« PreviousContinue »
The difficulties attendant upon deistical Infidelity in regard to its
possible grounds and reasons. p. 1.
It is useful not to suffer Infidelity to be always the assailant of
revealed religion, but occasionally to carry the war into the
country of the enemy himself. By such a process it will
be found, that to reject revelation evinces more credulity
than to retain it: because the difficulties attendant upon
unbelief are greater than the difficulties attendant upon
I. A statement of the possible grounds and reasons of Infi-
1. A discussion of the first possible ground, that a reve-
lation from heaven cannot, in the very nature of
2. A discussion of the second possible ground, that a
revelation from heaven is in itself so improbable an
occurrence that it beggars all credibility. p. 4.
3. A discussion of the third possible ground, that the
evidences, upon which our reception of a system
claiming to be a divine revelation is demanded, are
so unsatisfactory, that they are insufficient to com-
mand our reasonable assent. p. 7.
4. A discussion of the fourth possible ground, that nu-
merous objections exist in the case of each system
claiming to be a divine revelation; which objections
5. A discussion of the fifth possible ground, that, as
various theological systems have alike claimed to
be revelations from heaven, the presumption is, that
all these systems are equally impostures. p. 12.
6. A discussion of the sixth possible ground, that our
unassisted reason is sufficient, and therefore that a
revelation is unnecessary. p. 15.
II. A summary of the grounds of a Christian's belief. p. 18.
III. A summary of the grounds of an infidel's unbelief. p. 19.
The difficulties attendant upon deistical Infidelity in the abstract
rejection of all revelation from God. p. 21.
Deism presents so many difficulties, that, unless they can be
satisfactorily removed, the presumption will be, that a
revelation from God to man has actually been made. p. 21.
I. Though the deist may be able to prove from the frame of
the world, that it must have been created, he is unable
to prove that it was created by one only God. p. 22.
II. If it be allowed to him for the sake of argument, that
there is one only God, he is unable to demonstrate the
moral attributes of that being. p. 26.
1. He cannot demonstrate the justice of God. p. 27.
2. He cannot demonstrate the mercy of God. p. 31.
3. He cannot demonstrate the goodness of God. p. 35.
III. Thus unable to demonstrate the moral attributes of God,
he is of necessity ignorant what service will be pleas-
IV. All these difficulties in the deistical scheme draw after
them the crowning difficulty, that God, whose works
evince his wisdom, yet acted so unwisely as to place
his creature man in the world without giving him the
least instruction or information relative to his duty.
From the fact of the general deluge, taken as a specimen of the
mode of reasoning from historical matter of fact, may be
demonstrated the additional fact of a direct intercourse
between man and his Creator or (in other words) of a
revelation from God to man. p. 47.
I. Proofs of the fact of the universal deluge. p. 49.
1. Historical proof, built upon the attestation of all
nations to the fact of a general deluge. p. 49.
(1.) The substance of the tradition prevalent among
(2.) The tradition embodied in the national mythology
and religion of every people. p. 52.
2. Physiological proof, built upon the existing phe-
nomena of the globe which we inhabit. p. 54.
(1.) No circumstance is more thoroughly established
in geology, than that the crust of our globe
has been subjected to a great and sudden revo-
lution by the agency of water. p. 54.
(2.) Various physical matters testify, that this great
revolution cannot have happened at a more
remote period than five or six thousand years
3. Moral proof, built upon the progress of civilization.
(1.) Civilization has always a natural tendency to
spread itself more and more widely, while bar-
barism has a natural tendency to contract itself
within more and more narrow limits. p. 64.
(2.) With this view of the matter, all history, down to
the present time, perfectly agrees. p. 66.
II. The additional fact, of a direct intercourse between man
and his Creator or (in other words) of a revelation
from God to man, demonstrated from the established
fact of an universal deluge. p. 68.
1. The supposition, that the deluge did not cover the
tops of the mountains and that men and animals
preserved themselves by escaping to their summits,
2. The supposition, that a family escaped in a ship built
accidentally and not in consequence of a divine reve-
lation, shewn to be equally untenable. p. 72.
3. The final result is, that, if the fact of the deluge be
admitted, we shall find ourselves compelled to admit
also the additional fact, that a revelation of God's
purposes to his creature man has assuredly taken
place as we find it recorded in Holy Scripture.
The difficulties attendant upon deistical Infidelity in regard to
The prediction, selected as a specimen of the argument from
accomplished prophecy, shall be that of Moses respecting
the future destinies and fortunes of the Jews. p. 76.
I. Abstract of the prophecy. p. 78.
II. View of the accomplishment of the prophecy. p. 80.
1. Its accomplishment has taken place in all the nume
rous particulars of which it is composed. p. 80.
(1.) The first particular. p. 81.
(7.) The seventh particular. p. 85.
(9.) The ninth particular. p. 86.
2. The estimate of their own situation by the Jews
III. The train of reasoning, which springs from the prophecy
and its accomplishment. p. 91.
1. Insufficiency of the first possible deistical solution:
the political foresight and sagacity of Moses. p. 94.
2. Insufficiency of the second possible deistical solution:
(1.) Essential difference between the leading charac-
teristic of the real prophecy of Moses, namely
complexity; and the leading characteristic of
the pretended prophecy of Seneca, namely
(2.) Dissimilarity in the grounds and reasons, on
which each prophecy is supported. p. 101.
(3.) A tradition of the discovery of America by the
Phenicians was not unknown to Seneca: whence
his prophecy becomes a mere poetical orna-
The difficulties attendant upon deistical Infidelity in regard to the
facts and circumstances and character of the Christian Dis-
No small difficulties also attend upon Infidelity in regard to the
facts and circumstances and character of the Christian Dis-
I. The present existence of Christianity is a naked fact:
hence the only question between the believer and the