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by a picture of what must become of him, if he will not believe according to the approved pattern. "Beware how you trust to any moral and spiritual evidence, or you will find yourself a Deist! Let nothing slip from the authenticity and infallibility of Scripture, or your Christianity is gone!" It may be so: but how does this help me to any new light, or resolve any devout scruple? As well, and with injury scarcely more coarse, might you urge; "Take heed how you believe about the Atonement, or you will lose your salary! Think discreetly on the matter of religious education, or your party will disown you!" The sanctified and conscious effrontery with which the Tractarians have pressed this meanest of arguments can surprise no one who knows the contempt with which they regard human nature, and their despair of attaining objective truth. But such a weapon is too vulgar for such a hand as Dr. Vaughan's; and we are astonished that he condescends to touch it. Is our faith then without positive grounds, that we must be hunted into it as a mere refuge from worse evils? Are there no first truths in religion, to which our schemes may be referred for legitimation, and our errors for detection? Or are we to determine our position by shrinking and avoidance, to believe by repulsion, to worship by fear? We confess to an abhorrence,-instinctive or otherwise,of this argument from consequences: we believe the resort to it to be an infallible mark of a sceptical age: and no conservative airs can beguile us from the persuasion that, where it is used, the orthodoxy which it defends has become an empty habitude, and the root of genuine faith been cut. Whoever applies to us such an instrument of conversion not only fails to convince us, but makes us aware that he is unconvinced himself. This may easily be without any moral insincerity. The stages through which an age or an individual mind passes in a change of faith are gradual, and many of them unconscious of their tendency; and the appeal to consequences, so habitual in the present day, is one of the last struggles of a yet possible sincerity.
This impression is not removed, when we attempt to define from this Discourse Dr. Vaughan's own theological position, in relation to the question of internal and ex
ternal authority in religion. He appears to us not to know clearly where he stands; but to say and unsay, to concede and retract; to attack opponents for propositions indistinguishable from his own; and applaud doctrines at variance with the data he supplies. For instance: he says,—
"We readily admit that there are certain religious ideas and sentiments that may be said to be common to the race, and that will perish only as man shall perish. These ideas, and the impulses natural to them, have their place at the root of all religion
In a word, it is not more clear that man was born to see the light and breathe the air, than that he was born to be religious. But if this be true, it cannot belong to revealed religion_to_contravene these tendencies, or to act independently of them. It may be a part of its office to correct and elevate them, but it must be itself in substantial agreement with them-must, in fact, be founded upon them. We go one step further, as consequent on this admission. It is not enough that documents, regarded as containing a revelation, should be to all appearance genuine; the contents of the supposed revelation must not be at variance with the moral nature of man, rightly interpreted, nor with the known facts of the divine government. This distinction between the external and the internal proofs of Christianity is old as the literature of Christian evidence; and we are not disposed to attempt any vindication of the language employed by some eminent orthodox disputants in which they seem wholly to overlook this fact. It is not true, in our humble judgment, that the authority of the documents being once settled, in so far as the moral evidence derivable from history may be expected to settle it, we have henceforth nothing to do but to receive the contents of the documents unhesitatingly, however much at issue they may seem to be with what may be known of the Divine nature through other channels, or with what we feel to be the unalterable laws of our own nature. On the contrary, we have to do, as responsible agents, with the matter of which a supposed revelation may consist, as certainly as with the evidence by which may be attested."-P. 10-12.
Now if this concession means anything, it surely allows that the moral sentiments are to be used upon the contents of a supposed revelation, in the same way as the understanding upon the sources of its documents; and that as the latter is competent to test the extrinsic evidence, the former is no less "certainly" competent to
test the intrinsic spiritual truth. We have something else to do, it is acknowledged,-than "to receive the contents of the documents unhesitatingly." What else then, unless to judge of the contents, by criteria treasured in our own highest reason and affections? If, in spite of their credentials, we are not to take them on trust, how can we proceed a step further but under the guidance of our own religious sentiment? Is not that sentiment then a "test of truth or falsehood in a religion?" Yet a few pages later Dr. Vaughan says—
"The evidence which should establish a religious authority of any kind or degree in a book, must of course be fatal to the absolute authority claimed for religious sentiment in the mind. Hence the tendency of this whole school to depreciate all the forms of 'historical proof,' in relation to this subject. Hence their solicitude to draw the Christian away from this ground-to bring him to admit that the proper test of the truth or falsehood of a religion lies, after all, not in anything historical, outward, or written, but in the sentiment of the mind-in the conviction and feeling of man's moral nature. The Christian being once so far seduced as to make this concession, resting his argument on half the basis proper to it in place of the whole, all that is distinctive of Christianity is then readily explained away, and the residuum is a philosophical deism under a Christian name. The pride of our pseudospiritualism cannot brook a rival. Man must have all his needed resources from himself. He must be equal to his own destiny. The word within him must be the only living word, the word without him must be the dead letter."-P. 20.
