Imagens da página


and transcendent cause. The opposite On the Argument of Hume as affected hypothesis supposes effects without by Matters of Fact.

any cause.

In short, upon any hypo

thesis, we are driven to suppose—and It is a very important axiom of the compelled to suppose—a miraculous schoolmen in this case-that, à posse state as introductory to the earliest ad esse non valet consequentia, you state of nature. The planet, indeed, can draw no inference from the possi. might form itself by mechanical laws bility of a thing to its reality, but of motion, repulsion, attraction, and that, in the reverse order, ab esse ad central forces. But man could not. posse,

the inference is inevitable: if it Life could not. Organization, even is, or if it ever has been then of ne

animal organization, might perhaps be cessity it can be. Hume himself explained out of mechanical causes. would have admitted, that the proof But life could not. Life is itself a of any one miracle, beyond all possi- great miracle. Suppose the nostrils bility of doubt, at once lowered the formed by mechanic agency; still the --x of his argument (i. e. the value breath of life could not enter them of the resistance to our faith) so as to without a supernatural force. And affect the whole force of that argument, à fortiori, man, with his intellectual as applying to all other miracles what- and moral capacities, could not arise ever having a rational and an adequate upon this planet without a higher agenpurpose. Now it happens that we

cy than any lodged in that nature have two cases of miracles which can which is the object of our present exbe urged in this view: one à posteriori, perience. This kind of miracle, as derived from our historical experience, deduced by our reason, and not witand the other à priori. We will take nessed experimentally, or drawn from them separately.

any past records, we call an à priori 1. The à priori miracle we call miracle. such—not (as the unphilosophic may 2. But there is another kind of mirasuppose) because it occurred previous- cle, which Hume ought not to have ly to our own period, or from any con- overlooked, but which he has, howsideration of time whatever, but in the ever, overlooked : he himself observes, logical meaning, as having been derived very justly, that prophecy is a distinct from our reason in opposition to our species of the miraculous ; and, no experience. This order of miracle it doubt, he neglected the Scriptural Prois manifest that Hume overlooked al- phecies, as supposing them all of doubttogether, because he says expressly ful interpretation, or believing with that we have nothing to appeal to in Porphyry, that such as are not doubtthis dispute except our human experi- ful, must have been posterior to the

But it happens that we have; event which they point to. It hapand precisely where the possibilities of pens, however, that there are some experience desert us. We know no- prophecies which cannot be evaded or thing through experience (whether « refused,” some to which neither physical or historical) of what preceded objection will apply. One, we will or accompanied the first introduction here cite, by way of example :- The of man upon this earth. But, in the prophecy of Isaiah, describing the absence of all experience, our reason desolation of Babylon, was delivered informs us--that he must have been

about seven centuries before Christ. introduced by a supernatural agency. A century or so after Christ, comes Thus far we are sure. For the sole Porphyry, and insinuates, that all the alternative is one which would be prophecies alike might be comparaequally mysterious, and besides, con. tively recent forgeries! Well, for a tradictory to the marks of change-of moment suppose it : but, at least, transition—and of perishableness in they existed in the days of Porphyry: our planet itself,—viz. the hypothesis Now, it happens, that more than two of an eternal unoriginated race: and centuries after Porphyry, we have that is more confounding to the hu- good evidence, as to Babylon, that it man intellect than any miracle what had not yet reached the stage of utter ever : so that, even tried merely as desolation predicted by Isaiah. Four one probability against another, the centuries after Christ, we learn from miracle would have the advantage. a Father of the Christian Church, who The miracle supposes a supersensual had good personal information as to



[ocr errors]

its condition, that it was then become to the natural state. And, for the a solitude, but a solitude in good pre- miracles of prophecy, these require no servation as a royal park. The vast evidence and depend upon none : they city had disappeared, and the murmur carry their own evidence along with of myriads ; but as yet there were them; they utter their own testi. no signs whatever of ruin or desola- monies, and they are continually retion. Not until our own nineteenth inforcing them ; for, probably, every century was the picture of Isaiah seen successive period of time reproduces in full realization then lay the lion fresh cases of prophecy completed. basking at noonday—then crawled the But even one, like that of Babylon, serpents from their holes; and at realizes the case of Beta (Sec. II.) in night the whole region echoed with its most perfect form. History, which the wild cries peculiar to arid wilder- attests it, is the voice of every genenesses. The transformations, there. ration, checked and countersigned in fore, of Babylon, have been going effect by all the men who compose it. on slowly through a vast number of centuries until the perfect accomplish

