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ignorance and uncertainty, with respect to these most important points, in which all men have been and still are, who have enjoyed no fuch revelation, is a conftant, ftriking evidence of this.

There are, indeed, those who refufe to admit this evidence; and infift that human reafon alone, unaffifted by any revelation, except what is made in the works of creation and providence, is fufficient to investigate every neceffary and important truth; and therefore think themselves authorized to reject and defpife every other revelation that pretends to come from God, as the contrivance and production of defigning, or weak, deluded men. But while they entertain fo high an opinion of human reason, and especially their own, in the face of the glaring evidence from fact and experiment, juft now mentioned, they have produced an inconteftible evidence of their own fad miftake; for upon examination, the writings of the deifts are found to contain numerous contradictions with each other, on points of the highest moment; and most of them have embraced for truth, many tenets most unreasonable and abfurd. Thus, when they have renounced revelation, and boafted of their own reason, and relied upon that, as a fufficient and infallible guide; they have all, or most of them, run into darkness and delufion. And at the fame time, there is abundant evidence, that all the real light and knowledge they appear to have in divine things, which they attribute to the unaffifted exercife of their own reason, and which is more than the benighted heathen have, originated from that very revelation, which they discard and defpifc. With great propriety therefore they have been compared to a man who is in a room, illuminated by the bright fhining of a candle, and thereby is affifted to bchold the objects around him diflinctly: But being ignorant of the affiftance which he has from the candle, imagines he difcerns thofe objects by the ftrength of his


own fight; and therefore defpifes and endeavours to extinguish that light, which if withdrawn, would leave him wholly in the dark*. Befides, there is this farther evidence against them, and in favour of the revelation which they renounce, viz. It does not appear, that by all their writings and attempts, they have made any reformation in the morals of men, or that fo much as one man has been reclaimed from a vicious course of life, and become sober, humble, benevolent, pious and devout, by being made a convert to them: But, on the contrary, most, if not all their disciples, are of a character direaly the reverse of this; and they are most admired by men of vicious character, or who at leaft, are evidently without those virtues which are effential to conftitute a truly religious man.

Moreover, if the revelation they difcard reprefents men to be in such a state of depravity and vicious blindness, as to be disposed to shut their eyes against the cleareft light, and to treat it as these men in fact do treat the Bible; and foretells this fame treatment and conduct of theirs, as it certainly does; while they are thus flighting and rejecting it, they are really giving a ftrong evidence of its divine original.

But, to return: The usefulness and neceffity of such a revelation is abundantly evident from fact, and has been implicitly or exprefsly acknowledged by many of the most wise and inquifitive among the heathent. Hence we may conclude, that God has given one to men: And when we find ourfelves in poffeffion of a book which has all the marks and evidence that we can reafon. ably expect or defire, that it is indeed from God; and fuited to answer all the ends of a divine revelation, we fhall

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• See Leland's View of the Deillical Writers. And Clarke on revealed religion. Propofition vii.

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+ See Dr. Clarke on the truth and certainty of the Chriftian reve. lation. Propofition vii.


fhall be very criminal, if we do not receive it with itude, and improve it to promote all the important pur pofes for which it is given.

Such a revelation we find to be contained in the book called the Bible, or the holy fcriptures. For while all other pretended revelations from God, which have been, or now are found among men, are without all proper evidence of their being fuch, and carry evident marks of impofture, which has been abundantly demonftrated, by those who have examined them: This has ftood the test of the fevereft fcrutiny both of its friends and enemies, and the more it has been examined, the more clearly does it appear, that all the objections which have been made against it are futile and groundless; and that there is fufficient and abundant evidence, that it is from God, fuited to give fatisfaction and a well grounded affurance of its divine original, to every impartial, honeft mind.

