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converts, in the absence of philosophic arguments, only by the testimony of some miraculous proof.

It is easy to talk of the pure and austere morals of the Christians as one of the reasons of the progress of the Gospel. It is a delightful and a copious theme, but never could it háve contributed to the general propagation of the faith.: The Christians were not allowed to possess any virtues. They were held as 'atheists, as immoral, as impure ; and their character, therefore, would not attract, but rather repel, the penitent, whilst he who professed and called himself a Christian would be bound in obedience to his faith to be holy above all, and yet be accounted a sinner above all. In a word, he would have to undergo the difficulties, without receiving the rewards of virtue in the life that now is ; and it is plain that he would never trust to the promises of reward in the life to come, without some undeniable proof of the truth and authority of the book in which they were written.

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The union and discipline of the Christian body too, if truly it did exist, whence could it arise, in early times, and whilst the Gospel was neither protected nor ruled by the state, and when there were no Acts of Uniformity to compel, nor any undeviating forms of faith to regulate assent,

- if not from union of sentiment; and whence that universal harmony of opinion, if not from a conviction of the divine infallibility of some common document to which they appealed and from which they drew their doctrines ?

We are told of the miraculous powers ascribed to the primitive Church, and I have reserved the consideration of this cause, as the most important, to the last. Now I ask, if it be possible that miraculous powers could be ascribed to the Church without being possessed by it? and if not, I shall be most ready to admit the operation of this cause.

Consider then the state of the world at the period in which Christianity appeared.

It was an age of scepticism and of the “ fashion of incredulity;" and one of the brightest ornaments of ancient philosophy gloried in the uncertainties of academic doubt. Why was this “ fashion of incredulity” suspended when applied to the Christian Church, - so far as even to ascribe to it miraculous powers. Surely the general habit of scepticism would have extended itself most eagerly to those powers, had they not been supported by some undeniable proof of their reality At no period can the unbelief of those who nega lect to inquire into any fact be construed into an argument against its truth. But in an age of scepticism and incredulity every single individual who believes in its occurrence affords a strong probability of his faith being founded on a solid basis.

It was an age in which the greater part of the civilized world were the subjects of one government; and this, whilst it facilitated the preaching of truth, would have facilitated also the detection of falsehood.-In some remote and secluded country an imposition might possibly rise up to maturity, and then go forth and gain an establishment in other kingdoms, because supported and sanctioned by the faith of a whole nation. But Christianity was spread over the limits of a mighty empire by the individual efforts of single teachers. In those days too the world was in a state of general peace, and men, like the Athenians, had little else to attend to but the hearing or the telling of each new thing; and being perfectly settled and secure, had neither hopes nor fears to distract them, nor any end to answer, nor any party to serve, by attributing to Christians what they did not possess. It might not have been so had Christianity ap. peared in the days of Cæsar and Pompey, and been embraced hy either from political motives; and it was not so in after times, when each emperor courted or persecuted the faithful, according as he desired or disregarded their support.

Lastly, it was an age in which the human mind had reached the highest state of intellectual cultivation; and such an age, it is evident, is least favourable for obtaining credit for what does not exist. In a period of ignorance and barbarity, truth and falsehood are almost upon a level, but when the spirit and freedom of inquiry prevail, it may sometimes happen that what is true, is rejected; but it will seldom be found that what is untrue is believed.

For all these reasons, therefore, we hold it most unreasonable to imagine, that multitudes of various nations, and in an enlightened age, should ascribe to the Church the miraculous powers which it never exercised; and under these circumstances we glory in attributing the conversion of the world to its possession of miraculous powers, as to a leading cause.

Take the matter, then, in which way you will examine the obstacles which Christianity had to surmount, or investigate the causes by which it may be supposed to have been favoured, and you will find, that the former could never have been overcome, without the aid of heaven;

nor the latter have been of use except the religion itself had been divinely true. Mightily grew the word of God and prevailed,” because it was the word of God, and because God made it to prevail.

With my reasonings upon evidence I have done. Yet before I quit the subject, perhaps never to resume it again, for God only knows what is written in the book of fate, I would beseech

you to bear with me for a moment, whilst I speak but a few words more, and no longer to the understanding, but to the heart. It is no vain or idle inquiry, in which we have been engaged. It is no contest of mental ingenuity or eloquence; nor does it relate merely to the passing interests and pleasures of the world and the flesh. It is the fight 'of faith; it is the war of God, and of salvation; it is a struggle for the joy or misery of the soul for ever. As such, I have met it. I have come to it in all its awfulness. I have studied it by day, and meditated upon it by night, and poured forth upon its sacred defence the powers and the energies of the best member that I have; and God is my witness, how, in the consciousness of want and weakness, I have never ventured to come before you without having implored the aid of his eternal Spirit. Yet I feel the vastness and immensity of the

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