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herbs, hath ever been uniform. Every seed L. But since, it seems, there are difficulties in produces now the same fruit ever it did. supposing a divinc crcator, and preserver of Every species of animal life is still the same. the world, what system of things does the Could chance continue this regular arrange- atheist suppose attended with fewer? He fees ment? Could any thing continue it, but the the world produced before him. He fees it hand of an omnipotent God !

hath been created; and is preserved. Some Lastly, we see this great truth, the being of account of this matter must be given. If ours a God, witnessed by the general consent of displease him; let us have his. mankind. This general content must arise The experiment hath been tried. We have either from tradition, or it must be the result had many atheistical creeds: none of which of men's own reasoning. Upon either sup- hath stood the test of being handed down with position, it is an argument equally strong. any degree of credit into future times. If the first fupposition be allowed, it will be The atheist's great argument indeed adifficult to aflign any source of this tradition, gainst a Deity, is levelled at the apparent inbut God himself. If the fecond, it can scarce justice of his government. It was an objecbe supposed that all mankind, in different tion of ancient date; and might have had its parts of the world, should agree in the belief weight in heathen times: but it is one of the of a thing, which never existed. For though bleflings, which attends christianity, that it doubts have arisen concerning this general satisfies all our doubts on this head ; and belief, yet it is now pretty well ascertained, gives us a rational and easy solution of this from the accounts of travellers, that no na- poignant objection. What if we observe an tion hath yet been discovered, among whom inaccurate distribution of the things of this some traces of religious worship have not been world? What if virtue be depressed, and found.

vice triumphant? It is nothing, says the Be it fo, says the objector; yet still we find voice of religion, to him, who believes this single persons, even in civilized countries, and life to be an inconsiderable part of his being ; fome of them men of enlarged capacities, who a point only in the expanse of eternity: who have not only had their doubts on this subject; believes he is fent into this world, merely to but have proclaimed aloud their disbelief of a prepare himself for a better. This world, he divine being.

knows, is intended neither for a reward, nor We answer, that it is more than probable, punishment. Happiness unquestionably atno man's infidelity on this head was ever tends virtue even here, and misery, vice: but thoroughly fettled. Bad men, rather endea- it is not the happiness of a splendid station, vour to convince themselves, than are rcally but of a peaceful mind; nor is it the mifery of convinced.---But even on a supposition, that low circumstances, but of a guilty conscience. a few such persons could be found, what is The things of this world are not, in their own their testimony against to great a majority, as nature, connected either with happiness or the reft of mankind? The light of the fun is misery. Attended sometimes by one, and universally acknowledged, though it happens, fometiines by the other, they are merely the that, now and then, a man may be born means of trial. One man is tempted with blind,

riches, and another with poverty ; but God

intends

intends neither an clevated, nor a depressed | pose him to be a dark malignant being, ar ftuation as the ultimate completion of his equally exposed. Here we are informed of

the omniscience and omniprefence of God. Beides, if worldly prosperity even was the Here we learn, that his wisdom and power indication of God's favour; yet good men are equalled by his goodness; and that his may have failings and imprudencies cnough mercy is over all his works. In fhort, we about them to dcferre misfortune; and bad learn from revelation, that we are in the mea virtues, which may deserve success. I hands of a being, whose knowledge we canWhy fhould imprudence, though joined with not evade; and whose power we cannot resist; virtae, partake of its reward Or the gene- who is merciful and good to all his creatures; sous purpose share in the punishment; though and will be ever ready to assist and reward connected with vice?

those; who endeavour to conform themselves Thus then we see the being of a God is to his will: but whose justice, at the same the universal creed of nature. But though time, accompanying his mercy, will punish Esture could investigate the simple truth, ie the bold and careless finner in proportion to soald pot prcserve it from crror. Nature his guilt.

Gilpin. Bercly takes her notions from what the fees, and what the hears, and hath ever moulded § 44. On the Creed continuedthe Belief her gods in the likeness of things in heaven,

of Jesus Chrift. and things on earth. Hence every part of After profelling our belief in God, the the actiun, animate and inanimate, hath, creed proceeds with a profeffion of our belief by tums, been an object of worship. And “ in Jesus Christ, his son, our Lord." Een the moft refined nations, we know, had A person celebrated as Jesus Christ was, Ads conceptions on this head. The wiseft we may fuppose, would naturally find a place of them indeed, by observing the wonders of in the profane history of his times. It may teation, could clothe the Deity with wisdom not be amiss, therefore, to introduce the cvi: ad power : but they could go no farther. dencc we are about to collect, with the tefThe virtues of their heroes afforded them the timony of some of the more eminent of the highef ideas of perfection and with these heathen writers, who have mentioned him. they prayed their gods; mixing also with They will at least inform us, that such a pertheir virtues, fuch vices, as are found in the son lived at the time we assert ; and that he chara&ters of the beft of men.

