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regard to brevity; in giving energy to some arguments which had not been stated in their full force; and in placing several illustrations to greater advantage. Peculiar care has likewise been taken to render the scriptural references and quotations accurate; and further proof, from the sacred oracles, has frequently been adduced, in support of the conclusions which had been formed.

The work, thus revised, the author commends to the candour of the public, from which it has already met with a favourable reception; and he earnestly begs the prayers of all pious Christians, for the divine blessing on this attempt ; and on all his other feeble endeavours to spread the knowledge of the blessed gospel of God our Saviour, and to excite and direct believers to adorn that holy doctrine by their whole conduct and conversation.

ESSAY 1.

On the Divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.

It is manifest to all who seriously reflect on the powers and propensities of human nature, that we are formed capable of religion, and have an inward consciousness that we ought to worship some superior Being, on whom our safety and happiness depend: but at the same time, the state of the world, in all places where the Bible has not been known, unanswerably proves, that we are incapable of dis. covering for ourselves, a religion which is worthy of God, suited to our wants, and conducive to our true interest. The shortness of life also, and the reasonable persuasion that men in general entertain of a future state, concur to show that our grand concern lies in another world. Yet uncertainty and per- . plexity, nay, palpable error and absurdity, have ever encumbered men's reasonings and conjectures on these important subjects. Even at Athens, JEHOVAH was “ the unknown God,"* and all beyond the grave was an unknown world.

* Acts xvü. 23:

The wisest of the Pagans, therefore, considered a revelation from the Deity as exceedingly desirable in order that bewildered mortals might learn the way, in which they could worship him with acceptance and be happy; and some of them entertained hopes, that such an inestimable favour would at length be vouchsafed. Indeed, confused expectations of this kind have been common in the world ; as is manifest from the reception that hath been given to pretended revelations, which otherwise could not have obtained credit and currency.

Various impositions, in this important concern, have been detected by careful investigation : and there is but one book in the world, in behalf of wbich, as a divine revelation, any thing even plausible can be advanced. This has stood the test of ages and undergone the most severe scrutiny ; and the more carefully serious inquirers have examined it, the fuller conviction have they obtained of its divine authority. No one now ventures forth as an avowed, sober, and manly adversary, to dispute its claim in the open field of fair argument: yet few in comparison are practically convinced, that it is the unerring word of God; and an increasing number of objectors perplex themselves and others, by discovering supposed inconsistences and unimportant difficulties; or by setting up their own reasonings and imaginations in opposition to its doctrines, and making that disagreement a ground of hesitation or rejection. So that scepticism, and a partial, frivolous, disingenuous, carping infidelity have become exceedingly common; the minds of young persons especially are thus poisond: great pains are taken to disseminate

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these cavils and objections, (though they have been solidly answered again and again ;) and those persons are treated as weak enthusiasts, or irrational bigots, who simply believe the Scriptures as the sure testimony of God.

It may, therefore, be seasonable to state, with all possible brevity, some of the most conclusive reasons, by which reflecting men have been induced to submit to the authority of the Bible, and to believe that it is a revelation from the God of truth. By the divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, I mean, • Such an immediate and complete discovery, by the Holy Spirit to the minds of the sacred writers, of those things which could not have been otherwise known; and such an effectual superintendency, as to those matters which they might be informed of by other means, as entirely preserved them from error, in every particular, which could in the least affect any of the doctrines or precepts contained in their books. Every proposition, therefore, is to be considered as the sure testimony of God, in that sense according to which it is proposed as truth. Those facts occurred, and those words were spoken, as to the import of them, and the instruction to be deduced from them, which there stand recorded; but we must judge concerning the morality of men's actions, and the truth of their sentiments, by the preceptive and doctrinal parts of the Scriptures. Nor does it at all invalidate the complete inspiration of the sacred writers, to allow that they expressed themselves in common language, and wrole of things as men generally spoke of them, rather than according to philosophical exactness, or in the style that

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used in the schools of the learned during the ages in which they lived. Supposed or unimportant errors, or inaccuracies of expression, in such things, are not in the least inconsistent with that entire divine inspiration of which we speak; for the Scriptures were not written to render us exact philosophers, or to instruct us in ancient history and geography, but to "make us wise unto salvation." Nor do the few im. material mistakes, which in a long course of years have crept in, through the errors of transcribers, create any difficulty or uncertainty to the humble and teachable inquirer; though they frequently give occasion to the self-sufficient to cavil and object; for the “ Lord taketh the wise in their own craftiness."

And let it be well considered, that it is perfectly futile and absurd for any man to dispute against the reasonableness of the doctrines, the credibility of the facts, or the justice of the divine dispensations, as stated in the Bible; while he finds himself unable to answer the plain arguments, which are adduced to prove the whole to be the word of God. Where the premises are undeniable, and the deductions unavoidable, obstinacy and self-conceit alone will persist in incredulity : and ridicule, reviling, subtle insinuations, or witty sarcasms, are, in such a case, certain indications of a proud and bitter enmity to the truth itself. If then the arguments, that shall be adduced, be sufficient to establish the divine authority of the Scriptures, I trust the reader will recollect, that as a reasonable and accountable creature, he is bound to study, believe, and obey them; and to make them the rule and standard of all his principles, afctions, and conduct. These things being premis

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