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“ Nor is there much probability of their improving in this respect, until they shall possess a good translation of the whole Bible, with some such works as Prideaux's Connection of the Old and New Testament, the Connections of sacred and profane History by Shuckford, and some good commentary on the text of Scripture".” Such ignorance is the rather to be deplored, because subjects which might be decided by appeal to accredited sources and conduce to the happiest results, are met by a style of metaphysical reasoning and mysticism, which instead of simplifying inquiry and elucidating truth, immerge it in greater perplexity by mere subtleties, difficult to be understood, and which, after all, are of no consequence to the main question.
ON THE GRAND SCHEME OF REDEMPTION THROUGH A
WHETHER Mohammed had imbibed erroneous notions of Christian Doctrines, or was designedly guilty of prevarication, is a subject awfully affecting his criminality, both in kind and degree, but falls not within the limits of our discussion: we are here weighing his
avowed sentiments, not the motives which led , to their adoption. The fact is indisputable,
that he has dealt largely in Apocryphal Gospels, and in the construction of his scheme omitted the principal ingredient, and what may be termed the distinguishing peculiarity of Christianity. The Prophet of Arabia adds another to the list of failures in that point, where all systems of Religion and Philosophy evidenced their imbecility and inadequacy before him, viz. in pointing out how sins are forgiven through a Mediator.
The Pagan superstitions retained some vestiges of this doctrine, derived from ancient tradition, and the Jewish Religion was one continued multiform type of a Redeemer and atonement through him; but the utmost power of man could not advance deeply into the subject, because it presupposes a knowledge of many things which can be acquired only by revelation,—such as the dreadful nature of sin,—the penalty sufficient to atone for it,-how the justice of God can be satisfied and rendered consistent with mercy in pardoning the offender.
Man is conscious to himself of transgression, that he has not loved his Maker with that
sincerity and ardour of affection which reason dictates is his due: the unfailing monitor in the human breast not only accuses of individual transgression,--but on reference to the world around him the truth is written in characters too plain to be mistaken : if there be any argument in history, the history of nations is but a confirmation of the fall. The Scriptures coincide with reason and experience, and proclaim every where, that “all have sinned.” The 'sacred page declares, that Adam was made the federal head or representative of the human race: the Almighty imposed on him a law to try his obedience, which, had he oberved, he and all his posterity would have been happy ; but, by transgressing it, he fell and entailed misery and death upon himself and descendants. The covenant was, « Do this and live, transgress this and die :” now Adam having broken the covenant, and become, as before observed, subject to death, entence was passed accordingly on him, yet even then (so merciful was Heaven) intimation was given of the victorious seed of the woman who should, in after times, destroy the devil, and reconcile man with God.
Natural religion is of no use in these inquiries, and reason is perfectly silent: judging from analogy, we see vice suffering its deserved penalties : the man who by excesses has injured his health, bears the effects of his sin in bodily infirmities, and perhaps in premature dissolution. Waste and prodigality conduct to misery and ruin, however sincere and genuine may be repentance; and in the decisions of men, where flagitious crimes are concerned, offences against the state, the property and lives of individuals, are visited with extremest severity: the offender, though penetrated with remorse and contrition, is left to the justice of the laws: a system of retribution prevails, and the demands of justice must