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Hercules and Jesus Christ, the same figment of imagi-
Adonis-Ridiculous literal renderings of the Psalms-
The mystical sacrifice of the Phoenicians-A draft of the
Baptism-The Baptists an effeminate and debauched order
The Arguments of Martyrdom-That Martyrdom is not
The Apostolic Fathers-St. Barnabas, St. Clement, St.
Testimony of Heretics, who denied Christ's humanity-
Containing an account of the various known M.S. copies
ON all hands 'tis admitted that the Christian religion is matter of most serious importance: it is so, if it be truth, because in that truth a law of faith and conduct measuring out to us a propriety of sentiment and action, which would otherwise not be incumbent upon us, is propounded to our observance in this life; and eternal consequences of happiness or of misery, are at issue upon our observance or neglect of that law.
To deny to the Christian religion such a degree of importance, is not only to launch the keenest sarcasm against its whole apparatus of supernatural phenomena, but is virtually to withdraw its claims and pretensions altogether. For if men, after having received a divine revelation, are brought to know no more than what they knew before, nor are obliged to do any thing which otherwise they would not have been equally obliged to do; nor have any other consequences of their conduct to hope or fear, than otherwise would have been equally to be hoped or feared; then doth the divine revelation reveal nothing, and all the pretence thereto, is driven into an admission of being a misuse of language. On the other hand, the Christian religion is of scarce less importance, if it be false; because, no wise and good man could possibly be indifferent or unconcerned to the prevalence of an extensive and general delusion. No good and amiable heart could for a moment think of yielding its assent to so monstrous an idea, as the supposition that error could possibly be useful, that imposture could be beneficial, that the heart could be set right by setting the understanding wrong, that men were to be made rational by being deceived, and rendered just and virtuous by credulity and ignorance.
To be in error one's self, is a misfortune; and if it be such an error as mightily affects our peace of mind, it is a very grievous misfortune; to be the cause of error to others, either by deceiving them ourselves, or by connivance, and furtherance of the councils and machinations by which we see that they are deceived, is a crime; it is a most cruel triumph over nature's weakness, a most