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of argument, it is further stated, chapters, of which we shall state is in the highest degree unphilosu- the subjects in their proper order. phical. The evidence arising from testimony can have no affinity, can

« On the Principles of Historical Evi.

dence and their Application to the admit no juxta-position, with that

Question of the Truth of Christianity. arising from the contents of the

On the Authenticity of the different record : so that even were those Books of the New Testament. On the contents in the highest degree im- Internal Marks of Truth and Honesty probable, the evidence from testi- to be found in the New Testament. zony would remain the same; and On the Testimony of the original Wit. the question of truth or falsehood, nesses to the Truth of the Gospel Nar. after all, 'resolve itself into this rative.-On the Testimony of SubseIs it easier to receive the pheno

quent Witnesses.-Remarks on the Armenon of an obscure ind mysteri

gument from Prophecy.-Remarks on

the Scepticism of Geologists. On the ous revelation upon such testimony,

* Internal Evidence, and the Objections or to receive the opposite pbeno

of Deistical Iufidels.-On the Way of menon that such testimony is false? Provo

slimony is faise. Proposing the Argument to Atheistical Is it the most practicable to ac- Inâidels. On the Supreme Authority count for the difficulties of the 'of Revelativó." record, if true, or for its existence and general reception if false? In the first chapter, Mr. Chal And the answer plainly meant to be mers opens bis system with the implied by tae author is this :- following able introduction:I can much more readily adinita

« Were a verbal communication to : the truth of the record on Sound

come to us from a person at a distance, historical evidence, than I can there are two ways in which we might admit its falshood from any sup- tary to satisfy ounelves, that this was a posed incongruity in its contents. trpe communication, and that there was The testimony I judge of by ra- no imposition in the affair. We might tional and incontestable rules; the other sit in examination upon the subdoctrines are at best but the sub. stance of the message; and then, from ject of conjecture. Prove to me

what we knew of the person from whom only that the revelation has taken

it profcused to come, judge whether it

was probable that such a message would place in tbe manner and with the

bent by him; or we may sit in exauthority stated, and I theo sit amins tion upon the credibility of the down, with my granmar and lexi- messengers. con, to examine 'its contents and it is evident, that in carrying on the receive it in its proper character, first examination, we might be subject as it is written, and because it is to very great uncertainty. The prowritten,

féssed author of the communication in The intelligent reader will here

question 'may live at such a distance

from us, that we may never have it in perceive the weapons of the grand

our power to verify his message by any master of philosophical scepticism

personal conversation with him. We in the northern school turned, by

may be so far ignorant of his character his countryman, with considerable

and designs, as to be unqualified to dexterity against himself. But be judge of the kind of communication fore we proceed to offer the very that should proceed from him. To es. few humble observations which timate aright the probable authenticity have occurred to us in examining of the message from what we know of this work, we shall present a few

its author, would require an acquaintextracts from the work itself, either

ance with his plans, and views, and

circumstances, of which we may not be to prove that we have not misre

· in possession. We may bring the greatprésented this truly Christian phi

est degree of sagacity to this investigalosopher, or to attord the means tion; but then the highest sagacity is of our refutation, if we have, of no avail, when there is an insutficiency

The work is divided into ten of data. Our ingenuity may be yde

bounded; but then we 'may want the tian argument, we should, if possible. materials. The principle which we divest ourselves of all reference to re. assume may be untrue in itself, and ligion, and view the truth of the gospel therefore might be fallacious in its ap- history, purely as a question of erudition. plication.

