图书图片
PDF
ePub

any stretch of imagination, be easily con- a removal of disorders depending upon ceived to come within the range of priestly obstructions: * * * so that all the artifice and cunning. I might illustrate wonder we are called upon to account for each of these remarks by appropriate is, that out of an almost innumerable mul. cases; but it would be a humiliating titude who resorted to the tomb for a cure waste of pains, equally tedious and of their disorders, and many of whom trifling. And not a few of them, more were there agitated by strong convulsions, over, are of such a character as to pre- a very small proportion experienced a clude the possibility of my introducing and beneficial change in their constitutions, detailing them. I feel myself laid under especially in the action of the nerves. a peremptory interdict. 'I could not do And even of the cases alleged to have it without feeling that I was violating at been cured, some were imperfect and temonce the claims of becoming gravity, and porary.'-Let the reader just look at the the still more imperative demands of moral two following cases : they may serve as purity. A vast number of them, from a sufficiently striking contrast to the their pitiful littleness and silliness, and miracles of the Gospel history. 'A young from their fantastic and laughable gro- man laboured under an inflammation of tesqueness, could not, with any propriety, one eye, and had lost the sight of the other be treated otherwise than with unsparing The inflamed eye was relieved; but the ridicule and scornful merriment, not quite blindness of the other remained. The inthe spirit that beseems 'the height of this flammation had before been abated by great argument. And some too there are medicine; and the young man, at the time in which the disgusting is added to the of his attendance at the tomb, was using a ludicrous; the filth, obscenity, and loath-lotion of laudanum. And, what is a still someness shutting them out from associa- more important part of the case, the intion with all that is decent-much flammation, after a time, returned.'— Is it more with what is sacred and divine. not a burlesque to dignify this at all with

Let me select three of the more respec- the title of miracle ? - Another young table cases of alleged miracle for a remarkman had lost his sight by the puncture of or two, and then group the rest together, an awl, and the discharge of the aqueous and have done with them.

humour through the wound. The sight, The FIRST I mention are—the miracles which had been gradually returning, was said to have been performed, or rather to much improved during his visit to the have taken place, at the tomb of the Abbè tomb; that is, probably, in the same Paris, in the beginning of last century. I degree in which the discharged humour mention these, because they are specially was replaced by secretions.-I might noted and commented on by Mr Hume. surely, as to this case too, repeat the same There is no need, however, for entering question. And it is observable,' adds Dr into detail. It will be quite enough to | Paley, from whom I quote,' that these two observe-first, that there were thousands are the only cases which, from their -many thousands—of diseased persons nature, should seem unlikely to be afwho crowded to the tomb for cure; and offected by convulsions. Read the accounts all these cases, there were but nine in of the cures of the blind in the Gospel which any cure was pretended to have history, and compare them with these; been wrought. All the thousands, ex- | how sublimely simple in their manner ! cepting these nine, proved failures. This and all instantaneous-perfect-and perof itself is quite enough to induce a sus manent. The second I select because it picion, or more than a suspicion, that there is an annually exhibited miracle at Naples, was no supernatural power in operation, to the present day. It is what is called but that these nine cures were to be ac- the liquefaction of the blood of St Janucounted for from natural causes.-In con- arius! With the history and character firmation of this-secondly :-even of the of the saint I have at present nothing to alleged cures none were instantaneous. do. What is said to be his coagulated Many of those who frequented the tomb blood (a portion of it that is) is kept in a attended for days, weeks, and even months vial, in the form of a hard ball. And on together. How long each of the nine a certain annual festival,-amid supersaid to have been cured were in attendance, , stitious ceremonies and devotions fitted to we cannot tell. But gradual cures want awaken interest, and to impress the minds one of the distinctive characteristics of of the spectators with the extreme difficulty, miracle.—Then, thirdly: The patients on account of their demerit, of obtaining were so affected by their devotion, their the intervention of the saint, and so of expectation, the place, the solemnity, and, the power of God, to produce the effect, above all, the sympathy of the surround" pretended to be wistfully longed for,-the ing multitude, that many of them were officiating minister lifts the vail, and with thrown into violent convulsions; which his hand, brings it toward the skull of the convulsions, in certain instances, produced saint;-when, to the amazement and den

