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happened to be young at the time when the public happened to tell us through monuments, records, or mind was in a restive and questioning mood.
literary documents; and these we therefore term our My first design at present is to inquire in what sense “authorities” for that particular period. But it is the “authority” is ascribed by the Church to the collection same with science. The innumerable facts on which of documents which we call Holy Scripture. It will be every inductive science is reared have simply been obmy business also to indicate what, or how much at least, served somewhere by somebody, on whose word we know needs to be proved respecting Scripture, in order to them. Those ingenious experiments by which nature is make it reasonable for us to recognize in it such cross-questioned and hypotheses are tested, were simply authority. It is impossible, within the limits of a made somewhere by somebody, whose record of them lecture, to adduce the detailed evidence on which all, or and of their results succeeding students accept on trust. even any, of those positions rest, which need to be It is true that we endeavour to eliminate such errors as proved before the authority of Scripture can be held to human ignorance or prejudice may occasion, hy repeating be scientifically established; but I shall be content if I experiments and multiplying observations. But the advancan make it appear to you that the authority claimed tage of being able to do so results entirely from the chance for Scripture is a reasonable claim, and that it rests on of error, which has to be reduced to a minimum. The evidence which is of the same nature as that on which fact once ascertained beyond question and recorded with other scientific results are based.
accuracy, needs not to be again ascertained. It is
accepted thenceforward on authority. No student of There are two, and only two, regions within which science does more than avail himself of the amassed inwe can speak of the authority which one intelligence heritance of such recorded facts, and build his own new can exert over another. In each of these regions, the discoveries upon that foundation. Science itself could authority exerted in any given case may be either not advance beyond its infancy, except by resting apon legitimate—that is, rational; or illegitimate and irra- authority. tional. The first region is that of evidence; the You observe, however, that this sort of authority second that of law. Authority in the first case rests attaches only to facts, not to opinions, deductions, or upon superior knowledge; in the second, upon superior theories based upon the facts. And for this reason, of moral right. The one appeals to reason, and requires course, that while the original observer or contemporary of us belief; the other appeals to conscience, and re- recorder has superior means of knowing the fact, he has
, quires obedience.
or may have, no superior power of drawing conclusions We shall best appreciate the conditions of legitimate from it. We accept his witness to what we cannot authority, in both of these spheres, by considering how know as well ourselves—thus paying tribute to him at it is exerted by one human being upon another. that point where he is superior; but we reserve the
In the sphere of evidence, for example, he who knows liberty of revising his inferences, because in that respect what I do not know occupies (so far) a superior position: our position may be as favourable as his own, or more he has the power of teaching my ignorance; and he has so. It appears, therefore, that the authority of one ina right to be believed when he affirms what he knows, telligence over another in matters of belief- always unless I have any valid reason for suspecting or impugn- granting the witness to be true-depends on his superior ing his veracity. This right to be believed is his knowledge of the matter in question, and is limited by authority as a witness. It is quite accurately to be the limits of that superior knowledge of bis. Authority called by the name of " authority,” because it is not in of this sort is abused, or illegitimately applied, wben my choice to believe or to disbelieve what a competent we are asked to believe on unreliable evidence, or to and honest witness affirms. I cannot refuse to believe accept the word of one who does not himself know what on sufficient testimony, without offending both against he affirms, or to credit a thing which is of its own the laws of my own reason, and against the rights of nature incredible, because self-contradictory. But if we the witness. And so long as the thing told finds no could suppose our informant's knowledge to be incapable support within my personal observation or consciousness of mistake, and his character to be incapable of decep--so long (that is) as my only reason for believing it is, tion, his authority would in that case be absolute. We that so-and-so has said it-the fact remains a fact of should have no resource but to believe. belief, and not a fact of knowledge. My informant Let us turn next to the authority of law, which was knows in the strict sense; I do not know, I only credit. the second species I spoke of. Human society is based Now, it is quite evident that not only does this anthority upon the right of certain individuals to control within of evidence lie at the basis of all civil and criminal juris- given limits the will of other individuals. When the prudence; not only is it the principle of all that portion ruling will expresses itself in a law, we have only to of our education which is properly to be termed instruc- inquire whether the matter legislated upon transcends tion; but it is that on which both history and science the legitimate sphere of the lawgiver's right; if not, his ultimately depend. As respects history, it is a familiar authority, being legitimately exerted, must be obesed
. commonplace that we know nothing of past events save This also is too fanuiliar to need enlargement. The what contemporary men, who did know them, have limits of parental authority, for example, are well defined; and within them we recognize the duty of and absolute, underlying all belief and all duty. This filial obedience. So also in the sphere of civil govern- derivative human right to be credited and obeyed could ment. While in ordinary social life, wherever men co- not exist, unless behind every human witness and lawoperate in labour or business, there is a certain vaguer giver there were One whose testimony, being infallible, description of authority, conferred by capital, partly; must be absolutely believed; whose will, being supreme, and partly by skill, but limited (not destroyed) by must be absolutely done. He it is who really requires contract, in virtue of which the employé obeys the order me to believe my brother when he speaks the truth, and of the master, and the journeyman does his work at the to obey my father when he commands the duty; and if bidding of the foreman. It is plain that authority in it were not for that authority of his sustaining theirs, such matters of obedience turns on a certain superior neither brother's witness or father's command could moral right; and that in every case the limit of have any authority at all over me. Herein is that word authority is fixed by the nature of that moral superi- of wide sweep-wide as the relations of man to man: ority, the possession of which carries with it a right “ Thou couldest have no power [literally, no authority; to rule.
