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is unquestionably true, that if the sacred Scriptures had never existed, if the commission to teach all nations, given by our Redeemer, had been confined to oral instruction, and to traditional knowledge only, we should still be constrained to admit, in the church, that authority which the Catholic Christian is bound to recognise.

In fact, my Lord, when we view the mean, the abject, the humble appearance of our ever dear and glorious Redeemer in the world ; an appearance, according to our corrupted notions, altogether disproportionate to the object of his divine mission ; when we contemplate this lowly disguise of the man of sorrows, who clothed himself with our infirmity, who bore every species of want, privation, and distress, and terminated the scene by an ignominious death ; when we contrast all these unprecedented circumstances, with certain prophecies, which the Jews carefully preserved, and permitted to be circulated among nations in the popular language of the Greeks; when we take into our view a long series of extraordinary signs and wonders, by which the lost use of the senses was restored, the most inveterate disorders healed instantaneously, and even life recovered ; when we regard that wonder of all wonders, the raising up of Christ's sacred body from death to life, after three days; when we consider his glorious ascension, by which ascending on high, he led captivity captive, we are lost

in admiration, and are induced to exclaim with the centurion in the gospel, Truly this was the son of God. Your Lordship will carefully observe, that I collect these particulars from the Scriptures, not considered as a canonical volume, but a common historical record, admitted even by the professed opponents of Christianity; by Celsus, by Julian, by Porphyrius, and even by the incredulous Jew1.

But let us advance farther, and consider the economy of that great work, which was to connect heaven and earth together. Our Redeemer designed to destroy idolatry, and to teach mankind to adore God in spirit and truth; and what was the result? The world, though plunged in the greatest excesses, soon became enamoured of the Christian religion, and embraced it with eagerness. We see recorded the wonderful revolution, by which the whole universe is induced to discard its false gods, its worship, its laws, its maxims, its opinions, its propensities, its manners, its prejudices, its customs, its usages. Our admiration increases upon us, when we take a combined view of the extent of the enterprise, of the period when it commenced, of the instruments that were employed, of the means which were resorted to,

1 Vid. verba Cels. apud Origen, contra Cels. lib. 2. verb. Ju. lian. apud Cyrill. lib. 6. verba Porphyr. apud Euseb. Præpar. lib. 5. c. i. et Benjam. Tudel. in Itinerar.

of the obstacles that were encountered, and of the ultimate success which crowned the work.

The nature and extent of the undertaking consisted in withdrawing the whole world, learned · and unlearned, Greeks, Romans, Scythians, barbarians of every description, from the worship of idols, and from the most absurd practices of superstition, which were familiar to their thoughts from the first dawn of life; which were embodied in their education, interwoven with their habits of life, and sanctioned by power, example, authority, and custom. Truths of the most extraordinary nature were to be substituted in the place of the popular theology; and doctrines, altogether impervious to human reason, and most humbling to human pride, were to form the basis of a new religion. The most sublime principles of morality were to be inculcated to those, in whom the natural light of reason appeared almost extinguished; and whose immoral propensities kings and statesmen, sages and legislators, had laboured in vain to remove. This great work was to extend its influence to every nation under the sun, however separated by space, or disunited by manners and language.

The time chosen for the execution of this grand design appears to have been, in a human view, altogether unpropitious. The simple, the ignorant, and the docile, were not the characters exclusively to be worked upon; but all those whom knowledge, science, taste, and literature, rendered eminent, were to be encountered. It was during the polished and enlightened period of Roman greatness, that the work commenced ; when Rome was become mistress of the world, and rivalled, in literature and the arts, those nations whom she had subdued by the force and terror of her arms. The whole empire abounded with orators, poets, philosophers, and historians. Cicero had instructed and delighted the Roman world by the splendor and variety of his performances ; and Sallust had described the morals of the

age in language, which fills the classical scholarat once with wonder and disgust.

To carry into effect so extensive a project, it might rationally have been expected, that the most distinguished among the Roman and Grecian sages would have been selected ; that all the powers of reasoning, and all the force of eloquence, would have been employed ; that rank and authority would have sanctioned the undertaking, and that learning would have lent its aid. But what is the fact? The resources of human skill are utterly disregarded ; twelve poor fishermen, taken from a nation, which, at that period, was proverbially the scorn and derision of the universe, are appointed to instruct in the maxims of eternal truth the polished Greek and the haughty Roman ; to convict the sage of folly, the man of science of ignorance, and the universe of error. Look, my Lord, at the result of this extraordinary proceeding ; see the complete success which attended the great work. In spite of every obstacle which was opposed to the progress of truth ; in defiance of the power, strength, and majesty of Rome, the disciples of the cross gained a decided triumph, and the Christian religion penetrated into countries where the terror of the Roman arms had never extended its influence.

But, it will be asked, why is this detail introduced ? The existence of the Christian religion is universally admitted, except by professed deists; and the statements here produced are merely moral evidences, leading us to believe that God has communicated his will to man. Most assuredly they are evidences of a moral description ; but by their number, weight, and united strength, they are calculated to produce an irresistible impression. Even to the unbeliever, who remains regardless of God and eternity, they present the view of the most illustrious society of men, ever recorded in the annals of the world. Under such circumstances, no rational being can decline the evidence of such a society, or dispute the truth of the allegations which it produces. But when these moral evidences have produced their full effect, when they are combined with a knowledge of the piety of those who are sent to preach, with a view of the miracles which they perform to ren

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