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common salvation,” equally suited to men of every nation and class. The diversity of tastes and habits by which the human family are characterised, is accompanied by a correspondent diversity in the manner in which they are apt to be impressed and convinced. The “various lines of argument,” as Mr Wilberforce remarks in the above extract, “have struck the minds of different observers more or less forcibly;” and a species of proof which to the understanding of one man seems feeble and unsatisfactory, may to another, whose mind is differently constituted or disposed, appear the most convincing of all demonstrations, and become the hallowed channel by which all the treasures of sacred truth, and all the joys of vital religion, are conveyed and brought home to his soul.
Those writers, then, however learned and sincere, must be taxed with an unhappy indiscretion, who, in pleading the cause of Christianity, have attempted, unwarrantably, to weaken the force, or to reduce the value, of any one proof by which its claims are sustained. Every author, indeed, who contributes his efforts in favour of the gospel, is at full liberty either to exhibit a summary of the varied lines of argument, or to confine his attention to a portion of the evidence; and if he restrict his inquiry to a particular department, he may, without incurring the least imputation, make choice of any branch of the argument he is pleased to select. But boldly to depreciate those bulwarks of Christianity of which he is not inclined to take advantage, betrays a culpable precipitance.
Some excellent authors, peculiarly alive to that ample satisfaction and exquisite delight which its sublime doctrines and holy precepts, with the whole contexture of its divine records, are fitted to impart to a rightly constituted mind, have allowed themselves, it must be acknowledged, to speak in too dispar aging terms of the evidence arising from the accomplishment of prophecy, and from the glorious miracles by which revelation is attested.
A host of writers, on the contrary, including individuals of distinguished erudition and ability, have represented the miracles of the gospel, in connection with the other external proofs of its heavenly original, as forming almost the sole
ground of our belief. According to their apprehensions, the internal evidence of Christianity, owing either to its own nature and complexion and the difficulties attending it, or to the incapacity of mankind for pronouncing a correct judgment on the subject, is either altogether inconclusive, or possessed of very inconsiderable weight.
The readers of the New Family LIBRARY can hardly fail to observe, that its publishers have been strictly on their guard against countenancing either of these two opposite extremes. The various proofs of Natural Religion are ably stated at the commencement of the work, and the first three volumes comprise a series of treatises in support of Revealed Religion, in which equal justice is done to the external and the internal evidence of the Christian faith. The reality of the miracles is successfully vindicated in Paley's Hore Paulina, and in several of Werenfels' Dissertations; whilst, in Dr Bogue's Essay, not only this, but almost every other branch of the external evidence, is treated in a manner at once pleasing and convincing. The reader will at the same time perceive that the internal evidence has been amply brought forward, and placed in a variety of lights. The harmony subsisting betwixt Natural and Revealed Religion; the analogy of each to the constitution and course of nature; the entire concord and undesigned coincidences betwixt the inspired historian of Paul's ministry, and the epistolary writings of that apostle; the excellence of revealed religion, the spirit of piety it every where breathes, and the motives to virtue it proposes; part at least of the numerous considerations by which the true Canon of Scripture is settled, and its plenary Inspiration proved; a great proportion of the arguments advanced to demonstrate the divine authority, first of the Old Testament, and then of the New; and, finally, the discussions on the reason of faith and the permanent utility of Scripture-all these combined, present a body of internal evidence in defence of Christianity, calculated, by the blessing of God, to convince the incredulous, and to establish the wavering, as well as to strengthen
the faith of believers, and to incite them to walk worthy of that high vocation wherewith they are called.
It was not our intention to trespass on the patience of the reader by any lengthened illustration. All that now remains is briefly to notice the different works that compose the present volume, to the leading topics of which a slight allusion has just been made.
In arranging these productions, the first place, from the natural order of the subject, was due to the original Essay on the Divine Authority of the Old Testament, for which the publishers are indebted to the Rev. George Scott. Of this performance it may at least be said, that it is not unworthy of the writer of the Introduction to Butler's Analogy in a previous Volume, which has been pronounced by competent judges “a very able and discriminating Essay on the merits and defects of Butler's work."'* The larger production now furnished by the same pen will commend itself, we confidently anticipate, to general approbation, as the fruit of mature study and extensive research, and as an example of powerful reasoning, in union with vivid description, highly creditable to the talents of the author.
