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“We shall then go on to prove the authenticity and credibility of the rooks of sacred Scripture—that these books were really written and pubished at the time they profess to be, and contain a trust-worthy narrative entitled to full credit and belief.

“Our books being found to be genuine and credible, we open them to see what they contain, and finding that our Lord and his apostles lay claim to a Divine Authority, as bringing a Revelation from the great and Almighty God, we ask, What credentials they produce of such a claim? This leads us to consider the undeniable and numerous Miracles that were publicly wrought; the astonishing series of Prophecies that has been fulfilled, and is now fulfilling in the world; the first miraculous Propagation of the Gospel ; and the prodigious effects it has produced, and is producing upon the welfare of mankind.

“Having thus sufficiently established the Divine authority of the Scriptures, we must pause before we proceed to the internal evidence, in order to inquire whether these books are, properly speaking, inspired, so that every part of them was written under the superintendence of the Holy Spirit, and is an unerring rule of faith and practice. In other words, we must show the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. This will conclude the first division of the whole work.

“We shall come next to the evidence arising from the internal excellency and efficacy of Christianity; those marks which it presents to every humble inquirer, arising from its own peculiar nature, as distinct from its outward evidences. Here we shall show that to the sincere and devout student, who submits to the Christian doctrine, on the footing of its undoubted credentials, there will arise the strongest confirmation of his faith, from considering the suitableness of Christianity to the obvious state and wants of man as an ignorant and sinful creature-the excellency of all its doctrines—the un. spotted purity of its precepts—the inimitable character of its Divine Founder-and its tendency to promote, to the highest degree, the temporal and spiritual happiness of nations and individuals.

“ But it may be asked, in the next place, Whether there is any test to which the serious inquirer may bring the practical effects of Christianity in his own case-can he obtain a share in its blessings and make a trial of its promises ? This is a practical and most important part of the whole subject. And we shall show that this may be done by submitting to its directions, and making the trial for ourselves of its proffered grace and mercy.

“A consideration of the chief objections of infidels, and a comparison of their lives and deaths, with those of sincere Christians, will furnish a forcible subsidiary argument in favour of our religion, and will turn the very wea. pons of our adversaries against themselves.

“ The faith with which the religion is to be received the sound system of interpreting its records which such a faith implies—and the universal ” obligation which lies upon every human being of obeying this Divine doctrine, will close the whole work."

Another source of the indifference to this great subject is, a prevailing practice, though for the most part good in design, most pernicious in its consequences, of treating with marked disapprobation, not unfrequently with fierceness and intemperance of manner, every expression of doubt on the subject of religion. In some society, and we fear we must add in the estimation of some religious teachers, it would be enough seriously to injure a man's character, to ask a solution of certain difficulties connected with Revelation, or to intimate that his mind was not made up on cer

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in some parts, have admitted of a little more amplification. On this point, however, it behoves us to speak with diffidence, for there is scarcely a nicer point to decide in composition than where to amplify, and where to be concise. “ The contradictive vices," as Baxter denominates them, “ do call for impossibilities for their cure. Their incapacity” says, “ It must be a full explication, or I cannot apprehend the sense or truth : their averseness and slothfulness” saith, “ It must be short, or I shall be tired with it, or shall not have time to read it.” Both these cannot be answered, and yet it is to be feared, some readers are unreasonable enough to expect them to be combined. In the volumes before us, a happy medium is observed in these respects, and every Christian parent and guardian has it now in his power, to put into the hands of young persons, a book on this momentous subject, treated in a style at once lucid, manly, interesting, and easy to be understood ; and we may add, and we do it with peculiar pleasure, written in a strain of fervid yet enlightened piety. As a condensed view of the whole system of Evidences, suited to popular and general use, we know nothing equal to them. We do not mean by this, that there are not works on distinct branches of the argument, in which almost every topic, included in these volumes, will be found, treated more fully and in many respects more ably; they are more profound, more elaborate, more original, and more ingenious ; some of them have very justly been ranked among the highest and noblest efforts of the human mind; ornaments to the age and country in which they were written, they will probably live as long as the English language lasts. We mention them not for the purpose of instituting any comparison, for between works written with objects so widely dissimilar, comparison would be unfair; but to prevent ourselves from being misunderstood, and likewise that we may not do injustice to this excellent work by leading persons to expect from it what it was not the Author's intention they should find. not intended to supersede the more elaborate works already before the public: but to furnish what they do not afford, a condensed, and complete view of the Evidences. In this we conceive the distinguished Author has succeeded : the volumes are copious, without being redundant; condensed, yet not a meagre abstract

. That the reader may form an opinion of the extent of ground occupied, we will insert from the first Lecture a brief outline of the whole course.

