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The present constitution of the world, with respect to the civiliza-
tion, the religion, the liberty, or slavery of the different empires
jyhich subsist in it, is but one stage of the completion of the va-
rious prophecies, which were of old delivered, concerning the for-
tunes of individuals, nations, and copntries. We in our days may-
fay what Ttrtiflhan, speaking of the accomplishment of Scripture
prophecy, said in h\s-~Qit't:quid agitur prœnunciabatur, quicquid vi-
dttur audiebatur. The reader may find these subjects discussed by
Bp. Newton in his Dissertations on the Prophecies; by Whijlan in
his Accomplishment of Scripture Prophecy; by Sbarpe in his second
-Argument in defence of Christianity ; by L,ardner in his three Ser-,
mons on the Circumstances of the Jewish People, an Argument for tho
Truth of Christianity ; by the author of the Principes de la Fai Chri-
fienne; by the author of an Essay in the Universal History, on The
Independency if the Arabs; by Bishops Hurl, Hallifax, and Bagot,
\a their Sermons preached at Warburton's Lecture; by fisepb Mede,
and Henry Mire, in their respective works; and by fy'orthington in
lijs Sermon preached at Boyle's Lecture, 1766, fye.

All the ^Sllons recorded in the Qospeh are probable,

p, 177-

This Tract is the 4th chap, of the ist^book of the Truth of the
Gospel History, by Macknigln. Young men should render this short
tract familiar to them by a frequent perusal of it ; they will find in if
yery concise, but satisfactory answers tp many objections respect-.
ing some parts of onr Saviour's conduct, the possibility and tho
credibility of miracles, &c. which are, sometimes seriously, oftener
in wanton mockery of religion, made subjects of common conver-
sation, and which never fail to leave a bad impression on the ininda
pf those who knpw not how to reply to them.

Of the Argument for the Truth of the Christian Religion
arising from the conversion of the world to Christianity \
taken from, the Truth of the Gospel Jfiflory. By Jame§
Jviacknight, D. D, 17(33. p, 199,


That great multitudes out of every nation in the then known
world were converted frpm Heathenism to Christianity,' within a
few years after the death of Jesus, is a fact allowed on all hands j
the question is, whether thjs fact can be properly urged as a decisive
proof of the divine origin of the Christian religion. And, with-
out doubts the fact, abstractedly considered, cannot. 1 he exten-
sive propagation qf a religion, how jrapidly soever it may have been

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made, is a-proof of nothing but that the means were adequate to the end, the cause to the effect. A false religion may be and widely spread by force or by fraud; or it may, by degrees, gain an extensive establishment in'the world, from its being propitious to the follies, the vices, and passions of mankind; or from us being £,st introduced in an unenlightened and- credulous age; or in a country fitted by peculiar circumstances to foster and support it ; or ■from a concurrence of many other human means. This may be jeadily granted; but that the Christian religion should have been 'muiekh propagated from Judea through the Roman Empire, during the reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, &c. by the human abilities of the Apostles, appears tome to be an incredible fact. Thole who think otherwise would do well, in addition to the fact itieir, to consider the prophecies which were fulfilled when it took place. «* What motive, fays Justin Martyr in his Apology (Reeves Trans.\ could ever possibly have persuaded us to believe a crucified man to be the first begotten of the unbegotten God, and that he would come to iud-e the world, Had we not met with thole prophetic testimo, nks of him proclaimed so long before his incarnation? Were we not eve-witnesses to the fulfilling of them? Did we not fee the desolation of Judea, and men out of all nations presented to the faith of his Apostles, and renouncing the ancient errors they were brought BP in f Did we not find the prophecies made good in ourselves, and ice Christians in greater numbers, and in greater sincerity, from among the Gentiles, than from the Jews and Samaritans.: —I his argument has been insisted upon by Henry More in the first vol. of his works, where there is a chapter intituled, Veritas Evangel,, demonstrata ex Sucafju; by J. D^ne in a discourse printed 1725, intituled, The miraculous Success of the Gospel, a Proof of its divine Origin j by Leflty in his Short Method with the Deists ; by Millar in his Histdrv of the Propagation of Christianity, and Overthrow of Paganism: by.J TiUotson in the 12th vol.,of his Sermons; by, Lengw his Sermons at Boyle's Lecture; by Jortin in his1 Troth of the Christian Religion; by Ltland in the 6th chapter of tl* 2d part of his Defence of Christianity: by Bp. Atterbwy in his two Sermons on the Miraculous Propagation of the Gospel; by Boffuet in his Discourse on Universal History; by Lardner in his Collection of Jewish Testimonies; by Powell in his 10th Discourse; by Benson in his Reasonabsents* of Christianity ; and by Toung in the ad vol. of his Dissertations on Idolatrous Corruptions; where, also, there is a compendious view, supported by proper authorities, of the countnes through which the Apostles travelled in propagating the Gospel.

