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and comprise a much greater mass of critical learning. Several Dissertations are interspersed here and there on some of the more difficult
of Scripture. These are distinguished for the rational views of theology contained in them, and for the profound critical knowledge of the author. The dissertation attached to the Epistle to Philemon attempts to prove, from the spirit and views of the Apostle Paul as displayed in his writings, that he was neither an impostor nor enthusiast, and therefore that what he wrote must be true, and the christian religion a divine revelation. This was the groundwork of the famous argument, which Lord Littleton has since illustrated with so much beauty and force.
In 1735 the author published his History of the First Planting of the Christian Religion ; a work of much research, containing instruction in regard to the origin of the Epistles, and numerous collateral and corresponding proofs of their authenticity, and the sacred character of their authors.
Benson's Paraphrase and Notes to the Epistle of James was translated into Latin by John David Michaelis in 1746, and to this translation a recommendatory preface was prefixed by the German professor Baumgarten. The author's dissertation on the authenticity of the text of the three heavenly witnesses was translated into Latin by Andrew G. Mash, who added copious notes. In these he attempted to suport the authenticity of the text against the arguments
of Benson, which circumstance gives additional value to the following commendation. Auctor ejus dissertationis magnus est ille Anglorum theologus, verbique divini apud Londinenses minister, meritissimus Georgius Bensonius.
Dr Benson published other works in theology, particularly a treatise on the Reasonableness of Christianity, and a volume of Sermons. He left in manuscript a Life of Christ, which was published as a posthumous work by Dr Amory, who prefixed to the volume a short biographical memoir of the author. He enjoyed the friendship of several men of eminence, both among the dissenters and in the established church, with whom he was in the habit of familiar correspondence. His close application to study, and his sedentary mode of life, impaired his health, and he complains in the prefaces to some of his works, that his health and spirits were not adequate to his laborious undertakings. He died on the sixth of April, 1762, in the sixty third year of his age.
ON THE BELIEF OF THINGS
FROM BENSON'S TRACTS.
THEOPHILUS and Pyrrho, who had spent so much time in conversing about the Reasonableness of the Christian Religion as delivered in the Scriptures,* continued the same friendly regards as formerly, and freely imparted their sentiments to each other, upon all subjects that occurred.
One evening they were talking over public affairs ; and Theophilus was expatiating upon the insolence and boundless ambition of such tyrannical and aspiring monarchs, who can sacrifice the lives of thousands to their pride and vanity ; who care not how many are made widows or orphans; how much trade languishes; how much the course of law is stopped ; and how many towns and countries become a heap of desolation and ruin, especially where the seat of war happens to be; or how much all the liberal arts and sciences languish, amidst the sound of arms, and the hoarse voice of war.
* The reference here is to the author's work with this title, parts of which are in the form of a dialogue between two persons distinguished by the above fictitious names. This essay was written chiefly in reply to some popular objections, which had been advanced against that work.-ED.
Have such ambitious monarchs no bowels, no humanity, none of the tender sentiments, and kind affections? I hope the time approaches, when they shall receive a proper rebuke; and be disabled, at least for one generation, from molesting the surrounding nations, and disturbing the repose and tranquillity of Europe.
But Pyrrho stopped Theophilus, in the midst of his pathetic oration, and gave a turn to the conversation, by saying, he knew that moral and religious subjects were most agreeable to his friend Theophilus, that there was one interesting subject, on which he had touched in his Reasonableness of the Christian Religion, and in the Appendix ; that what he had there said was entirely satisfactory to some, but that others either hesitated, or absolutely denied the truth of what he had asserted.
When Theophilus was going to inquire, what he referred to, Pyrrho said he had lately received a letter from a friend of his, who corresponded with him upon many occasions; that the letter was entirely upon the subject he now referred to; and that therefore he would read it, if Theophilus pleased.