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sea and land to make one proselyte ; and when he is made, ye 'make him two-fold more the child of hell than your
Had M. Renan taken the sensible view of “the Law of Moses” that a converted infidel in America took, instead of being a “blind guide,” he might have been a bright ornament to the Church of Christ, and, dying, after having "turned many to righteousness," found himself among the number who are destined to “ shine as the stars in the firmament of heaven for ever :"
“In a neat and beautiful city in one of the northern states of the American republic lived a lawyer of eminence and talent. I was not informed as to the particulars of his moral character, but he was notoriously profane. One day he met an elder of the Presbyterian Church, who was also a lawyer, and said to him, I wish, sir, to examine into the truth of the Christian religion ; what books would you advise me to read on the evidences of Christianity?' The elder, surprised at the inquiry, replied, “That is a question, sir, which you ought to have settled long ago. You ought not to have put off a subject so important to this late period of life,' 'It is too late,' said the inquirer. I never knew much about it, but I always supposed that Christianity was rejected by the great majority of learned men. I intend, however, now to examine the subject thoroughly myself. I have now upon me, as my physician says, a mortal disease, under which I may live a year and a half or two years, but not probably longer. What books, sir, would you advise me to read?' The Bible,' said the elder. do not understand me,' resumed the unbeliever, surprised in his turn. 'I wish to investigate the truth of the Bible.' * I would advise you, sir,' repeated the elder, to read the
1 Matthew xxiii. 15.
"I believe you
Bible. And,' he continued, 'I will give you my reasons. Most infidels are very ignorant of the Scriptures. Now to reason on any subject with correctness we must understand what it is about which we reason. In the next place I consider the internal evidence of the truth of the Scriptures stronger than the external.' "And where shall I begin?' inquired the unbeliever. * At the New Testament?' “No, said the elder, at the beginning, at Genesis.' The infidel bought a commentary, went home, and sat down to the serious study of the Scriptures. He applied all his strong and well-disciplined powers of mind to the Bible, to try rigidly, but impartially, its truth. As he went on in the perusal he received occasional calls from the elder. The infidel freely remarked upon what he had read, and stated his objections. He liked this passage, he thought that touching and beautiful, but he could not credit a third.
“One evening the elder called and found the unbeliever at his office, walking the room with a dejected look, his mind apparently absorbed in thought. He continued, not noticing that any one had come in, busily to trace and retrace his steps. The elder at length spoke. "You seem, sir,' said he, “to be in a brown study. Of what are you thinking?' 'I have been reading,' replied the infidel, the moral law.' “Well, what do you think of it?' asked the elder. “I will tell you what I used to think,' he answered; ' I supposed that Moses was the leader of a horde of banditti, that having a strong mind he acquired great influence over superstitious people, and that on Mount Sinai he played off some sort of fire-works to the amazement of his ignorant followers, who imagined in their mingled fear and superstition that the exhibition was supernatural.' But what do you think now?' interposed the elder. “I have been
looking,' said the infidel, into the nature of that law. I have been trying to see whether I can add anything to it, or take anything from it, so as to make it better. Sir, I cannot. It is perfect. The first commandment,' con tinued he, 'directs us to make the Creator the object of our supreme love and reverence. That is right. If He be our Creator, Preserver, and supreme Benefactor, we ought to treat Him and none other as such. The second forbids idolatry ; that is certainly right. The third forbids profaneness; the fourth fixes a time for religious worship. If there be a God, He ought surely to be worshipped. It is suitable that there should be an outward homage significant of our inward regard. If God be worshipped, it is proper that
. some time should be set apart for that purpose, when all may worship Him harmoniously and without interruption. One day in seven is certainly not too much, and I do not know that it is too little. The fifth defines the peculiar duties arising from the family relations. Injuries to our neighbours are then classified by the moral law. They are divided into offences against life, chastity, property, and character. And,' said he, applying a legal idea with legal acuteness, “I notice that the greatest offence in each class is expressly forbidden. Thus the greatest injury to life is murder; to chastity, adultery; to property, theft; to character, perjury. Now the greater offence must include the less of the same kind : murder must include every injury to life, adultery every injury to purity, and so of the rest. And the moral code is closed and perfected by a command forbidding every improper desire in regard to our neighbour. I have been thinking,' he proceeded, Where did Moses get that law? I have read history. The Egyptians and the adjacent nations were idolaters, and the wisest and best
Greeks and Romans never gave a code of morals like this. Where did Moses get this law which surpasses the wisdom and philosophy of the most enlightened ages ? He lived at a period comparatively barbarous, but he has given a law in which the learning and sagacity of all subsequent time can detect no flaw. Where did he get it? He could not have soared so far above his age as to have devised it himself. I am satisfied where he obtained it. It came down from heaven. I am convinced of the truth of the religion of the Bible !'
“The infidel-infidel no longer-remained to his death a firm beliver in the truth of Christianity. He lived about three years after this conversation.
He continued to pursue the study of the Bible, his views of the Christian religion expanding and growing more and more correct. Profaneness was abandoned ; an oath was now as offensive to him as it was familiar before. When his former gay companions used one he habitually reproved them ; he remonstrated with them upon its folly and want of meaning, and said that he could never before imagine how painful profane language must be to a Christian."
Allow me, in proof of the Divine origin of the Holy Scriptures, to add to the testimony of this learned Advocate a brief but most conclusive, and, to every candid reader, most convincing argument, as given by the Rev. John Wesley, M.A. He says: “I beg leave to propose a short, clear, and strong argument to prove the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. The Bible must be the invention of good men or angels, bad men or devils, or of God. It could not be the invention of good men or angels, for they neither would nor could make a book and tell lies all the time they were writing it, saying, "Thus saith the Lord,'
when it was their own invention. It could not be the invention of bad men or devils, for they would not make a book which commands all duty, forbids all sin, and condemns their souls to hell to all eternity. I therefore draw this conclusion, that the Bible must have been given by Divine inspiration."
Such reasoning, conclusive and unanswerable as it is, however, is not, it appears, sufficiently so to meet the attestative requirements of the presumptuously dictatorial schools of M. Renan, Professor Tyndall, and others—the former of whom, as we have seen, in attestation of the supernatural, would see a miracle performed upon a corpse in presence of a select company of scientific gentlemen ; while the latter would see one performed on behalf of the afflicted living within the walls of an hospital. Allow me, in this connection, to briefly refer to this professor's proposal to the Christian Church. By way of experiment—of which he is curiously fond, as he is accustomed to that sort of thing in his professional vocation-- he would have the Church offer prayer for the miraculous cure of the inmates of a certain hospital. Now, the proposal of this modern sign-seeker is not altogether a novel one, as some might suppose ; it had its counterpart, as to dictatorial and vain curiosity, among the wonder-loving sign-seekers who existed in the time of our Lord. For a suitable reply to it, therefore--a reply that shall be in accordance with the mind of God, we must consult Christ Himself on the subject, and learn of Him. , Herod, the tetrarch of Lower Galilee, it appears, was curiously desirous of seeing a miracle performed by Jesus ;' but notwithstanding his eagerness of desire, Jesus did not gratify his curiosity. And when the curious Scribes and Pharisees asked a miraculous sign from
i Luke xxiii. 8.