Jn EJay on the Man of Sin, from Benson's Paraphrase and Notes on St. Paul's Epistles, p. 268.

That the Popi/h religion is the Christian religion, is a false position i and therefore Christianity may be true, though the religion of the Church of Rome be, in many of its parts, an imposture. This observation should be always kept in mind by such os our young men cf fashion, as are sent to finish their education by travelling in Catholic countries. It may l'eem paradoxical to -ssert, that the corruptions of any religion can be proofs of its truth f yet the corruptions of the Christian leliglon, as practised by the Church of Rome, are certain proofs of the truth of the Cliristiaa religion; inasmuch as they are exact completions c-f the prophecies which were delivered by Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John, concerning that apostasy from the faith, which was to take place, in the latter times. 1 have known the infidelity of more than one young man happily removed, by shewing him the characters of fopery delineated by St. Paul in his prophecy concerning the Man of Sin {2 Thes. ii. 1.), and in that concerning the apostasy of the latter times (1 Tim. iv. 1). Bp. Hurd, in his 7th sermon at Warburton's Lecture, has given a concise history of the charge of An~ thhriflianijm, which has, at different times, been brought against the Church of Rome. Dr. Whitaker, Re«ius Profeilor of" Divinity at Cambridge, in his exercise for his degree at the Commencement in 1582, supported this ThesisPonlisex Rmania est i!!e Antichrislus quern futurum Scriptura prædixit. He had, before that time, refuted the forty arguments by which Nicholas Sander boasted that he had demonstrated—that the Pope was not Antichrist. Whitaker's works are very well worth being looked into by thole who would know what can be said for and against the other principal points in controversy between Protestants and Papists, as well as against this primary pillar of the reformed faith—That the Hitrarchy of the Church of Rome is the Little Horn of Daniel,/ the Man of Sin of St. Paul, and the Antichrist of St. John. The evidence arising from the completion of the prophecies relative to the Rise, Character, and Fall of the Man of Sin, is an increasing evidence: it strikes us with more force than it struck our ancestors before the Reformation; and it will strike our posterity, who shall oblerve the different gradations of his decline, and his final catastrophe, with more force than it now strikes us.

Observations on the Hi/lory and Evidence of the Resurrection os Jesus Christ. By Gilbert W E S T , - E fq. Lond. 1767. 6th. Ed. p. 289.

The Resurrection of Christ is the very corner-stone on which the hope of a Christian is built; for, if Christ be not risen, Christianity \i an imposture; and if Christ be risen, Christianity is true, and Deism is a delusion. Whether Christ be, or be not risen from the dead, is a question of fact, and must be decided (not by metaphysical disquisitions concerning the power of God to work a miracle, rtor by nice subtilties concerning the sufficiency of human testimony to establish the credibility of miracles, but) by faiily estimating the weight of evidence for and against the fact. The main arguments

