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methods, and by what alone, the credit of this history can be subverted. First, by proving the testimony in favour of the facts to be defective and equivocal. Secondly, by shewing the facts themselves to be incredible. Thirdly, by demonstrating, that, if the facts had taken place, different consequences must have followed. Fourthly, by proving that the existence and progress of Christianity are to be attributed to causes altogether independent of the truth of the facts recorded in the history under consideration.
In order to prove the testimony to be false or deficient, it must be shewn that there is not the same reason to believe the genuineness of the books of the New Testament as of other books of equal antiquity, or that the facts which are recorded in them are of such a nature as to exclude certainty of information, or that the historians had no proper opportunity of ascertaining their reality, or that, from certain rules of decision admitted in other cases, there is reason to conclude that the veracity of these historians may justly be called in question. But if it appear that the gospel-history will abide the test of this inquiry, it must be concluded that no objection can be urged against the testimony, in itself considered. And let it be remarked, that this testimony, which is now sup posed to have borne a fair and strict examination, is strongly corroborated by the original presumption in favour of the facts which has already been stated. And that there should be this concurrence of presumption and testimony in favour of a mere imposture, must be considered as very extraordinary and improbable. Thus allowing, what has never been disproved, that the testimony, in itself considered, is not objectionable, the general evidence in favour of Christianity may be stated as follows: The New-Testament history possesses all the requisite marks of credibility. It contains the narrative of facts, the belief of which prevailed and extended itself in defiance of prejudice and opposition, and finally produced the most signal and important consequences; consequences which are experienced at the present
But in opposition to this historical and presumptive evidence, it may be
alleged, that the facts recorded in the history under consideration are in themselves so incredible, as to be inadmissible upon testimony which in itself considered appears to be clear and unequivocal. It will be urged, that miracles are in their nature so very extraordinary, as to carry in themselves a refutation of any evidence by which they may appear to be attended. In reply to this objection, it is to be remarked, that a revelation is in itself a deviation from the order of nature, or, in other words, a miracle, and that it must be confirmed by other miracles in order to establish its truth. The question, then, respecting the credibility of the facts recorded in the gospelhistory, resolves itself into the previous question, Is it credible that God should communicate his will to mankind in an extraordinary and supernatural manner? Now, let it be considered on what grounds (I mean on the principles of Theism) it is possible to affirm the incredibility of such an interposition; and these must be the three that follow: that such an interposition is contrary to experience; to the Divine perfections as discoverable by the light of nature; or, to the conduct of the Divine government which acts not by special interposition, but by general laws. To say that a divine revelation is contrary to experience, unless general experience be intended, is evidently to beg the question; and to maintain that it contradicts the attributes of the Deity, is to affirm much more than it would be possible to prove. And though God has appointed general laws for the government of his creatures, it by no means admits of demonstration that he will never interfere in an extraordinary maimer to effect purposes which could not be so well accomplished by the operation of general appointments. Thus, instead of its being affirmed that miracles, or a divine revelation, are incredible, it ought rather to be said, that, judging from general experience and what we know of the Divine conduct, they are attended with that kind of improbability which it requires clear and unequivocal testimony to counterbalance. To pronounce them incredible is simply to affirm, what can never be proved, that the Author of nature had from the first determined never to effect a
deviation from the general course of nature. With respect, then, to the improbability of miracles, it may be observed, that it is an improbability of which we are incompetent judges, and which may, therefore, be surmounted by a certain force of testimony. And we find, in fact, that the highest degree of supposed improbability, arising merely from a want of experience, is perpetually overcome by such evidence as is supposed to possess the proper recommendations to enforce belief. And it is further to be observed, that an improbability arising from the want of analogy, may be more or less credible according to the magnitude of the phenomena which are to be explained by the admission of it. A miracle which, if believed, accounts for no existing phenomenon, and a miracle, or set of miracles, which will explain a great and important effect for which a sufficient cause is wanting, must be allowed to be very differently circumstanced in point of credibility; and it might be added, that a less degree of positive testimony will suffice to confirm the latter than what would he necessary to establish the former. Let me now ask, whether what appears to be an authentic record of miracles may not be admitted as containing the cause of a most extraordinary
menon, of which history offers no other explanation? As a further presumption in favour of miracles, it may be observed, that there are only two religions existing upon earth which profess to be established on miracles that were public and notorious; namely, the Jewish and the Christian; and there appertain to both these religions circumstances which are best explained upon the supposition that they are really divine. The Jews, it is acknowledged, were inferior to other nations in every species of polite literature and in general science. And yet, though surrounded by idolaters, they maintained, as a community, the Unity of God, and entertained more exalted views of the Divine perfections than even the wisest philosophers of the most polished nations. The Christian religion is confessedly the most pure and philosophical that ever appeared upon earth; containing principles most highly beneficial to the general interests of mankind, and presenting a standard
of morality to which no objection can be made. And it may safely be observed, that these extraordinary facts are best accounted for by admitting the miracles of the Old and New Tes tament, and that they are striking confirmations of their truth. But before I quit the subject of miracles, I ought to notice the objection of Mr. Hume, that no testimony can justify the belief of a miracle, since the falsehood of human testimony can never be more miraculous than the truth of the fact which it professes to establish. But the fallacy of this objection will be apparent if we consider that the falsehood of testimony in certain circumstances would be impossible, without a violation of the order of nature. But such a violation of this order, a violation which could be referred to no cause, and could answer no beneficial end, would be far more inexplicable, and therefore far more incredible than a set of miracles which are expressly attributed to God as their author, and from which a great and important effect has followed.
