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EVIDENCE AND AUTHORITY
REV. THOMAS CHALMERS, D. D.
OF GLASGOW, SCOTLAND.
PUBLISHED BY ANTHONY FINLEY,
NO. 33, SOUTH FOURTH-STREET.
The contents of this volume form the substance of the article CHRISTIANITY, in the EdinBURGH ENCYCLOPÆDIA. Its appearance is due to the liberality of the proprietors of that worknor did the author conceive the purpose of presenting it to the world in another shape, till he was permitted and advised by them to republish it in a separate form. It is chiefly confined to the exposition of the historical argument for the truth of christianity; and the aim of the author is fulfilled if he has succeeded in proving the external testimony to be so sufficient, as to leave infidelity without excuse, even though the remaining important branches of the christian defence had been less strong and satisfactory than they are. $ The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.” “ And if I had not done the works among
them which none other man did, they had not had sin."
The author is far from asserting the study of the historical evidence to be the only channel to a faith in the truth of christianity. How could he, in the face of the obvious fact, that there are thousands and thousands of christians, who bear the most undeniable marks of the truth having come home to their understanding “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power?” They have an evidence within themselves, which the world knoweth not, even the promised manifestations of the Saviour. This evi. dence is sign to them that believe;" but the Bible speaks also of a “ sign to them which believe not;" and should it be effectual in reclaiming any of these from their infidelity, a mighty object is gained by the exhibition of it. Should it not be effectual; it will be to them “ a savour of death unto death;" and this is one of the very effects ascribed to the proclamation of Christian truth in the first ages. If, even in the face of that kind of evidence, which they have a relish and respect for, they still hold out against the reception of the gospel, this must aggravate the weight of the threatening which lies upon them; “ How shall they escape, if they neglect so great a salvation!”
It will be a great satisfaction to the writer of the following pages, if any shall rise from the pe
rusal of them, with a stronger determination than before to take his christianity exclusively from his Bible. It is not enough to entitle a man to the name of a christian, that he professes to believe the Bible to be a genuine communication from God. To be the disciple of any book, he must do something more than satisfy himself that its contents are true he must read the book he must obtain a knowledge of the contents. And how many are there in the world who do not call the truth of the Bible message in question while they suffer it to lie beside them unopened, unread, and unattended to: