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The truth is, it is not necessary that every thing contained in a proposition should be clearly understood, in order to our being rationally convinced that such a proposition is true. We ought not to deny every thing we cannot understand; otherwise a man born blind would reason right, when he forms this syllogism : “We can only know the shape of different substances by feeling them; but it is impossible to handle them at a distance : therefore it is impossible to know the shape of different bodies which lie beyond our reach! A blind man, by the concurring testimony of all about bim, may be convinced that the figure of different bodies may be clearly ascertained by sight, though we cannot handle them. But when convinced of this on the ground of testimony, he can never be made to conceive how this is true. It is therefore a fundamental maxim in all true philosopby, that many things may be incomprehensible and yet demonstrable ; that though seeing clearly be a sufficient reason for affirming, yet not seeing at all can never be a reason for denying.
When it is affirmed that in the Godhead there are three, and that these three are one God, it has been objected, not only that the doctrine is incomprehensible, but that the terms themselves involve a contradiction: to this it might be replied, that if the Divine Being were affirmed to be three in the same sense in which be is said to be one, the objection would be valid ; but the contradiction here is only a seeming one, and is no other than what appears in other propositions concerning the Divine Being, which are also true. Suppose it were affirmed that it is possible for God to do evil, and yet that it is impossible he should do evil; this would involve an apparent contradiction : and if the two branches of the proposition were to be understood in the same sense of possible and impossible, the contradiction would be real. But to say that it is not naturally impossible for God to do evil, were he so inclined, is only affirming what is necessary to his being a free agent, and so of being virtuous or holy : and to say that it is morally impossible for God to do evil, is only ascribing to him that perfection of holidess which constitutes the true glory of his character. So to affirm that the centre and surface of the globe are exceedingly remote, and yet so exceedingly near as to be equally the central point of infinite space, is an apparent contradiction, and yet demonstrably true. That the remotest periods of time are alike the centre of infinite duration, is also a most evident truth, and yet a caviller might object that the terms of these propositions involve a contradiction : it is like saying that two points may be one, and that one may be two. Yet, opposite as the terms may appear, the truth of the propositious is not at all affected by them, but rests on the strongest demonstration.
REFLECTIONS ON TRUE WISDOM.
Prov. xiv. 8.
MR EDITOR, . I was lately struck with the justness of Solomon's proverbs, as affording a picture of modern character. The passage I refer to is in chapter xiv. 8. The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit. This proverb teaches us, That true wisdom is of a useful or practical nature. There is a great difference between the wisdom of some worldly men and that of others. Some deal in mere speculation : their discoveries are of no use, either to themselves or mankind. Others, who are of a more prudent turn, bend their talents to useful purposes. The philosophy of a Lunardi exhibits an air balloon; that of a Franklin is applied to objects of real utility.
But Solomon seldom if ever writes of mere natural wisdom. That on which he chiefly dwells has its origin in the fear of the Lord. (Chap. i. 7.) The passage in question, therefore, may be considered as giving the character of holy wisdom, as distinguished
from the wisdom of this world: it directs to the understanding of our way, in matters of the highest importance. And this is the proper opposite of the folly described in the last clause, which is deceit. Wicked men are the greatest fools in God's account; and their folly consists in self-deception. While the wisdom of the truly wise turns to a good account, the folly of the wicked puts a cheat upon their souls.
The wisdom of some men is to understand things which cannot be understood. When David appealed to God, saying, Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.--My soul is as a weaned child, it implies, that there were men who did ; and so · there are still..“ Man,” says Locke, “should know the length of his tether." What a deluge of abstract speculations has been poured upon the world in all ages, especially since the invention of printing! There is no end of questions upon such subjects, Instead of finding out truth, we presently lose ourselves. Ask, What is a spirit? What is eternity? What is immensity ? How came a pure creature to become sinful ? Why did God create man, seeing what part he would act ? All these, and a thousand more questions of the kind, belong to the wisdom of the impru. dent. It does not lead us a step towards heaven; but in a contrary direction.
Again: the wisdom of others is to pry into things which, if understood, are of little or no use.-Long and elaborate treatises have heen written on the question, What is space? But cui boni? Even these things which are of use, astronomy for instance, if pursued to the neglect of our way, are folly, and will deceive the expectation. We should blame any man, and count him a fool, notwithstanding his learning, if he employed himself in studying the distances of the stars, while his family were pining for want, and his affairs going to rnin: and why not, if, in the same pursuits, he neglects the salvation of n. soul?
Further : The wisdom of some is to understand the way of other. men.—We meet with many who are exceedingly censorious on public measures. For their part, they are wise : and happy would it be for the world, if it were under their direction! but
whether it be that the affairs of religious duty are too little for their expanded minds, or whatever be the reason, so it is, that their own concorns are generally neglected. We meet with others who understand all the private concerns of a neighbourhood, and can point out the faults and defects of every one about them; but forget their own. We have even met with professors of religion, who understand the faults, defects, and errors, of almost all the religious world ; and whenever they meet together, these are the topics of conversation by which they edify one another. Surely, Mr. Editor, this is not the wisdom of the prudent.
But it will be asked, What is the wisdom of the prudent? And I may answer, It is that which leads to the understanding of our way through life, and to the heavenly home.
Particularly : It will lead us above all things to see that our way be right. There are many by-ways, and many who are walking in them: but true wisdom will not rest till it find out the road that leads to everlasting life. It will know whom it trusts, and whether he be able to keep that which is committed to him. It will lead us also to attend diligently to the directions of the way. We shall read the oracles of God: the doctrines for belief, and the precepts for practice; and shall thus learn to cleanse our way by taking heed thereto, according to God's word. It will moreover induce us to guard against the dangers of the way. We shall not be ignorant of Satan's devices, nor of the numerous temptations to which our age, times, circumstances, and propensities expose us. It will influence us to keep our eyes upon the end of the way. A foolish man will go that way in which he finds most company, or can go most at his ease : but wisdom will ask, What shall I do in the end thereof? To understand the end of the wrong way will deter; but to keep our eye upon that of the right, will attract. Christ himself kept sight of the joy that was set before him. Finally : as holy wisdom possesses the soul with a sense of propriety at all times and upon all occasions, it is therefore our highest interest to obtain this wisdom, and to cultivate it by reading, meditation, prayer, and every appointed means. My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee, so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to under
standing ; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding ; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures ; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous : he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
THE DEITY OF CHRIST ESSENTIAL TO ATONEMENT
The doctrine of atonement by the death of Christ is one of the great and distinguishing principles of the gospel, and its importance is acknowledged by most denominations of professing Christians : yet there are some who suppose that this doctrine is not necessarily connected with the divinity of Christ ; and, indeed, that it is inconsistent with it. It has been objected, that according to the scriptures it was the person of Christ that suffered; but that this is inconsistent with his divinity, because divinity could not suffer. To which it may be answered, that though the person of Christ suffered, yet that he suffered in all that pertains to his person, is quite another thing. A great and virtuous character among men might suffer death by the axe or the guillotine, and this would be suffering death in his person ; and yet he might not suffer in his honour or in his character, and so pot in all that pertained to him. A Christian might suffer martyrdom in bis body, and yet bis soul be very happy. To object, therefore, that Christ, Vol. VIII.