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of the Church of Rome be, in many of its parts, an impofture. This obfervation fhould be always kept in mind by fuch of our young men of fashion, as are fent to finish their education by travelling in Catholic countries. It may feem paradoxical to affert, that the corruptions of any religion can be proofs of its truth; yet the corruptions of the Chriftian religion, as practifed by the Church of Rome, are certain proofs of the truth of the Chriftian religion; inafmuch as they are exact completions of the prophecies which were delivered by Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John, concerning that apoftafy from the faith, which was to take place, in the latter times. I have known the infidelity of more than one young man happily removed, by fhewing him the characters of Popery delineated by St. Paul in his prophecy concerning the Man of Sin (2 Thef. ii. 1.), and in that concerning the apoftafy of the latter times (1 Tim. iv. 1). Bp. Hurd, in his 7th fermon at Warburton's Lecture, has given a concife hiftory of the charge of Antichriftianifm, which has, at different times,. been brought against the Church of Rome. Dr. Whitaker, Regius Profellor of Divinity at Cambridge, in his exercife for his degree at the Cominencement in 1582, fupported this Thefis-Pontifex Romanus eft ille Antichriftus quem futurum Scriptura prædixit. He had, before that time, refuted the forty arguments by which Nicholas Sander boated that he had demonftrated-that the Pope was not Antichrift. Whitaker's works are very well worth being looked into by thofe who would know what can be faid for and againft the other principal points in controverfy between Proteftants and Papifts, as well as against this primary pillar of the reformed faith-That the Hierarchy of the Church of Rome is the Little Horn of Daniel, the Man of Sin of St. Paul, and the Antichrift of St. John. The evidence arifing from the completion of the prophecies relative to the Rife, Character, and Fall of the Man of Sin, is an increasing evidence it ftrikes us with more force than it ftruck our ancestors before the Reformation; and it will ftrike our pofterity, who fhall obferve the different gradations of his decline, and his final cataftrophe, with more force than it now ftrikes us.
Obfervations on the Hiftory and Evidence of the Refurrection of Jefus Chrift. By GILBERT WEST, Efq. Lond. 1767. 6th. Ed. p. 289.
The Resurrection of Chrift is the very corner-ftone on which the hope of a Christian is built; for, if Chrift be not rifen, Christianity is an impofture; and if Chrift be rifen, Christianity is true, and Deifm is a delufion. Whether Chrift be, or be not rifen from the dead, is a question of fact, and must be decided (not by metaphyfical difquifitions concerning the power of God to work a miracle, nor by nice fubtilties concerning the fufficiency of human teftimony to ef tablish the credibility of miracles, but) by faily cftimating the weight of evidence for and against the fact. The main arguments
which are brought to invalidate the fact of the Refurrection are des duced from the real, or feeming, differences in the accounts which the Evangelifts have given of the circumftances which attended it; and much labour has been employed in harmonizing the feveral accounts. But what if it fhould be admitted (I do not fay that the conceffion is neceffary), that the accounts cannot in every little point be made to agree? Will you for that reafon difbelieve the fact itself? As well might you have difbelieved the report of thofe who fhould have faid, that they had feen the body of Cæfar dead, becaufe you would have found them difagreeing, probably, in fome minute points, relative to the number or. fituation of his wounds, to the time or manner of his being ftabbed in the Capitol. A flight_difagreement between the writers of the New Teftament, in their relations of matters of fact, is entirely analogous to what may be obs fervéd every day in courts of justice; no one, on account of a trifling difference in the teftimonies of the witneffes, ever thinks of quel tioning the exiftence of the fact in which they all agree, or of im peaching either their integrity, or competency to eftablish the fact. If the Evangelifts do really differ from each other in their accounts of the Refurrection of Jefus, it is a proof that they did not write in concert, were not combined to impofe a fable on the world'; and it is a proof, alfo, that what they wrote was not infpired in the manner which fome, with more piety than judgment, have supposed it to have been. Let the Deifts make the moft they can of the variations which they think may be found in the Evangelifts; yet will they never be able to prove, that the facts mentioned by thefe writers refpecting the Birth, Life, Death, Refurrection, and Afcenfion of Jefus Chrift, are not true: let them faften upon the writers of the New Testament as much human infirmity as they can; yet will they never be able to prove that they were not divinely inspired in what they delivered concerning the doctrines neceffary to be believed, and the duties neceffary to be performed, by all true difciples of Jefus Chrift.