Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[merged small][ocr errors]

A

DISCOURSE

ON THE

EIVIDENCES OF REVEALED RELIGION.

BY WILLIAM E. CHANNING, D. D.

THIRD EDITION.

PRINTED FOR THE

american Unitarian Association.

BOSTON,

PRINTED BY ISAAC R. BUTTS AND CO.

Price 5 Cents.

NOTICE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

This Discourse was delivered before the University in Cambridge at the Dudleian Lecture, March 14, 1821. The first edition having for a long time been exhausted, the Executive Committee of the American Unitarian Association have obtained permission of the author to reprint it as one of the tracts. It has been thought best to retain the allusions to the occasion of its delivery, that are found in a few paragraphs.

"DISCOURSE.

The evidences of revealed religion are the subject of this lecture, a subject of great extent, as well as of vast importance. In discussing it, an immense variety of learning has been employed, and all the powers of the intellect been called forth. History, metaphysics, ethical science, and the science of human nature, have been summoned to the controversy, and have contributed to christianity the aids of abstract reasoning, of criticism, of ancient learning, and of moral sentiment. To condense into one discourse what scholars and great men have written on this point, is impossible, even if it were desirable ; and I have stated the extent of speculation into which our subject has led, not because I propose to give an abstract of other's labours, but because I wish you to understand, that the topic is one not easily despatched, and because I would invite you to follow me in a discussion, which will require concentrated and continued attention. A subject more worthy of attention, than the claims of that religion, which was impressed on

our childhood, and which is acknowledged to be the only firm foundation of the hope of immortality, cannot be presented; and our minds must want the ordinary seriousness of human nature, if it cannot arrest us.

That christianity has been opposed, is a fact, implied in the establishment of this lecture. That it has had adversaries of no mean intellect, you know. I propose in this discourse to make some remarks on what seems to me the great objection to christianity, on the general principle on which its evidences rest, and on some of its particular evidences.

The great objection to christianity, the only one which has much influence at the present day, meets us at the very threshold.

We cannot, if we would, evade it, for it is founded on a primary and essential attribute of the religion. The objection is oftener felt than expressed, and amounts to this,-that miracles are incredible, and that the supernatural character of an alleged fact is proof enough of its falsehood. So strong is this propensity to doubt of departures from the order of nature, that there are sincere christians, who incline to rest their religion wholly on its internal evidence, and to overlook the outward extraordinary interposition of God, by which it was at first established. But the difficulty cannot in this way be evaded ; for christianity is not only confirmed by miracles, but is in itself, in its very essence, a miraculous religion. It is not a system, which the human mind gathered, in the ordinary exercise of its powers, froin the ordinary course of nature. It professes to be a supernatural communication from God. So that the objection

« ForrigeFortsæt »