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COLLECTION

THEOLOGICAL TRACTS,

IN SIX VOLUME S.

By RICHARD WATSON, D.D. F.R.S.

LORD BISHOP of L ANDA FF,

AND

Regius Professor of DIVINITY in the UNIVERSITY of

CAMBRIDGE.

SECOND EDITIO N.

VOL.

V.

LONDON:

Printed for T. Evans in the Strand, and in the Great Market, Bury St.
Edmund's; J. and J. Merrill, Cambridge ; J. FLETCHER, and Prince and

Cooke, Oxford ; P. Hill, Edinburgh ; and W. M‘KENZIE, Dublin.

M.DCC.XCI.

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Of the Truth of the Chriftian Religion. By DAVID

HARTLEY, M: A. Lond. 1749. p. i.

This posthumous Treatise of Mr. Addison has been much ef-
teemed both at home and abroad : the general argument contained
in it has been carried to a greater length by other authors since his
time; especially by Mr. Correvin of Geneva ; by Professor Bullet
of Besançon ; and by Dr. Lardner, who has treated it in all its parts
with great accuracy in his Collection of Jewish and Heatheri Tefti.
monies to the Truth of the Christian Religion. There is, unfor-
tunately, in many men, a strange prepoffeflion against every thing
written by churchmen, in defence of the Chriftiani religion ;
that“ Priests of all religions are the fame" Lthat " they defend
altars on which their lives depend,” with an hundred other expres-
fions of a similar tendency, are frequent in the mouths of un-
believers : we fincerely forgive them this wrong but as the charge
of selfishness and hypocrisy cannots with any shadow of propriety,
be brought against Mr. Addison, and such other laymen as have
written in support of Chriftianity, we intreat them to give a fober
attention to what these unprejudiced writers have advanced on the
subject : surely eternal life is too important a concern to be jested
away in sarcastic witticisin, and frothy disputation,
Vol. Y.

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The argument for the truth of Christianity which is taken from
the history of the destruction of Jerusaleın as related by Josephus, com-
pared with our Saviour's predi&tion of that event recorded by the
Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke, has always been considered
as one of the strongest which can be urged, either against the Jews
in particular, or against unbelievers in general. In modern times

this argument has been illustrated by Jackson in the first volume of

his works, 1673 ; by Tillotson in the 12th vol. (8vo ed.) of his Ser-

mons; by Kidder in his Demonstration of the Meffiah; by Whitby

in his Commentary, on St. Matthew, and in his General Preface ;

by Sharpe in a discourse intituled, The Rise and Fall of the Holy

City and Temple of Jerusalem, preached at the Temple Church,

1764; and, to mention no others, by Jortin in the first vol. of his

Remarks on Ecclefiaftical History. This author has also well

proved, not only that the Gospels, in which the predictions of

Christ relative to the destruction of Jerusalem are delivered, were

written before that event ; but that the predictions themselves

could not have been inserted into the Gospels, as interpolations,

after the event : the reader will not ef:een this to have been an un-

neceffary labour, who recollects the confidence with which Voltaire,

with a view probably of evading the force of the argument in quel-

tion, declares that the Gospels were written after Jerusalem was

destroyed-fans doute après la destruction de Jerusalem. --Many

an unbeliever is apt to think and fay, that he would have faith

in the Gospel, if he could fee a man raised from the dead, or any

one notable miracle performed in attestation of its truth. Now the

completion of an ancient prophecy is, to us who see the completion,

a miracle ; and I would fincerely recommend it to every one, who

is not steadfast in the faith, to examine carefully, and liberally,

whether the prophecies--concerning Jerusalem being trodden under

foot of the Gentiles--concerning the sterility of Palestine--the state

of the Jewish people the introduction of the Gentiles into the

Church of God--the apoftafy of the latter times--the independency

of the Arabs--the servitude of Ham's pofterity, &c. have not been

literally fulfilled. These things are facts which fall within our own

observation; and if we search the Scriptures, we shall find that these

facts were predicted long before either we or our fathers were born.

The

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The present constitution of the world, with respect to the civiliza-
tion, the religion, the liberty, or favery of the different empires
which fubfift in it, is but one ftage of the completion of the va-
rious prophecies, which were of old delivered, concerning the for-
tunes of individuals, nations and countries. We in our day's may
fay what Tertullian, speaking of the accomplishment of Scripture
prophecy, said in his--Quicquid agitur prænunciabatur, quicquid vis
detur audiebatur, The reader may find these subjects discussed by
Bp. Newton in his Dissertations on the Prophecies ;. by Whiston in
his Accomplishment of Scripture Prophecy ; by Sharpe in his fecond
Argument in defence of Christianity ; by Lardner in his three Ser-
mons on the Circumstances of the Jewish People, an Argument for the
Truth of Christianity ; by the author of the Principes de la Foi Chré-
țienne ; by the author of an Essay in the Universal History, on The
Independency of the Arabs ; by Bishops Hurd, Hallifax, and Bagot,
in iheir Sermons preached at Warburton's Lecture ; by Joseph Mede,
and Henry More, in their respective works ; and by Worthington in
his Sermon preached at Boyle's Lecture, 1766, &c.

All the Astions recorded in the Gospels are probable,

P: 177

This Tract is the 4th chap. of the ift book of the Truth of the
Gospel History, by Macknight. Young men should reader this short
tract familiar to them by a frequent perusal of it; they will find in it
very concise, but satisfactory answers to many objections respecte
ing some parts of our Saviour's conduct, the posfibility and the
credibility of miracles, &c. which are, sometimes seriouily, oftener
in wanton mockery of religion, made subjects of common conver-
sation, and which never fail to leave a bad impression on the minds
of those who know not how to reply to them.

Of the Argument for the Truth of the Christian Religion

arising from the conversion of the world to Christianity ;
taken from the Truth of the Gospel History, By JAMES
MACKNIGHT, D. D. 1763. p. 199.

That great multitudes out of every pation in the then known
world were converted from Heathenism to Christianity, within a
few years after the death of Jesus, is a fact allowed on all hands;
the question is, whether this fact can be properly urged as a decisive
proof of the divine origin of the Christian religion. And, with-
out doubt, the fact, abstractedly considered, cannot,
five propagation of a religion, how rapidly foever it may have been
8

made,

The exten-

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