[ocr errors]

light of the faithful, the hard mass begins the present, regard it simply in its chato soften and to flow, till all is dissolved ! racter as a miracle :-and even under this - The best way to set the worthlessness aspects have already, though in a different of this wonder before the reader in its true connection, adverted to it.-On the endlight, will be, just to quote a few sentences less contradictions and absurdities infrom Dr Cumming's recent lecture on volved in the fact, supposing the transmuRomish miracles :

tation really effected with other points But I revert to the saint's blood and in of a similar kind, I now say nothing. Redoing so, I would ask the following garding it simply in its miraculous chaquestions: is the substance in the glass racter, I remark-Ist, The miracle is no blood at all? to ascertain which I would miracle :-for a miracle is a fact, of which propose to Dr Newman, who desires us to the reality must be tested by the senses, go into evidence, to submit it to chemical and can be determined in no other way analysis. This is a sure test. It is easy than by their testimony. But this is a of application. If blood, is it the blood of miracle, which must not be tested by the a human being? Bishop Burnett says, senses; but is believed, and is required to that the blood of a duck was used at the be believed, not only independently of Reformation for a similar purpose, and their testimony, but in direct opposition with similar pretensions, in England. In to it--their testimony being, without exthe third place, if human blood, is it the ception of any instance or of any sense, a the blood of the said St Januarius, and of direct and palpable contradiction to it.no one else? Prove it. Fourthly, does 2dly, It is a miracle of which the evidence it liquefy by a miracle? or by the applica- is self-contradictory, and therefore self-detion of heat? or by a chemical process ? structive :-for, while the faith of it profesor by other priestly manipulation? And, sedly rests on divine testimony, in oppolastly, I observe, the exploit is so easily sition to that of our own senses, it is, notdone, that strong proof seems to me to be withstanding, on the testimony of sense, required to lead one to accept it as mira- and of sense alone, that it does rest;-and culous. In order to show that this is so, it is doubly self-destructive-inasmuch I will attempt to perform this alleged as, it not only rests on the testimony of miracle in your presence. I have had a sense, while professing the contrary, but glass bottle made as nearly like the it rests on the testimony of one sense alone, original as possible. The mass of sub- while it refuses the testimony of four at stance in the top bulb is perfectly solid; least of the senses, if not of all the five; on applying the hand, you see, it very thus believing on the ground of one fourth, soon begins to melt. (Dr Cumming here or one fifth part of the very same dedisplayed the fac-simile of the Neapolitan scription of evidence as that by which the miracle.). Now, I will tell you what this opposite of what is believed is attested. miracle is. It is a little otto of roses For it is by one sense only—the sense of coloured with dragon's blood. I found sightthat any man can know the words that otto of roses became solid at adout this is my body'-on which his faith 40 deg. or 42 deg.; and therefore, after it professes to rest) to be in the Bible; wherehas been reduced to that temperature, or as all the five, or at least four of them, lower, and thus becomes solid, on applying attest the indentity of the bread and the the heat of the hand to it for a minute it wine before and after the words of conselipuefies. You thus see how easily this cration.—And then, 3dly, It is a miracle supposed miraculous feat can be imitated, which, by the nature of the ground on and how necessary it is, therefore, that Dr which the belief of it rests, destroys all other Newman should not only show a red miraculous evidence, and so sweeps away liquid passing from a solid into a liquid one of the chief external proofs of our restate in a glass, but that he should also ligion. The evidence of miracles can be prove that that liquid is blood, and that it judged of only by the senses. Now, if in does not melt by any hand touching it, or one instance, our senses may so thoroughly other natural process, but by a special deceive us, as to testify, not a mere slight interposition of miraculous power.' variation from truth, but its very opposite,

This surely is enongh. We may be -pronouncing that to be, beyond contrapretty well assured, that all such testing of diction, bread and wine, which is neither the miracle, as any Protestant may propose, the one nor the other, but a body of flesh will be carefully eschewed, and some con- and blood, in union, too, with soul and venient apology found or invented, for the divinity—if, we say, in this instance, our refusal. It is a 'LYING WONDER.'

