Archibald Campbell.

The authenticity of the Gospel-history justified, and the truth of the Christian revelation demonstrated, from the laws and constitution of human nature (Volume 1) online

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4 N P T H E

Truth of the Christian Revelation


From the Laws and Conftitution of Human Nature;

In two volumes.


Regius Profeilbr of Divinity and Ecclefiaftical Hiflory
in the Univerfity of St. Andrew's,

printed by Hamilton, Balfour, and Neill;


^O 'V

To His Grace


DUKE of ARGYLE, ixc.<bc.

Hereditary Great Matter of the Houshold,
Lord Juftice-Gcneral of SCOT L J ND,
Lord-Keeper of the Great Seal, and
One of His Majesty's Mofl Honourable

This BOOK is
moft humbly dedicated, by

His Grace's

v^.\Ll . Jwoft Devoted

and mofl Obedient
humble Servant,

The WIDOW of the AUTHOR,


P R E F A C E.

IN my htqinr'j into the Extent of Unman P owe? -f
with rejpeit to matters of Religion, I have
made i^ appear, that mankind, left to themfelves,
or having no information from Heaven, are
not able, in the ufe of their natural faculties, to
difcover the being and perfections of God, the
immortality of the foul, and a future ftate
of rewards and punifliments, the great funda-
mental articles of natural religion.

In that argument, I confefs, I have againft
me, not only all our Deifts, whofe caufe is
thereby totally ruined ; but a number of Chri-
ftians, who do not feem to have attended to
that queflion, in the manner wherein they
might have been led to apprehend the real truth
of things : Nor do I take upon me to make it
good in the way of fpeculation ; I appeal to
fads: And the fad: is mod apparent, even
in the cafe of the moft knowing and learned
Heathen Philofophers : The confequence there-
fore is, Revelation is neceffar^. And as a great
part of the world is now poilefled of the know-
ledge of thofe effential articles of Religion,

a that



that lay beyond the reach of human difcovery,
this I take to be a proof, as neceflary or infalU-
ble as that of the caufe from the effect, that
ill tmth God has been pleafed to make a fuper-
72atural Revelation to mankind.

Thus far then havmg cleared our way, it
feems only to remain, that among the many
different religions that pretend to have come
from Heaven, we carefully inquire, which of
them has the bell and faireft, or the only ti-
tle to that original. And, without entering
into a minute difquifition, in comparing toge-
ther the feveral rehgions now fubfifting in the
world, every man, upon a general view, mufl
be fenfible, that before all others the Chriflian
inflitution is, on many accounts, infinitely
preferable, and the moft likely to have come
fi-om the great Parent of mankind. So that
in the following flieets, I undertake to explain
the truth of the Chriflian Revelation in particu-
lar ; and therein I hope, having clearly vindi-
cated the Authenticity of the Gofpel-Hiftory,
it will appear to fuch of the human fpecies
as think freely, and will give themfelves the
trouble fairly to attend to the movements of
the human mind, and as thefe mufl neceffarily
direct a man'^ actions in liich particular circum-
(lances, That the Apojlles of our Lord were intelli-
gent Jlncere honeft men^ firm and refoluie in their
fervice^ always in the fober iije of their rcafon^
and duriwj^ the vjhole coiirfe of their rniniflr'j^ under
the powerful influences of Heaven ; and confe-


P R E F A C Eo V

quently, that the religion 0/ Jefus •which the)
taught and propagated, is undoubtedly a Divine

Many are the books that have been written
upon this argument, and unaniwerable are the
demonftrations that have been given of the
truth and divinity of our holy reUgion. It
is not therefore to make up the v/ant of proof,
or to fupply the defeds of other Writers, that
I here enter into this queftion. But, as I do
moft fmcerely beUeve, and am thorouglily per-
fuaded, that the reUgion of the bleiled Jefus
is of the laft confequence, and of infmite con-
cern to mankind ; and our Infidels are llill
continuing their endeavours to break the cre-
dit of this religion, and to rob the world of
fo inefhimable a bleiling ; I w^ould gladly
offer my affiftance in expofing the folly of
thofe unreafonable men, and put people in
mind of the mighty evidence we have in favour
of Chriftianity ; that if we are not able to con-
vince Deifls themfelves, we may at leaft con-
vince the world about them, of the unfair
difhonourable part they are adling; and
thereby prevent, in fome meafure, the fpread-
ing of their pernicious principles. And as eve-
ry man, who, in relation to any fubje(a, is
furnilhed with any flock of ideas, has always
his own way of ranging thofe ideas, or of con-
neding them together, by which means an ar-
gument has the advantage of being fet in difier-
ent lights, and may therefore, among the




