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or how far it might give a check to the intemperate zeal of Christians at that time, I am not a judge; and therefore, can only observe, that as the case then stood, viz. when the aforesaid revelation was first promulged, it seems to have been not altogether unworthy of the supreme God, for him to have interposed, by a particular and special application of his power and providence, for the removal of the aforesaid evils, fupposing them to be such, and suppofing he does interpose, upon like occasions, to answer the like purposes. So that, whether the Mahometan revelation be of a divine original, or no:; there seems to be a plausible pretence, arising from the then circumstances of things, for stamping a divine character
it. As to the CHRISTIAN revelation, which was first promulged by Jesus Christ, and therefore was called after his name ; this, of course, comes more immediately within my notice and observation, as it's divinity is acknowledged, and contended for in all this part of the world. And as that is a principle which was very early impressed upon my mind as truth, (though, perhaps, by it I may pos
fibly have been prejudiced in it's favour) so it seems to require that I should examine this point with so much the more care and caution, in order to guard against any bias that may affect my judgment, with relation thereto ; seeing all partiality, all respect in judgment ought to be avoided, as well with respect to things as persons. Nor do I think this subject to be altogether so clear and free from difficulties as might well be expected, considering what is usually assumed concerning it.
That there was such a person as Jesus Christ, and that he, in the main, did *, and taught as is recorded of him, appear to be probable ; and this probability is grounded
* The present run of methodism, or it's prevailing in the way, and to the degree that we find by experience it does, without any miraculous power attending it, or any external evidence to back it, this, it must be confessed, takes off, in fome degree, from the weight and force of the present argument: for if methodism now prevails without any miraculous power attending it, or any external evidence to back it ; then, why may not that have been the case of Christianity heretofore? And if the letter of the present Scriptures, together with the operation of the divine Spirit upon the human mind, or what is judged to be so, is at present sufficient for the founding and propagating of methodism; then, why may not the letter of the Scriptures then in being, together with a like operation of the divine Spirit upon the human mind, or what was then judged to be so, have been sufficient for the introduction and propagation of Christianity allo?
upon the improbability of the contrary fupposition ; that is, it appears improbable that Christianity should take place, and prevail in the way, and to the degree that it did, or, at least, that it is represented to have done *, supposing the history of Christ's life and ministry to be a fiction. And from the improbability of this arises the probability of the contrary supposition, viz, that there was such a person as Jesus Christ, and that he, in the main, did, and taught as is recorded of him. Again, if such power attended Jesus Christ, in the exercise of his ministry, as the history sets forth ; then, seeing that ministry naturally terminated in the publick good, it is more likely that God was the primary agent in the exercise of that
other invisible being ; because it is more likely that God would interpose for the common good of his creatures, than that one creature should thus interpose in favour of the rest ; and then it is probable that Jesus Christ, upon whose will the immediate exercise of that power depended, would not use that power to impose
pon and mislead mankind, seeing that power appears to have been generally well
directed See the last part of the appendix.
directed and applied, in other respects. Again, as it appears probable that Jesus Christ was intrusted with a superiority of power, to be administered for the publick good ; fo, from hence it becomes probable that he was likewise intrusted with the administration of fuperior knowledge, to answer the same end, seeing he assumed such a character ; I say, the former is a probable ground of the latter. From these premises, or from this general view of the case, I think, this conclufon follows, viz. it is probable Christ's mision was divine. I say, the above conclusion is probable, and this is the utmost that can be inferred from the above premises ; at least it appears so to me, from the light or information I have received concerning it, upon a due and careful examination of the case, and from which alone my judgment is, and ought to be directed. The great distance, both of time and place, in which these things were transacted, and the false or partial representations which may possibly have been given of them, and also my inability to examine the case thoroughly, these may bar me from other premises, which were I in the polefion of, perhaps, other and different conclufions might
appear to me to follow from them ; but then, supposing there are such, they are nothing to me, whose judgment ought to be directed by such information as I bave attained, and not by such light as I have not. Thus far then I am a believer, and a Chriftian ; but whether it will be allowed that these appellations are properly applied to me, I know not, nor am I at all follicitous about it. Nevertheless, if other persons have other premises, from which they can draw other conclufions, or if they can draw other or stronger conclusions, than I have drawn from the premises aforesaid, let it be so; I am not injured by it, and therefore am not offended at it. And as to discipleship to Christ, I think myself concerned to imitate that excellent example he has set me, and to follow those wholesome counsels or precepts he has given, or recommended to me ; these being the truest and furest marks of discipleship to Christ, according to his own account of this matter, as in Luke vi. 46. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do, not the things which I say? This, I think, is the same as to say, that professing discipleship to Christ, without following his precepts, is idle and vain : but then, the paying