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is its only guide and assistant in arguments. Nor is it within the matters of revelation; and it is often province of reason to decide pefound to throw light upon subjects remptorily against a declaration, which, to mere reason, appeared from whatever quarter it may come, wholly inexplicable, but which being whether Divine or human, merely once elucidated by revelation, rea- because it seems to militate against son herself cannot but admit the some supposed truth; for that sup. explanation to be perfectly satisfac- posed truth may itself be an error. tory. For example; it has in every Thus, in introducing Christianity age been a point inexplicable to among the heathen, objections are unassisted reason, why sorrow and often heard against it, arising from happiness, adversity and prosperity, the false notions of an uncivilized are not always duly apportioned people; objections which, to more to mankind, in proportion to their enlightened nations, would perhaps moral qualifications. Human philo- appear so many arguments in its sophy never has, and never could, · favour. Nor, again, is it within the reconcile this difficulty with the ac- province of reason to discard a knowledged attributes of the Crea- doctrine established on sufficient tor. Several of the sacred writers evidence, because it seems capable themselves felt this; and, arguing of being followed out into dangerous upon the mere principles of natural conclusions. Nor, again, is it within reason, the Psalmist Asaph came the province of reason to discard to the conclusion, that, if the wicked either or both of two doctrines, not were so prosperous and happy, moral in diametrical contradiction, merely virtues were an unnecessary burden because they cannot be reconciled and restriction : “ Verily," said he, by the human understanding. God's “ I have cleansed my heart in vain, foreknowledge and man's free-will

, and washed my hands in innocency. the unity of the Divine nature and But revelation explained the enig- the Trinity of persons, are instances ma. “I went," he adds, “ into the of this description. Nor is it within sanctuary of God; then understood the province of reason, when a I their end;"—the doctrine of a fu- point is clearly revealed, to reject ture retribution restored the equi- it because we cannot account for it. poise of the Divine government. That God gave his own eternal and Reason admits this doctrine, when co-equal Son, to take upon him our once disclosed, to be highly pro- nature, and to die on our behalf, is bable, and is perfectly satisfied a truth so plainly revealed in Scripwith the solution ; but it is faith ture, that we ought either altogether to which we are indebted for the to reject the record or to admit the discovery. The learned heathen doctrine. That we cannot fully acmight indeed think it probable, and count for all the circumstances of spoke of it as being so; but they this mysterious transaction; that we had no evidence for its truth but its cannot understand, except so far as probability, added, perhaps, to the is revealed, why such a sacrifice was remains of early tradition. But necessary, or why it was permitted; when revelation has disclosed the is no more to be admitted as an certainty of the fact, reason gladly argument against the doctrine itself, lays hold of it, to solve her difficul- than that it should be admitted as ties, and to guide her otherwise un- proving the spuriousness of the first certain conclusions.

verse in the Bible, that we canWe have seen, then, that it is not not understand all that is inwithin the just province of reason to volved in that stupendous act of reject a doctrine of Scripture, either creation by which God made the because it appears to our finite un heavens and the earth. If our inderstandings improbable, or because capacity to solve the difficulties atit is not fortified by adventitious tending a doctrine is to be admitted as an argument against the doctrine And shall we then, on higher subitself, we have as much reason to jects, reject whatever we cannot exdisbelieve the existence of a God plain? Forbid it, reason ; forbid it, as of a Trinity in unity. If we will modesty; forbid it, common sense not believe any thing but what we Intelligibility to our understanding fully understand, we may believe is no more the test of truth than nothing; for every subject traced to visibility to our eyes is the test of its source involves mysteries. With existence; and as the microscope regard to the alleged difficulties at- has shewn us many objects of which tending any Scripture doctrine, it we should never otherwise have may be that, for the full explication formed any conception, why may of those difficulties, there are pre- not a Divine revelation exhibit new liminary points necessary to be truths to our minds, and present to known, which not only are not, but us mysteries which it would be as perhaps could not be revealed to irrational to deny, because unintelus, so as to become intelligible to ligible to natural reason, as

as to our present understandings. The doubt the existence of animalculæ, Deity, for example, may have many because invisible to our unaseisted attributes wholly unknown to us. vision. It is absurd to suppose, that the in- These observations may assist in formation derived through our few determining what is clearly within, and feeble senses, can be sufficient and what is as clearly without, the to comprehend an infinite and all- limits of human reason; but it must perfect Being. Were a human being be allowed that there is in many created with a sixth sense, his fellow- cases much difficulty in settling the creatures would be utterly unable exact line of boundary. In one to understand the nature of this view of the subject, points are open new inlet of knowledge. From to the jurisdiction of human reason, analogy with our own senses we which, in another, appear within may conceive of similar senses in a those sacred precincts where reason state of a far greater development: can only implicitly listen and adore. we may understand, for example, Let us select, as an illustration, the nature of hearing or smelling the fundamental doctrine of the possessed in great perfection by atonement. It is made a frequent some of the inferior animals; but a point of debate, whether this docnew sense cannot be described or trine be consistent with the justice realised. Thus, the blind philoso- and supremacy of the Almighty. pher could conceive of scarlet The Socinian maintains the negaonly as resembling the sound of a tive; the orthodox believer, the affirtrumpet. The torpedo and elec- mative. Now, strictly speaking, trical eel may possibly each have such a discussion ought to come a sense wholly incapable of being under the head of unlawful limits ; known to us : certain at least it is, since it presupposes a degree of that no analogy with ordinary see. knowledge which we do not possess ing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or respecting the character of the Difeeling, can account for the peculiar vine Being. It is not for a creature phenomena whicb the habits of these like man to decide peremptorily on animals present to our observation. what befits the infinite Governor of Migratory birds may possibly have the universe. Our simple answer on a sense unknown to us: some of such points must be, “ It is writwhat are called the instincts of ten." Yet within certain limits such animals, may in reality be distinct a discussion may be both allowable

