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Thomas, in the matter of our Lord's resurrection,' John XX. 25; and to leave us no room to question their sincerity, most of them joyfully sealed the truth of their doctrines with their own blood. Did so many and such marks of veracity ever meet in any other authors ?
2. Miracles. “ A miracle is a sensible change in the order of nature."* Now, nature is an assemblage of created beings : these beings act upon each other, or by each other, agreeably to certain laws, the result of which is what we call the order of nature. These laws are invariable: it is by them God governs the world. He alone established them; he alone therefore can suspend them. The proper effect then of miracles is, to mark clearly the divine interposition; and the scriptures suppose that such too is their design. Hence we may legitimately draw this consequence, that he who perfornis a miracle, performs it in the name of God and on his behalf, that is to say, in proof of a divine mission. Now, as the end of miracles is to mark the divine interposition, they must have proper characters to mark such interposition. (1.) Each miracle must have an end, important, and worthy of its author. (2.) It must be sensible, and easy to be observed. (3.) Be independent of second causes. And (4.) Be instantaneously performed. If every miracle recorded in the Bible be diligently examined on these principles, it will be found strictly to correspond with these marks: the conclusion therefore is established. The Bible (and Christianity of course) is true.
3. Prophecy, or the prediction of future events, may be considered as the highest evidence that can be given of supernatural communion with the Deity. Hence among the professors of alınost every religious system there have been numberless pretenders to prophecy: but while Pagan and Mohammedan pretensions have been justly exposed, the Jewish and Christian prophecies carry with them evident marks of their validity. “ It is readily admitted that
man of accurate observation may foretel events that appear at the time improbable to the many; and also that many vague and bold predictions may be so matched with subsequent circumstances, as to have very much the ap
* Dr. Claparede on the Miracles of the Gospel,
pearance of Divine inspiration : yet the prophecies of scripture will ever claiin a decided superiority of evidence on several grounds. They are a regular chain, almost from the begioning to the end of time. Many of them relate to events so disiant and so improbable, that po human foresight could ever reach. Some relate to dates and circumstalices, that required the most exact accomplishment; and some are tulfilling to the present time, and before our own eyes, so that, though this kind of evidence might be rendere i doubtful or suspicious, yet it is daily accumulating, and gathering strength as it accumulates.” The present situsiion of the Jews is a permanent proof of the truth of scripture prophecy; but for particular insťances we must reies the reader (from want' of room) to the works mentioned in the conclusion of this article.
4. The successful Propagation of Christianity is also a progressive and permanent proof of its truth. Before the end of the second century, it was propagated through the whole Roman empire, which then contained almost the whole known world, and herein we cannot but admire both the wisdom and the power of God. “ Destitute of all human advantages,” says a good writer, “ protected by no authority, assisted by no art; not recommended by the reputation of its author, not enforced by eloquence in its advocates, the word of God grew mightily, and prevailed. Twelve men, poor, artless, and illiterate, we behold triumphing over the fiercest and most determined opposition; over the tyranny of the magistrate, and the subtleties of the philosopher; over the prejudices of the Gentile, and bigotry of the Jew. They established a religion which held forth high and venerable mysteries, such as the pride of man would induce him to suspect, because he could not perfectly comprehend them; which preached doctrines pure and spiritual, such as corrupt nature was prone to oppose, because it shrunk from the severity of their discipline; which required its followers to renounce almost every opinion they had embraced as sacred, and
interest they had pursued as important; which even exposed them to every species of danger and intamy; to persecution unmerited and unpitied; to the gloom of a prison, and to the pangs of death. Hopeless as this prospect might appear to the view of short-sighted man, the gospel
yet emerged froin the obscurity in which it was likely to be overwhelmed by the complicated distresses of its friends, and he unrelenting cruelty or its foes. It succeeded in a peculiar degree and in a peculiar manner; it derived thiat success from tru:h, and obtained it under circunstances where falsehood must have been detected and crushed.”
SECT. II.--INTERNAL EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIANITY.
1. The sublimity and majesty of the style of scripture. -As we have already directed the reader's attention to some of the most sublime and beautiful passages of scripture, it would be unitecessary here to enlarge on this head. It may, for the present, sutice to refer the reader to Part 1. Rhetoric, supra.
He who studies the scripture as a SACRID CLASSIC, will easily find numerous instances of beauty, energy, and simplicity.
2. The grandeur and importance of its doctrines.Christianity reveals to us correct views of God, and of our relations to him: it devrlops the cause of sin, and its remedy through the atonement and inediation of Jesus Christ: it makes known the important doctrines of justification by grace through faith, and of sanctification, (doctrines these, which have been and still are made the subject of much unwarrantable objection);---and above all makes known to us the consolatory and important doctrine of a future state ;-and, in short, most powerfully tends to that which should be the great object of all religion, to make us good men, “fitted for the kingdom of God.”
