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mind of an Atheist is in a better unless, a man be born again, he state of preparation for the proofs shall not enter into the kingdom of of Christianity than the mind of God. By grace ye are saved through Deist.” In this statement, it is true,
faith, and that not of yourselves, it is
the gift of God. Justified freely by the author lays out of the case any possible stubbornness of disposition is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set to which the Atheist may owe his ne. forth to be a propitiation through faith gative creed. He supposes him to be in his blood. We need not multiply a consistent, an impartial Atheist. quotations ; but if there be any repage And then, bappier than the Deist, nance to the obyious truths which we
have announced to the reader in the lan" he has no God, of nature. ,to con
n guage of the Bible, his mind is not yet front with that real, though invisible tutored to the philosophy of the subject. power, which lay at the bottom of those It may be in the way, but the final astonishing miracles, on which history result is not yet arrived at. It is still has stamped her most authentic cha
á slave to the elegance or the plausi. racters. Though the Power which
bility of its old speculations : and presided there should be an arbitrary,
though it admits the principle, that an unjust, or a malignant being, all this
every previous opinion must give way may startle a Deist, but it will not pre
to the supreme anthority of an actual vent a consistent, Atheist from acquies.
communication from God, it wants concing in any legitimate inference, to which
sistency and hardihood to carry the the miracles of the Gospel, viewed in
principle into accomplishment." pp. 265, the simple light of historical facts, may chance to carry him." p. 230.
The importance of the above quo. Having thus closed our account tations will, we are sure, if duly of the principles of this little work, considered, excuse their length in and produced such extracts as we the eyes of our readers. Our fur- think will confirm our view of it; ther observations on this, as well we see at once a large field of obas other parts of the general sys- servation opening before us. Our tem, we reserve for the conclusion, desire, however, and perhaps our -We shall only add, in the mean office being principally to give a time, that the tenth chapter, “ on clear and definite view of the con. the supreme Authority of Revela- tents of the several works before tion," "proceeds “ passibus æquis" us, and then to leave the reader to with all the rest; and appropriately form his own opinion upon them, closes the foregoing statement with we shall only endeavour to belp his the admonition, that “if the New judgment on the present occasion Testament be a message from God, by a few very general observations, it behoves us to make an entire and and leave the rest to his private unconditional surrender of our consideration. minds to all the duty and to all the The subject of the evidences for information, wbich" it sets before Christianity is, doubtless, placed us." In short, the question, ac- 'here somewhat in a new light: and cording to the author, to be hence- the principles of a new, but now forth asked by all philosophical sufficiently established, and most divines is not this—“What thinkest rational system of philosophy are thou ?" but, “ What readest thou ?” applied to their investigation.
The following striking and prac- But it may be said, that to apply tical appeal on behalf of the Bible, the principles of any philosophy to closes the whole.
Christianity, is to spoil it; that “ Its authencity must be something
Platonism spoilt it; that Gnostimore than acknowledged. It must be
cism spoilt it; that especially the felt, and, in act and obedience, submit Aristotelian jargon of the middle ted to. Let us put them to the test. "Ve. ages spoilt it; and therefore that rily I say unto you,' says our Saviour, the Baconian philosophy may do. the same. But the reply is most once as the ornament and the safe obvious that it is not philosophy,' guard of the inner veil. as such, which is likely to spoil a The fault--and we are not dissystem of the highest wisdom and posed to think the system or argubuilt on the solid foundations of ment of this little work faultless, eternal truth-it is a false philoso- of Mr. Chalmers's work, is, we conphy; a “ philosophy," like that ceive, of a nature most opposite to alluded to by the Apostle, which that to which we have referred. is linked with “ vajn deceit." It is not that we doubt whether Only assume any given system of this mode of philosophizing be philosophy to be true; and, as all applicable to those points to which truth is congenial, such a system Mr. Chalmers has so skilfully apcannot possibly work, to the injury plied it; but whether it has not or defeat of any other kind of truth. in bis hands, stopped short of Maintaining therefore, as we do, something at which it might legiwith every sober inquirer after truth, timately have aimed, and declined the accuracy of the philosophy of some departments of investigation Lord Bacon, we need no other war. for which, in the outset, he had rant than its truth, for the safety of perhaps, too hastily proclaimed its its application to this greatest of incompetency. subjects.
