I have thought it necessary to state this point explicitly, because a fashion, revived by Voltaire, and pursued by the disciples of his school, seems to have much prevailed of late, of attacking Christianity through the sides of Judaism. Some objections of this class are founded in misconstruction, some in exaggeration; but all proceed upon a supposition, which has not been made out by argument, viz. that the attestation which the Author and first teachers of Christianity gave to the divine mission of Moses and the prophets extends to every point and portion of the Jewish history; and so extends as to make Christianity responsible, in its own credibility, for the circumstantial truth (I had almost said for the critical exactness) of every narrative contained in the Old Testament.
Rejection of Christianity.
We acknowledge that the Christian religion, although it converted great numbers, did not produce an universal, or even a general conviction in the minds of men of the age and countries in which it appeared. And this want of a more complete and extensive success is called the rejection of the Christian history and miracles; and has been thought by some to form a strong objection to the reality of the facts which the history contains.
The matter of the objection divides itself into two parts; as it relates to the Jews, and as it relates to Heathen nations: because the minds of these two descriptions of men may have been, with respect to Christianity, under the influence of very different causes. The case of the Jews, inasmuch as our Saviour’s ministry was originally addressed to them, offers itself first to our consideration.
Now upon the subject of the truth of the Christian religion; with us there is but one question, viz., whether the miracles were actually wrought? From acknowledging the miracles, we pass instantaneously to the acknowledgment of the whole. No doubt lies between the premises and the conclusion. If we believe the works of any one of them, we believe in Jesus. And this order of reasoning has become so universal and familiar that we do not readily apprehend