senses may so thoroughly deceive us, and The THIRD I mention is that miracle of our faith must be yielded in perfect conmiracles among the devotees of popery-trariety to their united and peremptorý the miracle of TRANSUBSTANTIATION. testimony; then how and when are we The discussion of such a topic at large is, to know that our faith ought to be in conof course, out of the question. I must, for currence with that testimony? The un

settling of the evidence of our senses goes of the line; of holy coats, and weeping thus to the unsettling of this important Madonnas, and winking and bleeding picbranch of the evidence of the entire system tures, and all the other contemptible of revealed truth!

trumpery of a religion of traditional and I might show, further, the variety of superstitious externalism. It is indeed extraordinary sequences which would 'for a lamentation, that in the middle of follow, and follow on the sure ground of the nineteenth century, in an age that Bible testimony, were the principle but vaunts of its rapidly advancing light, so fairly followed out of interpreting the verb | many thousands and tens of thousands , Isliterally ; as by the advocates of the should be thus gulled and befooled, and dogma of transubstantiation is done in the cheated of their spiritual freedom and of words, This is my body. But I forbear. their soul's salvation, by deceptions so pitiBesides that it would be diverging from ful, in support of the self-justifying errors my special subject, it would very of an Antichristian system. And of a soon lead me into the region of the ludi- vast number of the pretended miracles the crous, presenting some of its most exqui true secret may be learned from our great site specimens, which I would rather Reformer, MARTIN LUTHER :-- In the shun. For the same reason, I must for monastery of Isenach,' says he, 'stands bear all details respecting the legendary an image-which I have seen. (It was transportation, by angels, through the air Mary with her Child.) When a wealthy and over the sea, of the house of Joseph person came thither to pray to it, the and Mary from Nazareth to Loretto; child turned away its face from the sinner of many a wondrous vision of the Virgin, to its mother, as if it refused to give ear to and of Jesus himself, granted to the enthu his praying, and was therefore to seek siastic raptures especially of sentimental mediation and help from Mary the mother. female worshippers ; of appearances of But if the sinner gave liberally to that the devil, under various forms-as an monastery, then the child turned to him old man, and as a young man, as a huge again; and, if he promised to give more, black dog, or as a no less huge black cat; then the child showed itself very friendly of battles serious and comical with his and loving, and stretched out his arms Satanic Majesty, and the various ways, over him in the form of a cross. But this some of them equally ludicrous and loath- image was made hollow within, and presome, in which, coming off, of course, with pared with locks, lines, and screws; and the worst, he takes his departure; of de behind it stood a knave, to move them : lightful odours, as if from beds of roses and so were the people mocked and deand a very paradise of all sweet-scented ceived, taking it to be a miracle wrought flowers, from opening coffins and putrid | by Divine Providence.* graves ;-of ono saint blinded for three days by a light that streamed from an image of the infant Jesus; of the same BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. image smiling sweetly on a female devotee -and, at her bidding, and, withal, gentle

WILLIAM KIDSTON, D.D. chiding, stretching out its little arms and legs, to get its clothes easily and duly put

TAE sketch is taken from a talented on; of sparks of light and fire issuing address by the Rev. Dr Macfarlane, Dr from the eyes and the mouths of devout

Kidston, Son-in-law, author of the 'Mounsaints, produced by the fire of love in

tains of the Bible, delivered in East their bosoms, -and of ribs divinely

Campbell St. Church, on the Sabbath after broken, and breast-bones divinely pro

the funeral. truded, to make room for the hearts of

Dr Kidston was born in the village of certain other saints, which so swelled out

| Stowe, county of Edinburgh, on the 9th with intense devotion that the ordinary of September, 1768. He was the fifth cavity of the thorax could no longer hold

out of thirteen children,-all of whom are them; of the wonders performed by the

now in the eternal world. His father virtue of holy relics, and the wonders

was the Rev. William Kidston, the moreover, neither few nor small, of such Secession minister of Stowe, a man of relics themselves; there being, not seldom, God, who, in his generation, served the many more humepal, or femoral, or other

* The above extract is from a Work on bones of saints, than the good men could Miracles,' which has recently appeared, by the well be fancied to have had when they Rev. Dr Wardlaw; and while we intend, in a were alive,-many more than four legs of

future Number, to include it among our Notices, in

the meantime we recommend the Work itself to the the ass that carried our Saviour: and of attention of our readers.- Edinburgh: A. Fullarthe true cross pieces so numerous, that, ton & Co. were they gathered together, it has been

+ Christian Old Age, as exemplified in the Life

of the late Rev. William Kidston, D.D., Glasgow. roughly estimated, they would go far to

By the Rev. John Macfarlane, LL.D. Glasgow : wards the construction of a first-rate ship David Robertson.

ness.