It is not necessary to the and useful; for we are not left argument that such is the fact : it wholly in the dark respecting the is enough for the purpose of the Divine nature ; and we may therepresent argument, that it is possible. fore, perhaps, without presumption proceed to investigate, with a view but in answering it, it becomes us to edification, what information our to beware that we are not betraygeneral views respecting God afford ed into disputable and dangerous in relation to some particular doc- regions of speculation. We should trine which is the subject of dis- often rather ask, “ Is our reason cussion. Yet it is evident, that we perfect as respects the point under cannot proceed many steps, even in consideration? Can no


error mix this laudable track, without ap- with our calculations or concluproaching disputable or dangerous sions?” It is certainly reasonable limits. According as we begin to assert that two truths cannot with one or another attribute of the really oppose each other; but are Godhead, we may seem to arrive at we sufficiently acquainted with all opposite conclusions; and, as was possibilities, to be able to decide before remarked, after all our rea- universally, and in every case, what soning, it is wholly out of our power positions are or are not in a state of to determine what befits the cha- opposition ? That God is infinitely racter of the Almighty, in such a merciful; that he has power to formanner as to be always a satisfac- give every transgression; and yet tory test of the truth or falsity of that he will eternally punish the doctrines.

wicked, are represented by some And thus again with regard to persons as wholly incongruous podrawing inferences from Scriptural sitions: and hence, the last of them positions: reason may doubtless is peremptorily rejected; yet the claim to herself, generally, the pri- objector cannot prove that a deeper vilege of so doing; yet, in practice, insight into truth would not reconhow soon do we get beyond the cile them. We should ever rejust limits of this faculty! Two member that our reason, like all persons, setting out with the same our powers both of body and mind, fundamental truth, may, after a few is limited and fallible: nay more, steps, arrive at the most opposite that since the fall of man it is corconclusions. We find different sects rupted by the dominion of sin, and objecting to each other's doctrines is, besides, under the influence of certain inferences which the op. innumerable prejudices. Many of poser maintains necessarily result the objections which the impugners from them, but which their advo- of Revelation, or of any of its myscates think clearly separable. Both teries, most strongly urge as unparties perhaps may be honest; answerable, are unanswerable only both may admit certain scriptural on their own principles, those prinpositions; yet still differ respecting ciples themselves being false. "It is the apparently necessary inferences therefore always dangerous to meawhich flow from their tenets. sure spiritual truths by precon

And does not this prove, that, ceived opinions, even where those even where in theory reason is al- opinions are deliberately supposed lowed to claim authority, she may to be correct; how much more so in practice often find berself re. then, by those vague and unfounded duced to extremities, and discover maxims which often pass current in it to be the only rational plan to society without any shadow of rabelieve implicitly what is infallibly tional foundation ? revealed; and to be content to postpone some part of her privilege of Having thus gone through the deriving inferences till her powers proposed discussion, it may be useshall be enlarged to the height of ful, in conclusion, to illustrate the the great argument on which they legitimate jurisdiction of reason in are employed.

matters of religion, by an allusion, “ Is such a doctrine reasonable?" to some of the leading principles of is certainly a reasonable question ; revelation.

