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1 PETER III. 15. Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh

you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

It is one mark of the truth of our holy religion, that it courts inquiry. Christianity lays open its claims to every one that asks a reason of our faith. It declines no species of fair investigation.

The hope of which the apostle here speaks, is a humble confidence of escaping from the deserved wrath of God, and of obtaining everlasting life, through the death and resurrection of Christ. For this hope the first Christians cheerfully surrendered all worldly interests and advantages, and braved the terror of persecution and death.

It is for substance the same in every age; and the manner in which the Christian renders a reason of it, does not essentially differ. His answer will chiefly relate to the blessings which Christianity communicates, and the holy effects which it produces, and will dwell on historical and external proofs in proportion as the period in which he lives, and the information of those whom he is anxious to persuade, may require. The hope that is in him will ever be the ultimate object of his reply or APOLOGY.* The outward evidences, though requiring, in some ages of the church, a long detail, will chiefly be adduced as subsidiary and introductory.

* "Ετοιμοι δι αιοι προς απο 40ΓΙΑΝ.



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