[To be concluded in the next Number.]
Lewes, December 5, 1820. HE biography of the great, the
T received by every class of readers with wise and good, has been uniformly lively interest and avidity; and, if the the worth of departed excellence may value of any additional testimony to be estimated by the veneration which that excellence has justly excited, the following private one in favour of the piety and resignation of the great and good Dr. Franklin will, I presume, be not unacceptable to the perusers of valuable Miscellany.
"To Mr. Viny, Blackfriars' Road.
"Though I am almost exhausted with writing letters, I will not let this opportunity pass without one for my friends at
important, I suppose my letter will not "As bad news flies swift, if it is be the first information you will have of Dr. Franklin's death. Yes, we have lost that valued, that venerable, kind friend, whose knowledge enlightened our minds,
and whose philanthropy warmed our hearts. But we have the consolation to think, that if a life well spent in acts of universal benevolence to mankind, a grateful acknowledgment of Divine favour, a patient submission under severe chastisement, and an humble trust in Almighty mercy, can insure the happiness of a future state, our present loss is his gain. I was the faithful witness of the closing scene, which he sustained with that calm fortitude which characterized him through life. No repining, no peevish expression ever escaped him, during a confinement of two years, in which, I believe, if every moment of ease could be added together, the sum would not amount to two whole months. When the pain was not too violent to be amused, he employed himself with his books, his pen, or in conversation with his friend; and upon every occasion displayed the clearness of his intellects and the cheerfulness of his temper. Even when the intervals from pain were so short that his words were frequently interrupted, I have known him hold a discourse in a sublime strain of piety. I say this to you because I know it will give you pleasure; for what but piety, which includes charity, can we carry into a future state of happiness? Whether there be tongues, they shall fail, whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away;' but love to God and to his creatures, which is cer
tainly what the apostle meant by charity, never faileth.'
"I never shall forget one day that I passed with our friend last summer. found him in bed in great agony, but when that agony abated a little, I asked if I should read to him; he said, Yes; and the first book I met with was Johnson's Lives of the Poets. I read the life of Watts, who was a favourite author with Dr. F.; and, instead of lulling him to sleep, it roused him to a display of the powers of his memory and his reason: he repeated several of Watts's Lyric Poems, and descanted upon their sublimity in a strain worthy of them and of their pious author. It is natural for us to wish that an attention to some ceremonies had accompanied that religion of the heart which I am convinced Dr. F. always possessed; but let us who feel the benefit of them continue to practise them, without thinking lightly of that piety which could support pain without a murmur, and meet death without ter
"I will not apologize for filling my paper with this subject, I could not find one more interesting. The public transactions of his life, and the honours paid to his memory, you will hear by other means.
"Old Things" in Spain.
Tickens when I think of the horrid devastations which have been comTHINGS go on most Mr. heart mitted by those "radical rascals”—those " sour, unsparing jacobins," the Spanish Cortes. What "beautiful specimens" of the fervent piety of their ancestors scattered to the wind! What bellas reliquias! What exquisite fragments of devotion! I have been gathering a few together out of the wreck. For Christian charity's sake help me to preserve them. Some of the episcopal gems, especially, are of the purest water-rather rubies than diamonds trulybut perfect in their way. However, I shall not waste my treasures on you till I ascertain that you duly appreciate them. Ad rem.
Scraps of a Pastoral Letter published in 1816, entitled, Remedio fumigatorio, igneo, fulminante estremo (estrémo de ordenada caridad) que el Obispo de Santander movido por reales ordenes copiadas en el escrito procuraba á los que pueden hallarse en su obispado, (en confianza de la electrica Cristiana fraternidad difundida por todos los otros obispados del reino,) á los que hay en España enfermos, pestiferos, moribundos, victimas de la infernal filosofía, volteri-napoleonina.
A fumigating remedy, an igneous, detonating extreme (the extreme of wellordered charity) which the Bishop of Santander, in consequence of the royal orders herein referred to, directs to all the inhabitants of his diocese, (confiding in the electrical Christian fraternity spread over all the other bishoprics of the kingdom,) to those in Spain who may be diseased, infected with the plague, moribund, victims of the infernal, volterinapoleonic philosophy.
