« EdellinenJatka »
conquered all this tract of country, and that he was contemporary with Saul. And, above all, we are able triumphantly to refute the sceptical cavils of Volney, and those succeeding infidels who, from the confidently asserted antiquity of the Egyptian temples, threw contempt on the Mosaic history of the Deluge, as falling short of that fancied antiquity : we, on the contrary, are now able, not only to assert, but to prove, that all the Egyptian buildings which have inscriptions—which is probably all, excepting the Pyramids-were erected by some of those mighty Pharaohs alluded to in Scripture; none of these buildings being earlier than the Pharaoh who advanced Joseph and placed Israel in Goshen, and most of them between the Exode and the reign of Solomon. The pyramids, having no inscriptions, prove nothing on either side, but were probably built by the children of Israel shortly before the Exode; which is, in fact, the commonly received opinion.
From the Babylonian inscriptions we expect to derive as much information on the science of those times and countries, as the Egyptian inscriptions have given on their history. Both countries were by turns the oppressors and allies of Israel; and their history is consequently so often the tale of Israel's sufferings, that it serves greatly to illustrate and explain obscure and concise passages in the Bible.
But no man will make any way in interpreting this, or any other ancient history, who does not take the Scripture for his guide. Nor let those who do justly reverence the word of God reprehend or undervalue such investigation as that in which we are now engaged. These pious persons, happily for themselves, know not the snares and temptations and difficulties with which the votaries of learning and science are beset on every hand. These difficulties are not the less real because the pious are ignorant of them; and shall we, who know of their existence, shut ourselves up in religious stoicism, thanking God for our own immunity from such difficulties ? It may not be. We shall not be held guiltless in the Day of Judgment, if we lose any opportunity of relieving a brother from doubts and difficulties, or of reconciling the discoveries of science with the unerring standard of Scripture.
And as God is continually declaring to the church of this day that He is about to finish all mystery, so we take it as an earnest to the world of the same thing that He has recently permitted the mysteries couched beneath the hieroglyphics of Egypt to be unfolded, and that He is now permitting us to explore the latent science of Babylon. All will then be unfolded, and all shewn to be in harmony with the word of God : the learning of Egypt and the science of Babylon shall be seen as the handmaids of the church; and the word of Jehovah shall become
fact in the Spirit, in the symbol, and the letter. “ The Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day.... In that day shall there be a high-way out of Egypt to Assyria ; and the Assyrians shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptians into Assyria ; and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt, my people ; and Assyria, the work of my hands; and Israel, mine inheritance” (Isa. xix. 25).
NOEL AND BOYS ON MIRACULOUS POWERS.
Remarks on the Revival of Miraculous Powers in the Church.
By the Hon. and Rev. Baptist W. Noel, M. A. The Suppressed Evidence : or, Proofs of the Miraculous Faith
and Experience of the Church of Christ in all Ages, from authentic Records of the Fathers, Waldenses, Hussites, Reformers,
United Brethren, 8c. By the Rev. Thomas Boys, M. A. In these two publications on the historical branch of the present controversy, it may be said, “the bane and antidote are both before us." When a well-intentioned and sober-minded person, like Mr. Noel, could put forth the many inaccuracies which appear in his brief publication, it became the duty of such a writer as Mr. Boys, well-instructed and honest-hearted, to prevent them from growing on the minds of inquirers (as they have grown under the hands of critics) into lamentable mistakes and unaccountable misapprehensions, respecting the "faith and experience of the church of Christ in all ages.” Although Mr. Noel's “ Remarks” were not among the first of the late attempts to subvert the “revival of miraculous powers” and the perpetuity of spiritual gifts, by critical deductions, technical definitions, partial appeals to history, and doubtful, if not erroneous, expositions of Scripture, it has had the misfortune of being overprized and over-praised, by the less judicious of his friends, as
a work decisive against all miracles since the Apostolic age." These over-estimates of Mr. Noel's “Remarks" seem to have greatly influenced Mr. Boys in his present well-timed effort.
• If I appear to take up the references and citations of Mr. • Noel's pamphlet with a minuteness which may be thought
invidious, let my real motive be understood. I wish not to be 'too particular in examining what may have been the labour, perhaps the relaxation, of a few leisure hours; but I do wish to expose the sloth, the effrontery, and the ignorance which could
• lay hold of the work, when produced, without examination, and * proclaim it abroad as settling questions which it leaves just where it found them.' p. 17.
Mr. Boys divides his work into six chapters and an Appendix. The first chapter is introductory, and states the reason of his appearing in the controversy, and the mode he intends to pursue in treating the question. The second chapter refers to the opinions and experience of the Fathers; the third, of the Waldenses; the fourth, of the Reformers; the fifth, of the Church at the present day; and the sixth consists of conclusions from the whole, and considers these two important questions: “On what footing does the close of the present work leave the subject of miracles ?” and “On what footing does it leave the religious world ?” The Appendix embraces matter which could not be conveniently embodied in the work, and is yet important to a right understanding of the subject. Could we transfer to our pages th whole table of contents, our readers would require no other evidence that Mr. Boys has not entered upon his task unfurnished with materials for its due execution, nor allowed any point in the question to pass unnoticed. In those parts of his work which are more especially intended as replies to the statements of Mr. Noel, he first examines the citations made by that gentleman; and then from the same authors makes such further extracts as are necessary to a just knowledge of the writer's sentiments, accompanied with very valuable historical and critical remarks.
We do not see how Mr. Noel, who, though not the first, was yet early in the controversy, and is by many on his side esteemed the ablest, can sit easy under the exposure which his Christian friend and brother minister has, without the least unfairness or uncharitableness, made of many omissions, mistakes, and false conclusions in his pamphlet.