Dr Bogue’s Essay on the Divine Authority of the New Testament, the second work in the series, attracted great attention at its first appearance in 1801; and, in all probability, it will long continue to hold a distinguished place in the estimation of the Christian public. It may suffice to refer the reader to the niodest statements he will find in the author's own Preface to the fifth edition, relative to the original occasion and design of his writing it; the form in which it is composed; the impressions it has undergone; the translations of this Essay executed not only in the French tongue, but also in Italian, German, and Dutch; and, in fine, the spiritual good which, by the divine blessing, it proved the means of effecting. The short Memoir of Dr Bogue prefixed is partly, though not entirely, derived, both in its materials and diction, from the ac
Preshyterian Review, vol. v, p. 593.
count of him that appeared in the Evangelical Magazine, soon after the death of that eminent minister. Those who feel desirous of more circumstantial information regarding him must consult his Life, written by his intimate friend, Dr Bennett.
These two valuable Essays on the Divine Authority, the one of the Old Testament and the other of the New, are not unsuitably succeeded by two Dissertations of a foreign author, relating to the sacred origin of the whole Bible. These two, with the four that appeared in the first volume, are all the Dissertations on this subject written by that able theologian. Whoever wishes to form an accurate opinion of their tenor and their value, will find all the assistance he requires in the Preface by the esteemed translator, who has conferred an important obligation on Christians in this country, by supplying them with an English version of these excellent Dissertations; which, though we have not had an opportunity of comparing it with the Latin original, we have no doubt, is faithful and correct.
The next in order in this collection is the composition of a man whose memory is much blessed in Scotland, and whose able and pious writings have attracted considerable attention in some other countries. It is eulogized by the late Rev. John Newton of London, in a letter to the Rev. Mr S-, in the following terms:
“ I set a high value upon this book of Mr Halyburton's; so that unless I could replace it with another, I know not if I would part with it for its weight in gold. The first and longest treatise (which relates to the Necessity of Divine Revelation) is, in my judgment, a master-piece, but I would chiefly wish you to peruse the Essay concerning Faith, towards the elose of the book. I need not beg you to read it carefully, and to read it all. The importance of the subject, its immediate connection with your inquiries, and the accuracy of the reasoning, will render the motive of my request unnecessary. I cannot style him a very elegant writer; and being a Scotsman, he abounds with the Scottish idiom. But you will prefer truth to ornament."*
• Newton's Cardiphonia, vol. i. Eight Letters to the Rev. Mr S, Let. 2.
Even those who are not prepared to adopt, on every point, the sentiments of Halyburton, will admit that, in this Essay, he displays a very penetrating intellect; and that he was not unfit for maintaining a dispute with the celebrated Locke, some of whose positions he contests. The deep-toned piety of his spirit too, and his candid allusions to his own experience in reference to the subject he discusses, lend a charm to the writing. A few Notes are subjoined to this Essay, consisting mostly of extracts from Dr Owen, illustrative of the same interesting topic. Several other Notes, we are sensible, might, with propriety, have been added. For all the particulars detailed in the short Memoir of Professor Haly burton, we are indebted to the Memoir of his Life, published a few years after his decease, with a recommendatory Preface by Dr Isaac Watts.
The volume is concluded by a work of the judicious and worthy Dr Guyse, on the Standing Use of Scripture, which was first published, by request, in the year 1724, when he was pastor of a congregation at Hertford, to whom he dedicated the work; and reprinted at Glasgow in 1790. This esteemed publication is not merely calculated to satisfy the judgment with regard to the permanent usefulness of Scripture, but inculcates so forcibly the necessity of a personal application of its precious contents, and supplies so many excellent counsels, in reference both to the means of attaining a correct knowledge of their sense, and to the practical improvement of their instructions for our own spiritual and eternal welfare, that every pious reader may be expected to welcome it as a most useful and appropriate conclusion to a series of Treatises on the Evidences of Natural and Revealed Religion.
It is proper to state that this work of Dr Guyse, which is here published as a Treatise in two Parts, each comprising several chapters and sections, originally consisted of a course of sermons. The alteration thus adopted in it forms, though it required the omission of a few sentences or paragraphs in the discourses, at the commencement of some and at the close of others, we do consider, on the whole, a decided improvement. Nothing material has been suppressed; and though in this