Lord Jesus Christ with faithfulness and mitting to ordination in Kennoway, and success. He was indeed one of a class of would have preferred either of the other Secession pastors, who lived in these congregations, Hawick or Lanark, and days, of remarkable theological attain- often spoke unadvisably on this subject, ments, and wide-spread influential godli. During the short time of my connection

The savour of his life of faith is with Kennoway, I enjoyed much comfort; not even yet away from that interesting my pastoral labours were kindly received, pastoral country, where for more than and seemed to be not unprofitable. My half a century he lived, and labou red, separation from them occasioned feelings and died. After receiving the elements more painful by much than I had anticiof a useful and clasical education, first pated.' His induction into this charge under Mr Doeg, of the Grammar School by the Presbytery of Glasgow took place of Stirling, where he lodged with his pa- on the 18th of October, 1791-a day conternal aunt, and afterwards at the Univer- cerning which, not many weeks ago, he sity of Edinburgh, he was admitted by the wrote: 'A day which I well remember, Presbytery of Newtown (the village where and will remember, with deep interest.' the late venerable Dr Waugh of London He was your first minister, and by all acwas ordained) to the Divinity Hall. The counts was unusually successful for these professor at that time was the well-known times. Speedily this large edifice was and revered John Brown of Haddington, completely filled; and while health and the grandfather of our own Dr Brown of strength were continued to him the conEdinburgh. He, however, enjoyed the gregation flourished exceedingly. As a benefits of Mr Brown's professorship only preacher, he was mainly characterised for for two sessions, those of 1785 and 1786, very accurate theological views, expressed the venerable author of the Commentary in simple and perspicuous language, logion the Bible having died in the summer cally arranged, and delivered with a deof 1787. The late Dr Lawson of Selkirk gree of calm earnestness, which alike was chosen in his room by the Synod. suited the dignity of the pulpit, and the After attending two "sessions at Selkirk, solemnity of the theme. He kept to the he was licensed by his Presbytery to doctrines of the cross, and to the precepts preach the everlasting gospel, on the 15th of the law; and was never known to conof April, 1789, in the 21st year of his age. descend to any out-of-the-way topics for I have heard those who knew him in his the sake of pandering to low tastes, or youth say, that he was then an animated, gaining a little self-importance. I have somewhat rapid, and interesting speaker; never known any man, whose nature was and we have Dr Lawson's testimony that more completely free of all such imbecile he was not only sound in the faith, but longings after ephemeral applause, and for his years, exceedingly well versed in who could take a more accurate measure the theology of the Bible. He was what of what was its real worth, or rather is called a popular preacher. In a short worthlessness. Strictly speaking, he was time he received less than three not eloquent—but this can be satisfactorily calls, from Hawick, Lanark, and Ken- explained ; for, as it has been well written noway in Fife.

By the decision of by a much-respected friend, the structure the Synod, he was sent to Kennoway of his mind was analytical rather than Previous, however, to his ordination synthetical. His forte was analysis. there, he received a call from this Every object of thought that came before congregation--no, not from this congrega- him, whether in conversation or exposition-for the congregation that called him tion, he was disposed to break down into are all in eternity, except the much es-parts--to view it on all sides, and in all teemed father of your session-but from lights, and to make it the subject of the church at that time assembling here. minute and accurate survey. The call came before the Synod. It was But Dr Kidston was equally diligent in not sustained, because the deed of Synod, the discharge of his other pastoral duties. as to Kennoway, must be first carried into He was an unwearied attendant in the effect. He was therefore ordained by the house of mourning, and at the sick and Presbytery of Dunfermline in Kennoway, death-beds of his people. I have often on the 18th of August, 1790. In the sum. heard that he excelled as a son of consolamer of 1791, the then congregation of tion. It is therefore an exceedingly Campbell Street brought another call for pleasant thought, that, independent altohim. He left the decision in the hands of gether of his pulpit ministrations, he was the Synod, and by the Synod he was ap- a master in those less public departments pointed to Glasgow. His connection with of his official duties, where the tear has to Kennoway was little more than one year; be wiped from the eyes of widowhood but I have often heard him speak of it and orphanhood, where the broken heart with affectionate interest. Writing upon is to be healed, and where the sighing of the subject, he says : 'I was averse to sub- the mourner has to be changed into the

