« הקודםהמשך »
nature, as wholly to exclude every chance of imposition. What juggler could have given sight to him “ that was born blind ?” have fed five thousand hungry guests with “five loaves and two fishes?” or have raised one, who had been “four days buried,” from his grave ?
When we add to this, that none of the Jewish or Roman persecutors of Christianity, to whom its first teachers referred as witnesses of those facts, ever ventured to deny them; that no apostate disciple, under the fear of punishment, or the hope of reward, (not even the artful and accomplished Julian himself,) ever pretended to detect them ; that neither learning nor ingenuity, in the long lapse of eighteen hundred years, have been able to show their falsehood, though, for the first three centuries after their promulgation, the civil government strongly stimulated hostile inquiry; and that their original relators, after lives of uninterrupted hardship, incurred death in defence of their truth;—wecan scarcely imagine the possibility of a more perfect or more abundant demonstration.
It now rests with the deists to adduce some matters of fact of former ages, which they allow to be true, possessing evidence superior, or even similar, to those of Christ. This, however, it must at the same time be observed, would be far from proving the matters of fact of Christ to be false ; but certainly, without this, they cannot reasonably assert, that their own facts alone, so much more unfavourably circumstanced with regard to testimony, are true.
An abridged Account of the Sacred History, from the Creation of the World to the coming of our Saviour ; a period of about four thousand Years.
Having, in the foregoing division of our subject, given you a summary account of the books of which the Bible consists, and having established their undoubted authenticity, we shall now proceed to relate briefly, in the second part, that period of sacred history which is comprised in the Old Testament, from the creation of the world, to the appearance on earth of our blessed Redeemer. This takes in a period of four thousand years, of which sixteen hundred and fifty-six elapsed from the creation to the deluge.
The Book of Genesis opens, as we have before observed, with the most stupendous description of the creation of all things in heaven, and in the earth, in the space of six days.
On the first day God created light, to dis- B. C. 4004. tinguish day from night; (Gen. i. 3, 4;) on The creation. the second day the firmament in the heaven was produced, to divide the waters which were under the firmament, from those which were above the firmament. (Id. 6-8.) The sea and the earth, with the plants, trees, and fruits growing thereon, and each producing seed after its kind, were created on the third day. (Id. 9—12.) On the fourth day, the sun, the moon, and the stars were created, to give light by day and by night, and to mark the time and seasons. (Id. 14-19.) On the fifth day God created the birds and the fishes. (Id. 20—22.) And on the sixth day he created the beasts of the earth, and the creeping things : he also created the first man and woman, giving them the dominion over every living thing on the earth. (Id. 24–31.) On the seventh day, God rested 70. from his work which he had made, and he blessed and sanctified that day, because, it
is added by Moses, that in it he had rested
In this short but beautiful account of the
learn; but which we generally neglect to im71. press on our minds, owing to the careless way in which the Bible is read.
1. What is of infinite moment, this history of the creation has settled for ever that most important question, which the ancient sages were not able to decide from whence, and from what causes, this world, with all its inhabitants and appendages, drew its origin ? whether from chance, or from one supreme, intelligent, self-existing Being, the Author of all things, himself without beginning or end ? To this last cause, the inspired historian has ascribed the formation of this system, and by so doing, has established that great principle and foundation of all religion and all morality, and the great source and comfort to every human being. The existence of one God, the author and preserver of the world, and the watchful superintendent of all the creatures that he has made.
2. Although the mere will of our Creator was of itself able to produce instantly all we