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that conviction broke on Pharaoh soon, when he and his asked themselves, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us ?” But this progress of events, vague and uncertain as it seemed to be, notwithstanding the miracles which attended it, had been directed by Him who works out gradually what He has determined absolutely; and it ended in the parting of the Red Sea, and the destruction of Pharaoh's host, on his pursuing them.
Moreover, from what occurred forty years afterwards, when they were advancing upon the promised land, it would seem that the original grant of territory did not include the country east of Jordan, held in the event by Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh; at least they undertook at first to leave Sihon in undisturbed possession of his country, if he would let them pass through it, and only on his refusing his permission did they invade and appropriate it.
6. It is in point to notice also the structure and style of Scripture, a structure so unsystematic and various, and a style so figurative and indirect, that no one would presume at first sight to say what is in it and what is not. It cannot, as it were, be mapped, or its contents catalogued; but after all our diligence, to the end of our lives and to the end of the Church, it must be an unexplored and unsubdued land, with heights and valleys, forests and streams, on the right and left of our path and close about us, full of concealed wonders and choice treasures. Of no doctrine whatever, which does not actually contradict what has been delivered, can it be peremptorily asserted that it is not in Scripture; of no reader, whatever be his study of it, can it be said that he has mastered every doctrine which it contains. Butler's remarks on this subject were just now alluded to. “ The more distinct and particular knowledge,” he says, “ of those things, the study of which the Apostle calls going on unto perfection,'” that is, of the more recondite doctrines of the gospel, “and of the prophetic parts of revelation, like many parts of natural and even civil knowledge, may require very exact thought and careful consideration. The hindrances too of natural and of supernatural light and knowledge have been of the same kind. · And as it is owned o the whole scheme of Scripture is not yet understood, so, if it ever comes to be understood, before the
restitution of all things, and without miraculous interpositions, it must be in the same way as natural knowledge is come at, by the continuance and progress of learning and of liberty, and by particular persons attending to, comparing, and pursuing intimations scattered up and down it, which are overlooked and disregarded by the generality of the world. For this is the way in which all im- 5 provements are made, by thoughtful men tracing on obscure hints, as it were, dropped us by nature accidentally, or which seem to come into our minds by chance. Nor is it at all incredible that a book, which has been so long in the possession of mankind, should contain many truths as yet undiscovered. For all the same phenomena, and the same faculties of investigation, from which such great discoveries in natural knowledge have been made in the present and last age, were equally in the possession of mankind several thousand years before. And possibly it might be intended that events, as they come to pass, should open and ascertain the meaning of several parts of Scripture.”1 Butler of course was not contemplating the case of new articles of faith, or developments imperative on our acceptance, but he surely bears witness to the probability of developments in Christian doctrine considered in themselves, which is the point at present in question.
1°. 3; vide also ii. 4, fin.
definitions church rest upores of Script fire," and
It may be added that, in matter of fact, all the definitions or received judgments of the early and medieval Church rest upon definite, even though sometimes obscure sentences of Scripture. Thus
Purgatory may appeal to the “ saving by fire," and Le " entering through much tribulation into the king.
dom of God;" the communication of the merits of the Saints to our “receiving a prophet's reward” for "receiving a prophet in the name of a prophet," and "a righteous man's reward” for “receiving a righteous man in the name of a righteous man;" the Real Presence to “ This is My Body;" Absolution to “ Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted;" Extreme Unction to “ Anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord;" Voluntary poverty to “Sell all that thou hast;" obedience to " He was in subjection to His parents;" the honour paid to creatures, animate or inanimate, to Laudate Dominum in sanctis Ejus, and Adorate scabellum pedum Ejus; and so of the rest.
7. Lastly, while Scripture no where recognises itself or asserts the inspiration of those passages o which are most essential, it distinctly anticipates
the development of Christianity, both as a polity and as a doctrine. In one of our Lord's parables" the Kingdom of Heaven” is even compared to “a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and hid in his field; which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree," and, as St. Mark words it, “shooteth out great branches, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." And again, in the same chapter of St. Mark, “So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground, and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up,
he knoweth not how; for the earth bringeth forth o fruit of herself.” Here an internal element of life, a.) whether principle or doctrine, is spoken of rather
than any mere external manifestation; and it is ob- , servable that the spontaneous, as well as the gradual, character of the growth is intimated. This description of the process corresponds to what has been above observed respecting development, viz. that it is not an effect of wishing and resolving, or of forced enthusiasm, or of any mechanism of reasoning, or of any mere subtlety of intellect; but comes of its own innate power of expansion within the mind in its season, though with the use of reflection and argument and original thought, more or less as it may happen, with a dependence on the ethical
growth of the mind itself, and with a reflex influence 6) upon it. Again, the Parable of the Leaven describes
the development of doctrine in another respect, in its active, engrossing, and assimilating power.
From the necessity, then, of the case, from the history of all sects and parties in religion, and from the analogy and example of Scripture, we may fairly conclude that Christian doctrine admits of formal, legitimate, and true developments, or of developments contemplated by its Divine Author.
The general analogy of the world, physical and moral, confirms this conclusion, as we are reminded by the great authority who has already been quoted in the course of this Section. “The whole natural world and government of it," says Butler, “is a scheme or system; not a fixed, but a progressive one; a scheme in which the operation of various means takes up a great length of time before the ends they tend to can be attained. The change of seasons, the ripening of the fruits of the earth, the very history of a flower is an instance of this; and so is human life. Thus vegetable bodies, and those of animals, though possibly formed at once, yet grow up by degrees to a mature state. And thus rational agents, who animate these latter bodies, are naturally directed to form each his own manners and cha
racter by the gradual gaining of knowledge and experience, and by a long course of action. Our existence is not only successive, as it must be of necessity, but one state of our life and being is appointed by God to be a preparation for another; and that to be the means of attaining to another succeeding one: infancy to childhood, childhood to youth, youth to mature age. Men are impatient, and for precipitating things; but the Author of Nature appears deliberate throughout His operations, accomplishing His natural ends by slow successive steps. And there is a plan of things beforehand laid out, which, from the nature of it, requires various systems of means, as well as length of time, in order to the carrying on its several parts into execution. Thus, in the daily course of natural providence, God operates in the very same manner as in the dispensation of Christianity, making one thing subservient to another; this, to somewhat farther; and so on, through a progressive series of means, which extend, both backward and forward, beyond our utmost view. Of this manner of operation, everything we see in the course of nature is as much an instance as any part of the Christian dispensation.”l
ON THE PROBABILITY OF A DEVELOPING AUTHORITY
IN CHRISTIANITY. It has now been made probable that developments of Christianity were but natural, as time went on, and were to be expected; and that these natural and true developments, as being natural and true, were of course contemplated and taken into account by its Author, who in designing the work designed its legitimate results. These may be called absolutely
Analogy, ii. 4, ad fin.