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know it contains. We are not disposed to conceal them. It would be very surprising if a book so circumstanced did not*. But its foundation is built upon the pillars of everlasting truth. Conscientious Unbelievers shouldexamine those d fficulties with calmness and patience. The whole collective evidence of the Gospel is very consider
and bewitching. Few writers ever more corrupted the public taste. He was a man of considerable, but peculiar talents, making great preten. sions to sympathy, wit, and benevolence, but with an heart in no small degree depraved. And as he had lived with the reputation of a wit, he was determined to die as such, even though he should sacrifice every appearance of Christian piery and decorum. Accordingly, when this clerical buffoon came to be in dying circumstances, perceiving death to make inis advances upwards, he raised himself in his bed upon his poste. riors, and, is said, either in a real or pretended rage, to have sworn at the sly assassin, that he should not kill him yet.
This re-narkable circumstance, though not mentioned in his life, is, I believe, strictly true. It is only observed in general in the account pre. fix d to his works, that “ Mr. Sterne died as he lived, the same indif. "ferent, careless creature ; as, a day or two before, he seemed not in " the least affected with his approaching dissolution.”
This brings to mind the case of another unhappy man who was a fessed Atheist. Dr. BARRABY, an eminent physician in London, was in. timately acquainted with him : his name was STR-T, Esq. After some time, he was seized with a violent fever, and sent for the Doctor, He
came, and prescribed several medicines, but none of them took effect. At length he told him plainly, “Sir, I know nothing more that can be
done ; you must die." Upon this, be clenched his fists, gnashed his teeth, and said with the utmost fury, “God! God! I won't die!" and immediately expired.
*" It would be a miracle greater than any we are instructed to be. lieve, if there were no difficulties in the Sacred Writings; if a being with but five scanty inlets of knowledge, separated but yesterday from his mother earth, and to-day sinking again into her bosom, could fathom the depths of the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord God Almighty.”
All arts and sciences abound with difficulties, and a perfect knowledge of them is not to be attained without considerable labour and applica. tion ; why then should we expect that Theology, the first of sciences, and that to which all others ought to be subservient, should be without its abstrusities, and capable of being understood without labour and appli. cation of mind ? Nay, even that practical religion, which is required of the humblest followers of the Redeemer, requires a high degree of attention. Agonize to enter in at the strait gate, is the command of the Son of God. And did ever any labour more in the cause of virtue than Carist and his Apostles??
able, and requires time and application*: It is expected they attend to the consistency, harmony, and connection
of all its various parts; the long chain of prophecies undeniably completed in it; the astonishing and well attested iniracles that attendit; the perfect sanctity of its Author; the purity of its precepts; the sublimity of its doctrines; the amazing rapidity of its progress; the illustrious company of confessors, saints, and martyrs, who died to confirm its truth; the testimony of its enemies; together with an infinite number of collateral proofs and subordinate circunstances, all concurring to form such a body of evidence as no other truth in the world can shew; such as must necessarily bear down, by its own weight and magnitude; all trivial objections to particular parts f; They should consult the best books upon thesulject, and call in the assistance of learned and disinterested men, who have made theological subjects their study. They should apply to them as they would to a Lawyer about an estate, or a Physician about their health. And they should make the investigation a matter of the most dili
* There are four grand arguments for the truth of the Bible.
The first is the miracles it records. 2. The prophecies. 3. The goodness of the doctrine. 4. The moral character of the penmen.
The miracles flow from Divine power; the prophecies, from Divine understanding; the excellence of the doctrine, from Divine goodness ; and the moral character of the penmen, from Divine purity,
Thus Christianity is built upon these four im:noreable pillars, the power, the understanding, the goodness, and the purity of God,
I add further;
The Bible must be the invention, either of good men or angels, bad men or devils, or of God.
It could not be the invention of good men. or angels, for they neither would nor could make a book, and tell lies all the time they were writing it, saying, Thus saith the Lord, when it was their own invention.
It could not be the invention of bad men or devils, for they would not make a book, which com:nands all duty, forbids all sin, and condemns their souls to hell to all eternity.
I therefore draw this conclusion--- The Bible must be given by Divine inspiration.
