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braces one whole nature, extending no less to the reason than to the will of man. Hence, as we are bound to obey the Divine Law though the will may reluct; so also are we under obligation to credit the Word of God, though it be repugnant to the reason. For, if we believe only those things which are conformable to our reason, we assent to things, and not to the author; which is what we are accustomed to do even in respect to witnesses of doubtful veracity. The more absurd and incredible therefore any divine mystery is, the more honor do we render to God in believing it, and the nobler is the victory of our faith :" etc.*

Nothing now can be worse, than to talk of honoring God by believing in "absurd and incredible divine mysteries," that is, in nonsense and contradictions. Christianity is not guilty of requiring any such wilful eclipse of the reason, even if the thing were conceivable, and not a plain impossibility. This is not the way to meet objections. To every one who would defend Christianity against attacks of the kind now in view, we would say: Admit the impossibility of the human mind believing in unintelligible propositions, or in any thing contradictory to reason and conscience: admit that in the criticism of Christianity, the necessary speculative and practical principles of the human reason have a negative validity to this extent, that man may and must reject any revelation claiming his belief in a body of doctrines or facts not expressed in intelligible terms, or in any one doctrine, however intelligibly expressed, that is plainly contradictory to the universal and necessary convictions of the human mind. Then join issue with the objector on the very matter of his objection: deny that there are any "absurd and incredible divine mysteries" in Christianity. There are mysteries, indeed, in Christianity, as there are in everything else - facts, that is, that pass our comprehension — omnia exeunt in mysteria; but there is nothing in Christianity, nothing in the essential facts that compose it, contradictory to reason. Challenge criticism to this point; and prove, as you may, that there is not one doctrine of

* The whole passage is as follows: "Praerogativa Dei totum hominem complectitur nec minus ad rationem quam ad voluntatem humanam extenditur. Quare sicut legi divinæ obedire tenemur licet reluctetur voluntas: ita et verbo Dei fidem habere, licet reluctetur ratio. Etenim si ea duntaxet cedamus quae sunt rationi nostri consentanea, rebus, adsentimur, non auctori: quod etiam suspectae fidei testibus praestare solemus. Quanto igitur mysterium aliquod divinum fuerit magis absonum et incredibile, tanto plus in credendo exhibetur honoris Deo, et fit victoria fidei nobilitas. Quin si attente rem perpendamus, dignius quiddam est credere quàm scire, qualiter scimus. In scientia enim mens humana patitur a sensu, qui a rebus materiatis resilet: in fide autem anima patitur abanima, quae est agens nobilis." De Augm. Scient. lib. 9.

the Christian religion, of which a statement may not be made, in terms as intelligible as those in which thousands of the most familiar facts of human belief are expressed: e. g. that certain motions of the organs of speech in one person produce articulate sounds which affect the organs of hearing and beget certain ideas in the immaterial substance of another's mind. Here is a fact intelligibly expressed: and as to mysteries, there is not a doctrine of Christianity a whit more incomprehensible than this fact of hearing; or the fact of gravitation, or life, or a thousand others, which no rational man would dream of therefore calling irrational or incredible.

But the great glory and strength of the Christian argument, is unquestionably the practical one to which all the other evidences conspire to lead. Christianity is not merely a body of speculative truth, nor merely a code of morals; it announces itself as a remedy for man's spiritual wants, whose efficacy is to be tested by actual trial. This trial it may reasonably demand. There is enough in the consciousness of every candid mind, to testify to the truth of what the Christian religion assumes and declares in regard to man's need of some effectual aid, in order to the attainment of perfect goodness and blessedness. There is enough, in the general nature of the aid promised in Christianity which may be partially comprehended, previous to a trial of its efficacy, to justify the expectation, that if its promise be fulfilled, it will be found to be precisely such an effectual remedy as man needs. To these, add the internal and external divine credentials, by which its promise is accompanied, and there is enough to entitle Christianity to the most respectful consideration — to make it unreasonable and wrong to reject or contemn it, without trial; and moreover, to make it a reasonable thing, for every man to give it that trial, by a compliance with its practical conditions, without which its actual efficacy in his own particular case can never be known, and without which, certainly its competency can never be denied.

Such is the attitude in which Christianity stands to man; such is the manner in which it addresses him. And there are no possible circumstances of temporal difficulty or peril, in which the folly and perversity of a man in rejecting the proffered assistance of his fellow men, can be conceived as at all comparable to the folly and perversity of the man who refuses to make a practical trial of Christianity. Such would be the state of the case, if we were now in the infancy of the world, and the Christian re

ligion were now for the first time unfolded to mankind. But the case becomes immeasurably stronger, when we recollect the experience which near two hundred centuries have accumulated. In all these ages, not one instance can be fairly made out, in which, on a faithful and honest trial, the promise of Christianity has been found to fail. On the contrary, thousands and thousands, comprehending the wisest and brightest spirits of every age, have tried it, and left their testimony, in life and in death, to its divine efficacy. Thousands and thousands are now in the world, whose faith no subtleties of speculation, no arts of sophistry, can shake. They have tried it, and they know. They were "weary and heavy laden;" they came to Christ, and they found "rest to their souls." By a compliance with the practical directions of Christianity, they have found in themselves an increasing power to goodness, and strength against evil, which they know is not of themselves. To such the efficacy of Christianity, as a divine remedy for all moral disease in man, as a provision for all man's everlasting spiritual wants, is a point needing no outward demonstration; they know it with the highest possible conviction the certainty of a living experience.

