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that there remain only what may fairly be called difficulties rather than objections. Thirdly, the existence of difficulties in the Bible ought to create no surprise if it be the book of God, since there are difficulties in all his works. This does but place the Bible on a level with the works of nature—the stones, the trees, the stars. Were it wholly free from difficulty, the presumption against its divine origin would certainly be more strong. Fourthly, the existence of difficulties in the Bible is the rather to be expected, because it is of the nature of moral evidence to be complicated with them, as a test to the disposition of the inquirer. It seems to be a divine rule to supply evidence enough for the conviction of the candid, and to leave difficulties enough for the uncandid to stumble over. Fifthly, the difficulties in the Bible do not annihilate the positive evidence of its divine origin. This—all this—is still there, and if our decision is to be arrived at by a comparison of the force of evidence on the one side, and the weight of difficulties on the other, there can be no doubt of its character.
To us, indeed, asking who made the Bible, is very much like asking who made the sun. To such a question—which, amidst his glorious
a — rays, could scarcely be deemed less than impertinent-one might well content one's-self with saying, 'Look, and see.' Mark how his intense and burning beams fall on the eye with so extreme a gentleness as to be a source only of pleasure to that sensitive organ, and spread themselves over the face of nature like a transparent mantle, bringing out from their hidden treasures the beauteous hues with which they adorn her. Mark how the light of day guides man to his labour, and furnishes to him the medium by which he successfully pursues the minutest investigation, while the influence of the celestial orb warms the cold clods of the earth, and impregnates her kind bosom with a thousand benefits. Who made the sun ? Why, God, who made the earth and man upon it, he made the sun too, as is evident from its fitness for both.
Judge, then, by the same method, who made the Bible. Whence could a volume come, so fitted to man's mind, so suited to man's wants, so adapted to man universally, but from the Author of man's being ? There are, indeed, difficulties in the Bible, as there are spots in the sun; but not all the spots that were ever seen in it have induced mankind to ascribe it to a different origin, or to forego the advantage of its illumination.
By evidence of the class which we have now adduced, and of which, as we set out with saying we should, we have given an extremely slight and imperfect sketch, there has been extorted from an infidel, to whom the external evidences were as naught, the following confession of the supernatural origin of the Bible. 'I confess to you,' says Mr. Chubb, ‘that the majesty of the Scriptures strikes me with admiration, as the purity of the gospel has its influence on my heart. Peruse the works of our philosophers, with all their pomp of diction, how mean, how contemptible are they, compared with the Scripture! Is it possible that a book at once so simple and sublime should be merely the work of man? And if not of man, then of God. Reader, listen to it as the voice of God to THEE.
Words for the Wise.
• Faithful are the wounds of a friend.'--SOLOMON.
• Ego autem neminem nomino; quare irasci mihi nemo poterit, nisi qui ante de se voluerit confiteri.'--Cicero.
XII. CHAPEL EXTENSION. FOPERY has many foster-fathers beside the old man on the Seven Hills. The child of human nature itself, it will not be allowed to die at present for the want of parental care; and it may even chance to survive for a time, though Mazzini should be again summoned from London to govern Rome.
For not only by the English Church,' which is thought to have been devised expressly with a view to its maintenance, but by communities also which have neither stalls to shelter it, nor mitres to reward it, is it rocked and dandled into unnatural strength; prophets, hired to curse it, murmur over its cradle an unlooked-for blessing ; and the Magnates of Methodism itself diligently feed it into size and power, as the queen-bee is stuffed into pre-eminence by the joint labours of the hive.
Pity that the Dissenters of England should not have been above this weakness! Why should they have stooped, as they have done in so many ways, to ignore the painful' testimony of their fathers ? What have they to do—they, of all men—with reports and speeches which discourse in Popish fashion on the wants of the age,' which take up with mechanism and call it life, and which go far to show that the straitest sects of modern times, like the strict religionists of the Saviour's age, are greatly more concerned to know what they should do than to grow to what they should be.
Amongst the nostrums and specifics which this tendency has evoked, I remark with some astonishment that the most popular at present is Chapel Extension.'
