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the other kinds of argument are generally considered the most forcible. Of the latter, that from necessity is the weightiest and most conclusive. The deducing either of a necessary cause or a necessary condition from the existence of their effects, is, as is evident from the examples given above ($ 133, 2), not only warrantable, but inevitable. The argument from probability cannot of itself be a conclusive proof, though it is often of advantage to be able to prove that the truth of our proposition is possible, as, when supported by testimony or example, it may lead to extreme probability, if not complete demonstration. The argument from testimony, like that from possibility, to which it is closely allied, is mainly of force in establishing past facts; but it involves the question of the credibility of witnesses, which must be separately established, by internal consistency or by example. In the case, however, of a plurality of witnesses on the same point, this is not necessary, as the mere concurrence of their testimonies, provided there has been no collusion, is of itself a strong proof of truthfulness. Testimony is also admitted in matters of opinion, and is forcible in proportion as the men whose opinions are quoted are recognised as wise and honourable. Example is chiefly serviceable in establishing the likelihood of future events. It is not excluded, however, says Whately, “from the proof of matters of opinion; since a man's judgment in one case may be aided or corrected by an appeal to his judgment in another similar case."* It is on this principle, he points out, that we are enjoined to do unto others as we would that they should do unto us, and that we ask our heavenly Father to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us; that is, in judging how we should treat others, we form to ourselves a supposed similar case, in which we change places with our neighbour. This then becomes our example in arriving at the judgment in question. The difference between example used as argument, and example used merely for the sake of illustration, must be carefully noted, as the confounding of these two uses of it leads often to misapprehension, and weakens the proof. The same distinction is to be observed in the use of analogy, which is indeed a species
Rhetoric," p. 32.
of example. Analogical reasoning cannot of itself establish more than a presumption (it may be a strong presumption) of the truth of the conclusion. For example, all that Butler seeks to establish in his “ Analogy” is, that there is a strong presumption that what takes place in the physical world will also hold in the moral. There is at least no improbability in such a supposition. It should be added, that it is impossible to overestimate the force of the argument from analogy in answering objections. If, for example, it be alleged that the difficulties of Scripture prevent us from believing in its divine origin, analogy may reply, that similar difficulties in nature do not prevent our believing in the divine origin of the world. This is incontrovertible. Of this kind, in reality, are the arguments employed by Butler; and it is in this sense that Whately has asserted that in the evidences of Christianity "the arguments from analogy are the most unanswerable.”
135. The order of the introduction of arguments is a matter of extreme importance. Proofs which according to one arrangement afford mutual support and confirmation, may, according to another, lead to confusion and failure. For instance, to begin with an argument from testimony or example would not only give the impression of the inherent improbability of the proposition, but would weaken the force of the arguments from probability or necessity when afterwards adduced. It will be found advisable therefore to observe in this matter the following rules :I. Where the argument from necessity can be employed, it
should be stated at once; and since it affords complete proof, no other argument is required; though example or analogy may be employed for the sake of illustration. II. Where arguments of different kinds are required, that
from probability, if available, should take precedence of
the others. III. Of these others, the strongest should be stated first, but
the weakest should not be reserved till the last. IV. When there are several arguments of the same kind, the
most obvious and most naturally occurring should be
stated first. 136. The Refutation of objections may proceed in two ways; either (1.) by proving the opposite proposition, or (2.) by
answering in detail the arguments advanced in support of the objections. These answers should generally be placed in the midst of the other arguments ; but, says Whately, “ nearer the beginning than the end," on the principle that opposition should be disposed of as soon as possible, so as to give the writer's own arguments the full advantage of leaving the last impression.
137. The Exhortation, or appeal to the feelings, is designed to influence the will, to effect persuasion. Though forming a distinct head in the plan of an argumentative theme, the appeal should not be expressly avowed or formally introduced as such. It is more successfully effected by placing the circumstances, in their consequences and collateral effects, in a striking light before the hearers or readers. As a - st perfect example of this kind of composition, the speech of Anthony mar the dead body of Cæsar, in Shakespeare's “ Julius Cæsar,” should be carefully studied.
138. Recapitulation of the arguments in a brief form is of use in placing a compact view of the proof within the grasp of the reader, and tends to confirm whatever impression may have been produced by the appeal. In recapitulating, the arguments should be stated in the reverse order of that in which they were first given, that the most powerful argument, which made its impression first, may also leave its impression last. In the way of conclusion, little else need be added than a confident restatement of the proposition.
