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truth-that the Divine Providence follows tion is declared, in its own record, to be of each one of us from day to day, from infan- much wider bearing than the human family; cy to age-saving, providing for, and com- -how wide, who shall say ? and until its forting even the least and the lowest of us. width be known, and until its enduring conBut here this course of reasoning reaches sequences be understood, none here on its close, although it might well have been earth can reasonably reject it as an interpopursued some steps further. The difficulty sition unworthy of the Infinite wisdom and which the preacher has to do with, and benevolence. which he is labouring to dismiss, has in fact, On the whole, the Astronomical Discourbeen logically disarmed by the arguments ses are such as that they must recommend he so powerfully urges; nevertheless it themselves to the perusal of the thoughtful will, after a time, recover its footing, and it and intelligent through years long to come. will continue to disturb thoughtful minds They will delight and edify many, and they until it has met that true counteractive force will satisfy (rightly not delusively) some. which the mediations of an enlightened con. They will convince few among those science will supply; and yet this is a treat- against whose cavils they are immediately ment which it would be a hopeless endea- directed. At this time what we need for vour to bring to bear upon that class of per- the confirmation of our faith in the Gospel sons toward whom, principally, Chalmers must carry a more severe aspect in its logicturns his eye ;-we mean, professed unbe-al processes-it must be exempt from comlievers. Those who might properly be the bativeness, wrath, scorn-it must shew, in object of a Christian preacher's hot rebuke, the writer or preacher, good evidence of his are men whose language and behaviour own susceptibility toward subjects of painful show them to be wholly destitute of the and perplexing meditation, and it must moral consciousness and the religious senti- prove that he himself has trod paths where ments to which the appeal, in such a case, the feet bleed at every step, and where the must be made.
pulse falters, and the head fails. Moreover, The question is of this sort—may human the Christian reasoner must prove himself redemption be thought of as a worthy object to possess a keen and fearless critical faculty. of a special interposition on the part of the It is the want of this one qualification which Infinite Being ? But we must not carry such renders Chalmers' writings generally less a question into the halls of colleges :--let uş applicable to these times than they might carry it rather into the depths of the soul otherwise have been. that has been taught to meditate upon its The seven Discourses that are appended own immortality, and has thought of its in the Collected Works to the Astronomiterrible prerogative of boundless suffering, cal, as being of kindred character, are, some and of its yearnings and aspirations toward of them, we think, of still higher value; goodness and happiness: then carry the ques- they are less declamatory; and their effect tion into yet deeper depths--even into that is less damaged by that polemic tone which recess wherein an awakened conscience holds too much rings in our ears throughout the its throne-the representative, as it is, of others. Chalmers is listened to with most Inexorable Justice: it is in that court that advantage when his eye does not glance at man finds himself standing in the presence an opponent who must be crushed :-not of his Omnipotent Judge; and it is there, that his temper was soured, or that he harand it is while he is alive to the fearful real- boured ill-will against men of any sort, but ities which attach to the future life-it is the robust orator was apt to take a too anithere that those vague surmises, out of mated impulse from the idea of a sophistwhich the difficulty in question has framed ical antagonism, which it was his duty to itself, melt away, or are so lost to the sight rend into shreds. The sermon on the Conas that they do not return until some season stancy of Nature is at once true and sound when, the moral and spiritual life having in its reasoning, and deeply impressive in fallen into decay, Redemption has come to inferential passages. With one fact or one be thought of with indifference.
