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The evidence in favour of miracles must be subjected to the same tests as we would apply to prove or disprove any statement made to us by one whom we did not know to be beyond the reach of imposture and lying. A miracle would be evidence of the direct interference of the Lawgiver; in which there is nothing antecedently improbable. Scientific men find it inconvenient to have an All Powerful Ruler ordering all affairs ; it upsets all their calculations ; and so, if not altogether denying His existence, they place Him at such an infinite distance from His works as practically to lead to the same conclusion. They banish the Creator from the universe he has framed, and they talk of Nature, Fate, and Destiny. “Destiny ! dark apology for every error! The strong and the virtuous admit no destiny! On earth guides conscience-in heaven watches God, and destiny is but the phantom we invoke to silence the one-to dethrone the other.'

"Truly the world by its wisdom will not know God; and the exhortation is to us as well as to Timothy, to shun“ the profane and vain babblings and oppositions of science falsely so-called.” Science can never contradict true religion, for both proceed from the same author. Let scientific men, therefore, pursue their investigations with patient care and abstain (as some do not) from entering the domain of religion for the purpose of casting sneers at those who are not advanced (!) enough to live without a belief in the existence of a power greater than themselves. And let the divines abstain (as some of them do not) from entering the scientific field for the purpose of describing our most celebrated scientists as “materialists," * infidels," “ atheists,” and other appellatives of a

” like significance. Let the divine remember that what is regarded as science by one generation, the succeeding generation often flings aside with scornful smile ; and on the other hand, let not the savant place to God's credit all the various beliefs said to be extracted from the Bible.

When any new scientific theory has been propounded apparently antagonistic to Scripture, I am sometimes inclined to be amused at the persistent demands made on our divines in certain masked infidel quarters. Using generally strong language these candid reviewers call upon them not to shirk their duty, but either to admit of mistakes being in the Bible, or to show, on scientific grounds, the baselessness of such and such a scientific theory. That is to say, whenever, e.g., Tyndall, Huxley, Darwin, or Haeckel expresses any scientific opinion opposed to the ideas we have received from Scripture, we are bound to rush forward and refute it. But it is simple arrogance, and absolutely unfair and absurd to demand that I, or any one else, should discuss every wild speculation evolved from the productive brains of these eminent men. No, no! when once the theory becomes Fact, and is accepted as fact indisputable by those qualified to judge, that is the time for examining its bearing on revealed truth.

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Let us not be carried away with every wind of doctrine, but hold fast our profession, looking unto Jesus made wisdom unto us. We have always beside us the Word of God, which is able to make us wise unto salvation, enabling us also to discern the condition and prospects of the world, and acquainting us with the future. And here our faith is tested, and the reliance we place on God's words shown and measured, which brings us to note another form in which the world's wisdom is manifested, viz., in declaring that certain parts of God's testimony will never be fulfilled as they stand. This is an old theme, but it is one of the utmost importance-one, the belief of which, must of necessity undermine our faith and place us in a similar position to that of the stormtossed mariner, without map or compass, struggling in the midst of darkness and tempest. If the Bible be not a " light unto our feet, and a lamp unto our path,” why was it given? Was it placed in our hands merely to perplex us—to drive us to despair by making the darkness appear more visible ? Was it given to bring into play our mental powers, and exercise them in intellectual gymnastics ? Or was it bestowed to enlighten man, to reveal facts to him which otherwise he could not have known, or to puzzle, confuse, and mislead ? Truly he is a bold man who dares to affirm that God intended to perplex: his boldness is unspeakable if he affirms that God—the Author of language-could not state in plain simple terms, suited to the humblest capacity, what He wished to communicate. From the circumstances, we can come to no other conclusion than that God did choose the fittest, i.e., the plainest words to convey His

meaning; and whether man will accept them or not, they stand. Prophecy a dark subject! The apostle Peter's idea was a very different one. He compares prophecy to a light shining in a dark place until the day dawn." And is not this the same image previously referred to, which David had in his mind when he spoke of God's word being “a light” to his feet? No! we rest no confidence in the wisdom of interpreters, for we are firmly convinced that the Bible is its own best interpreter. How have God's promises been fulfilled in the past? In the same way we expect they will be fulfilled in the future: the one is the earnest of the other. If any one examines all the passages stated by the four evangelists to have been fulfilled during our Lord's sojourn on earth, comparing the fulfilment with the prophecy, he will see if the prophecies have not been fulfilled to the letter. How else can we be sure there is a fulfilment, if the prophecy and the fulfilment do not correspond ?

In these days of ours, when scepticism is rampant in all departments of literature—when faith in the fulfilment of unfulfilled prophecy forms no part of the popular creed, it is refreshing to call into remembrance the stability, certainty, and reality of the words of God. They are His words and not man's, and He is the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever-the Almighty God able to accomplish all He has said.

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The things to happen in the last days are clearly revealed to us, so that we may know beforehand what to expect from the world if we are found on its side ; and on the contrary, if on God's side, what promises are ours both now and hereafter. We must either be among those who are watching and preparing for their Lord's return, or among those who are termed the children of this world and of darkness, marrying and giving in marriage, eating and drinking with the drunken, whose sole aim is to amass money, to enjoy life, and to leave behind them something by which the world may remember that such a one has been. Consciously or unconsciously we have made our choice-a medium does not exist. The world may hold forth glittering prizes, but what lasting enjoyment do they bestow on him who has toiled from morning till night, and who, after all, may grasp them to find apples of Sodom his reward ? But Christ's promises are yea and amen; they cannot fail. And ere long it shall be demonstrated in the eyes of an astonished universe, who are the wise, those who believe the explicit promises God has given, waiting with patience for the time He has appointed when the heavens shall not hold Immanuel, when He shall bow the heavens and come down to execute righteousness and judgment on the earth, regarding with holy, trustful confidence the revelation of the future He has given ; or, on the other hand, those whose lives are guided by worldly policy and expediency. having cast aside Bible facts and doctrines as ancient myths and primitive superstitions, quite out of place in this nineteenth century. May we be among those who have earnestly sought after and obtained that wisdom which is from above, by which alone we shall be enabled to guide our barque through the gloom and storms of the present, into the glorious sunshine of everlasting day. Kirkcaldy, N.B.