John xix. 11] against Me, except it were given thee Other kinds of authority by mind over mind, than from above." these two, I cannot imagine. Now, you will observe that these two authorities, as exerted by one man over Suppose, now, that it were only possible--for once another, are both derivative and imperfect. Testimony and somehow possible--for man to be spoken to by God; among men is always imperfect, even when it is to receive on the immediate and undoubted word of God practically adequate for all our purposes ; simply be- himself a statement of fact, or of his will,-such a word cause knowledge and veracity are both imperfect in any from the Infinite Intelligence would carry an authority given witness. Legislative rule among men is also im- precisely similar in its nature to that delegated suborperfect, because the right to rule is a moral one, and dinate authority which attaches to all words of man: in cannot but suffer somewhat from the moral imperfection nature, I say, precisely similar, only in degree indeof the ruler. It is, however, of more consequence to finitely higher. The authority attaching to any comšee that even were men as perfect as men could be, munication which God might be pleased to make (suptheir authority over their fellows would still be deriva- posing him to make any at all) would be either the tive, reflected, and second-hand. In the case of moral authority of a Witness to something which He knows authority over the will, this is evident enough. It is and we do not know; or the authority of a Ruler imclear that any man's right to sway another man's obedi-posing his own will as a law for our actions. Other sort ence, and be a sort of temporary and partial lord over of authority there can be none. Take specially the his conscience, must be a delegated and subordinate right, authority of the Divine testimony (for it will be simpler drawn from Him who is the original Owner of all rights to keep to that species, leaving legislation on one side). and Source of all law. Why do I obey you, father, king, God's witness-bearing to facts lying beyond the bounds or master, but because God empowered you to command, of human knowledge may conceivably relate either to and enjoined it on me to obey? It is substantially the external and material facts—such, for example, as the same with the authority of evidence. You come to me creation of matter; or to spiritual and eternal factsto tell me of a single small fact, which you happen to such as the co-existence of Three within the Unity of know and I do not. Why-must I believe you? Be- the Godhead; or to what may be termed facts of the cause you and I were both made by One who has perfect | Divine consciousness-such, I mean, as what God feels knowledge and is perfect Truth; because, on the one towards man, what he designs to do in regard to us, hand, he made you to know the fact in question, checks what he is willing to give on our asking him, and the your relative knowledge of it by his own absolute know- like. These, and such-like classes of facts, though they ledge, binds you to bear true witness to me, and will lie, like all facts, before the eye of Omniscience, are by attest your witness or expose your falsehood by his own their very nature undiscoverable by any man—at least, judgment; because, on the other hand, he made me in our present state. Here, therefore, the Divine capable of learning from you, chose you to be the bearer testimony must be alone and unsupported. From a of a morsel of his truth to me, and requires me to yield region outside of human knowledge this solitary you, as my brother, the fit measure of trustful and Witness comes, with a revelation of new facts which charitable credence. You testify, and I believe, under exist, and which we are to believe as existing on the the eye and in the light of him who made you to be a authority of his bare word. Wherein does this authority truthful witness and me to be a believing learner. If differ in essence from that of any solitary adventurer you deceive me, he is my avenger; if I disbelieve you who returns from newly-discovered lands, to report their without reason, he is your avenger.
