Young Man's Manual.
GENUINENESS AND AUTHENTICITY
BY TIMOTHY DWIGHT, D. D.
WHY ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN ?
BY JOHN CLARKE, D. D.
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
A SHORT AND EASY METHOD
BY THE REV. CHARLES LESLIE.
PETER B. GLEASON & CO.
This document was scanned from an original printing.
The text of this and other superb works are available on-line from:
The Willison Politics and Philosophy Resource Center
Reprint and digital file September 21, 2002.
This transcription features Dr. Clark's Work only, due to its length. The essays by Dr. Dwight, and Rev. Leslie are found as a separate file when posted.
To aid the reader, we have retained the original page numbers in brackets as shown here: [ 3 ]
The following begins the original text:
SHORT AND EASY METHOD
IN A LETTER TO A FRIEND.
BY THE REV. CHARLES LESLIE.
PUBLISHED BY PETER B. GLEASON AND CO.
"IN this Tract the argument is so short and clear, that the meanest capacity may understand it, and so forcible that no man has yet been found able to resist it. When it was first published, some attempts were made; but they soon came to nothing. It is briefly this. The Christian Religion consists of facts and of doctrines, each depending on the other; so that if the facts are true, the doctrines also must be true. Thus for example, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact; our resurrection is a doctrine admit the fact, and the doctrine cannot be denied. The ascension of Jesus Christ is another fact; his return to judge the world is a doctrine if the fact is true, the doctrine must be so likewise. For, argues an Apostle, if the doctrine is not true, the fact must be false if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised.
[ iv ]
"The truth of a matter of fact may be certainly known, if it be attended with certain marks, such as no false fact can possibly have. These marks are four:
"It is required—First, that the matters of fact shall be such, as the reality of them may be ascertained, by external evidence. Secondly, that they shall be performed publicly. Thirdly, that not only public monuments shall be maintained in memory of them, but that some external deeds shall be performed. Fourthly, that such monuments, deeds, or observances, shall be instituted, and commence from the period in which the matters of fact shall be transacted.—And it is Mr. Leslie’s design to show, that all these four marks meet in the facts of Christianity."
The above is an abridged extract from the Rev. Mr. Jones’s Preface to a late edition of this Tract.
What Mr. Jones has recorded, upon the authority of the late Dr. Berkeley, the son of the celebrated Bishop of Cloyne, on the subject of Dr. Middleton’s persevering and unsuccessful hostility to this publication ought not wholly to be omitted:
[ v ]
"Feeling how necessary it was to his principles, that he should some way rid himself of Mr. Leslie’s argument, he looked out for some false facts, to which the four marks might be applied; and this he did for twenty years together, without being able to find one."
With regard to the history of its Author, a brief narrative may suffice. He was the son of a Bishop of Clogher, of a good Scotch family; and, as Chancellor of the diocese of Connor, rendered himself highly obnoxious to the Irish papists by his ardent and able disputatious. Want of sympathy in religion, however, did not alienate his allegiance from his infatuated sovereign, James II. upon his abdication ; and he accordingly lost all his preferments at the Revolution. This may account for the whimsical toryism of his sweeping assertion, that "Whoever is capable of entertaining heartily the notion of all power being in the people, and making them the original of government, falls most commonly, not to say necessarily, into the other of Deism; so that they are almost convertible terms !"
He afterwards joined the Pretender in France, and accompanied him into Italy, with a view of
[ vi ]
converting him to Protestantism ! But finding his endeavors ineffectual, and his treatment less cordial than he had a right to expect, he returned to Ireland, where he died in 1722. Two folio volumes were the result of his controversial labors.
His chain of inferences, from the great proof here adduced of the Scripture Miracles, he gives summarily in the above mentioned Vindication.— "The Christian faith is, to believe in Christ, as having made satisfaction for our sins by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself upon the cross. And how shall a Deist have this faith, but by being convinced that Christ is this Saviour of the world? And how shall he be so convinced, but by his works testifying that he was sent of God for this end? And how shall he be satisfied of the truth of these works, but by such human testimony as is necessary to evince the truth of all other facts?"