It used to be held that churches, like constitutions, must grow, and could not be extemporized; but we have got beyond all that. We can secure a site, and look out an architect, and run up a building, and establish a 'cause, at the shortest possible notice; and what this may lead to, now that the duty is off bricks, I own myself at a loss to imagine. For consider with what facility the love of novelty sways the bulk of mankind; consider what charms the offer of power must ever have for all the restless spirits of a neighbourhood; and say what class of persons will be the first to flock to the new centres of attraction. Who, in short, on this extemporaneous system, will be the founders and first constituents of the infant Church ?--that is the question.
This novel method of • Church Extension' is pursued at present, however, upon system. Societies are established to undertake it;
large sums are collected from all quarters to pay for it; secretaries are engaged to advocate its claims; the pious are reminded of the “form of bequest' by which they may promote its interests; considerable moneys are invested in the Three per Cents in the name of its treasurers; and sundries, including rent of committee-room, advertisements, postages, collector's poundage, &c., duly figure in the annual reports : whilst the rule which is to determine the application of all this wealth, is couched in such terms as these, • That to individuals, churches, or associations of churches, who shall provide one-fourth of the cost of a proposed chapel, the committee may advance the remaining three-fourths, partly by grant, partly by loan, the grant usually being within one-third of the entire cost, and never exceeding onehalf. A handsome chapel, going, my friends, at one-fourth of its value! The building is quite new, and the style of it is Gothic, of the transition period. The first applicants to be the purchasers. To be sure the purchasers may be holy men, as well as those who have reared the building ; and it is possible, moreover, that the patrons of the new living may bestow it upon one who shall both live and promulgate the very truth of Christ. But who does not see, that the persons undertaking the responsibility of the purchase, must be sorely tempted to relieve themselves of a portion of it as soon as possible. And what means so certain as the speedy selection of a preacher, who shall cause the pews to let ? Holy the new incumbent may be; learned, moreover, and wise he may be : but he must at all hazards be attractive. That is the one indispensable qualification, and upon our modern system, whatever be the deficiencies of the model minister, you may reckon with confidence upon this, that he will at least be popular.
It is one consequence, moreover, of the importance attached at present to this Chapel Extension, that a Dissenting capitalist can now-a-days, with the gains of a week, go far to palliate the misdeeds of a lifetime. Let him set up in some conspicuous place a showy church-like structure, and the religious newspapers will hasten to hang garlands about his name; Heavyside will smile on him benignantly from the pages of the Windbag ;' and at the opening of the new building Tritissimus will exhaust for the twentieth time the wellknown text, For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. What if some heart-burnings ensue? What if the first incumbent of the new benefice should be popular, and should thin the neighbouring congregations? What if Tritissimus himself should discover that some of his own flock have been stolen from him ? Les fous font les modes, et les sages les suivant ; and even our sagacious friend cannot help himself. He must go with the stream, and will have to preach at the first anniversary, or the Windbag' will hint that he has but a cold zeal for the salvation of the world.
For in this miserable entanglement of gain and godliness, it should not surprise us that the poor people cannot always make their way out of the meshes, so industriously woven for them. They hear on all sides the cool assumption that he who rears these ambitious structures is doing God service.' They find their denominational literature' saturated with the doctrine. Nay, they have more than once been present at some opening,' and have looked round upon the ornaments of wood and plaster, whilst Dr. Pliable has read, and the genteel congregation has sung, the familiar verse
• What though the gates of Hell withstood,
Yet must this building rise ;
And wondrous in our eyes.' Surely the inference is irresistible. The 'wondrous work' before them is the wondrous work indeed. In the construction of such edifices is to be found the true edification; and the metaphorical meaning of that word may henceforth be laid aside.
That was not a lovely spectacle which the world used to see, when poor Dissenting ministers, with dusty boots and cravats of whiteybrown, hawked their chapel-cases' up and down the country in quest of money; but there is a tradition amongst us, that some of the men who did that, might have done better for themselves,' had they been so minded ; and I for one, if chapels must always initiate religion, would rather have these unhappy cases’ obtruded on me again, and be mulcted on the behalf of each in the sum of one guinea, than I would be charged a shilling as Quidnunc was, at the door of one of these modern temples, to hear an organ opened,' amidst the unsavoury odours of the Bermondsey tan-yards.