+ See Bishop PORTEUS's Sermons, vol. i. p. 41. 42.
gent enquiry* Religion is a serious thing. It is either all or nothing. A few pert objections, started in mixed
Bishop WATSON's Apology for Christianity in answer to Mr. GIBBON, and his Apology for the Bible in answer to THOMAS PAINE, belore mentioned, are admurabiy well calculated to reinove a considerable number of difficulties attending ihe records of our salvation. Bishop HORNE's Leiters on infidelity are wisely suited to the same purpose. But he that is able and willing to examine thoruughly the grounds of' his religion, should have recourse to Bishop, BUT, LER’s analogy of Religion, natural and rev, aled, to the constitution and course of nature : a work well adapted to give satisfaction to inquiring minds, upoa the most important of all subjects, Religion. I need not say that Grotius on the truth of Christianity is an excellent lule work. DODORIDGE's three sers mons, on the Evidences of Christianity, seems better suited to the understandin, s of cominon readers than almost any other. LARDNER's Cred bility; M. CHAELIS's Introduction to the New Testament; and PALEY's View of the Evil dences of Christianity; are all works of high reputation. BEATTIE's Evidences of the Christian Religion is a valuable sınall work. BAXTER on the Truth of Christianity is not to be answered. EDWARDS on the Authority, Style, and Perfection of Scripture is very valuable. GILDON'S Deist's Manual - KINDER'S Demonstration of the MessiAS-STILLINGFLEET's Origines Sacra-HART11. Y on the Truth of the Christian Religion--BRYANT'S Treause on the Authenticity of the Scriptures-- JOZTIN's Discourse concerning the Truth of the Christian
egin-DXLANI's Revelation Examined with Candour_PASCHAL's Thoughts on Religion-YOUNG's Night Thoughts, and Centaur not Fabulous-DITTON on she Resurrection-Cure of Deism--Foster's Usefulness, Truth, and Excellency of the Christian Revelation-CLARK's Truth and Certainty of the Christian Revelarion-LALLY's Principles of the Christian Religion-PALEY's Horæ Paulina~ Bishop SQUIRE’s Indifference for Religion inexcusable-LOCKt's Reasonableness of Coristianity--MURRAY's Evidences of the Jewish and Christian Revelation: CHANDLER's Plain Reasons for being a Christian-ADDISON on the Truth of Christianity-Bishop Watson's Two Sermons and Charge-SYKE s’s Essay upor the Truth of the Christian Religion-WARBURTON’s Divine Legation of MosesDr. GREGORY SHARPE's i wo Arguments in Defence of Christianity--LESLIE'S Sport Method with Jews and Deists:-Bishop B E R KLÉ Y's Minuic PhilosopherDr. RANDOLPH's View of our SAVIOUR’S Min stry-Bishop CLAYTON'S Vindication of the Histories of ine Old and New Testament-Ds. Bell's Enqury inia the Divine Missions of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ-Lively Oracles
, by the Aubor of the whole Duty of Man-BOYLE on the Style of Holy Scripture MACKNIGHT on the Gospel-actions as probable-West on ihe Resurrection Lord LITTLETON on the Conversion of St. Pau -LE PLUCHE on the Truth of the Gospel—Socinus's Argument for the Authority of Holy Scripture-Bishop CHANDLER's Defence of Christianity-PRIESTLEY's Letters 10 a Philosophical Unbeliever~ PRIESTLEY’s Evidence of Revealed Religion. These are a!i wo: ks of some reputation. Several of them are unanswerable, and all contain more of less imatter upon the truth of the Scriptures that is useful and important. Many others have written upon the same sutject, but these I have had an opportunity of perusing, and can recommend them every one as containing much that is' valuable.
There is, however, one very small work more which I would take the liberty of recommending to the common reader, because it is so plain, satisfactory, and concise ; and that is Dr. DAVID JENNING'S Appeal 10 Reason and Common Sense for the Truth of the Holy Scriptures. For the compass of it, this is a very satisfactory performance. The whole is contained in two sermons of moderate length, and may be obtained for a very trifling sum.