"To those, observes Mr. Jones, in conclusion, who take this little volume into their hands, I have only this short advice to give. I beseech them to remember that, if Christianity be true, it is tremendously true. All the great things, which this
[ vii ]
world can show, are as nothing in comparison of it. Heaven and Hell are the issue. Its facts, yet to come, are as certain as those that are past. For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised, (1 Cor. 15 : 52;) the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, (2 Pet. 3: 10;) the angels shall gather together the elect of Christ from the four winds, (Matt. 24 : 31;) and every one of us shall give account of himself to God, (Rom. 14 12.) A man must be stupified, if he can think on these things without fleeing from the wrath to come: and there is no way but in the belief of Christianity, which this book teaches."
SHORT AND EASY METHOD
You request of me some short topic of reason, which shall demonstrate the TRUTH of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION, that our Deists may be obliged to renounce their reason, or submit to a clear proof; from reason, of the Divine Original of Christianity; and this proof you wish may be such as no imposture can pretend to.
In complying with your desire, I will take it for granted, that the truth of the doctrines of Christ
will be sufficiently established, if the matters of fact recorded of him in the Gospels are true ; for his miracles, if real, are undeniable testimonies of the TRUTH of his RELIGION. And no one, it is presumed, will deny, if Moses
[ 10 ]
conducted the children of Israel through the Red Sea, in the miraculous manner recorded in the book of Exodus, and performed those supernatural works ascribed to him in the Scriptures, that his mission was divine ;* for these facts afford us as ample testimony of it as can be required, and which every disbeliever will confess he would acquiesce in, had he personally beheld them; it must, therefore, be of the utmost importance to prove those matters of fact.
To effect which, I beg leave to premise such rules with respect to the truth of matters of fact in general, that when they all concur, such matters of fact cannot be false. And also, to shew, that all these rules unite in the matters of fact of Moses and of Christ; and that they do not agree, in matters of fact of the Heathen deities, of Mahornet, nor of any other impostor.
These rules are these
I. That the matters of fact shall be such, as the reality of them may he ascertained, by external evidence.
* See Warburton and Lord Forbes, on the divine legation of Moses.
[ 11 ]
II. That they shall be performed publicly.
III. That not only public monuments shall be maintained in memory of them, but that some external deeds shall be performed.
IV. That such monuments, deeds, or observances, shall be instituted, and commence from the period in which the matters of fact shall be transacted.
The two first rules render it impossible to urn. pose fictions on men for matters of fact; because every man’s senses would detect the imposition. Should a person, for example, declare, that yesterday he divided the Thames, in the presence of all the citizens of London, and conducted them to Southwark, on dry land; and that in their passage, the water stood as walls, on each side of them; would it be possible he could persuade the inhabitants of this city, that this declaration was a fact? Would it not be contradicted by each of them? No fallacy, therefore, of this kind, could have been imposed on men at the time when public matters of fact were said to have been transacted.
12 LESLIE’S SHORT METHOD.
It remains to be considered, whether such matters of fact might not be invented in some succeeding period, when the men of a former generation were extinct ; and whether, through the credulity of after ages, men might not have been induced to have believed, that actions were done in former ages which were not performed? But against such deception, the two last rules effectually secure us; for whenever such matters of fact should have been invented, if not only monuments were said to remain of them; but also, that public actions and observances had been constantly used, since the matters of fact were said to have taken place, the deceit must have been detected through the non-appearance of these monuments, and from the experience also of all those in whose presence the matters of fact were said to have been transacted; as they must have been sensible that by them no such actions, nor observances had been noticed.
Should I, for instance, invent a fiction, purporting, that a certain event took place a thousand years ago, I might, perhaps, prevail with some persons to credit it. But should I also affirm, that from the period of this event to the present day, every youth of a particular nation, at
[ 13 ]
the age of twelve years, had suffered a dissection of a joint of a certain finger, and that, therefore, every man in the nation was now destitute of a joint of such finger; and that this institution was said to have been part of the matter of fact, done so many years ago; appealed to as a proof and confirmation of it, and as having been constantly practised, in memory of such matter of fact, to the present time: let it be asked, whether, in such a case, it would be possible I should be believed? Should I not be contradicted by every man, of this nation, who should not thus have lost a joint of his finger? And the deprivation of which having been a part of my original matter of fact, would it not demonstrate the whole to be false?
I proceed now to shew, that the matters of fact of Moses and of Christ, have all the rules or marks above mentioned. With respect to Moses, it is imagined it will be granted, that he could not have persuaded six hundred thousand men, that he had brought them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea; sustained them with food, in a wilderness forty years, in a miraculous manner; and also, of divers other facts contained in his books, had they been false. He certainly must
[ 14 ]
have imposed upon all their senses, if he could have prevailed with them to have given their assent to these things, had they been unfounded in truth. Here then, we perceive an agreement of the first and second of the four marks.