was the author of a new religion.--I shall For juk notions of the Deity, we must have quote only Suetonius, Tacitus, and Pliny: recourse then to revelation alone. Revelation Suetonius *, tells us, that “the emperor Teamres all these absurdities. It dispels thc Claudius drove all the Jews from Rome, who, skood of ignorance ; and unveils the divine at the instigation of one Christ, were contimaiefty, as far as it can be the object of hu- nually making

disturbances. man contemplation. The lax notions of li Tacitus t, speaking of the perfecution of bertinifin, on one hand, which make the De- christians, tells us, « that the author of yaa inobservant governor; and the gloomy les of fuperftition, on the other, which sup • In vita Claod, Cär. + Lib. 15;

D

that

that name was Christ, who was put to death Upon examining the grand scripture eviby Pontius Pilate, in the reign of Tibe- dence on this head, we find the greateft ftress rius."

laid upon miracles and prophecies: both of Pliny's i testimony is more large. It is which are direct appeals to God, by a claim contained in a letter, written to the emperor to supernatural power. And though both Trajan, defiring his instructions with regard these inodes of evidence are calculated as well to christians. He blames their obftinacy in for us who live in remotes times, as for those refusing to sacrifice to the Roman deities–who lived in the earliest; yet the evidence but from their own confillwn can draw no- froin miracles seems more particularly ado thing, but that they allemble, on a certain drefled to them; as that from prophecy is to day, before fun-rifc--that they pay divine us. They were the eye-witnesses of the mihonours to Christ as a God that they bind racles of the gospel, of which we have only themselves by a sacrament not to steal, nor to the evidence at lecond-hand. Whercas procommit adultery, nor to deceivemand that, phecy is a mode of cvidence, which increates after the performance of these sites, they join through every age. The early christians had in one common meal. Nay, he examined, he fit in part; but to us this amazing web is still says, two of them by torture: yet still he finds morc unfolded; and more of its wonderful nothing obnoxious in their behaviour, except texture displayed. Let us examine each in their absurd superstitions. He thinks, how- its order. ever, the matter should be inquired into : for Among the eye-witnesses of the gospel michristianity had brought religion into great racles, were many learned mcn, as well as undifuse. The markets were crowned with learned. Thc foriner had opportunity and victims;

and scarce a purchaser came ntar abilities to cxamine the works before them; them.

to tracc out fraud, if any fuoh were latent; These writers afford us sufficient testimony, and did unquestionably receive thein with alí that Jesus Christ lived at the time we allert; that circumspection which was due to tuch and that he was the author of a new religion. wonderful exhibitions, before they embraced They had opportunities of being well in the christian faith : while the moft ignorant formed; could have no interest in fallifying; | Spectator was a competent judge of matter of were no converts to the new sect; but talk of fact; and many of our Saviour's miracles Chrift

, only as they would of any fingular were such as could not possibly, from the naperson, whom they had occalion to mention. ture of the facts themfelves, be coloured with Their testimony therefore is beyond cavil.

fraud. Let us now proceed a step farther, and ex It had a strange found to the prejudices of amine the scripture evidence of Christ, which mankind, that a crucified malefactor was the proves not only his existence: but that he is Saviour of the world; and we cannot fupsur Lord, or thc Meffiah-and not only that pose, that any man, much less that a multihe was the author of a new religion; but that tude of men, would embrace such a belief this religion is true.

without clear conviction : especially as no

worldly advantage lay on the lide of this be• Lib. 30. lief; and the convert even renounced the

world,

world, and embraced a life of prosecution. acquainted with grief-though described to be Let us consider the firgle miracle of Christ's without fin, he was to be numbered with transrefurrection. Jesus had frequently mention- grelfors--his hands and his feet were to be ed it before his death; and the thing was so pierced he was to be made an offering for far in general credited, that the fepulchre was lin and was never to see corruption."sealed, and an armed guard appointed to These prophecies were published many hunwatch it. We may well suppolc, therefore, dred years before the birth of Christ; and that his favourers would naturally, upon this had been all along in the hands, not only of occasion, reason thus : “ Jesus hath now put the Jews, but of all men of letters. The his pretensions upon a fair issue. “He hath Old Testament had been early translated into told us, he will arise from the dcad on the the Greek language ; and received into the third day :-here then let us fufpend our politest libraries of those times. judgment, and wait the result. Three days With these idcas, let us open the New Ter. will determine whether he be an impostor, or tament, and it is obvious that no picture can the real Meffiah.”—It is very natural to sup- be more like itsoriginal, than these prophecics pose, that the favourers of Jesus would rea- of Christ in one Testament, are to his history Ton, after his death, in a manner like this: in the other. Here we see that extraordinary and it is beyond credibility, that any of them virgin-birth unravelled. Here we see a life would have continued his disciples, had they {pent in turning the hearts of the disobedient found him fallfying in this point. But we to the wisdom of the juft-Here we find the know they did continue his disciples after prince of his people, a man of forrows, and this. We know also, that many profelytes, acquainted with griefHere we fee the convinced by this very event, embraced the Lord of righteoulness numbered with transchristian rcligion. We have all the reason in gresfors--we see his hands and his feet piercthe world therefore to believe, that they were ed--we see him made an offering for lin fully satisfied. His miracles were to them a and we see realized that extraordinary idea of fufficient proof of his pretensions. All can- dcath without corruption. did men would have acquiesced, as they did; It were an easy matter to carry this compaand in their belief we have a very strong rison through a more minute detail of circumfoundation for our own.