geography and their flora, or from that of the savant I think it follows from this, that the imperfect bor- wbo should alone observe the solar phenomena of an rowed authority which one man exerts over the faith Antarctic eclipse? God forbid that I should appear to · and obedience of another man, implies and throws us any one to institute irreverent comparisons; but I wish back upon some supreme authority, nltimate, underived, you to feel that the testimony of God (if only attainable)
must possess the very same kind of authority which When we read what is said in the Bible regarding belongs to his intelligent and moral creature-man; human sin, we are all apt to think that the colours are that authority, namely, which reason binds us to exaggerated—that it is spoken of as something more concede to superior knowledge when combined with heinous and less pardonable than is at all reasonable
. veracity. Because it is when you feel this that you will On the other hand, when we read what the Bible says not be frightened, as by a bugbear, at this word regarding the love of God, we feel that surely God has “authority” ascribed to Scripture. A mau is not sup- shown a love as unreasonably great as was his anger posed to abdicate the rights of his reason, or bow down against sin, in thus sending his eternal Son to redeem in intellectual slavery to a dead letter, when he believes mankind. These two difficulties are as old as Chriswhat Julius Cæsar has related of his campaigns in tianity, and have been felt in some fashion or another Gaul, or when he accepts the observations of Faraday by all who have meditated upon its truths. Nor can or Darwin on physical facts. Caution and criticism reasonings alone ever entirely overcome them; for, as have their place, to be sure, because self-love may warp the Bible tells us, only the Divine Spirit can give us an the historian of his own exploits, and negligence may assured and peaceful subjective possession of the Divine mislead the most careful observer. But the hesitation revelation. with which uncorroborated human evidence is received It is, however, the task of the apologist to endeavour lessens precisely in proportion as the two disturbing so to present the truth that as many as possible of the elements—error and deception-are diminished. When difficulties, whether intellectual or moral, felt by the their vanishing point has been reached—when the men of his generation, may be obviated or weakened in Witness is no longer capable of mistake, and his their force. The mode of the apologist's argument veracity is above suspicion—why should his authority must necessarily vary with the times in which he lives. become on the sudden an irrational bondage, or faith in And in endeavouring to show how it is possible for the his word a fond and unscientific credulity ?
doubter to find a rational standing-ground, by means of You will observe exactly what it is I am doing, so far. which he may pass from doubt to faith, I should be disI am not now endeavouring to prove that my assump- posed to place, not the miracles, as the apologist of last tion a few moments ago was a correct one—namely, century would have done, but the Person who worked that the Almighty God has entered into the rank of the miracles, in the front of my argument. I should witnesses, and borne his testimony in human speech to say to the doubter, Read with care the gospel history. any facts lying outside the bounds of human knowledge. There you find the image of a Person whom it will be That is, indeed, what is claimed for revelation. It is a impossible for you to contemplate without an admiration mighty, soul-shaking thought, that among the crowd of so deep as almost to be reverential. The words spoken earth's erring witnesses, credulous, deceiving, and de- by Christ, too-do they not fall upon the leart with a ceived, who yet must, on the whole, live by the faith strangely solemn and subduing power ? You may have they put in one another's words,—there has come the read the lives of many heroes, and listened to many voice of One who cannot be misled and cannot lie—the beautiful words of wise men, but you will feel yourself voice of One by whose words of everlasting truth iin- moved and solemnized by the record of the life and words mortal souls may safely live. That, I repeat, is what is of Christ as by no other. Without a peer in the page claimed for revelation; and I shall presently have of history, Jesus of Nazareth stands out as the perfected something to say on the evidence by which it is to be ideal of consummate holiness and purity-a Teacher, too, proved. In the meantime, what I say is, that, suppos- whose words are the deepest and wisest which ever ing God could or did speak to man, his word would be proceeded from human lips. So much is generally adeither a witness to unknown facts or an expression of mitted by sceptics themselves—by Rousseau, for example. his own will; that it would have in either case the same But this Jesus, whose wonderful beauty and holiness of species of authority which man's word has when he character make us almost involuntarily bow the knee bears witness or expresses his will; and that submission before him, unquestionably made certain clear, definite to the authority of what was thus said by God would statements concerning his relation to God and his relabe as eminently rational, at least as much required by tion to mankind. God, he said, was his Father, and he right reason, as the corresponding submission in the had been sent into the world, from a previous state of case of human speakers.
