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racterized by truth and goodness: instead, therefore, of a multitude, all opposed to each other, he can, according to this attribute of his nature, have given but one exclusive revelation for the direction and universal government of all his creatures. The fact is, when good money is issued, wicked men immediately imitate it by making and circulating false coin : and so it is here; God has given one true revelation, which iş designed for all men, and in consequence of this, wicked men have written and palmed upon the world a variety of books full of error and falsehood, the advocates of each asserting that their books are sanctioned by the authority of the Deity, and contain a revelation of his will for the regulation and government of his creatures' conduct.
5. It is of high and essential importance, that every man should endeavour to distinguish the true from the multitude of false revelations which abound in the world, because the possession or absence of this knowledge is intimately connected with his future happiness or misery. This is a work of great difficulty, and many will be ready to say, By what method are we to proceed in this examination, and what rules must be laid down to enable us to distinguish truth from falsehood? To this enquiry it is replied, that were a written communication to come to us from a person at a distance, there are two ways, by which we may examine it, in order to ascertain the veracity of the claims by which it professes to be supported. Ist. We may examine it as to the subject and nature
of the message, and endeavour to judge how far it is genuine by comparing it with the known character
of the person, from whom it professes to have come. 2d. We may sit in judgment upon the credibility of
the witnesses, and from the apparent marks of fraud or integrity, which are associated with their character and conduct, form our conclusion as to the probable authenticity of the message which they have
brought us. 6. In prosecuting our enquiries into the truth of divine revelation, we may, by bringing these two principles to bear upon the subject, arrive at a conclusion sufficiently satisfactory to enable us in general to detect falsehood, and also to judge with accuracy as to the probability of what is true. I shall therefore proceed to an examination of the Bible and the Hindoo Shasters, and beginning with the first of these two rules, endeavour by applying it to the subject in question, to ascertain the truth or falsehood of their respective claims.
The Nature or fundamental Principle, by which we may,
from the known Character of God, expect the Contents of a true Revelation to be distinguished; and the Examination by this Principle of the Bible and Hindoo Shasters.
The knowledge of the character and attributes of God which is attainable by the light of nature is exceedingly limited; our means are not sufficient to enable us to arrive at any positive conclusions without an immediate revelation from him. It is, however, highly desirable, that what we do or may know of him should be brought to bear upon the subject before us; for although from this nothing in the clear light of demonstration is attainable, yet much in this way may be brought forward to assist us in the prosecution of our enquiries. Every rational man must be ready to acknowledge, “ That the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even bis eternal power and Godhead," Rom. i. 20. and if we keep close to this as a fundamental principle, we are at once in possession of certain characteristic marks of truth and falsehood, which being brought to bear upon the subject under investigation, will enable us to judge with tolerable accuracy of the authenticity of all books claiming the high authority of being a divine revelation.
The Extent of this fundamental Principle, and its Applica
tion to the Subject under Review. Considering God as the Creator of all things, which none but Atheists will attempt to deny, it is sufficiently evident, from the works of nature, that he is a great, and wise, and powerful being; and if, in connection with this, we review his providential dispensations in the preservation and government of the world, it is equally evident that he is as merciful and bountiful as he is wise and powerful. But we may go a step further than this. Every man has a something within him, which enables him to judge of what is right and wrong, and which tells him, that if he does that which is right, he will be approved of and rewarded by bis Maker; but that if he does wrong, he will be punished. This is what divines call natural conscience. Now this internal feeling is an actual and full recognition of the authority of God-of his hatred of sin-the duty of all men to obey him, and their liability to punishment, if they do not. In short, as it respects the being and attributes of God, men in the general universally agree. Nearly all men acknowledge that there is but one God, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things,-that he is almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, and unchangeable; --that being himself free from every stain of sin, he will punish all who indulge in it;--that he has created us, supports and preserves us ;—and that it is our duty to love, honour, and obey him.
These universally acknowledged truths, therefore, must be the groundwork or basis of our enquiry : we have here something that is tangible, and which it is our duty firmly to keep hold of in prosecuting the examination before us. Now if we bring the first of the principles previously specified to bear upon this investigation, we may, according to it, as the rule of our procedure, reasonably suppose that there will be an analogy between this acknowledged character of God, and the revelation which he has given; and that in this revelation the honour which is due to
him, on account of the high character which he sustains, and the duties which, in consequence of it, his creatures universally owe him, will be inculcated upon all men. If, therefore, a revelation professing to have come from God, contains, according to this rule, a correct account of him, it is a strong presumptive evidence of its truth: but if the contents of this professed revelation are in opposition to these principles, it is in that case, on the ground of reason and common sense, to be rejected as false, because it is contrary to what God evidently appears to be in the creation and government of the world, and also contradicts the testimony of natural conscience, or the law of nature written on the heart of men, by which their conscience bears witness, and enables them, in the exercise of thought, to accuse or excuse one another. Rom. ii. 15.
The Consistency of the Account which the Bible gives of
the Divine Character and Government, and its Harmony with this distinguishing Principle of moral Evidence.
I shall now proceed to show, that the Bible contains a correct and consistent account of God, agreeing with the foregoing statement. The sacred penmen were not selfguided, but, according to their own testimony, wrote under the immediate influence and direction of the Spirit of God. It is therefore reasonable to conclude, that the Bible exclusively is a true revelation from God, in opposition to the claims of those Shasters which dishonor him by a contrary description of his character. The truth of this assertion I shall endeavour to establish, by exhibiting the account of the character and attributes of God, the honour which is due to him, and the worship he requires, which is contained in the Bible; and then shew its superiority to what is contained on the same subject in the Shasters of the Hindoos.
In the Bible, we have a correct and consistent account of the existence and unity of one supreme, glorious, and self-sufficient God. This God is the Creator, Preserver, Governor, and Judge of all men: he therefore asserts his own exclusive and supreme authority, and requires all men to worship, honour, and reverence him, according to his high and exalted character.
THE UNITY OF GOD. Isa. xlv. 21. There is no God else beside me; a just God
and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Mark xii. 32. There is one God; and there is none other
but he. Jer. x. 10. The Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king.
THE GLORY AND POWER OF GOD. Isa. xxviii. 29. The Lord of hosts is wonderful in coun
sel, and excellent in working. Isa. xl. 13. Who bath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or
being his counsellor hath taught him? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh ир
the isles as a very little thing. All nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.
GOD IS THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS. Gen. i. 1. In the beginning God created the heaven and
the earth. Isa. xlv. 12. Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel,
and his Maker, I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the
heavens, and all their hosts have I commanded. Jer. x. 12. The Lord hath made the earth by his power,
he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.
PRESERVER. Psalm xxxvi. 6. O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. Psalm cxlv. 14. The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and
raiseth up all those that be bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon him, and he giveth them their meat in
due season. Acts xvii. 24. God that made the world and all things
therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is