principle fully or clearly before him, or The fourth and the following Discourses of held in hand, he turns it on all sides, lavishthis series, although highly declamatory, are es upon it his illustrative comparisons, and, yet substantially good in argument, for, as in the tone of a faithful messenger from related to Infidel Objection, they rest either God, presses the genuine consequence upon upon principles of Natural Theology, which the consciences of men; a single volume of the Deist is supposed to allow, or upon selected sermons, of this order, could not fail facts embraced in the Christian scheme, to take its place among the most useful of which, if duly regarded, weaken, or wholly standard religious publications. turn aside the objection. Human redemp- In the sermon on the Consistency be
tween the Efficacy of Prayer and the Uni-| can follow up the catenation of sequences; formity of Nature, Chalmers grapples with and as far, moreover, as it will ever succeed a problem which demands a higher meta- in laying bare the inner mysteries of nature ; physic range of thought, and a more exact but then he thinks if we understand himanalytic power than. nature had given him. that, above, and far beyond the border of This problem we hold to be open to a strict the known, and the scrutable—of which huand proper solution, when taken on to the man science is, or may hereafter be, cogniground of purely abstract reasoning, and re-zant, there is a vast unknown-a region of moved from the ground of religious feeling; unfixed, adjustable causation, upon which the often-stated difficulty in reconciling the the Divine Hand may, without rendering constancy of Nature with the doctrine of the this interference visible, convert to its speefficacy of prayer and the reality of a special cial purposes, those remoter forces which, as Providence is, as we think, a popular diffi- they descend toward the known and visible culty, the weight of which the great mass of world, become invariable and uniform. We pious and praying folks are happily uncon- must ask, whether physical science, in its scious of; or which they quickly disiniss future accelerated progress—for recent dissomehow, if perchance it presents itself be coveries seem to promise a series of fore them; but it is a difficulty which must, triumphs, more and more signal_shall not, as we believe, continue to trouble a class of at length, approximate to the boundary intelligent and religious persons, whose con- where the fixedness of causation shall be stitution of mind, and whose educational seen to be giving way, and where a few habits, are not favourable to the contin steps farther would bring the human mind uous retention of the higher class of abstract within reach—or prospect of the unfixed notions :-such persons, and in these times and the supernatural ? A theory this most they are more than a few, might be advised perilous, and as we think, unphilosophical ; to repose themselves, first, upon those irre- and in fact, if nothing better than this could sistible impulses and instincts which pro- be done to meet the abstract difficulty, we claim the truth that God ruleth in all things, should turn away abashed and perplexed and that He is indeed the hearer of prayer; from all speculation on subjects of this —and then upon that clear testimony of class. (See Nat. Theology, vol. ii. p. 320, Scripture to the same effect, so amply given, et seq.) and so solemnly affirmed. If it be other- DAILY SCRIPTURE READINGS. Those-and wise, how can we accept the Holy Scriptures they must be many-who have given these as from God?
volumes a place on their shelves--a place As to the discourse to which we now re- the nearest at hand where they spend the fer, let it be read by any to whom it may devotional hour, will have read and considadminister relief: its reasonings are validered the Editor's very appropriate prefatory as related to the practical conclusions to pages. Dr. Hanna tells the reader, as well which they lead; and whatever is manifest- what to look for in them as what he is not ly of a religious tendency in the argument, to look for ; -- there can therefore be as therein conducted, may safely be listened no disappointment; and the reader, thus to, and may be accepted as lawfully avail. candidly dealt with, will derive an unabated able for its intended purpose, albeit it falls pleasure, and a larger benefit from the pefar short of philosophic coherence. If we rusal of them, in the way that is pointed were to assume the theory which Chalmers, out by the Editor The privileged visitor in this discourse, propounds, for the purpose in Chalmers' home would (so we venture of shewing that the constancy of nature to suppose) have heard from him, at the does not forbid our faith in the efficacy season of