existence, to give his life a ransom for men. He was about to return to God, to a glorious state of existence ;
and in that state of existence he would prepare everCHRIST THE EVIDENCE OF CHRISTIANITY.
lasting and glorious abodes for all who believed ou him In addition to these more modern causes of doubt, here. He asserted, moreover, in the most unequivocal there are the two great difficulties which have always terins, standing before his auditors in the garb of 3 perplexed the human spirit when meditating on the Galilean peasant, that they would yet see him conie in truths of Scripture, and of the Creeds. The first is the the clouds of heaven, surrounded by angels, to judge view there given of hunian sin; the second, the sight mankind. which they give of the love of God.
How are we to deal with these statements of Christ ?
If they were untrue, he was either a deceiver or a | Judge of mankind. This may be done by the candid fanatic. But it is not possible to believe that a Per- doubter without much difficulty, because he has in his sonage whom men have recognized to be the loftiest and power the means of verifying these claims. This means purest Character who ever appeared among then, was of verification is the method of personal experience. also a deliberate liar and deceiver. Goodness and truth Christ has said that every one who obeys his words, and go together; and the instinct of mankind cries out puts his trust in him, will obtain certain blessings for against all attempts to separate them, and to call him his spirit. Peace, hope, and purity of soul will be good who, whether by the conscious fraud of imposture, granted to all who put their trust in him, and plead his or by the half-conscious fraud of fanaticism, deceives name with God. Especially through trust in his atoning men. Fanaticism is, indeed, a species of fraud, and death will they obtain a peace of conscience, and a therefore it, no less than deliberate deceit, must be ex- confidence in thinking of God, and in speaking to him, cluded. Fanatical imaginings, especially regarding one's which the consciousness of sinfulness has previously self, grow on the soil of a character of vanity and am- prevented then from enjoying; and thus in a wonderful bition, and accustomed to practise habitual self-deceit. manner “will conscience-of all things in the world the I know, indeed, no species of human character more re- most severe and implacable-be pacified.” To go a pngnant to man's best instincts than the arrogant, self- step further, we are told in the New Testament that it glorifying fanatic.
is possible so to enter into fellowship with this Jesus, Besides these general considerations, the gospel nar- who, although unseen, still lives, that he will become to rative speaks strongly against the idea of Jesus having us as real a Personage as those are who live in our been the dupe of fanatical imaginings regarding himself. homes and sit around the same table. Is it possible to There is about the fanatic a certain air and bearing have these experiences in the nineteenth century? By which can hardly be mistaken: a fondness for display, a putting the matter to the test, you can decide this for trembling excitement, a love of mystery. How unlike to yourselves ; and it appears to me that the character of all this was Jesus ! Take, for example, the narrative | Him who has solemnly assured men that they are realities of his arrest and trial. The quietness and the dignity, ought to plead powerfully with the candid wind to make the gentle sadness, the want of all excitement, mark the trial. And if you do discover that such spiritual him as one who had perfect faith in the justness of his experiences as I have alluded to are realities, other cause and the truth of his claims. Fanatical dreams difficulties will, for the most part, fall away of their own pass into despair when misfortune overwhelms ; but no accord. If, for instance, you believe that Jesus, although misgiving was present to the mind of him who could say unseen by mortal eye, can read the thoughts of your in his dying hour to the robber by his side, “To-day heart, and guide the inner springs of your life, you will shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
not have much difficulty in also believing, with the In order, therefore, to get rid of the monstrous para- evangelists, that he, to whom a power so like divinity dox that the best and holiest of men was either deceiver now belongs, did, when he was upon earth, still the or fanatic, we must accept as just and true the claims raging of the sea and feed the hungry multitudes by the which he made to be the Son of God, the Redeemer and word of his power.
BREATHINGS ON THE BORDER.–No. V.
BY ELIZABETII C. CLEPHANE.
ROM my dwelling 'midst the dead,
All my heart within me stirred,
By the promise of that word:
look on me!-
Me, a vile and wretched thing,
Wearied out with wandering.” And far off I see the glory and the light from heaven's Yet he said again, “ My lost one, here is rest and home gate.”
for thee !"
