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manner of men, and yet discloses sufficient of genuine truth to enable them to pierce the clouds that soften the light, too brilliant in its undimmed glory for their weak rision. But this veil of appearances is not in itself evil; this is the evil, that men “judge according to appearances,” and judge, therefore, an unrighteous judgment.
But when it is admitted that the letter of the Word, the ultimate expression of Divine Truth, must be such as we find it—we are not exonerated from the duty of replying to the affirmation that science writing out the truths taught by the created universe is adverse to science as taught in the Inspired Word. A common origin should assert itself by a common teaching, and the teachings of the works of God should illustrate and confirm, and not contradict those of His Word. And it will not do, by forced and fantastical interpretations of the letter, to attempt to prove that the affirmed inconsistency bas no existence in fact. The contradictions are too obvious and startling to admit of denial. And from the time when Galileo asserted the simplest astronomical truth, and tremblingly recanted before the terrors of the Inquisition, to our own day, when geological discoveries seem to invalidate the infallibility of the Sacred Records, this apparent antagonism has not ceased to exist. It is idle, too, at this point of human progress, to raise a bigoted cry against the ungodliness of science, and its infidel tendencies. As well might we attempt to hold back the rising tide of the Atlantic, as to oppose the progress of human intelligence in its searching and fearless investigation of the objects and phenomena of the Material Universe. What honest man, indeed, would care to defend a religion whose fortress is darkness, whose antagonist is truth? No, revelation does not demand the sacrifice of science that its claim to infallibility may pass unquestioned. We can admit candidly and at once that science, employed in searching out the secrets of nature, and in making these subordinate and serviceable to man, is one of the most useful auxiliaries to human progress, and yet maintain the infallibility and divinity of the Sacred Scriptures.
For what is the scope and purpose of Revelation? Does it include the teaching of scientific truth in the purpose whereto it is sent ? If the Bible was designed to communicate to mankind the truths of science, then, indeed, it must be admitted that the knowledge it affords upon scientific subjects, both in extent and character, is most limited and unsatisfactory. Then, indeed, are we forced to the admission that the geology and astronomy of the Bible are not the geology and astronomy of nature. But we are not forced to accept the assumption that the Bible is a text-book of natural science. Revelation does not come
to supersede the activity of any faculty with which God has gifted His creatures, but to supplement deficiencies. It is here to do that for humanity which the loftiest exercise of its mere reason would leave it powerless to accomplish. And, had the spiritual nature been so finely attuned to the harmonies of heaven as to receive directly and without defilement the Love and Wisdom that ever flow from God, any external revelation might, perhaps, have been unnecessary. The soul that could receive, from within, the Voice of God, would need no written book for its guidance; for the Law of God would then be inscribed upon the heart. But our human nature is not now such. The ingrown evils of the heart have so closed the spirit against the breath of heaven, that an internal revelation is impossible, and an external revelation has been given. Now, were our unaided faculties equally incapable of discovering the laws of nature, there might be some reason for a divine revelation of these laws. But, though we are by nature blind to God, and immortality, and heaven, and need that these should be revealed by a ray from without, there exists no similar incapacity in relation to the things of the external universe. The senses bring us into immediate contact with its indefinitely varied facts and phenomena, our powers of observation and memory enable us to note and remember them, and reason can discover their hidden laws and principles. Mathematical science results from our discovery of the relations of number and magnitude ; chemistry evidences our power to resolve matter into its simple elements, and to detect by analysis the subtlest agencies in nature; astronomy proves our power to discover the laws that govern the general motions of the universe; and geology shews that we can follow nature in her largest operations, and discover the order and process of this mundane creation. If the spiritual sphere is beyond the reach of our unaided faculty, the wide and ever-extending range of human science is evidence that nature, at least, must unfold its laws and principles at the inexorable demand of human reason. Wherefore, then, should the Divine Being reveal to us those facts and laws which are cognisable without a revelation? Already were these natural sciences provided for in the endowments of man's mental nature: there they were prophesied from the beginning of time: in that nature they had always a potential existence. Is it to be supposed, then, that the Creator would repeat in His Word that which was already enfolded in the mental gifts of His creatures ? Besides, all the teachings of the Infinitely Wise must themselves be filled with an infinitude of wisdom. And if the Sacred Scriptures had been designed at all to inculcate the truths of natural science, its teachings would have been characterised by omniscience,and these divine lessons in science would have anticipated all our discoveries, and superseded for ever all independent human action in this direction. But even granting the truth of these apparently scientific notices so sparsely scattered through the Scriptures, they are so brief and partial as to leave untouched almost the whole field of modern science. We conclude, then, that to teach natural science forms no part of the mission of Holy Writ,—does not at all enter into its scope and purpose.