When we hear of the total surWhat perhaps renders its appli- render of reason in judging of the cation to Christianity the more ap- contents of the sacred record, we propriate is wbat may be called have just so much jealousy for the its characteristic modesty,-a mo. honour of that crowning faculty desty by which it is led so cautiously of man, “ majestic, though in to determine its own limits. Wbilst ruins," as to turn round and look with an almost exclusive courage, from whom the sound proceeds. it grapples with every object within And, if we find that it proceeds the boundary assigned; it yet most from the lips of as safe a guide and religiously abstains from “ intrud- as true a philosopher as the author, ing into those things wbich it hath we are only tempted to inquire not seen,"-and thus presents the further, what use inay be made of most edifying contrast to those this sentiment, should it ever be theorists, who are “ vainly puffed adopted on his authority as a up by their fleshly minds.” In fact, cry, an unmeaning watch-word, by in the volume before us, the march other persons less considerate, or of philosophy has stopped exactly less unbiassed than himself. Withat the point where the older writers out agreeing with Mr. Locke upon commenced their career. Theirs the distinct provinces of faith system entered immediately upon and reason,” we must confess there the substance, not to say depths, of is much of shrewdness in that say- . the sacred record itself. Our au. ing of his, upon the subject : "I thor's system, on the contrary, ap- find every sect, as far as reason plies itself to the validity of its aul- will help them, make use of it thority, and to the fitness of the chan- gladly: and where it fails them, nels through which it has been con- they cry out, It is matter of faith, veyed. His bumble, though not and above reason*.”. And the therefore less commeadable, labours use we would make of the observahave been directed to build up those tion is this, to state the danger of fences which an unholy ardour for laying down a principle, which unveiling the mystic glories of the “ every sect" may adopt just temple had broken down; and to .. recover from unwarranted disregard, * Essay on the Human Understar those exterior courts which serve at ing, Book IV, chap. xviii.
when it suits their convenience - the calumniating sceptic, with the which, in fact, bas never been broad mantle of mere external evi. adopted completely by any, and dence, may perhaps adnit a queswhich, in its misapplication, tras tion. It seems to us a matter of too often led to the most pernicious doubt, whether, in the extreme consequences. - The Papist, in re- case of positive contradiction to signing reason to what he would reason, an appeal to bistorical call the literal interpretation of evidence ought to be admitted as Scripture, founds the doctrine of decisive by a rational agent. At transubstantiation on the words of least we are quite confident Chris. Scripture --" This is my body." tianity is under no such necessity Perhaps tlre most splendid intellect for appealing to her external proofs. that ever beamed on this lower And we doubt not that we speak world-that of Blaise Pascal-fell, the sentiments of Mr. Chalmers in some instances, into“ dim limself, when we say, that if a reeclipse," under the influence of a ligion could not properly be reenistaken appeal to this very prin- jected which stood upon the exciple.- Some of the Puritans, also, ternal evidence possessed by Chris though of an opposite school, yet tianity; at least, a religion could in what they termed their literal ex- not properly be received which, position of the sacred page, and in addition to such external eviBy the xlenial of every assumption dence, advances no other claim to otherwise deduced, found out doc. our notice beyond the absurdities trines scarcely consistext with the of paganism. It is very true, we safety of society. Some of the cannot conceive that a religion preindividuals ordinarily classed with scribing the rites of Moloch' or that party have felt nothing repug- Bramah should possess the externant to faith, however adverse they nal authority of Christianity : but might be to reason, in positions that very inability to conceive is a which make God himself the au-, conclusion a priori, which Mr. thor of sin.-The Hutchinsonians, Chalmers, on his strictest princito say nothing of greater mystics, ples, is bound to reject. We say, by losing sight of oertain obvious on his strictest principles.- for when a priori guides, have catechised he is not in the immediate contem-. the text of Scripture to very sur plation of them, we catch hini adprising purpose indeed: Nor mitting that “ there was nothing in should the elder and parent prin. the antecedent theology of the paciple of all, “ Credo quia impossi- gans which they could have any bile est,” be forgotten.
respect for: nothing which they Mr. Hume was encouraged by these could confront, or bring into commisdemeanors to observe; “Our most petition with the doctrines of the holy religion is matter of faith, not New Testament.” p. 246. What of reason; and he who is moved by was this, then, but an appeal to faith to assent to it, is conscious of something for conviction, even in a continued miracle in his own their plain and unsophisticated person, which subverts the first minds," beyond the mere force of principles of his understanding, historical, or, wbat was to them, and teaches him to believe what is ocular demonstration ? tnost contrary to reason and expe. Unquestionably, in the reading rience."
