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great compassion on fallen men, as to appoint his only begotten Son to redeem them from the sin and misery into which they were precipitated; that to this end, he promised that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head.

It informs us, that in the fulness of time, the promised Messiah, the Son of God, voluntarily condescended to take our nature, with all its innocent infirmities, into union with his divine nature; that in this nature, miraculously conceived and born, he revealed to men his Father's gracious will concerning them, and their duty and happiness in consequence of a sincere performance of it; and did many wonderful works, in confirmation of his divine mission :-that after a life spent in doing good, he submitted his human nature to a painful and ignominious death, and offered it up, as a spotless sacrifice to God, to make atonement for the fallen race; that after continuing three days in the grave, by his own almighty power, he raised himself to life again ; conversed with his apostles at several different times, for the space of forty days, instructing them in matters relating to his kingdom; and, at length, in the presence of a great number of spectators, ascended visibly and gloriously into heaven, where, at the Father's right hand, he reigns as King of saints, resides as an interceding Priest for sinners, and is invested with all power and authority in heaven and earth.

In the Scriptures we are also assured, that on his investiture, he soon sent down the Holy Spirit, the third person in the ever blessed Trinity, to be the immediate comforter and director of his apostles, to lead them into all truth, to inspire them with the gift of tongues, and such other gifts, as might best qualify them for their ministry :--that this Holy Spirit still continues with all

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good men, and by illuminating their understandings, rectifying their wills and affections, renewing their natures, uniting their persons to Christ, and helping their infirmities in the performance of duty, is the great Sanctifier of their souls and bodies, in order to make them acceptable in the sight of God for ever.

And then farther we learn, that Christ shall descend from heaven, at the end of time, to judge the world in righteousness; to reward the pious, holy, and just, with everlasting rest, joy, and glory; but to condemn the wicked and ungodly, the injurious and profane, the insincere and hypocritical part of mankind, to everlasting perdition.—These, together with the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, and, after their re-union, an eternal state of happiness and misery in the other world, are the great and fundamental principles of Christianity.

These things are revealed in the Bible, and are the substance of the gospel, which was preached to Adam after his fall, and to his posterity, by the patriarchs, by Moses, and the prophets ; but in a special and particular manner by Jesus Christ and his apostles, and by which immortal life is brought to light, or discovered to us.

It is now nearly eighteen hundred years since our Saviour was on the earth; yet we, in this advanced age of the world, have equal reason to believe in him, with those who saw him in the flesh. Our not having seen Christ, is no real obstruction to our believing in him. This is evident, partly from the many thousands in every period of time, who have lived since his manifestation, and sincerely believed in him. Especially, the main thing to be well considered is, that we have sufficient evidence of the truth of what the Scripture declares concerning Christ.

The matters of fact relating to the birth, life, doctrine, and miracles of Christ ; to his death, resurrection, and ascension, are told to us by those persons who were eye and ear-witnesses of them. The apostles were persons of unquestionable fidelity and unimpeachable integrity, who could not themselves be deceived, as to these matters of fact, which were the plainest objects of their senses, and who have given the most satisfactory proofs that they had no intention to deceive us. For, in addition to the testimony of their senses, they confidently declared and openly published these matters of fact, in the same age in which they were transacted, in the face of most inveterate enemies, who had every possible opportunity, as well as strong inclination, to convict them of falsehood, if that had been possible.

They were, by divine aid, enabled to confirm their testimony by numerous miracles. The exalted Saviour, whose gospel they published, poured out on them extraprdinary gifts, and miraculous operations of the Holy Ghost. So that, if we suppose their narratives to be cunningly devised fables, we must also suppose the God of truth to be accessary to the propagating of the imposture, by the most glorious exertions of his power, than which, no thought can be more unworthy of him.

What they declared concerning Jesus, was so visible an accomplishment of the predictions of the Old Testament concerning the promised Messiah, as greatly confirms the truth of their relations ; also the admirable

; character they give of him, as the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world.

The doctrine they declare him to have delivered, is so worthy of God, so conformable to the highest principles of reason, so proper to supply the defects of natural light, so conducive to advance the glory of God in the recovery and salvation of men, that it contains in itself the brightest character of its own divine origin. And the exemplary piety, spotless purity, distinguished goodness, and inflexible integrity of his life, were so suitable to the excellence of his doctrine, as to render it the more evident, that it came from heaven to direct us in the

way thither.

In short, no supernatural revelation can be supposed more worthy of God; none could be brought by a more credible messenger

than Jesus Christ his own Son; none could be more conspicuously attested by numerous and uncontrolled miracles; none could be handed down to us by more unsuspected witnesses; no witnesses could produce better and clearer evidences of their own divine inspiration, and, consequently, of their own veracity; and none could give a more solemn confirmation of the truth of their doctrine, by their steady adherence to it, under the greatest persecutions, and sealing their testimony with their own blood. So that we cannot disbelieve their relation of these matters of fact, without destroying all human faith, and rejecting the clearest evidences that can ever be expected of a divine revelation.

say, May not these writings, which are said to be the writings of the apostles, in which we have the account of those things before mentioned, have been forged since the time that these things are said to have been done? Or, if not altogether forged, may. they not have been greatly corrupted since the time they were written, and made to speak different things now from what they did at first? To this, a very satisfactory answer may be given.—That the writings we receive, as the writings of the apostles, were really their writings, and continue uncorrupted to our times, we have every possible assurance. They were acknowledged for theirs


If any

any should

by the primitive Christians, who were the best judges. They were immediately transcribed by numerous persons, translated into different languages, and copies of them dispersed through all nations, as well as almost innumerable passages cited from them by the writers of the first ages of Christianity; so that it was impossible to alter or corrupt any number of copies, without being immediately discovered, and contradicted by other copies. Whereas all the ancient copies, and versions, which we have in great numbers, agree in every material point.

The proof, then, of Christianity, may be brought to this short issue. The credibility of its doctrines being supposed, the grand question is, Why we believe the records of these facts ? To this, an answer is ready :That we have much stronger reason to believe these, than any

ancient accounts of facts whatsoever, recorded in those writings which are received under the name of Cicero, Cæsar, Seneca, or any other, the most accredited author. I say, we have stronger reason to believe the facts related in the New Testament, than to believe those in any other, even the most unsuspicious author. Because, we have not only the proofs of the genuineness of these writings, that can be given for any other writings; but this in addition, that the matters related in them are of such a nature, that all mankind were concerned to detect the fraud, the forgery, and the corruption of them, if there had been any. But, yet, they have always passed under the names they bear at this day, namely, the Writings of the Apostles; nay, and in every age since the first publishing of them, we have authentic authorities in a continued succession to vouch for them.

Thus it appears, on the grounds now mentioned, that we have all possible reason to believe in Christ, for they are

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