If at the outset of the investigation we “Thus, we may derive very little light have a prejudice against the Christian from our first argument. But there is religion, the effect is obvious; and Still a second in reserve,--the credi. without any refinement of explanation. bility of the messengers. We may be we see at once how such a prejudice no judges of the kind of communication must dispose us to annex suspicion and which is natural, or likely to proceed distrast to the testimony of the Chrisfrom a person with whom we are but tian writers. But even when the pro. Imperfectly acquainted; but we may be judice is on the side of Christianity. very competent judges of the degree of the effect is unfavourable on a mind faith that is to be reposed in the bearers that is at all scrupulous about the rece of that communication. We may know titude of its opinions. In these circum. and appreciate the natural signs of stances, the mind gets suspicious of veracity. There is a tone and a manner itself. It feels a predilection, and becharacteristic of honesty, which may 'comes apprehensive lest this predilecbe both intelligible and convincing. tion may have disposed it to cherish a There may be a concurrence of several particular conclusion, independently of messengers. There may be their sub- the evidences by which it is supported. stantial agreement. There may be the Were it a mere speculative question, in total want of any thing like concert or which the interests of man, and the collusion among them. There may be attachments of his heart, had no share, their determined and unanimous per. he would feel greater confidence in the severance, in spite of all the incredulity result of his investigation. But it is and all the opposition which they meet difficult to separate the moral impreswith. The subject of the communica siops of piety, and it is no less difficult tion may be most unpalatable to us; to calculate their precise influence on and we be so unreasonable, as to wreak the exercises of the understanding. In our unpleasant feelings upon the bearers the complex sentiment of attachment of it. In this way, they may not only and conviction, which he annexes to have no earthly interest to deceive us, the Christian religion, he finds it diffibut have the strongest inducement pos. cnlt to say, how much is due to the sible to abstain from insisting upon that tendencies of the heart, and how much message which they were charged to is due to the pure and unmingled indeliver.' Last of all, as the conclusive fluence of argument. His very anxiety seal of their authenticity, they may all for the truth, disposes him to overrate agree in giving us a watchword, which the circumstances which give a bias to we previously knew could be given by his understanding, and through the none but their master; and which none whole process of the inquiry, he feels a but his messengers could ever obtain the suspicion and an embarrassment, which possession of. In this way, unfruitful as he would not have felt, had it been all our efforts may have been upon the a question of ordinary erudition." pp. first subject of examination, we may 14, 15. . derive from the second the most de. cisive evidence, that the message in

The authority of the Christian question is a real message, and was records having been in this manner actually transmitted to us by its pro- placed on the same ground with fessed author.” pp. 1-4.

that of other records of ancient days,

Mr. Chalmers has no difficulty in Having assumed the credibility triumphantly arguing its abundant of the messenger to be the fact , superiority over every other. Why which lies immediately and solely is the progress of Christianity, open to reason, in the case of the with its different circumstances, to Christian message, the author thus - stand on the attestation of the proceeds to the developement of. Roman historian Tacitus? It is his plan.

also attested, in a far more direct “ To form a fair estimate of the and circumstantial manner, in the strength and decisiveness of the Chris annals of another author-in a book

entitled, The History of the Acts historical questions, should not belooked. of the Apostles, by the Evangelist upon as nugatory when applied to the Luke. Both of these performi.' investigation of those facts which are ances carry on the very face of connected with the truth and establishthem the appearance of unsuisni. ment of the Christian religion, that

ps every prepossession should be swept cious and well-authenticated do-, away, and room left for the understand: cuments. But there are several. ing to expatiate without fear, and with circumstances, in which the, testi- out incumbrance.” pp. 33, 34. mony of Luke possesses a decided : advantage over the testimony of

ny of The four succeeding chapters Tacitus. · These circumstances are descend more particularly into well stated by Mr. Chalmers, p. 21." those historical evidences on wbich The author then makes some

the truth of the New-Testament important observations, as to the history depends; and they cousivalue which would have been ata' der respectively the four capital tached to the testimony of Tacitus, positions ; -1. That the aiteren on the supposition that he had pieces which inake up the New been still more circumstantial in Testament, were written by the his details of Christianity. .

authors whose names they bear, 'a Whence this unaccountable pre, is commonly assigned to them :

