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First, every intelligent reader of this Evangelical History must have seen, that it is admirably adapted to produce and support, in all attentive and impartial minds, a strong conviction of the truth of Christianity; and, by consequence, of the divine glories of Jesus the Christ, as the Son of God.

It is evident that our most material arguments for the demonstration of the truth of Christianity, are drawn from miracles, from prophecies, from the character of its founders, and from the genius of the religion itself. Now, though all these receive great illustration from the epistolary parts of the New Testament, and some of them, especially the second, from the Old; yet it is certain that the great basis and foundation of them all, is what we read in the history of Christ and his Apostles. There we are informed of the miracles which they wrought, of the character they maintained, and of the system of religion which they published to the world; and the application of Old Testament prophecies to Jesus of Nazareth, is, beyond all controversy, to be justified chiefly from what we find there.

These books do in the most authentic manner, as we have demonstrated elsewhere, show us who Jesus of Nazareth was, and what he professed himself to be. They give us an account of the very high pretensions he made to an immediate mission from God, and to a most intimate relation to him, as His Son, in a peculiar and appropriate sense, not communicable to any other. They give us also, as in this connection it is very fit they should, a very large and circumstantial narration of a variety of miracles which he wrought. Their number appears to be very great; so that a late writer, who had considered them very accurately, reckons up sixty-Line relating to particular persons, besides twenty other instances, in all of which several, and in most of them multitudes-yea, frequently great multitudes, are mentioned, not merely as the spectators, but as the objects of his miraculous power; which must, on the most moderate computation, arise to many hundreds ;-not to mention those yet more numerous miracles which were performed by his Apostles in his name, wherever they came, especially after the descent of the Holy Ghost upon them; or the variety of supernatural gifts and powers with which they were endowed; and which, in many thousands of instances, they communicated to others. It is further to be recollected here, that these miracles were not of such a kind as to leave any room for a doubt, whether they lay within the natural efficacy of second causes or not; since the most hopeless and inveterate diseases gave way, not merely to some trivial application of means, whether internal or external, but to a touch or a word; and death itself obeyed the voice of Jesus, and of his servants, speaking by his authority.

Now I would wish that any one who feels himself inclined to scepticism with regard to Christianity, would sit down and read over every one of the Evangelists in this particular view; that he would take the stories of the several miracles in their succession; and, after having attentively weighed them, would ask his own heart, whether, if he had seen such facts as these, he would not immediately have been convinced in his own conscience that this was indeed the seal of Heaven, set to the commission of the person who performed them; and, consequently, whether, if these things were really done by Jesus, and his missionaries in his name, he must not be compelled to acknowledge that Christianity is true. Let any impartial and rational man in the world judge, whether, if an impostor had arisen, falsely and blasphemously arrogating to himself the high titles of the Son of God and Saviour of men, God would have honoured his lips with this wonderful power over diseases and death; or his dead body, after a public execution, with a resurrection: that is, in one word, whether he would have interposed to give such credit to him, as it is not pretended he hath ever given, in any other instances, to the best of men, in the best of causes. Every man's heart will surely tell him, with the circumstances of such facts full

in his view, that the only question is, whether they be themselves credible? And that, if this be allowed, the divine attestation to the authority of such a teacher follows, by a connection which can never be broken, and which probably few men living will have an inveteracy of prejudice sufficient to gainsay.

The historical books of the New Testament do also admirably illustrate that argument in favour of Christianity, which is drawn from the accomplishment of prophecies; and this in a variety of respects. Many very important passages of this kind are expressly quoted; not merely by way of allusion, but by a literal and exact application of them, according to their genuine sense, and agreeably to the connection in which they stand. The application of some others, in themselves more dubious, will, upon strict examination, appear just; and may prove a key to the sense of many more, on the truest principles of analogy, as many writers have shown nay, the texts quoted by way of allusion and accommodation, of which there are such numerous instances, have consequently tended to the establishment of the argument from prophecies, however, under injudicious management, they may seem to have perplexed it; as they have had their share in recommending the Jewish Scriptures to the perusal of Christians; and so in guarding them more surely against any possibility of corruption, if the Jews themselves could have been wicked enough to attempt it.

But, besides these various views in which the citations may be considered under this head I must further observe, that when not this or that particular passage of the Evangelical history alone, but the whole series of it, comes to be compared with correspondent representations in the Old Testament, it fixes upon the mind the strongest impression that can well be imagined, of the reference of the Prophets to Jesus as the Messiah. The ingenious Earl of Rochester, whose story is so celebrated, was deeply sensible of this, with regard to the 53rd of Isaiah, as illustrated by all the story of our Lord's passions: and there are many other sections of that prophet, and of several others, to which the remark may be applied; which, indeed, extends to all the general representations of the Messiah's character, conduct, and circumstances.