Let us imagine the allegorical ought some difficulties which he goddess of reason, seated beside might apprehend or imagine in such king Agrippa, when St. Paul ex- a doctrine to have induced him to plained before that monarch the reject, either the doctrine itself, or nature of his Divine commission; the system of which this article which he stated to be “ to open the forms a part. The difficulties might eyes of the people and of the Gentiles; be solvable; and certainly could not and to turn them from darkness unto abate the force of direct testimony light, and from the power of Satan of other evidence which had been unto God, that they might receive shewn to be conclusive. forgiveness of sins, and an inheri- The first object, then, of Christance among them that are sanctified tianity, as stated in the commission by faith in Christ.” Reason would be given by its Divine Author to its justified in inquiring into the general chief Apostle, is “to open the eyes evidences in favour of this system; of the people and of the Gentiles.” and, in addition to this, in weighing Christianity then supposes men by each article of the alleged Divine nature to be in a state of moral commission in the balance of calm darkness. Reason asks, Is this true ? investigation. The following are Yes, it is true. The great body of the kind of questions which reason mankind, and even the wisest phi, would naturally ask :- Were the na- losophers, confessedly knew little or tions of the world morally blinded ? nothing respecting the nature of On what points did they require God or the end of man; their their eyes to be opened ? From brightest light was but darkness what, and to what, were they to be visible; for though, by the use of turned? What was the nature of reason, enlightened by primeval this conversion? What are its ob- tradition, they might, from the works jects and its end? What is meant of creation, have derived some noby the forgiveness of sins ? Were tions of a Supreme Being, sufficient men sinners? Did they need for. to leave them without excuse in giveness? What is the nature of their atheism or polytheism, yet, in sanctification? Is there any neces- point of fact, they were in a state sity for it? What is the promised of gross ignorance, idolatry, and inheritance? What are the qualifi. superstition. Now, the Gospel uncations for it? What is faith in dertakes to open men's eyes: it Christ? How does it promote sanc- unfolds many points of the greatest tification? and a variety of similar moment if found to be true: it speaks, questions, on all which reason would for example, of mankind as fallen be entitled to make strict inquisition. from their original purity; as guilty

There is, however, one most rea- before God, on account of their sonable restriction in such inquiries; transgressions, and as needing parnamely, as has been already re- don and reconciliation, which it demarked, not to allow a supposed scribes as secured by the obedience difficulty to shake our faith, so long unto death of the incarnate Son of as the general evidence is found God. conclusive; not to reject any indi- But to understand these interestvidual part, while we see cause to ing points fully, it was requisite that believe the whole. Suppose that the eyes of men should be opened Agrippa had fully examined the on a variety of other subjects. It claims of Christianity, and discovered was important for them to be apthe Apostle's commission to be well prised of the being and attributes founded; it would not then have been of God; his unity, and yet of the reasonable to detach, for example, Trinity of persons in the Godhead, the doctrine of satanic agency, so with each of whom it was necessary

. strongly adverted to in this passage, we should be made acquainted as from the rest of the revelation : nor agents in the work of our redemption and salvation. The intention amined by the light of revelation, of of human life; the actual condition which reason is bound to make full of mankind; the introduction of sin; use in conducting her researches, our duties; our chief good; the doc- they will be seen to be perfectly trine of our immortality; the future consistent with our most rational judgment: and every other disclo- ideas of God, and correspondent to sure of revelation will appear upon the actual condition and necessities examination to be of a useful, and of mankind. Even the interior seindeed most momentous, nature. It crets of religion,—such as the docis certainly within the limits of hu- trine of the Holy Spirit's influences, man reason humbly to make this the Christian's growth in grace, the examination : and the more full the communion of the human soul with investigation, if honestly conducted, God in prayer, the hopes, the trials, the more convincingly will it appear the supports of the believer; all can that natural reason required this be proved to be rational and conDivine illumination ; and that the sistent, however far removed they subjects disclosed, though often in. may be from the ordinary subjects finitely above the sphere of our which employ the human intellect; unassisted researches, are in the and however inexplicable, except strictest accordance with every upon the principles of the sacred truly rational principle in the hu- records, and under the Divine ilman mind.

lumination of Him by whom those But Christianity is intended not records were indited. only to enlighten the mind, but to

W. convert the heart ; to turn men “ from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.” And Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer, what does right reason,—not reason controlled by human passions and In connexion with the importance the love of sin—but reason really of speaking truth ourselves, and inin earnest in the search of sacred culcating it on our children and truth, conclude respecting this dis- others under our influence, must be closure? Is there anything absurd viewed the difficulty of so doing, in or improbable in what the Gospel a state of civilization, in which the teaches on the subject of man's ori- language of false courtesy is too ginal defection from his Maker; his generally substituted for that of continued sinfulness; his guilt; his sincerity, and high colouring and need of a spiritual change of heart; glossing are deemed no deviation an education, so to speak, for that from the sacredness of truth. But celestial world, respecting which the the difficulties in the way of disGospel had “ opened his eyes?" charging this duty, do not diminish Or, is the doctrine of " forgiveness the importance of so doing; and of sins;" or of a future “inheritance;" it is not too much to say, that or of that inheritance being reserved almost every other moral obligation not for the careless or deliberate finds its best support from this, and transgressor, but for “ them that are many are wholly dependent on it. sanctified;" or of « faith" being the How unceasing then, should be our instrument of putting us in posses- efforts to maintain truth ourselves, sion of these blessings, attended and to impress its practical importwith any circumstance that can ance from the very earliest period shock right reason? Surely not: for, on the minds of the young! though connected with all these The Bible is the volume of truth; points are mysteries which no hu- and God, the Author of the Bible, man intellect can develop, the is Truth itself. All His attributes doctrines themselves are not only unite in forming the character of revealed, but, when calmly ex- truth; and truth is embodied in the

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