it, ed with the principles of sound philoeither in one way or another. For it sophy, to be able to appreciate the seems to me to require an equal degree of faith to receive the miracles record
*Our correspondent appears to refer to ed by the sacred writers, whether you Rom. xiv. 23, where the Apostle asserts say that they are conformable to the only that he is condemnable who does that general laws of nature, or contrary to which his conscience cannot justify.—ED.
value of the evidence which the gospel dence as is competent to the purposes presents ?
of God's moral government among Let us meet the question fairly and men, then the case is no longer the honestly, and divest ourselves of pre- same, and men will entertain different judice as much as we can; remember- views of the value of that evidence, ing that our belief is not a thing that it according to their different capacities is in our power to grant or to withhold and acquirements. at our pleasure. A man cannot say, I He who is himself convinced, gene will, I will believe, and so become in- rally regards the scruples of the scepstantaneously a believer: neither is a tic as being altogether unreasonable verbal declaration an infallible proof of and absurd hæreticus et damnabilis faith. For a man may say he believes, error; and not unfrequently upon the and yet remain unconvinced; or he following ground: Because the evimay believe, because the thing is im- dence which we have for the miracles possible-Credo quia impossibile est, recorded in the Bible is, as he affirms, said one of the fathers of the Christian the same with that which we have for church. Some again have defined any historical fact whatever ; so that faith to be an irresistible impulse of we may just as well deny that Cæsar the spirit of God, commanding the subdued Gaul, or that Columbus dis assent of the regenerate to certain covered America, as deny that Christ truths or doctrines which the natural wrought miracles. Now although or carnal man refuses to admit. This there is truth in this statement, yet it is not faith, but compulsion. What then is not the whole of the truth, and the is faith? Faith is, in short, an act of case is not fairly put. It is true that the understanding; and not an act of we have the same sort of evidence for the will, nor an irresistible impulse of the miracles of Moses and of Christ, the spirit of God, It is the assent that we have for the achievements of which the mind gives to certain truths, Julius Cæsar, or the discoveries of or to certain doctrines, upon the pro- Columbus, namely, the evidence of duction of sufficient evidence. Pro testimony; but it is not a testimony duce that evidence, and the mind must that is under the same conditions. la assent; withhold it, and it cannot. the one case, it is testimony given to a The assent thus obtained, is faith fact to which I can find a thousand
pure and undefiled before God and others that are perfectly analogous ; in the Father.” But there is a species of the other case, it is testimony given to faith more common, though less pure, a fact to which I can find nothing anathat men adopt, not as resulting from logous in nature-Res noca non ullis due evidence which they have them- cognita temporibus. I can have no selves examined; but as having been difficulty in giving credit to the achievetransmitted to them from their fathers. ments of the soldier, or the discoveries This is the faith of the multitude ; and of the navigator, because similar achieveit may be called traditionary or here- ments or discoveries have been often ditary faith.
effected by others; and it may be withOn this subject there is a query that in the very sphere of my own experisuggests itself, which may, perhaps, ence and observation,-say that of the startle some whose faith is already celebrated victory of Waterloo, or of well fixed; but which I cannot regard the discovery of the New Georgian as being wholly impertinent, consider. Islands, that ultima Thule of northing the great numbers, even in this western navigation. country, who either disbelieve, or affect In the same manner, I can have no to disbelieve altogether, the miracles difficulty in giving credit to the historiof Moses and of Christ. The query is cal fact of the existence of Jesus Christ, this : Is the evidence which we have of his mean and obscure parentage, of for the truth of the miracles recorded his becoming ultimately a religious and in the Bible, a good and sufficient evi- moral instructor, of his being persedence? If by sufficient, we are to cuted by the existing authorities, and, understand that which is calculated to finally, of his being put to the painful obtain universal assent, then the fact and ignominious death of the cross ; shews that it is not, for all men do not because all these facts are analogous to believe. But if by sufficient, we are the great mass of other facts of which to understand such a degree of evi. I read in history, or to facts which I
beve this loss even to conjecture. They A which appear to have been high
myself may have seen or experienced. would be highly gratifying to me and But when I read the story of the mira. many others, to see this subject under culous conception, or of the miracle discussion in your valuable publicaof the loaves and fishes, or of the re tion.