different taftes of mankinvd, come to be more
univerially reliflied ; fo I would fain hope that
the light wherein I have fet the following argu-
jiicnt, may be attended with fome good confe-
qnences, that if it fliail make no profelytes, it
will tend to confirm Chriftians in their belief,
and ferve to enable them to give a reafon of the
faith that is in them.

In my education, which, I thank God,
was free and without any tind:ure of bigotry,
I had a view to the Miniftry of the Church.
But before I iliouid enter into that public
characler, that would intitle me to teach o-
thers the Chriftian religion, I judged it ne-
neflary, highly reafonable, firfl to fatisfy my-
felf as to the grounds upon which the Gofpel
of Jefus Chrijl muft be cfteemed a Divine
Revelation. And here I made this plain ob-
vious refledion : If the Chriftian inftitntion be
an impofition upon the world, of neceffif) the fir ft
VuhdftKrs of the Gofpel mi ft have been either Im-
poftors or Enthifiajh\ In order therefore to
come at the conclufion, which reafon, or a
fair inquiiy would lead me to, I fet myfelf
to examine into the real truth of the character
of the Apoftles of our Lord : And the refult
of tlKit examination, which I then made in my
younger years, and whereof that particular
branch concerning Enthufiafm was publifhed
in the year 1730, I now prefume to lay before
the world; to which I have added feveral
fcaions ferviceable to the main argument,




and vindicating the Apoftles from fome parti-
cular exceptions of later Writers, which 1 confi-
dered as they happened to come in my way,
and as I judged them worth the regarding.

People indeed may be fond of their own
method of doing, and conceit, that the beft
that others can do, is to imitate them : But
without any biafs of that nature, I think I may
take upon me, in my time of life, to advife
young men who apply themfelves to the ftudy
of Theology, to follow the fame courfe. Let
them carefully and impartially read and ftudy
the Scriptures themfelves, and fome at leaft of
thofe many books, efjpecially thofe of the great-
eft reputation, that have been writ for and
againft the Chriftian Revelation : And if,
after all their fearch, and their utmoft care to
be rightly informed, they are not fully fatisfied
as to the real truth of the Gofpel of Jefus, let
them, in time, direct their view^ to fome other
bufinefi of life, and not enter into that facred
chara^lter, which they moft dreadfully pro-
fane, and wherein they muft involve them-
felves in the vileft and hafeft hypocrify. But
as, in my apprehenfion, an unbiaifed ftudy
of the Scriptures, and a careful attention
to the proofs of our holy religion, and to
the anfwers made to the objedlions of In-
fidels, will moft' certainly lead every fober
and confiderate man to perceive the divine
original of the Chriftian inftitution : In
this cafe, let thofe who mean to enter into



holy orders, fix their meditation, and imprefs-
their minds with a deep fenfe, a penetrating
convidtion, that the Gofpel of Jefus Chrifi is
undoubtedly from Heaven. And that this
fenfe may be the deeper and the more pene-
trating, and Vv'ithal the more lading and dura-
ble, let them exercife their genius, and com*
pofe a defence of the Chriftian Revelation up-
on thofe grounds, upon which they dare ven-
ture to recommend it to the belief of mankind.
This is no more but the qualifying themfelves
to difcharge their duty commanded in the
Golpel, which, knowing the ground is good
upon which it is fupported, approves of no blind
votaries ; Be read'j ahuay^ fays the Gofpel of our
Lord, to give an unjwer to evevj man that ajk-
eth "jou a reafon of the hope that is in "jou, i Pet.
iii. 15. And if along with /this important
branch of ftudy, theylikewife carefully perufe
fuch excellent books, as Bifliop Burnefs Pajloral
Caje^ I am apt to think, that when they are
admitted into their public character, they are
in the way of becoming public bleffings to man-
kind, and of giving the world a fenfible de-
monftration, that Infidels are enemies to good*
nefs, in oppofing a religion whofe Minifters
praffife and teach that wijllom that is from a^
love, a Divine Philofophy that purifies the
human mind ; that infpires us with the love
of God, and the love of our neighbour,
with every kind and focial affeiflion ; that a-
wakens all our powers, and enables us to