For the same reason, it would have been equally impossible for him to have caused these people to have received his five books, as true, which declared, that all these things had been transacted in their presence, had they not been founded in truth. His language to them is very explicit. "And know you this day, said he, for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God; his greatness; his mighty hand, and his stretched-out arm; and his miracles ; and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt, unto Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and unto all his land; and what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, amid to their chariots ; how he made the water of the Red Sea to overflow them as they pursued after you; and how the Lord hath destroyed them unto this day; and what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place; and what he did unto Dathan and Abirani, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben; how the
[ 15 ]
earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel; but your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord."
Will it be said, that these books were written in some age subsequent to that in which Moses lived, and that they were published under the authority of his name? But such an imposition could not have succeeded ; because mention is made, in these books, that they were written by Moses, and by his command, deposited in the ark. "And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites who bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee." A copy also of this book, was to remain with the king. "And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites: and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the
[ 16 ]
Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes to do them."
It is thus manifest, that this book of the law, declares itself to be, not only an history of the Israelites in the days of Moses, but also the permanent and municipal law and statutes of the Jewish nation, obligatory upon the king as well as the people.
In whatever age, after Moses, it may be supposed this book was forged, it is impossible it could have been received as genuine; because it could not then have been found; neither in the ark, nor with the king, nor in any other place; and when first invented, all the Israelites must have known, that they had never heard of it before, and, therefore, could not have believed it to have been the book of their statutes, and the invariable law of their land, which soon after their departure from Egypt they had received, and by which they uniformly had been governed.
Could any man, at the present period, invent a book of statutes, or acts of parliament, for England, and cause it to be imposed upon the English nation as the only book of statutes they had ever known? As impossible would it have been to have
[ 17 ]
caused the books of Moses, had they been invented in any age after him, to have been received for what they mention themselves to be, the statutes and municipal law of the Jews; and to have persuaded these people, that they had owned and acknowledged these books from the days of Moses to the time in which they should have been invented. For such a deception to have obtained, the Israelites must have been brought to have believed, that they had owned books before they had the least knowledge of them! The whole nation also, must, in an instant, have forgotten their former laws and government, if they could have received these books as their former laws! Let it be asked, if ever there was a book of forged laws thus imposed on any nation? With what reason, then, can it be supposed, that the book of the Jewish laws, if spurious, could have been imposed on the Jews? Why will Deists suppose an occurrence to have happened to these people, which, it is confessed, could not have happened to any other nation?
But the books of Moses, it may be remarked, have a much greater evidence of their truth, than any other books of laws possess; for they not only contain the laws of the Jewish nation, but also, an
[ 18 ]
historical account of their institution, and mention that their laws were immediately reduced to practice; particularly, that the festival of the passover was observed ;* that from the time it was ordained, all the first born is Israel were dedicated to God; † that Aaron’s rod, which budded, was preserved in the ark, to commemorate the rebellion and destruction of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and also, for the confirmation of the priesthood to the tribe of Levi;‡ that the pot of manna was likewise preserved to perpetuate the fact, that the Israelites were sustained, by manna, forty years in the wilderness; || that the brazen serpent was kept in memory of the miraculous healing of the people of Israel, on their beholding it, when bitten by fiery serpents in the wilderness ; § and also, that the feast of Pentecost was celebrated.¶
Besides these remembrances of particular actions and events, there were other solemn institutions to commemorate the deliverance of these people from Egyptian bondage; their Sabbath; their daily sacrifices and yearly expiation ; their new moons, and various feasts and fasts; so that
*Nurnb. 8:17, 18., † Ib. 17. ‡Ex. 16: 29, &c., || Ex. 16:29., §Numb. 21: 9., ¶ Ex. 23: 17.
[ 19 ]
there were yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily remembrances an(l observances of certain things and occurrences.
