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is it such a message as we might expect to proceed from Almighty God? is the religion worthy of Him?

Perhaps you will say that it is extremely difficult to answer such questions. You have in part studied the philosophy of Bacon, and you have learnt from him that it is very difficult for us to say beforehand what God will do or not do;-you have, in fact, been learning something of the extent of human ignorance. I admit that the ques tion is not easy; but observe, there is another thing to be mentioned, that will render it somewhat less difficult than you may suppose. Christianity must be either from God, or from man. We know from various sources much about the character and ways of God; and we know from various sources still more about the character and ways of man Thus we have two tests by which we can try Christianity. First, we can compare it with what we know respecting God, and see whether it is likely to have proceeded from Him; and again, we can compare it with what we know of man, and judge whether it resembles a mere human preduction.

Let us first inquire whether Christianity looks like a mere human production.

Christianity not a human invention.


The early preachers of Christianity were Jews. Now, we know what were the feelings of the Jews who lived in those days. They were exceedingly proud of their ancestry, country, their religion, their temple, and of every thing that belonged to them; and, having been conquered by the Romans, they were very impatient of the foreign yoke, and were continually plotting to overthrow the Roman domi nion and re-establish their own. They not only wished deliverance, but they expected that the Messiah mentioned in the Old Testament would be a great earthly conqueror, who would subdue their enemies and confer on the Jewish na tion the sovereignty of the world.

Farther, they thought

eel that their religion was not merely the only true religion, but that even its minutest peculiarities would endure for

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have been

invented by

Had Christianity, then, been an invention of mere men, It could not it is exceedingly difficult to comprehend how the Apostles themselves could have adopted the opinions which they continutally express. For, they distinctly declare that Christ's kingdom is not of this world; they command subjects to obey their governors, and they do not in one instance give expression to the sentiment that the Jews are to lord it over the nations of the earth. Moreover, they expressly forbid that the special rites of the Jewish religion should be preserved. These things were calculated to irritate

Nor invented the Jews beyond measure; and we know for Jews. that they were still more bitter opponents of Christianity than even the Gentiles were. The change the Apostles introduced was not merely a reform;-the Jews considered it an entire revolution,-or, as they expressed it, "a turning of the world upside down." Here, then, is a twofold argument. In the first place, if the Apostles had invented a religion, they hardly could have devised one so greatly opposed to all the views and feelings which they themselves, as Jews, entertained. And secondly, they never would have offered one so certain to bring down upon their heads the fiercest indignation of their countrymen.

Nor for Gentiles.

But perhaps they invented a religion fitted to be popular among the Gentiles. Let us see. We have on record the opinion which some of the learned Gentiles formed of Christianity, and we find that, for a long time, the philosophers both of Greece and Rome disliked it, and strenuously opposed it. It attacked them in the first place, In the midst of those airy speculations and discussions in which the learned

The philosophers opposed Christianity.

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men so much delighted, the voice of Christianity was heard declaring; "Thus saith the Lord. The wisdom of this world is foolishness in the sight of God." The proud philosophers of Rome and Athens were told by Christian preachers that they, as well as the common people, were miserable sinners, exposed to the anger of God, and in need of that salvation which Christ had procured for them by his cross. These things aroused their deepest resentment. They speedily began to speak against Christianity, and to write against it.-Again, the common people among the Gentiles hated Christianity. The Christwere accustomed to testify boldly against the gods whom the Gentiles acknowledged; and, as they had no visible object of worship, they were regarded as Atheists by the ignorant populace, who thought they could not more effectually please their deities, than by putting the Christians to death. If then the Apostles had wished to invent a religion that might be acceptable to the Gentiles, they never would have devised such a system as Christianity.

The Gentile populace did the same.


What I have now said regarding the opposition of both Jews and Gentiles to Christianity, is fully confirmed by history. For three hundred years, the Christians were hated, oppressed, and often bitterly persecuted. They were never secure of their lives; at any moment, the rage of the people might break forth against them, and the cry be heard; "Away with the Christians to the lions." Surely then, even if we might suppose that the Apostles could have committed such a blunder as, in the first instance, to invent so unpopular a religion, yet they speedily would have altered it, when they found it exposed themselves to infamy, imprisonment, and death. No man wishes to be

miserable. But so far as mere outward circumstances were concerned, the early Christians were "of all men, the

most miserable."

It is not possible to conceive that sane men would have rendered themselves thus wretched, unless in obedience to God and in the persuasion that "His favour is better than life."

Nor would


It is

We thus clearly see that Christianity is not at all such a religion as we could expect to be invented by men, in the circumstances in which the early promulgators of it were placed. Neither is it such a religion as man, man, in any in any circumstances, would invent. invent such a entirely opposed to human pride. Man religion. boasts of his intellect and reason; ChristianCity tells him that, if he desire to be truly wise, he must first learn to confess himself a fool, and then ask wisdom of God. Man thinks himself possessed of moral excellence and entitled to God's favour; Christianity tells him that he is dead in trespasses and sins, and exposed to the wrath of God. The Bible is the most humbling book in the world. It strips man of all his vain pretensions, and leaves him naked and bare. Is it conceivable that such a system was devised by man?

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Christianity, then, cannot be from man. Let us now consider some of the arguments that show it to be such a religion as we might expect from God.

Internal har

mony of


The perfect harmony that exists of the among the different parts of the Christian Scriptures is a proof of their having come from God.

In regard

We have the life of Christ related by four different writers; but there is no contradiction in their stateto facts. ments. There is sufficient variety in their expressions to shew that they did not copy from each other, yet such a wonderful agreement as proves their astonishing accuracy in relating facts. Again, we have a book containing notices of the Acts of the Apostles, and many letters written by five of those Apostles, which often refer to points

in the history of the authors. All these books have been submitted to a most close and rigid scrutiny. Like witnesses in a court of justice, they have been questioned and crossquestioned again and again, to see whether their evidence exactly agrees. But, whether the examination has been conducted by friends or foes, the result has invariably been the same. Not only has there been no contradiction discovered. but unexpected, minute, and very striking coincidences have come to light. One of the most interesting books in the English language is a work by Dr. Paley, called Hora Paulina, in which he compares the facts and incidents recorded in the Acts of the Apostles with those that are referred to in the Epistles. The coincidences which he has traced are most remarkable. The witnesses have been subjected to the most searching examination possible, and the most thorough agreement has been found to prevail among them.

The same entire harmony is found to prevail in all the doctrinal statements of the Christian Scrip

In regard

to doctrines. Harmony between the Scriptures and Nature.


II. The harmony of the Christian Scrip tures with the works of Nature is a proof of their ha ving come from God.

Nature is from God. If Christianity be so too, we may expect to see in it, something of the same style of workmanship that we find in Nature. Or, in other words, if the book of Nature and the book of Revelation are both from God, we naturally look for some evidences that they have proceeded from one author.

This is a deep inquiry. To enter into it at full length would demand more time than we can spare, and perhaps more thought than you, my young friend, can as yet exercise. We may content ourselves, therefore, with a brief allusion to the subject. When the Bible was written, the various sciences were in a very rude and imperfect state,

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