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to stop, or in what can we rely upon it? To which question, as arguing with unbelievers, and as arguing for the substantial truth of the Christian history, and for that alone, it is competent to the advocate of Christianity to reply, Give me the apostles' testimony, and I do not stand in need of their judgement'; give me the facts, and I have complete security for every conclusion I want.

But, although I think that it is competent to the Christian apologist to return this answer; I do not think that it is the only answer which the objection is capable of receiving. The two following cautions, founded, I apprehend, in the most reasonable distinctions, will exclude all uncertainty upon this head which can be attended with danger.

First, to separate what was the object of the apostolic mission, and declared by them to be

So,

from what was extraneous to it, or, only incidentally connected with it. Of points clearly extraneous to the religion, nothing need be said. Of points incident

ally connected with it, something may

be added. Demoniacal possession is one of these points: concerning the reality of which, as this place will not admit the examination, or even the production of the argument on either side of the question, it would be arrogance in me to deliver any judgement. And it is unnecessary. For what I am concerned to observe is, that even they who think that it was a general, but erroneous, opinion of those times; and that the writers of the New Testament, in common with other Jewish writers of that age, fell into the manner of speaking and of thinking upon the subject, which then universally prevailed; need not be alarmed by the concession, as though they had any thing to fear from it, for the truth of Christianity. The doctrine was not what Christ brought into the world. It appears in the Christian records, incidentallyand accidentally, as being the subsisting opinion of the age and country in which his ministry was exercised. It was no part of the object of his revelation, to regulate men's opinions concerning the action of spiritual substances upon animal bodies. At any rates it is

unconnected with testimony. If a dumb person was. by a word restored to the use of his speech, it signifies little to what cause the dumbness was ascribed; and the like of every other cure wrought upon those : who are said to have been possessed. The malady was real, the cure was real, whether the popular explication of the cause was well founded, or not. The matter of fact, the change, so far as it was an object of sense, or of testimony, was in either case the same.

Secondly, that, in reading the apostolic writings, we distinguish between their doctrines and their arguments. Their doctrines came to them by revelation properly so called; yet in propounding these doctrines in their writings or discourses, they were wont to illustrate, support, and enforce them, by such analogies, arguments, and considerations, as their own thoughts suggested. Thus the call of the Gentiles, that is, the admission of the Gentiles to the Christian profession without a previous subjection to the law of Moses, was imparted to the apostles by revelation, and was

attested by the miracles which attended the Christian ministry among them. The apostles' own assurance of the matter rested upon this foundation. Nevertheless, Saint Paul, when treating of the subject, offers a great variety of topics in its proof and vindication. The doctrine itself must be received: but it is not necessary, in order to defend Christianity, to defend the propriety of every comparison, or the validity of every argument, which the apostle has brought into the discussion. The same observation applies to some other instances ; and is, in my opinion, very well founded. " When divine writers argue upon any point, we are always bound to believe the conclusions that their reasonings end in, as parts of divine revelation : but we are not bound to be able to make out, or even to assent to, all the premises made use of by them, in their whole extent, unless it appear plainly, that they affirm the premises as expressly as they do the conclusions proved by them*."

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UNDOUBTEDLY our Saviour assumes the divine origin of the Mosaic institution : and, independently of his authority, I conceive it to be very difficult to assign any other cause for the commencement or existence of that institution ; especially for the singular circumstance of the Jews adhering to the unity, when every other people slid into polytheism ; for their being men in religion, children in every thing else; behind other nations in the arts of peace and war, superior to the most improved in their sentiments and doctrines relating to the Deity*:

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* “ In the doctrine, for example, of the unity, the eter. nity, the omnipotence, the omniscience, the omnipresence, the wisdom, and the goodness of God; in their opinions concerning providence, and the creation, preservation, and government of the world." Campbell on Mir. p. 207. To

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