family morning prayers, similar of prayer, we should, in doing so, furnish spontaneous expositions of Seripture. A Auguste Comte, or his disciples, with an il- powerful mind--powerful, and sustained in lustration which he and they might triumph-its strength, and competently versed in biantly employ in support of his favourite blical learning, and guided always by a ferdogma, that constantly pressed upon as it vently devout temper, and a strong sense of is by the advances of the modern philosophy, whatever is most fit and useful, whatever the Theological Element is passing through is true, real, beautiful, gives forth, at the moa process of elimination, and that it must, at ment, such a commentary upon the chapter length, wholly and finally lose its hold of which has come in turn to be read, as one the human mind. On the threshold of his should think it a high privilege to listen to argument Chalmers fully admits all that daily. And now, what better could an intelcan be said of the constancy of physical ligent master of a household do, than avail causation; and he also admits that this himself of this same commentary, so far as invariableness extends as far as philosophy it goes; and having previously looked into,
or studied the pages he intended to use, that honesty is the best policy. But we must give the domestic congregation the benefit stop; these Daily Readings, put forth, as of so safe a guidance in the reading of their doubtless they will be in a form (and price) Bibles? A criticism of these uncritical ex- adapted to the most extensive circulation, positions would, on every account, be out will secure for Chalmers the best sort of lite of place in this instance. Nor does the rary immortality — that of feeding souls, reader need any caution in employing them wherever the Anglo-Saxon race is, or shall for the purposes either of private and do- be diffused, for many generations onward. mestic edification, or of public instruction. What more would a Christian writer wish In these pages there lurks none of the poi- for than to have left the world enriched in son of a disguised scepticism; and if he does this manner ? not find in them all the aid which at this SABBATH SCRIPTURE READINGS.-There is time we are in the mood to look for, it is no need that we should trouble ourselves certain that he will find very much more aid, with the difficult and delicate question which and aid of the most substantial kind, than the Editor had to do with, when he was conin some books of elaborate commentary, sidering whether he should give these perwhich, with their endless argumentations-sonal meditations, and these peculiar exer. their interminable pros and cons, leave us, cises of the soul, to the world. Here are when we have waded through a score of the two volumes in our hands; and now it pages, in more perplexity as to the sense of will be the reader's wisdom to derive from a passage than we were when we began. them the instruction with which they are so
But there is a charm about these biblical richly fraught. Dr. Hanna, in the Preface exercises which is of a very rare kind, and to the Posthumous Works, frankly states which, in our esteem, is beyond all price : the serivus difficulty which had presented itthere shines throughout them a perfect can- self in the way of the publication of what dour, a simple-minded ingenuousness : as the writer had so scrupulously " hidden from often as this Expositor encounters a difficulty every eye;" he sets forth also the reasons -a something which he knows not how to which have overcome these scruples; assurbring into accordance, perhaps, with other edly we have no inclination to adjust the passages of Scripture, or more often with our balance. modern notions of what is good, and Christ In these volumes, as will be readily unian-like, he states the case just as it is, with- derstood from the Editor's account of them out disguisemwithout abatement, and in do- —there is much less of what is usually meant ing so he betrays no anxiety-he uses no by exposition ; and much more of what is subterfuges; he scorns glozings; he does not devotional, along with many of those indiviattempt far-fetched exculpatory hypotheses. dual experiences which devout persons are He gives you such help as he is able to offer wont to make a record of in their diaries. honestly; and then, if that is not enough, he We have just now spoken of the fearless leaves you to look for more where you can honesty and the noble candour which are find it. In this respect, as we think, these Chalmers' conspicuous excellencies, as an Daily Readings possess a value which, al- expositor of Scripture. What we have now though it be of an indirect kind, we should before us is the very same bright simplicity estimate very highly. They are patterns, of