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Testament; which is a Book that undoubtedly existed before the Times of JESUS, and cannot have been alter'd fince his Times in his Favour, no more than to his Prejudice.
IV. His whole. Book may be conceived a Refle&tion on, or Argument against, the Difcourse. Upon which therefore I will make an Observation or two here, reserving the full Consideration of his Book to another Occasion.
The first part of his Book, attempting a Proof of the Resurrection of Jesus, is nothing to the Discourse ; nor is it argumentative to Deists, who justly want more, and other Proof, than the mere producing Wit. nesses from the New Testament; the Authority whereof they admit not; to say nothing of his Choice, and managing of his Witnesses after such a Manner, as tends to discredit, rather than prove the Resurrection of Jesus.
The second part of his Book, which is boh against the Discourse, and against the Deists, wherein he attempts to shew, that the Refurretion of Christ (as before proved by him) is a sufficient Demonstration of the Truth of Christianity, is Weakness itself. For in the first Place, he has not proved to the Deists the Truth of the Resurrection in a Way proper for them. In the next Place, if he had proved it in a proper Way, That is, had made it out by all the proper Topicks to be very probably true, (for That is all the Matter will admit of, and what is only required to be done in Matters of Fact ;) yet That would
not be sufficient to prove the Truth of Chriftianity, which is a Religion consisting of many Particulars, and all built on the Books of the Old and New Testament. The Antiquity, Authority, and Inspiration of those Books are therefore to be proved ; in doing which, their Morality is to be clear'd; their Doctrines shewn to be not inconsistent with Reason ; the Dependency of the New on the Old Testament manifested, and in particular the fundamental Article of Christianity, that JESUS of Nazareth is the Meffias, (or Person foretold in the Old Testament) is the Person there foretold; the Harmony of all their Parts with one another defended ; and all shewn to tend to the Glory of God, and Good of Men. For if these Things cannot be made out; or if any Objections upon these Heads cannot be answer'd; here is not only. Want of Proof for some essential Parts of Christianity, but Objections started, which not only destroy that Consistency and Reasonableness, which are necessary Characters of a Religion that comes from God, but, as not being to be answer'd, are Demonstrations of the Falthood of what can only be grounded on Probability.
V. I will conclude this Preface with obferving ; that as the Affair of the Old Testament Prophecy is absolutely necessary to be made out in a Demonstration of the Truth of Chriftianity, (the first and fundamental Question in Christianity being, whether Jesus of Nazareth be thé Meffas, That is, be the Person foretold in the Old Testament,) and consequently Mr. GREEN's Demonstration defective
for Want of making out, from the Old Teltament, that Jesus is the Person there foretold ; so it is the most proper Topick, and most plain Matter, whereon to put the Cause of Christianity, and the properest Test of its Truth. The Miracles reported in the New Testament to have been wrought; the Gifts of the Spirit said to be pour'd out on the Faithful; and all other parts of the Evidence for Christianity; are incapable of being confider'd in that just and certain Light, (on Account of the imperfect Knowledge of Things come down to us,) as is the Matter of Prophesy; which is most easy to receive Satisfaction about, by seeing whether the Mesas be prophesy'd of in the Old Testament, a Book certainly extant before the Times of Jesus, and appeald to by Jesus and his Apostles in numerous Places. In a Word, the Prophesies of the Old Testament, if fulfill'd in the New, are not only Miracles, but such Miracles as are capable of the fullest Proof; and if the Events faid in the New Testament to be foretold in the Old be not foretold, the supposed Miracles, of Prophesies accomplish’d, will receive the fullest Confutation. I must own therefore, that Mr. GREEN, and others, who pretend to give a Demonstration of Christianity, independent on Prophesy, seem to me implicitly to give up Christianity, by waving a Point so absolutely necessary to its Proof, and to be no real Friends of Truth, by thus declining the eahest, most certain and best Way of ìrial, whether Christianity be true or false.
. To the À UTHOR of a DISCOURSE, &C.
SIR, 2 HERE send you my Animada versions on the Letters, which Mr.
GREEN has address’d to you, and So which, I presume, you will never answer. But yet, it seems proper, that Something should be said to them, and that another should defend you against one, who, in some Places, has assaulted you in a most immoral Manner. For tho' you may forgive him for those personal Attacks, and charitab his Conduct to flow from his Education, and Sort of Religion, and not from any particular Enmity to you, and forbear all Refentment in your own Case; yet his Behaviour ought not to pass unresented by others, if they would shew a just Concern for the most essential Part of
Religion, Morality, and the Branches thereof, which are of the most universal Extent, Humanity and Charity, or even for the speculative Doctrines of Religion, which are then most likely to be set in the best Light, when the Controvertists keep their Temper, and do not give Vent to any malicious Infinuations, which must necessarily be impertinent to the Argument.
His first Letter is grounded on a Mistake, which runs through it ; wherein he represents you as maintaining, that the (a) Apostles prove the Fasts of the New Testament by Passages or Prophesies taken out of the old, and not by Testimony.
This Matter, which he charges on you, is such an Absurdity in its felf, and so clearly excluded by your own express Words from being your Sentiments or Design, and is a Misrepresentation of such a Nature, that I may justly expect to be condemn’d for entring the Lists of Controversy with one, who was capable of it.
Your express Words are, “ (b) St. M ATso THÉW proves several Parts of Christianity “ from the Old Testament, either by pew“ ing them to be Things foretold, as to come “ to pass under the Gospel Dispensation, or to
(a) Green's Letters, p. 11, 12.
(6) Discourse, p. 5;