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In the course of a social evening's conversation, I heard that eminent Christian philosopher, Dr. Chalmers, make some instructive remarks to the following effect:
6 The historical evidences of Christianity are abundantly sufficient to satisfy the scrutiny of the learned, and they are within the reach of all well educated persons.
But the internal evidences of the truth have a still wider influence, for they are open and intelligible to every sincere enquirer. Every man who reads the Bible with attention, and observes the value and excellence of the book
of mankind with his own experience, and marks the fitness of its mighty scheme of doctrine to his own spiritual need as a sinner in the sight of God—is furnished with practical proof of the divine origin of our religion. I love this evidence; I call it the portable evidence of Christianity.”
every man who
My object, in this little volume, is to develop these views; and I trust no apology is required for my adopting the term by which Dr. Chalmers so happily distinguished his favorite kind of evidence. The Bible is a portable book, and the Christian whether at home or on a journey, ought always to keep it within his reach, and make use of it as his daily companion. Again—whatsoever be our place or circumstances, we all carry about with us a knowledge of our own experience.
The subject naturally divides itself into two parts. In the first place, the Bible, considered alone, affords in the purity, dignity, harmony, and practical importance, of its contents, sufficient evidences of its own divine origin. And secondly, the accordance of the truths revealed in Scripture, with what we know in ourselves, and observe in the world around us, and more especially the adaptation of the gospel of Christ to the condition of fallen man, supplies us with a further conclusive proof, that the Creator and moral Governor of the Universe, is the Author of the Bible.
While multitudes, in the present day, even among the working classes of society, are obtaining some acquaintance with useful science,
it is most desirable that as far as possible, they should be instructed also in the evidences of Christianity. Even those of a critical and historical nature, might without much difficulty be made far more familiar to persons of little education, than they are at present; and the more they are examined, the more clearly will it be discovered that Christianity in its original and purely scriptural form, rests upon a basis which can never be shaken.
In the mean time I trust it will not be useless to invite the attention of the Public to some of those proofs of the truth of our holy religion, which lie immediately before us, and which, where the Bible is freely circulated, are within the reach of
serious and reflecting mind.
I cannot however satisfactorily enter upon my argument, without premising one general remark. Although in a day so marked as the present by unsettled and floating opinions, it is peculiarly desirable that Christians should be able to give a reason— -and even many rea
-for the hope which is in them, it must not be inferred from hence, that the religion of Jesus stands in need of apology or defence. While its advocates are at all times ready to state the reasons of their unalterable convic
țions, they by no means intend to give countenance to the notion that the truth of Christianity is debatable ground.
As the existence and moral government of the Deity are truths which bear with native and resistless force on every candid mind, and need no arguments to prove them, so the unparalleled goodness of Christianity at once impresses us with its truth. I conceive it to be a first principle in morals, wrought by the hand of God into our very nature, and requiring no other evidence of its reality, that what is good, is true. The real source of the
proneness to reject revealed religion, is to be found in those propensities of the heart which are opposed to all goodness. Corrupt and rebellious as we are, we shrink from the piercing rays of the Sun of Righteousness. We cannot bear to have our inclinations thwarted, our passions subdued, our independence led captive, and our pride levelled with the dust. “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” 1
1 John iii, 19.