Less on my own account, than in the hope of forearming my youthful friends, I add one other transcript from Bishop Taylor, as from a writer to whose name no taint or suspicion of Calvinistic or schismatical tenets can attach, and for the purpose of softening the offence which, I cannot but foresee, will be taken at the positions asserted in the first paragraph of Aphorism VII, p. 145, and the documental proofs of the same in pp. 148-149: and this by a formidable party composed of 267 men ostensibly of the most dissimilar creeds, regular Church-divines, voted orthodox by a great majority of suffrages, and the so-called free-thinking Christians, and Unitarian divines. It is the former class alone that I wish to conciliate: so far at least as it may be done by removing the aggravation of novelty from the offensive article. And surely the simple re-assertion of one of "the two great things," which Bishop Taylor could assert as a fact,--which, he took for granted, that no Christian would think of controverting,--should at least be controverted without bitterness to his successors in the Church. That which was perfectly safe and orthodox in 1667, in the judgment of a devoted Royalist and Episcopalian, ought to be at most but a venial heterodoxy in 1825. For the rest, I am prepared to hear in answer--what has already been so often and with such theatrical effect dropped as an extinguisher on my arguments--the famous concluding period of one of the chapters in Paley's Moral and Political Philosophy, declared by Dr. Parr to be the finest prose passage in English literature. Be it so. I bow to so great an authority. But if the learned doctor would impose it on me as the truest as well as the finest, or expect me to admire the logic equally with the rhetoric--

--I start off. As I have been un-English enough to find in Pope's tomb-epigrant on Sir Isaac Newton nothing better than a gross and wrongful falsehood, conveyed in an enormous and irreverent hyperbole; so with regard to this passage in question, free as it is from all faults of taste, I have yet the hardihood to confess, that in the sense in which the words "discover" and "prove," are here used and intended, I am not convinced of the truth of the principle, (that he alone discovers who proves) and I question the correctness of the particular case, brought as instance 268 and confirmation. I doubt the validity of the assertion as a general rule; and I deny it, as applied to matters of faith, to the verities of religion, in the belief of which there must always be somewhat of moral election, "an act of the will in it as well as of the understanding, as much love in it as discursive power. True Christian faith must have in it something of in-evidence, something that must be made up by duty and by obedience."--** But most readily do I admit, and most fervently do I contend, that the miracles worked by Christ, both as miracles and as fulfilments of prophecy, both as signs and as wonders, made plain discovery, and gave unquestionable proof, of his divine character and authority; that they were to the whole Jewish nation true and appropriate evidences, that He was indeed come who had promised and declared to their forefathers, Behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense. He will come and save you.† I receive them as proofs, therefore, of the truth of every word which he taught who was himself The Word; and as sure evidences of the final victory over death and of the life to come, in that they were manifestations of Him, who said: I am the resurrection and the life!

The obvious inference from the passage in question, if not its express import, is: Miracula experimenta crucis esse, quibus solis probandum erat, homines non, pecudum instar, omnino perituros esse. Now this doctrine I hold to be altogether alien from the spirit, and without authority in the letter, of Scripture. I can recall nothing in the history of human belief that should induce me, I find nothing in my own moral being that

** J. Taylor's Worthy Communicant. Ed.

Isaiah xxxiv, compared with Matt., x, 34, and Luke xii, 49. Ed. 269 enables me, to understand it. I can, however, perfectly well understand, the readiness of those divines in hoc Paleii dictum ore pleno jurare, qui nihil aliud in toto Evangelio invenire posse, profitentur. The most unqualified admiration of this superlative passage I find perfectly in character for those, who while Socinianism and Ultra-Socinianism are spreading like the roots of an elm, on and just below the surface, through the whole land, and here and there at least have even dipped under the garden-fence of the Church, and blunted the edge of the labourer's spade in the gayest parterres of our Baalhamon,--who,--while heresies, to which the framers and compilers of our Liturgy, Homilies, and Articles would have refused the very name of Christianity, meet their eyes on the list of religious denominations for every city and large town throughout the kingdom--can yet congratulate themselves with Dr. Paley, in his book on the Evidences,** that the rent has not reached the foundation;--that is, that the corruption of man's will; that the responsibility of man in any sense in which it is not equally predicable of dogs and horses; that the divinity of our Lord, and even his pre-existence; that sin, and redemption through the merits of Christ; and grace; and the especial aids of the Spirit; and the efficacy of prayer; and the subsistency of the Holy Ghost; may all be extruded without breach or rent in the essentials of Christian Faith;--that a man may deny and renounce them all, and remain a fundamental Christian, notwithstanding! But there are many who cannot keep up with Latitudinarians of such a stride; and I trust that the majority of serious believers are in this predicament. Now for all these it would seem more in character to be _________________________________________________________

** Conclusion, Part III, ch. 8. Ed. 23 270 of Bishop Taylor's opinion, that the belief in question is presupposed in a convert to the truth in Christ--but at all events not to circulate in the great whispering gallery of the religious public suspicions and hard thoughts of those who, like myself, are of this opinion; who do not dare decry the religious instincts of humanity as a baseless dream; who hold, that to excavate the ground under the faith of all mankind, is a very questionable method of building up our faith, as Christians; who fear, that instead of adding to, they should detract from, the honour of the Incarnate Word by disparaging the light of the Word, that was in the beginning, and which lighteth every man; and who, under these convictions, can tranquilly leave it to be disputed, in some new Dialogues in the shades, between the fathers of the Unitarian Church on the one side, and Maimonides, Moses Mendelssohn, and Lessing on the other, whether the famous passage in Paley does or does not contain the three dialectic flaws, petitio princii, argumentum in circulo, and argumentum contra rem a premisso rem ipsam includente.

Yes! fervently do I contend, that to satisfy the understanding that there is a future state, was not the specific object of the Christian Dispensation; and that neither the belief of a future state, nor the rationality of this belief, is the exclusive attribute of the Christian religion. An essential, a fundamental, article of all religion it is, and therefore of the Christian; but otherwise than as in connexion with the salvation of mankind from the terrors of that state, among the essential articles peculiar to the Gospel Creed (those, for instance, by which it is contra-distinguished from the creed of a religious Jew) I do not place it. And before sentence is passed against me, as heterodox, on this ground, let not my judges forget 271 who it was that assured us, that if a man did not believe in a state of retribution after death, previously and on other grounds, neither would he believe, though a man should be raised from the dead.

Again, I am questioned as to my proofs of a future state by men who are so far, and only so far, professed believers, that they admit a God and the existence of a law from God. I give them: and the questioners turn from me with a scoff or incredulous smile. Now should others of a less scanty creed infer the weakness of the reasons assigned by me from their failure in convincing these men; may I not remind them, who it was, to whom a similar question was proposed by men of the same class? But at all events it will be enough for my own support to remember it; and to know that He held such questioners, who could not find a sufficing proof of this great all-concerning verity in the words, The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, unworthy of any other answer--men not to be satisfied by any proofs, at least, as are compatible with the ends and purposes of all religious conviction;--by any proofs that would not destroy the faith they were intended to confirm, and reverse the whole character and quality of its effects and influences. But if, notwithstanding all here offered in defence of my opinion, I must still be adjudged heterodox and in error,--what can I say but that malo cum Platone errare, and take refuge behind the ample shield of Bishop Jeremy Taylor.

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