J. MILL, JUNR.

MAN REGARDED AS A FREE AGENT.

Acts xiv. and xvi. FROM

M what has already been stated,* you will be quite prepared

to hear that I believe man to be a free agent, and, therefore, accountable for so much – and no more- -as he knows of God's will concerning him. It seems to me that, with the word of God in our hands, this ought never to have become a question : nor would it, if man had not “ sought to be wiser than it is written.”

Let us first take a summary view of the position. At first, God “made man upright," but man “sought out many inventions.” It might not unjustly be charged to him, though the language may seem strong: Man fell, because he sought to find God out in a lie ! Alas! how soon did man prove on which side the lie lay when he feared to face Infinite Truth! Even when he had corrupted his way, God, in His mercy, placed many checks and restraints in his way that should guard him from sin; and afforded him means to restore him to the Divine favour when he had sinned. Even the election of some was intended to be a blessing to the many, till man, in his opposition, became so perverse that he was left to his own evil course. And for

* Election and Free will. RAINBOW for May.

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has this been the case with multitudes. Take the history throughout, we can come to no other conclusion than that man was a free agent; that what he did was done of his own will. We say nothing of temptation, or of the innerent weakness of the creature not to mitigate the force of the conclusion. Man sinned : he sinned of his own free will: he was not compelled to sin. This may appear no more than a reiterated truism ; nevertheless, I fear that some minds hardly take in the full import of what it involves. Let this fact be well kept in mind. Since the introduction of the gospel, light and mercy have fallen with healing radiance on a dark world. Yet still, even now in this nineteenth century of the Christian age, of the vast mass of the human race it may be said that “God suffers them to walk in their own ways.” There is a great mystery about this, I admit, which one day will be cleared up, and when it is, I believe that God's justice, wisdom, and iove, will be made signally manifest.

But the main object of this dispensation is to call out, from among all men, an elect Church, which shall be to the glory of God's grace. This admitted, we pass on to the question, Ön what does man's responsibility rest? My answer is, On what he knows of God, and His will, and whether he yields allegiance to this or no. Just this, and no more. He is not responsible for having a sinful nature. This he cannot help, nor will he be judged for being in possession of it, for Christ hath made full atonement for original sin, and for what a man merely inherits, there is no final condemnation. Besides, for this, man pays the penalty by his actual death. Man will be judged by his knowledge, and his deeds, and for nothing else.

It is very true that man is naturally prone to evil, but it is equally true that God has given him a conscience, by which he is able to test good and evil when placed before him; and he also possesses a will to choose or refuse the good. It is quite true that “in man

himself “ there dwelleth no good thing; »5 but it is not true that he is left so completely to himself that he is never prompted to desire the good. If you were asked the question, I believe that the conscience of every man who has been at all acquainted with God, His goodness, love, and mercy, would answer emphatically-No; God has left a witness of Himself to man in many ways, but in none so much as the silent witness in man's heart. It is true, as Jesus Himself says, that “no man can come to Christ except the Father, who sent Him, draw him." But what mean those promptings and drawings towards Christ which

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every now and again sway a man's heart whenever the gospel is faithfully proclaimed, but which does not always make it yield after all, but the very drawings that Jesus speaks of? The more of light, the more also of power; for there is a power in the truth which appeals to that good principle in man's

heart which God has given for his welfare. If this be not true, I do not see how any man can be responsible, or on what principle he is to be judged. But the word of God is clear on the matter. A man is to “be judged by that he hath,and not by that “ he hath not.”

Again, God does not leave man in such a state that the offer of salvation by the gospel should prove a mere mockery to him. We read how He strove, by His Spirit, with the sinners that "perished in the flood," and declared that this striving should cease. “And so it is all through. He bears long with man in his rebellion and sin. He sends His witnesses, again and again, to warn and reclaim him, and only when everything fails, is he given up to reap the evil of his own doings. In the case of the Jews, we have seen how true is all this. Who can read God's tender pleadings with them to give up their evil ways, without feeling that He had nothing in His heart but good towards His sinful creatures, who were so bent on their own destruction, unless, indeed, he believes the monstrous conclusion, that God was but mocking them with these pathetic entreaties, well knowing that it was not in their power to turn, or avail themselves of His mercy? To bring the thought home more powerfully, I would ask you. When God says, As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of th sinner, or wicked, but rather that he should turn and live,” “ Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die ?” do you believe that He is merely mocking the sinner? And yet, if man be not a free agent, it must be so ! Let us take a momentary glance at that affecting picture of our dear Redeemer weeping over Jerusalem. Oh! the deep tenderness of the yearning of that loving heart! and what does He say in those burning yearning words of His ! “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ! thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.. Can any one look on this scene, and hear these thrilling words forced from a bleeding heart, and still say

that man is not free to choose, or refuse ? Is God friendly to man, and disposed to help him in his need ? Let us listen to the song of the angels at the birth of the world's Redeemer : “ Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, and goodwill towards men.” Take the whole tone of the New Testament teachings and declarations, and we are forced to the conclusion that God is most graciously disposed towards man. He has afforded the utmost proofs His love could show. His promises are repeated again and again, of His readiness to receive, forgive, help, and bless all who come to Him in the name of Jesus ; and man can accept,

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