Bishop Butler (Analogy, part ii, chap. iii) has denied that there is any possibility ofjudging a priori how a divine revelation will be given. ?We are in no sort judges beforehand,? he says, ?by what methods, or in what proportion, it were to be expected that this supernatural light and instruction would be afforded us.? But Bishop Butler somewhat later in his great work (part ii, chap. iv) shows that God?s progressive plan in revelation has its analogy in the slow, successive steps by which God accomplishes his ends in nature. We maintain that the revelation in nature affords certain presumptions with regard to the revelation of grace, such for example as those mentioned below.
Leslie Stephen, in Nineteenth Century, Feb. 1891:180 ? ?Butler answered the argument of the deists, that the God of Christianity was unjust, by arguing that the God of nature was equally unjust. James Mill, admitting the analogy, refused to believe in either God. Dr. Martineau has said, for similar reasons, that Butler ?wrote one of the most terrible persuasives to atheism ever produced.? So J.H. Newman?s ?kill or cure? argument is essentially that God has either revealed nothing, or has made revelations in some other places than in the Bible. His argument, like Butler?s, may be as good a persuasive to skepticism as to belief.? To this indictment by Leslie Stephen we reply that it has cogency only so long as we ignore the fact of human sin. Granting this fact, our world becomes a world of discipline, probation and redemption, and both the God of nature and the God of Christianity are cleared from all suspicion of injustice. The analogy between God?s methods in the Christian system and his methods in nature becomes an argument in favor of the former.
(a) That of continuous historical development, ? that it will be given in germ to early ages, and will be more fully unfolded as the race is prepared to receive it.
Instances of continuous development in God?s impartations are found in geological history; in the growth of the sciences; in the progressive education of the individual and of the race. No other religion but Christianity shows ?a steady historical progress of the vision of one infinite Character unfolding itself to man through a period of many centuries.? See sermon by Dr. Temple, on the Education of the World, in Essays and Reviews; Rogers, Superhuman Origin of the Bible, 374-381; Walker, Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation. On the gradualness of revelation, see Fisher, Nature and Method of Revelation, 46-86; Arthur
H. Hallam, in John Brown?s Rab and his Friends, 282 ? ?Revelation is a gradual approximation of the infinite Being to the ways and thoughts of
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