-The book which is here printed has been much efteemed ; it has been tranflated both into German and French, and may be of great ufe to thofe whofe religious principles are unfettled. Macknight, in his Harmony, has endeavoured to reconcile the feeming inconfiftencies in the Evangelifts relative to the refurrection. Lardner publifhed fome judicious obfervations on Macknight's plan. Benfon has given his fentiments on the fubject of the Refurrection in his Life of Chrift, and has anfwered the objections ufually made to it. Bp. Newcome, in his Harmony, may be confulted on the fubject with great advantage. A pamphlet, publifhed many years ago, intituled, The Trial of the Witnefles of the Refurrection of Jefus, has been well received in the world; but the moft folid reafoning on the fubject may be met with in a difcourfe concerning the Refurrection of Jefus Chrift, by Humphrey Ditton, 5th ed. 1749. Fabricius, in the 44th chap. of his Delectus Argumentorum, mentions 28 different authors on the Resurrection, and in the 9th chap. of his Lux Evangelica he adds above 20 more; nor would it be a difficult taiks greatly to enlarge his catalogue.
O believe the Chriftian religion, is to believe that Mofes and the prophets, Chrift and his apostles, were endued with divine authority, that they had a commiffion from God to act and teach as they did, and that he will verify their declarations concerning future things, and especially thofe concerning a future life, by the event: or, in other words, it is to receive the fcriptures as our rule of life, and the foundation of all our hopes and fears. And as all thofe who regulate their faith and practice by the fcriptures are Chriftians; fo all those who difclaim that name, and pafs under the general title of unbelievers, do alfo difavow this regard to the fcriptures. But there are various claffes of unbelievers. Some appear to treat the fcriptures as mere forgeries; others allow them to be the genuine writings of those. whose names they bear, but fuppofe them to abound with fictions, not only in the miraculous, but also in the common part of the hiftory; others again allow this part, but reject that; and, laftly, there are others who seem to allow the truth of the principal facts, both common and miraculous, contained in the scriptures, and yet ftill call in question its divine authority, as a rule of life, and an evidence of a happy futurity under Chrift our faviour and king. He, therefore, that would fatisfy himself or others in the truth of the Christian religion, as opposed by these feveral claffes of unbelievers, muft inquire into these three things:
First, The genuineness of the books of the Old and New Tefta
Secondly, The truth of the principal facts contained in them, both common and miraculous. And,
Thirdly, Their divine authority.
I will endeavour, therefore, to ftate fome of the chief evidences for each of these important points, having firft premised three preparatory propofitions, or lemmas, whereby the evidence for any one of them may be transferred upon the other two.
THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES PROVES THE TRUTH OF THE PRINCIPAL FACTS CONTAINED IN THEM.
FOR, firft, It is very rare to meet with any genuine writings of the hiftorical kind, in which the principal facts are not true; unless where both the motives which engaged the author to falfify, and the circumftances which gave fome plaufibility to the fiction, are apparent: neither of which can be alledged in the prefent cafe with any colour of reason. Where the writer of a history appears to the world as fuch, not only his moral fenfe, but his regard to his character and his intereft, are strong motives not to falfify in notorious matters; he must therefore have ftronger motives from the oppofite quarter, and also a favourable conjuncture of circumftances, before he can attempt this.,
Secondly, As this is rare in general, fo it is much more rare where the writer treats of things that happened in his own time, and under his own cognizance or direction, and communicates his hiftory to perfons under the fame circumftances. All which may be faid of the writers of the fcripture hiftory.