Now this is an experience and a conviction which no unbeliever can ever prove to be a delusion. His negative position renders it impossible. For aught that he can possibly prove, he may be as ridiculously absurd in the sentiment or expression of any thing like contempt, as the rude boor in jeering at the artist's fine perception of ideal beauty, or in scorning the deductions of astronomical science. We declare that the number and character of those who have given evidence to the actual effects of Christianity in themselves, and recorded their conviction of its divine nature, is such as entitles their testimony to the highest respect, and that the person who treats it with contempt, does discredit only to himself.

In fine, the honest testimony of every man's conscience, declares that he is not perfectly what he ought to be that he does not realize in his own person that idea of perfect goodness which, by the necessity of his moral nature, he is compelled to prescribe to himself as the standard of what he should be. In the bosom of every human being, there is the consciousness, slumbering or awakened, that this is a fullen state — and that to be perfectly happy now and forever, he must become perfectly good. Every properly humble and truly honest man will acknowledge that he finds in himself such a proneness to evil, such a weakness of will, or defect of power to goodness, that he must despair of attaining

to the blessedness and perfection of his being without foreign aid. This is the evil state of man for which Christianity offers itself as a remedy. It offers to cure the evil of his condition, to remove the sense of inward contradiction and unrest to bring man's will into harmony with man's reason and conscience, and thus to make him at peace with himself to restore him ultimately to moral perfection, and in that to perfect and eternal felicity.

This is surely such a religion as man needs. Its divine origin is miraculously authenticated. It has been tried in innumerable cases, and the restoring process has been begun and carried on to the extent of a practical demonstration of its sufficiency in the minds of those who have thus tried it. On these grounds it asks of every man a fair trial, and leaves to every one the responsibi lity of refusing it; and the person who neglects or rejects it without an honest trial, acts not less unreasonably than the man who should refuse to try the prescribed antidote to a deadly poison, authenticated to his confidence by the concurrent testimony of all the wisest physicians, and of the thousands in whose cases it has proved effectual. In Christianity, indeed, as in Medicine, it is presumed that "they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick;" and Christianity rightfully presumes, that no man can honestly say he is already all that he morally should be; or that he needs no divine aid in becoming all that he ought to be. It is on this ground that faith in Christianity is always represented as a duty, and the rejection of it as guilt. And every man who rightfully understands- as every honest inquirer may-both his own nature, and the corresponding promise of the gospel, and the grounds on which it claims his confidence and offers itself to his acceptance, will be satisfied that Christianity is reasonable in the child-like faith, the trustful compliance with its practical directions, which it requires.

Such, briefly, is the nature of the practical argument for the truth of the Christian religion. It is an argument which is perfectly valid in a philosophical point of view; and we would wish to see it take its place, as an integral elementa necessary or ganic part, in every systematic exhibition of the Evidences of Christianity.

ART. IX. Histoire de la Grandeur et de la Décadence de César

Birotteau, parfumeur, chevalier de la legion d'honneur, adjoint au maire du second arrondissement de la ville de Paris. Nouvelle Scène de la Vie Parisienne. Par M. DE BALZAC. Paris: 1838. 2 vols. 8vo.

LITERATURE by its varied aspects, its extraordinary popular influence, and by the fantastic shapes it assumes at the will of the great masters, who guide and typify their respective ages, is well worthy the attention of philosophy; and in none of its forms is it more so than in romance. From the early mythus, through dark and enlightened ages, in truth and in fable, chanted by the troubadour and sung by the bard, the lullaby of peace, the cry of war, ever clinging to man, and sharing his joy and sorrow, by turns history and poetry in undressthe one forsaking her throne and sceptre, the other casting her lyre upon the ground-once a small artery in the body of thought, imperceptible at first, and gradually swelling with feeling and throbbing with passion-the stream of fiction now comes to us with the dignity of growing power, and pours its resistless waters among "the coral banks of beating hearts."

ROMANCE merits consideration as an instrument of good or evil, which has deeply injured and may richly benefit mankind. Werther and Heloise reckon many a noble heart and pure spirit among their victims, while Virginia and the Vicar seem destined to touch and soothe the sensibilities of unborn thousands. Levelling rank and bringing together the social extremes, showing the rich how noble a heart may beat beneath rags, and convincing the poor that the canker-worm often penetrates silken vestments, and misery may lie at the bottom of the golden bowl, romance exhibits itself a mighty, popular agent of the day, and its actual prominence seems but a shadow of its future power.

Not only in these points, but in its apparent influence upon the budding literature of our country, does romance deserve our attention. We have availed ourselves of the chance M. de Balzac's writings afford us of extracting a moral from its apparent frivolity. The common prejudice of sober men against novels, is well founded, when it has in view the sophistries of a Bulwer, and the usual vices of that race of authors. But romance may become, and often is, an impressive medium for the transmission of truth. We need not enlarge upon the responsi



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