« EdellinenJatka »
The following compilation was drawn up from the writings of several eminent Divines, of different persuasions, at a period when atrocious attempts were made, in every possible manner, to strip Christians of every persuasion of the blessings and promises of the Gospel, by undermining the stability of Revelation, and thus withdrawing at once the only sure stay of their happiness in this world, and of their hopes of a better. Its object was to present, in seven successive Tracts, a series of triumphant arguments for the truth of Christianity, in a shape which might generally be understood, and easily circulated.
The labour was, I own, of a humble description. But it was not, on that account, an inglorious one. For, surely, it is not without honour to be even a door-keeper in the house of God. To the serious attention of the Clergy, in particular, such an office is peculiarly entitled : as, if the theory of the Deist be true, then indeed is their preaching vain.
Before I proceed, however, to give a slight introductory account of the original works or their authors, * I would offer a short view of the train of argumentation which they jointly constitute.
LÊLAND, in the Summary attached to his Viewnof the Principal Deistical Writers of England, of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, has powerfully exhibited the general mischievousness of Deism as a system.
In reasoning upon the chief miracles recorded in the Old Testament, no one has surpassed the energy, or the conclusiveness of LESLIE's Short and Easy Method with the Deists.
DODDRIDGE's Three Sermons, on the External Evidences of the New Testament, are universally characterised as compositions evincing the utmost clearness of arrangement.
* These Introductory Notices will be found prefixed in succession to the respective Abridgements.
The objections alleged against both Testaments by the French Infidels (Voltaire, Volney, &c.), and repeated with characteristical scurrility and acrimony by their Enga lish brethren, Paine and Carlisle, have received, in Bishop Watson's Apology for the Bible, their plainest and most satisfactory confutation.
The argument deduced from Analogy of Systems, as pointing to one common Author (often beautifully touched, rather than developed, in the New Testament), has been admirably expanded by Bishop BUTLER. - PALEY, in his Chapter on the Morality of the Gospel, derived from SOAME Jenyns (as limited and qualified by MACLAINE), presents us with a most perspicuous view of the Internal Evidence of Christianity :- And, lastly,
The Inward Witness to its Influences has been unanswerably stated in Three Sermons, by the excellent Dr WATTS.
In addition to such an accumulation of reasoning, if authority can be deemed necessary, what names
be adduced more illustrious than those of
Bacon, who affirmed, that “there never