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supernaturally, though not mentioned by Moses; and the propagation of Blacks from Blacks, whenever that variety in the species took place, is allowed to be according to the common course of nature. The copper colour of the Americans, and the low ftature of the Laplanders and Esquimaux, have also been alledged by unbelievers, but to as little purpose.
The objection to the Mosaic history of the long lives of the Antediluvians, and the gigantic stature of some of the inhabitants of Palestine, may be easily passed without any answer ; because there is no contradiction in supposing it to be true, nor is it so very improbable that the state of mankind may have been very different in former times from what it is at present.
The history of the fall of man is said to have much the appearance of a fable. But it' is sufficient for the purpose of revelation, if it be true in general, that the evils of the present state were not introduced till the fins of mankind made this state of labour
and death appear to be the fittest for them. The fabulous circumstances may possibly have been introduced by the hieroglyphical manner in which that early history might be first written. But even the literal account may, in most particulars, have been true.
As to the history of transactions so much older than Moses, so general an account as he has given of them might very well have been transinitted through the few generations which preceded him, or it might have been communicated to him by revelation. This, however, is not very probable, since Moses no where afferts it; and he seems to be exceedingly exact in distinguishing all that he received from God, from what he relates of his own knowledge, or the information of others.
SECTION SECTION II.
Of the Objection to revelation from the fupe
posed Inspiration of the scriptures, and others of a similar nature.
COME objections to the Jewish and w christian revelations are founded on small inconsistencies, and mistakes in the canonical books of scripture. But such objections as these do not by any means affect the divinity of the system of religion which they contain; because the contents of those books may be true in the main, notwithstanding such inconsistencies and mistakes. All historians, even those of the most approved credit, have been subject to small inadvertencies and errors, No history of Rome or England was ever written without them; but, do we therefore say, that there is no truth in them. Nay, the discovery of such small mistakes is never imaa
gined to affect the credit of the important facts.
Allowing, therefore, that, in the books of Kings, a prince is said to have reigned one number of years, and in the books of Chronicles another; that one of the Evangelists speaks of both the thieves reviling Christ, whereas another says, that only one of them did it; that in one of the Gospels Christ is represented as purging the temple on the day that he arrived at Jerusalem, and that in another he is not said to have done it till the day following (and unbelievers do not pretend to have found any mistakes of more consequence than these) how do they invalidate the truth of the general history? In reality, all such inconsistencies as these are so far from making it probable that the whole story is a fi&tion, that, according to the most established methods of estimating the value of testimony, they give the greater air of truth to every particular of impertance, in which they all agree. We see, in fact, that true history has always been written in the same manner; and without
particular particular contrivance and combination, and consequently without a very strong suspicion of falsehood, histories of the same period, and the same transactions, could not be written otherwise.
Admitting, therefore, that the Evangelists were misinformed with respect to a variety of incidental circumstances, or even that they overlooked, or did not sufficiently attend to, some of such particulars abovementioned as might have fallen under their own observation, are these things of such a nature, as to dispose any person to call in question the reality of the principal miracles, or their history of the death and resurrection of Christ? And without this, the proper evidence of christianity is not in the least affected; because, if these important facts be true, we have still abundant reason to believe, that Christ will come again to raise the dead, and judge the world, which is the great object and end of our christian faith.
The evidence for the truth of all the facts which are related by the fame historian