The books of Moses likewise mention, that a particular tribe was appointed and consecrated by God, as his priests; by whom the sacrifices of the people were to be offered, and these solemn institutions to be celebrated, and that it was death for any other person to sacrifice at the altar; that the high priest wore a mitre and magnificent robes, of God’s own appointment, with the miraculous urim and thummim in his breast plate, from which the Divine responses were given; that, at his word, the king, and all the people, were to go out and come in; that the Levites were the chief judges, even in all civil cases, and that it was a forfeiture of life to resist their sentence. At what time soever it may be supposed, that these books were forged, after the death of Moses, it is impossible they could have been received by the Jews as genuine, unless they could have been induced to have believed, that they had received them from their fathers; had been instructed in them when they were children, and had taught them to their children; and also, that they had been circumcised, and did circumcise their children, in pursuance
[ 20 ]
to what was commanded in these books; that they had observed the yearly passover, the new moons, the weekly Sabbath, and all those various feasts, fasts, and ceremonies enjoined in these books: and further, that they had never eaten any swine’s flesh, nor other meat prohibited in these books; that they had a magnificent tabernacle, with a priesthood to administer in it, which was confined to the tribe of Levi, over whom was placed an high priest, invested with great prerogatives, whose death only could give deliverance to those who had fled to the cities of refuge. But altogether impossible would it have been to have persuaded a whole nation, that they had known and practised all these things, if the contrary had been the fact; or to have received a book as true that declared they had practised them, and, as a confirmation of the declaration, appealed to their practice! Here, therefore, is a concurrence of the third and fourth of the marks before mentioned.
Let us now descend to the utmost degree of sup. position; that these things were practised before the books of Moses were supposed to have been forged; and that they imposed on the nation, in causing them to believe, that they had regarded these observances in memory of certain things
[ 21 ]
inserted in these books. But will not the same impossibilities occur here, as in the former case? For we must conclude, that the Jews must have kept all these observances in memory of no object, or without having had any knowledge of their original, or any reason why they kept them; whereas these observances very particularly expressed the reasons why they were instituted; that the passover, for instance, was ordained to commemorate God’s passing over the children of the Israelites, in the night in which he slew all the first-born of the Egyptians. Let it be supposed, though entirely contrary to the truth, that the Jews were not informed of any reason why they regarded these observances; in such case, would it have been possible to have persuaded them to have believed, that they had kept these observances in memory of facts they had never had any knowledge of?
Should a person now invent some romantic story, which declared, that certain strange things were transacted a thousand years ago, and, in confirmation of this tale, endeavor to persuade the Christian world, that they had, during this period, observed the first day of the week in memory of Appollonius, Barcosbas, or Mahomet; that they had been all baptized in his name, sworn by
[ 22 ]
his name, and upon a book which the said per. son had forged, and which to them was before unknown in their public courts of judicature; that this book had been their gospel and their law, which they had for a thousand years past, universally received and owned, and no other; I would ask a Deist, whether he thinks it possible that such a deception could be imposed on the Christian world? But as impossible would it have been to have caused the books of Moses to have been inposed on the Jewish nation, had they been forged!
As the union of these four marks affords a certainty of a matter of fact, it prevents also, the imposition of any fabulous book upon men, at what period soever invented; whether at the time in which the matters of fact it relates were said to have happened, or in any succeeding age.
It is well known, for example, there is a stone henge in Salisbury Plain; but no man knows the reason why those great stones were placed there by whom, or in memory of what event. Should, however, a book be written, and it be asserted therein, that these stones were set up by Hercules or Polyphemus, in memory of some of their actions. And, to confirm this assertion, should it
[ 23 ]
be mentioned in this book, that it was written when such actions were performed, and by the
very actors themselves, or those who were eyewitnesses of the facts; and that this book had been received as true, and quoted by authors, of the first reputation, in all ages since it was wrote that this book was also well known in England, and enjoined, by act of parliament, to be taught to our children; that we did teach it to our children, and had been taught it ourselves, when in a state of childhood. Suffer it to be asked, whether a book so devoid of truth, could be imposed on the people of England? And, should the author of it, insist upon its being genuine, whether, instead of believing it to be so, they would not have reason to believe it was expedient he should be sent to bedlam?
Let us now compare this ideal transaction with the stonehenge, if I may be allowed so to call it, or twelve great stones set up at Gilgal. It is mentioned, that one reason why these stones were set up was, that "they might be a sign among the people of Israel, that when their children should ask their fathers, in time to come, saying, what mean ye by these stones? That then they should answer them; that the waters of Jordan were cut
[ 24 ]
off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, when it passed over Jordan, and that these stones should be a memorial unto the children of Israel forever." The thing, in memory of which these stones were erected, was such as could not possibly have been imposed on the Jewish nation, at the time when it was said to have been done; it was, indeed, as wonderful and miraculous, as their passage through the Red Sea. This event took place at noon day, in the presence of the whole nation; and when the waters of Jordan were diverted, it was not at any low ebb, but at a time when the river overflowed all its banks. As soon as the "feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the water, the waters which came down from above, stood and rose up upon an heap, very far from the city of Adam, that is beside Zaretan; and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt-sea, failed and were cut off; and the people passed over against Jericho: the priests stood in the midst of Jordan, till all the armies of Israel had passed over. And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up upon the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all
[ 25 ]
its banks as they did before. And the people came up out of Jordan, on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, on the east side of Jericho; and these twelve stones which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gil-gal. And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying; when your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying; what mean these stones? Then shall ye let your children know, saying; Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye passed over; as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over; that all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord that it is mighty; that ye might fear the Lord your God forever."