PHILALETHES. storing of Lazarus to life after he had been dead four days, I perceive that Sir, the case is totally altered, and I con S you have inserted some comgiving my credence to the alleged fact- lating to Commonwealth Marriages, Quodcunque ostendis mihi sic incredu- [XIV. 153, 291 and 357, and XVI. 218 lus odi ;-while I feel, on the contrary, and 476,] I send you, as a suitable the necessity of instituting a most addition, the following extract from the rigid, and scrupulous, and impartial Gentleman's Magazine for September, inquiry into all circumstances connect- Vol. XIV. (N. S.), p. 211. R. B. ed with it. I do not say that it is not “During the time of our* Coinmonto be believed, in spite of all evidence wealth, when the Established Church whatever ; but I contend that the case lost its authority and sanctity, it was is not the same with that of the ordi- customary for the banns of inarriage nary facts of history, and that the scru- to be proclaimed on three market-days ples of the cautious inquirer after truth, in Newgate market, and afterwards upon the score of miracles, are far the parties were married at the church, from being either so absurd or unrea- and the Register states, that they were sonable as they are generally deemed. married at the place of meeting, called I think I read in one of your late Num- the Church. See the Register of St. bers, that some German doctors have Andrew, Holborn, during those years." undertaken to discard from our faith the whole fabric of miracles. But
Book-Worm, No. XXVI. how is to I
Oct. 1, 1821. cannot surely have calculated the costs of the undertaking; for they must in- ly acceptable to the religious taste of evitably fail.
former times, I find a small volume in Such are the remarks that have oc black letter, published in 1614, and encurred to me in perusing the essay of tituled, “A Silver Watch-Bell. The Bereanus, on which I have hazarded a sound whereof is able (by the Grace of few strictures, not in the spirit of hos- God) to winne the most profane World. tility, which I totally disclaim, but of ling, and careless Liver, (if there be but free and impartial inquiry; and if you the least Sparke of Grace remayning in should regard thein as being at all him,) to become a true Christian inworthy of the notice of your readers, I deed; that in the end he may obtaine will thank you to give them a place in everlasting Salvation. By Thomas your Repository.
A.C. Tymme. The Tenth Impression. At
London: printed by Clement Knight, Sir,
Oct. 4, 1821. dwelling in Paules Church-yard, at the I REAIP with much satisfaction
in Signe of the Holy Lambe."
Thomas Tymme inscribes this tenth “Brief Notes on the Bible,No.XVIII.” impression to the Right Honourable The author remarks on the materiality Sir Edward Coke, Lord Chiefe Justice of man, as it respects his frame and of England,” to whom he pays the powers. He may see this subject prov. compliment which, probably, any Chief ed by scriptural references, in a small Justice may now easily procure, of work, entitled, " Meditations on the being no "novice in Religion," but Scriptures,
,” Vol. II. p. 72, Note, “a zealous professor of the same." published by Rivingtons, where he of his Watch-Bell, Thomas Tymme will find a curiou anatomical, or informs him that “it hath been already rather physical argument, which seems nine times printed; containing in it to explain the reason why St. Paul matter of greater consequence than uses the term seed, as sown with the Plato his Commonwealth, or Aristotle's body when deposited in the earth ; and from which germ or seed will be raised
This from “Sylvanus Urban, Gent.”! the spiritual or heavenly body. It Ed.
