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event, whereby it was evinced that he was then alive, and exercised authority in heaven
You have proved from its author that the Christian Religion is divine :- I wish you now to do the same from the nature of the Religion itself?
This appears from its precepts and promises; which are of so sublime a kind, and so far surpass the inventive powers of the human mind, that they could have had no author but God himself. For its precepts inculcate a celestial holiness of life, and its promises comprehend the heavenly and everlasting happiness
How do you prove the same from the circumstances of this religion ?
loss to discriminate between the verdict of the critic and the charitable denunciation of the bishop.
Stegman's treatise is an excellent little compendium. It is appended, as stated above, to Brennius's Commentary on the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, which is often classed as a tenth volume of the Bibliotheca Fratrum Polono
Numerous references might be here given to more modern English works on this subject : the names of a few only can however be inserted. Dr. Lardner's great work on the Credibility of the Gospel History holds a pre-eminent rank in this class. Dr. Paley's more popular View of the Evidences of Christianity, in two volumes octavo, is also a work of great and acknowledged merit. Besides these, the reader may consult with advantage Bishop Watson's Apologies in Answer to Paine and Gibbon, and Mr. Belsham's Summary View of the Evidence and practical Importance of the Christian Revelation, which comprises a concise but comprehensive abstract of the arguments in behalf of the truth and divine authority of our holy religion. TRANSL.)
[The opinion of the Polish churches with respect to the nature and extent of the authority with which Christ was invested after his resurrection, will be explained hereafter. Transl.]
This can be easily shown from its rise, progress, power, and effects.
How do you prove from its rise that the Christian Religion is divine ?
This you will readily perceive when you consider who the first founders of this Religion were ;-men of mean birth, held in universal contempt; aided by no power or wealth, by no worldly wisdom or authority, in converting others to their doctrine.
How do you prove the same from its progress?
From this consideration :-that in a very short interval of time it spread in a manner truly astonishing; --for several nations, and an innumerable multitude of persons, learned and unlearned, of exalted rank and of mean condition, and of both sexes, relinquishing the religious systems which they had derived from their parents and ancestors, allured by no prospect of worldly advantage, and intimidated by none of the heavy sufferings which usually befell its professors, embraced the religion of Christ ; exhibiting a change which nothing but the heavenly origin and the divine power of this Religion could have effected.
How do you prove the same from its power and efi fects ?
First, because it could be suppressed by no human wisdom, or craft, or force, or authority. Secondly, because it did away all the old religious systems, excepting the Jewish, which it acknowledged to be of divine authority, though it was to flourish only until the advent of Christ, the author of so much more perfect a religion.
You have now shown me how authentic and credible the Scriptures of the New Testament are ; prove to me in the next place that the Scriptures of the Old Testament are equally entitled to belief?
This, indeed, is shortly proved from hence, that the Scriptures of the New Testament bear witness to their authenticity. Since, therefore, the witnesses are, as I have already demonstrated, true and authentic, it is evident that that concerning the truth of which they testify must also be true and authentic.
OF THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
You have proved to my satisfaction that the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament are authentic and credible ;-I wish to know, further, whether they are of themselves sufficient,-so that in things necessary to salvation they alone are to be depended
They are in this respect amply sufficient; because Faith that “worketh by Love,” which alone, the apostle Paul asserts (Gal. v. 6.), “availeth anything in Christ Jesus,” is in them sufficiently inculcated and explained.
How do you prove that Faith is sufficiently inculcated and explained in the Holy Scriptures?
From hence :-because Faith, which is directed to God and Christ, is nothing else than the belief " that God is, and that he is the rewarder of them that seek him.” (Heb. xi. 6.) And this Faith is most fully inculcated in the Scriptures.
How Have you any
How do you prove the same in respect to Love?
This appears from hence, that the duties of Love, whether towards God, or Christ, or our neighbour, are so fully explained, either in general or in particular precepts, as to place it beyond doubt, that he who practically observes them is endued with perfect love : and the same may also be asserted of the other duties of picty. other reasons to prove
this perfection of the Holy Scriptures ?
There are, indeed, several other reasons; but I shall content myself on the present occasion with noticing only two. The first is, that every thing which, in addition to the Law delivered by Moses, it is necessary to believe under the Gospel, in order to salvation, has been declared by the authors of the Evangelical History. For Christ, as he himself testifies, taught all these things : and whatever he taught as necessary to be known, it was the express object of these writers faithfully to record. And Luke asserts in respect to himself (Acts i. 1, 2, compared with his Gospel, chap. i. 3, 4.) that he had declared “ all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up.” So also John xx.31; these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
What is the second of these reasons ?
It is this :--that it is wholly incredible, that in so large a body of sacred literature, which God caused to be written and preserved with the express view of fur
nishing men with the knowledge of saving truths, those few particulars with which it is necessary for every person, even the most ignorant, to be acquainted, in order to his salvation, should not all have been included : and that, while a great number of things are written, the knowledge of which is not essential to salvation,--any one of those particulars should have have been omitted, without which all the rest are of no avail.
Of what use then is right reason, if it be of any, in those matters which relate to salvation ?
It is, indeed, of great service, since without it we could neither perceive with certainty the authority of the sacred writings, understand their contents, discriminate one thing from another, nor apply them to any practical purpose. When therefore I stated that the Holy Scriptures were sufficient for our salvation, so far from excluding right reason, I certainly assumed its presence.
If then such be the state of the case, what need is there of Traditions, which, by the Church of Rome, are pronounced to be necessary to salvation, and which it denominates the unwritten word of God?
You rightly perceive, that they are not necessary to salvation.
What then is to be thought concerning them?
That some of them are not to be reckoned under the name of traditions, in the sense in which the Papists employ the term ;-but that many of them were not only invented, without just reason, but are also productive of great injury to the Christian Faith.