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to exist at death, or in whatever state we should be, we should not be in a worse state than others, or than we should be had we not been Christians. We have a high enjoyment in our hope now, which will continue as long as we are in this world. It is constantly better to us than all worldly enjoyments, and we should be great losers by exchanging it with the inost happy worldly man, for all his enjoyments. Our hope is a constant source of high enjoyment, which unspeakably more than counterbalances all the uneasiness and sufferings which are occasioned by it, be they ever so many and great, Therefore unbelievers, if they knew we were deluded, which they do not know, and never will, would act an unreasonable, injurious and cruel part, to take our hope from us, if they could, or even to attempt it; for if this could be effected, it would deprive us of more happiness than they ever did or can enjoy, which is better to us than all this world. And we should sink down into the most gloomy stăte of despair and misery, which they who never had the Christian hope cannot feel or suffer while in this world. *

We now return to the point proposed, to speak of the reason, we have of our hope, grounded on the evidence that the gospel is from heaven, which amounts to

* 1. Cor. xv. 19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.These words have been understood by some in a sense which may be thought inconsistent with the sentiments expressed in the above paragraph. But on a careful examination, they will doubtless appear in perfect unison. To hope in Clirist only in this life, is really to give up the Christian hope, and Christianity itself, as a groundless fable ; and consequently to be deprived of all the enjoyment and happiness derived from Christianity, and the Christian hope, by which they have an unspeakably higher enjoyment, and greater degree of happiness, than unbelievers can have. And as they feel the vanity of all things in this world, their lofs is irreparable, and they must feel themselves wretched, and fink into gloom, despair and misery : while the men of the world, by their ignorance, delusion and a worldly mind, knowing no greater good than they have or hope to obtain in the enjoyments of this life, are cagerly pursuing and fondly hoping for worldly good; by which they are, at prelent, prevented falling into that despair and misery, which will certainly come upon them, when ibis life thall,end.


as great demonstrative certainty as there is or can be of any proposition which was ever proposed or thought of. We have read the Bible over and over again, and with much more care and attention than we bestowed on any other book. And the more we have read it, and attended to and understood the truths contained in it, the more clear and certain has the evidence appeared of its divine original, and the greater pleasure we have had in the things which it reveals.

When we enter on this theme, it is not easy to determine where to begin, or where to end. There is so great a multiplicity of evidence that the scriptures contain a revelation from God, and the number of particulars from which this is proved is so great, that it would take more time than we now have, to mention all of them. We can only give a summary view of this evidence now, which we are sure is a sufficient reason of our hope, of which we shall never be ashamed.

It is common and proper to distinguish the evidence that the Bible has a divine original, into that which is called external, and that which is internal, consisting in the doctrines, truths and duties which are revealed and inculcated therein. We shall endeavour to consider these separately, though they will naturally, and perhaps to the best advantage, be, in fome instances, in a degree blended together. Certainly the honest mind will view them together, and at once, as strengthening each other, and amounting to a clear demonstration of this truth.

The external evidencé consists in the manner in which the Christian fcriptures have been made, and given to the world; the men and their character who wrote them, and the manner of their writing ; the miracles which have been wrought in confirmation of the truth of the facts related, and the doctrines and commands made known, and that they who spoke and wrote were inspired by God to speak and do what they did; the numerous predictions of things and events which should come to pass, many of which were accomplished foon,


others have come to pass long since they were predicted, and many are fulfilling now before our eyes, in the revolutions which are taking place, and the present state of the nations and of the world ; the spread of Christianity among the nations, by the men who were the principal instruments of propagating it, and the preservation and continuance of it in the world to this day, notwithstanding the great and constant opposition to it which has been made.