That this, and the following arguments, may be applied with more ease and clearness, I will here, in one view, refer the books of the Old and New Testaments to their proper authors. I suppose then, that the Pentateuch confifts of the writings of Mofes, put together by Samuel, with a very few additions; that the books of Joshua and Judges were in like manner collected by him; and the book of Ruth, with the first part of the book of Samuel, written by him; that the latter part of the first book of Samuel, and the fecond book, were written by the prophets who fucceeded Samuel, fuppofe Nathan and Gad; that the books of Kings and Chronicles are extracts from the records of the fucceeding prophets concerning their own times, and from the public genealogical Tables, made by Ezra; that the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are collections of like records, fome written by Ezra and Nehemiah, and fome by their predeceffors; that the book of Esther was written by fome eminent Jew, in or near the times of the tranfaction there recorded, perhaps Mordecai; the book of Job by a Jew of an uncertain time; the Pfalms by David, and other pious perfons; the books of Proverbs and Canticles by Solomon; the book of Ecclefiaftes by Solomon, or perhaps by a Jew of latter times, fpeaking in his perfon, but not with an intention to make him pafs for the author; the prophecies by the prophets whofe names they bear; and the books of the New Teftament by the perfons to whom they are ufually afcribed. There are many interval evidences, and in the cafe of the New Teftament many external evidences alfo, by which thefe books may be fhewn to belong to the authors here named. Or, if there be any doubts, they are merely of a critical nature, and do not at all affect the genuineness of the books, nor alter the application of these arguments, or not materially. Thus, if the epiftle to the Hebrews be fuppofed written, not by St. Paul, but by Clement or Barnabas, or any other of their contemporaries, the evidence therein given to the miracles performed by Chrift and his followers will not be at all invalidated thereby.
Thirdly, The great importance of the facts mentioned in the fcriptures makes it ftill more improbable, that the feveral authors fhould either have attempted to falfify, or have fucceeded in fuch an attempt. This is an argument for the truth of the facts, which proves the genuineness of the books at the fame time, as I fhall fhew below in a distinct propofition. However, the truth of the facts is inferred more directly from their importance, if the genuineness of the fcriptures be previously allowed. The fame thing may be observed of the great number of particular circumftances of time, place, perfons, &c. mentioned in the fcriptures, and of the harmony of the books with themselves, and with each other. These are arguments both for the genuineness of the books, and truth of the facts diftinctly confidered, and alfo arguments for deducing the truth from the genuineness. And indeed the arguments for the general truth of the hiftory of any age or nation, where regular records have been kept, are fo interwoven together, and support each other in fuch a variety of ways, that it is extremely difficult to keep the ideas of them diftinct, not to anticipate, and not to prove more than the exactness of method requires one to prove or, in other words, the inconfiftency of the contrary fuppofitions is fo great, that they can fearee ftand long enough to be confuted. Let any one try this in the hiftory of France or England, Greece or Rome.
Fourthly, If the books of the Old and New Teftaments were written by the perfons to whom they were afçribed above, i. e. if they be genuine, the moral characters of these writers afford the ftrongeft affurance, that the facts afferted by them are true. Falfhoods and frauds of a common nature shock the moral fense of common men, and are rarely met with, except in perfons of abandoned characters: how inconfiftent then muft thofe of the moft glaring and impious nature be with the highest moral characters! That fuch characters are due to the facred writers appears from the writings themselves by an internal evidence; but there is alfo ftrong external evidence in many cafes; and indeed this point is allowed in general by unbelievers. The fufferings which feveral of the writers underwent, both in life and death, in atteftation of the facts delivered by them, is a particular argument in favour of these.
Fifthly, The arguments here alledged for proving the truth of the fcripture hiftory from the genuineness of the books are as conclufive in respect of the miraculous facts, as of the common ones. But befides this, we may obferve, that if we allow the genuinenefs of the books to be a fufficient evidence of the common facts mentioned in them, the miraculous facts must be allowed alfo, from their close connexion with the common ones. It is neceffary to admit both, or neither. It is not to be conceived, that Mofes fhould have delivered the Ifraelites from their flavery in Egypt, or conducted them through the wilderness for forty years, at all, in fuch manner as the common history reprefents, unless we fuppofe the miraculous facts intermixed with it to be true alfo. In like manner, the fame of Christ's miracles, the multitudes which followed him, the adherence of his difciples, the jealousy and hatred of the chief priests, fcribes, and B 2 Pharifees,