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a loss in every age of the world. For as one has well observed," whatever the light of nature could do for man, before reason was depraved, it is evident that it has done little for him since. Reason, though necessary to examine the evidence and authority of divine revelation (which is its proper office) yet is incapable of giving us all needful discoveries of God, the way of salvation, or the manner in which we may be brought into a state of communion with God."* PALEY-certainly among the most candid and conceding of disputants-cuts the question before us short, in this manner_“I deem it (says he) unnecessary to prove that mankind stood in need of a revelation; because I have met with no serious person, who thinks that even under the Christian revelation, we have too much light, or any assurance which is superfluous."

3. If revelation be clearl.y possible, desirable, and if made, calculated to be highly useful, we think that we may fairly add, that it is also probable. It is fully admitted, that the fact, whether this revelation has actually been made, must be determined by the proper and competent evidence. But it is of some importance, and is always so considered in alleging evidence, that we do not offer it to establish a fact improbable in itself. We think that we have no lack of evidence in the present case; but we wish it to be considered, whether probability is not clearly on our side at the outset. And we do think, that when we consider how needful and useful a revelation must be, and how the goodness of the Creator has provided for the wants and the happiness of all his creatures, the probability strongly is, that he has provided for this great want of his creature man—the creature who is certainly the head of this lower creation. We think that it is not analogous to all that we see of the divine goodness, in supplying the wants and natural desires of his other sensitive creatures, even of the lowest order, that he should leave the noblest of them

* Buck's Theological Dictionary.

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with wants and desires which are not supplied or provided for, if the revelation in question be not given. Here, too, it ought, in all fairness, to be mentioned, that a very large proportion of that light and knowledge in regard to the true God and his attributes, which modern deists possess, they have actually derived from that very revelation which they attempt to prove to be unnecessary. The truth of this matter may be learned-and can only be learned from the state of things among the heathen, even the best informed of them. They, too, it is manifest, derived some aid from traditionary revelation. But even with this aid, their ideas of the Deity, of his attributes, and of many important points of moral duty, were lamentably defective and erroneous. Among the mass of mankind, the ignorance which prevailed was awful and shocking in the extreme. It was emphatically true, according to the strong language of Scripture, that “Darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people.”

It has, we are aware, been made an objection against the Bible, that while it claims to be a revelation of high importance, it is known only to a small part, comparatively, of those whom it ought to benefit. But if the true state of this fact be carefully attended to, it will be found exactly analogous to what takes place in the divine dispensations, in almost every other respect. Information of every kind, is but very partially communicated to the mass of mankind; they remain in gross and grovelling ignorance. The precious blessing of civil liberty, likewise, is not enjoyed by a hundredth part of the inhabitants of the globe. Yet knowledge and civil liberty are the gifts of God, intended for the benefit of mankind, and in themselves unspeakably valuable. They make the world much better than it would be without them; and, in due time, we hope and expect that the benefit of them will reach the whole human family. The case is the same-only a great deal stronger—with respect to divine revelation. It has introduced into the world, and continues in it, all the correct knowledge of God and of his attributes, and all adequate views of our duty to Him and to each other, which are possessed by our race. This knowledge has been, and now is, of incalculable use and benefit to the world. To those who possess it fully, its value is inestimable: and we know that it is promised in this revelation itself—and certainly the signs of the times in which we live strongly indicate that the promise is now in a train of actual and rapid fulfilment—that this knowledge shall “cover the earth as the waters do the seas;'--that the sacred Scriptures shall be read in every language under heaven, and their be. nign effects be experienced by the whole race of man.

Having thus, very briefly, shown that revelation is possible, desirable, useful, and probable, let us now consider the direct evidence that it has been given, and is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

The proof or evidence that the Scriptures contain a divine revelation, has usually been divided into two kinds-external and internal. By external evidence is meant that which is derived from what has taken place in the world, to prove that the Bible contains the revealed will of God. By internal evidence is meant, that which is furnished simply by a careful perusai of the Scriptures themselves. There is certainly a just foundation for this division; and yet a rigorous regard to it, in so short a view of the subject as I am to give, might rather embarrass than assist my design. I shall, therefore, regard it only so far as may be found convenient.

Let us begin with the internal evidence, or that which appears to an attentive and impartial reader, on the very face of the Scriptures themselves. Of this evidence a better summary statement cannot, I think, be made, than that which we have in our Confession of Faith, in these words_“ The heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole, (which is to give all glory to God,) the full discovery which it makes of the only way of man's

salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it, (the Scripture) doth abundantly evidence itself to be the word of God.”

The first item of evidence mentioned in this state. ment is, “ the heavenliness of the matter” which the sacred volume contains. This may well claim our attention. It is incapable of denial, that no other book in the world, nor all other books taken together, give us such just and sublime ideas as are given in the Bible of God, and of his attributes; of the kind of worship and obedience which he requires; of the nature of holy communion with Him; and of his moral laws, or our duties to each other. The truth is, that in comparison with what the Scriptures teach on these subjects, all the writings of the heathen philosophers, legislators, and sages, are darkness itself.

Where and by whom then was this wonderful book—which in the last lecture I properly called the Sun of the moral system-where, and by whom, was it written? It was written in a country scarcely thought worth notice by the great ancient heathen nations; written by men whom those nations despised as barbarians. A considerable part of it was written by shepherds, and peasants, and fishermen. Could such a book be produced by such men, and in such circumstances, unless God had revealed his mind and will to them, and taught them how and what to write? To believe that this book, so superior to all others, could be produced by the men who wrote it, without divine aid, is, to my apprehension, to believe something far more wonderful and incredible, than all that the Bible contains. It is to believe that an effect exists without any adequate cause.

2. The efficacy of the doctrine of this book proves it divine. It certainly has had infinitely more influence, in reforming and enlightening mankind-in making them better in all respects-than all the writings of the heathen sages, that were ever given to the world. How is this to be accounted for, if this book be not of divine origin, and if the knowledge it imparts be not

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accompanied by a divine influence? Hundreds and thousands of the best, and many of them among the wisest men, that ever lived, have declared that the doctrines and truths of the Bible were the means of changing their tempers, hearts, and lives. It will not do to call this enthusiasm, or delusion. The parties thus wrought upon and changed, have often been far more remarkable for sobriety, discretion, wisdom, learning, benevolence, and usefulness, than any of those who make the charge. No rational account can be given of this fact, but that Holy Scripture has been made “the power and the wisdom of God,” to produce such an effect.

3. The majesty of the style of Scripture, is another evidence of its divine origin. Recollect what has been said of the authors of these writings.-Now, we admit that it is in the early periods of society that sublime compositions are usually produced. But what has given such a superiority, in this respect, to the Jewish and Christian writings? In all that relates to the Deity, his attributes, works and worship, compare the compositions of the Bible with those of the most elevated strains of the heathen poets, or other writers, and you instantly perceive a difference that strikes you with astonishment. Had time permitted, it was my intention to have given you, from Burgh's Dignity of Human Nature, a comparison which he makes, between what he says has been considered the most sublime description of Homer, and one of the Psalms of David, both in a literal version. His remark is, that the extract from Homer, in this comparison, appears like “a capucinade, a mere Grubstreet performance."* There certainly never have been any other writers that did even approach the majesty and sublimity of the writers of Scripture, in what relates to the Deity. And this cannot be rationally accounted for, but on the supposition that these writers had higher and juster notions of the Deity than others, and were raised above themselves, by divine inspiration.

* See the passage referred to, at the close of this lecture.

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