I! and at the particular time which ference of Tacitus ? Upon every re. 2. That the New Testament itself ceived principle of criticism, we are, bound to annex greater confidence to

contains divers internal marks of the testimony of the Apostles. It is truth and honesty: 3. That there. vain to recur to the imputation of its was nothing in the situation of the being an interested testimony. This New Testament writers, which the apologists for Christianity under leads us to perceive that they take to disprove, and actually have had any possible inducement for disproved it, and that by a much publishing a falsehood: '4. That greater quantity of evidence than would the leading facts in the history of

the Gospel, are corroburated by of common history. If after this there should remain auy lurking sentiment of

the testimony of others. These diffidence or suspicion, it is entirely,

several positions are, we think, resolvable into some such principle as both admirably argued, and brought I have already alluded to. It is to be powerfully to bear upon the gene-, treated as a mere feeling,-a delusion ral object of the work. But as which should not be admitted to have they must of course in substance any influence on the convictions of the be found in the immortal pages understanding." p. 25. jr. of Leslie, Paley, Skelton, Lardner,

Many pertinent observations of Leland, &c., we shall not detain a similar nature occur in this chap- the reader by repeating them. ter: particularly those in which The sixth chapter, on the arguthe author blames Lardner for not ment from prophecy, though treatenumerating amongst the witnesses ing it as “ another species of evito Christianity such of the original dence for Christianity, distinct froin writers themselves in the New, the testimony of its supporters," Testament as have given a decisive yet views the subject of prophecy testimony to others, as Peter to in the same historical or circum Paul, Luke to his own “ former stantial light in which other species treatise." Why should their in. of evidence had been examined. spiration alone, render them un- Were we called upon to estimate worthy, or dubious witnesses to the comparative worth of the dit, historical truth?-Tire chapter thưs ferent chapters of the work, we concludes:

should perhaps say, that we are as “ All we wish for, is, that'the arga: little pleased with this, as with ments which are held decisive in other apy in the volume. The concep.

CHRIST, OBSERV. No. 160. 2 I

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tions of the author appear to us to cousciousness. When an amateur of have been obscure, both as to the botany, upon some vague analogies, degree and as to the nature of offers his confident affirmations as to the evidence arising to Christianity

istisnite the structure and parts of the human

" body, there would be an instantaneous from prophecy. The question of

appeal to the knife and demonstrations mterpretation is here so intimately, of the anatomist. Should a mineraloblended with the existence of pro-. gist, upon the exhibition of an ingephecy, as such, as scarcely to admit nious or well-supported theory, proof complete reduction into luis nounce upon the history of our Saviour “exoteric” plan. The most va- and his miracles, we would call it anoluable part of the chapter is that, ther example of an arbitrary and unphi. we think, in which he treats of losophical extension of principles be the testimony afforded by the

yond the field of their legitimate appli.

cation. We would appeal to the kind present state of the Jews, to the

and the quantity of testimony upon truth of their own and of the evan

which that history is supported. We gelical writings.

would suffer ourselves to be delighted The seventh chapter, however, by the brillianey, or even convinced by abundantly compensates for any the evidepce of his speculations ; but supposed deficiency in the sixth. we would feel that the history of those, The late discoveries of geologists facts, which form the ground-work of render the science of geology an

our faith, is as little affeeted by them, important department in the theory

as the history of any storm, or battle,

or warrior, which has come down to us of the evidences for revealed re

in the most genuine and approved rea ligion. So many persons have

cords of pasť ages.” pp. 175177.. now-a-days learnt to

To the same effect, in p. 183 « drill and bore The solid earth, and from the strata

- "Even admitting, then, this single there

objection in the subject of our Saviour's Extract a register, by which we learn ' testimony, the whole length to which That He who made it, and reveal'd its we can legitimately carry the objection date

is scepticism, or that dilemma of the To Moses, was mistaken in its age," : mind into which it is thrown by two' as to render the subject highly im

contradictory appearances. This is the

unavoidable result of admitting both portant. – The just and appropri

terms in the alleged contradiction. ate reply given by the author to Upon the strengtři of all the reasoning all these deep speculations, is this: which has bitherto occapied us, we Admit a bigher antiquity in the challenge the infidel to dispose of the, world, than any ordinary reader one term, which lies in the strength of of the Bible may have imagined, the historical evidence. But in: dir

ferent ways we may dispose of the « in what possible way does it touch upon other, which lies in the alleged falses the histosical evidence for the New Tes.

