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inconsistent with deception, still I must not believe what I see, and hear, and touch;—what my senses, exercised according to the most deliberate judgment, declare to be true. All this the argument requires.-And it proves too much; for disbelief, in the case supposed, is out of our power, and is instinctively pronounced absurd ;—and what is more-it would subvert that very order of nature on which the argument rests ;-for this order of nature is learned only by the exercise of our senses and judgment, and if these fail us, in the most unexceptionable circumstances, then their testimony to nature is of little worth.
If, indeed, any thing could authorize a man's acting upon the principles laid down in the argument of the unbeliever, it would be wherein the reported miraculous agency should seem to possess no characteristic worthy of the Divine Being, or to be in no way connected with the chief interests of human life. Let the impugners of Christianity substantiate such a charge against the benevolent miracles of the gospel, and against the doctrines, in attestation of which they were wrought, before they call upon believers to set them aside as delusions, let them show wherein they are unworthy of God, or unsuitable to the circumstances of man, before they attempt to undermine the faith and hope of their brethren, by alleging the occasional falsehood of testimony, or by asserting that the presumption against a miracle is sufficient to outweigh the strongest evidence from this source.
In this balancing of probabilities, included in the argument of the unbeliever, there is more than bare testimony to be taken into the account. Let the character of the Divine Being, the wants of man, the nature of the interposition, and the effects resulting from the introduction of Christi. anity into the world, be considered, and the case will assume a very different aspect. Even if we were to lay out of the account, that strong probability of the truth of Christianity, arising from the benevolent nature of Him who placed us in this beautiful world, who daily superintendeth our affairs by his providence, and waiteth to do us good:' if we were to lay out of the account, the argument arising from the consideration of man's. nature as transient and perishing, and that, while all around and within him speaks of change, and decay, and dissolution, he needs that consoling assurance which is sought in vain from the evidence of natural things, namely, that he shall live again beyond the devouring grave: if we were to lay out of the account that man is a frail creature, urged by impetuous passions, beset with innumerable temptations, and courted to his bane by numberless fallacies : if we were to lay out of the account the peculiar nature of the alleged interposition, and the suitableness of the gospel truths to man's, otherwise, helpless and hopeless condition:—there yet arises a presumption in favour of Christianity, from the effects which its evidences produced upon the minds of those who first embraced it, powerful enough to set aside all the .
fallacies and the sophistry we have been endeavouring to expose.
Let us, I say, in balancing probabilities, dismiss all other subjects of consideration but the actual effects produced upon the witnesses of the scripture miracles, and how shall we account for these, unless we admit the truth of the miraculous agency? Men do not lightly abandon principles implanted by education, and cherished and strengthened by all their early and later associa, tions. Men do not easily dismiss prejudices, which are flattering to their vanity, which are encouraged by their national peculiarities, and which concur with their worldly interests. Men do not lightly abandon sentiments rendered sacred by the institutions of a religion which had stood the test of ages, nor yield up, for a phantom, opinions which had been cherished by the great and the good, and which had been sanctioned by whatsoever was deemed authoritative and venerable. Yet we find that men did yield up all these : and, moreover, with the certain prospect of thereby encountering every worldly evil, and of forfeiting every worldly good.—Yea, this change took place upon the minds of thousands who listened to the words, and saw the works, of Jesus, and of his Apostles; and who, forthwith, counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge which they had thus attained.
There must have been a cause-a powerful cause, for the production of such effects as these, -effects which do, indeed, surpass all the ordinary workings of nature, and which, if we deny
the previous miracle, are in themselves miraculous. It is only in the Christian records that we have any reasonable account of the causes of that mighty influence which the first preachers of Christianity exercised over the minds of men; and this account testifies that God did · bear these heralds of salvation witness, with signs, and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts of the holy spirit, according to his will. Unless we admit the truth of this testimony, we acknowledge an effect without any adequate cause; we do, as it were, assent to one miracle in order to invalidate another. In that estimating of probabilities, therefore, of which the impugners of Christianity speak, the circumstances we have named should be allowed their due weight; and it will be found that they do powerfully concur to establish the truth of apostolical testimony; and attach a probability to the miraculous agency recorded in the scriptures, which far exceeds any improbability arising from man's limited experience of the regularity of nature's laws.
VI.—EVIDENCE OF MIRACLES.
of the resurrection of Jesus.--No satisfactory evidence of a life to come, if the declaration of the scriptures, that, now is Christ risen," be untrue. No provision in pature for restoring the dead.Inconclusiveness of all analogical proofs— Without revelation every thing which relates to a future state is conjectural and uncertain. -Heathen testimony to the existence and crucifixion of Jesus.Evangelists' account of the resurrection considered.- Unbelievers' objections stated and answered.-- Rules of judgment relating to human testimony applied to the history of the resurrection.--Scripture varrative of incidents connected with this event have all the internal marks of truth.-Exbortation to hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering,' avd to endeavour earnestly, to attain to the resurrection of the jast.'