which which are brought to invalidate the fact of the Resurrection ate cfe-* tluced from the real, or seeming, differences in the accounts whicH the Evangelists have given of the circumstances which attended it } and much labour has been employed in harmonizing the several accounts. But what if it should be admitted (1 do not fay that the concession is necessary), that the accounts cannot in every little point be made to agree? Will you for that reason disbelieve the fact itself s As well might you have disbelieved the report of those who should have said, that they had seen the body of Cæsar dead, because you would have found them disagreeing, probably, in some minute points, relative to the number or. situation of his wounds,- to the time or manner of his being stabbed in the Capitol. A slight disagreement between the writers of the New Testament, in their re-J lations of matters of fact, is entirely analogous to what may be ob-t served every day in courts of justice; no one, on account of a trifling difference in the testimonies of the witnesses, ever thinks of queU tioning the existence pf the fact in which they all agree, or of impeaching either their integrity, or competency to establish the fact; If the Evangelists do really differ from each other in their accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus, it is a proof that they did not write in concert, were not combined to impose a fable on the world'; and it is a proof, also, that what they wrote was not inspired in the manner which some, with more piety than judgment, have supposed it to have been. Let the Deists make the most they can of the variations which they think may be found in the Evangelists; yet will they never be able to prove, that the facts mentioned by these writers respecting the Birth, Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ, are not true: let them fasten upon the writers of the New Testament as much human infirmity as they can; yet wiii they never be able to prove that they were not divinely inspired in what they delivered concerning the doctrines necessary to be believed, and the duties necessary to be performed, by all true disciples of Jesus Christ.—The book which is here printed has been much esteemed j it has been translated both into German and French, and may be of great use to those whose religious principles are unsettled. MacAitigbtf in his Harmony, has endeavoured to reconcile the seeming inconsistencies in the Evangelists relative to the resurrection. Lardner pub-" lished some judicious observations on Mackni^bsa plan. Benson hai given'his sentiments on the subject of the Resurrection in hrs Life of Christ, and has answered the objections usually made to it.- Bp.Newcome, in his Harmony, may be consulted on the subject with great advantage. A pamphlet, published many years ago, intituled, The Trial of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus, has been well received in the world; but the most solid reasoning, oh the subject may be met with in a discourse concerning the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, by Humphrey Ditton, 5th ed. 1749. Pabricius, in the 44th chap, of his Delectus Argumentorum, mentions i8 different authors on the Resurrection, and in the 9th chap, of his Lux Evangelica he adds above 20 more j nor wo.uJd it be a difficult talk greatly to enlarge his catalceue.

- , -\ OF OF THE

R. U T H



TO believe the Christian religion, is to believe that Moses and the prophets, Christ and his apostles, were endued with divine authority, that they had a commission from God to act and teach as they did, and that he will verify their declarations concerning future things, and especially those concerning a future life, by the event: or, in other words, it is to receive the scriptures as our rule of life, and the foundation of all our hopes and fears. And as all those who regulate tbeir faith and practice by the scriptures are Christians; so all those who disclaim that name, and pass under the general title of unbelievers, do also disavow this regard to the scriptures. But there are various classes of unbelievers. Some appear to treat the scriptures as mere forgeries; others allow them to be the genuine writings of those whose names they bear, but suppose them to abound with fictions, not only in the miraculous, but also in the common part of the history; others again allow this part, but reject that; and, lastly, there are others who seem to allow the truth of the principal facts, both common and miraculous, contained in the scriptures, and yet still call in question its divine authority) as a rule of life, and an evidence of a happy futurity under Christ our saviour and king. He, therefore, that would satisfy himself or others in the truth of the Christian religion, as opposed by these several classes of unbelievers, must inquire into these three things;

First, The genuineness of the books of the Old and New Testament.

Secondly, The truth of the principal facts contained in them, both, common and miraculous. And,

Thirdly, Their divine authority.

1 will endeavour, therefore, to state some of the chief evidences for each of these important points, having first premised three preparatory propositions, or lemmas, whereby the evidence for any one of them may be transferred upon the other two.

Vol. V.' B PROP.

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