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they are well known to every scholar. Should any one wish to extend his inquiries, he will find his curiosity amply gratified, without consulting larger works, by a reference to the historical testimonies, collected in the works of Grotius, Addison, or Dr. Paley.
I shall conclude this discourse, in the words of the learned Chillingworth.
“ Should any one ask, where he may find direction from God? I would answer, in his word contained in scripture. If he should inquire, what assurance he may have that the scripture is the word of God? I would advise him, to rely upon that which all wise men in all matters of belief rely upon ; and that is, the consent of ancient records and universal tradition. No wise man doubts but there was such a man as Julius Cæsar or Cicero; that there are such cities as Rome or Constantinople; though he have no other assurance for the one, or the other, except testimony. The same kind of testimony, therefore, I would counsel him to rely upon; and to believe, that the book which we call scripture, is confirmed abundantly to be the word of God. Believing it the
word of God, he must of necessity believe it true; and if he believe it true, he must believe it contains all necessary directions unto eternal happiness; because it affirms itself so to do. Moreover, he will here find that God himself hath engaged by promise, that if we sincerely desire to know, and to do the will of God, and pray earnestly for his Spirit, and are willing to be directed by it, we shall assuredly receive it; even the “Spirit of truth, which shall lead us unto all truth;' that is, unto all necessary truth, and will not suffer us to fall into any pernicious error. In a word, the sum of my direction to him would be briefly this:
Believe the scripture to be the word of God, use your endeavour to find the true sense of it, believe and live accordingly, and then you may rest assured that you are in the true way to eternal happiness.
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a
ruler of the Jews. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”—John iii. 1, 2.
From what was advanced in the last discourse, on the truth of the Christian religion, it appears that we have the most decided and convincing evidence, from the testimonies of Jewish and Pagan historians, who lived within a few years of our Saviour, that at the very time when there was a general expectation in the world of some extraordinary personage making his appearance, Jesus Christ did actually appear; that he suffered death under Pontius Pilate, the procurator or governor of Judea ; that his disciples, after his name, were called Christians; and that notwithstanding the means taken to suppress the Christian religion, it so prevailed, that within forty years of our Saviour's death, it had spread not only over Judea, but had extended even to Rome itself. We have traced then the Christian religion from its commencement, and it still exists. The question now to be determined, therefore, is, whether the Christian religion, thus established, be of divine appointment; whether it hath come supported by such divine sanctions, as to make it evident that it is in deed, and in truth, a revelation from God.
It would be difficult to conceive that any revelation could be made to one or more persons, for the purpose of being transmitted by them to mankind, so as to be received, unless accompanied by some divine sanction. Accordingly we find our Saviour proving his mission, and the truth of his doctrine, by the performance of the most stupendous miracles; and by the prediction of events, which it was impossible that human sagacity could have foreseen. To these miracles, and to this spirit of prophecy, our Saviour and his apostles constantly appealed; on these they rested the truth of their pretensions ; and to bear witness to which, they passed their lives in labours, dangers, and sufferings; and finally, sealed their testimony with their blood. Go, and show John,” saith our Saviour to the disciples of the Baptist, “ those things which ye do hear and see : the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up." “ And now,” saith our Lord on another occasion, “I have told you before it come to pass; that when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” “The works that I do," saith he to the Jews, “ bear witness of me. Though ye believe not me, believe the works.” And again : “If I had not done among them, the works which none other man did, they had not had sin.” That Christ did perform the miracles to which these passages of scripture allude, we have the most convincing evidence which it is possible to receive; the testimonies of friends, and of enemies, who were eye-witnesses of the facts; of persons who were in such circumstancesas rendered it impossible that they could either be deceived themselves, or could have the least inducement to impose upon others. The language of the Jewish ruler, which I have