We submit that our author has himself made the very concession which he here denounces. He granted to "religious sentiment" the "authority" he is now so eager to withdraw. It is vain to plead that its authority was not to be "absolute," or to supersede its "rival." There is no rivalry, and can be none, between historical criticism as to the age of books, and moral intuition as to internal sanctity of sentiments. The object-matters to which they apply themselves as criteria are perfectly distinct; and each power is independent, within its proper sphere, of interference from the other. We cannot, on the one hand, decide by moral sentiment whether Matthew's gospel was written in Hebrew; or, on the other,
prove by the testimony of ancient heretics and fathers, that "the pure in heart shall see God." The two kinds of evidence, our author does not deny, must concur, in order to prove a Divine revelation. Each therefore has a veto upon the assertion of a revelation, and suffices to exclude it; though neither by itself is adequate to establish it. This is all that is meant when "historical proof" is depreciated in relation to Christianity. It is an apparatus that results in nothing, unless the seal and suffrage of the soul be added to the faith it recommends.
The right which Dr. Vaughan claims for the human mind, to judge of the contents of a proffered revelation, we are also unable to reconcile with his doctrine of scriptural infallibility. "The idea of a revelation to be contained in a book includes," he observes, "the idea of inspiration, that the truth recorded may be pure truth." By what process of evidence does our author ascertain the presence of this unerring inspiration? Does he take it on trust, before estimating the teachings thus conveyed? Then what becomes of the trial to which, as a responsible agent," he is bound to submit "the matter of the supposed revelation?" Or does he accept it not till after this trial has been completed, and all the contents have proved satisfactory? Then does he believe the Scriptures inspired because they are true, instead of owning them true because they are inspired. If the truth be a condition of the inspiration, all is granted that the "spiritualist" asks: if the inspiration is to be security for the truth, the contents must be taken on trust, and less is granted than Dr. Vaughan himself demands. Our author professes to be shocked that men should find in the Scriptures any inconclusive reasoning, or regard any of their various writers as capable of error. But of what service is the permission to judge of the matter of a book, if the verdict is to be thus bespoken, and we are prohibited to see anything imperfect?
"It is too commonly maintained, not only that we should regard the language, the whole literary character, and the natural science of the Bible, as of purely human origin, but that even in respect to moral and religious matters, the sacred writers should
not be viewed as secure from misconception from degrees of error. On the contrary, it is said to be manifest that these writers could reason illogically, could fall into mistakes and differences about religious things, and were by no means superior to the current prejudices of their times. The best of them, accordingly, is to be received as being no more than substantially trustworthy.
"Now let the authority of the Scriptures be once reduced to an affair of this defective and fragmentary kind, and of course that authority ceases to have any real existence. If the sacred writers may reason badly, and err even in respect to religious things, it is natural to ask—how am I to distinguish between the sound and the unsound in their reasonings, between the truth and the untruth in their statements? In this case, it must be obvious, the only authority left to settle these questions is our own mind—what to receive, what to reject, must be determined simply by our own sense of fitness. This sense of fitness, accordingly, comes to be our revelation—we have not, cannot have, any other. Each man becomes a Bible to himself, and the Bible external to himself possesses no more authority than the Bible within him may be prepared to cede to it—that is, it possesses no real authority at all. Such is the natural history of our modern spiritualism."-P. 22.
Are we then to understand that our author,-in order that the authority of the Scriptures may not become defective and fragmentary,-does not choose to see any difference between St. Matthew and St. John, any Hebrew prejudice in St. Peter, any temporary logic in St. Paul? or, that having studied these writings freely as a literature, he can discover, by the critic's ordinary tests, no trace of any such human features; and therefore holds them of infallible authority? Is he then prepared to stake the existence of revelation on this issue? and if he should meet, in the epistle to the Galatians, with a questionable argument, or find the Thessalonians instructed in a mistaken hope, or read in Luke a prophecy of Christ's return within the limits of that generation, will he throw his Christianity away? Does Dr. Vaughan think that believers in demoniacal possession were altogether "superior to the current prejudices of their times ?" Or will he avail himself of the saving clause by which he escapes the responsibilities of precise statement, and say, that errors of this kind are not "about religious things?" The evangelist who declares "the devils knew