good service to the Church and to Christianity, if they have only taught us that the wisest and fairest way is to accept and admit the difficulties which do exist; if they have made us feel that, after all due allowance for the exaggeration of our opponents, there are questions to be answered, and objections to be met, and that these should be accounted for as they arise, in a complete and thorough manner.

It is time, too, that our children, if they are to enjoy the perilous privilege of intellectual cultivation, should be warned of what lies before them, that they may never have cause to reproach us with keeping back from them the true state of the case, and teaching them as universally acknowledged truth that which is, in fact, with many a disputed question. Let them be made to know, in due time, that the whole of that system which we teach them, and every part of it, is liable to be questioned or denied, and that by men of the highest ability, character, and position, in our own Church.

And if we, the appointed ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, desire to keep the religious teaching of the age, nay, of our own children, in our own hands, we must be ready with an answer to all the objections, so skilfully framed, and so boldly urged,-an answer ready, clear, and decisive.

We now and then see the sons of Christian parents straying hopelessly into unbelief. May not this be, in some cases, because they have not found, where they had a right to look for it, a satisfactory answer to the deeper inquiries of their minds ? We want no new doctrine, no new evidence; only that the doctrine should be applied, and the evidence stated in the form that is best adapted to meet the wants, the doubts, and the difficulties, of the present time.

2. There is one satisfactory conclusion which we may draw from a review of the present discussion, namely, that all those objections which arise in men's minds à priori against Christianity or its evidences, all those antecedent difficulties which suggest themselves to those who, in Butler's words, “ form their notions of God's government on hypothesis," are very much the same in kind and in force at this time as they

We have nothing new to fear on this side. The determination which some men express, that no evidence shall induce them to receive the doctrine of atonement, or of eternal punishment, as repulsive to the moral sense, and inconsistent with their conception of the Divine character, is not stronger now, nor is it based on stronger grounds, than it was when Butler examined and replied to it.

ever were.

Nor has the advance of modern science, though this is much insisted on, made any real difference in the state of the question concerning miracles as an evidence of Christianity. However complete our knowledge of the laws of nature may hereafter become, it will not establish any greater presumption than that which has always existed against a miraculous or supernatural interposition. And certainly, as an evidence of Divine presence and power, a miracle, if we believe in it as a fact, is of more weight in proportion to the fulness and accuracy of the knowledge we possess of those natural laws which are overruled or superseded by it.

3. The most pressing difficulty of the present day seems to consist in the numerous objections urged against the authenticity and inspiration of the Bible, on historical, critical, and scientific grounds. These objections, however exaggerated by the enemies or the faint supporters of Christianity, undoubtedly require careful and prompt attention.

We must remember that the New Testament is so pledged to the Old, that, as far as we can now see, they must stand or fall together. Perhaps the time is now come for the Law and

the Prophets to pass through the same exact and pitiless examination as that to which the Gospels and Epistles have been subjected during the past half century. We shall have no reason to complain if the result is the same in both cases.

The New Testament has passed through a searching ordeal.

No work of man has ever stood the test of so severe a process.

Friends and enemies have worked together in the scrutiny; indeed, the enemies of Christianity have been doing the work of the truth as effectually as its most zealous friends; and the undeniable result is, that the books of the New Testament stand on higher ground, and are invested with greater authority, than at any former time.

Let us not fear, but rather hope that the writers of the Old Testament will meet with the same rigorous criticism, and that the various questions suggested by history, philology, and natural science, will be fairly met and fully answered. Only let the work be done on principles of sound scholarship, accurate knowledge, and impartial judgment, and we will not refuse the help even of those who do not love the Bible nor desire to find it true; but ignorance, carelessness, and prejudice, are as little to the purpose in the attack as in the defence.

For my own part, I feel a confident persuasion that the consequence of the present movement will be to establish the truth and authority of the whole Bible as the Word of God, on a firmer basis than ever.

In the meantime it will be useful to glance at the present position of avowed scepticism in this country.

I have before referred to a paper of remarkable interest and ability, which I believe may be fairly regarded as the latest manifesto of a school which openly denies the fact, and the possibility, of a revelation from God.

In the first part of that essay the author engages himself in a lively and vigorous assault of the Christian faith. And so far his style is both confident and powerful. But when, towards the close of his argument, he ventures to take up a position of his own, though it is only sketched in the most general terms, the confident tone remains, but the power seems to fail him. It could not be otherwise.

For it is easy enough to collect, combine, and enforce the difficulties which must from the nature of the case attend a divine communication; but it is a task which demands more power and more courage than even this writer possesses, to de

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