To these may be added LELAND's Deistical Writers; a work of high and dekerved reputationLeslie's Truth of Christianity Demonstrated--Bishop Tay.
company, or in a circle of friends over the glass, are indecent and despicable. Shameful herein is the conduct of many vain babblers. They should be excluded society, When the ancient philosopher AnAXAGORAS had expressed in one of his books a doubt concerning the exist. tence of God, the book was burnt by a public decree of his fellow-citizens, and he himself banished his country. These were Heathens and Republicans. What would they have said to the Philosophisters of the present day? No person, we may venture to say, ever honestly examined the whole of the evidence for the truth of the New Testament, who did not find it satisfactory. Indeed, the Gospel itself is so pure*, that no decent man can reject it. Hence we find it has ever been the custom of Unbelievers to attack the corruptions of religion, which more or less prevail in all countries; and, through the sides of those human appendages, to wound the cause of truth itself. These arts, however, are inconsistent with honour, and no person of the least integrity of mind can be capable of them. Modest men too, who have not thoroughly examine the arguments forandagainst Scripture will be silent. Ifthey
Lor’s Moral Demonstration that the religion of JESUS CHRIST is from GOD, Writings on these subjects of such universal importance are very numerous, and, indeed, it is scarcely possible they can be too much so. It may be much questioned whether any objection whatever has been made to the great truths of Religion and the Sacred Writinys which has not been fairly and honestly answered in one or another of the above authors. But no .writer has taken so much pains to state and answer Objections to the Scriptures as Mr. STACKHOUSE in his, Nero History of the Holy Bible. If the serious Reader finds himself pressed with difficulties, he will do well to apply to that great work, where he will find them exhibited at length with such answers as are generally satisfactory,
To these it may be recommended to the serious reader to add Knox's Christian Philosophy, where he will find the internal evidence of Christianity insisted on pretty much at length. The work, however, does not appear to ine altogether unexceptionable, though highly valuable. He seems to set the external and internal evidences of the Gospel too much in opposition one to the other. There is, moreover, an asperity and superciliousness, on some occassions, in his expresa sions, which will ill become the subject on which he writes, and which be very jusely condemns in the late Bishop WARBURTON and otheis. The work, however, I trust, will do much good, by calling the public attention to inward religion.
* The reader may see the purity of the Gospel drawn out at length in New. COME's Observations on our Lord's Conduct ; Hunter's Observations on the History of Jesus CHRIST; and HARWOOD's Life of CHRIST.
cannot believe in Jesus, they will be extremely cautious upon what ground they reject him. They will remember that NEWTON-examined the evidence of his divine mission, and was satisfied; that Locke examined, and died glorying in his salvation. They will recollect that WEST, JENYNS, LITTLETON, and PrinGLE, were all at one tiine Unbelievers; all undertook, likewise men, to examine the grounds of their Infidelity; were all convinced that they had been dangerously mistaken; all becameconverts to the religion of the Son of God; and all died, declaring their belief in him, and expectations from him. THOMAS PAINE, therefore, and his humble followers, may abuse and misrepresent the facts and doctrines. contained in the Sacred Code, as BOLINGBROKE, and other deistical but immoralmen, havefrequently done, with learning and ability greatly superior; they may nibble at it, like the viper at the file in the fable; but they only display their own malignity, and want of solid information. It is not every dabbler in science that is qualified, either to vindicate or oppose the Bible with effect. Deep and various learning are necessary for this purpose. The experience of past ages inight convince any man, that it will be found hard to kick against the pricks, and to resist the evidence with full satisfaction of mind. All bitter sarcasms, therefore, with which Infidels so unmercifully load that best of books*, are unbecoming, and should be suspended, lest they recoil upon their own heads. It hath stood the rude shocks of learned Jews and Heathens, Heretics and Unbelievers, of former ages, and it is not about to receive its death-wound from the feeble assaults which the present numerous set of Deisis are capable of making upon it. We challenge all the Unbelievers in Christendom to account, upon any merely
* For most of the learning that is now in the world we are indebted to the Bible. To the same book likewise we are indebted for all the morality and religion which prevail among men. Nay, even the absurd tales and fables which we read in the writings of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, are nothing more than perversions of the several histories and characters recorded in the Old Testament. See JORTIN's first Charge, vol. vii. of his Sermons. GALE's Cours of the Gentiles; and BrXANTS Mythology. Consult, 100, DRYDEN's Prcface to his Religie Laici.