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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. Whiston.
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,
in setting forth the nature, substance, and end of our obligations; and, without entering on minute discussions, in taking in the whole compass of duty; for by this means the paths of life are not only pointed out to each individual, and his personal character formed; but the minds of mankind, in general, are furnished and enriched with the beauty, copiousness, and variety of all virtues. -The Prophets announce not only the promises, but also the characteristic marks of the Messiah, with the threats against sinners, and those calamities which were to befal the Jews and other nations. The Psalms unite in themselves the chief subjects, and all the different excellencies of the Old Testament. In a word, every thing in the Sacred Writings will appear, as it truly is, holy, grand, and profitable, provided it be read with suitable dispositions. Phillips.
ANTIQUITY AND VALUE OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS. Look into a book so common that almost every body has it, and so excellent that no person ought to be without it-Grotius on the truth of the Christian religion-and you will there meet abundant testimony to the truth of all the principal facts recorded in Genesis. The testimony is not that of Jews, Christians, and priests; it is the testimony of the philosophers, poets, and historians of antiquity. The oldest book in the world is Genesis; and it is remarkable, that those books which come nearest to it in age, are those which make either the most distinct mention of, or the
most evident allusion to, the facts related in Genesis concerning the formation of the world from a chaotic mass, the primeval innocence and subsequent fall of man, the longevity of mankind in the first ages of the world, the antediluvians, and the destruction of the world.-Read the tenth chapter of Genesis. It may appear to you to contain nothing but an uninteresting narration of the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japeth; 'a mere fable, an invented absurdity, a downright lie.**' No, sir, it is one of the most valuable, and the most venerable records of antiquity. It explains, what all historians were ignorant of, the origin of nations. Had it told us, as other books do, that one nation had sprung out of the earth they inhabited; another from a cricket or a grasshopper; another from an oak; another from a mushroom; another from a dragon's tooth; then indeed it would have merited the appellation you, with so much temerity, bestow upon it. Instead of these absurdities, it gives such an account of the peopling of the earth after the deluge, as no other book in the world ever did give; and the truth of which all other books in the world, which contain any thing on the subject, confirm. The last verse of the chapter says, 'These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth, after the flood.' It would require great learning to trace out, precisely, either the actual situation of all the countries in
* This is the phraseology of the antagonist with whom our author is contending. Editor