139. The parts of the argumentative theme may now be more minutely stated, as follows :
I. The introduction, narrative or reflective.
1. Argument from probability.
from testimony. 4.
from possibility. 5.
from example. 6.
from analogy IV. The exhortation, or appeal to the feelings. V. Recapitulation, or brief summary of the proof, and con
140. Model Scheme of Argumentative Theme.
THE PROOF FROM MIRACLES OF THE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY. I. Introduction.— The absence of worldly influence in the first preachers of Christianity, and their humble origin, required that they should shew credentials of their divine commission. Contrast of Mahomedanism in this respect.
II. Propositions.-A. That the miracles were really wrought. B. That they were such as to afford evidence of divine power. III. Proof:
A. 1. From Probability. From the position and the pretensions of the men, it is probable that they would work miracles.
2. From Testimony. The sacred writers assert that miracles were wrought, and that hundreds saw them performed, these hundreds including not only poor Jews, but learned and powerful Greeks and Romans.
[Objection 1. These men may be deceiving us.
Refutation. Their accounts are consistent. There is every reason to believe that their writings are authentic. They are corroborated in some points by profane writers. Their character is inconsistent with their being deceivers.
Objection 2. They may have been deceived themselves. It is more likely that human faculties may be deceived than that a single law of nature should be suspended.
Refutation. So many hundreds are not likely to have been deceived. Then, all our knowledge of the past, our knowledge even of the uniformity of the laws of nature, depends on the testimony of others. Again, the truth of miracles being admitted, they can be accounted for in a way quite consistent with the constancy of nature. They are an exception, which proves the rule.
Objection 3. It is difficult for us to believe that miracles were wrought.
Refutation. It is more difficult for us to believe that Christ convinced men of his divine power without miracles.]
3. Testimony (2). The fact that the enemies of Christianity attempted to account for the miracles by suggesting magic and the intervention of evil spirits, proves that even they could not deny that the miracles were really wrought somehow.
B. 1. From Necessity. Miracles could not be wrought without divine power. That power established the laws of nature, and only that power can suspend or change them.
[Objection 1. They were wrought by magic.
Refutation. They were too numerous, too various, too instantaneous, too extemporaneous, and too uniformly successful, to have been effected by any natural magician. Then, had they been wrought by magic, the secret could not have been confided to so many as seventy at once,
without its oozing out. Nor would a source of so great gain as it would have been to worldly men and deceivers (as they must have been, on the supposition of being magicians) have been allowed so suddenly to
Their ceasing when they did and as they did is explicable only on the supposition of their being divine.
Objection 2. They were wrought by evil spirits.
Refutation. They were too uniformly benevolent for this supposition. “Can a devil (i.e., is it of the nature of a devil to) open the eyes of the blind ?"]
2. From Testimony. Many were convinced and converted by them, were led by them to sacrifice the dearest ties on earth, worldly prosperity and peace, for the sake of the hopes this miracle-supported religion held out to them. [Which naturally leads to the]
IV. Exhortation.-Refer to several of the miracles in detail, shew their beneficent character, call forth sympathy for the lame, blind, &c., and love for Him who went about continually doing good, shew the inconsistency of this with His being a deceiver, &c.
V. Recapitulation. There is no doubt, therefore (for all these reasons), that these miracles were really wrought, and that they were wrought by divine power; and the
Conclusion is inevitable, that they prove the truth of Christianity to us, as much as to those in whose presence they were performed.
Exercise 58. Subjects for Argumentative Themes 1. The Evidence from Prophecy of the Truth of Christianity. 2. The Credibility of the English Scriptures. 3. The Harmony of Religion and Geology. 4. The Evidence from Nature of a Future State. 5. The Internal Evidence of the Truth of Christianity. 6. The Study of Experimental Philosophy favourable to Religion. 7. The Divine Origin of Language. 8. The Immortality of the Soul. 9. The Great Antiquity of the World. 10. The Rotundity of the Earth. 11. Industry the ultimate source of National Prosperity. 12. The Plurality of Worlds. 13. Was the Execution of Charles I. justifiable ? 14. Was the Execution of Mary Queen of Scots justifiable ? 15. Should International Differences be settled without war ? 16. The Utility of the Study of the Dead Languages. 17. Should Education be made compulsory by the State ? 18. That the Introduction of Machinery has increased the amount
of Human Happiness. 19. That Education should train the Mind, not store it. 20. That changes have taken place in the Ocean level.