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yet surther expect some Predictions from him, that extend to the present Times, and are now visibly accomplished before your Eyes; has he not foretold, and do you not find it true, that Jerusaier>i Jliall continue to be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the Time of the Gentiles be fulfilled?
Would you expect, that when this Mesiah, according to the Prophecies concerning him, was cut off, he should declare himself the Son of God 'with Power, by his Rejurreclion from the Dead?—And has it not appeared true, that no Precaution by sealing his Tomb, and setting a Guard over it, could prevent his Triumph over the Grave, and bis appearing to great Numbers of his Disciples, and frequently and samiliarly conversing with some of them for forty Days together; and finally ascending up to Heaven before their Eyes.
Would you expect, that his Disciples, who were Eye and Ear Witnesses of his Lise, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, and could not possibly be deceived in Facts so open to all their Senses, should at their Peril preach this Saviour to the World; and continually undergo a Lise of painsul Travel and Fatigue, Poverty and Reproach, Opposition and Persecution, to propagate his Gofpel ; and that they would finally sacrifice their Lives in the Cause, and seal their Doctrine with their Blood? —This they have done, and it is impossible that more could be done, to raise their Truth and Sincerity above all Suspicion.
Would you expect, that these Disciples should be extraordinarily and peculiarly qualified for their great Work; and sent forth to the Nations with sufficient Credentials to consirm their Testimony, and make their Doctrines credible?—What greater Furniture can you' possibly suppofe needsul in such I * Case, than sot a Number of unlearned Men and
Women, to be instantaneously endued with an intimate and samiliar Acquaintance with all Sorts of Languages; and (not, as pretended by some Energumens and the modern French Prophets, have their Organs of Speech improved by the Devil, ia pronouncing Languages which they did not understand, but) capable constantly and samiliarly to converse with every Nation in tlieir own proper Speech; and with greatest Propriety to write, and transmit to Posterity the History and Religion of their Lord and Master, in a foreign Language which; they had never learned.—Can you, Sir, possibly imagine a greater and brighter Display of the immediate Agency and omnipotent Power of the glorious Author of our Beings, than thus at once to enlarge the Mind, and surnish it with such an amazing Extent of Knowledge, while God himself has borne them Witness, with Signs and Wonders, and with divers Miracles, and Gists of the Holy Gkoji, according to his own Will?
Sippofe you mould see some unlearned Rustics, with whom you are acquainted, pretending to a new Revelation, and consirming their Pretences, by speaking samiliarly all the Languages of t.urope, by healing the Sick and Decrepid with a Word, raising the Dead to Lise, and striking Men dead by a Word, revealing the Secrets of other Mens Hearts, communicating these and such like Powers to others, by the Imposition of their Hands; and declaring to you, that it was not by their own Power or Holiness that they persormed these Works, should you find the strictest Holiness and Conformity to the divine Nature, joined with these miraculous Powers,—Would you not believe the Tnuh of their Pretensions ?—Would you not acknowledge, that God was in them of a Truth?
C 2 Would
Would you expect that thofe Men, who were fent out to preach and propagate a new Religion in the World, should themselves be inspired with a prophetic Spirit, and capable to foretel suture Events? and is not this also visibly Fact in the Case before us? Have they not distinctly foretold the State and Fate of the Church in all its Periods, until the Consummation of all Things ?—Don't we ourselves see their Predictions exactly and circum-' Aantially verisied, with respect to the Rise, Reign and Rage of Antichrist; and with respect to the Jews still continuing a distinct People, and remaining in their Unbelief, until God shall again graff them into the Olive-tree, from whence they have been cut off?
Would you expect, that the Meffiah should prosper and succeed thofe Disciples, whom he should send out to propagate the Guspel among the Nations, by the Conversion ofMultitudes to the Faith? —And do we not sind in Fact, that he has assisted a sew mean and unlearned Fishermen, without Riches or Power, Art or Eloquence, to triumph over all the Prejudices in Mens Minds, against the Doctrines of the Crofs, over all the bitter Opposition of the Rulers of the World, all the riveted Preposfessions amongst both Jews and Gentiles to their ancient Religion, and all the Learning of Greece and Rome, and to bring so great a Part of the World into a prosessed Subjection to the Crofs of Christ!
Would you expect, that the Religion of such a Saviour should be every Way worthy of God, agreeable to all his glorious Persections, and every Way fuitable for Man, persective of his Nature, and adapted to his Welsare, in every Station, Relation, and Capacity that he sustains in this World, as well as to his eternal Interest in the World to come?
All this (I think) is what the Deists themselves
are forced tc allow.
Would you expect some apparent Inftuence of this Keligon upon the Hearts and Lives of thofe who sincerely prosess it, and who commit their Souls and eternal Interests into the Hands of this Saviour P—And don't you yourself see this continually exemplified? Don't every body see, that they who cordially receive the Lord Jesus Christ for their Prince and Saviour are distinguished from the rest of the World, by the Exercise of Love both to God and Man ?—Is not the Change wrought in the Hearts and Lives of such visible to every Observer, in the blessed Fruits of Holiness, Righteousness, Charity and Benesicence ?—This Change they themselves prosess to have experienced, by their Exercise of Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This Experience they justify to the World, by the steady Conduct of their Lives.—And thus the great Redeemer approves himself indeed the great Physician of Souls, by recovering all from their spiritual Maladies, who apply to him, and depend upon him for a Cure.
Would you expect a consistent and harmoniout Scheme of Religion through all the Parts of divine Revelation ?—And is it not wondersul to observe, how the New. Testament every Way answers the Design of the Old; and how all the numerous Writers of these sacred Books, notwithstanding their very different Manner of writing, the very distant Ages in which they wrote, and the very different Circumstances of the Church, in their respective Times of writing, have yet all taught the same Doctrines, all described the same Dangers, and all pointed out the same Way to eternal Salvation!
Thus, Sir, I have set before you, in the dosed and moll connected View, some brief Hints of the C 3 CreCredentials of Christianity. 1 know you am
capable of extending your Demands yet surther; and of propofing some thing else that may still serve to reflect new Light upon the Christian Revelation; and there is yet much more at your Service, when you'll be pleased to make your Demands. You must, however, in the mean Time allow me the Freedom to say, that the Evidence now in View is sufficient to fill the Mind of every unprejudiced Person, with a necessary and insallible Certainty of the Truth we are inquiring aster. ■ Deliberately consider each of these Arguments separately and particularly; consider them all in their Connection and Relation to each other, and then try whether you can resuse your Assent to the Gofpel of Christ.
There i» (I'm sensible) one Objection ready to offer itself to your Mind against all this; and that is, how do I know, that the great and principal Fa£is, upon which Christianity is especially built, may be depended upon as certainly true?—How do I know the Congruity of the Prophecies with the Event? —How do I know the miraculous Conception of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Attestation of the Angels to his Birth; or that be wrought such Miracles in Confirmation of his divine Mission; and that he rofe again from the.Dead, and ascended up to Heaven ?—How do I know, that his Apostles were inspired with such extraordinary and divine Gifts; or that they persormed such miraculous Operations?
To this I answer, that fome of the Evidences which I have offered are what directly, upon the very first View, you may know, and cannot but know, to be certainly and insallibly true, if you will but open your Eyes to observe them.—You do certainly know, that human Nature is dreadsully -orrnpted and vitiated; that it is opposite to the Ho