As the pamphlet of Mr. Noel is a cheap publication, accessible to all, and has been liberally noticed and largely extracted from by the many critics friendly to its views, we shall at present confine our selections to Mr. Boys's work, which has been strangely and suspiciously slighted. At the same time, we shall endeavour to embody some of Mr. Noel's remarks in our extracts from Mr. Boys's replies; and with such as enable us to do this we shall commence.
Mr. Boys thus comments on the appeal of Mr. Noel to St. Augustine, as an authority“ not expecting miracles, not cherishing gifts.” But the truth, after all, is, that Augustine does • most plainly assert the doctrine of miracles, and allege miracles, as occurring under his own observation; so that no person, who will be at the trouble of ascertaining the fact, can feel the • least doubt as to this eminent father's real sentiments on the
subject, or even as to his actual experience. I appeal for proof ' to a chapter which commences with one of the passages given by Mr. Noel himself. The first one or two sentences of the passage in question, read apart from the context, do certainly appear unfavourable to the doctrine of miracles; but if we take with it the heading of the chapter, which stands immediately above it, we shall find it somewhat qualified. Mr. Noel's citation, as we have already seen, commences thus: “Why, say they, are not those miracles wrought now, which you allege were wrought formerly? I might indeed answer, that they were necessary before the world believed, in order that the world might believe.” But compare, or rather contrast with * this, the heading of the ebapter, which stands just above it : "“Concerning the miracles which were wrought in order that 'the world might believe in Christ, and which continue to be wrought, now that the world does believe." ;
Mr. Boys completes the demolition of Mr. Noel's appeal to St. Augustine, by narrating (at pp. 35–39) in the very words of that Father, the miraculous cure of Innocentius, ex-advocate of the vice-prefecture at Carthage. It is but fair to state, that Mr. Noel acknowledges in a note (p. 19) that “ Augustine certainly believed that miracles occasionally took place in his day.” Štrangely, however, does this concession appear, in connection with the strong assertion, adopted by Mr. Noel from Fuller's Church History, that “ Augustine ranked the miracles of his age under two heads; (1) Forgeries of lying men ; (2) Prodigies of deceitful devils !”* We should like to know under which of these two heads we ought to rank the miracles which are “wrought in order that the world might believe,” and which “continued to be wrought” in the days, and according to these the words, of Augustine. Under which of these two heads would Mr. Noel place the miracles which he says “ Augustine certainly believed in his day?” such, for instance, as the miraculous healing of Innocentius? Was it, as believed and recorded by Augustine, " a forgery of lying men, ” or a “ prodigy of deceitful devils ?”
Poor Augustine occupies a singular place, or rather singularly shifts his place, in one page (p. 19) of Mr. Noel's Remarks : (1) He is put among those who have agreed that it would be enthusiastic to expect” the gifts, miraculous powers, &c.; then (2) he is said “ certainly to believe that miracles occasionally took place in his day; " and yet (3) he is made to “rank the miracles of his age as forgeries of lying men, or prodigies of
* Fuller has made, and Mr. Noel has adopted, a mistake in this (as pointed out by Mr. Boys): the words of Augustine, here referred to, are not applied to "the miracles of his age" generalịy, but to those of “ the Donatists particularly.
deceitful devils.” And all this appears on one page of a work spoken of as "settling the question!”
Chrysostom is another witness called by Mr. Noel; and from Mr. Boys's cross-examination is drawn the following testimony of that Father, which we submit to those who are striving hard to make a case of limitation of miracles to the Apostolic age, in bold defiance of the facts of history, as well as of the words of Scripture: But if any one assert that these (the miracles of the Apostles) are mere smoke and fictitious wonder, unworthy
of credit, let us view those of the present day, which are cal'culated both to stop and put to shame the blaspheming mouth, and to check the unbridled tongue. For, throughout our whole habitable world, there is not a country, or a city, where • these wonders are not commonly spoken of; which, if figments, ' would never have occasioned so much admiration. And you ' yourselves, indeed, might testify for us to this. For we shall • have no occasion to receive confirmation of what we assert from
others, seeing that you yourselves, our opponents, supply us • therewith.
Mr. Noel's citation of “St. Isidore in the fifth century, instead of St. Isidore in the seventh century,” is another failure, although one of the most plausible testimonies adduced : we give Mr. Boys’s remarks upon it: (1) The passage, as cited by Huss, and from him by Mr. Noel, runs thus : The reason why the church of God works not now the
miracles which it used to work in the Apostolic age is, that at ' that time it was necessary for the world to believe in miracles, 'but now that it does believe, to shine in good works.” Here
we may observe, first, that we again meet with the idea' [which many of the Fathers held, but which Mr. Noel appears to have entirely overlooked], 'that the world was now evange
that the work was done; and that the occasion for mira*cles was, on this account, not the same as formerly. But Huss appears to have somewhat mis-quoted the words of Isidore : and, though the alteration which he makes is in itself but slight, and * does not materially affect his own course of argument, yet it is one of great importance, if the passage now be brought against us, by Mr. Noel, as discrediting all miracles in St. Isidore's days. • The words are given by Mr. Noel exactly as we find them in
Huss, from whom he cites them: “The reason why the church of • God works not now the miracles which it used to work in the Apostolic age,” &c. But the words, as I find them in St.
Isidore, run thus; “ The reason why the church of God works * not now those miracles which it used to work in the Apostolic age,” or “such miracles as it used to work in the Apostolic age. That is, Isidore means only to say, that the miracles, of his day were not of the same description as those of the
• lized ;