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veracity of the Evangelists, and let every faithful Christian, to whom those holy records are dear, but most of all the proper guardians of our church, be prepared to meet their opponent and his charge.
But our caviller hath not yet done with the Evangelists, for he asserts that they are not only contradi&tory to each other, but are inconsistent with themselves; for what can be more so than Matthew i: 18. with Matthew xiii. 55.?
Now mark the contradiction! The birth of Jesús zvas on this wife ; When as his mother Mary was espoused to fofeph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost, Chap. i. 18. The other text is found in Chap. xiii. 55:
Is not this the carpenter's fon? is not his mother Mary ? and his brethren James and Fases and Simon and Judas ?
Need any child be told, that in the first text Saint Matthew speaks, and in the fecond the cavilling Jews ? who then can wonder if they disagree? as well we might expect agreement between truth and falsehood, between the Evangelist and David Levi, as between two passages of such opposite cha
racters. Is this the man, who is to confute the holy scriptures ? Weak champion of an unworthy cause !
What he means by an inconsistency between Lukei.34, 35. and Luke xiv. 22. I cannot understand, and conclude there must be an error of the press, of which I think no author can have less reason to complain than David Levi,
These two unprosperous attacks being the whole of what he attempts upon the inconsistency of the sacred historians with themselves, I shall no longer detain my readers, than whilft I notice one more cavil, which this author points against the divine mission of Christ, as compared with that of Moses, viz. That God speaking with Moses face to face in the presence of six hundred thoufand men, besides women and children, as mentioned in Exod. xix. 9. was such an essential proof of the divine mision of Moses, as sis wanting on the part of Jesus; and therefore he concludes, that taking the miracles of a Mofes and this colloquy with the Supreme. Being together, the evidences for him are much stronger than for Christ. A man, who does not instantly discern the
futility of this argument, must forget all the several incidents in the history of Christ, where the voice of God audibly testifies to his divine miffion; for instance Matth. ii. 16, 17. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straitway out of the water, and lo! the heavens were opened unto him, and he farv the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon hin; and lo! a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. The same is repeated by Mark, i. 10, 11.; again by Luke, iii. 21, 22. ; again by Fohn, i. 32, 33, 34.
If these supernatural signs and declarations do not evince the fuperiority of Christ's mission above that of Moses; if Christ, to whom angels ministered, when the devil in despair departed from him, Christ, who was transfigured before his disciples, and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light, and behold! there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him; Christ, at whose death the vail of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent, and the graves were opened, and E 2
many bodies of saints, which Nept, arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many; in conclusion, if Christ, whose resurrection was declared by angels, seen and acknowledged by many witnesses, and whose ascension into heaven crowned and completed the irrefragable evidence of his divine mission; if Christ, whose prophecies of his own death and resurrection, of the destruction of Jerusalem and the subsequent dispersion of the Jews, have been and are now fo fully verified, cannot, as our caviller afferts, meet the comparison with Mofes, then is the Redeemer of lost mankind a less sublime and important character than the legislator of the Jews.
I have now attempted in the first place to discover how far the world was illuminated by right reason before the revelation of Christ took place ; for had men's belief been such, and their practice also such as Christianity teaches, the world had not stood in need of a Redeemer.
The result of this enquiry was, that certain perfons have expressed themselves well and justly upon the subject of God and reli
gion gion in times antecedent to the Christian æra, and in countries where idolatry was the established worship:
That the nation of the Jews was a pecu• liar nation, and preserved the worlhip of the true and only God, revealed in very early time to their fathers, but that this worship from various circumstances and events, in which they themselves were highly criminal, had not been propagated beyond the limits of a small tract, and that the temple of Jerusalem was the only church in the world, where God was worshipped, when Christ came upon earth:
That from the almost universal diffusion of idolatry, from the unworthy ideas men had of God and religion, and the few faint notions entertained amongst them of a future state of rewards and punishments, the world was in such deplorable error, and in such universal need of an instructor and redeemer, that the coming of Christ was most seasonable and neceffary to falvation:
That there were a number of concurrent prophecies of an authentic character in actual existence, which promised this falvation to the world, and depicted the person of the