“ In conducting this great argument upon these admissions of natural religion, the first question to be asked is, What is the temper of mind in which such a subject should be studied, and do unbelievers seem in any mea sure to possess that temper?

“We may inquire in the next place, What has been the state of mankind in all ages and nations where Christianity has been unknown, and of Chris tian nations, in proportion as it has been inadequately known and obeyed?

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"We shall then go on to prove the authenticity and credibility of the books of sacred Scripture—that these books were really written and published at the time they profess to be, and contain a trust-worthy narrative entitled to full credit and belief.

“Our books being found to be genuine and credible, we open them to see what they contain, and finding that our Lord and his apostles lay claim to a Divine Authority, as bringing a Revelation from thegreat and Almighty God, we ask, What credentials they produce of such a claim? This leads us to consider the undeniable and numerous Miracles that were publicly wrought; the astonishing series of Prophecies that has been fulfilled, and is now fulfilling in the world ; the first miraculous Propagation of the Gospel ; and the prodigious effects it has produced, and is producing upon the welfare of mankind.

“Having thus sufficiently established the Divine authority of the Scriptures, we must pause before we proceed to the internal evidence, in order to inquire whether these books are, properly speaking, inspired, so that every part of them was written under the superintendence of the Holy Spirit, and is an unerring rule of faith and practice. In other words, we must show the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. This will conclude the first division of the whole work.

“We shall come next to the evidence arising from the internal excellency and efficacy of Christianity; those marks which it presents to every humble inquirer, arising from its own peculiar nature, as distinct from its outward evidences. Here we shall show that to the sincere and devout student, who submits to the Christian doctrine, on the footing of its undoubted credentials, there will arise the strongest confirmation of his faith, from considering the suitableness of Christianity to the obvious state and wants of man as an ignorant and sinful creature-the excellency of all its doctrines—the unspotted purity of its precepts—the inimitable character of its Divine Founder-and its tendency to promote, to the highest degree, the temporal and spiritual happiness of nations and individuals.

“ But it may be asked, in the next place, Whether there is any test to · which the serious inquirer may bring the practical effects of Christianity in

his own case-can he obtain a share in its blessings and make a trial of its promises ? This is a practical and most important part of the whole subject. And we shall show that this may be done by submitting to its directions, and making the trial for ourselves of its proffered grace and mercy.

“A consideration of the chief objections of infidels, and a comparison of their lives and deaths, with those of sincere Christians, will furnish a forcible subsidiary argument in favour of our religion, and will turn the very weapons of our adversaries against themselves.

“ The faith with which the religion is to be received the sound system of interpreting its records which such a faith implies—and the universal i obligation which lies upon every human being of obeying this Divine doctrine, will close the whole work."

Another source of the indifference to this great subject is, a prevailing practice, though for the most part good in design, most pernicious in its consequences, of treating with marked disapprobation, not unfrequently with fierceness and intemperance of manner, every expression of doubt on the subject of religion. In some society, and we fear we must add in the estimation of some religious teachers, it would be enough seriously to injure a man's character, to ask a solution of certain difficulties connected with Revelation, or to intimate that his mind was not made up on cere

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'tain points relative to its authenticity or Divine authority. By this means, inquiry is repressed, investigation is checked, doubts remain unsolved, and many who are awed into a nominal belief, may be said to believe they know not what, nor why. With such sacrifices, we may venture to say, God is not well pleased. Persons who treat doubts in this manner are not aware what an advantage, nay triumph they afford to infidelity. The fear evinced is interpreted into a tacit avowal of the weakness and unsoundness of the cause; and many are taught to believe that the reason inquiry is thus scouled upon, is because investigation would be fatal to the interest of Christianity. Of such adherents Religion might adopt the language of the Spanish Proverb, . May God deliver me from my friends. We think too, we have observed much that is incautious, to say the least, in the manner in which some religious persons speak of the use of reason in religion: they seem not to be aware, that until reason be satisfied of the truth of the documents, there is absolutely no room for enlightened belief. That reason is not the test of the truths revealed we firmly maintain, but as firmly, that it is the legitimate province of reason to ascertain the validity of the evidence adduced for the documents containing those truths. Corruption and fraud may dread the light; but Revelation, like all the works of its great Author, will command admiration in proportion as it is known.