heart, the same ingenuous greatness—the surpassing any other writings which we same noble and lofty truthfulness, displayed know, of the way in which the Scriptures (of-from page to page, in his treatment of the Old Testament, especially) should be himself. Few, we think, åre the readers of expounded in a family; we should say they these Sabbath Exercises, who will not often exemplify in the very best manner the spirit stand abashed and rebuked as they go on in and style of a family commentary upon the the perusal of them. But then—and let it Jewish history, upon the Mosaic institutions, be noted-in all this Christian integrity, and and upon the moralities of the precursive among these confessions, and in these opendispensation. If our space permitted our ings of the depths of the heart, we find no doing so, we could say much on this subject; taint of that overdone humility, or of that but we are constrained to stop short in this factitious penitence or of that morbid gloatpointed reference to it. Well would it be ing upon what is revolting, which so much disin those family circles where disingenuous- figures some posthumous diaries that have ay, and dishonest dealings with biblical diffi- been given to the world by injudicious culties are at work to train the sons of the friends : on this ground, also, all is as healthfamily for their college atheism, if the mis- ful as it is honest. A mind of extraordinary taken--the miscalculating expositor, could power, and an accomplished and instructed learn from Chalmers this one lesson, appli- mind—a strong temper-a robust human cable as it is to sacred as to secular occasions, nature, exhibits itself in these pages, contend
ing with itself, and striving for the mastery energy, the reality, and the healthfulness over whatever in itself is felt to be out of which shines and glows in every paragraph. harmony with the harmony of heaven. But The three volumes of the POSTHUMOUS on what ground is this conflict carried for- WORKs—namely—the seventh, eighth, and ward, and what are the principles whence ninth,-containing the “ INSTITUT ES OF THEothis course of healthful self-discipline draws LOGY" and the “ PRELECTIONS" on Butler's its motives and its energy? the ground of Analogy, Paley's Evidences, and Hill's Lecthis industrious schooling in virtue and true tures in Divinity, are likely to be regarded wisdom is--an unexceptive Christian belief as those of his works in which the most ma-drawn from Holy Scripture taken as the tured views and opinions of Chalmers are to only and the sufficient source of doctrine, be found. It is with these three volumes and as the authoritative rule of life. The before us that, if at all, we should incline to principles—the working of which upon a offer any suggestions of a general kind upon mind such as was that of Chalmers, is spread that form of Christian doctrine which this out before us in these pages, are those which eminent man left as his legacy to the Church rise up, as if spontaneously within the heart of Scotland, and to English religious literaof every simple-minded and devout reader ture. It was as Theological Professor, first of the Bible. When, with a childlike ingenu in the University of Edinburgh, and then in ousness, this lofty spirit--this bright intelli- the New College of the Free Church, that gence--this giant-like reason, submitted it. these prelections and these lectures were deself to the guidance of Holy Scripture—did livered. Of the most general kind must be it debase itself in so doing? did it show any remarks we should venture to make symptoms of moral feebleness or of over- upon a theologic system, such as that which weening self-delusion in this course? Show is embodied in these Institutes. Theology is us, in a single instance, the evidence that it not our province; but the volumes now in was so. This Bible-discipline, in the instance view suggest an inquiry, incidental indeed, of a mind which nature had enriched in the which may thus be put into words :--What rarest manner, had been going on, through a is the bearing of this body of Divinity upon long course of years, at the time when these those Three Forms of Christian opinion Sabbath Scripture Readings were commen- which, for some time past, have been, and ced. Why then may we not appeal to them are now at this time competing among us as an evidence, peculiarly significant, of what for the uppermost position? or, to be more Bible-discipline is, and of its applicability to correct, we should say-one of them, for conhuman nature, when, as in this case, it is sub-tinued existence, and the other two for sumitted to, and is carried out with entire in premacy. genuousness, and with an unquestioning and The three are these-first, and it is the devout simplicity of intention?
