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It may be asked why Stephen intended to speak of Ephron if he had no connection with the burial. To which we reply that it was because he had to do with the purchase. But why introduce the purchase! First, the mention of the Abrahamic purchase in verse 16 is strongly confirmatory of a previous statement, "And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on ” (verse 5). Second, the purchase proves the vital faith of Abraham in the promises of God when he bought "a burying place” in a land wherein he was but “ a stranger and a sojourner.” Says Delitzsch:

Abram entered it as a foreign country subject to other lords and masters, without losing heart or faith. He dwelt therein without having a foot-breadth which he could call his own; and even after his purchase of a sepulcher at Hebron (confounded with Jacob's subsequent purchase of a similar piece of ground at Shechem by St. Stephen under the pressure of his rapid recapitulation, Acts vii, 16) he still dwelt as a stranger and wanderer in the land promised to him for an eternal inheritance.*


Third, the desire to be buried in a purchased tomb in a land that was not theirs “ shows the faith of the patriarchs, and their interest in the promised land, when to the eye of sense all seemed against the fulfillment of God's promise.” How much that boughten grave meant to the Jews! What a strange providential history had been theirs since ! Between the time of Ephron the Hittite and the time of Jesus the Messiah what wonders for his chosen people God had wrought!

Commentary on Hebrews, vol. II, p. 236, Clarke's Edinburgh edition.

belintow. 2. Day.



PROBABLY very few, if any, who will read this article have been converted from an attitude of disbelief in Christianity to an attitude of faith by the study of Christian evidences. To most of us Christian faith came in a very different way. It is associated with the tenderest and most sacred memories of childhood, memories of a father's counsels and a mother's prayers. But, however tender and sacred the memories with which Christian faith is associated in our minds, we cannot, as men of intellectual honesty, retain that faith unless we can find satisfactory reasons for it. The function of apologetics is not so much to furnish an apology for Christianity in the presence of its enemies as to furnish to ourselves an apology for our own belief in Christianity. As knowledge advances and habits of thought change from age to age it is evident that each generation must have its own apologetic. If Christianity is to be the faith of all ages its evidences must be capable of being so presented as to establish for each age a fair probability of its truth as viewed in the light of the knowledge which that age possesses and the ideas which dominate its thinking. Certain it is that the mode of presentation of Christian evidences in the eighteenth century, as illustrated by the classical works of Butler and Paley, is not altogether adapted to the thought of the closing decade of the nineteenth century. We propose to call attention to two phases in which the apologetic work of the last century requires to be modified in order to adapt it to the thought of our time.

I. The belief in evolution, now accepted by scientific men with substantial unanimity, requires a modification in the form of the argument from design. The function and the importance of the argument from design are recognized by all thinkers. The principle of causality forbids us to believe in an uncaused beginning. It compels us, therefore, to believe in the existence of something eternal and self-existent wherein lies the ground of all other existence. If there ever was a fool who said in his heart, “There is no God,” meaning thereby that there is no eternal and self-existent something, the ground of all other existence, it is safe to say that in the intellectual evolution of humanity that particular species of fool has become extinct. But the admission of an eternal and self-existent something leaves unanswered the question whether that something is unintelligent or intelligent, a blind law or a free and moral personality. The function, then, of the argument from design is to establish the probability that the eternal something is intelligent.

