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and of those by whom they are retailed; and these they make currently to pass as perfectly sufficient to justify themselves, and their associates, in rejecting the Bible as a fable, without so much as either examining its authenticity, or even perusing its contents. Ask themselves whether this is not the fact, and they will often admit it to be so; or, should they be more scrupulous in acknowledging, what certainly would do any thing but honour to their character for fairness and impartiality in the matter, only put them to the trial, and you will almost instantly discover that they, in general, know less of what is really contained in the Sacred Volume than the veriest child in the school of Christ. They may be acquainted with detached portions of it, and frequently are so with such passages only as their corrupted imaginations and depraved hearts fix on as topics of licentious merriment or profane jests; but they are as completely strangers to it as a whole, in its connexions and truths, whether doctrinal or even merely historical, as if it had never been brought within their reach. Yet these are the judges whose verdict we sustain, and to whose decisions we submissively prostrate, not only our understanding, but our conscience also, when we defer to their infidel opinions, without testing their solidity, or inquiring into their truth. Their verdict is founded on no evidence whatever, except that which their own ignorance, prepossessions, and often vices, bolstered up. They have summoned no witnesses in the cause: they have received no depositions against the truth of the facts which they pronounce to be fictitious. Most assuredly, therefore, their decision should not weigh for a single moment with any man of common honesty or senşe; and were it so given in the most ordinary case of law or of crime, it would justly subject them to the infamy of being hooted out of court, and displaced, by an indignant country, from the office which they had ultrociously assumed, and the duties of which they had so shamefully betrayed.

And is it on such a decision that any man, young or old, should rest his faith; or, rather, is it on this that they are to build that chilling and cheerless system of infidelity which, while it will rob them of every real comfort, and of every invincible principle of morals and integrity, in the present life, will leave them without a gleam of hope when they descend into the grave? Their pride may be flattered by being told that to disbelieve Christianity is to rise superior to vulgar prejudice, and to prove themselves men of independent mind, who think not with the crowd, but for themselves. And yet, if they reject Christianity, without subjecting it to that impartial examination which, there can be no doubt, its importance should urge, and to which its pretensions, when compared with those of all the other systems of religion that have ever existed, as doubtlessly entitle it; they actually become the slaves of a prejudice infinitely more discreditable as well to their head as to their heart, than any by which the multitudes around them, who still adhere to the dictates of the Scriptures, as a divine revelation, are swayed. Professing to be wise, or wishing to arrogate to themselves the honour of more acute discernment, they prove themselves to be the veriest and most deliberate fools; and, in the eye of every honourable and honest mind, must stand forth as wilfully perverted by sophistry the hollowest, and delusion the most palpable and intense. In their solicitude to escape what would humble their towering ideas of the supremacy of their reason, they rush into what will endanger their happiness in time and through eternity, wishing to get clear of some shallow sand-banks which might, without any insuperable difficulty, be safely passed, they run the most imminent risk of striking on a fatally projecting and scarcely hidden rock, on which their every hope for immortality may be inevitably wrecked.

They would do well, indeed, to consider that if Christianity is true, their disbelief of it places them in a situation of danger the greatest and most alarming. It professes to be the certain and only authentic revelation of the grace and will of God, for the spiritual and everlasting salvation of human sin

Its claims, therefore, are the claims of heaven: its voice it declares to be the voice of God. Whatever, accordingly, it testifies and enjoins, it requires us to believe and obey, as stamped with the infallible truth and resistless authority of the God of heaven. And what does it testify and enjoin? It tells us that all men are sinners, not merely as belonging to the general community of fallen beings, who inhabit our globe, but personally and individually; and indisputable facts in the history and character of every one of us, to which the feelings of conscience bear witness, completely re-echoes its testimony. It tells us that as sinners we are condemned and perishing, without spiritual strength, as well as ungodly; in ourselves utterly helpless and hopeless, and in continual and instant peril of irretrievable and endless destruction. But it also opens to us the hope, and presents to us the means, of obtaining pardon, and holiness, and eternal life, through the obedience and sufferings unto death of that divine Saviour, whom it reveals as having been sent, and come “to seek and to save that which was lost.” For it farther tells us, that if we only rely, by a true and cordial faith, on his sinatoning sacrifice and all-prevailing intercession, through the imparted grace of the Holy Spirit, whom it promises to all who ask Him—devoting ourselves, in soul, and body, and spirit, to the obedience of his love, and walking according to those commandments of his will, which, in the extent and purity of the morality which they inculcate, make that of every other system of religion which ever appeared on the face of the earth to shrink almost into immorality-we shall each of us obtain a peace and comfort, a dignity of character and an elevation of hope, which will raise the very lowest, and poorest, and most afflicted of us all, far above every thing that the rank or wealth or wisdom of this world could impart, and which, instead of being limited by the span of a day, or measurable by the very longest line to which our sojourn on earth may