Summum Bonum, or Tullius' Oralour, reader to suppose, that the author of or Moore's Utopia ; for that it com- Job had written in the Latin tongue. prehendeth not onely an idea of good “He saith not vir but homo, that sife, but also a plat-forme of good he might expresse the basenesse of the workes, which leadeth the way to true matter, of the which this most proud and sempiternall felicitie.” Fearful, creature was made. For he is called however, of thus incurring the charge homo, ab humo, because he was created of self-conceit, he adds, “but least, in and made of the earth. Neither was kissing my owne hands, I might seeme he made of the best of the earth, but to doat with Narcissus, falling in loue of the slime of the earth, (as the Scripwith my owne shadow ; and by tran- ture testifieth,) being the most filthy scending the due proportion of nou- and abject part of the earth : among alt rishment, should turne all into ill. bodies the most vile element. Among humour; I referre the goodnesse of all the elements the earth is the basest; the matter to your Lordship’s learned among all the parts of the earth, none judgment, and sublymed wisedomes is more filthy and abject than the relish.” He then requests the Chief slime. Wherefore man was made of Justice to allow his name to “bee as that matter, than the which there is a foster-father to this wandering or nothing more vile and base." phant.”
author proceeds to account for the There is next a prefatory address miraculous conception in a way, I ap«
to all weake Christians, that have a prehend, rather unusual, while the desire to be saved.” Then follows an manner in which he treats the subject allusion to Heathen fable, according to in a tenth impression, shews. how difthe motley custom of the author's age; ferent must have been the ideas of “Who seeth not, that the great number decorum among his readers, from those of men at this day, are so Iulled asleepe which prevail at present. But before in the chaire of securitie--that they can I quit this author's strictures upon as hardly be awaked as Endymion from that most proud creature” man, it his endlesse sleepe?". The Author may be not unentertaining to quote the adds, “ The consideration hereof mov. following illustrations of his subject : ed me, according to my simple art and skill, to frame this book, as a Watch- he beholds that comely fan and circle
“The peacock, a glorious fowle, when Bell, to sound in the eares of all men, which he maketh of the beautifull feanot a stroke alone, but twelve, in twelve thers of his taile, he reioyceth, he ietteth, several chapters, which may serve as and beholdeth euery part thereof; but the wheels of a Watch-Bell, to enforce when he looketh on his feet, which he it to yield forth the more shrill sound; perceiueth to be black, and foule, he by thereby to awake the most drowsie- and by with great misliking vajleth his hearted sinners from their securitie top-gallant, and seemeth to sorrow. In and careless living.” He then recol- like manner, a great many know by expelects “the twelve fountains of water in rience, that when they see themselues to Elim,” and wishes that his book may and are deepely conceited of themselues,
abound in riches and honors, they glory, afford So sweet a recreation" as they gave “to the people of Israel, themselues, they make plots, and appoint
they praise their fortune, and admire and that it may yield a healing plaister much for themselues to performe in many to every wounded soule, no lesse effec- yeeres to come: this yeere they say we tuall, then the leaves of the tree of life wil beare this office, and the next yeere (which bare twelve severall fruits,) to that: afterward we shall have the rule heale the nations.”