But what astonishes me beyond measure is the singular architecture to which this novel passion has given birth. I have seen some speci. mens of it, and have eyed them, I confess, in speechless amazement. There was a meaning once in those old cathedrals, which, for all religious purposes, are abandoned now to deans and singing-boys; and even to this day they show us that our fathers meant what they said, and had no more thought of cheapening the offerings of their veneration and love, than had she who broke the alabaster box of 'very precious ointment' over her Saviour's feet. One knows likewise how to respect the brick meeting-house of the hunted Puritan; for does it not remind us of times when the brotherhood of Christ must meet by stealth, and when discovery meant imprisonment, exile, mutilation, death! All honour, then, to the noble piles with which the piety of our Catholic forefathers studded the land ; and all honour to the homely structures of that · Ebenezer-pattern ' which excites the abhorrence of George Brummagem; but for these 'gay masquerade representations of all the mediæval styles,' got up at the smallest possible expense, verily, they fill me with amazement.
Oh! George, George, you are a clever man, and a ready speaker ; but I wish you had let that stern old · Ebenezer-pattern' alone. For, albeit it represents not Brummagem ideas, it is the symbol, sacred for ever in the estimation of the pious, of a service that was once
salted with fire.' Its very plainness should have commanded your respect; and its honest simplicity should have taught you, that the men who offered it to God would as readily, in earlier ages, have lavished time
and money on the old pile at Westminster, or the majestic towers of Lincoln. Pity you meddled with that • Ebenezer-pattern, George Brummagem.
For what have we got in its place? Not the best of our own time, nor the best of any time, but only the Brummagem-best of past times; medieval chapels built by contract, and mediæval ornaments multiplied by casting. Did our fathers serve God so ? Read the following paragraph and see. It is taken (since you will ask the authority) from the • Companion to the Almanac' for the current year, pp. 232-4; and I suppress the indignation of Discipulus to make room for it.
'It is forgotten,' says our critic, that our fathers, in a state of rising civilization, might as easily have multiplied ornament by casting, &c., as we can; but then it never occurred to them to do so. Now why does it occur to us? Simply because the use of ornament now is totally different from its use then: and this betrays the whole differ
In its beginning and progress all ornament is a free-will offering,” added to the necessary part of a man's work, or, rather, incorporated therein, as a distinction from the work of brutes (which would otherwise be superior to ours, being without botching or bungling), and a source of satisfaction in our work by rendering it such that we may love it, and when finished, may in a measure see that it is good, and bless God for it. Such ornament it never occurs to any one to cheapen, whether it be offered to Heaven in the house of prayer, to our guest in our own house, or our neighbours outside. It is of the nature of an offering, and must be sweet savoured, costing its full price, the best of its kind. No man cheapens it, but if poor brings cheaper, not the same cheapened; wrought zigzags, not cast foliage; a choice ram, not a cheap inferior heifer; a choice pigeon, not a lean pretentious ram. In the times of " Early English” (or early anything else), such is the nature of all unnecessary finish, neatness, or decoration. It has nothing in common with modern ornament, which is best typified by the stamps on an Albata fork.'
Redtape receives this extract with one long-drawn 'Phew! For as his studies had been mostly confined to .our denominational literature,' this . Albata fork' strikes home, with all the point of novelty; but naturam expellas furcâ tamen usque recurret-and it recurs, sure enough, in such questions as follow.
Is not the new steeple 127 feet high? And are we to mak: no account of that? ' etc., etc., etc. · And have we not been advised to build showy chapels at watering-places, the better to attract the giddy and the frivolous ? And do they not answer well?' etc., etc., etc. * And do you esteem it nothing that a handsome structure, intended for the Papists, having fallen into the hands of the speculator, should be generously conceded to "our own denomination?" Have you no sympathy, again, with the loud pæan of victory which is chanted when the wealthy shipowner, after long wavering between the cost of consecration and “the claims of the Dissenters," allows a Dissenting teacher to read himself into the new benefice? And if, at a moderate cost, VOL. II.