3. The purity of its moral precepts is perhaps, the most conclusive argument that can be adduced. This will be so evident to every diligent inquirer, that we conceive it to be unnecessary to enter into any detail. Study the holy scripture," said the immortal Locke) “ especially the New Testament. Therein are contained the words of eternal life ;--it hath God for its author,-SALVATION for its end,--and TRUTH, without any mixture of error, for its matter." - The MORALITY of the GOSPEL doth so excel that of all other books, that, to give a man a full knowledge of true morality, I should send him to no other book but the New Testament."
4. Lastly, to the effects of the gospel we may confi
dently appeal. For, as the late venerable bishop of London has justly observed, although Christianity has not always been so well understood, or so honestly practised, as it ought to have been; although its spirit has been often inistaken, and its precepts misapplied, yet, under all these disadvantages, it has gradually produced a visible change in those points which most materially concern the peace and quiet of the world. Its beneficent spirit has spread itselt through all the different relations and modifications of life, and communicated its kindly influence to almost every public and private concern of mankind. It has insensibly worked itself into the inmost frame and constitution of civil states. It has given a tinge to the complexion of their governments, to the temper and administration of their laws. It has restrained the spirit of the prince and the madness of the people. It has softened the rigour of despotism, and tamed the insolence of conquest. It has in some degree taken away the edge of the sword, and thrown even over the horrors of war a veil of mercy. It has descended into families, has diminished the pressure of private tyranny; improved every domestic endearment; given tenderness to the parent, humanity to the master, respect to superiors, to inferiors ease; so that mankind are, upon the whole, even in a temporal view, under infinite obligations to the mild and pacific temper of the gospel, and bave reaped from it more substantial worldly benefits than from any other institution upon earth.”
We will conclude this chapter with the following beautiful description, given by an ancient father of the Christian church (Lactantius) of the effect of Christianity upon the human heart. " Give ine a man who is choleric, abusive in his language, headstrong, and unruly ; and with a very few words, (the words of God) I will render him as gentle as a lamb.--Give me a greedy, miserly, close-fisted man; and I will presently return himn to you a generous creature freely bestowing his money by hands full. Give me a cruei, blood-thirsty wretch ; instantly, his ferocity shall be tranformed into a truly mild and merciful disposition. Give me an injust man, a foolish man, a sinful man, and on a sudden, he shall become honest, wise, and virtu
In one laver, (the laver of regeneration) all his wickedness shall be washed away. So great is the efli
cacy of the Divine Wisdom, that when once admitted into the human heart, it expels foily, the parent of all vice; and in accomplishing this great end, there is no occasion for any expense, no absolute neodl of books, or deep and long study or meditation. The benefit is conferred gràtuitously, easily, expeditiously, provided the ears and the heart thirst after wisdom. Did any, or could any
of the heathen philosophers accemglish such important purposes as this?"
CHAP. II.--VERSIONS OF THE BIBLE. We sball, in this chapter, confine our attention to a brief notice of the Anglo-Saxon, English, Welsh, Irish; and Gaelic or Eise translations of the Bible; with a few preliminary observations upon the ancient divisions and order--the history-modern divisions--and rejected portions of the Sacred Volume.
SECT. I. DIVISIONS AND ORDER OF THE BIBLE. I. ANCIENT DIVISIONS AND ORDER. After the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, Ezra collected as many copies as he could of the sacred writings, and out of them all prepared a correct edition, arranging the several books in their proper order. These hooks he divided into three parts. 1. The law. 11. The prophets. 11. The Hagiographia, i. e. the holy writings. law, contains-1, Genesis ;--2, Exodus 3, Leviticus : -4, Numbers ;--5, Deuteronomy. 11. The writings of the prophets are-1, Joshua ;-2, Judges, with Ruth;3, Samuel ;-4, Kings;-5, Isaiah ;-6, Jeremiah, with
his Lamentations ;-7, Ezekiel ;-8, Daniel ;---9, The i twelve minor prophets ;-10, Job ;-11, Ezra ;---12, Ne
hemiah ;-13. Esther. 111. The Hagiographia consists of -], The Psalms ;--2, The Proverbs ;-3, Ecclesiastes; -4, The Song of Solomon. This division was made for the sake of reducing the number of the sacred books 10 the number of the letters in their alphabet, which amount to twenty-two. Afterwards the Jews reckoned twentyfour books in their canon of scripture ; in disposing of which the law stood as in the former division, and the prophets were distributed into former and latter : the .