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philosopher, over the prejudices of the Gentiles, and the bigotry of the Jews, and extended its conquests over the whole Roman empire, which then comprised nearly the whole known world. Nothing, indeed, but the plainest matter of fact could induce so many thousands of prejudiced and persecuting Jews, to embrace the humiliating and self-denying doctrines of the Gospel, which they had held in such detestation and abhorrence; nor could any thing but the clearest evidence, arising from undoubted truth, make multitudes of lawless and luxurious heathens receive, follow, and transmit to posterity, the doctrines and writings of the apostles; especially at a time when the vanity of their pretensions to miracles, and to the gift of tongues, could have been easily detected, had they been impostors ; and at a time when the profession of Christianity exposed persons of all ranks and ages to the greatest contempt, and to the most imminent danger.
6. In addition to the above evidence of the authenticity of the Sacred Scriptures, it is to be observed, that many of the facts and circumstances recorded in them are confirmed by the accounts of ancient heathen authors; which demonstrates their perfect agreement with the most authentic records extant. Thus in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, the first origin and creation of the world out of chaos; the completion of this great work in six days; the formation of man in the image of God, and his existence in a state of innocence; his fall, and the introduction of sin into the world; the longevity of the antediluvians; the destruction of the world by a deluge; the circumstance of the ark and the dove; the building of the tower of Babel; the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; many particulars relating to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses; the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, and their miraculous passage of the Red Sea; the giving of the law, and Jewish ritual; the fertility of Palestine; the destruction of the Canaanites by Joshua and the Israelites; Jephthah's devoting his daughter; the history of Samson; the his
tory of Samuel and Saul; the slaying of Goliath by David; many remarkable circumstances respecting David and Solomon; the invasion of Israel by Shalmaneser, and deportation of the twelve tribes; the destruction of Sennacherib's army; the defeat of Josiah by Pharaoh-necho, the reduction of Jerusalem, and captivity of Jehoahaz; these facts, and others of the same kind, are confirmed by the testimony of profane authors, and even some of them by traditions, which still exist among heathen nations, and others by coins, medals, and other monuments. Not less striking and decisive is the testimony of both Roman historians and Jewish writers to the truth of the principal facts detailed in the New Testament; such as Herod's murder of the infants, under two years old, at Bethlehem ; many particulars respecting John the Baptist and Herod; the life and character of our Lord; his crucifixion under Pontius Pilate; and the earthquake and miraculous darkness that attended it; the miserable death of Herod Agrippa; and many other matters of minor importance related in these writings. Nay, even many of the miracles which Jesus himself wrought, particularly in curing the blind and lame, and casting out devils, are, as to matter of fact, expressly owned and admitted by Jewish writers; and by several of the earliest and most implacable enemies of Christianity; for, though they ascribed these miracles to magic, or the assistance of evil spirits, yet they allowed that the miracles themselves were actually wrought. And this testimony of our adversaries, to the miraculous parts of the sacred history, is the strongest possible confirmation of the truth and authority of the whole. Add to this, that in the sacred history, both of the Old and New Testaments, there are continual allusions and references to things, persons, places, manners, customs, and opinions, which are perfectly conformable to the real state of things in the countries and ages to which they stand related, as represented in the most authentic records that remain; while the rise and fall of empires, the revolutions that have
logy, as mentioned or referred to in the Scriptures, are coincident with those stated by the most ancient and creditable writers extant.
Such are the principal evidences, both external and internal, direct and collateral, of the authenticity and credibility of the Sacred Scriptures; and when the uumber, variety, and extraordinary nature of many of them are considered, it is impossible not to come to the conclusion, that the Sacred Writings contain a true relation of matters of fact as they really happened. If such a combination of evidence is not sufficient to satisfy every inquirer into truth, it is utterly impossible that any event, which passed in former times, and which we did not see with our own eyes, can ever be proved to have happened, by any degree of testimony whatever.
On the Inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures.
BUT further, the Scriptures are not merely entitled to be received as perfectly authentic and credible, but also as containing the revealed will of God; in other words, as divinely inspired writings. By inspiration is meant such a complete and immediate communication, by the Holy Spirit, to the minds of the sacred writers, of those things which could not have been otherwise known; and such an effectual superintendance and guidance, as to those particulars concerning which they might otherwise obtain information; as was amply sufficient to enable them to communicate religious knowledge to others, without any error or mistake, which could in the least affect any of the doctrines or precepts contained in their writings, or mislead any person, who considered them as a divine and infallible standard of truth and duty. Every sentence, in this view, must be considered as the sure testimony of God,' in that sense in
which it is proposed as truth. Facts occurred, and words were spoken, as to the import of them, and the instruction contained in them, exactly as they are here recorded; but the morality of words and actions, recorded merely as done and spoken, must be judged of by the doctrinal and preceptive parts of the same book. The sacred writers, indeed, wrote in such language as their different talents, tempers, educations, habits, and associations suggested, or rendered natural to them; but the Holy Spirit so entirely superintended them, when writing, as to exclude every error, and every unsuitable expression, and to guide them to all those which best suited their several subjects; they are the voice, but the Divine Spirit is the SPEAKER. Now, that the Sacred Writings are thus inspired, we have abundant evidence of various kinds, amounting to a moral demonstration. For,
1. The sacred writers themselves expressly claim Divine inspiration; and unhesitatingly and unequivocally assert that the Scriptures are the Word of God. All the prophets, in the Old Testament, speak most decidedly of themselves, and their predecessors, as declaring not their own words, but the word of God. They propose things, not as matters for consideration, but for adoption: they do not leave us the alternative of receiving or rejecting: they do not present us with their own thoughts, but exclaim, Thus saith the LORD, and on that ground claim our assent. The Apostles, and writers of the New Testament, also speak respecting the prophets of the Old Testament, as holy men of God, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.' (2 Pet. i. 19-21; Heb. i. 1, 2.) These writings are expressly affirmed to be the Oracles of God;' (Rom. iii. 2.) and it is declared that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.' (2 Tim. iii. 16, 17.) Our Saviour himself ex
ble Word of God, and of divine authority. The sacred writers of the New Testament also adopt language, which, in its most obvious meaning, claims the attention of their readers to their own instructions as to the Word of God; and they also thus attest and sanction one another's writings in the most unequivocal manner. Now, admitting the veracity of the writers, (which, we have seen, is absolutely unimpeachable,) we must admit that the Scriptures are the inspired and infallible word of God. If they were wise men, (and every man must perceive that they were neither ignorant nor void of sense,) they could not have been deluded into the imagination that they, their predecessors, and contemporaries, were inspired; and, if they were good men, (as they certainly must have been, for bad men, if they could, would not have written a book which so awfully condemned themselves,) they would not have thus confidently asserted their own inspiration, and sanctioned that of each other, unless they had been inspired; they would not have ascribed their own inventions to inspiration, especially as such forgeries are so severely reprobated in every part of them. Consequently the Bible must be the word of God, inspired by Him, and thus given to man.
2. A great many wise and good men, through many generations, of various nations, and in different countries, have agreed in receiving the Bible as a Divine revelation. The Jews have unquestionably in all ages acknowledged the Scriptures of the Old Testament as the word of God; and Christians from the earliest ages to the present time, have not been less backward in testifying their belief in the inspiration of both the Old and New Testament. Many of them have been distinguished for piety, erudition, penetration, and impartiality in judging of men and things. With infinite labour and patient investigation, they detected the impostures by which their contemporaries were duped; but the same assiduous examination confirmed them in believing the Bible to be the word of God; and induced them, living and dying, to recommend it to all others, as the source of