Everyone is familiar with Paley's classical illustration of the watch, whose mutual adjustment of parts bears testimony to the purpose for which it was made and to the intelligence involved in the making; and everyone has recognized the ingenuity with which it is argued that the conclusion is not invalidated, although we may never have seen a watch made and may have no idea how it was made, althongh the watch sometimes goes wrong or seldom goes exactly right, although there are some parts for which we can discover no use, and although it appears, on further examination, that the watch contains within itself a miniature watch factory and is capable of producing a progeny of watches. As the argument was worked out by Paley the stress was laid chiefly upon intricate and complex mutual adjustments. His illustrations from nature were taken chiefly from the complex structures of the animal body. Of all illustrations the one which seemed to put the argument with the greatest cogency was that of the eye as found in man and others of the higher vertebrates. The functional perfection of the eye depends upon the precise adjustment of the curvatures and refractive indices of a number of refractive media placed in front of the sensitive retina and guarded by a variety of protective apparatus. It can hardly be questioned that the force of the argument as presented by Paley is seriously impaired, when we consider that the eye, like all other animal structures, has come to be what it is by a process of evolution carried on mainly under the guidance of the principle of natural selection. If the eye has come to be what it is by the "survival of the fittest”-desirable variations having been selected out of an indefinite multitude of variations which have occurred, while undesirable variations have disappeared by the extinction of their possessors, the evolution of 1 the organ having begun with a form so simple as to be merely a pigment fleck covering the termination of a nerve-it is certain that an argument based on the exquisite mutual adaptation of the parts of the eye does not have the same degree of cogency which it was supposed to have when the eye in its most perfect form was looked upon as an independent and original production. A homely illustration may perhaps make the point a little clearer. If we should find a vessel packed nearly or quite solidly with a variety of objects, in such wise that the small objects filled the chinks between the large ones and every salient angle of one object fitted exactly or approximately into a reentrant angle of another object or into a space between two or more adjacent objects, there might be fair ground for an inference that some one intended the vessel to be full. But, proceeding in the manner of the Paleyan natural theology, we should select for special consideration some object of exceedingly complicated form, and infer from the fact that its salient angles exactly corresponded with the reentrant angles in the adjacent objects, and vice versâ, that its complex form was specially designed for the particular space which it was to fill. It cannot be denied that the force of such an argument would be seriously impaired if it could be shown to be highly probable that the vessel had reached its present condition by a process of shaking, wherein the small objects had gradually rattled into the chinks between the large ones and the hard objects had impressed their form upon the soft ones. This homely illustration sets forth not unfairly the manner in which the Paleyan argument is affected by the doctrine of evolution, and particularly by the Darwinian theory of natural selection.

The question is thereby suggested whether the argument from design is invalidated or only modified in its form. We think that the latter alternative is the truth. Stress must be laid, not upon minute and special adaptation of particular structures, but upon the general aspect of law and formulable

, ) order pervading all nature. This thought is most happily expressed in a phrase used by the great mathematician Benjamin Peirce, “the intellectuality in wrought into the material

world.” The argument from design, in the light of nineteenth century thought, may formulate itself somewhat in this wise: A book which we can read must have been written by an intelligence kindred with our own. The universe is a book that we can read ; therefore the universe is the work of an intelligence kindred with our own. Nature has a meaning to us, and is formulable by us, because it is the expression of a mind of which our own minds are miniature counterparts.

It may be remarked incidentally that the Darwinian theory of natural selection furnishes a relief from one of the difficul.

a ties which troubled the natural theologians of former times. The apparent wastefulness of nature, in the production of countless myriads of living creatures destined to be destroyed in the embryonic or infantile stages of their existence, has always seemed something unaccountable, and something very difficult to reconcile with the conception of a wise and benevolent Creator. Natural selection shows the meaning and the purpose of this apparent waste. It shows that this overproduction has been the very means by which the more advanced forms of life have been developed from the crude simplicity of earlier forms. We do not mean to say that natural selection furnishes a complete theodicy. The unanswerable question may still be asked whether there might not have been some better way of reaching the development of the higher forms of life than through this process of wholesale slaughter; but it is at least something to have shown that the seeming waste is not a waste, but is an effectual means of achieving a lofty end.

II. The thought of the age requires a change in the general order and perspective of apologetics. This change is required by the change in the prevalent form of unbelief. In the last century the prevalent form of unbelief, at least in England, was deism ; and the great defenders of Christian faith shaped

; their arguments with reference to the position of their antagonists. The whole argument, for instance, of Butler's Analogy is that the difficulties in the way of believing in the divine authorship of Christianity are not other in kind nor greater in degree than the difficulties in the way of believing in the divine authorship of nature. Accordingly, presuming that

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