Another, and not the least fruitful source of indifference is, the prevalence of a sentiment, falsely called charity; by which all religions,—no less the impure orgies, the frantic and disgusting revelry of idolatry, than the holy, humble aspirations, the benevolent actions of true piety,—are said to be equally acceptable to God, if the worshipper is sincere. Whatever sincerity the votaries of idols may possess, (and we are not about to dispute their claim,) it is difficult, we confess, to believe that the abettors of such a sentiment are themselves so. Is it possible that rational beings can be so lost to the dictates of common sense; is it possible that men of enlightened minds can really believe, that a God of holiness and benevolence can look with complaisance upon lewdness and cruelty ? and that actions abhorrent to humanity, and revolting to reason, may be rendered acceptable to the Deity if offered as religious worship?

But the sentiment is found to be convenient; the God who can be pleased with such a religion will not be severe with those who have none. It is also intended to answer another purpose, to bring down Christianity to the level of that which every good man would abhor, and every intelligent man despise. "It crucifies Christianity between thieves. Christians cannot too firmly oppose this pernicious, iniquitous, and irrational sentiment: it is an insult to the Deity, a violation of the principles of common sense, and opposed, no less to the unequivocal declarations of the word of God,

than to the whole tenor and design of that scheme of human redemption which is there revealed. If Christianity be true as a system of religion, it is exclusively true ; if there is salvation in the name which it reveals, there is no other name by which man can be saved; if life come through believing in the Lord Jesus, death and perdition await those who neglect, despise, or resist his claims. No inconsiderable proof of this is, we conceive, afforded in the very virulence with which its enemies attack the Christian system: for can it have escaped the notice of our readers, that in the opponents of Revelation there is a tincture of bitterness, by no means called for, on the simple principle of its being error; for if it be error, it certainly is very innocent, very benevolent error. We challenge our adversaries to produce from any other source, not derived from Revelation, laws equally just, wise, and good ; examples equally benevolent, disinterested, and kind; principles equally productive of order in society, happiness to individuals, or goodwill to man. If therefore it be an error, it deserves at least well of mankind for the blessings it diffuses. But how fierce is the malevolence of its opponents! The elegant system of Grecian and Roman mythology, as the disciples of infidelity are pleased to call it, is treated by them, even in its most offensive parts, with all the tenderness and forbearance due to the innocent foibles of an aged parent; but Christianity, with_hatred and unmingled contempt. Whence is this distinction ? Tried on the principles either of humanity or reason, surely the latter has claims to our regard, to which the former can make no pretensions. The secret lies in its truth. Falsehood may be complimented and despised; palliated and contemned: but truth, like real power, though calumniated, is feared; though maligned, is dreaded. Christianity may take up all such reproaches, and bind them, as an ornament, on her brow: they are the unintentional homage of her adversaries to her veracity; their fears and misgivings of her vital energy, her unconquer

On the ground of merely mental discipline, or intellectual culture, much might be said for the study of the Evidences of Revelation : few things could be mentioned, better adapted to strengthen, improve or enlarge the mind.

" It is ever," says Bacon, a true rule in exercises, that they be framed as near as may be to the life of practice ; for otherwise they do prevent the motions and faculties, and not prepare them.” In this view the study we are recommending has some decided advantages over even mathematical studies ; with most men, it is nearer the life of practice. Almost all the reasoning in the business of life is founded on moral, not mathematical principles. Between these, there are several very marked distinctions, which it is not unimportant to know, more particularly in the study of the Evidences of Christianity, lest we expect to find a kind of proof of which neither this,

able power.

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