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COLLECTION

OF

THEOLOGICAL TRACTS,

IN SIX VOLUMES.

By RICHARD WATSON, D.D. F.R.S.
LORD BISHOP of LANDAFF,

AND

REGIUS PROFESSOR of DIVINITY in the UNIVERSITY of
CAMBRIDGE.

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Printed for T. EVANS in the Strand, and in the Great Market, Bury St.
Edmund's; J. and J. MERRILL, Cambridge; J. FLETCHER, and PRINCE and
COOKE, Oxford; P. HILL, Edinburgh; and W. M'KENZIE, Dublin.

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Of the Truth of the Chriftian Religion. By DAVID
HARTLEY, M. A. Lond. 1749. p. I.

CONTENT S.

This Tract is printed from the fecond volume of Doctor Hartley's
Obfervations on Man; it is written, as all the other parts of that
work are, with fingular clofenefs of thought; and to be well un-
derstood, must be read with great attention. Grotius; Abbadie
Fabricius; Limborch; Jacquelot Houtteville; Pafcal; Stillingfleet;
Stackhouse; Benfon; Clarke; Leland; Lardner; Macknight; Chand-
ler; Jenkins; Stebbing; Fortin; Fofter; Nichols, and a great many
other authors, have taken laudable pains in proving the truth of
the Chriftian religion; but I know not any author, Grotius ex-
cepted, who has, in fo fhort a compafs, faid more to the purpose
on that fubject than Doctor Hartley has done in the tract which is
here republished.

Of the Truth of the Chriftian Religion. By JOSEPH
ADDISON, Efq. p. 76.

This pofthumous Treatife of Mr. Addifon has been much ef
teemed both at home and abroad: the general argument contained
in it has been carried to a greater length by other authors fince his
time; efpecially by Mr. Correvon of Geneva; by Profeffor Bullet
of Befançon; and by Dr. Lardner, who has treated it in all its parts
with great accuracy in his Collection of Jewish and Heathen Tefti-
monies to the Truth of the Chriftian Religion. There is, unfor-
tunately, in many men, a ftrange prepoffeffion against every thing
written by churchmen, in defence of the Chriftian religion ;-
that "Priefts of all religions are the fame" that "they defend
altars on which their lives depend," with an hundred other expref-
fions of a fimilar tendency, are frequent in the mouths of un-
believers we fincerely forgive them this wrong; but as the charge
of selfishnefs and hypocrify cannot, with any fhadow of propriety,
be brought againft Mr. Addifon, and fuch other laymen as have
written in fupport of Chriftianity, we intreat them to give a fober
attention to what thefe unprejudiced writers have advanced on the
fubject furely eternal life is too important a concern to be jested
away in farcaftic witticisin, and frothy disputation.

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The argument for the truth of Chriftianity which is taken from

the history of the deftruction of Jerufalem as related by Jofephus, com-

pared with our Saviour's prediction of that event recorded by the

Evangelifts Matthew, Mark, and Luke, has always been confidered

as one of the ftrongeft which can be urged, either against the Jews

in particular, or against unbelievers in general. In modern times

this argument has been illuftrated by Jackfon in the first volume of

his works, 1673; by Tillotson in the 12th vol. (8vo ed.) of his Ser-

mons; by Kidder in his Demonftration of the Meffiah; by Whitby

in his Commentary on St. Matthew, and in his General Preface

by Sharpe in a difcourfe intituled, The Rife and Fall of the Holy

City and Temple of Jerufalem, preached at the Temple Church,

1764; and, to mention no others, by Fortin in the first vol. of his

Remarks on Ecclefiaftical Hiftory. This author has alfo well

proved, not only that the Gofpels, in which the predictions of

Chrift relative to the deftruction of Jerufalem are delivered, were

written before that event; but that the predictions themselves

could not have been inferted into the Gofpels, as interpolations,

after the event: the reader will not efteem this to have been an un-

neceffary labour, who recollects the confidence with which Voltaire,

with a view probably of evading the force of the argument in quef-

tion, declares that the Gofpels were written after Jerufalem was

destroyed-fans doute après la deftruction de Jerufalem.-Many

an unbeliever is apt to think and fay, that he would have faith

in the Gofpel, if he could fee a man raifed from the dead, or any

one notable miracle performed in atteftation of its truth. Now the

completion of an ancient prophecy is, to us who see the completion,

a miracle; and I would fincerely recommend it to every one, who

is not steadfast in the faith, to examine carefully, and liberally,

whether the prophecies-concerning Jerufalem being trodden under

foot of the Gentiles-concerning the fterility of Palestine the state

of the Jewish people-the introduction of the Gentiles into the

Church of God-the apoftafy of the latter times--the independency

of the Arabs-the fervitude of Ham's pofterity, &c. have not been

literally fulfilled. These things are facts which fall within our own

obfervation; and if we fearch the Scriptures, we fhall find that these

facts were predicted long before either we or our fathers were born.

*

The

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The prefent conftitution of the world, with refpect to the civiliza-
tion, the religion, the liberty, or flavery of the different empires
which fubfift in it, is but one ftage of the completion of the va-
rious prophecies, which were of old delivered, concerning the for-
tunes of individuals, nations and countries. We in our day's may
fay what Tertullian, fpeaking of the accomplishment of Scripture
prophecy, faid in his Quicquid agitur prænunciabatur, quicquid vi-
detur audiebatur. The reader may find thefe fubjects difcuffed by
Bp. Newton in his Differtations on the Prophecies; by Whiston in
his Accomplishment of Scripture Prophecy; by Sharpe in his fecond
Argument in defence of Chriftianity; by Lardner in his three Ser
mons on the Circumftances of the Jewish People, an Argument for the
Truth of Chriftianity; by the author of the Principes de la Foi Chré-
tienne; by the author of an Effay in the Univerfal Hiftory, on The
Independency of the Arabs; by Bifhops Hurd, Hallifax, and Bagot,
in their Sermons preached at Warburton's Lecture; by Jofeph Mede,
and Henry More, in their respective works; and by Worthington in
his Sermon preached at Boyle's Lecture, 1766, &c.

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All the Actions recorded in the Gospels are probable,
P. 177.

This Tract is the 4th chap. of the rft book of the Truth of the
Gospel Hiftory, by Macknight. Young men fhould render this fhort
tract familiar to them by a frequent perufal of it; they will find in it
very concife, but fatisfactory anfwers to many objections refpect-
ing fome parts of our Saviour's conduct, the poffibility and the
credibility of miracles, &c. which are, fometimes ferioufly, oftener
in wanton mockery of religion, made subjects of common conver-
fation, and which never fail to leave a bad impreffion on the minds
of those who know not how to reply to them.

Of the Argument for the Truth of the Chriftian Religion
arifing from the converfion of the world to Christianity;
taken from the Truth of the Gofpel Hiftory. By JAMES
MACKNIGHT, D. D. 1763. p. 199.

That great multitudes out of every nation in the then known
world were converted from Heathenifm to Chriftianity, within a
few years after the death of Jefus, is a fact allowed on all hands;
the question is, whether this fact can be properly urged as a decifive
proof of the divine origin of the Chriftian religion. And, with-
out doubt, the fact, abftractedly confidered, cannot,
The exten-
five propagation of a religion, how rapidly foever it may have been

made,

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