no

song of praise. It has been said, that the the truthfulness of these notices. And it ancients had a custom of putting the tears is proper thus to secure honour to whom of mourners into lachrymal urns or bottles, | honour is due. The present zeal and and that some of the small phials that activity for which the young people in all have been found in the Roman tombs con- our congregations are distinguished, may tained tears shed by the bereaved over be traced, in a great measure, to these their dead, which were then deposited in ‘Bible Classes.' When, therefore, we their sepulchres as memorials of affection calculate the value to the Charch and to and sorrow. The prayer of the Psalmist, the world of a well-instructed and diligent

put thou my tears into thy bottle,' has youth, we cannot withhold this tribute of been supposed to refer to this custom commendation from the man whose pracBut whether it be so or not, the idea sug- tical sagacity suggested and gave the first gests a truthful feature in the character of exemplification of the system. Dr Kidston. The sorrows of his people In a ministerial life, so long protracted, and of his friends were as sacred treasures there must needs have been vicissitudes of to him-he put them into the bottle of his an affective character. To three of these memory, and never forgot to wend his simple reference may be made. The first way to the shades where Grief hides her. was the diminution of his congregation self, nor to administer the word in season about the time of the French war-this, which gave the oil of joy for mourning.? however, not owing to any failure in his Many of his sermons are forgotten, and efficiency, or to any diminution of his some there may be among you who never acceptability, but to the rather singular heard him; but I believe I will be sup- circumstance of great numbers of young ported by the testimony of not a few people enlisting and leaving the city. present, when I state, that after he was no This was somewhat discouraging to him; longer able to lift up his voice like a but he soon got over it, and by continued! trumpet in the pulpit, he could and did diligence, such breaches were soon relift up that voice in the chambers of suffer- paired, and Campbell Street Church was ing, and did weep with those that wept. / again "filled with a loving people. Tbe His pastoral visitations were also regularly second was the disruption that took place kept up. Many a year he visited from about the time of what was called the door to door, thus breaking amongst the Old Light split.' At this period about families of his flock the bread of life. 400 members left him and built the The kindly, the humble, and the affec- chapel on the opposite side of the street tionate bearing of this good man towards where we now are. Though no doubt all, of every grade, within the pale of his oppressed under the losses he now charge, cannot easily be forgotten by such tained, and by the coldness of many whom of you as enjoyed these more private, but he respected, and to whom he had been not less precious instances of his care. faithful and kind, he was not cast down, His affable, youthful, and winning manner but again buckling on his armour, he sucespecially to children, made him at all ceeded a third

time in completely times a welcome visitor, even when coming replenishing the church. The third was in his official character to perform what when in 1813 his health, which had hitherused to be called 'clerical duty. If any to never failed him, suddenly gave way, one conceived of religion as an austere and and when he was laid aside from all forbidding thing, assuredly it was not public duty until 1817. During this infrom him that this mistake arose.

terval it was found to be proper to have This suggests another feature in his another associated with him in the work pastoral character fully as laudable as the the ministry. Your late esteemed pastor, one just referred to—the deep interest Mr Brash, was then ordained, and they which he took in the religious instruction continued together in pastoral labours of the young. * Bible Classes' are now until, on the 24th of November last, his quite common in our churches, but Dr colleague was removed by death. It Kidston has the honour of having first set pleased God, however, to

Dr them agoing. I have heard him refer Kidston's health, so that he resumed his with pleasing feelings to this chapter of labours among you, and continued them his early pastoral history, and with a uninterruptedly up to 1838, when the most commendable spirit of satisfaction frailty of age began to tell upon him, and · that he had given an impetus of such force he, to a great extent, retired from public and worth in this direction to ministerial duty. But his interest was in no degree usefulness. The young people of this abated in all that concerned your spiritual congregation do not of course remember welfare, though thus disabled. Dr Kidston in this his beloved occupation were never forgotten in his prayers, and, but if they inquire at their parents, it to the extent of his ability, he still visited may be they will get such information the sick, and the poor, and the dying, upon the subject as will convince them of working as a comforter, when he could no

SUS

renew

You

« 上一页继续 »