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How, different would have been the case, had the Scriptures been written by some of those theological speculators, who have since handled the same subject, in their own wisdom and strength. What scholastic refinements, what apologies for apparent difficulties, what nice distinctions, what extraordinary terms would have been imposed on their readers !
In the Bible all is simple, powerful, and prac-, tical.
While enough is hidden to humble us under a sense of our own ignorance, enough is revealed to direct our faith and to regulate our conduct; and the very mode in which the light shines upon us, affords a substantial evidence that it is the light of Heaven.
Thus various and satisfactory are the evidences which the Bible, considered alone, contains of its divine authority. Of the particular points which have now been offered to the attention of the reader, and which, after all, are only a selection of evidences, each may fairly be deemed conclusive independently of the others.
Let the inquirer after truth reflect on the general excellence of Scripture ; on the moral
and spiritual energy which pervades the book ; on the concentrated wisdom of a multitude of its particular texts, on the vigour and usefulness of its larger parts, and on the harmony of the mighty whole ; more especially, let him compare the types of the Old Testament with the great Antitype of the gospel; and let him observe the figurative application even of real characters and historical facts recorded in Scripture — all teeming with lessons of Christian doctrine and spiritual religion.
Or let him direct his attention to the agreement between many of the prophecies of Scripture, and the history contained in the same book, and particularly between the predictions respecting Christ, and the narratives of the four evangelists; and let him observe that while the prophecy and the history are precisely matched, the prophecy could not possibly have occasioned the history, or the history the prophecy.
Or let him examine the revelation made in Scripture, of the natural and moral attributes of God our Father; his spirituality, eternity, omnipotence, wisdom, omniscience, and omnipresence ; his holiness, justice, equity, longsuffering, goodness, and love --a revelation
which throws into the shade all the speculations of philosophers respecting the nature of the Deity, and which irresistibly recommends itself, as of divine origin, to every candid and serious mind.
Or let him compare the attributes of God with his moral law as it is unfolded in the Bible; let him dwell on the harmony which subsists between them; let him mark the perfection of that law, and the peculiarity of some of its features ; and especially let him observe the standard which it proclaims, and the motives which it calls into action.
Or let him observe the exact correspondence of the moral law in its full development, with the example of our Lord Jesus Christ ; let him examine the proofs afforded by the gospels themselves that this example was real ; and then let him meditate on the strength and beauty of its several parts, and on the originality and divine excellence of the whole.
Or let him contemplate the Saviour of mankind in that more extensive view which comprehends his whole nature, character, and history - his eternal pre-existence, his creative power, his incarnation, his miracles, his atoning death, his resurrection, his ascension, his reign of glory, and his predicted return on the day of judgment. More especially let him reflect on that wondrous combination in Christ of deity and humanity, which qualifies him for all his gracious offices, as a Mediator, a Priest, a King, a Judge, and a Redeemer.
Or, lastly, let him dwell on the personal attributes and gracious operations of the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier; on the distinct character and offices of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, in the economy of grace and salvation ; on their harmony of design and operation both in creation and in redemption; and above all, on their absolute, and unchangeable oneness in the glorious Godhead.
To whichsoever of these points in our argument we direct our attention, we can scarcely fail to find in it (if our search be deliberate and sincere) something which will constrain the inference, that the Holy Scriptures were given by inspiration of God.
But the evidences of Christianity in general, and this branch of them in particular, are cumulative. While each article in the series of proofs has its own force, it adds to the co
gency of all the others. This fact depends on a general principle, of the truth of which a slight degree of reflection will be sufficient to convince us. If a certain proposition is clearly supported by a single testimony, the proof is so far satisfactory; but when a second testimony is produced, we have not only the insulated force of each, but the correspondence between the two affords a distinct additional evidence that we are deceived by neither. Again, when a third testimony is added, the same effect is produced in a still greater degree, and behold, we have“ a threefold cord not quickly broken !" The comparison is a just one; three threads have severally their own force, but when twisted together, they produce a cord, of which the strength is far superior to the mere sum of their original forces.
But in an argument like the present, where the series of proofs consists of numerous distinct particulars, every one of which possesses an inherent validity, the accumulated force of the whole, becomes irresistible. Although parts of the system of Christianity may still be left in obscurity, and lie beyond the reach of human explanation, this is a force of evidence which