SECTION VI. ment of Isaiah's picture. Perhaps they have travelled through a course of the Argument as affected by the par. of much more than two thousand ticular Worker of the Miracles. years: and, from the glimpses we gain This is the last « moment,” to of Babylon at intervals, we know for use the language of mechanics, which certain that Isaiah had been dead for we shall notice in this discussion. many centuries before his vision could And here there is a remarkable petihave even begun to realize itself. But tio principii in Hume's management then, says an objector, the final ruins of of his argument. He says, roundly, great empires and cities may be safely that it makes no difference at all if assumed on general grounds of obser. God were connected with the question vation. Hardly, however, if they hap- as the author of the supposed mirapen to be seated in a region so fertile cles. And why? Because, says he, as Mesopotamia, and on a great river we know God only by experience like the Euphrates. But allow this -meaning as involved in naturepossibility-allow the natural disap- and, therefore, that in so far as mirapearance of Babylon in a long course cles transcend our experience of of centuries. In other cases the dis- nature, they transcend by implication appearance is gradual, and at length our experience of God. But the very perfect. No traces can now be found question under discussion is-whether of Carthage ; none of Memphis ; or, God did, or did not, manifest himself if you suppose something peculiar to to human experience in the miracles Mesopotamia, no traces can be found of the New Testament. But, at all of Nineveh, on the other side of that events, the idea of God in itself alregion: none of other great cities- ready includes the notion of a power Roman, Parthian, Persian, Median, to work miracles, whether that power in that same region or adjacent re- were ever exercised or not; and as Sir gions. Babylon only is circumstan- Isaac Newton thought that space tially described by Jewish prophecy might be the sensorium of God, so as long surviving itself in a state of may we (and with much more philovisible and audible desolation : and to sophical propriety) affirm that the Babylon only such a description ap. miraculous and the transcendent is plies. Other prophecies might be the very nature of God. God being cited with the same result. But this assumed, it is as easy to believe in a is enough. And here is an à posteriori miracle issuing from him as in any miracle.

operation according to the laws of Now, observe: these two orders of nature (which, after all, is possibly in miracle, by their very nature, abso many points only the nature of our lutely evade the argument of Hume. planet): it is as easy, because either The incommunicability disappears al- mode of action is indifferent to him. together. The value of -x abso- Doubtless this argument, when adlutely vanishes and becomes =0. The dressed to an Atheist, loses its force; human reason, being immutable, sug- because he refuses to assume a God. gests to every age, renews and rege. But then, on the other hand, it must be nerates for ever, the necessary infer. remembered, that Hume's argument ence of a miraculous state antecedent itself does not stand on the footing of Atheism. He supposes it binding on evidence not derived from experience a Theist. Now a Theist, in starting at all, but from the reflecting reason : from the idea of God, grants, of de and the miracle has the same advancessity, the plenary power of miracles tage over facts of experience, that a far greater and more awful than man mathematical truth has over the truths could even comprehend. All he wants which rest on induction. It is the is a sufficient motive for such tran. difference between must be and is-bescendant agencies ; but this is sup- tween the inevitable and the merely plied in excess (as regards what we actual. have called the constituent miracles 4. That, in the case of another order of Christianity) by the case of a reli- of miracles, viz., prophecies, Hume's gion that was to revolutionize the argument is again overruled ; because moral nature of man. The moral the +* in this case, the affirmative nature—the kingdom of the will-is evidence, is not derived from human essentially opposed to the kingdom of testimony. Some prophecies are obnature even by the confession of irre. scure, they may be fulfilled possibly ligious philosophers ; and, therefore, without men's being aware of the ful. being itself a supersensual field, it filment. But others, as that about seems more reasonably adapted to the fate of Babylon-about the fate agencies supernatural than such as are of the Arabs (the children of Ishmael) natural.

