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press them with a conviction that it is the production of no mean intellect, and of a heart that deeply feels for the highest interests of his fellow men.
The next treatise, viz. Paley's Horæ Paulinæ, has been so long before the public, and its value has been so justly appreciated, that it is scarcely necessary to do more than simply mention it, as having a place in the present series.* Though relating to but one of the many departments of Evidence by which the truth of Christianity is so irrefragably established, it is perhaps the most satisfactory, and certainly the most ingenious, of any which have come from its author's pen. . “ With this work in our hands,” as has been observed by an able critic, we care not how the Acts of the Apostles or the Epistles of Paul were composed. The two documents are pregnant with coincidences, which no possible hypothesis but that of their own veracity could account for. Accident or fiction could not have drawn a line that should have touched upon truth, upon so many points. We have two parts of a cloven tally; nothing wanting but a comparison between both to prove the authenticity of both. It would not be in the power of the most suspicious lawyer, to subject two witnesses to a stricter cross-examination than that by which Paley has tried the testimony of St Paul and St Luke. This is the light in which the Horæ Paulinæ is to be viewed; it is a close, and rigorous, and searching series of questions, addressed to two men, deponents to certain facts, and addressed, too, by a most acute advocate, in open court, before an intelligent tribunal. We do not hesitate to say, that a fiction contrived between them would have been shattered to pieces before they had gone through a tenth part of the ordeal to which he exposes them; the mastick tree' of the one, and the holm-tree of the other,
• The greatest care has been taken, in preparing this edition, to revise the quotations of Scripture, many of which, in former editions, were extremely inaccurate. The Greek quotations have also been both verified and corrected, and those formerly untranslated have been rendered into English like the others, so that even the mere English scholar will have no difficulty in understanding every criticism on the original text contained in the work.
must have come out sooner or later. But, no! their testimony agreeth together. Yet here, again, we have the mention of miracles; of such miracles as the pretended workers of them could not have been deceived about: we ask, therefore, how we are to get rid of them? The fact presses,—How is it to be denied? how is it to be explained? how is it to be evaded ?" On no principle of sound judging can it be denied or evaded, and in no way explained, except by admitting that these miracles were actually wrought, at the times, and places, and in the precise cireumstances deponed to by the witnesses. And if really so wrought, what is the conclusion, but that on the facts and doctrines which they were employed to attest—in a word, on Christianity itself—the seal of a divine origin was visibly and even palpably enstamped?
The concluding Treatise is original; and will, it is confidently hoped, be found in every respect worthy at once of the talents and character of the excellent and justly esteemed writer to whom the publishers are indebted for it, and of the paramount importance of the subject to the illustration of which its pages are devoted—“ The Plenary and Verbal Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures." Fully agreeing with the authorthat “ the most industrious and successful inquiries regarding the genuineness and authenticity of these Sacred Oracles must prove
almost abortive, if it be still impracticable to establish their complete inspiration, or if, after all, they consist merely of inspired and uninspired portions, betwixt which no line of distinction can with certainty be drawn"-we have no hesitation in expressing the most decided conviction, that he has produced a work that is powerfully fitted to set the question at rest; and to satisfy every unprejudiced mind, that the Scriptures are in no part the words of man's wisdom only, but entirely the words of the Most High God.
And now, to all, whatever be their state of mind, or their condition in life, their diversity as to age or peculiar circumstances, into whose possession this Volume may come, and we trust it will be, as we are persuaded it amply merits, extensively circulated, we would, in conclusion, add- Read it throughout with candour, and seriousness, and prayer. We would not have you abandon the dictates of reason, but, on the contrary, submit to their influence, and apply them to their most appropriate and noblest end—the investigation of divine truth, as connected with your highest and only permanent interests. We would have you emancipated from the trammels of a false and irrational scepticism, and brought into the liberty of a sound and sanctifying faith. Give yourselves, then, diligently and earnestly to this all-interesting and important duty. Take a calm, deliberate, and unbiassed view of those bulwarks by which the truth of the Gospel, as the revelation of the divine will and law to men, is defended, and you will find them to have been as yet impregnable. Study its hallowed record for yourselves: And if you indeed believe in a God, let your fervent and continued prayers be offered up to Him, that he may enable you to distinguish between truth and falsehood—between the road that conducts to heaven and that which leads down to hell. Be this your devoted employment, and we fear not its result. “ You shall know the truth;” and that truth will, through sanctification of the spirit, be the means of purifying your character, and brightening your hopes; of sustaining your faith and godliness amid the temptations to which you may be exposed from the unbelieving and ungodly around you; and of supporting and cheering you, under every trial to which you may be subjected, while passing onward in your course, from the labours and sorrows of time, to the rest and the joys of eternity.
“ This,” says Dr Channing, “is an evidence of Christianity to be felt, rather than described; but not less real, because founded on feeling ;—that conviction of the divine original of our religion, which springs up and continually gains strength in those who apply it habitually to their tempers and lives, and who imbibe its spirit and hopes. In such men there is a consciousness of its adaptation to their noblest faculties; a consciousness of its exalting and consoling influence, of its power to confer the true happiness of human nature, to give that peace which the world cannot give : which assures us that it is not of earthly origin, but a ray from the everlasting light, a stream from the fountain of heavenly wisdom and love." Let this, then, be obtained, and your faith will stand not in the wisdow of man, but in the power of God.
ON THE TRUE CANON OF SCRIPTURE.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ASCERTAINING THE TRUE CANON OF
The Bible includes a large number of separate books, published in different ages, during a space of more than fifteen hundred years.
Each of these books, when first published, formed a volume, or at least the writings of each author were, in the beginning, distinct; and if they had continued in that separate form, and had been transmitted to us in many volumes instead of one, their authority would not on this account have been less, nor their usefulness diminished. Their collection into one volume is merely a matter of convenience; and if any persons choose now to publish these books in a separate form, they cannot with propriety be charged with casting any indignity on the Word of God.
Hence it appears, that besides general arguments to demonstrate that the Bible contains a divine revelation, there is need of special proofs to evince that each of the books now included in that sacred volume, has a right to the place which it occupies, or does in reality contain a part of that revelation which God has given.
If, therefore, it could be shown (which, however, it never can) that some particular book, now included in the Bible, was not authentic, the conclusion thence derived would only affect that single production; unless it were recognised as divine by the writers of the other books. The credit of the whole volume would not be destroyed, even if it could be proved that one-half of the books of which it consists were spurious. Infidels have much more to effect in overthrowing the Bible, than they commonly suppose. It is incumbent on them to demonstrate, not only that this or that book is false, but that every one of these productions is destitute of evidence that it has been derived from the inspiration of God.