rife above this world in the purfuit of a glorious
immortahty. This advice 1 prefume \o give
to our young men, who are aiming at tlie
character of the public teachers of the religion
of Jcfus, and upon whofe beha\ iour the credit
of rehgion, among the bulk of our fpecies,
greatly depends : And as I here take my laft
farewell of the Public, let them look upon this
advice, as the laft advice of a dying friend,
who highly values the facred office, as it may
be improved, which, in nuniberlefs inftances, I
am confident it is, to the nobleft purpofes;
and whofe hearty good wiihes for peace and
happinefs, not reftrained to fed: or party, but
widely diffufed, comprehend all mankind.
I have only to add ; as our Students in Divinity
will find it a veiy delightful and improving
entertainment to perufe the writings of the
Heathen ; fo not only in the following IVeatife,
but in thofe others I have pubUfned, they may
fee the ufe to be made of thofe Writings to
the advantage of natural and revealed religion,
whereof the advancement ought to be always
in their eye.

But what can one imagine is the main end,
which in their rude contempt of the Gofpel
of the Holy Jefi^s, our modern Free-thinkers arc
really driving at ? If it is the charafteriftic of a
Free-thinker'^ to oppofe eftablilhed o]>inions m
matters of religion, popular fuperftition and
bio;otry ; the Apoftles of our Lord were, beyond
Gueftion, the rnoft refolute and determined Free-


thinkers that ever breathed common air: And
we know by what particular views they were ani-
mated. Their great defign was, to put an end
to that idolatry and fuperftition, to thofe falfe
and abfurd rehgions, to all thofe immoral
and infamous opinions and practices, with
which human nature, for many ages, had been
difgraced and corrupted. But here they did
not reft, and leave the world deftitute of all
religion whatfoever; they proceeded m their
defign, and, in place of the abominations then
every where prevalent, they introduced and
propagated the knowledge of the true God,
and the aiTurance of an after-life and immortali-
ty: they publifhed to mankind a religious
worfhip liiited to the perfections of God ; and
taught us a fyftem of laws calculated to our
happinefs in private and public life, in time and
to eternity. Thus the Prieft of Jupiter regarding
the Apoftles as gods, was actually upon the
point of honouring them with facrifices, Which
ujhcn the Apoftles heard of the^ ran in among the
people, crpng out. Sirs, Wh) do ye thefe things?
We alfo are men oflikepajfions with "jou, and preach
unto jou, that y^ Jlooidd turn from thefe vanities
tinto the living God, wJjich 7nade heaven and
earth, and the Jea, and all things that are therein^
Adsxiv. 13. Their general Command is, that
IV e ador?t the do Brine of God our Saviour in all
things ; bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit,
in all goodjiefs, rightcotfnefs, and truth ; and
folloiving peace with all men^ and holinefs, with-


P R E F A C E.