THE first part of this book was written by Mofes, after he had given abundant evidence, by a series of aftonishing miracles, done in the fight of the Egyptians, and all Ifrael, that he spake and acted, under the influence and direction of the fupreme Ruler of the universe, and had fufficiently established his character, as a prophet divinely inspired. Mofes faid he was fent by Jehovah, the only true God, the God of Ifrael, to demand of Pharaoh the king of Egypt, to let his people go out from under his oppreffive hand; and foretold that if he refused to do it, God would flay his firft born fon. Pharaoh faid he knew not who Jehovah was, and bid defiance to him, declaring he would pay no regard to his demand. This gave opportunity for an open trial and decifion, whether Jehovah, the God of Ifrael, was the true God, or the gods of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The priests and the magicians of Egypt, were collected, and entered the difpute with Mofes. They wrought



wrought several miracles, in imitation of thofe which Mofes did in the name of the God of Ifrael; but there was an evident, decided fuperiority in those wrought by Jehovah: And the contest went on, till at length they were not able to stand before Moses, and confeffed pub. licly that Jehovah was God, and fuperiour to theirs. Mofes went on doing wonders, in the fight of all Egypt, and infli&ing various fucceffive judgments on Pharaoh, and on the Egyptians; at the fame time particularly foretelling the miraculous chaflifement which Jehovah had revealed to him he would inflict. At length, Mofes informed Pharaoh, that if he fhould ftill perfift in refufing to let Ifrael go out of Egypt, Jehovah had faid to him, that he would flay all the first born in Egypt; and this was foretold to all Ifrael; which accordingly came to pals: And the Egyptians were made to fear and tremble before the God of Ifrael, and intreated his people to pray to him for them, acknowledging he was the fupreme God. Thus Ifrael went out of Egypt, as Jehovah had promifed they should, and were led through the Red Sea, the waters dividing to make them a way, at the direction and command of their God; while Pharaoh and the Egyptians, who were fo hardy as to follow them, were all drowned in the waters. Thus Jehovah publicly triumphed over all the gods of Egypt, and executed judgment upon them; and by the fullest and most inconteftible evidence established his character as the only true God. The people of Ifrael felt, and folemnly acknowledged this, at the Red Sea ; and they were led on by the hand of Moses, attended with a conftant courfe of miracles, unto Mount Sinai. On that mount, God appeared in a manner fuited to manifeft his prefence and awful, glorious majefty, and excite their utmost attention, fear and reverence; and then, from the top of the mountain, out of the fire, with a voice that could be diftinctly heard by all that vaft multitude, confifling of at leaft

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leaft three millions of people, he fpake the ten commandments, and added no more. They were after. wards written on two tables of ftone, by the finger of God; which was most probably the first writing by let ters, in this world*: And Mofes, being taught of God to read it, and fo how to write, was directed and infpir ed by God to write the hiftory of the creation of the world, and the events which had taken place fince; and of mankind, fo far as was neceffary thefe things fhould be recorded and known; and, more particularly, the history of the origin of the Hebrews, and the events of divine providence respecting them. As this is the first, and oldest, so it is the only authentic hiftory of the creation of the world, and of mankind, from the beginning to that time, which is an era of about two thousand five hundred years. Mofes alfo wrote a code of laws for that people, which he faid were dictated to him by God, containing many promifes and threatnings, together with a number of typical inftitutions, which were fhadows of things to come. And there are many predictions in his writings, which have already come to pass; efpecially that God would raise up unto them that great prophet, the Meffiah, of whom he himself was a type; and if they would not hear him, they fhould be deftroyed.

God having thus eftablished his character, as the only true God, by abundant and moft clear evidence; and magnified Mofes in the fight of the Egyptians and all Ifrael, as his fervant and prophet, directed and infpired by him both to do, and to fay, all that he did and faid, in the name of Jehovah'; he forbid them to hearken to a prophet, or any other perfon, who fhould arife and do wonders and miracles, not in the name of Jehovah, but


See Dr. Winder's history of the rife, progress, declenion and reviva pf knowledge, chiefly religious.

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