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gard to internal characters, or the contents of the Jewish and Christian revelations; or that he is not to examine into that also in the general, before he admits even the proof from miracles themselves; because what pretended miracles soever are wrought for the support of idolatry or wickedness, for the establishment of notions contrary to the divine attributes, or of an immoral, or profane, or cruel religion, though they may prove such a religion to be supernatural, yet will they only prove that it comes from wicked demons, or evil spirits, and not from a God of purity and holiness, and so will by no means prove it divine, or worthy of our reception. But then it is, for the main, so well known, that the Jewish and Christian institutions do agree to the divine attributes, and do tend to purity, holiness, justice, and charity; and are opposite to all immorality, profaneness, and idolatry, that I think there will not need much examination in so clear a case; and that, by consequence, our main inquiry is to be as to the truth of the facts thereto relating. And in this case, I fear not to invite all our sceptics and unbelievers, to use their greatest nicety, their entire skill, their shrewdest abilities, and their utmost sagacity in this inquiry; being well assured, from my own observations in this matter, that the proper result of such an exact historical inquiry will be as plainly and evidently on the side of revealed religion.
REASONS FOR BELIEVING THE BOOK OF REVELA
TION TO BE TRUE. SOME of the principal reasons which make me believe the Bible to be true, are the following:
1. The Bible lays the law of nature for its foundation; and all along supports and assists natural religion; as every true revelation ought to do.
2. Astronomy, and the rest of our certain mathematic sciences, do confirm the accounts of Scripture; so far as they are concerned.
3. The most ancient and best historical ac. counts now known, do, generally speaking, confirm the accounts of Scripture; so far as they are concerned.
4. The more learning has increased, the more certain in general do the Scripture accounts appear, and its difficult places are more cleared thereby.
5. There are, or have been generally, standing memorials preserved, of the certain truths of the principal historical facts, which were constant evidences for the certainty of them.
6. Neither the Mosaical law, nor the Christian religion, could possibly have been received and established without such miracles as the sacred history contains.
7. Although the Jews all along hated and persecuted the prophets of God, yet were they forced to believe they were true prophets, and their writings of divine inspiration.
8. The ancient and present state of the Jewish nation, are strong arguments for the truth of their law, and of the Scripture prophecies relating to them.
9. The ancient and present state of the Christian church are also strong arguments for the truth of the gospel, and of the Scripture prophecies relating thereto.
10. The miracles whereon the Jewish and Christian religion are founded, were of old owned to be true by their very enemies.
11. The sacred writers, who lived in times and places so remote from one another, do yet all carry on one and the same grand design, viz. that of the salvation of mankind, by the worship of, and obedience to the one true God, in and through the King Messiah; which, without a divine conduct, could never have been done.
12. The principal doctrines of the Jewish and Christian religion are agreeable to the most ancient traditions of all other nations.
13. The difficulties relating to this religion are not such as affect the truth of the facts, but the conduct of Providence, the reasons of which the sacred writers never pretended fully to know, or to reveal to mankind.
14. Natural religion, which is yet so certain in itself, is not
without such difficulties, as to the conduct of Providence, as are objected to revelation.
15. The sacred history has the greatest marks of truth, honesty, and impartiality, of all other histories whatsoever; and withal has none of the krown marks of knavery and imposture.
16. The predictions of Scripture have been still fulfilled in the several ages of the world whereto they belong.
17. No opposite systems of the universe, or schemes of divine revelation, have any tolerable pretences to be true, but those of the Jews and Christians.
These are the plain and obvious arguments which persuade me of the truth of the Jewish and Christian revelations.
INSTRUCTIVE EPITOME OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: THERE is not any part of the Old Testament which does not furnish ample matter of instruction.—The book of Genesis, in the account it gives of the creation, of the fall and punishment of our first parents, of the righteousness of Noah, of the deluge, of the wonderful obedience of Abraham, and the promise made by God to reward it, of the destruction of Sodom, and the providence of God over the patriarch Joseph, presents to our minds the most suitable subjects to fill them with every Christian sentiment of reverence for the supreme Being and his laws, love of his goodness, and dread of his justice. When we go on to Exodus, we see the wonders wrought by the Almighty in favour of his people, the impenitence of Pharaoh, and the various chastisements by which the murmurings and idolatry of the Israelities in the deserts were punished. Leviticus and Numbers set forth the accuracy which God exacts in his worship; Deuteronomy, the sanctity of his laws; Joshua, the accomplishment of his promises. In the book of Judges, we see the strength and weakness of Sampson ; in that of Ruth, the plain-dealing and equity of Boaz; in those of Kings, the holiness of Samuel, of Elijah, of Elisha, and the other prophets; the reprobation of Saul; the fall and repentance of David, his mildness, and patience; the wisdom and sin of Solomon; the piety of Ezekiah and Josiah. In Esdras, the zeal for the law of God; in Tobit, the conduct of a holy family; in Judith, the power of grace; in Esther, prudence; in Job, a pattern of admirable patience. The Maccabees affords such instances of personal and national bravery, such an exalted and generous love of our country, and all this grounded on the true principles of valour and patriotism, as the most boasted achievements in profane story are perfect strangers to. The Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, and the other two books which go under the title of the Wisdom of Solomon and of the Son of Sirach, teach a more useful and sublime philosophy than all the writings which Greece and Rome have published. The noble images and reflections, the profound reasonings on human actions, and excellent precepts for the government of life, sufficiently witness their inspired origin. This treasure, indeed, is thrown together in a confused magnificence, above all order, that every one may collect and digest such observations as chiefly tend to his own particular instruction. And though it behoves us to reverence the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, rather than pretend to assign the reasons for his dispensing it in this or that manner; yet, I think, we perceive the fitness of the method here taken,