« 이전계속 »
conviction. The proofs which I have adduced in support of the Resurrection may be considered in two lights ; first, those which, though drawn from other sources, have been found congenial with the principles of revelation; and secondly, such as the philosophy of the sacred writings has held out to illuminate mankind. And if from the result of all, the fact shall appear to be so far rescued from objections; and placed in such a light, as to be rendered morally certain, I shall not think that I have written in vain.
But while I assign these reasons for the mode of conduct which I have adopted, it is perhaps necessary that I obviate an undue impression which the preceding observations may have made. In my preface to the Essay on the Soul, I have introduced on a similar occasion the following remark. it not be thought, because I have declined all appeal to the sacred volume, that I have therefore drawn over the book of God the most distant shade of disrespect. The mind which can harbour such an idea, must form but very partial conceptions of my undertaking. The Bible, I consider as the great repository of sacred knowledge ; and moral philosophy can be no longer right, than while it acts in concert with revelation. I consider moral truth, as an elevated mountain, the summit of which, revelation unveils to the eye of faith; without involving us in the tedious drudgery of painful speculations. To some of these views, philosophy will di
rect us, through a labyrinth of intricacies; and after human understanding has put forth all her efforts, it is by toil and art the steep assent we gain. If, however, in any given momentous instance, the tardy movements of philosophy will lead us to the same conclusions which the Bible has already formed, it affords us no contemptible evidence of its authenticity; and it challenges our belief in those instances where we can trace no relation." The sentiment of the above paragraph I again repeat; and now urge on the Resurrection of the Body, what I then asserted on the Immortality of the Soul. On my sentiments respecting the validity and authenticity of the sacred writings, my friends and acquaintances need no information, and those who are strangers to me, have no right to dispute what I now declare.
My design in writing, was to endeavour to throw some light on an important subject which appeared involved in much obscurity, but which I thought susceptible of more rational proofs than I had
any where seen adduced.. And if I have so far succeeded in my attempt as to have set the fact in a more conspicuous light, either by the selection of arguments,—the removal of obstacles,—-or the solution of difficulties, I shall feel myself easy amidst those motley opinions which an original work rarely fails to excite. It is not in my power to anticipate either the censures or applauses which await it. Whichsoever may be bestowed, they are only of a momentary duration. But if that utility at which I have aimed, actually succeed to crown my exertions with success, the satisfaction resulting from it, which will commence in time, will be but a prelude to that which shall be renewed beyond the grave.
I now commit it to the world, soliciting the reader to make due allowances for the difficulty and newness of the undertaking, in conjunction with those additional circumstances which are placed before him. This to him is my only request; it is one, however, which I think is not unreasonable. But above all, I crave the blessing of Almighty God, who alone can render it subservient to his wise and gracious purposes. Nothing but this can give it lasting utility, and crown it with unfading renown. But through this, He may render it beneficial in any way which seems meet to his infinite wisdom. He may use it as a medium to remove the doubts of the unstable, or stimulate others, by the deficiencies and errors which they may discover, to investigate the subject with greater accuracy, on some future occasion, when the hand that traces these lines shall consume in the repositories of death. Our future abodes which we now contemplate at a distance, we see at present through a glass darkly, but these, and our manner of existence in them will be shortly realized, when mortality shall be swallowed up of life.
St. Austell, March 20, 1809.
must cease, and the latter continue
for ever. 125