of such a prouince : then we will build a Under the first chapter, “Of the palace in such a city, whereunto we will Shortnesse, Frailtie and Miseries of adioyne such gardens of pleasure, and such Man's Life,” the author comments on vineyards : and thus they make a very Job xiv. 1, which he thus renders : large reckoning afore hand, who, if they “Man that is borne of a woman is of did but thinke vpon the shortnesse of
did but once behold their feete, if they short continuance, and full of miseries, their life, so transitorie and inconstant, Hee shooteth forth as a flower and is how soone would they let fal their proud cut downe: he vanisheth also as a sha- feathers, forsake their arrogancy, and dow, and continueth not.” Whence change their purposes, their minds, their he takes occasion thus to degrade hu- liues, and their manners! man nature, and enight almost lead his “ The prophet David in his Psalmes
saith, that our whole life is like a cop• hundred thousand men. And if a man web. For as the spider is occupied all of mildness and meek spirit, what shall his life-time in weauing of cop-webs, and we look for at the hands of the most draweth out of his owne bowels those cruel men ?-And this is that civil and threds, wherewith he knitteth his nets to sociable creature which is called bucatch flies; and oftentimes it comineth to passe, that when the spider suspecteth man; which is born without claws and no ill, a seruant that goes about to make horns, in token of peace and love which cleane the house, sweepeth downe both he ought to embrace.” This writer, the copweb and the spider, and throweth believing in the multiplicity of evil them together into the fire. Euen so, spirits, soon adds the following appalthe greatest part of men consume their ling description: “ We have also whole tiine, spend all their wit and ghostly enemies, which see us, and we strength, and labour most painefully to not them. For the devils, which are have their nets in a readines, with the most crafty, cruel, and most mighty which they may catch the flies of ho- in number and strength, do nothing, nours and of riches. And when they practise nothing, and think upon poglorie in the multitude of tlies which they thing else than how they may tempt, rest in time to come, behold, death deceive, hurt and cast men down head (God's haudmaid) is present with the long into hell-fire.” and this reminds broome of diuers sicknesses and griefes, me of the author's 4th chapter, “conand sweepeth these men away to hell cerning Hell,and the Torments thereof," fire, they being fast asleepe in the chaire an awful subject on which some Chrisof securitie ; and so the work together tians have delighted to expatiate, and with the worke-master, in a moment of to indulge an imagination horridly luxtime doe perish.”—Pp. 10, 16.
uriant. Thomas Tymme was, I suspect, a
Thomas Tymme begins by referring priest, who, though he would “re- to a custom, probably of his age, move all idle lubbers,” yet could scarce- speaking of the devil, as leading men ly encourage even a paineful watch
"blindfold, (by the way of sins,)--even man” if, in the style of clerical assump as thieves are to be led with a veil before tion, a lay-preacher. Thus saying after their faces when they are going to the Sirach, * Be not curious in superflu- gallows.” He determines (72) that “as ous things, for many things are shewed the world is a place of sinne and transunto thee above the capacity of men,” gression, a station of pilgrimage and of he thus complains : “And yet we see woe, a habitation of wayling and of that the most ignorant do many times teares, of trauell and of wearinesse, of soonest offend herein, rushing into those fearefulnes, and of shame, of mouing matters whereof they have no know- and of changing, of passing and of corledge, and nothing belonging unto them. ruption, of insolence and of perturbaThey will build tabernacles with Peter, tion, of violence and oppression, of and lay platforms for the Church, deceit and of guile, and finally, the laywhereof they have no skill. Every stall of all wickednesse and abhominacommon person will be an Agrippa tion: so also by God's justice it is over Paul, and every woman a Ber- appointed the place and pit of punishnice, and every mean person make a ment and everlasting torment.” He shop, a consistory, to controul a state, further says, “If this hell were but a forgetting the proverb, ne sutor ultra temporall paine, (as Origen thought,) crepidam: the shoemaker is not to ex- then hope would cheere the tormented ceed his pantofle."
sinner : but-the torments of the Thomas Tymme could not fail to damned shall continue so many worldes rank war amidst the “miseries of as there be stars in the firmament, as man's life.” He asks, “What meaneth there be graines of sand by the seaso much armour, pikes, bowes, bils, shore, and as there bee drops of water swords and guns, with divers other in- found in the sea. And when these struments of man's malice? Do not worlds are ended, the paines and torthese destroy and consume more men, ments shall not cease, but begin afresh; than do sicknesses and diseases ? His- and thus this wheele shall turne round tories report that by one only, Julius without end." The Author then proCæsur, (which is said to have been a ceeds piously to deter his readers from most courteous and gentle emperor,) indulging "the vaine pleasures of the there were slain in several battles, eleven flesh: although a man by living in