But let it be supposed, that the passage over Jordan, as here related, was fictitious ; that these stones, at Gilgal, were erected upon some other occasion, in some subsequent age; that then some person invented the book of Joshua, and said it was written by Joshua himself, when this event happened, and that the author of this book offered this stonehenge, at Gilgal, as a testimony of its truth would not the Jews have said to him, " we know
[ 26 ]
the stonehenge at Gilgal, but we were, until now, wholly unacquainted with the reason for it; nor have we had any previous knowledge of this book of Joshua Where hath it been deposited for so many ages? and how came you in possession of it after so long a period? But this book of Joshua informs us, that it was commanded, that this passage over Jordan should be taught to our children, from age to age; and, therefore, that they were always to be instructed in the meaning of the stonehenge at Gilgal, as a memorial of this miraculous passage over Jordan! It is, however, manifest, that we were never instructed in this fact when we were children; nor did we ever teach it to our children! It is not probable that so remarkable an event could have been forgotten, while so uncommon a stonehenge continued, which was erected for that end only, and, therefore, it is evident that this book cannot be genuine, but must have been written by some person, in some age after the death of Joshua !"
If no such imposition, as that above mentioned, respecting the stonehenge at Salisbury Plain, could be palmed upon the people of England, how much less could the Jews have been imposed on with regard to the stonehenge at Gilgal? If
[ 27 ]
where we know not the reason of a bare monument, such a false reason cannot be imposed on men, how much more impossible would it be to impose upon us, in actions and observances, which we celebrate in memory of particular events? How impossible to cause us to forget those events which we daily commemorate, and to persuade us that we had always kept such institutions in memory of things we never had any knowledge of?
If we perceive it thus impossible for us to become dupes to an imposition, even in things which have not all the four marks, how much more impossible is it that any deceit should attend the thing in which all these marks concur?
But all these marks meet in the matters of fact, which are recorded in the Gospels, respecting Christ, as well as the matters of fact of the Old Testament, which relate to Moses.
The Gospels declare, that the works and miracles of Christ were done publicly, in the face of the world ;* and the Acts of the Apostles
*John 18: 29.
[ 28 ]
mention, that three thousand persons, at one time,* and above five thousand at another period, † were converted to Christianity, upon conviction of what they had seen, and what had been publicly trans. acted before them, wherein it was impossible to have imposed upon them Here, therefore, is an agreement of the two first of the four rules.
The other two concur in baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which were instituted by Christ himself, and designed to be perpetuated in the Christian church to the latest period of time; and they have been, since their institution, uniformly observed by the Christian world. Christ ordained ministers to preach and administer these sacraments, and to govern his church, "even to the end of the world." Accordingly, they have continued, in regular succession, to this day, and, no doubt, will thus continue, until the final consummation of all things; the existence, therefore, of the Christian clergy, is as notorious a matter of fact, as was the tribe of Levi, among the Jews. The Gospel is also as much a law to Christians, with respect to their religious conduct, as was the book of Moses to the Jews; and as it is a part of
* Acts 2: 41. † Acts 4: 4.
[ 29 ]
the matters of fact related in the Gospel, that such an order of men was appointed by Christ, and to continue to the end of the world, if the Gospel was a fiction, and invented some ages after Christ, at the time it was invented, there could not have been any such order of clergy, derived from the institution of Christ, which must have contradicted the Gospel, and demonstrated it to have been false.
The pretended matters of fact of Mahomet, and what is fabled of the heathen deities, all want some of these four rules, whereby the certainty of matters of net is demonstrated. Mahomet did not pretend to have wrought miracles, as he himself declares ;* and those which, by some, are said to have been performed by him, are regarded by Mahometans as legendary fables, and, as such, they are rejected by the wise and learned among them† But those miracles related of Mahomet, possess not the two first rules before mentioned; for his pretended converse with the moon; his mersa or night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, and from thence to heaven, were not performed in
* Koran, chap. vi., &c.