Does not that make a pretty introitus, Mr. Editor? Now for a specimen of the gentle spirit with which our Christian overseer addresses the wandering sheep of his flock:
Hasta quando negros mas que oscuros, Catilinas Españoles, hasta quando viles, infames, soeces, escarabajos del infierno, diablos mas que endiablados, concives conterraneos nuestros hasta quando abusareis de nuestro sufrimento?
Ye who are rather black than obscure, ye Spanish Catalines,-ye vile, ye infamous, ye dirty ones, ye beetles of hell, ye devils rather than devilized, engendered in our native soil-how long, how long will ye abuse our forbearance?
This is a "forbearance" truly edifying, Mr. Editor.
Rogamos á los señores maestros de primeras y segundas letras ó á los de leer, escribir y latinidad, asimismo á los padres de familia si la tienen menuda niños y niñas que quando no lean de verbo ad verbum ó del principio al fin esta nuestra pastoral ante sus discipulos y familiares, por lo menos los instruyan sucintamente en su sustantia y les exhorten á que andando por los caminos aunque sean despoblados y estando en sus trabajos entonen como Dios les diere á entender siquiera los remates de las clausulas maldicientes que aqui irán escritas y sino estas no sé si coplas ó prosas, porque serian lo que salga y son estas
1a. A todo aquel que persiga
2a. Los que muerto ó tal quieran
A nuestro rey buen Señor,
3a. Y si alguno cacarea
Conviene ser nuestra España
Ainsi soit-il, esto es, Amen.
And we require all schoolmasters of the first and second classes, and those who teach reading, writing and Latin, and all fathers of young families, whether boys or girls, that if they do not read to their scholars and to their household this our pastoral epistle de verbo ad verbum, or from the beginning to the end, that at least they instruct them succinctly in its contents and substance; and exhort them, that when they walk out, even in unpeopled roads, and while engaged in their daily labours, that they accustom themselves to utter what God shall give them to understand of the following damnatory verses, at all events the concluding clauses I hardly know whether to call them couplets or prose; but they are three, as here written-p. 47:
This is enough for once, according to the advice of the Castellian proverb : Os dexaré con miel en los labios.
T was with feelings of pleasant ac
for July last, (XV. 414,) a communication from one of your correspondents, on the "Lawfulness of War amongst Christians;" but it is with regret I have to observe, that hitherto no further attention has been given to a consideration of such high import.
Conceiving that the subject speaks forcibly for itself, without now going at large into the merits of the case, I would step forward to second the truly Christian call of your praise-worthy correspondent, by another earnest recommendation of the topic to the several distinguished contributors to your valuable Miscellany; and I am
also quite of opinion, that while theo- ONE of the most powerful argue
logical questions are entitled to a marked preference in your pages, "there are other auxiliary subjects highly promotive of truth and righteousness, ," which it is very desirable to see more attended to.
Mere civilization would naturally train the heart of man to the reception of the beneficent principle of Peace; but when we have to consider ourselves in our character of Christians, when, with regard to this object, we must look to the example and unceasing solicitude of our heavenly Master, THE PRINCE OF PEACE, the consideration becomes all-important, and falls upon the mind with irresistible force. But not to urge it upon our attention as an incumbent duty, I am persuaded that whoever will give the subject due reflection, he will not fail to perceive that the extinction of War must be accompanied with incalculable benefits to the general happiness of mankind; he will perceive that such a train of blessings will assuredly attend the career of Peace, as cannot fail to animate him to a zealous co-operation with the Peace-Societies, now so nobly exerting themselves in this great cause; indeed, it would seem that some such plan must necessarily antecede the period when the calf, and the young lion, and the futling shall lie down together; and should it please God to spare my life yet a few years, I do ardently anticipate the satisfaction of learning that the worshipers of the one true God have very generally ranged themselves under the standard of these truly Christian bands.
ments the divine mission of Christ, is the manner in which he met his death. He shews near the commencement of his ministry that he was to suffer, and he submitted to his fate, after having foretold every circumstance which attended his departure, and resolutely expressed his determination to obey the will of his heavenly Father. By his firm and enlightened conduct in this respect, he evinced his unshaken conviction in the truth of the great doctrine which he came to promulgate, the resurrection of the dead to a new and better life, and illustrated the necessity on the part of others who believed in him, to follow his example in a course of suffering. The declaration of Jesus that he was to be crucified, his going up to Jerusalem the last time for that purpose, and his unshaken adherence to that resolution, in spite of every earthly consideration, afforded evidence for the truth of his claims which Lucian of Samosata did not fairly know how to remove. He had, therefore, recourse to an artifice which is not to be paralleled in the annals of human baseness. He knew that the inference in favour of Christianity would fall to the ground, if a person could be produced who pursued a similar conduct from ambition, the love of distinction and vain-glory: he, therefore, copies all the leading features which distinguished the death of our Lord, and ascribes them to Peregrinus, thus artfully drawing his readers to conclude, that the base motives which actuated the latter were sufficient to account for the be