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EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIANITY.
THE LOWELL INSTITUTE,
REVISED AS A TEXT BOOK.
MARK HOPKINS, D.D.
PRESIDENT OF WILLIAMS COLLEGE.
5 HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by
ILBOTBOTYPED AT TIL
BOBTON STERBOTIPI TOUNDBY.
THE following Lectures, published seventeen years since, having been extensively used as a text book, are now revised, with the hope of adapting them more fully to that end. In doing this, the arguments have been separated from each other, and captions have been given to the paragraphs. Changes have also been made in arrangement, a few things have been omitted, and some additions have been made. Neither these, nor the reasons for them, need be specified. The general form and substance of the Lectures have been retained, but, as now presented, it is hoped that the arguments will be both more readily apprehended and more easily remembered.
The Lectures were originally written on the invitation of John A. LOWELL, Esq., to deliver them before the Lowell Institute; and my sense of his kindness and courtesy were expressed in connection with their former publication. That expression I desire to renew, and to add that the same kindness and courtesy have been still further illustrated in connection with the present edition.
WILLIAMS COLLEGE, September, 1863.
TO THE FIRST EDITION.
TAE following Lectures are published as they were delivered. Perhaps nothing would be gained, on the whole, by recasting them; but they must be expected to have the defects incident to compositions prepared under the pressure of other duties, and required to be completed within a limited time.
When I entered upon the subject, I supposed it had been exhausted; but on looking at it more nearly, I was led to see that Christianity has such relations to nature and to man, that the evidence resulting from a comparison of it with them may
be almost said to be exhaustless. To the evidence from this source I have given greater prominence than is common, both because it has been comparatively neglected, and because I judged it better adapted than the historical proof to interest a promiscuous audience. It was with reference to both these points, that, in the arrangement and grouping of these Lectures, I have departed from the ordinary course; and if they shall be found in any degree peculiarly adapted to the present state of the public mind, I think it will be from the prominence given to the Internal Evidence, while, at the same time, the chief topics of argument are presented within a moderate space.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
The method of proof of which I have just spoken has one disadvantage which I found embarrassing. If Christianity is compared with nature or with man, it must be assumed that it is some specific thing; and hence there will be danger, either of being so general and indefinite as to be without interest, or of getting upon controversial ground. Each of these extremes it was my wish to avoid. That I succeeded in doing this perfectly, I cannot suppose. Probably it would be impossible for any one to do so in the judgment of all. My wish was to present the argument. This I could not do without indicating my sentiments on some of the lead. ing doctrines of Christianity up to a certain point; and if any
think that I went too far, I can only say that it was difficult to know where to stop, and that, if I had given the argument precisely as it lay in my own mind, I should have gone much farther. It is from the adaptation of Christianity as providing an atonement, and consequently a divine Re deemer, to the condition and wants of man, that the chief force of such works as that of Erskine, and “The Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation," is derived ; and I should be unwilling to have it supposed that I presented any thing which I regarded as a complete system of the Evidences of Christianity, from which that argument was excluded.
But if, in some of its aspects, the evidence for Christianity may be said to be exhaustless, it may also be said that several of the leading topics of argument have probably been presented as ably as they ever will be. Those topics I thought it my duty to present, and in doing so I had no wish to sacrifice force to originality, and did not hesitate to avail myself freely of such labors of others as were within my reach. If I had had time to do this more fully, no doubt the Lectures would have been improved.