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“Goe, little booke! thyself present, As child whose parent is unkent; And when thou art past jeopardie, Come tell me what was said of me, And I will send more after thee."
The design, originally proposed, was intended to embrace a much more varied and extensive range than these
pages present. A connected and condensed view was contemplated of the various classes of evidence wbich had been, from time to time, brought forward by the advocates of Divine Truth, accompanied with an analysis on inductive grounds of their power, and such original remarks as had satisfactorily impressed my own mind. I soon, however, found that I had entered upon too extensive and excursive a field, but which, though abandoned, I still feel persuaded might, if judiciously managed, be of considerable service to the cause of Truth. I know not what may be the case with others, but for my own part I best relish a perspicuous delineation of truth, condensed, viewed under different aspects, and considered in diversified relations. I like the lineaments bold, prominent and palpable-- the features standing forward in sublime relief, without being shaded by the diffuse reveries or phantasies, or much writing of injudicious advocates. In the hands of such writers the truth suffers an eclipse: the simplicity and beauty of the air are lost amid the intricacies and perplexities of the variation.
The class of evidence for the Truth of Revelation, unfolded in the sequel, appears to me more striking and novel than many others, and it is because I think it has either been too much neglected, or but too partially insisted on, that I have selected it. It has certainly
lacked that favouritism to which, in my humble opinion, it is most richly entitled—it seems to me also to be of a character well adapted to the present generation, restless and clamorous about "something new,” as were the Athenians eighteen centuries ago. Modern discoveries seem to have intoxicated the mind, and reeling in its own assumed consequence, it may be heard to mutter“Who is the LORD that I should serve him?" This is a condition of the mind but little adapted for the reception of the sober realities of truth, which speak to the understanding ;-our object is to prove that genuine science gives no countenance to such unnatural whims and fancies such abortions of the brain. I readily grant that “the natural man is in enmity with God,” a truth as demonstrative as any other proposition ;-all that we mean to assert is, that literature and science, in their native excellency, disown such an illegitimate offspring. Besides, we trust the fruits of our present enquiry may, in some measure, meet the urgent call of the human intellect, which declares in these bold times, that it can be satisfied with nothing less than the stern and uncompromising scrutiny of inductive truth. Such a test is here propounded, while the original generalization is finally abandoned to others better qualified for the task.
To books generally which refer to the Prophecies, I have no friendly feeling. Unless much caution and acute discrimination be exercised, the question may “suffer loss." To rend the curtain which veils the councils of heaven in the vista of futurity, in my apprehension, savours no little of impiety. “Secret things belong to God; those that are revealed belong to us and to our children.” These remarks are made by way of apology, for having long neglected the perusal of Keith's
excellent work on Prophecies fulfilled. It is a most judicious compendium, wherein the enlightened researches of modern travellers are adduced, and turned to excellent account. As these existing monuments most powerfully and satisfactorily speak for themselves, and demonstrate the Truth of Revelation in language which no sophistry can evade, we can cheerfully recommend the work in question as one which renders it unnecessary for us to appeal to this class of illustration. It is not akin to the labours of many of the seers and interpreters of modern times; it takes more substantial ground ;-to my mind it is conclusive, and calculated to produce conviction in every honest mind. It is demonstration, and must hurl atheism itself from its impious throne, for surely none but JEHOVAH, who “sees the end from the beginning," and with whom the past, present, and future, are but a point of unity, could have foretold the facts and phenomena which have been registered, from time immemorial, in the Chronicles of Heavenly Truth, and with such remarkable particularity, and such microscopic minuteness, in the detail of the several incidents; and, all this too not in ambiguous language—ambiguas voces,-or couched in terms that
may be doubtful. The evidence, as to the minutiæ of these remarkable details too, seems to have been the attestations of numerous travellers, chiefly in recent times. To this gradual accumulation, diversified minds and independent authorities have contributed ;—some of these have been infidels, who have, in the facts witnessed, unwittingly cast their mite into the treasury of evidence. Succeeding pilgrims have observed facts overlooked by their predecessors, to whom the requisite opportunity had been wanting. The pyramid of truth, thus built
up by the aggregate strength of many minds, forms a structure of power impregnable to the assaults of flimsy wit, or maddened sophistry, and altogether such as none can gainsay or controvert. These wonderful facts are stamped with a literality and precision which, when compared with the lucid and descriptive language of Scripture, cannot fail to astonish and delight. It must be cheering to the lover of truth--the Christianto find, that, under whatever aspect the evidence and ground of his exalted hopes are tried, they
come forth like gold.” In perusing this work, and diligently comparing, as I had already done, the combined testimonies of these eminent travellers, Sir R. Ker Porter, M. M. Buckingham, Keppel, Mignan, and others, and the researches of Mr. Rich, on the ruins of Babylon, in the Mines d'orient, not to mention a host of preceding travellers—it struck me as remarkable, that while the scenes of ruin which they visited were most faithfully described in the Records of Prophecy, without adding to or diminishing the force, accuracy, or minute colouring of its honest language, others again seem unconsciously to have breathed, by affinity with these scenes, the very atmosphere of Scripture, and echoed the tone of inspiration. Even infidels, like the apostate Saul, when brought within the mournful sphere of their desolations, have, by the resistless force of truth, borne reluctant testimony to the Heavenly Record, while we exclaim in astonishment, as we gaze,
are these also among the prophets ?"
The ground of evidence I have now ventured to occupy, seems to be of a kind equally conclusive and satisfactory, and even more likely to reach the lofty pretensions of well bred science, and such individuals as