Science and revelation have distinct aims, belonging to distinct spheres of the mind,—the one is human, the other divine. Revelation, like an angel of light, carries us from sun to sun, from star to star, through the vast heavens of spiritual truth, to which, unassisted, we should fail to rise, and discloses to our view God, the soul, goodness, wisdom, immortality, and heaven; but science treads the earth, is confined to time and space, and teaches only the facts and laws of this lower sphere. Conversant with distinct regions of truth, the sensual and the supersensual, their collision is impossible ; and, notwithstanding the appearances of the letter to the contrary, it may yet be shewn that science cannot negative revelation, nor revelation stand opposed to science.
THE INFLUENCE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD.
The church is a divine institution, founded upon the teachings of the Word. Those teachings are designed to inform the understanding concerning the Lord, the spiritual things of man's inner life, his duties to God and to society, and such particulars concerning bis existence in a future state as are suitable to edification. It would not be possible to give a full catalogue of the wise things taught in the Word. The subjects treated of are innumerable, and they are designed to unfold interior truths wbich no human thought could have reached without it. The understanding is enlightened and made rational by the reception of those truths; and then it becomes an intellectual vessel into which divine influences can descend, and operate thereby benevolent purposes in the world. The knowledge of divine truth is communicated from without; and this knowledge is the orderly medium for the reception of the Divine goodness which is communicated from within. Hence, we read that “Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness
shall look down from heaven.” (Psalm lxxxv. 11.) The church does not exist by truth without goodness: the former is its light, the latter is its life; and if the life be not active, the light will perish. The lamp cannot burn, if the oil be not supplied. Faith becomes dim when charity is paralysed; it goes out if charity expires. They are spiritual brothers; and, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” (Psalm cxxxiii. 1.)
The church, then, is a divine institution intended for the establishment and maintenance of truth and goodness among mankind: the more pure and eminent those graces are with men, the more exalted and influential in the world will the church become. Although the church may be viewed as an institution apart from the world, still it may be evident that it was designed by its founder to exercise a beneficent influence upon it. Doubtless Jesus Christ intended it as a spiritual centre, from which all those common concerns and duties of mankind, which lie in the circumference, should acquire illumination and character. Nothing should be loved or done but that which, in the way of use, can claim some spiritual relationship to the high teachings and requirements of the church. That is the vine of which all else should be a branch, a leaf, a tendril, or a fruit; the Lord intends it to take deep root, and to fill the land; the hills are to be covered with its shadow: its boughs are to be sent out unto the sea, and its branches unto the river. (Psalm lxxx. 9-11.) Although the Lord's kingdom is not of this world, it must be in this world, or how else could the advantage which it contemplates be promoted ? It is not simply an internal light and loveliness, it is also an external authority and power; it is not merely for the intellect and heart, it is for obedience and for life; for the realisation of outer uses as well as for the establishment of inner principles; it is designed, from its throne in heaven, to enunciate a law for the earth to observe, and so to exercise an influence from the first principles of its being to the very ultimates of existence. Hence it is declared—“The kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. xi. 15.) “ The kingdoms of the Lord” are His divine governments in heaven and the church, exercised through the laws and teachings of His Word; and “the kingdoms of the world” are the governments of men exercised through the principles and precepts of selfishness: these latter become the Lord's when they are reduced to order by submitting to the influence and instruction of His Word. This is done when men acknowledge the Lord and His Christ, -that
is, Jehovah in His Divine Humanity; it is in this that He is to “reign for ever and over;" for the Father hath given all things into the hands of the Son. (John iii. 35.) “All power is given unto the Son in heaven and in earth." (Matt. xxviii. 18.)
Acknowledgment of the Divinity of the Lord's Humanity is necessary to the preservation of enlightened and orderly government in His church; and through His church, upon the world at large. Without this acknowledgment, He could have no abiding place with men, nor they with him. This is essential to their welfare, for He said—“ Abide in me, and I in you. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John xv. 4-7.) The Lord, indeed, reigns in His Humanity, and will for ever reign in it, even over those by whom it is not acknowledged; but in this case it will not be that heavenly guidance which His Providence is continually endeavouring to secure. It will not be as the gentle government of affectionate subjects and enlightened citizens of His kingdom; but as a strong rule over the criminal and rebellious, whom it is requisite to surround with restraints and keep in bonds, in order to hinder them from doing more injury to themselves and others. Still, even this is effected through the influence of the church, which has caused some of the laws of justice and safety, revealed in the Word, to be received and administered in the world.
The salutary influences of the church in the world are strongly exhibited in the reforming effects which it is capable of producing upon unregenerate men. It has induced some to relinquish disorderly loves and pursuits, and to become better and wiser members of society: it has been instrumental in the development of charity and faith, and so to maintain in the world some state of spiritual virtue and intelligence : if it can promote those blessings in one, it can do the same for a hundred, and why not for the race? It can hardly be doubted that such a result is one of the ends which the establishment of the church is intended to secure. This is plainly included in the divine petition which teaches us to pray that the “ will of the Lord may be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. vi. 10.) Loving obedience to the divine will, in heaven, excludes evils and maintains happiness; and, surely, a similar obedience on earth must be productive of corresponding results.
All Christians know that the Scriptures frequently point to some very glorious characteristics of the church in the world, which have not