These are the chief, but not all, the external evidences of the divine original of the Bible; which must be more particularly considered. The men by whom it was written appear to be men of good natural abilities, fensible, honest and serious, as men really inspired by God to write would be. They were not a number of men who lived at the same time, and could consult together, and lay a scheme what to write ; but lived in different ages, the last above a thousand years after the first who wrote. They do not appear felfish, proud and vain, to seek their own worldly honour or interest, but the contrary. The manner of their writing is inimitable, and differs from the writings of all other men. This has been observed and illustrated by many authors, and is needless for us to repeat. They write an orderly history of the world from the beginning of it to the time of those last events which relate to the subjects on which they wrote. And this history is carried on by them to the end of the world by their predictions. This is the most ancient, well authenticated, consistent, important and useful history, that was ever formed by uninspired men, or ever will or can be. It exhibits one grand scheme and plan of events, all uniting and confpiring to bring all things to the most happy issue, worthy of the infinite Being who is infinitely powerful, wife and good. It is as really imposlible that any uninspired man or number of men, especially who lived in such distant ages of the world, should make the writings which we find in the Bible, as it is for them to contrive and make the visible world : and we have as fatisfying evidence that the scriptures contained in the Bible were written by the inspiration of God, as we have that the sun, moon and stars, and all the visible world, were made by him ; especially if we take into view the facts which we are now going to mention.


Moses, who was the first writer, gave abundant proof that what he wrote, said and did, was by the inspiration; command and direction of the true God, by the numerous miracles which he wrought, and the predictions he made, which were fulfilled directly, or in the time of his life, and have been fince fulfilled. And here we would observe, that prophecy, when it is fulfilled, is a real miracle, as absolute, independent prescience is an in. communicable attribute of God; and when a man has ability to know and foretel events that are future, this is as much above what are called the laws of nature, as the ability to work any miracle whatever, and is an evidence of divine inspiration. Therefore miracles, and prophecy which comes to pass, may be considered to.. gether, as they are frequently united in the same event in the scriptures. Thus most of the miracles wrought by Moses in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness, during forty years, were accompanied by predictions of the miraculous event before it took place, though the latter was instantaneous with the former; and both were of the nature of a miracle. And fo were all the prophecies of Moses which have since been fulfilled, by which, and by all the miracles done by him, his divine mission was fully confirmed, in the view of the whole nation of Israel; and this has been handed down through all ages since in the church, and been increasing by the fulfilment of many of his prophecies, and the discovery of the import and design of the institutions which he appointed, which he declared he received from heaven. And, indeed, all or most of the ordinances instituted by Mofes contained predictions, pointing out the character of the Saviour who was to come into the world, and what was to be done and fuffered by him for the redemption of man, which were


exactly fulfilled in him, together with all the predictions of him by the prophets who arose after Mofes. All the mosaic institutions, and all the miracles he did, and predictions he uttered, all the miracles and prophecies by the prophets after Mofes, with all the events which took place, were designed and suited to prepare the way for that event, the incarnation of the Son of God; so that divine design and wisdom is to be seen, by those who will properly attend, fuperintending through the whole. It is impossible it hould be a mere human contrivance.

At the very time which was pointed out and fixed by the prophets hundreds of years before, when there was consequently a general expectation of the appearance of the promised Saviour, and the state of the Jews and of the world was made ready for such an event, the expected Messiah came, in a character and in just such circumstances as were described and foretold long before by the prophets. He wrought many miracles, by which he proved that he was the Son of God, the very person predicted by the prophets, and taught the most important truth, in a manner which was never done by any

He was a perfect example of humility, meekness, uprightness, benevolence, wisdom and piety, and taught, both by precept and example, the nature and properties of true religion, and the only excellent and perfect morality.—But now we have insensibly run into what properly belongs to the next head, of internal evidence.

He instructed his disciples into the meaning of those prophecies which related to him ; and from this, and * acquaintance with him, his doétrines and

precepts, and the miracles he wrought, they believed with all their heart that he was the Son of God, who was to coinc into the world. The body of the nation of Jews, especially their tcachers and leaders, the fcribes and pharifees, were fo funk into depravity and ignorance, their hearts were fo very bad and vicious, that they did not understand the prophecies concerning him ; nor could they approve of his person, character and doctrines, ail

mere man.

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