† Prideaux’s Life of Mahomet, p. 34.
[ 30 ]
the presence of any one. The same may be said of the fables of the heathen gods; of Mercury’s stealing sheep, for instance; and of Jupiter’s changing himself into a bull. But such relations are most senseless, and wholly unworthy the attention of reasonable beings!
You may challenge, sir, all the Deists in the world, to produce any action that is fabulous, in which all these four marks unite or agree The histories contained in the book of Exodus and in the Gospels, could never have been received, had they not been true ; because the institution of the Jewish and Christian priesthoods; of the Sabbath; of the passover; of circumcision; of baptism, and other ordinances, are therein related as having descended, without interruption, from the period of their commencement. As impossible would it have been, to have persuaded men, that they had been circumcised and baptized, and had circumcised and baptized their children; celebrated passovers, sabbaths, and sacraments, under the government and administration of a certain order of priests, if they had no knowledge of these things, as it would have been, to have caused them to have believed, that they had passed through a sea and a river upon dry land; seen
[ 31 ]
the dead raised, and divers miracles performed, when they were entirely unacquainted with these facts! But without having believed these things, it is impossible that the books of Moses and the Gospels should have been received ! For the truth of the matters of fact contained in these books and in the Gospels, was required to be believed by men, only as they had seen such facts; an appeal having been made to their senses for the truth of these facts. This circumstance rendered it impossible for any person to have invented such accounts in after ages, without having been detected of falsehood when the falsities were invented; and as impossible also, would it have been to have imposed upon mankind, when such public matters of fact were said to have had their origin.
It undoubtedly concerns Deists, if they wish to be considered as men of reason, to shew some matter of fact of former ages, which they admit to be true, that has a greater evidence of its truth than the matters of fact of Moses and of Christ, or they cannot, with any appearance of reason, reject the latter, and yet retain the former!
But the matters of fact of Moses and Christ, it may be observed, have such evidences of their
[ 32 ]
authenticity, as no other matters of fact, of those times possess, however true; and Deists may be called upon to prove any forgery in which all these four marks unite.
This is a short issue, and fully determines the case! Let them choose the most probable of all the fables of the heathen deities, or actions of the founder of any religion, and see whether in any such fables, or actions, these four marks concur! If not, and if unable to disprove the matters of fact contained in the Scriptures, let them revere the dictates of reason; reverence truth, and submit to the irrefragable certainty of the Christian religion!
[ 33 ]
TO THE FIRST EDITION.
Front Rev. Samuel H. R iddel, Pastor of the First Church in Glastenbury.
GLASTENBURY, June 15, 1836.
Messrs. P. B. GLEASON & Co.
I AM glad to learn, by your note of June 3d, that it is your intention to publish a little Manual on the Evidences of Christianity, suitable to be used as a pocket or a parlor companion. I have been much interested in the perusal of the two short and comprehensive treatises, which you propose to comprise in the volume and think them exceedingly well adapted to itspractical and popular design.
The "Discourse on the Genuineness and Authenticity of the New Testament," by Dr. Dwight, can require no recommendation to the religious public, other than that of his venerated name; and, as I conclude, from the date of its publication, that it must have been for many years out of circulation, at least in a separate form, its republication at the present time, in an attractive style of execution cannot fail to be in a high degree acceptable and useful.
The other treatise, by Dr. Clarke, formerly of Boston, will be a very suitable accompaniment to that of Dr. Dwight. The following testimony to its merits, by the late President Willard, of Harvard University, appears to me to be pertinent and just: " The Treatise in defence of Christianity, entitled ‘Why are you a Christian?’ is, perhaps, as valuable a piece as has been written within the same compass. By its conciseness it is well adapted to being dispersed, and by its perspicuity and pertinence happily calculated to convince and confirm. It is highly esteemed, not only on this, but on the oilier side of the Atlantic.— Three editions of the work have been printed in England."
[ 34 ]
The Evidences of Christianity Constitute a most important branch of knowledge for the young of all classes; and with such pleasing helps as these at hand, the subject may possess a charm for the inquisitive mind, scarcely inferior to that which the subject of Natural Theology has derived from the lucid and beautiful illustrations of Paley, and of our own Gallaudet. The importance of furnishing the youth of our country, especially Young Men, settling in the great Valley of the West, with the means of defending and enforcing the proofs of the Christian religion against the cavils of Infidels, cannot be too deeply felt at the present day. I wish, that among other publications justly entitled to this distinction, the one which you contemplate, whatever the title presented to the eye of the purchaser, might be selected by every Young Man as his Own Book.