hood of our Saviour's testiinony. We tament? The credibility of the Gospel

may deny the truth of the geological miracles stands uponits own appropriate

speculation; nor is it necessary to be toundation, the recorded testimony of

an accomplished geologist, that we may aumerous and unexceptionable wit

be warranted to deny it. We appeal nesses. The only way in which we can

to the speculations of the geologists overthrow that credibility is by attack

themselves. They neutralize one ano. ing the testimony, or disproving the

ther." p. 183. authenticity of the record. Every other science is tried upon its own peculiar The plain fuct' is, that neither evidences; and all we contend for is, has our Saviour declared the age that the same justice be done to the

of the world, por bas Moses, bimology. When a mathematician offers to apply his reasoning to the pheno

self, as expressly as the objectors mena of mind, the yotaries of moral would imply. The method chosen science Jesent it as an invasion, and by Mr. Chalmers to silence their sunke their appeal to the evidence of objeciions, stands, we think

amongst the first-rate instances of ceases to observe, and begins to pre. clear, and solid, and manly argu- sume or to excogitate ; of the actual

history of science ; its miserable promentation. But it is in the eighth chapter in 'gress, so long as categories and princi.

ples retained their ascendency in the which our author treats the internal,

en our author treats the internal, schools; and the splendoor and rapidity or rather the doctrinal, evidence, of its triumphs, so soon as man underand the objections of deistical in- stood, that he was nothing more than fidels, that he most fully developes the disciple of Nature, and must take his system, and revels, if we may so his lesson as Nature offers it to him." speak, in all the luxury of his new p. 193.' and truly philosophical positions. In the application of these rigid We should but feebly repeat, what principles to the investigation and perhaps we have feebly stated at comparison of evidences for the the beginning of this article, as the truth of the Christian Revelation. substance of our author's powerful

Mr. Chalmers proceeds with a demonstrations, were we to give confidence which shews the fullest the contents of this chapter in any seliance on the strength of his words but his owrf. It contains, in

cause. fact, a virtual surrender of the doc

“ Give us facts. Give us appearIrinal evidences of the Christian

ances. Show us how, from the experi. revelation, at the shrine of the

ence of a life or a century, you can historical :-a surrender of them, draw a legitimate conclusion so boundbe it observed, not as indefensible, less in its extent, and by which you probut as inconclusive, and as mainly pose to fix down both the processes of a inapplicable to the purpose of pro- remote antiquity, and the endless producing conviction in the mind of gressions either of nature or providence the Deist. All the fine-spun theo- in future ages. Are there any historical ties, all the beautiful anticipations

documents? ..... The administra

tion of the Supreme Being is coeval of truth a priori, with the exqui

with the first purposes of his uncreated site delusions wrought by them in mind, and it points to eternity. The the brains, both of inaster and dis- life of man is but a point in that prociple, whether Deist or Christian, gress . .....We are not able to col are swept away by the powerful lect the law, or the character of this hand of the Baconian philosophy, administration from an inference so to make room for the calm and momentary. We therefore cast our eye steady light of actual « experience on the history of past ages. We exam

mine every document which comes beand the evidence of facts."

fore us. We compare all the moral “It is the glory of Lord Bacon's phi- phenomena which can be collected from losopliy, to have achieved a victory over the narratives of antiquity, &c.” all these delusions--to have disciplined

The chapter concludes with a the minds of its votaries into an entire

poble testimony to the unrivalled submission to evidence-to have trained them ap in a kind of steady coldness to

labours of Bishop Builer, in the all the splendour and magnificence of

department of internal or doctrinal theory, and taught them to follow, with evidence, in which, though little an uufaultering step, wherever the sure stress is laid on it by our author himthongh humbler pad of experiment may self, yet he confesses much may prolead them.

perly be said, and much bas been .To justify the cautious procedure of said, to the silencing if not utter the inductive philosophy, nothing more confusion of infidel speculatists, is necessary than to take a view of the

even on their own ground. actual powers and circumstances of bumanity, of the entire ignorance of

· The ninth clapter proposes the man when he comes into the world, and argument to atheistical infidels. of the steps by which that ignorance is and contains the somewhat-stage enlightened; of the numerous errors into gering position, that, “yiewed pure. which he is misled, the moinent he iny as an intellectual subject, the

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