of holy Scripture, there must be, Whether it be sufficient to coyer as Hooker speaks, “presupposal of he real loss of character which knowledge, concerning certain prin'hristianity has thus at different ciples, whereof it receiveth us alnes sustained, as well from the ready persuaded, and then instructudicious commentator, as from eth us in all the residue that are
Decessary. In the number of these ness and uncertainty it supplied sex Principles, one is the sacred autho- direct a monument? rity of Scripture.” The great The main object of these obserquestion at issue is, What are vations (which we nost assuredly. those principles which 'must pre- make with no wish to detract from cede the ultimate one here men- the value of Mr. Chalmers's argu-, tioned, “ the sacred authority ment, nor with any reliance on our of Scripture?” The credibility of own superior powers, for investiwitnesses, says Mr. Chalmers; the gating so deep and awful a subject,) consistency of the message; the is to lead back the reader to the absence of any thing monstrous or point from whenee we set out; tai improbable in their account. We, inquire whether the principles of might say, in addition to these, a the Baconian philosophy are not general notion of some supreme applicable to a greater extent ink and governing Power in the uni- the theory of Christianity, than the verse; the probability of his re- present work seems disposed to vealing himself and his will to his carry them. The argument for ereatures; the reasonableness of the existence of a God, we believe the gift of miracles to those who to be strictly what is called ale should be the messengers of his argument a posteriori,-an inducwilt; perhaps, some general con-. tion of a general truth from the eeptions of a difference between observation of a series of distinct right and wrong, together with particular existences. And we so cerlain circumstances about the far differ from Mr. Chalmers as message itself;: as for instance, that to think, that the Atheist who reone part of it should not palpably fuses bis assent to that argument and irreconcileably contradiet the posteriori for a God, which is other; that it should not manifestly forced upon us by the contemplar appear to have been written for tion of the heavens on a starother beings than we find ourselves light night -- will rarely indeed, to be; that it should pot be wholly yield himself to the superadded incapable of construction, or on testimony of an occasional violation plajn subjects, capable only of a of the laws, by which the stupencoustruction in Mr. Chalmers's dous movements of the heaveuly OW! words) evidently, “ monstrous bodies are conducted. It is well and improbable;" and finally, that said, we think by Sherlock, that it should not by its own light, dis “ Christ never wrought a miracle cover unanswerable objections to its to convince an Atheist.” May we own system. Should some such uot add, that many of the essential tests as these, we speak loosely, be attributes of the Divine nature apabsolutely wanting to the truil of pear to be strictly capable of the the record; what must be the deinonstration posteriori-and common sentiment of mankind, that the idea of ibem appears to what will be, even, the sentence of inhere in the mind of man. When Mr. Chalmers upon it, notwith- Scripture speaks of God as a true, standing the strongest possible a holy, a just, a good, a powerful, historical evidence? Would it be a wise being; it seems to use these possible for the mind of man, con- terms, not as novelties, but as somestructed as it is, fully to assent to thing with which our minds are such a system? Or would not the supposed previously familiar, and very faith we migbt force upon our upon the footing of which the Alselves, on the credit of a record, mighty condescends to invite us : . thus externally authenticated, at “Come now, and let us reason 10once neutralize itself by making us gether.” The principles of the Badoubt the truth or sincerity of the conian philosophy have now been being himself, of wbose capricious- long applied to the theory of the
human mind. May they'' not suc- satisfied till we bad placed our' cessfully, if modestly, be applied selves and our pupil in the atti: to the investigation of the religious tade of devotion. We should wish principle in the mind? And would him, with the utmost diligence, to not the adaptation of the religion" search into his own heart for the of the Scriptures to that principle' strongest possible motives and inin man, become an interesting and ducements to love the Scriptures : most profitable department in the namely, That they reveal to bim a sober investigations of true Chris.. strength greater than his own-a tian philosophy?' Horts . righteousness infinitely more pure.
We speak with hesitation on these. Till we feel the want of sometbing profound subjects. And we may better than the world can bestow, add, we should enter with 'reluc- the world will probably continue tance upon any course of argument to satisfy us. We shall scarcely that would lead to long and labour. turn'aside to view the external evied discussion. The experience of dences of a system of which the every age seems more clearly' to intrinsic excellence bas not in some prove that, in religion at least, we measure struck upon the senses of are less intended to deliberate than our soul. To the arts of demonto act, to reason than to feel. The stration, then, we should wish to time is short, and much remains to add the arts of persuasion. We be done. We like that system of should desire to persuade men, of evidences the best, wbich brings the vast interval there is in the us the soonest to the scene" of la. worth of what is finite, and what is bour, puts the greatest courage infinite; between God and the into our 'hearts, and the strongest world ; between the present 'poro implements into our bands for our tion of the wicked, and the eternal destined work. We wish to see blessedness of the righteous in the all the great faculties of man, his bosomn of an all glorious Redeemer. reason, his affections, bis will, his And this difference we would lay very prepossessions and prejudices, down, as the very foundation of our if it were possible, brought by the appeal to them, i to examine the shortest path,' to the field, and all evidence and authority of the employed in the great work. Nor Christian Revelation. It is are we eveu sure that we could !!! !! !!! . . * consent to part with all those feel ings of sacredness apd awe, of The Essay on the signs of Converwhich Mr. Chalmers would divestsion and Unconversion in Mi: us in our first examination of Chris- nisters of the Church, to which tianity, either if it would require the Society for promoting Chrisany great length of time to recover 'tian Knowledge and Church them- or if, as it is probable, their
Union in the Diocese of St. ultimate loss might weaken the
David's, adjudged their Premium stimulus for strenuous exertion.
for the Year 1811. By SAMOEL Above all, we should prefer that.
CHARLES WIĽKS, of St. Ed. system of evidences which would "
mund's Hall, Oxford. London ; bring us the soonest, and keep us " Hatchard. 1814. pp. 71. the nearest and most constant, to a ** Throne of Grace. Persuaded as wé We have heard with much pleasure are, that “the testimony of Jesus of the change 'which has taken is most rapidly perceived, and place within the last few years, most assiduously embraced by the especially in regard to theolo regenerated heart, and that''á gical studies, in the public examispiritual perception is the exclusive nations at Oxford. If it be oue gift of the Holy Spirit, in answer leading object of our schools and to prayer-we should never feel semiparies to promote sound learut.