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Evidences of Christianity   By: (1743-1805)

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E text prepared by Michael Madden

EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIANITY

by

WILLIAM PALEY, D.D.

A New Edition

London: Printed by W. Clowes and Sons, Stamford Street

1851

THE HONOURABLE AND RIGHT REVEREND

JAMES YORK, D.D., LORD BISHOP OF ELY

My LORD,

When, five years ago, an important station in the University of Cambridge awaited your Lordship's disposal, you were pleased to offer it to me. The circumstances under which this offer was made demand a public acknowledgment. I had never seen your Lordship; I possessed no connection which could possibly recommend me to your favour; I was known to you only by my endeavour, in common with many others, to discharge my duty as a tutor in the University; and by some very imperfect, but certainly well intended, and, as you thought, useful publications since. In an age by no means wanting in examples of honourable patronage, although this deserve not to be mentioned in respect of the object of your Lordship's choice, it is inferior to none in the purity and disinterestedness of the motives which suggested it.

How the following work may be received, I pretend not to foretell. My first prayer concerning it is, that it may do good to any: my second hope, that it may assist, what it hath always been my earnest wish to promote, the religious part of an academical education. If in this latter view it might seem, in any degree, to excuse your Lordship's judgment of its author, I shall be gratified by the reflection that, to a kindness flowing from public principles, I have made the best public return in my power.

In the mean time, and in every event, I rejoice in the opportunity here afforded me of testifying the sense I entertain of your Lordship's conduct, and of a notice which I regard as the most flattering distinction of my life.

I am, MY LORD, With sentiments of gratitude and respect, Your Lordship's faithful And most obliged servant,

WILLIAM PALEY.

CONTENTS

Preparatory Considerations Of the antecedent Credibility of Miracles.

PART 1.

OF THE DIRECT HISTORICAL EVIDENCE OF CHRISTIANITY, AND WHEREIN IT IS DISTINGUISHED FROM THE EVIDENCE ALLEGED FOR OTHER MIRACLES.

Proposition stated

PROPOSITION I.

That there is satisfactory Evidence, that many professing to be original Witnesses of the Christian Miracles passed their Lives in Labours, Dangers, and Sufferings, voluntarily undergone in Attestation of the Accounts which they delivered, and solely in consequence of their Belief of those Accounts; and that they submitted, from the same Motives, to new Rules of Conduct.

CHAPTER I

Evidence of the Suffering of the first Propagators of Christianity, from the Nature of the Case.

CHAPTER II

Evidence of the Sufferings of the first Propagators of Christianity, from Profane Testimony.

CHAPTER III

Indirect Evidence of the Sufferings of the first Propagators of Christianity, from the Scriptures and other ancient Christian Writings.

CHAPTER IV

Direct Evidence of the same.

CHAPTER V

Observations upon the preceding Evidence.

CHAPTER VI

That the Story for which the first Propagators of Christianity suffered was miraculous.

CHAPTER VII

That it was, in the main, the Story which we have now proved by indirect Considerations.

CHAPTER VIII

The same proved from the Authority of our Historical Scriptures.

CHAPTER IX

Of the Authenticity of the historical Scriptures, in eleven Sections

SECT. 1 Quotations of the historical Scriptures by ancient Christian Writers. SECT. 2 Of the peculiar Respect with which they were quoted. SECT. 3 The Scriptures were in very early Times collected into a distinct Volume. SECT. 4 And distinguished by appropriate Names and Titles of Respect. SECT. 5 Were publicly read and expounded in the religious Assemblies of the early Christians. SECT. 6 Commentaries, &c., were anciently written upon the Scriptures. SECT. 7 They were received by ancient Christians of different Sects and persuasions... Continue reading book >>




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