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CHAPTER IV. INSTANCES IN ILLUSTRATION. lr follows now to inquire how much evidence is actually producible for those large portions of the present Creed of Christendom, which have not a. recognized place in the primordial idea and the historical outline of the Religion, yet which come to us with certain antecedent considerations strong enough in reason to raise the effectiveness of that evidence to a point disproportionate, as I have allowed, to its intrinsic value. In urging these considerations here, of course I exclude for the time the force of the Church's claim of infallibility in her acts, for which so much can be said, but I do not exclude the logical cogency of those acts, considered as testimonies to the faith of the times before them. My argument then is this :-that, from the first age of Christianity, its teaching looked towards those ecclesiastical dogmas, afterwards recognized and defined, with (as time went on) more or less determinate advance in the direction of them ; till at length that advance became so pronounced, as to justify their definition and to bring it about, and to place them in the position of rightful interpretations and keys of the remains and the records in history of the teaching which had so terminated. 2. This line of argument is not unlike that which is considered to constitute a sufficient proof of truths in err. IV. SECT. I. IN STANCES CURSORILY NOTICED. t.J ] 12� physical science. An instance of this is furnished us in a work on Mechanics of the past generation, by a writer of name, and his explanation of it will serve as an introduction to our immediate subject. After treating of the laws of motion, he goes on to observe, " These laws are the simplest principles to which motion can be reduced, and upon them the whole theory depends. They are not indeed self-evident, nor do they admitof accurateproof by experiment, on account of the great nicety required in adjusting the instruments and making the experiments ; and on account of the effects of friction, and the air's resistance, which cannot entirely be removed. They are, however, constantly, and invariably; suggested to our senses, and they agree with experiment as far as experiment can go ; and the more accurately the experiments are made, and the greater care we take to remove all those impedi­ ments which tend to render the conclusions erroneous, the more nearly do the experiments coincide with these laws." 1 And thus a converging evidence in favour of certain doctrines may, under circumstances, be as clear a proof of their Apostolical origin as can be reached practically from the Quad semper, quad ubique, quad ab omnibus. In such a method of proof there is, first, an imperfect, secondly, a growing evidence, thirdly, in consequence a delayed inference and judgment, fourthly, reasons pro­ ducible to account for the delay. SECTION I. INSTANCES CURSORILY 'NOTICED. 1. (I.) Canon o f tile New Testament. As regards the New Testament, Catholics and Protestants ' Wood's Mechanics, p. 31. 124 INSTANCES CURSORILY NOTICED. [err. 1v. receive the same books as canonical and inspired ; yet among those books some are to be found, which certainly have no right there if, following the rule of Vincentius, we receive nothing as of divine authority but what has been received always and everywhere. The degrees of evidence are very various for one book and another. " It is confessed," says Less, " that not all the Scriptures of our New Testament have been received with universal consent �as genuine works of the Evangelists and Apostles. But that man most have predetermined to oppose the most palpable truths, and must reject all history, who will not confess that the greater part ofthe New Testament has been universally received as authentic, and that the remaining books have been acknowledged as such by the maJority of the ancients." 2 2. For instance, as to the Epistle of St. James. It is true, it is contained in the old Syriac version in the second century ; but Origen, in the third century, is the first writer who distinctly mentions it among the Greeks ; and it is not quoted by name by any Latin till the fourth. St. Jerome speaks of its gaining credit " by degrees, in pro­ cess of time." Eusebius says no more than that it had been, up to his time, acknowledged by the majority ; and he classes it with the Shepherd of St. Hermas and the Epistle of...


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