-about the fate of the Jews-are not

of a nature to be misunderstood ; and GENERAL RECAPITULATION.

the evidence which attends them is

not alien, but is intrinsic, and deIn Hume's argument —X, which veloped by themselves in successive expresses the resistance to credibi. stages from age to age. lity in a miracle, is valued as of ne- 5. That, because the primary mi. cessity equal to the very maximum or racle in No. 3 argues at least a power ideal of human testimony ; which, competent to the working of a miracle, under the very best circumstances, for any after miracle we have only to might be equal to +x, in no case seek a sufficient motive. Now, the obmore, and in all known cases less. We, jects of the Christian revelation were on the other hand, have endeavoured equal at the least to those of the origito show

nal creation. In fact, Christianity may 1. That, because Hume contem- be considered as a second creation ; plates only the case of a single wit- and the justifying cause for the conness, it will happen that the case stituent miracles of Christianity is even Beta (of Sect. 11.] where a multitude to us as apparent as any which could of witnesses exist, may greatly exceed have operated at the primary creation, +x; and with a sufficient multitude The epigenesis was, at least, as grand must exceed x.

an occasion as the genesis. Indeed, 2. That in the case of internal it is evident, for example, that Chrismiracles-operations of divine agency tianity itself could not have existed within the mind and conscience of the without the constituent miracle of the individual-Hume's argument is ne- Resurrection ; because without that cessarily set aside : the evidence, the there would have been no conquest +2, is perfect for the individual, and the over death. And here, as in No. 3, miraculous agency is meant for him +x is derived not from any experionly.

ence, and therefore cannot be con. 3. That, in the case of one primary trolled by that sort of hostile experimiracle, viz., the first origination of ence which Hume's argument relies man on tbis planet, the evidence great- on; but is derived from the reason ly transcends x: because here it is an which transcends all experience.


[ocr errors]

There is a witchery, an enchant- lections of departed years, when “ life ment, about all that relates to the East, was new, and all was in its spring !" which throws far into the shade the The Christian, when he thinks of more homely spectacles, and the more the East, remembers “ the Man of familiar events of the western world; sorrows, who was acquainted with and which renders us fabulists rather grief"_follows him in his wanderings than historians, and novelists rather in the Holy land-gazes on that bright than biographers, when we attempt to star of Bethlehem, which led the Eastwrite of Turkey, Egypt, and the ern sages and the Eastern shepherds East. The Arabian Nights' Enter- to a stable and an infant-listens to the tainments is the mirror of Eastern life sayings of him “who spake as never and of Eastern history. The porphyry man spake," on the Sea of Galilee, on pillars, the bazaars, and baths; the the Lake of Gennesaret, on the Mount gilded barges, the embroidered ele- of Olives, and in the Temple of Jeruphants, the cloudless skies, the half- salem-weeps at the Cross of Calvary, veiled maidens of Eastern luxury ; the and in the Garden of Gethsemane, and curtains which surround the voluptu- treads with hallowed awe those plains, ous slaves of the mighty pachas, beys, or ascends with sacred rapture those and lords, of those distant climes ; the mountains, which were once gazed on feathers of the egret of Cashmere, or of by that eye which ever beamed love the argus pheasant's wing ; the costly and mercy, and which was itself armour of the cavaliers, the lake of moistened with tears, when he wept at pearl, the sacred shade of a banyan the grave of Lazarus, or over the then tree, the Brahmins of the great Pago- future fate of the Holy City. The da, the story-tellers of the East, the pious Jew, when he thinks of the East, shawl goats of Thibet, the flowered remembers that there the first man girdles, the hung strings of fine pearl, was created—that there dwelt the first the kitars to which Arab maids lis- long-lived patriarchs, and the descentened by moonlight in the gardens of dants of Noah till long after the De. the Alhambra, the prophet-chief, his luge—and that there the great motomb, the haram's curtained galleries, narchies of Assyria, Babylon, and the burning focusts of Brahma, the Persia, were founded and flourished. rich Divan with its turbaned heads, He remembers the land of Judea or the fur-bound bonnet of Bucharian Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Mesoshape, the full and fawn-like eyes of potamia, Chaldea, Assyria, Arabia, Persia, the small half-shut glances of and Egypt. Palestine is pre-eminentChina, the bloom of Georgia, and ly dear to him. There the kingdoms Azar's darker smiles ; the splendid of Israel and Judah flourished—there pageants, the endless processions, the the temple of God was erected by King white flag of Mokauna, the hundreds Solomon—there most of the inspired of banners to the sunbeam spread, the Scriptures were written—and there, plumes, and lances, and the glittering in after ages, One arose who accomthrones; Bucharia's ruby mines, Eden's plished the all-important work of hu. sainted shades, the mosques, mauso- man redemption, and the Apostles of leums, and sepulchres of distant ages; the Saviour were supernaturally quathe camels with their camel-drivers, lified to go forth among all nations to the Hassan of the desert, the caravan- preach the gospel of eternal salvation seras, the gold-coloured campac on to a lost and ruined world. In the East, the black hair of the Eastern women, also, lay the land of Canaan, the land the perfumed rods of the Eastern halls, of promise to Abraham and his famithe variegated coories which visit the ly, the land of Palestine, named after coral trees, the blue pigeons of Mecca, the Philistines, and that land of Judea, the pagoda thrush, the birds of para- from the tribe of Judah possessing its dise, the wbite heron's feathers in the most fertile division, now more comUzbek Tartar's turban, and the “ Alla monly called the Holy Land, as there Acbar" cry of the Arab—are some of the ministry of Christ was exercised, the Eastern remembrances of our and there the obedience, and death, youth, and some of the dreamy recol- and resurrection, and ascension of our


