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clearly shown to be their general character. But, if all other works of God are of this nature, it is reasonably supposed that a revelation, which is a work of the same Being, should possess the same nature also. Every agent works like himself, and whatever he does must be expected to have imprinted on it more or less of his own character.

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament profess themselves to be a revelation from God, and have always been assailed with a multitude of objections, because they have in many ways not answered to the previous opinions of mankind, at least of the objectors themselves. But if these observations are just, every objection derived from this source is groundless.

This subject deserves to be examined with some particularity: I therefore observe, that the manner in which the Scriptures are written has been objected to their authority as a revelation. They are partly historical ; and the history which they contain is principally confined to a single nation, and extensively to individuals of that nation. That nation also was, through a great part of its national existence, and has been ever since, distinguished by being generally and very grossly sinful. While not a small number of the individuals whose actions are recorded sustained a similar character.

Another part of these writings consists of a code of laws, both civil and religious. The religious laws were never designed for any other people, and have long since been abolished. The civil laws were in many instances unsuited to the circumstances of any other people, and were, therefore, never intended to regulate their affairs. Hence it would seem, that thus far both were useless to the rest of mankind.

Another part of the Scriptures is poetical. There are those who regard poetry as a trifling art, claiming little regard from men of sense, and still less becoming the dignity of inspiration.

Another considerable part of the same volume is made up of familiar letters. This kind of writing is supposed to be much inferior in gravity, solemnity, and dignity, to a formal, didactic, or philosophical work; the kind of writing which the objectors,

if the subject had been left to their determination, would have probably preferred to every other.

Similar objections have been made to the manner in which certain parts of the Scriptures are written. Particularly, the Prophecies have been sometimes censured, because they are too general and obscure, and sometimes because they are too particular and explicit. The style, in the view of some individuals, is too simple; in the view of others too abrupt; and in the view of many, too devoid of art and elegance.

Another source of objections to the Scriptures is found in their doctrines. Particularly, multitudes have been dissatisfied with them because they are mysterious. Of this class are those concerning the decrees of God; the Trinity ; the Deity and Humanity of Christ; the Personality and Agency of the Holy Spirit; the Incarnation; the Atonement; the renovation of the human soul; the Resurrection; and the endless punishment of the wicked. It is hardly necessary for me to remark how numerous the objections against these have been, or how often they have been repeated.

The precepts of the Scriptures have not been less censured, particularly for their strictness, their extent, their unbending nature, and their want of adaptation to the nature and circumstances of man.

I am well aware that many answers have been given to these objections, and that more might be given, amply sufficient to remove them out of the way. It might be shown with no great difficulty, that the manner in which the Scriptures are written is happier than any which it has been proposed to substitute for it; that so far as they are intelligible to us, the doctrines accord with truth, and the precepts with righteousness; and that where they are mysterious, there is nothing in them which violates the dictates of our reason, although there are many things which transcend the limits of our investigation. To do this, however, or any part of it, is not at all included in my present design. I am perfectly willing, for my present purpose, that as many things specified as the objectors please shall be considered as difficult, mysterious, and inexplicable.

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Miserable men! How much more rationally and justly would they have acted, had they exclaimed with a man incomparably wiser than themselves, “ Such knowledge is too wonderful for “me; it is high ; I cannot attain it."

What is it that we attempt to comprehend and explain. The thoughts and works of an infinite mind; plans filling eternity and immensity; a train of causes and effects begun here and reaching in a regular chain through endless duration; causes and effects, now. existing, to be explained by consequences situated in the remote regions of being. Who are we that thus resolutely enter upon this mighty task ? Worms of the dust. When were we born? Yesterday. What do we know ? Nothing.

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« But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour

Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.

In this passage of Scripture, Christ, according to the common translation, is said to have abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. The word, which is rendered hath abolished, is xaragunoaitos, the proper meaning of which is to render vain or ineffectual, i. e. to deprive a thing of its efficacy. The word rendered, hath brought to light, is pusioavtos, which signifies to illuminate, to cast a strong light upon, set or exhibit in a clear light. The words in the original for life and immortality are Swoto sou úplagoav, life and incorruption. The life here mentioned is unquestionably the life beyond the grave. The incorruption is an attribute of that life, and may refer, without any impropriety, either to the body or the mind of him who will possess it; or, with equal propriety, to both. In Hebrew phraseology, life and incorruption are the same as incorruptible life. But incorruption, applied to this subject, is the same thing with immortality The words may of course, with the strictest propriety, be rendered immortal life. I would, therefore, translate the whole



primeval nattire ; and being, therefore, necessarily inmortal! At the same time he held, and, to be consistent with himself, must have held, that all animals have a near kindred to man, and are of a similar kind.

fra, Socrates says, a little before his death, “ I hope I am now “ going to good men though this I would not take upóni' me " peremptorily to assert. But I would certainly affirm, if I " could affirm any thing of this nature, that I shall go to the “ gods. I am in good hope that there is something remainsing for those thắt are dead; 'and, as it has been said in an« cient times, that good men will then fare better than bad “ones." Such men as had diligently studied wisdom and philosophy, Sócrates believed would go to the gods, and live with them through their remaining existence. Of other men, who were not philosophers, but who were just, temperate, and useful, he taught, " that their souls would go, either into * other human bodies, or into the bodies of such animals as

were mild and social; ants, for example, and bees, who “ maintain a species of order and government." The rest of mankind, he supposed, would reanimate the bodies of grosser animals, whose nature was suited to their own.

Plato held, in substance, the doctrines of his master. He seems, however, to have adopted the opinion, that rewards would hereafter probably be distributed to the good and punishments to the evil. He also held, with Pythagoras, that the soul was a part of the Divinity, and would be reunited with it hereafter.

Cicero held the doctrine of a future existence, and frequentty laboured to defend it. At times, however, he expresses himself doubtfully on the subject, and at others directly asserts the contrary doctrine.

The same inconsistency is predicable of Epictetus. 3 Fourth, The philosophers supported their doctrines on this subject with arguments which were unsatisfactory even to themselves.

This Socrates and Cicero directly declare. Cicero' says, and it will be admitted that he was 'acquainted with all the arguments which others had advanced concerning this doctrine,

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