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rial must have perished from the earth. But of its preservation amidst the dangers which threatened it, we ourselves are witneffes. However earneftly multitudes may have wished to destroy a book, which thwarted their measures, and difturbed them in the practice of iniquity, few have been fo daring as to lay their facrilegious hands upon it; those who have been guilty of this audacious attempt, have been disappointed in their hopes, whether they aimed at its total deftruction, or at the adulteration of its contents; and it remains to this day an object of veneration and dread to the very men, whofe errors it condemns, and against whofe evil ways it denounces the righteous vengeance of heaven. Notwithstanding the triumph of Arianifm, we ftill meet with all thofe paffages, which were ever alleged to prove the equality of the Son with the Father; and though for several ages Antichrift reigned in the plenitude of power, and enjoyed the most favourable opportunities, amidst the grofs ignorance, and unfufpecting credulity of mankind, to corrupt the Scriptures, we are able from them alone, without the aid of the writings of the fathers, to convict the church of Rome of apoftacy,
and to prove its peculiar doctrines and ufages to: be falfe and fuperftitious. Not one jot or one tittle of revelation hath perished.
The care, then, of divine Providence with regard to the Scriptures is manifeft. We fee the hand of God preferving them from all injury with inceffant vigilance, because they are a, reve-> lation of his will, and the only means, by which men can attain the true knowledge of him, and of the manner of acceptably serving him. The patronage which God hath afforded to this book is a teftimony that he recognizes it as his own.. Had it been a human compofition, providence would not have lent its aid to make an impofture pass in the world as a genuine revelation from the Father of lights. "It is apparent," fays an eminent divine, "that God in all ages hath had a great regard unto it, and acted his power and care in its prefervation. Were not the Bible what it pretends to be, there had been nothing more fuitable to the nature of God, and more becoming divine providence, than long fince to have blotted it out of the world. For to fuffer a book to be in the world, from the beginning of times, falfely pretending his name and authority,` Leducing
feducing so great a portion of mankind into a pernicious and ruinous apoftacy from him, as it must do, and doth, if it be not of a divine original, and expofing inconceivable multitudes of the best, wifeft, and foberest among them, unto all forts of bloody miferies which they have undergone in the behalf of it, feems not confonant unto that infinite goodnefs, wisdom, and care, wherewith this world is governed from above. But, on the contrary, whereas the malicious craft of Satan, and the prevalent power and rage of mankind hath combined, and been fet at work, to the ruin and utter fuppreffion of this book, proceeding fometimes fo far as that there was no appearing way for its efcape; yet through the watchful care and providence of God, fometimes putting itself forth in miraculous inflances, it hath been preserved unto this day, and shall be fo to the confummation of all things."
These are the general arguments, which I propofed to bring forward in favour of the infpiration of the Scriptures: They are of fufficient ftrength to establish this point, independently of any other proof; but when added to the particu
*Dr Owen's Reafon of Faith, pag. 29, 30.
lar arguments advanced in fupport of the divinity of the Old and the New Teftament, they compofe a body of evidence, which cannot fail to remove the doubts of every candid enquirer, and to obtain his affent to the important truth, which it hath been the defign of the foregoing chapters to illustrate and confirm.