Yours respectfully, S. H. RIDDEL.
From Rev. Horace Hooker, Editor of the Connecticut
FROM a hasty examination of the two small Treatises referred to by Rev. Mr. Riddel, I concur fully in the views which he suggests.
Hartford, June 27, 1836.
From Rev. Joel Hawes, D. D., Pastor of the First Church in Hartford.
I have read with much satisfaction the two Treatises above named. That by Dr. Dwight is most excellent, It comprises within a small compass the most important facts contained in the works of Lardner and several other authors whose works are rare, and it should be in the hands of every person who wishes to see in a condensed and luminous form, the historical argument for the truth of Christianity. The Treatise by Dr. Clarke is clear, simple, concise, and as satisfactory, perhaps, as the argument could well be made in so small a compass.
Hartford, June 30,1836. J. HAWES.
[ 35 ]
From Rev. Samuel Spring, Pastor of the Church in East Hartford.
The publishers of the above named Treatises will, in my opinion, render a valuable service to the cause of truth amid religion, by the accomplishment of their design.
East Hartford, June 27, 1836.
From Rev. Thomas H. Gallaudet.
IT affords me much satisfaction to express my cordial concurrence in the above recommendations, believing that the works referred to in them, will be among the most useful that can be presented to the public, and of peculiar benefit to the Youth of our country. What more valuable book can a father give to his son, or employers of our young men to those who are under their care.
Hartford, June 28, 1836.
From Rev. Horace Bushnell, Pastor of the North Church in Hartford.
Withs the above I heartily concur.
Hartford, June 28, 1836.
[ 36 ]
TO THE SECOND EDITION.
From Rev. Nathaniel S. Wheaton, D. D., late President of
Washington College, Hartford.
DR. DWIGHT’S Discourse on the "Genuineness and Authenticity of the New Testament" exhibits, in a more condensed form and a clearer and more logical method, than any work with which I am acquainted, the principal arguments in support of the Christian Religion; while the still more concise amid lively manner in which they are stated by Dr. Clarke, must render his Treatise peculiarly well adapted for general circulation. If to these be added Leslie’s well known "Short and Easy Method," which, I understand, is contemplated by the Publishers, the
"Young Man’s Manual" will contain as satisfactory an exhibition of the reasons of the Christian’s hope, as perhaps can be found within the same compass. Their publication at this time will not be the less useful, that the battle with Infidelity must be fought, in this country at least, on the ground of the Inspiration of the Scriptures, rather than of their external evidences; since any controversy concerning their authority in matters of faith necessarily involves the question whether they are genuine and authentic.
Hartford, Sept. 12, 1837. N. S. WHEATON.
From Rev. Nathaniel W. Taylor, D. D., Prof. of Theology in
Yale College, New Haven.
I FULLY believe, that the volume which you propose to publish, sunder the title of "Young Man’s Manual," is fitted to be highly useful, especially to the youth of our country; and that the friends of Christianity, are called on, as far as may be, to promote its circulation.
Yale Coll. Sept. 15, 1837. NATH’L. W. TAYLOR.
[ 37 ]
From Rev. Thomas F. Vermilye, Pastor of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, Albany.
I VERY cheerfully recommend to my friends and the Christian public, the little work, entitled "Young Man’s Manual." The authorship of Dr. Dwight is a sufficient guarantee of the excellence of the first Treatise: and the second is a plain and direct and admirable statement of the principal topics under which the Evidences of Christianity have been arranged. " Leslie’s Short Method," (which it is proposed to connect with these,) is so generally and so favorably known as to need no recommendation. I cannot but regard such publications as very seasonable, and these as adapted to be very useful.
Sept. 11, 1837. THOMAS E. VERMILYE.
From Rev, Dr. Hawes.
Leslie’s "Short Method" is above all praise, and adds much to the value of the present edition of this little work.
Hartford, Aug. 23, 1837. J. HAWES.
From Rev. S. H. Riddel.
I AM much pleased to learn that the second edition of the Young Man’s Manual will be enriched by the addition of "Leslie’s Short Method with Deists." As an argument for Christianity it is not inferior, in clearness and force, to any which 1 have ever met with ; and is peculiarly capable of popular application.
