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God. Incapable as we are of creating ourselves, who made us, if not a power superior to us?—who continues to preserve not only mankind, but the whole frame and system of heaven and earth in regular harmony, but a power superior to mankind, ruling over heaven and earth? It would be idle waste of time to employ more arguments to establish a fact which requires but a moment's thought to ascertain it, depending not upon the report or authority of others, but upon the sole exertion of our own understandings. 1, therefore, proceed to the second fundamental article of our faith, the belief of a Saviour and Redeemer.
The more closely we examine the doctrine of the Christian Faith, the more agreeable we shall find it to our reason and understanding; and while we discover some things, which in our frail and uncertain judgments we can'not account
for, and therefore consider them as above our comprehension, we shall find nothing that contradicts our reason.
The same authority upon which we rest our belief in all historical relations ancient or modern, of our own or other nations, ought to ina duce us to give faith to the history of our Saviour.
We have heard and read of the empires of Greece and Rome, and many once flourishing cities, and of the lives and wonderful actions of many individuals of each nation; but who amongst us ever saw those empires, or were eye-witnesses of those heroes of renown? Yet we believe, and are firmly persuaded, that they have existed-we give credit to the relations of their historians, we record their actions, condemn their vices, and applaud their virtues.
Again, few of us have visited those quarters of the globe which we do not in. habit, or even the different parts of our own kingdom, and fewer still have seen or conversed with those conspicuous characters of our own times, whether at home or abroad, which are known and talked of, and common in the mouths of all; yet who ever doubts the existence of those nations or kingdoms, or the individuals that inhabit them!
We believe they exist, from our confidence in the report of others, and a conviction that they can have no interest in deceiving us. All these reasons concur with greater force to establish us in the belief of our Saviour.
If we consult history, we have it confirmed to us by the most able and most esteemed writers for truth and impartiality, that such a man as Jesus did exist in the days of Herod, born of a pure virgin. Almost every circumstance of his life, sufferings, death, and resurrection are related to us by various historians, who lived in those very days, and some of them too, who were enemies and persecutors of the first Christians. These relations are confirmed to us by the Evangelists and apostles, most of whom were eye-witnesses of the whole; some who accompanied him in all his actions, heard his words, and recorded them from his own mouth; others, who, though they saw and conversed with him, had yet continued obstinate in their disbelief of his sacred character and mission, and were afterwards convinced by the repetition of his miracles, even after his resurrection, and converted to the true faith, have left us the most powerful proofs of the truth of his existence, and the authenticity of the religion he established ! and what is still more convincing, the greatest part laid down their lives in support of their faith. Why then should we refuse that credit to Christ and his Apostles, which we think reasonable to give to
one another? Why should we, who are so easy of belief, so credulous, in the authority of old traditions, historical relations, and hearsay evidence, in matters that so little concern us, be so averse to give faith to those material points of religion, so unwilling to persuade ourselves of those important truths in which weareso nearly interested !--truths delivered to us from the same authority, confirmed to us by stronger testimonies, and recommended to us upon motives superior to all other historical facts--for they are not a bare relation of events, but contain points upon which our present and future happiness immediately depend. Did the religion of Christ hold forth doctrines incompatible with our real happiness; did it tend to deprive us of the innocent enjoyments of this life, and those which are not innocent no religion and no system of morality could authorize,) or present a gloomy prospect of the life to come, there might be some shew of reason to induce us