« AnteriorContinuar »
thy creation of that God who cannot be understood to perfection, and whose ways also, are past finding out.
Thus, contemplate nature in its two extremes, in its coarsest and finest moulds, the bulky universe of worlds, and the invisible atom, nature, as studied by the peasant, and by the philosopher, both alike reveal the perfections of the Divine Creator, and give their unyielding testimony in favor of his revelation.
3. We may also illustrate our position by examples, drawn from the world of mind. The mind is made up of reason, will and sensibility, and the Bible is most evidently adapted to each.
A large share of human duties arise out of the relations in which human beings stand to each other ; and in a great variety of cases, the mind teaches, in regard to these duties, the very sentiment of the Bible.
The mind itself has been so faithful in bearing testimony to the sinfulness of theft, polygamy and murder, that even some heathen have been shocked at the example of their own gods, and as Rosseau said, “the holy voice of nature, stronger than that of the gods," "seemed to banish to the confines of heaven, guilt and the guilty." True, reason may, in passing through its numerous mazes, grow wild, so as to form conclusions very untrue, but the voice of conscience, uttered by a healthy soul, is always authentic. It is God's own voice, and always accords with the language of the Bible. 2.
The history of the world, is an account of God's method of providential dealing with mind. This history of God's providential dealing must agree with his
revelations; and who, in reading a history of this world, does not find innumerable traces of the wisdom, power and goodness of that Being, who, in the Bible, is declared to be the actual governor of the world. "The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice.” The fact that he is the ruler of all men, does not imply that all consent to be ruled by him. This is not the case with the subjects of any ruler.
ruler. The fact that all the disobedient are not punished here, does not prove that his rule is without equity ; other just rulers do not always punish as soon as the crime is committed. It is enough to know that a day of retribution, will come in some world, and history teaches that this truth of the Bible, has ever been deeply impressed upon human minds.
3. We may compare what the mind teaches of its own growth, or developement, with the teachings of the Bible on the same subject. We arrive at our first ideas through the medium of the
The following, perhaps, is about the process through which the mind passes in forming its ideas, and its language. We first examine some natural object, as the heavens; we next form an idea of the thing examined, in our own minds; we then invent some word, or take one already in use, to express that idea, and call it heavens ; after this we may conceive of the abode of God, and as no word will do to apply to it but one expressive of great loftiness, we apply to it the word heavens. Thus language is constantly ascending from the natural to the ideal universe. Is there nothing like this in the Bible? Do not its types, shadows, parables, and the gradual and continual elevation of its language, from beginning to end, show its adaptation
to progressive minds, like our own? The Bible teaches that this growth of mind, is to be continued in heaven. Christ is to “feed,” instruct, his people, "and to lead them to living fountains of water.” Eternal life is to consist in learning to know the only true God, which we shall learn, as all intelligences must, by a study of his works.
But there are some objections to making nature the standard, in examing the Bible, which claim attention.
1. It is said we must take the Bible as a book of authority, and quietly submit to its teachings. We reply, that its authority must first be established; and how shall that be done unless we prove that it came from God? and how shall we prove that it came from God, unless we find that its revelations are worthy of God? and how shall we know that they are worthy of God, unless we know something of the character of God? and how can we know any thing of God unless we learn it from his works, i. e. from nature ? Proving the Bible to be true and authentic, therefore, is nothing more nor less, than measuring its teachings by those of nature.
2. It is said that the Bible's own harmony with itself, is sufficient evidence of its truth. But where do we get our first ideas of harmony except from nature, and what teaches us that this ought to be a characteristic of the Bible, except some teacher distinct from the Bible? That teacher is nature.
3. But it is said, we are inwardly convinced of its truth. But what do we mean by being inwardly convinced of the truth of the Bible? Why we evidently mean that
the Bible teaches us some of the same truths taught us by our own minds, and hence we believe its truth. What the Bible teaches of God and of man so well accords with our own internal sense of what a true revelation ought to teach, that we believe it true. Here then, as in all objections raised to our position, is a direct reference to nature as the only proper standard.
4. But it is still urged that nature cannot be the standard, since the Bible goes far beyond nature. Perhaps we have sufficiently answered this objection, by the figure of the eyes and the telescope. True, the Bible goes far beyond nature, and so the telescope goes far beyond human eyes, yet, after all, the telescope is modelled according to the principle of the eye, the eye must judge of its correctness, and without the eye it is useless. The Bible goes, in its revelations, far beyond the research of human minds, though to the full extent of their capacity, human minds may agree with the Bible. All men have a firm conviction that God ought to be a being of goodness, and not of malevolence, that men ought to do right, and not wrong, and this revelation of the human mind, as far as it goes, runs perfectly parallel with the Bible, and forms the basis, the standard by which we should judge of its truth. We may therefore, know the word which the Lord hath not spoken, when it is contradictory to this standard to which we are to bring all books professing to be revelations.
GLIMPSES OF THE MESSIAH IN THE PENTATEUCH-TYPES.
FOR THE LAW, HAVING A SHADOW OF GOOD THINGS TO COME, &c.--Heb. 10:1.
In this lecture we shall refer to those types or shadows which clearly personate Him who was to come, and whose resemblance to the antitype forms a most striking proof of the superhuman character of both Testaments.
The types of the law have been divided into several kinds.
1. Persons typical; such as patriarchs, priests, prophets and kings.
2. Things typical; as Jacob's ladder, the manna, and the brazen serpent.
3. Actions typical; as the deliverence from Egypt, the passage through the red sea, the sojourn in the wilderness, the passage over Jordan, entrance into the holy land, and restoration from Babylon.
4. Rites typical; as the various offerings, sacrifices and purifications.
5. Places typical; as the land of Canaan, the cities of refuge, the tabernacle, and the temple. *
* Kitto's Cyclopædia-article, Types.