■—nwgpni r i r ■ i i ■ ' hi contending withHeh of which the holy religion of Christ triumphed in each in stance, and in each was trampled upon; conquered, and was conquered; diffused light and health, and admitted darkness and corruption." It is thus, and thus on ly, that we can account for the rapid cor ruption of the Christian faith, and the ex traordinary facility with which the best of the Fathers admitted the most monstrous extravagancies and the most silly puerili ties. We can on this ground, indeed, pal iate their errors and compassionate their foibles; but to set them up as guides, does appear to us the most extraordinary fatu ity. Guides! A very moderate course of patriotic allegories, conceits, visions, le gends, miracles, and superstitions—of Bar nabas and Hermus, Origen, Turtullian, Jerome and Ambrose—will be quite suffi cient to reclaim aqy sane mind from such debasement; while if we were to judge by any spicilegium (or collection) of their er ' rors, collected out of that menstruum of insipidity and common-place in which they usually float, we should imagine that we had got into the company rawer of a set of Bedlamites, than oi Christian sages; and should be unable to conceive the rea son of that reverence with which they ' were regarded, except on that principle of the ancient Greeks, which connected in sanity with inspiration; or that which dic tated the custom of the Mahometans to worship as saints those who-are fairly out of their senses. And yet these are the men whose au thority, when they are tolerably unani mous, is to be considered as co-ordinate with that Of scripture; from whose single opinions we are to dissent with the great est Caution; and to whose keeping Divine Providence has committed an unwritten u^revelation. M And so he may have done,” it is said, “ for it is not the errors and ab surdities of the Fathers for which we con-* tend, bypt the Apostolic truths of which they were made the depositories.” But is mere no difficulty in believing that the freight of immortal truth shouldhave been committed to such leaky and rotten ves sels? that God, designing to gi ve a revela tion, could purposely and intimately mix it tip with a mass of impure metal, leav ing mankind to smelt it as they might? Tridy if this theory be correct, it may well be said, that we have the eternal trea f * 1 * ' -; • \ i •ures in earthdfvessels. This difficulty is still fardier increased, if we consider the characHOf that por tion of Revelation for Which these men are the vouchers—the nature of the dog* mas superseded to the Bible. The ques tion is, whether the Christianity of the third, fourth, or the fifth century is a de velopement or a corruption of the Scrip ture system—a natural growth or a can cerous enlargement? We believe the lat ter, but assuredly, nothing could warrant us in believing the former, except the most obvious harmony between the Scriptures themselves and these supposed additions to it. But it is acknowledged that no such obvious harmony is to be foupd—that the doctrines contended for are not ealtly re conciled with the Scriptures—that apart from the patnstic authority no one would have suspected them to be there—that there is very much at the least which ap very mucn at tne least which ap pears to contradict them—that the tone and spirit in which the relative importance of the several elements of religion are spo ken of, appear to be entirely alien. One could imagine, therefore, that nothing; less than a Revelation as clear, as express, and as miraculously authenticated as tlie Sfcrip tures, would be sufficient to justify our reception of these additions. Can we, then, believe that they would have been committed to such men as the Fathers are" proved to be, and mixed up with their ac knowledged errors, follies, and supersti tions? Ought not this circumstance alone make us suspect, that the soidant addi tions to the Revelation are ihore probable corruptions of it? The interval between the Scriptures and the very best of the Fathers is so im mense, that not a few have testified that it forms to them the most convincing proofs of the inspired origin of the former; it be- ' ing, in their judgment, absurd to suppose that any man, much less a number of men, could have composed such a volume as the Bible, in an age in which their imme diate, successors, many of them possessing undoubted genius and erudition,-and hav ing the ad vantage of their light to walk by, could fall into puerilities so gross, and er ror3 so monstrous. We could sooner be-^ lievetthat Jacob Bohemen could have com

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