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CHRISTIANITY ETERNAL.

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to the substance as well as the style of his teaching, the author of Christianity affected nothing peculiar, and herein was his greatest peculiarity-his most original trait. He treated the truths he uttered as great and momentous truths; as possessed of a value of which the world had not dreamed, of a profoundness which thought had not fathomed. He declared them with a new authority, and exemplified them as they have never been exemplified before nor since. But he did not appropriate them to himself. They were of the world,--of eternity and of God.

Behold now the unutterable, everlasting glory-alas! that I should be compelled to add, the as yet unsuspected glory of the humble peasant of Judea, that he taught fully by his lips and his life, what ?-the very truth which universal Nature from all its heights and depths, and the infinite God teach! I confess I see no disparagement to Christ in the fact that Christianity is as old as the Creation, for I believe that it is a great deal older—from eternity. fore the mountains were brought forth, or ever God had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting is the truth taught by Christ."

But why, it may be asked, why call the truths of Religion by his name, if they were taught so long ago and by so many mighty teachers, if they were, long before he appeared, engraven upon the ancient tables of the human heart ? For a plain and emphatic reason.

The life of Jesus of Nazareth, his words, acts and sufferings, being real, being facts, are a part of the grand and all-instructive

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THE GREATNESS OF CHRIST.

system of Creation,—they constitute a page, nay, a chapter, and at once, the profoundest and the clearest chapter in the vast volume of God. Nowhere do I see spiritual and eternal things so clearly revealed, so touchingly expressed, as in his life. The truth which all else teaches is presented by him and in him with a new sig. nificance, an original beauty. Let it be that he taught nothing more than the religion of Nature, still by concentrating all its force and loveliness in his individual being, by incorporating it with his life, and so teaching it as it had never been taught by any other, he made natural religion, his religion, his truth. He has given a new illustration of it. Regard his life as only a part and portion of the great system of Nature, the grand chain of Providence,--still I say that from no quarter of the grand whole come there such all-enlightening beams as from him. His history amidst all objects and events is by far the most luminous point. It is the grand Interpretation of Nature-the Revelation of her mysteries. There the truth shines forth with satisfying clearness. Therefore do I hold it to be true and right to call the truth he preached through his own being, his truth-Christian truth. When it is so denominated, it is not meant that he appropriated it to himself. On the contrary, in the sense in which it is his, it is more effectually put within the reach of all men, and imparted to all, and we are made to feel that it is natural and eternal truth. It may sound extravagantly, yet so perfect is the manifestation of the spiritual power and beauty of truth in him, that if I presumed to say, but I do not

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if 'I presumed to say for what one purpose God made all. that we see, and arranged the mighty and complicated course of events, I should say it was in order to provide a sphere for the manifestation of such a being as Jesus of Nazareth; that he is the Masterpiece of the Divine Artist, for the creation of which all else was ordained, * the Heir of all things.”

CHAPTER VIII.

MIRACLES.

“ The deep philosopher sees chains of causes and effects so wonderfully and strangely linked together, that he is usually the last person to decide upon the impossibility of any two series of events being independent of each other; and in science, so many natural miracles, as it were, have been brought to light,--such as the fall of stones from meteors in the atmosphere, the disarming a thunderbolt by a metallic point, the production of fire from ice by a metal white as silver, and referring certain laws of motion of the sea to the moon,—that the physical inquirer is seldom disposed to assert, confi. dently, on any abstruse subjects belonging to the order of natural things, and still less so on those relating to the more mysterious relations of moral events and intellectual natures.”

Sir H. Davy.

The next aspect under which we may contemplate the character of Christ is in relation to those extraordinary

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works of power and benevolence ascribed to him. It is interesting to see how they illustrate his moral elevation.

As the difficulty which most minds find in admitting the reality of the Christian miracles arises not from the peculiar character of these miracles, but from the idea of a miracle of any kind, I propose first to state what I understand by a miracle.

The word miracle' is derived from the Latin word miraculum,which signifies simply a wonder. Taking the term in this sense exclusively, no one is disposed to doubt the reality of an event, solely on the score of its wonderfulness, because in this sense there is nothing that is not miraculous. The existence of the merest atom, when we duly consider it, is an unspeakable miracle. The universe—all being—is miraculous. There is no presumption therefore against the truth of any fact upon this ground. The presumption would seem to be in the opposite direction, for all things are wonders, all are miracles.

But there is another idea that enters into the common understanding of a miracle, and hence arises the difficulty. Miracles are usually conceived of and represented as departures from the natural order of things,-interruptions, violations of the laws of Nature. They are so understood and designated by Dr. Channing in his Dudleian Lecture. And so regarded, they are defended in the following

manner:

“We are never to forget,” says this eminent writer, that God's adherence to the order of the universe is not

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necessary and mechanical, but intelligent and voluntary. He adheres to it not for its own sake, or because it has a sacredness which compels him to respect it, but simply because it is most suited to accomplish purposes in which he is engaged. It is a means, and not an end; and like all other means, must give way, when the end can best be promoted without it. It is the mark of a weak mind, to make an idol of order and method; to cling to established forms of business when they clog instead of advancing it. If, then, the great purposes of the Universe can best be accomplished by departing from its established laws, these laws will undoubtedly be suspended; and though broken in the letter, they will be observed in their spirit, for the ends, for which they were first instituted, will be advanced by their violation. Now the question arises, for what purposes were Nature and its order appointed; and there is no presumption in saying that the highest of these is the improvement of intelligent beings. Mind (by which we mean both moral and intellectual powers) is God's first end. The great purpose for which an order of Nature is fixed, is plainly the formation of mind. In a creation without order, where events would follow without any regular succession, it is obvious that mind must be kept in perpetual infancy; for in such a universe, there could be no reasoning from effects to causes, no induction to establish general truths, no adaptation of means to ends; that is, no science relating to God, no matter, no mind; no action, no virtue. The great purpose of God, then, I repeat it, in establishing the order of Nature, is to form and advance the mind; and is the case should occur in which the interests of the mind could best be advanced by departing from this order or by miraculous agency, then the great purpose of the creation, the great end of its laws and regularity would

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