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But besides the greater adaptation to a probationary state, there is greater spiritual profit in the way by which we of latter days must arrive at the truth of the miracles of the gospel. Take the case of two Christians; let one be a disciple of these days, and the other, Thomas, one of the apostles. They are equally convinced of the Saviour's resurrection, but by different means: Thomas, by the force of sight and touch; the other, by a careful, honest examination of the testimony we now possess. Which, in becoming a disciple, expressed the greater love of the truth? Which, the greater readiness to receive and submit to it? Thomas had only to open his eyes and reach forth his hand; the other pursued a course of candid, patient, serious reflection. Thomas required for his conviction that the Saviour should stand before him, and say, "Be not faithless, but believing." The seeing that evidence which really is seen by others, as a like turn of mind with respect to matters of common speculation and practice does, we find by experience, hinder them from attaining that knowledge and right understanding, in matters of common speculation and practice, which more fair and attentive minds can attain to? And in general, levity, carelessness, passion, and prejudice, do hinder us from being rightly informed with respect to common things; and they may in like manner, and perhaps in some further providential manner with respect to moral and religious subjects, hinder evidence from being laid before us, and from being seen when it is. The Scripture does declare that every one shall not understand. And it makes no difference by what providential conduct this comes to pass; whether the evidence of Christianity was originally and with design, put, and left, so that those who are desirous of evading moral obligations should not see it, and that honest-minded persons should; or whether it comes to pass by any other means." Butler's Analogy, part 2, ch. 6.

other went forth seeking "the truth as it is in Jesus," through all the reasoning and objections, all the patient consideration and study which circumstances placed in his way, not demanding to be constrained by the arrest of his senses, but prepared to submit as soon as the testimony was sufficient. Now, it is plain that in this case there is a simplicity of heart, a love of truth, a candor in its pursuit, and a willingness to bow to it at all cost, such as are by no means implied in the conviction of Thomas. It is plain, also, that the moral discipline to which the former was subjected, and the state of mind involved in the mode by which he came at the truth, are far more conducive to his happiness, and afford a much higher promise of steadfast and elevated attachment to the service of the truth, than if, like Thomas, it could be said of him, "Because thou hast seen, thou hast believed." So that we may now acknowledge the truth of those words, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed;" and may repeat our proposition, that in having to try the credibility of the gospel miracles by the evidence of testimony, we are more favorably situated, in a very important sense, than had we been present to judge them by the evidence of our

senses.*

From the whole truth exhibited in this lecture, we are called to adore the wisdom of God. "His ways are not as our ways, neither his thoughts as our thoughts." Why, in such a momentous business as that of religion, demands some weak mortal, was not

* See Saurin on Obscure Faith.

truth rendered intuitively certain, so that the most careless could not mistake? Why, asks another, should such tremendous matters be necessarily settled by investigation and argument, by the weight of testimony and the records of distant ages, instead of bringing them at once to the test of every one's experience? "Show us a sign," is still the requisition of multitudes, who, if they must believe, desire to do it without trouble; but would much rather be excused from both. God is infinitely wiser. "He knoweth whereof we are made." He has dignified us with reason, as well as sense; and made us capable of learning by reflection and study, as well as of knowing by instinct and necessity. He deals with us as rational beings. He makes us responsible for the use of our minds, as well as of our limbs. He requires the obedience of the will, the labor of our thoughts, and the painstaking of all our intellectual and moral faculties, in order that we may know and serve him as becometh our natures. To this end, he has so constructed religion, and delivered to us its evidences, that whoever is sufficiently desirous of the knowledge of His will, to bestow his best thoughts and affections and efforts upon the work of its discovery, in order that he may embrace it, earnestly looking up 'to God for protection against prejudice and for guidance in the way of light, will certainly come to the knowledge of the truth, and will arrive at it by a way most wisely adapted to make him hold fast and obey it. On the other hand, God has so framed the gospel and set before us its credentials, that whether

one will believe or not is left to his free and voluntary choice; his probationary character is inviolate; his reason and his will are perfectly responsible. If he desire not to believe; if his heart revolt against the gospel on account of the humility and repentance and holiness and self-denial it demands of him; if he study its nature and evidence carelessly, proudly, and partially; if he consult more the objector than the advocate, and try to invent reasons for unbelief more than arguments for the contrary; if he love vice, and would retain his sins, he may easily convince himself against the claims of the gospel. God has left unclosed many avenues by which such a man may escape into infidelity. He is wisely punished by being permitted to go in thereat. God may justly take him at his word, and condemn him to the darkness and final misery of rejecting what he investigated so unjustly. It is the wisdom of God that his truth does not, in offering conviction to such examiners, afford at the same time encouragement to such unworthiness.

LECTURE VI.

MIRACLES-CONTINUED.

OUR last lecture was occupied in settling certain preliminaries, for the purpose of being enabled in this to enter directly upon the work of weighing the testimony to the miracles of Christ and his apostles The question to which we now proceed may be stated thus: The Lord Jesus Christ claimed to be received as a teacher come from God for the purpose of communicating a divine revelation. His apostles claimed to be received as his inspired and divinely commissioned agents in publishing that revelation. All appealed to miracles as the credentials of their embassy. None can deny that such credentials, plainly ascertained, are certain proof of the sanction of God. The appeal to them is therefore unquestionably fair. The point, then, which remains to be determined is, HAVE

WE SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE THAT GENUINE MIRACLES WERE WROUGHT BY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES?

In answer to this question, we might proceed on a plan of argument which would occupy but a few moments. In the lecture preceding the last, we ascertained the credibility of the gospel history; in other words, that we have the strongest reason to rely implicitly on the narratives contained therein, as to all matters of fact. Now, it is there related, that

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