Ah, full sore I needed both !
Yet to enter I was loath,–
I, a byword and a name
For a gulf of sin and shame,When I heard his voice, that called me by my name to I to stand with saints in glory, there to meet my Father's enter in.
Yet his love had bound me so,
He has loosed me from my sin,
His right hand hath led me in;
But with praises in my song
That to me alone belong, I have come to thee, my Father !-stretch thine arm out, From a helpless ruined sinner to his Saviour and his strong to save!
A WORK OF LOVE IN A RUSSIAN VILLAGE.
A LADY'S NARRATIVE OF HOW SHE SPENT HER HOLIDAYS.
FROM THE CHRISTLICHE VOLKSBOTE, BASLE..
very long and severe, the fine season of the father can't do without me.” The appearance of the
therefore all who can, leave the dusty towns tion, but, without uttering my doubt, I inquired, “What during the short summer, in order to lay in a stock of did you read ?” “Church books; I can read nothing health and strength in preparation for the following else. It was very wearisome; and he pulled my hair and nine months of cold.
ears. And then one had to pay for it.” “Well, then, Not being a landed proprietor, I have always to seek children,” I said, turning to the group, “would you for some place where I may make the most of the sum- to learn with us? We shall not pull your hair and ears, mer while it lasts. I spent last vacation on a large and and we shall not make your parents pay anything. beautiful estate near Moscow, from the park of which There are just two things you must promise,—to come there was an extensive view over a rich country dotted regularly every day at the appointed time, and to wash with villages.
your face and hands carefully.” This last condition seemed Just outside the park, the Moskwa flowed along in its a very strange one to them. They looked laughingly at winding course, encircling the Kremlin as with a bright their dirty hands, and one of them said they could easily blue ribbon. On the other side of the river rose the wash themselves from head to foot in the river. So it numerous churches of the ancient capital, their gilded was agreed that on the following morning the bathing cupolas glancing in the sunlight. Were one to try to and the learning should begin. “But where must we count them, he would be involuntarily reminded of the come ?" asked the boys. We pointed out the house in saying, that their number is forty times forty.
the park, which they knew very well, for they had often My two daughters and I occupied a house pleasantly taken strawberries there for sale, and they quite enjoyed placed in the park of which I have spoken, not far from the thought of daily getting admittance to the pretty the mansion of the proprietor. After we had explored park. So they went their way, and we hastened off on many of the beautiful walks and picturesque spots of the ours, to get all made ready for our school. We had a neighbourhood, and tasted the pleasantness of the fresh room which we could devote to it, and we procured a air in the shady woods around us, we began to find that long table and a couple of benches from the gardener, something more was wanted for our refreshment,-that and laid in a stock of paper and pencils, and nice copies we needed something to interest our thoughts and heart. of the alphabet. So in the morning all was ready to beAs we passed through the villages, we saw whole troops gin school, and the little band came in, bright and happy, of bright-looking children running about barefooted and straight from their bath, with dripping hair. The chilidle. “They have plenty of spare time, as well as our- dren were all barefooted, and their whole clothing conselves," we said ; "perhaps it might be spent by us to- sisted of a pair of linen drawers and a ragged shirt, gether to our mutual advantage. They would make held together by a girdle, from which hung a small corgood material for a village school,” we thought; and per comb. But they were pleasant children, with open, from thinking we soon proceeded to acting. “Can you intelligent countenances. We began with seven scholars read, boys ?" we asked, as we came upon a group one aud three teachers, but by the end of the week our work day. “No,” they replied, after a doubtful panse, for they had doubled, for the boys had brought companions with did not know what we might mean by making such an them, and we had to divide the older from the younger, inquiry. “Is there any school in the neighbourhood ?” and opened a second class in the evening. Again“No” was the answer. “ But Jacob can read When we found that so many came, we thought we little,” said a hearty little fellow, pointing to his elder would try and have them on Sundays also, and see if we brother. “ He learned from the Diatschick”--that is, could not lead this little flock of wild and wandering the church reader. “And what do you read, Jacob ?” lambs to the true Shepherd of souls. I asked. “I read no longer," he replied, with an air of Wild they were indeed, and uncultivated, for there