stanccs : but I mean only to trace the outAgain, with regard to prophecy, we ob- lines of this great resemblance. To compleat serve, that the writers of the Old Testament the pi&ture would be a copious work. leem, in various parts, to characterize fome Besides these predictions, which related extraordinary person, who was in process of immediately to the life and death of Chrift; time to make his appearance in the world. there were many others, which deserve no The marks are peculiar, and can neither be ricc. Among these the two grear leading mistaken por misapplicd. “He was to be prophecies were those of the calling of the born of a virginhe was to turn the hearts Gentiles, and of the dispersion of the Jews, of the disobedient to the wisdom of the juft The calling of the Gentiles was one of the though dignified with the characters of a catliek prophecies of the Old Testament. prince, he was to be a man of sorrows, and The Jews were distinguithed in appearance,

Da

as the favourite, people of God; and they , separate from all other pcople, and yet withwere sufficiently elated upon that distinction: out a fertlement any where. But if they had attended cloicly to their

pro

Our Saviour's prophecy of the growth of phets, they might have discovered, that all the his church, is likewise among the more reprophecics, which defcribed the happy state of markable predictions. He told his discples, the church, had evidently a mar e distant pro- that “ his religion was like a grain of murfpect, than to them. Those carly promites, tard-seed, which was the least of all seeds in particular, which were repcated to the pa- but when it grew up, it lhould become a great triarchs, were not merely confined to their tree, and the fowls of the air should lodge in pofterity; bur included all the nations.of the branches of it.” He told them also, the earth, "-And when the later prophets, that the gates of hell fhould' never prevail as the great cvent approached, spoke a again it it. plainer, and a more intelligible language, the The Jewish religion was continually enwhole nation might have understood, as "Si- forced by the idea of a jealous God, watching meon, and some of the viseft and most inrelt over it, and threatening judgment's from hea ligible of them did understand, thar" a light ven upon every tranfgreffion. The divinic was fprung up to lighten the Gentiles.” authority was stamped openly upon it. The

The prophecy of the dispertion of the Jew people trembled, and worshipped. ith nation is also very antient, being attribut When the impoftor Mahomet fet up for cd by Mosos to the patriarch Jacob.“ The a reformer, he could not indeed enforce his fceptre thalt not depart from Judah, until religion by divinc judgments; but he did it Shiloh come.”. Whatever may be the precite by teinporal. He drew his sword, and held is meaning of the word • lccptre' in the origi- to the breasts of his oppofers; while he pronak; and though it may not perhaps properly mited to the obedient a full gratification of fignify that idea of regal power, which it con- their patsiens. veys to our cars; yet ir certainly mcang føme But in the christian religion, nothing of badge of authority, that implies a formed and this kind appeared. No temporal judgmentrs fettled government. And as to the word threatened on one hand: no fenfual indul. • Shiloh,' all comentators, jewish as well gences allured on the other. A few defpondas christian, explain it to mean the Metliahếing ignorant mechanics, the disciples of a perThe tente cherefore of the prophecy is plain- fca crucified as a cominon malefactor, were ly this-tbat the Jews. Thrould continue in the all the parade, with which this religion was form of a fociety, till the time of the Mefliah. ulhered into the world ; and all the human fccordingly we find that, foon after Christ's aflistance which it had to boaft.---And yet Heath, the fceptre die depart from Judatu; the this religion, which.opposed the strongest preJews lost all form of a political fociety; and judices, and was opposed by the greatest are a fmgular instance of a people, scattered princes, male its way in a few years, from a over the whole earth, preferved to this day remote corner, through the whole Komaro

empirc. --Thus was our Saviour's pro1506 Gen xii. 3. xviii, 18. xxii. 18. xxvi. 4. phocy, in opposition to all human calcula

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