The account which the New Testament gives us of the temper and character of our Divine Redeemer, is a topic of argument on this head by no means to be forgotten. We do not, indeed, there meet with any studied encomiums upon the subject. The authors deal not in such sort of productions; but, which is a thousand times better, they show us the character itself. The sight of what is great and beautiful has another kind of effect than the most eloquent description of it. And here we behold the actions of Christ; we attend his discourses, and have a plain and open view of his behaviour. In consequence of this we see in him every thing venerable, every thing amiable. We see a perfection of goodness nowhere in the world to be seen or to be heard: and numberless arguments plead at once, to persuade the heart that it is absolutely impossible such a person should be engaged in a design founded in known falsehood, and tending only to mislead and ruin his followers.

And though it is true the character of his Apostles does not fully come up to the standard of their master, nor is entirely free from some small blemishes; yet we see so little of that kind in them, and on the contrary, such an assemblage of the human, divine, and social virtues, that we cannot, if we thoroughly know them, if we form an intimate acquaintance with them, entertain with patience the least suspicion, that they were capable of a part so detestable as theirs must have been, if they knew Jesus to have been an impostor, and the gospel a fable; with which they must be chargeable, if Christianity were not indeed as authentic and divine. The series of sufferings which they endured; the gentle humble patience with

which they bore them; the steady perseverance and invincible fortitude with which they pursued their scheme, in the midst of them all, and with no earthly prospect but that of continued hardship and persecution, till it should end in death, furnish out an important branch of this argument; which the Book of Acts, especially taken in connection with the epistles, does almost continually illustrate, in the most artless, and therefore the most forcible, manner.

To conclude this head, the history before us represents, in the most clear and convincing light, the genius of that doctrine which Christ taught, and of the religion which he came to settle in the world. When we view it as exhibited in human writings, we may mistake: for it is too often tinctured with the channel through which it has passed. Men of bad dispositions have warped it, to make it comply with the corruptions of their own hearts, and to subserve, in many instances, the schemes of their ambitious and worldly interests. Good men, insensibly influenced by a variety of prejudices, which, under fair and plausible forms, have insinuated themselves into their breasts, have frequently mistaken, not the essentials of Christianity (for no good man can mistake them), but the circumstantials of it; and have propagated their various and frequently contradictory mistakes, with a zeal, which nothing but an apprehension that they were its fundamentals could have inspired; and thus its original purity and beauty have been debased and obscured. But here we drink this water of life at its fountain-head, untainted and unmixed, and with that peculiar spirit, which, at a distance from it, is so apt to evaporate. Here we : plainly perceive there is nothing in the scheme but what is most worthy of God to reveal, and of his Son to publish-to publish to the world. Here we see, not, as in the heathen writers, some detached sentiment, finely heightened with the beauty of expression and pomp of words, like a scattered fragment, with the partial traces of impaired elegance and magnificence; but the elevation of a complete temple, worthy of the Deity to whom it is consecrated: so harmonious a system of unmingled truth, so complete a plan of universal duty, so amiable a representation of true morality in all its parts, without redundancy, and without defect, that the more capable we are of judging of real excellence, the more we shall be prepossessed in its favour. And if we have a capacity and opportunity of examining together with it the books which the followers of other religions have esteemed sacred, and the system of doctrines and manners which their respective founders have published to the world, we shall find how much the Gospel is credited by the comparisonshall indeed find the difference much like that of a coarse picture of sunshine, from the original beams of that celestial luminary. This I have so deeply felt in mine own heart, while reading these books, and especially while commenting upon them, that it has been matter of astonishment, as well as grief, to me, that there should be any mind capable of resisting evidence so various, so powerful, and so sweet. But this leads me to the other branch of the argument, in which I shall remind my reader,

Secondly, That these books are admirably adapted to make those good impressions on the heart which may prepare it for eternal life, through the name of the Redeemer, of whose divine mission they contain such incontestible proofs.

Now, the most effectual demonstration of this would be an attentive perusal of these books, not so much with a view to criticise upon them, as to give up the soul to their genuine influence, and to leave the heart to be (if I may so express myself) carried away with the torrent whither it will: and the impulse cannot fail of being in some happy direction, and, amidst all its varieties, will undoubtedly bear us forward towards that perfection of goodness and of happiness which is the great end of all our pursuits.

For surely the breast of every well-disposed reader, under the influences of that

