Imatges de pàgina

vation the impression of his worth, the internal proofs, that no jugglery or falsehood could have been intended, would have been certainly as strong as the internal proofs which are now exhibited to us, and which consist in the simplicity of the narrative, and that tone of perfect honesty which pervades in a manner so distinct and intelligible every composition of the apostles. Yet, with all these advantages, if Jesus Christ had asserted as a truth, what we confidently know to be a falsehood; had he, for example, upon the strength of his prophetical endowments, pronounced upon the secret of a person's age, and told us that he was thirty, when we knew him to be forty, would not this have made us stumble at all his pretensions, and, in spite of every other argument and appearance, would we not have withdrawn our confidence from him as a teacher from God? This we allow would have been a most serious dilemma. It would have been that state of neutrality which admits of nothing positive or satisfying on cither side of the question; or rather, what is still more distressing, which gave the most positive and satisfactory appearances on both sides. We could not abandon the truth of the miracles, because we saw them. Could we give them up, we should determine on a positive rejection, and our minds would find repose in absolute infidelity. But as the case stands, it is scepticism. There is nothing like it in any other department of inquiry. We can appeal to no actual example; but a student of natural science may be made to understand the puzzle. When he asks him, how he would act, if the experiments, which he conducts under the most perfect sameness of circumstances, were to land him in opposite results? He would vary and repeat his experiments. He would try to detect the inconsistency, and would rejoice, if he at last found, that the difficulty lay in the errors of his own observation, and not in the inexplicable nature of the subject. All this he would do in anxious and repeated endeavours, before he inferred that nature persevered in no law, and that that constancy, which is the foundation of all science, was perpetually broke in upon by the most capricious and unlooked for appearances, before he would abandon himself to scepticism, and pronounce philosophy to be an impossible attainment.

145. It is our part to imitate this example. If Jesus Christ has, on the one hand, performed miracles, and sustained in the whole tenour of his history the character of a prophet, and, on

the other hand, asserted to be true, what we undeniably know 10 be a falsehood, this is a dilemma which we are called upon to resolve by every principle, that can urge the human mind in the pursuit of liberal inquiry. It is not enough to say, that the phenomena in question do not fall within the dominion of philosophy; and we therefore leave them as a fair exercise and amuse

The mathematician may say, and has said the same thing of the moralist; yet there are moralists in the world, who will prosecute their speculations in spite of him; and what is more, there are men who take a wider survey than either, who rise above these professional prejudices, and will allow, that, in each department of inquiry, the subjects which offer are entitled to a candid and respectful consideration. The naturalist may pronounce the same rapid judgment upon the difficulties of the theologian ; yet there ever will be theologians who feel a peculiar interest in their subject; and we trust that there ever will be men, with a higher grasp of mind than either the mere theologian, or the mere naturalist, who are ready to acknowledge the claims of truth in every quarter,---who are superior to that narrow contempt, which has made such an unhappy and malignant separation among the different orders of scientific men,—who will examine the evidences of the gospel history, and, if they are found to be sufficient, will view the miracles of our Saviour with the same liberal and philosophic curiosity with which they would contemplate any grand phenomenon in the moral history of the species. If there really appears, on the face of this investigation, to be such a difficulty as the one in question, a philosopher of the order we are now describing will make many an anxious effort to extricate himself: he will not soon acquiesce in a scepticism, of which there is no other example in the wide field of human speculation; he will either make out the insufficiency of the historical evidence, or prove that the falsehood ascribed to Jesus Christ has no existence. He will try to dispose of one of the terms of the alleged contradiction, before he can prevail upon himself to admit both, and deliver his mind to a state of uncertainty most painful to those who respect truth in all her departments.

ment to commentators.

(To be contioued.)



(Concluded from page 376.)

The following extract from a letter, originally written in latin, by Mr. Increase Mather, of Boston, to the celebrated Dr. Leusden, of the university of Utrecht, contains a summary account of Mr. Elliot's labours and success as a missionary. It bears date,

July 12, 1687. “ Worthy and much-honoured Sir,

“ Your letters were very grateful to me, by which I understand that you, and others in your famous university of Utrecht, desire to be informed concerning the converted Indians in America; take, therefore, a true account of them in a few words:

“It is above 40 years since that truly godly man, Mr. John Elliot, pastor of the church at Roxbury, being inflamed with a holy zeal for converting the Americans, applied himself to learn the Indian tongue, that he might the more easily and successfully unfold to them the mysteries of the Gospel; upon account of which, he has been deservedly called, The Apostle of the American Indians. This reverend person, with very great labour, translated the whole Bible into the {ndian tongue : into which he also translated several English Treatises of Practical Divinity, and some Catechisms. About 26 years ago, he collected a church of converted Indians, in a town called Natick; these Indians confessed their sins with tears, and professed their faith in Christ; they and their children were afterwards baptized, and solemnly joined together in a church covenant. Mr. Elliot was the first who administered the Lord's supper to them. The present pastor of that church is an Indian. Besides this church at Natick, among our inhabitants in the Massachusetts colony, there are four Indian assemblies, where the name of Jesus Christ is solemnly called upon; these assemblies have some American preachers. Mr. Elliot was formerly in the habit of preaching to them once



a fortnight, but now, being in the 84th year of his age, and weakened by his labours, he does not preach to the Indians oftener than once in two months.

“ There is another church, consisting wholly of converted Indians, about 50 miles from hence, in an Indian town called Mashippaug: the first pastor of that church was an Englishman, who being skilful in the American language, preached the Gospel to them in their own tongue. This English Pastor is dead, and instead of him, that church has an Indian preacher. There are, besides that, five assemblies of Indians professing the name of Christ, not far distant from Mashippaug, which have Indian preachers. John Cotton, pastor of the church at Plymouth, has made a very great progress in the knowledge of the Indian tongue; he preaches in their own language to the above-mentioned five congregations every week. Of the inhabitants of Saconet, in Plymouth colony, there is a great congregation of those who, for distinction's sake, are called praying Indians, because they pray to God in Christ.

“ Not far from a promontory called Cape-Cod, there are six assemblies of heathens, who are considered as Catechumens, amongst whom there are six Indians preachers : Samuel Treat, pastor of a church at Eastham, preaches to those congregations in their own language. There is a church amongst the islanders of Nantucket, the pastor of which was lately a heathen; there are also amongst them several assemblies of Catechumens, who are instructed by converted Indians. In an island called Martha's Vineyard, there are two famous American churches, over one of which an ancient Indian presides as pastor; and a son of this Indian pastor preaches the Gospel to his countrymen.

In another church at that place, a converted Indian teaches. All the congregations of the converted Indians, both Catechumens and those in church fellowship, meet together every Lord's-day; the pastor, or preacher, always begins the worship with extempore prayer; and when prayer is concluded, the whole congregation of Indians, some of whom are excellent singers, join together in singing the praises of God. After singing, he that preaches, reads a portion of Scripture, and expounds it; he then collects doctrines from it, which he proves by Scripture and reason, and infers, after the manner of the English, uses from those doctrines. The service is concluded with prayer.

" Before the English came into these coasts, those barbarous nations were altogether ignorant of the true God; hence it is, that in their prayers and sermons, they use English terms: in calling upon the name of God, they say Jehovah, or God, or Lord; and they have also borrowed many other theological words from us.

“In short, there are six churches of baptized Indians in NewEngland, and eighteen assemblies of Catechumens, professing the name of Christ; there are twenty-four Indians who preach the word; and besides these, there are four English ministers, who preach in the Indian tongue.

INCREASE MATER." Boston, in New-England,

July 12, 1687.

It was in the year 1646, that Mr. Elliot, accompanied by three persons of his choice, paid a visit to an assembly of Indians, of whom he requested a meeting at a given time and place, that he might lay before them the things relating to their eternal interests. Aster praying, with his wonted solemnity and fervour, he preached a sermon to them, which lasted about an hour and a quarter. This discourse contained the principal articles of the Christian religion; all of which he plainly and faithfully applied to the condition of the Indians whom he addressed. Having ended his sermon, he asked them, whether they understood ? and with a general reply, they said, We understand all. He then, as was his custom afterwards, caused them to propound questions to him; to all of which he returned wisc and good answers.Their questions would often, though not alwaws, refer to what he had newly preached; and he this way not only made a proof of their profiting by his minstry, but also gave an edge to what he delivered to them. He would also propose suitable questions to them. At one of his first exercises with them he taught the young ones to answer the three following questions.

Q. 1. Who made you, and all the world?
Q. 2. Who do you look should save you from sin and hell ?
Q: 3. How many commandments has God given you to keep!

He was very inquisitive to learn from the Indians, what sort of characters their powaws, or sorcerers were, who maintained the

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