« AnteriorContinuar »
6. Similar difficulties occur, on the infidel hypothesis, in regard to the rapid propagation of Christianity and the evidence by which the performance of miracles is supported. The deist, after every effort has been made, unphilosophically contends for the existence of effects without any adequate cause : and is content simply and gratuitously to deny alleged facts, which rest on the unbroken testimony, not merely of friends, but also of acute and inveterate enemies *.
7. Lastly, the infidel is still impeded by the most perplexing difficulties, if from the external he directs his attention to the internal evidence of Christianity. In the case of all acknowledged impostures, their leading characteristics constitute that very internal evidence, by which they are the most strongly and indubitably evinced to be impostures. But the leading characteristics of Christianity, in respect both of its author and of itself, are the precise opposites of the leading characteristics of all false religions. Therefore, by the rule of contraries, if the leading characteristics of false religions demonstrate their falshood; the leading characteristics of Christianity must demonstrate its truth. Unless this be admitted, we maintain in effect, that directly opposite premises may bring out precisely the same conclusions. To such a position the theory of the infidel will be found inevitably to conduct
See above Sect. vi.
him. Let him disguise his reasoning as he may, it truly and ultimately amounts to this : that two men and two religious systems, though respectively marked by characteristics in all points diametrically opposite to each other, are yet to be viewed as mutually possessing precisely the same character *
II. These are some of the numerous difficulties, which encumber the theory of the infidel ; difficulties, from which he can never extricate himself, because they are essentially inherent in the hypothesis which he has most unhappily and most illogically been induced to adopt. They have now been stated and discussed at considerable length and (it is hoped) also with fairness and impartiality. On a careful review of the whole argument, the cautious reader must judge for himself, whether, after all the captious objections which have at various times been started by infidel writers, the disbelief of Christianity does not involve a higher degree of credulity than the belief of it; whether, in point of rationality, it be not more difficult to pronounce it an imposture, than to admit it as a revelation from heaven.
* See above Sect. vii.
Printed by R. Gilbert, St. John's Square, London,