Blessed Spirit which guided the sacred penmen in these lively and well-chosen narrations, must, by every page of them, be inflamed with some devout passion: and his progress must often be interrupted with tears of holy delight, and with warm, and perhaps rapturous, aspirations of soul. Surely this adorable Saviour cannot be heard, cannot be seen, without admiration and love. Surely the heart must often, as it were, go out to meet him, with its cheerful hosannas to him that cometh in the name of the Lord. Often must it rise in affectionate praises to the God and Father of all, who blessed this earth of ours with such a visitant, who enriched it with such an unspeakable, such an inestimable gift. A thousand times must it congratulate, and almost envy, the happy lot of those, who, dwelling on earth, though in the meanest cottages, when it was blessed with the presence of such a Teacher, such a Friend, had daily opportunities of conversing with him. And as often may it exult to think, that he is still near by his spiritual presence, carrying on the kind purposes of his appearance in mortal flesh; and waiting, by the dictates of his divine philosophy, to train up the immortal spirits of men for their proper and complete happiness. Under the impression of that thought, how strongly must the soul be disposed to inquire after Christ, to form an acquaintance with him, to commit itself to his discipline and guardianship, to trace his steps, and, as far as possible, to imbibe his spirit! What will appear so desirable as to secure his friendship, to be honoured with his high approbation, and enriched with the blessings of his patronage and care? Receiving the divine oracles from his lips, what incomparable advantages have we for learning every thing great and lovely? What powerful inducements diligently to labour, ardently to pray, liberally to dispense good, calmly to endure injuries, patiently to support the heaviest afflic tions, and resolutely to meet the most dreadful death, if called out to encounter it in the way of our duty?

Among many other good affections which the perusal of this history may naturally inspire, and which I have endeavoured often to suggest in the improvements which conclude each section, I cannot forbear mentioning one more; I mean a generous and cordial love to our fellow Christians of every rank and denomination. I never reflect upon the New Testament in this view, but I find it difficult to conceive how so much of a contrary temper should ever have prevailed amongst such multitudes who have professed religiously to receive it-yea, whose office hath been to interpret and enforce it. To have enlisted under the banner of Jesus, to have felt his love, to have espoused his interest, to labour to serve him, to aspire after the enjoy ment of him, should, methinks, appear to every one, even on the slightest reflec tion, a bond of union too strong to be broken by the different apprehensions that one or another of us may entertain (perhaps, too, after diligent inquiry) concerning the exact sense of some of the doctrines he taught, or the circumstantial forms of some of his institutions. A humble sense of our own weakness, and of the many imperfections of our character, which will never be more deeply felt than when we consider ourselves as standing before our Divine Master, will dispose us to mutual candour, will guard us against the indecency of contending in his presence, and will, as St. Paul, with admirable spirit, expresses it, dispose us to receive one another, as Christ hath received us. Yea, our hearts will be so eagerly desirous of employing our life in serving him to the best purpose we can, that we shall dread the thought of mis-spending, in our mutual animosities, accusations, and complaints, the time that was given us for ends so much nobler, and which is capable of being employed to the honour of our common Lord, and for the benefit of the Church and the World.

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[MR. WATERTON is a gentleman of fortune resident in Yorkshire, who is distinguished for his enthusiastic pursuit of his favourite subject of Natural History, in the most barbarous regions, amidst no common dangers and difficulties. His 'Wanderings in South America,' from which the following is an extract, is a narrative, or rather series of sketches, connected with his travels from 1812 to 1824.]

Let us now turn our attention to the Sloth, whose native haunts have hitherto been so little known, and probably little looked into. Those who have written on this singular animal have remarked that he is in a perpetual state of pain; that he is proverbially slow in his movements; that he is a prisoner in space; and that, as soon as he has consumed all the leaves of the tree upon which he had mounted, he rolls himself up in the form of a ball, and then falls to the ground. This is not the case.

If the naturalists who have written the history of the Sloth had gone into the 5 wilds, in order to examine his haunts and economy, they would not have drawn the foregoing conclusions; they would have learned, that though all other quadrupeds may be described while resting upon the ground, the Sloth is an exception to this rule, and that his history must be written while he is in the tree.

This singular animal is destined by nature to be produced, to live, and to die in the trees; and, to do justice to him, naturalists must examine him in this upper element. He is a scarce and solitary animal, and being good food he is never allowed to escape. He inhabits remote and gloomy forests, where snakes take up their abode, and where cruelly stinging ants and scorpions, and swamps, and innumerable thorny shrubs and bushes, obstruct the steps of civilised man. Were you to draw your own conclusions from the descriptions which have been given of the Sloth, you would probably suspect that no naturalist has actually gone into the wilds with the fixed determination to find him out, and examine his haunts, and see whether nature has committed any blunder in the formation of this extraordinary creature, which appears to us so forlorn and miserable, so ill put together, and so totally unfit to enjoy the blessings which have been so bountifully given to the rest of animated nature; for he has no soles to his feet, and he is evidently ill at ease when he tries to move on the ground, and it is then that he looks up in your face with a countenance that says, "Have pity on me, for I am in pain and sorrow."

It mostly happens that Indians and Negroes are the people who catch the Sloth, and bring it to the white man: hence it may be conjectured that the erroneous accounts we have hitherto had of the Sloth have not been penned down with the slightest intention to mislead the reader, or give him an exaggerated history, but that these errors have naturally arisen by examining the Sloth in those places where nature never intended that he should be exhibited.

However, we are now in his own domain. Man but little frequents these thick and noble forests, which extend far and wide on every side of us. This, then, is the proper place to go in quest of the Sloth. We will first take a near view of him. 2ND QUARTER.


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