Imágenes de páginas

3 hope you may now see the Necessity of a Savitur, both to expiate your Sin and Guilt, which your Repentance can neverdo ; and to sanctify your depraved Soul, and make you meet for the Service and Enjoyment of God.—If these are obtained, you must be certainly and eternally sase: But if you dare venture into Eternity without them, I must needs say, you don't want Courage.

You see, I have addressed you with an tinreserved Freedom and Familiarity. I have overlooked the Distance of your Character; and treated you as if we were in the same State of Equality now, as we fhall quickly sind ourselves before the Tribunal ofour glorious Judge.—The Cause requires this at my Hands; and I should have been unsaithful, I had almost said unmercisul to you, if I had not sailed of the Decorum, which would have been my Duty to have observed in any other Case. I fliall therefore depend upon your candid Interpretation of this unpolished Address; and your kind Acceptance of the saithsul Designs and Desires of, Sir,

Your most Obedient

humble Servant.

LETTER II., Wherein a brief and general View is given of the Evidences of the Cbrisiian Religion.

S I R,

YO U tell me, " my Letter had almost thrown "you into a Fit of the Spleen." But I can't but hope, from your " awsul Concern, lest you "meet with the Consusion I have there'n describ"ed," that it. will have a better Efsect.—I ac. , knowledge, knowledge, that " a pathetic Declamation cannot "be received for Argument." And that, " you*"Faith must be built upon Evidences, that will "reach the Understanding, as well as the softey "Passions of the Soul." But what Evidence do you desire or want of the Truth of Christianity? Consider, Sir. Consult yourBooks and yourFriends.. Make your Demands as large as you or they cat* contrive ; and whatever rational Evidence you are pleased to ask for, shall be at your Service.—. I have myself, with particular Application beer* considering, what reasonable Evidence can possibly be consulted or desired, which the glorious God has not already given us, fa Consirmation of the Christian Institution; and I find nothing wanting j .which we are capable of receiving.—And I cannot but presume, that if you likewise would impartially and in earnest put yourself upon the same Enquiry, you must meet with a sull and complete Satis, .'saction. v..-: ;, u. .'. ,.". , t' . 'o r ,' . *

You will certaiwly acknowledge, that the great Creator is capable some Way or other to communicate his Will to intelligent Beings, with sufficient Evidence that the Revelation is from him.—Now what I desire of you is to sit down, and consult upon fome such Means of doing this, as would strike your Mind' with the strongest Conviction, obviate all your Doubts; and give you the sullest Consirmation of the divine Original of such a Revelation. When you are come to a Point, consider the Credentials of Christianity; and See whether you can find what you yourself would demand, and what you suppofe most likely to give you Satissaction.

Would you expect from such a Revelation, a reasonable Account of our first Original ?—Look into the Mofaic History of the Creation; and there

you you will sind, how the World, and how yourself, originally sprang from the divine Fiat; and in what Manner we are the Offspring of God.

Would you expect a Narrative of such Circumstances of God's Dispensations towards us from the Beginning, as would be correspondent with our constant Experience and Observation ?—The same History will insorm you of thofe irregular Affections, and vitiated Appetites and Passions, .which every Man sinds in himself; and which have brought such Destruction and Misery upon the World, in all its successive Periods, since Adam\ Fall.

Would you expect, that there should be early Intimations of the Method of our Recovery from the State of Sin and Guilt, which we had brought ourselves into by our Apostacy ?—You will there also sind the gracious Promise, that the Seed of the Woman sloall break the SerpcrTt's Head; and deliver u6 from the deadly Effects of his malicious Temptation.

Would you desire to sind a particular Prediction of the promised Saviour, by whom we are to obtain a Redemption ; his Lineage and Descent, the Time, Place and Manner of his Birth, the Circumstances of his Lise, Death and Resurrection, a particular Description of the Nature, the Subjects, and the continual Progress of his Kingdom ?— Read the Prophecies of the Old Testament; and read the History in the New; and you will sind such a Correspondence and Agreement, as will afford you Matter of sullest Satissaction, that they are both from God.

W ould you expect, that there mould be some Means to keep the promised Saviour in the continued View of God's People, before his actual and personal Manisestation ; and to keep alive their faith and Hope in him ?—What were all their Sacrisices, crifices, their legal Purifications, their Priest-hood * and all their long Train of Rites and Ceremonies* but Institutions purpofely adapted to that End?

Would you expect repeated and renewed Testimonies from Heaven, to the prosessing People of God, that their Religion was from him; and that their Kaith and Hope, excited by these typical Institutions, were built upon a sure Foundation—Such were the Vli'acles frequently wrought among them. the Vlaniselbt'on of the divine Presence in the Shechinab, their Urim and rhummim, their freqjent Oracles, their Succession of Prophet*, whole Predictions respecting the Jews themselves, and the Nations round about them, were continually sulfilled and sulfilling before their Eyes; and the Accomplishment of miny of them are apparently open and visible to us also.

Would you suppofe, that near the predicted Time of the Saviour's Appearance, not only the Jewi/h Nation, but all others that were acquainted with their sacred Books, would live in raised Expectations of this great and wondersul Event ?— You will find in the Gofpels, in Josephus *, Tact' tuif, and Suetonius%, that this was the tCase in Fact.

Would you expect, that when the Saviour did appear, he would by the Holiness and Benesicence of his Lise, and by numerous, open, and uncontested Miracles, give such Attestation to his divine Mission, as would be sufficient Evidence, that he was indeed the Messiah so frequently predicted, and fo earnestly expected ?—Don't the sacred Historians answer your highest Expectations in this Re. spect ?—In them you find, that the Dead were raised, the Sick healed, the maimed restor'd to the

• De Bell. Jud. Lib. vii. Cap. 31. f Hist. Cap. 13. % InVespas. Cap. 4.

Use Use of their Limbs, the Sight of the Blind recovered, the Deas brought to tbair Hearing, the Lepers cleansed, the Demons ejected; and, in a Word, that the whole Time of his Ministry was a continued Succession of the most benesicent and astonishing Curacies; Miracles as surprising in their Nature as their Number, such as vastly exceeded the Power of all created Beings; and were therefore the strongest Testimony from Heaven, that this Saviour most certainly was what he prosessed himself to be.

Would you expect, that this Saviour mould verify his divine Mission to suture Times, by Prophecies of succeeding Events ?—Don't the Evangelists afford you many Instances of such Predictions, which have been clearly and sully accomplished 2 — In these Historians you will sind, how he foretold the Treason of Judas, the shamesul Fall of Peter, with the Flight of all his Disciples, in that gloomy, dreadsul Night, when the Shepherd war fmitten, and the Sheep fcattered. In these you will sind, how he foretold the Time and Manner of his own Death, the Term of his Continuance in the Grave, with his glorious Resurrection and Ascension. You will there also sind him foretelling the Mission, divine Inspiration, miraculous Powers, and glorious Success of his Apostles, and their Fellowlabourers in the Guspel Ministry.-.—These Historians do likewise set before you, his particular Prediction of the Destruction of Jerufalem, and the Abolition of the Temple, with the Prodigies which, preceeded, the Tribulation which accompanied, and the Dispersion of the Jewisti Nation which followed that amazing Desolation.—And don't it surprize you to sind from Jojephus, that the twenty fourth Chapter of Matthew, and the twenty sirst Chapter of Luke, are- more like a History than a Prophecy of that dreadsul Event.'—-If you should C jet

« AnteriorContinuar »