Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 2.djvu/24

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2
TRACTS FOR THE TIMES.

system a body which we had been used to regard as a mere satellite attending upon our own orb. No wonder if we feel our notions deranged; if every thing seems put into a new place; that which before was primary, now made subordinate; and vice versâ. This is no more than we might naturally expect: the only question for us to settle is this; does the theory which is proposed for our acceptance bring facts to support it? The maintainer of the Copernican theory, perhaps, directs our attention principally, or even exclusively, to objects which we had else comparatively neglected, or entirely overlooked. But this is no fatal objection to his views. The satellites of Jupiter might seem to hold a subordinate place in the solar system, and their eclipses to be comparatively uninteresting phenomena: and yet the examination of them led, we know, to great and important discoveries. Just so, some apparently insignificant text, lying in the depth of Scripture, far removed, as we think, from the centre light of Christian doctrine, may be the means of suggesting to us most important considerations,—of impressing upon us the conviction that we have been going upon a false theory, and leading us to a truer notion of the system in which we are placed. We do well, indeed, to weigh carefully the meaning of the texts which are brought before us, and to examine the deductions which are founded upon them, whether they follow naturally from the premises. But we do not well if we allow ourselves to be prejudiced against the evidence which is brought from Scripture, merely because it is contrary to our pre-conceived notions; because it seems to put us in a strange country, exalting the valleys, and making low the mountains and hills, turning Lebanon into a fruitful field, and causing the fruitful field to be counted, in comparison, as a forest. This is not to inquire after truth in the spirit of true philosophers, or, which is the same thing, of little children. And for such only is knowledge in store; "of such" only "is the kingdom of heaven."

For illustration of these remarks I would refer to the passages in St. Matthew's Gospel, which are first pressed upon our notice, when our attention is turned to the evidence of Scripture respecting the nature and office of the Christian Church. First and foremost, of course, is the well known promise to St. Peter,