Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

themselves into its belief. They may, after a long conflict, and after wandering through numerous mazes, reason themselves into the belief, that this is the most reasonable and scriptural view on this subject; but the soul will not be satisfied. It will often utter its living oracles from its most sacred depths, in language louder and more distinct than the voice of our theology. Refuse to hear the soul, who can? You may contradict it, and argue it down, and so you may deny your sense of sight, but all must occasionally hear it. No; the voice of my soul declares that if God is at all good to me, he is good to me as an immortal being. His is a goodness that runs parallel with my nature. It is a goodness that endureth forever. I can rely upon the testimony borne by my own soul in a matter like this, more implicitly, than I could upon a declaration uttered from the clouds of heaven.

7. Finally, it affords a very striking proof of the universal and infinite goodness of God, that as we continue to examine the subject, objections vanish, and the more satisfied we become of the truthfulness of the doctrine. We do not say that no objections can be raised to the fact of God's universal goodness. There is much, both in the natural and in the moral world, that appears inharmonious, from which the heathen have usually inferred, that this world was under the care of divinities of both good and malevolent dispositions. We may, in fact, oft times find ourselves utterly uyable to reconcile much that we see in the management of this world with the idea of an infinitely good Ruler. To do this would imply a consciousness equal to that of God himself. In glancing at a vast piece of in

tricate machinery, it is no strange thing, that we should not see the harmony of all its parts; but then the consideration, that just so far as we have learned to understand it, there is harmony, and what appears to conflict with the great whole, is but a small part, should satisfy us that the machine is really a good contrivance, and that all we need is more knowledge to enable us to reconcile all apparent difficulties.

Now, in this great machinery of the universe, much that is discordant, is to be referred to man's own will, which man might have prevented ; much natural evil is designed as a prompter, as the pain given by fire to warn of danger; much is to call forth the energies of our nature, to activity and enterprise, as excessive heat and cold, and sterility of soil; much is for our reformation, like the numerous forms of chastisement that succeed disobedience, much is for the good of others, like the suffering of the parent for the child, or the patriot for his country; and much may be beyond our comprehension, like the sufferings of innocent infants. We do, however, feel assured by the intimations of our own spirit, that this arrangement which admits suffering into the universe is, all things considered, the very best that could be made.

Let us now attend to the followings remarks :

1. The Bible completely confirms the teachings of the human mind, on the subject of Divine goodness. With all the materials in our possession, for forming a judgment on this subject, the mind's best conclusion, in its most lucid moments, is, that the great Creator is good, and the Bible confirms that conclusion. 2. The Bible does not teach God's goodness by mere

arbitrary declaration, but it teaches the doctrine as it is taught by the human soul. The finite and imperfect, ofttimes appear to suggest to the inspired writers the infinite and the perfect—the fewness of their days and the perishable nature of the whole material earth, bring vividly before their minds, the fact that God's years are the same throughout all generations," and shall have no end.

The Bible represents corrupt men like Balaam, Saul, Ahab, Jeroboam and Judas, as inwardly approving of goodness and the good, thus its testimony accords with what the mind itself gives of its predilections.

The Bible exemplifies the Divine goodness, by placing all those motives before men which the great variety of human character demands. “ A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back”--that is, let the highest motive be made to bear upon the individual to be governed, by which he is susceptible of being influenced. It is far better that the fool should feel the rod, than to feel himself ameniable to no government at all. Do not such teachings of the Scriptures perfectly accord with what the mind

suggests of the motives requisite for its government ?

And so the Bible, in common with the soul, teaches the self-same theory of happiness. The enjoyments of true piety do not consist in “ meat or drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

The same doctrine of God's design in all temporal blessings, is most clearly set forth in the Bible. They are merely preliminary to spiritual and eternal blessings. They all look higher than themselves. He has made of one blood all the nations, and fixed the bounds of their

habitations, for the express purpose that they might seek the Lord.

3. True, we find some things in the Bible, which we cannot reconcile with infinite goodness, as we find similar things in nature. This, in fact, is an evidence of the Bible's truth. Could we understand it all; could we reconcile every part of it, it would not correspond with the standard, nature. The human mind, in its revelations of God, often appears to contradict itself, and so does the Bible, but as we study the revelations, from both sources, we shall

nearer and nearer a reconciliation, while the revelations will often serve as a wholesome check to each other, in clearing up apparent contradictions, till, at length, we may come to an inward consciousness, that a system confirmed by two such witnesses, from which so many difficulties have already disappeared, is, in its nature, fully reconcilable, and that all we need, is a higher state of consciousness, to enable us to gaze upon the sun-light of God's goodness, and not behold a cloud upon his disk.

come

LECTURE XV.

THE TRUTH OF THE BIBLE EVINCED BY MAN'S PHYSICAL

NATURE.

What is MAN, THAT THOU ART MINDFUL OF Him ?-Psalms 8:4.

In our last three lectures, extensive reference has been made to man, with the view of showing that the developement of the idea of God, by the human mind, accords with what is taught of God in the Bible.

It is our object now, to extend this comparison, showing that what man is, and what his mind teaches on a great variety of subjects, finds a complete corroboration in the Sacred Scriptures.

In this lecture, we shall consider man's physical nature. Physically considered, Man is no mean part of Jehovah's creation. His system contains 208 bones* besides the teeth, 446 muscles, 10,000 nerves, 1,000 ligaments, 4,000 lacteals, 100,000 glands, and the skin contains about 200,000,000 of pores. The heart contracts 4,000 times every hour, during which period there passes through it 250 pounds of blood, so that 25 pounds of blood, supposed

*See Cutter's Anatamy, page 32.

« AnteriorContinuar »