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mingle or confound these learnings together.” In the introduction to his “ Novum Organon,” Bacon offers the following prayer, “ This also we humbly and earnestly beg, that human things may not prejudice such as are divine ; neither that, from the unlocking of the gates of sense, and the kindling of a greater natural light, any thing of incredulity or intellectual night may arise in our minds toward divine mysteries. But rather that by our mind thoroughly cleansed and purged from fancy and vanities, and yet subject and perfectly given up to the divine oracles, there may be given unto faith the things that are faith's."
Beautifully and affectingly is the relation between natural science and the Christian revelation brought to our view in a prayer with which the great Kepler concludes one of his astronomical works. “ It remains only,” he says, " that I should now lift up to heaven my eyes and hands from the table of my pursuits, and humbly and devoutly supplicate the Father of lights. 0 Thou, who by the light of Nature dost enkindle in us a desire after the light of grace, that by this Thou mayest translate us into the light of glory,-I give thee thanks, O Lord and Creator, that thou hast gladdened me by thy creation, when I was enraptured by the work of thy hands. Behold! I have here completed a work of my calling, with as much of intellectual strength as Thou hast granted me. I have declared the praise of thy works to the men, who will read the evidence of it, so far as my finite spirit could comprehend them, in their infinity. My mind endeavoured its utmost to reach the truth by philosophy; but if any thing unworthy of Thee has been taught by me—a worm born and nourished in sin-do Thou teach me that I may correct it. Have I been seduced into presumption by the admirable beauty of thy works, or have I sought my own glory among men, in the construction of a work designed for thine honour? O then graciously and mercifully forgive me ; and finally grant me this favour, that this work may never be injurious, but may conduce to thy glory, and the good of souls.”
Who now can imagine that this was a sort of bigotry and forced humility, in these great and commanding spirits, or a blind submission to the sacred oracles ? It is truly a genuine humility, which belongs to every thorough and honest student of nature, and which his knowledge, so far from destroying, rather increases. The famous English philosopher, Robert Boyle, expresses himself somewhere to the following effect: “What inclines the experimental philosopher to embrace Christianity is this, that being constantly employed in endeavouring to give clear and satisfactory explanations of natural phenomena, and finding how impossible it is to do so, this constant experience produces in his mind a great and unfeigned modesty. In the exercise of this virtue, he is not only inclined to desire and receive more particular information respect
ing things which appear to him dark and concealed, but he is also disinclined to make his simple and abstract reason the authentic standard of truth. And although the pretended philosopher imagines that he understands everything, and that nothing can be true which does not agree with his philosophy; yet the intelligent and experienced student of nature, who knows how many difficulties, even in material things, remain unsolved, by all the boasted explanations that have been given of them, will never flatter himself with the idea that his knowledge of supernatural things is complete. And this state of mind is perfectly proper for the student of revealed religion. Familiar converse with the works of God enables the experienced observer to see that many things are possible and true which he believed to be false and impossible, so long as he relied simply on his imperfectly instructed reason.”
“I will not deny," says Claudius, "that I have great joy in this Robert Boyle, this Francis Bacon, this Isaac Newton; not so much on account of religion, which, of course, can neither gain nor lose by learned men, be they great or small. But it gives me joy when such a diligent and indefatigable philosopher as Bacon, who had grown old in the study of nature, and who knew by his own observation more respecting it than almost any
person; —when such a bird of Jupiter, with keen and piercing eye, as Newton was, who drew the plan and laid the ground (more admired than used by his successors) for a new and truly great philosophy, and was one of the first, if not the very first, mathematician in Europe ;-I say, when we see such men, with all their knowledge, not esteeming themselves wise, and after they have penetrated more deeply than others into the mysteries of nature, standing around the altar and the greater mysteries of God with docility, holding their hats in their hands, as it becomes them to do ;-when we see this, we rejoice, and begin to feel more kindly towards learning, which can allow its friends and adherents to become really more knowing, without, at the same time, taking away their better reason, and making them fools and despisers of religion. After seeing these men, in this attitude, it produces a strange effect to see the light troops on the other side, passing by the altar, keeping their hats upon their heads, and turning up their noses contemptuously at its mysteries."
It would be well if our Rationalists were to take to heart the plain, humble confessions of the excellent Boyle, who found out by his own experience the manner and the limits of natural science ! In these confessions of humility regarding revelation, Bacon, Newton, Kepler, Pascal, Haller, and others have agreed, as we have
But the light troops, of whom Claudius speaks, understand not, in their blindness and pride, those difficult questions of the Lord in
the book of Job: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge ? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundation of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest ? or who hath stretched the line upon it ? When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days ?" &c. The
Berlin Reviewer concludes in this fashion. Happy would it be if the Rationalist theologians would humble themselves, and confess with Job, “I have uttered that which I understood not,—things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.”
It will by this time be seen by our readers, from the exposure thus sprightlily conducted, that dexterity and want of honesty, rather than argument, characterize the method and the conclusions of the Rationalists. They assume and deny by turns.