be protracted, will outlive our present life and death together, and be our unmingled and never-ending portion, when called, as we shall each of us ere long be, into the presence of our Judge. For it tells us, that according to itself, as the Gospel of the grace of God, by our belief or our disbelief of its truths, our reception or our rejection of its overtures of salvation, and

our subjection to its moral influence, or our resistance of its sway-our destiny, either to happiness or to misery, and that for ever, will be finally determined and unalterably fixed, at that judgment of the great day which it so explicitly.and solemnly reveals.

This, accordingly, is the system of truth and duty, whose claims to be a revelation from the divine Being we are so solicitous that men should examine with all the interest, impartiality, and sedulousness which its object and tidings ought to call forth. And surely it is not too much to ask of those, who, if the Gospel is true, have so deep and invaluable a concern at stake in it, that they should search for themselves into the character, and nature, and conclusiveness of the evidence, on which we believe, with unhesitating confidence, that it is “ no cunningly devised fable,” but the genuine and divinely authenticated communication of heaven to earth. Let them think but for a moment, what must be the consequence to themselves at last, should they find, when it is too late to be reclaimed from their infidelity, that they had disbelieved and rejected, perhaps scoffed at and reviled, the word and testimony, the counsels and will, the threatenings and promises, of the one only living and true God. Nothing will then be left for them but that hopelessness of despair, the reality of which they had treated with indifference or even contempt; and nothing be reserved for them but that blackness of darkness, and those devouring flames, which, notwithstanding every exhortation and warning that were given them to enquire into their existence and reality, they persisted in counting the mere gloom of a superstitious fancy, or the reverie of a disordered mind. The very possibility of this, one would think, might be more than sufficient to awaken them, at least to commence that inquiry which they have already too long delayed, into a subject so paramountly and fearfully interesting to them as immortal and accountable beings. To devote days, and nights, and weeks, and months, and even years, to the most anxious and serious investigation of it, were such an expense of time necessary to its successful determination, would not be too much, where

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their all of happiness and of hope for eternity may be suspended on it; and surely they must be utterly without excuse, if they do not endeavour to ascertain, with all the solicitude and carefulness it is in their power to feel and exert, whether, in cherishing the spirit of unbelief, they are not cherishing in their own bosoms the serpent of everlasting despair.

It is to this, therefore, that we would earnestly call every reader of the volume to which these introductory remarks are prefixed. If the faith of any has been shaken, and requires to be re-established, in the Canonical Authority of the Books, whether of the Old or of the New Testament, or if doubts have been excited and exist in the minds of others, with regard to the real distinction betwixt these undoubted portions of divine revelation, and those Apocryphal writings which, though destitute of all evidence, whether external or internal, of being given by inspiration of God, have been impiously placed on a level with the Sacred Canon, by the usurped authority of the Man of Sin, over the understandings and consciences of men; or, if Christian parents, and guardians, and tutors, even though their own faith, on these points, may scarcely require confirmation, wish that their children, and wards, and pupils, should be guarded against the sceptical insinuations, and infidel averments, which they are but too likely to meet with, in that intercourse and association with doubters and disbelievers, which, in the present times, it may be hardly possible for them altogether to avoid— To all such, we would say, Peruse for yourselves, and put into their hands, and the hands of others, who may in like manner need suitable instruction on so momentous a topic, the First of the succeeding works, in which Dr Alexander, of Princetown College, America, already honourably known to the religious public by his admirable “ Outline of the Evidences of the Christian Religion,” and to which the present treatise was originally intended to form a supplement, has given, though a compendious, yet by far the most complete view of the whole subject, that has hitherto been published; and that in a form and style equally “ level to the capacities of all descriptions of readers;” and calculated to im

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