Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

may not condescend to scrutinize the overwhelming evidence of demonstration presented in the palpable events of prophetic denunciation. The enquiry is curious, novel, and deeply imbued with interest. These legible memorials of time long elapsed, the transcript of wonderful events, are durable as adamant, and permanent as brass. They form a legend which all “who run may read,” though one which, if we mistake not, instead of occupying the high vantage ground it ought to have possessed, has only been hitherto considered a subordinate link in the chain of evidence. Some writers on Coins and Medals, Pinkerton for instance, have treated with a sneer, the evidence derived from the Jewish Shekel and the Coins of the Lower Empire. It is true the impress on Coins of the Lower Empire is rude, as are the Shekel and the Jewish Currency under Agrippa, but this does not diminish their value as Medallions of history. Many Coins of high antiquity, the Sassanian, for instance, are barbarous in the extreme, but are certainly not on that account to be rejected from a complete cabinet which would equally welcome the antique Leaden Money with that of “Kimmeridge Coal," and in which the Leather Money of Numa, however rude, would be hailed as an acquisition. Dr. Walsh has, in his interesting little work, done much in the way of evidence collected from Coins and Medals, as illustrating the early history and progress of Christianity chiefly in connection with Coins of the Lower Empire. It is only to be regretted that he has bestowed so much attention on the idle fooleries of the gnostics, in our opinion altogether unworthy the space he has occupied in the discussion. I have grappled with the question of Revelation on a broader basis.

It should, however, be observed in this place, that I have neither time nor inclination for

any

elaborate disquisition had I ability for the task; and nothing of the kind will be found. Μεγα Βιβλίον μεγα κακόνα great book is a great evil, is a conviction with which

my

mind has been long thoroughly imbued. My object has been to collect facts, still existing mementos, which any one may consult for himself: as far as possible the figures may be considered faithful fac similes of the originals, and though I am free to confess, that my researches in quest of illustration have cost me not a little anxious labour, I must also admit that the task has been a very delightful one--Labor ipse voluptas,and as the proofs rose before me in review, “I thanked God and took courage.” The evidence has been most satisfactory to my own mind, and I most devoutly hope it

may be found equally so to others. It appears, to me at least, altogether incontrovertible, and of such a nature as to impel conviction, and will, doubtless, yield satisfaction where the mind is honest and docile, and willing to receive information on the most important question which can animate its hopes, or engage its affections. It is just such a species of evidence as the most stern and rigorous demands for demonstration have reason to be satisfied with. It is of a stamp even superior to mathematical authority, high and lofty though its proud pretensions be. These things tell their own tale—they are seen and read of all men, and are written in a species of universal language—“Parthians and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya, about Cyrene, and strangers of

Rome, Jews and Proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, all hear in their own tongues the wonderful works of God." There is no room here for the charge of interpolation and artificial interpretation; the legend has nothing to do with phraseology, and belongs not to any kindred or tongue ; our proofs are tangible inscriptions contemporaneous with the events they record, nor can sophistry elude their force, or pervert their meaning. We know not what higher species of evidence can be wished for, or demanded. Our eyes may see, our hands may handle them. We wrestle not with mere opinion, but grapple with matters of fact, attested by the senses.

It may be objected that some of these may be forgeries, such as were the Paduan Medals. To this it may be replied, that they are obtained under a great variety of different circumstances, and from a multitude of independent sources. As to the Paduan Medals, the original dies are, we believe, in one of the museums of Paris ; nor is it doubted that these were copies from rare originals actually existing.

The speculations of the geologist have changed their form and dimensions like a Proteus, and almost as rapidly as the hues of the chameleon ; happily, however, his wild eccentricities have not overturned the mountains of the globe ; and our appeal is to them, to their legend and durable inscription. A theory, it is true, may not be able to account for all phenomena ; but it is equally true, that a solitary fact, counter to its dicta, is sufficient to overturn it. We point, therefore, to monuments and inscriptions in the live rock, in situ, that are still fresh and legible, though ancient as the patriarchal and the prophetic age, bearing the autograph of some of the earliest events in the Biblical

History of man. The Babylonian and Persepolitan characters have not, it is true, been yet deciphered, but the task is by no means hopeless; and when the key shall be found to unlock these records of antiquity, there can be little doubt that some of the historical incidents of the Sacred Volume will be elucidated and confirmed. The hieroglyphic symbols of aboriginal Egypt, down to a very recent period, seemed to be as unpromising as could well be imagined; but the seal of its mystery is broken, and from this mystic source a new and unexpected confirmation of Sacred Writ has been obtained. As time rolls on, new accessions of proof are unfolded; these will accumulate age by age, continually, as Providence lifts the veil, until, in the fulness of time, they shall merge into one mighty and irresistible blaze of truth, which will consume all the cobwebs of sophistry, and for ever confound the infidel.

We hold that the sign manual of truth is appended to such deeds and documents as these, and require only the same test as we are wont to apply in our researches in pursuit of physical truth. In the following pages our object has been to condense and to collect into a focus, what appeared to us scattered rays of remarkable evidence, only regretting, though we can most conscientiously say we have not been wanting in diligence in collecting materials from every practicable and accessible source, that they are, after all, more limited than we could wish. If our present attempt should meet a favourable reception, neither time, application, nor expense, shall be withheld to swell the amount of evidence and demonstration, under a firm conviction that there remain, still “ greater things than

man.

these" in reversion-some tangible memorial, it may be, of

every fact mentioned in the Biblical Record. The researches of discovery are not yet finished ; many a wonder may yet be revealed to the keen scrutiny of

It is not yet enough, nor has restless enterprize completed its task. On the other hand, should our present labours not meet with a hearty welcome, we shall most willingly and cheerfully resign our task into abler hands.

Let it not be forgotten, that the present attempt is the unaided effort of a solitary private individual, whose means are cramped, and whose influence is

very

limited; but, if one hedged about with so many difficulties, and whose sphere of usefulness is so contracted, can do so much, what may not be expected from another, who, to ability and zeal, and unfettered by any kind of restriction, could add both influence and means ? And still more, what might be the result of the combined researches of

many

kindred minds ? Our wish has been to meet the infidel and the sceptic on the wide arena of modern science, of which he talks so loudly and boasts so inuch. We much mistake, indeed, if the literary and scientific sceptic has it all his own way. Mere verbiage will not give the disputant, in this arena, the palm of victory. Some more sterling chivalry must distinguish the victor. Sarcasm and sophistry are games for fools, but are altogether inadmissible in the Athenian school of genuine science. Wit and ribaldry will not break the lance of truth. These sorry warriors must come into the field equipped with different armour if they hope to win.

The sceptic and the infidel have no right to play the Procrustes in the republics of literature and science ;

« AnteriorContinuar »