A fact in nature, on the one hand, is made use of for the sake of founding a sweeping hypothesis ; but if, on the other hand, it points significantly towards sustaining the doctrines of Scripture, it is either passed over altogether, or shorn of its meaning. Demonstration is uniformly discovered throughout the system of these reasoners, while mere exceptions are allowed to the believers in Revelation. In short, hypotheses of a shifting and sliding character is their way; theirs is a system of hypotheses altogether; and the result is an unsubstantial, chilling and lifeless creed. The Books of Moses are regarded by them only as a very old legend,-a mythus ; or are studied as any other ancient manuscript scroll would be, as a curiosity, or at best for the Hebrew they contain, and the lights they shed on the manners of an Eastern primitive people. And when they come to the New Testament, most of them, by mystical interpretation, sly insinuation, and poorly concealed contempt of all that is miraculous, show their disbelief in the testimony of the Evangelists, and their denial of our Lord's Divine nature. To be sure, it frequently requires the utmost patience to discover what is intended in their writings, so involved and obscure is their meaning, even when anything can be supposed to be distinctly conceived by themselves. Strauss, in his “Life of Jesus,” however, cannot be accused with justice in this way; for he speaks out, his purpose is intelligible, his inferences unconcealed. He shows and tells how he would cut and carve the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,—what ought to be their form, and the import of remarkable passages in them; and that after all there is nothing so extraordinary in the whole history as to evade or exceed the explanation which the human mind can readily bring to the task. Nothing better than utter scepticism therefore is the consequence; or, what we have been accustomed to call in England by the terms, Infidelity or Deism.
VOL. III. (1841.) no. I.
Indeed, although the Rationalism of Germany presents some original features and national characteristics, it has its foundation and its origin in that common dislike to spiritual truth which is natural to the pride of man, and especially to the disciples of a philosophy that pretends to fathom and grasp all truth. We have near the beginning of our paper noticed the opinion which many entertain, and which is gaining ground at a rapid rate in this country, viz. that the boastings and perversities of philosophy have been countenanced by certain Protestant dogmas; that, in short, the war of metaphysics and of religious sectarianism is but Protestantism run to seed; or, as others have thought, the principles of the Reformation misunderstood. “ The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible," which is the Shibboleth of Protestants, it is said, are utterances or proclamations that are too unguarded ; allowing every man to become his own legislator, and opening the gates to ignorance, presumption, and monstrous errors. In Germany, at least, another and ulterior result has been the annihilation of religious reality to a woful extent.
And what has been the issue amongst ourselves, even although the Anglican Church acknowledges the necessity for the interpretations of its accredited servants, and inculcates the sanctity of ecclesiastical tradition,--amongst ourselves, where, whatever be the diversity of creeds, it cannot be said that there is any want of heat in them, or of fervour in maintaining the several voices in the Babylonish uproar? Why, disputations and all the vagaries of adventurous thought which the unbridled license given to private opinion engendered; the Scriptures being declared by the Reformers capable of private interpretation. Along with this gladly received indulgence there naturally arose a cry for toleration, which however fit and needful in theory, was found too often in reality to beget mere indifferentism; just as liberality became licentiousness.
It has been observed that German Rationalism is nothing more than English Infidelity and Socinianism, with some distinctive colours. Would it not be a remarkable as well as a most desirable sequence,-if a religious and ecclesiastical reform should ere long take place in this country,—did the Continental Protestants become affected by the example, and a return should not only be made by the men of mind and learning among them to an obedience such as distinguished the wisdom of the past, and before accidental errors gathered round these sacred institutions, but when unity of spirit and uniformity of worship should characterize the nations? There is certainly at this moment to be traced in England a moral and religious movement of no mean strength. What its issues may be we cannot tell ; but there is reason to hope that it will not be lifelessness. Perhaps it may be constructiveness or conservation of all that is most to be valued in the church. It is understood that
the German orthodox divines bend an anxious eye towards England. But for England the compact band of them to whom allusion was before made, might have despaired; at any rate they would have found their hands comparatively weak, and the hopes of a revival thrown far into the future. To friendly combination, to a reciprocity of efforts, and to a generous rivalship in all that enobles man, whether the spoils of sober science or the higher yet kindred lights of revealed truth, we must look for the regeneration of Europe and the health and efficacy of the church at home and abroad, its unity and its beauteous harmony.
Art. II. - Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai, and Arabia
Petra. By E. ROBINSON, D. D. 3 vols. Murray. In the year 1838, Dr. Robinson and Mr. Eli Smith undertook a journey in Palestine and part of Arabia, in reference to Biblical Geography. The former of these gentlemen has been long extensively known and highly esteemed as the author of the most valuable Greek and English Lexicon that exists of the New Testament, and is Professor of Biblical Literature in the Union Theological Seminary of New York. Palestine has long been to him a subject of extraordinary interest; and he appears to have contemplated for many years a visit to scenes so endeared to him by his scholarship, as the greatest gratification that his curiosity could possibly experience in this world. Accordingly in 1837 he left New York for the Promised Land, there to fulfil his strong desire ; and with his former pupil Mr. Smith, a missionary to the East, he accomplished the tour.
Leaving America, touching England, and sojourning a short time in Germany, with the view of having the suggestions and advice of some of the famous oriental scholars of that country, Dr. Robinson at length reached Egypt, where he met his friend. The pair thence proceeded to Mount Sinai, by a way not often penetrated by travellers, and at last reached the Holy City, where they remained to pursue their researches, as well as to make excursions in Palestine, as often and as far as their time would permit. About half a year was employed in these investigations.
The two friends were well united for such important pursuits. It is unnecessary to speak of the Professor's qualifications for the undertaking ; but Mr. Smith was an indispensable assistant; for in the course of his Missionary labours he has acquired an extensive knowledge of the Arabic language, and also of the East and the Eastern people. It was his business, therefore, to furnish whatever information, as to names of localities, he could collect, and which was to be derived in the course of communications with the