elder of the three--Logical Theology, or Towards himself severely honest_and Christianity drawn forth into propositions, truthful as a child, Chalmers used his Bible and into inferences, thence deduced hy mejust as the most ordinary Christian man uses thods of formal reasoning. The second, to it; he took it up and he studied it as God's which we have already made allusion, is message to himself, a message which he was Philosophical Theology, or Christianity fashbound to bring home to himself strictly, ioned into conformity, as far as possible, whatever might be the consequence of his with the notions and the tastes which distindoing so as to his self-love and self-compla- guish Modern Thought. The third is, or cency. But we are now told that the Bible more properly it is coming to be---Christianis an old book, with which cultured minds, ity derived ingenuously and fearlessly from at this time, can have little to do; abound the Bible-Holy Scripture, regarded as the ing, indeed, in fine passages, but altogether source of belief, and as the rule of life. tending to produce an order of feeling which The utmost that we propose to do at premust be rejected as obsolete, impracticable, sent is this to look into these three volumes, and undesirable. Let those who thus talk and to direct the attention of the studious and write-let them, if it be but for a season, reader to such passages as indicate, if they surrender themselves to the perusal of these do not plainly declare Chalmers' views, and SABBATH READINGS. If at this moment we his inclinations and feelings, in relation to were entering into controversy with the the rival Christianities which we have here silken, christianized philosophers of the time, specified. But in attempting, within the comwe should incline to take these Sabbath pass of a page or two, a reference of this Readings as our text-book, and to collate, kind, we must not lose sight of the fact, that page by page, the unmeaning sentimental. Chalmers, as a theologian, was a clergy man ism of these writers and preachers, with the of the Scottish Church :-his training had manliness, and the moral tone, and the been nativnal, and when he woke up to a
consciousness of Christian doctrine, it was to we should be called to consider those per-
to theological and ecclesiastical uniformity The reader will have seen that several has been attained, and has fastened itself times in the course of this Article we have upon the Christianity of the nation. So. spoken of Chalmers under a limitation, as he much is this the case, that although a religious stands related to the religious history of man, crossing the Tweed northward, finds Scotland. But it will be thought by some himself surrounded, as in England, with among his ardent admirers, that a man who divisions and subdivisions, it is long before had won for himself a European reputation, he can come to understand the ground of and who, throughout his course as a preacher them ; for, as to what he sees and hears — and writer, commanded so many readers and in churches and by firesides, everything hearers in England, ought now to be thought seems to bespeak an extraordinary sameness of as one whose nationality has become mer of persuasion and of worship, and of disciged in a far wider celebrity :-Chalmers, it pline and usage; and this in things of may be said, belongs, not so much to his moment, as well as in things of no native land as to the Anglo-Saxon race, all moment. What one finds in England is the world over. This is quite true, and we Christianity freely developed — freely spofully allow it; nevertheless, we must ask ken of and discoursed about, and sincerely leave to take him aback for a while; and adhered to, under forms and in modes the now that his systematic writings are before most diverse that may at all consist with an us, must crave to think of him, definitely, as honest retention of the name. What one the Theologian of his country. While so finds in Scotland is either - Christianity thinking of him, the question presents itself: very nearly after one fashion; or else, no -In taking up the religious notions, the religion at all. theology and the usages of Scotland, and in Passages not infrequent in Chalmers' passing them, as he did, through his own writings, and to some of which we shall powerful mind, and in issuing, as one might make a reference, may be cited in proof of say he did, his own recension of them, what the fact that he had become dimly conscious has he done as a preacher, a writer, and es of this characteristic fixedness; or, we must pecially as a professional teacher, to amend ask leave to call it, this rigidity, as distinor to modify what is characteristic of Scot- guishing the Christianity of his country, land in its religious element?
Conscious of it, in some degree, he was; and We can only offer a hint or two, and we in some degree, also, impatient of it. His do it with all humility, as 'mere sugges- own religious convictions were so thorough, tions for giving a reply to this question. his professions of whatever he believed were Yet this would seem to involve another, so honest, and, at the same time, his undernamely, What is Christianity according to standing was so grasping, and his temperaScotland ? but this is a subject manifestly too ment so robust, and his movements so large to be brought within limits on the autocratic, that trammels and swaddlings of present occasion ; for a proper reply to it whatever kind could not fail to fret and gall would carry us back among the events of him. That lifeless formalism which is the sixteenth century; it would, moreover, always the result, in any community, of imembrace much that concerns the individual posing frivolous restraints upon it, and of temper of the Scotch reformers; and then abridging the liberty of thought and action,