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“To do something to instruct, but more to undeceive, the timid and admiring student;
Fragment on Government.
JANUARY TO DECEMBER INCLUSIVE.
Printed for the Editor, by George Smallfield.
Mr. Cogan's Summary of the Evidences of Christianity. SIR,
is extant. This presumption is corroN the year 1796, I printed a small borated by the consideration, that, as Christianity. It was thought of favour- history, it was the credit that, was ably at the time by persons of whose actually given to the facts in question judgment I had a good opinion. I which caused the gradually-increasing have since been asked, whether it diffusion and establishment of Chriswould not be desirable that I should tianity. reprint it. To this I should for several Dr. Priestley, in his letters to a reasons object. The substance of it, Philosophical Unbeliever, (a work truly however, will be found in the following inestimable,) has the following para observations, which, if they appear to graph: "With respect to hypotheses, you to be nseful, you will not, per- to explain appearances of any kind, haps, think out of place in your Repo- the philosophical Christian considers sitory.
himself as bound to admit that which The Christian religion has existed (according to the received rules of for about 1800 years, and previous to philosophizing or reasoming) is the this period it did not exist. It derives most probable; so that the question its origin from a person called Jesus between him and other philosophers Christ, who lived in Judea, and was is, whether his hypothesis or theirs erucified by Pontius Pilate, the Roman will best explain the known facts, such governor. A short time after the as are the present belief of Judaism death of its founder, it was preached and Christianity, and also the belief of in the Roman empire by a few of his them in the earliest ages to which they followers, and gaired increasing credit can be traced.” With deference to and establishment, till at length it at an authority which I so Inighly respect, tained a decided pre-eminence above I should rather say, that until the New the Pagan religion and worship which Testament history has been shewn to had prevailed there for many ages, and be unworthy of credit, every hypowhich it finally overthrew. This con- thesis to explain the origin and proversion of the Pagans to Christianity gress of Christianity is unnecessary, must be considered as one of the most and consequently undeserving of attensignal revolutions which ever took tion. place upon earth, and is an event of Let it then be considered by what which every philosophical mind must wish to know the real and proper causes. The only history which ap- thing of the early history of Christianity,
* Let us suppose that we knew nopears to account for this singular phe- but merely understood that it commenced nomenon is that of the New Testa- at the time at which its origin is dated, ment; and this history consists of a that it gradually subverted the idolatry clear and distinct narrative of facts, of the Heathen world, and that wherever which, if admitted, will readily explain it came it carried with it a pure system this extraordinary revolution. Hence of morality, and inspired a confident assuarises a claim which this history lays rance of a life to come. Let the Christo our attention, and likewise a strong tian Scriptures be put into our hands presumption in its favour ; as it must with proper evidence of their authenticity. be allowed to stand in a very different Should we not think that we had found predicament from a narrative of facts the true cause of an extraordinary phewhich will account for no existing volume ought to be rejected because it
nomenon ? Or should we think that the phenomenon, and of which no monu- professed to give the narrative of a divine ment, except the historical testimony, interposition ?