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And after all that can be supposed this way, as ours is a finite nature, it is impossible but some things must exceed our knowledge.

God has given us suffi- cient capacity to know Him and to learn our duty, and to judge when a revelation comes from Him : which is all the knowledge that is needful to us in our present state. And it is the greatest folly as well as presumption in any man, to enter into the counsels of God, and to make himself a judge of the wisdom of His dispensations to such a degree, as to conclude that this or that revelation cannot come from God, because he cannot see in every respect the fitness and reason- ableness of it : to say, for instance, that either we had no BISHOP GIBSON.

In these cases the true inference is, that the revelation is therefore wise, and good, and just, and fit to be received and submitted to by us, because we have sufficient reason to believe that it comes from God. It is part, too, of a set of treatises written expressly to confute those who claim to assent or dissent from Scripture, "just as they judge it agrees or disagrees with the light of nature and the reason of things. But Bishop Gibson adds some most important qualifications of his statement. He continues : — " And when reason upon an impartial examination finds the evidences to be full and sufficient, it pronounces that the revelation ought to be received, and as a necessary conse- quence thereof, directs us to give ourselves up to the guidance of it. And let it be asked whether, after all, ft does not qualify as much as it affirms the power of reason: and whether it in any degree bears out the extreme imputation hazarded in the Essay. That analysis as a whole no one can doubt to be a true one : unless so far as 382 CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST THESE DIVINES this, that as in the general imputation of rationalism, so in the other lines of the picture, — e. The powerful mi- croscope has occasionally intensified the lights and shades into lines so marked as to be practically be- yond the truth. It purchase research papers online is true, for example, that the doctrine of the fallibility of human reason arising from the Fall, as of any other portion of the results of original sin, was not prominent in the writings of that school. But it is not true that such a doctrine was, even "tacitly, renounced" by them. Archbishop TiHotson d , whom the Essayist selects, writing custom essays has actually gone so far as buy essay writing to demand, " What religion is good for, but to reform the manners and dispositions of men, to restrain human nature from violence and cruelty, from falsehood and treachery, from sedition and rebellion? Further, although, after making allowances for the style of controversy prevalent in the age, there was still too much of polemical violence, and although it is true also that bishops, writing gravely and calmly, e.

Gibson and Berkeley, do impute directly or by im- plication to freethinkers as a body a generally lax morality, yet surely it is unreasonable to accuse di- vines, whose usual tone is that of candour and calm reasoning, of malignantly imputing evil to opponents, on the a priori assumption that freethinking opinions and defect of morals must needs go together, while omitting inquiry into the fact whether or no they actually did so.

Bishops would not have ventured on the assertion if it could have been refuted by noto- rious facts, nay, if it had not been supported by them. The history of "Whichcote and his friends at Cambridge is sufficient proof of this. Both combatants it is true were righting, so to say, with their right hand tied and their right eye bandaged.

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Yet even so, the Christian defenders, as a matter of fact, main- tained their ground, and defeated their opponents. And its line of thought and moral tone are as dead and repulsive, even to sceptics of the present day, and its powers of argument and knowledge as contemptible, as the sharp- est satire could ever represent those of the Christian apologists to have been. And though the awakened earnestness and deeper spiritualism of the Methodist movement claims a large share in the victory, yet some portion of the credit is plainly due to the un- answerable, however limited, arguments of a Leslie on the one hand, and a Butler on the other. The Essay however is, I think, harder upon other schools of divines than upon that which is its main subject. An incidental purchase research papers online notice is bestowed by it in passing upon the school of external evidences re- presented by Paley, upon the Laudian divines, upon the religious tone and temper of the present day in England. But the brevity of the notice only aggra- vates the severity of the censure in each case, by leaving it in the form of a sharply expressed general condemnation, unlimited and unapplied. It implies that the two lines of enquiry are divergent modes of investigating one and the same subject, — the one honest, purchase research papers online and the other not so. They are really dis- tinct and parallel enquiries, proceeding from a like evidence - seeking temper, upon different subjects, and neither of them, so far as I can see, blinking evidence or facts dishonestly. Each would have wel- comed the other as a fellow-labourer in different com- partments of the same field. The Gospels claim to be inspired Scrip- ture, primarily, upon the historical evidence which proves them to have been received as such, — as the inspired writings of certain inspired men, — from Apo- stolic times. Into what earlier sources they were re- solvable in the process of composition, is to believers a question of curiosity only, except so far as the an- swer to it may, 1. To unbelievers such a line of CRITICISM MORE INSTRUCTIVE THAN EVIDENCE.

I cannot see then how an enquirer is otherwise than honest who accepts external testimony on such a subject.

The one ques- tion in the point for such an enquirer is, whether there be indeed such difficulties in the mutual rela- tions of the language, and of the meaning, of the first three Gospels one to the other, as to overpower the external testimony. The particular account given by Marsh in the volume in question is indeed futile enough. And like the similar hypotheses respecting the Pentateuch, one serpent of the kind has swallowed up another so rapidly in German speculation on the subject, as to shew that all solid discovery about it is as impossible as it is indeed superfluous. And surely it was from this feeling of the inutility of an enquiry which is to a large extent superseded by evidence of another sort, coupled no doubt with a considerable ignorance of German theology, and with a pre-occu- pation by nobler and more profitable themes, and not from any such dishonest fear of results as the Essayist speaks of, that so few English divines have been found to tread in Dr. Undoubtedly exegetical enquiries, assuming them to be rightly con- purchase research papers online ducted, tend to establish a more profound knowledge and a more convincing proof than the external and historical. The light thrown upon Scriptural studies by the complete liying reproduction of the actual cir- cumstances under which each book was written, at which modern criticism aims, has its undoubted ad- vantages.

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