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and philosophic enquirer is angry at every obscurity which checks the boundless aspirations of his mind after universal knowledge, or gives him only an indistinct and imperfect view of those mysterious beings whom his curiosity desires to "see face to face." Irritated by the clouds and darkness which rest upon the heights of divine philosophy, he reflects upon nothing but his own disappointment, and condemns without a limitation, every thing in revelation which serves to retard his ambitious progress. However great or general the advantages derived from the difficulties of the Bible may appear to others, he feels them not, allows them not, examines them not. He feels only that the darkness of God's word teaches him the limited range of his mental, as well as his bodily eye; and he is too much mortified by the humiliating lesson, to perceive that it is in kindness that the lustre of an unclouded light has been withheld, and that perhaps, in his mortal and finite state, a partial knowledge of divine things is all that his intellectual organs could receive. Such, however, be the cause what it may, is too often the conduct of the sceptic: whilst on the other hand, and in direct opposition to such an unjust censure, the idle and less inquisitive Christian sits down contented under the shelter of a blind, unthinking and implicit faith. Satisfied to see all things "as through a glass


darkly," he not only consoles himself under his ignorance of what he does not, with the advantages he derives from what he does comprehend; but he has no patience with those who desire to "know even as they are known," and not the smallest pity for such weaker brethren as may feel the security and fulness of their belief disturbed, though but for a moment, by the occurrence of those hard things which they cannot understand. He finds his own reliance perhaps strengthened, rather than interrupted by the dark places of Holy Writ, and with the most uncharitable inattention to the different constitution of different minds, he condemns every attempt to reconcile the mysteries of revelation by the principles of reason, as useless, and holds those as deserving only the name of Heretics or of Infidels, who experience or express the slightest repugnance to admit, without examination or thought, every thing which the Bible records, whether easy or hard, whether obvious or abstruse, whether explicable or inexplicable to the human faculties. The one forgets the benefits of Scripture difficulties, and the other disregards their inconveniences.

Those, however, who would think or reason aright upon any theological subject, must be careful to fall into the error of neither party. They

must give their due weight to the arguments of both, and balancing them with a steady hand, assign the preference only where the preference is due. Now this was by no means the method we pursued in the last Discourse. It was the benefits derived from Scripture difficulties that there occupied our attention alone; and they certainly seemed great enough, when separately considered, to justify their appearance in Holy Writ. But that was only an advocate's view of the case. It will be necessary, therefore, in the present instance, to bring into notice the objections which may be urged against the arguments there advanced, and after comparing both to pronounce a final decision. For thus only will that decision be made satisfactory and correct.

1. The first benefit I mentioned as arising from the ordinary difficulties of Scripture, was this; that those of a philological and historical kind afford strong internal evidence of the genuineness and authenticity of the sacred writings. But to this it may be objected that the genuineness and authenticity of the sacred writings might have been sufficiently supported by external evidence, without encumbering them with difficulties for the sake of the additional and supernumerary arguments derived from internal proof.

No doubt this might have been done; and no doubt, the external evidences would have been satisfactory to every impartial mind, even unaided and alone. But it is not many minds that, in subjects of a religious nature, can be expected to be impartial, or even commonly just in their judgements. Were every evil passion hushed, every vain imagination subdued, and every worldly and fleshly lust mortified, the still small voice of conscience would then bear an unresisted sway over the will, and the calm authority of reason assert her legitimate opinion over faith. But who has ever looked into his own heart and found it so? What Christian has ever read of the fall of man and does not acquiesce in the belief that its consequences are still visible in the confusion of his rational, and the depravation of his moral faculties? Or who finds the righteous image of God so vividly and deeply stamped upon his own soul, as not sometimes to feel, that the proofs of the divinity of his religion, strong and reasonable as they are, have yet scarce power enough to keep him back from sin and unbelief? And who that so feels his langour, his levity and his lusts, would venture to abate one jot or tittle from that evidence, either external or internal, which, energetic and varied as it is, has only just energy enough to overcome his repugnance to believe, and only just variety enough to keep

his slumbering sensibilities awake to the value of eternal things? Yet to take away all the difficulties of Scripture, would certainly be to take away much of their present force from the arguments in favour of the Jewish and Christian revelations. For though the external evidences of the Bible would have remained precisely the same both in nature and number, had not a single obscurity been allowed to dim its pages, yet they could not then have been considered the same in weight, and influence over the human mind; because they would then have wanted the confirmation of internal proof. So much, therefore, as the confirmation of internal proof strengthens the hands of external evidence, so much is the loss the believer would have sustained by the absence of "things hard to be understood," and so much more arduous would have been his struggle against the devil, the world, and the flesh.

To a believer, then, I apprehend the objection will be found destitute of all force. He will admit that external evidence would indeed have been enough to prove the genuineness, and authenticity, and divine origin of the sacred writings, without any of those internal arguments which difficulties afford; but, feeling his own weakness in the faith and corruption in the natural man, he will be deeply grateful for their additional aid,

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