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disclosed. Let the picture now made manifest for the first time by one agent, be the precise counterpart,
in all its features and lineaments, to the distant scene now made manifest by the other; and the conclusion is irresistible, that he who drew the picture had his eye upon the landscape, or copied from him who had direct and original observation of the scene. The conclusion is truly a sound one; but not more sound than that of him, who, in virtue of some new power of discernment, can perceive in the book of a professed revelation, an accurate reflection of the character of his own heart-who, a stranger before both to the characters of the outer and to those of the inner tablet, now beholds them standing out in visible manifestation, and can note their perfect respondency the one to the other. The inference is valid, and such as to stamp entire rationality on the faith of many an unlettered Christian-when he feels how that He who constructed the Bible had preternatural insight into the mysteries of his own spirit—that the Architect of this wondrous volume was no other than the Architect of man's moral economy, and who alone could pourtray the hidden man of the heart, and bring out to view the secrets of that mechanism which He Himself did frame.
47. Now, it may be thought, that, by this process however real, there is nothing gained additional to the first and the second experimental evidence, which we have already endeavoured to expoundthat by it we are only made to see the accordancy between the now understood statements of the Bible, and the now felt or perceived state of
our own hearts; and also to see the accordancy between the provisions which are addressed to us there, and those moral or spiritual necessities of which we have now been made sensible—that still we have not advanced any further than to these two kinds of evidence; nor is it seen immediately, how a third evidence can be founded on that peculiar method by which it is that men are conducted to the former ones.
48. But the truth is, that this peculiar method bears upon itself another impress of the divinity. And that, not merely because light hath been made to arise in the mind by a way altogether distinct from any of the processes of human teaching, but also, in the very way that is specified and laid down in the book itself. Being "renewed in knowledge;" being “called out of darkness into marvellous light;" having the “eyes opened to behold;" having the “secrets of the heart made manifest;" being struck with the conviction of inward want and worthlessness on the one hand, and also on the other with the efficiency of the proposed application—these all point to a great event at the outset of a man's real and decided Christianity : and, should the event happen to any individual, there is to him a correspondence between the announcements in the book, and what to himself is a most interesting passage of his own history, which might serve still more to evince the powerful and the presiding intelligence by which it is animated. What it affirms is, not a something which is within us, but a something which will befal us--not, as under the first and implicitly too under the second evi
dence, not a description of our present state, but the actual prediction or rather fulfilment of a promise in our future history. The divination in fact is heightened into a prophecy. “He that seeketh findeth"-this, if at length verified upon us, and verified in the very peculiar way that we have already explained, will lead us to the view of another coincidence than any which we have yet specified.—Not a coincidence between the statements of the book, and the state of our own moral economy; not a coincidence between the provisions which it offers, and the felt necessities of our actual condition_but a coincidence between what to us is a most interesting prophecy or promise, and the living or actual fulfilment of it in our own persons
-a proof most effective individually to ourselves ; and which, multiplied as it is in the frequent and unceasing repetitions of it throughout all the countries of Christendom, might furnish a general and enlightened observer with the very strongest materials, for the demonstration of the reality of our faith.
49. The event which we now suppose to have taken place in the mental history of an inquirer, supplies him with a great deal more than a mere introduction to the first and second experimental evidences. It is in itself a distinct and additional evidence. There is even more in it than another species of accordancy beside either of those which come under the two former heads of this argument -not an accordancy between what the Bible says we are, and what we discern ourselves to be; not an accordancy between what the Bible offers as a remedy, and we feel that we require; but an
accordancy between what the Bible says will happen to its disciples, and what they experience in themselves to happen actually. But over and above this we behold, in this great spiritual transaction, the characters, not merely of the divine prescience, but of the divine agency. For it comes as the fulfilment of a promise, and in answer to prayer; and so gives the irresistible conviction, that the power and the will and the knowledge and the faithfulness of the living God are all concerned in it. It bears every mark of a specialinterposition on the part of Him who “commands the light to shine out of darkness," who hath promised to “draw near unto those who draw near unto Him,” and tells the sinner who awakens at His call that “Christ shall give him light.” And yet special though the interposition be, if by a miracle we mean a contravention to some known sequence or law of nature, it stands distinguished from an ordinary miracle. The change is too far back for being a miraculous one, in the commonly understood sense of that term.* It takes place, not among the known processes of the intellect, but in the powers of the intellect—at the margin of separation between the known and the unknown, if not behind it. We are made conscious, by this mental change, of brighter perceptions than before; but all our trains of perception and reasoning proceed in their wonted order; and our faculties, now gifted with a clearer discernment of scripture than before, are nevertheless similarly exercised in the study of this book to what they are in the study of
See “ Natural Theology," Book V., Chap. iii., Art. 26.
all human authorship. If by a miracle be meant that by which a different consequent emerges from the same antecedent as before then we have not the means of detecting a full iniracle in that gracious change, by which transition is made from the darkness of nature to the light of the Gospel. For the change takes place on the first or remotest term of the progression that is visible to us. With the senses of the mind made clearer; and our first perceptions, whether of the Bible or of ourselves, more luminous than before, we may be said to start from new antecedents—while after this, all the mental phenomena, observable by us, strictly conform to the laws of the mental philosophy. Neither is there any new creation of objective light, for the purpose of making the convert see. The change is an organic one on his seeing faculties; or rather, the removal of an obstruction which prevents its ingress into the soul. God, in this work of illumination, does not command the light to exist; but he commands the light, the preexistent light, to shine out of darkness, or to shine through the veil by which it was before intercepted.
50. But he who is the subject of this visitation may be altogether unable to philosophize on the grounds of that conviction in which it has issued; or on the steps by which he has been led to it. The conviction, however, is not the less clear or warrantable on that account. He who has thus been made to see, sees upon evidence as sound as
See in our former volume the distinction made by us between the direct process, and the reflex view that might be taken of it in the act of reasoning.