Redeemer took place for our eternal and sink of their own volition; the salvation.

decline and fall of the Turkish empire, What Christian can hear of SYRIA, and the expanding power and influence and think of Antioch, now Antachia, of the Egyptian monarchy, are not the without remembering that it was doings of man, but the works of God; there that the Christians were first and we feel, as the patriarch was enso called after their Divine master ? joined to do, when approaching the

There were the mighty Babylon, the burning bush—“the place on which humble Bethany, the celebrated Beth. we stand is holy ground." saida, the hill of Calvary, the Cana in But whilst we thus introduce to the Galilee, the well-remembered Caper. attention of our readers this mighty naum, the rivulet Kedron, the lament- question of the affairs of the East," ed Chorazin, the distinguished Co- let it not be supposed that we shall be rinth, the famous Damascus, the cities unmindful of those “ materialquesof Decapolis, the beloved Emmaus, tions which are identified with the the adored Galilee, the awful Golgo. history of modern society, or that we tha, the destroyed Gomorrha, the of- shall not descend from the heights and ten-mentioned Jericho, the four-hilled loftiness of the mountain, to the shades Jerusalem, the dear and worshipped and retirement, obscurity and workNazareth, the ancient and venerable day character of the valley. Whilst Nineveh, the Patmos, so interesting to we would cultivate, as a source of our earliest astonishment, the Samaria, cheerfulness, excitement, and pure whose daughter's history has so often delight, the illusions of the world in been perused with delight, the Sarepta, which we have not lived, we would with whose widow we are so familiar, not forget that world in which we are the Siloam, whose healing waters we living ; that we have to do with man have heard of from our infancy, the as he is, in the age in which we are Sheba, whose Queen has surprised us suffered to play our humble part in by her unbounding riches, the Sinai the great drama of time; and that we and the Horeb of another dispensation, are Britons as well as Christians, and the Zion, whose children's songs shall citizens of the bravest and the brightest constitute the music of heaven, the of the Isles of the ocean, as well as of Sodom, who destruction we mourn a world created by the power and the over, the Tarsus, whose Saul after- perfections of Heaven.

We have no wards became the glorious apostle of love of chimeras. We derive our the Gentiles, and the Mount Tabor of greatest enjoyments from facts. SomePalestine, on which, in very deed, times those facts are past, at other transpired the scene of the Transfigur. times present realities, and at others ation.

only viewed through the long vista of The philosopher, whether natural futurity ;—but they are facts—and our or moral, the poet, the linguist, the faith is no more required to be exerlover of arts and sciences, the anti- cised for the future than for the past. quarian, the painter, the sculptor, the If, then, our introductory observations historian of ancient days and of by- have appeared to the man of business, gone centuries, all seek in the records, to the capitalist, to the merchant, to monuments, and recollections of the the politician, the diplomatist, or the East, materials for their minds, tastes, statesman, to be more poetic than his. and occupations; and drawing from torical, and more imaginative than those vast storehouses of knowledge real ;—if any of them shall have apand of facts, they enrich our libraries, prehended that we are disposed to adorn our galleries, and excite a live- deal in generalities rather than in lier piety in our houses and in our specialties, and in flights of fancy temples.

rather than in positive and uncontraWe approach, then, with unaffected dictable facts-let all such misapprediffidence, and yet with undisguised hensions be laid aside, let all such misdelight, the consideration of the East. conceptions be abandoned—and let a ern question ; and, with the page of fair and undivided attention be granted prophecy in one hand and the light to us, whilst we unfold and develope of revelation in the other, we propose the vast subject which now occupies to open up fully this mighty and mo- our minds as well as interests our mentous subject. Nations do not rise affections.

« AnteriorContinuar »