Hartford, Sept. 8, 1837. S. H. RIDDEL.
Frames Rev. Dr. Campbell, Albany.
I HAVE great pleasure in adding to that of the gentlemen who have recommended it, my testimony to the excellence of the works contained in this volume, in my judgment few books could be put into circulation at the present time with a better prospect of usefulness.
Albany, Sept. 11, 1837. J. N. CAMPBELL.
[ 38 ]
From Rev. Robert Turnbull, Pastor of the South Baptist
Church in Hartford.
THE Young Man’s Manual is, in my estimation, a book well adapted to the object for which it is intended. It contains, within a small compass, and in a cheap form, the principal arguments for the truth of Christianity, a subject with which our young men cannot be too fully acquainted. The treatise by Dr. Dwight is clear and satisfactory. The reply to the question, " Why are you a Christian ?" by Dr. John Clarke, is admirable. The style is perspicuous and terse, and the argument close and convincing. Leslie’s " Short Method with the Deists" is too well known to require any recommendation. Infidels affect to despise it, but it has never been answered, and we venture to predict, never will. I have much pleasure in giving my testimony in favor of the little volume containing the above treatises, and hope it will have an extensive circulation.
Sept. 23, 1837. ROBERT TURNBULL.
Front Rev. H. Bangs, of the .Methodist Episcopal Church,
FROM the hasty perusal of the little Manual you left with me, I am persuaded, if carefully read and studied, it will prove useful to families and individuals; especially is it adapted to the youth of our country at this time. Should you add "Leslle’s Short Method with the Deists" to Dr. Dwight’s and Dr. Clarke’s, I think it would be still more interesting and useful. It should be in the hands of every youth in the land.
Sept. 22, 1837. H. BANGS.
From Rev. I. N. Wyckoff, Albany.
IT would be superfluous to recommend virgin gold to him who wants a substance current throughout the world: So these tracts need no recommendation. Read and you will be satisfied.
Albany, Sept. 11, 1837. I. N. WYCKOFF.
[ 39 ]
From Rev. George Burgess, Rector of Christ Church,
I AM almost ashamed to appear as if I thought that such writers as Leslie and Dwight could need any introduction to the public. But being requested to give my opinion of the three little treatises to be comprised in the "Young Man’s Manual," I can say no less than that they are amongst the very best of the many good tracts on the Evidences of Christianity.
Hartford, Sept. 25, 1837.
Front Rev. Wilbur Fisk, D. D., President of the Wesleyan.
Permit me to return my acknowledgments for your little volume, called the "Young Man’s Manual." The book is excellent, much needed, and well calculated to benefit the rising generation, and especially the Young Men of our country. The reputation of "Leslie’s Short Method," which you propose to put in the next edition, is too well known to need my recommendation. I have just received a copy of it in French, into which it has been lately translated and published in Paris, for the benefit of the youth of France—so highly is the work esteemed in Europe.
Wesleyan University, Sept. 25, 1837.
From the Hartford Watchman.
YOUNG MAN’S MANUAL.
"In this day, when young men, especially, have so many temptations to scepticism and infidelity, such a Manual as this, coming forth in an attractive, though cheap form, is peculiarly appropriate; and we cannot but hope that it will be extensively read by every young person."
[ 40 ]
YOUNG MAN’S MANUAL.—THE Genuineness and Authenticity of the New Testament, by Timothy Dwight, D. D.; and an Answer to the Question, Why are you a Christian? by John Clarke, D. D.
"We should regard this volume as a valuable present to Young Men, at any period ;—but it is specially so at the present time, when infidelity is insinuating itself into every part of our land. This little duodecimo, by the blessing of heaven, may establish many a young man firmly on the foundation of truth. We commend it to the notice of those who wish for a Manual, in a concise
form, and engaging style, on the Evidences of Christianity."—Conn. Observer.
Young MAN’S MANUAL.—" This little Manual comprises the prominent Evidences of Christianity, both external and internal, and its value is certified by testimonials from a number of our most learned and distinguished divines."—.N. Y. Com. Adv.
YOUNG MAN’S MANUAL.—" This is not one of the ten thousand good-for-nothing, and worse than good for nothing books, which are poured like a deluge upon the community, at the present day. It is admirably adapted to an all-important object,—that of fortifying the youthful mind against the assaults of Infidelity. Nor is it on this account a needless book; for however comparatively few
of such writings might have been needed in our country in by-gone days, they are now indispensable to every family, and every Sunday School Library."