EVIDENCE (i'2v1-dcns), (Ileb. stf-raw, , Jer. xxxiiito ff.), .1 "bill of :sale," a register, docu ment, deed, written paper).
In general it is that perception of truth which arises either front the testimony of the senses or from an induction of reason. The evidences of revelation are divided into internal and external. That is called internal evidence which is drawn from the consideration of those declarations and doctrines which are contained in it ; and that is called external which arises from some other cir cumstances referring to it, such as predictions con cerning it, miracles wrought by those who teach it, its success in the world, etc. (I) Moral evi dence is that which, though it does not exclude a mere abstrac_ possibility of things being otherwise, yet shuts out every reasonable ground of ing that they are so. (2) Evidences of grace are those dispositions and acts which prove a person to be in a converted state, such as an enlightened understanding, love to God and his people, a de light in God's word, worship and dependence on him, spirituality of mind, devotedness of life to the service of God, etc.
EVIL (e'v'1), is the comprehensive term under which are included all disturbances of the divinely appointed harmony of the universe. Christian doctrine, in accordance with the Scriptures, care fully distinguishes between physical and moral evil.
(1) Physical Evil. Physical or natural evil is whatever destroys or any way disturbs the per fection of natural beings, such as blindness, dis eases, death, etc.
(2) Moral Evil. Moral evil is the disagree ment between the actions of a moral agent, and the rule of those actions, whatever it be. Ap plied to choice, or acting contrary to the moral or revealed laws of the Deity, it is termed wickedness, or sin. Applied to an act contrary to a mere rule of fitness, it is called a fault.
(3) Origin of Evil. Dr. Samuel Clarke, in his "Dcnionstration of the Being and Attributes of God," deduces from the possibility and real exist ence of human liberty an answer to the question, What is the cause and origin of evil? For lib erty, he says, implying a natural power of doing evil, as well as good, and the imperfect nature of finite beings making it possible for them to abuse this their liberty to an actual commission of evil, and it being necessary to the order and beauty of the whole, and for displaying the infinite wis dom of the Creator, that there should be different and various degrees of creatures, whereof, conse quently, some must be less perfect than others, hence there necessarily arises a possibility of evil, notwithstanding that the Creatorisinfinitely good.
In short, thus: all that we call evil is: An evil of imperfection, as the want of certain faculties and excellencies which other creatures have; nat ural evil, as pain, death and the like; or moral evil, as all kinds of vice.
(1) The first of these is not properly an evil, or every power, faculty or perfection which any creature enjoyes, being the free gift of God, which he was no more obliged to bestow than he was to confer being or existence itself, it is plain the want of any certain faculty or perfection in any kind of creatures which never belonged to their nature, is no more an evil to them than their never having been created or brought into being at all could properly have been called an evil.
(2) The second kind of evil, which we call nat ural evil, is either a necessary consequence of the former—as death to a creature on whose nature immortality was never conferred, and then it is no more properly an evil than the former—or else it is counterpoised, in the whole, with as great or greater good, as the afflictions and suf ferings of good men, and then also it is not prop erly an evil ; or else, lastly, it is a punishment ; and then it is a necessary consequent of the third and last sort of evil, namely, moral evil.
(3) This arises wholly from the abuse of lib erty, which God gave to his creatures for other purposes, and which it was reasonable and fit to give them for the perfection and order of the whole creation ; only they, contrary to God's in tention and command, have abused what was necessary for the perfection of the whole, to the corruption and depravation of themselves. And thus all sorts of evils have entered into the world, without any diminution to the infinite goodness of its Creator and Governor.
This is obviously all the answer which the question respecting the origin of evil is capable of receiving. It brings us to the point to which the Scriptures themselves lead us. And though many questions may yet be asked respecting a subject so mysterious as the permission of evil by the Supreme Being, this is a part of his coun sels of which we can have no cognizance, unless he is pleased to reveal them ; and as revelation is silent upon this subject, except generally, that all his acts, his permissive ones as well as others, are "wise and just and good," we may rest assured that, beyond what is revealed, human wisdom in the present state can never penetrate. (See SIN.)