out •whicby they tell us, no man fhall fie ti:c Lonly
Tit. ii. lo. Eph. v. 9, Keb. xii. 14. I he
defign therefore of the Apoflles of our Lord,
is to bring the world from darkncfs. to lights
from the power of Satan unto God; it is to per-
fuade mankind, upon the mod powerful mo-
tives, to live here in the love and pradice of
all goodnels, that we may live hereafter in the
enjoyment of all happinefs. A glorious deiign !
in the purfuit whereof they did and fulfered
beyond the common rate of mortals, and there-
by expreifed an extraordinary love and chancy,
an unparalleled kindnefs and beneficence to man-
kind. So that thus far, may I not hope,
every reafonable man will be fo far from calum-
niating, that he will highly applaud the A-
poilles, who with fuch a defign oppofed the
idolatry, the fuperftition and bigotry e\ery
where rampant all over the face of the earth ?
But fome people, it would feem, are pleafed to
apprehend. That that antient fet of bold refo-
lute Free-thinkers have brought inankind. only
to exchange one kind of fuperfiition for ano-
ther ; and therefore a modern fet of Free-
thinkers have ftarted up among us, who eancrly
oppofe the relio;ion which tliey publilhcd.
And what, I befeech you, is the grand plot
of thofe our modern reformers ? Whatever it
be, they carry it on, not after the fame manner,
or with the fame difpofitions, with which ttic
Apoftles condufted theirs.

b In


In the management of their defign, the Apo-
ftles, always attending to this excellent maxim,
which our modern Free-thinkers feem to have
wholy neglected, viz. Ihe-ivrath of manujorketh
not the righteoiifhej} of God, are aded by no
intemperate fiery zeal, by no mad enthufiaftic
rage ; there is no anger, or revenge, or fury
in their paffions, breaking out in rude audacious
invedtives againft the public religions eftabliihed
by law, or in the foulefl and moll abufive
language upon perlbns and things that are held
facred ; nor in matters fo ferious as are thofe of
religion, do we find them in an unmanly levity
and wantonnefs of heart, any where playing
the ludicrous droll; of no fuch folly, in-
folence, or outrage can one fingle inftancc
be met withal, either in their temper, or in
their language, or in any part of their behavi-
our : But in a plain and firaple narration they
give us the hiftory of their Mafter, the grea^f
Author of the religion they taught ; with a
gravity becoming their undertaking, they
propoie to us his doftrines, as matters indeed
of the laft confequence, which they therefore
invite and prefs us to examine and embrace
upon the higheft encouragements, but far from
infinuating they muft be forced or obtruded
upon us by violence, and only telling us
what fliall be the iflue of our receiving or re-
jedling them in futurity ; defigning the good
of all mankind, they travel through the \^^orld,
and in circumftances the moft provoking, the




aptell to roufe and intlame the angry revengeful
padions of human nature, they are improvoked
and intire mailers of thenifelves ; they are
meek and gentle, patient and forgiving; they
ftill retain their univerfal charity, and exprels
the moil friendly concern for the real happinefs
of their blttereil enemies. After this manner,
and with fuch difpofitions, did thofe antient
refolute Free-thinkers, the Apoftles of our
Lord, carry on their delign, in oppofing the
idolatry, the iuperitltion and bigotry, into
which mankind had ilmk : And let the writinp;s
of our modern Free-thinkers, compared with
thofe of the Apoilles, tetlify to the world, how
widely different their condudt is in oppoiing the
religion of Jefus. fuch are the meafures they
employ, that if from thofe one may judge of
the religion they would frame for man-
kind, it muil be full of wrathful fcurrilous

But by what meafures foe ver thole Gentlemen
may be pleafed to profecute their defign, I am
at a lofs to underit and what it is, or is
the great point of view they are aiming at.
The religion of Jejh, at its firil appearance
in the world, was very ill received. Princes
and people, Prieils and Philofophers, men of
all ranks, vigorouily combined in a violent op-
pofition to the Apoilles, ufmg cveiy jnethod
to fupprefs their doftrines, and every where
diilrelling their perfons with the ciaicllcfl per-
fecutions: And all this we know they did v/ith


xiv P R E F A C E,

a refolute piirpofe to preferve the idolatry and
fupei'itition, the worfliip of the falle impious
g(.d.v and all the abominations, which then
prevailed in the world. How far it is matter
of regrel: to our modern Free-thinkers, that thofe
iirft opj-'cfers of . Chriftianity were not more
fuccetiful, and that Keathenifm did not prevail,
and that^ woriliip continue eftabliihed among
ma nkind, that was paid to Jiipiter^ and Venus,
and other deities, to whom human blood, and
all forts of the vileft profhtutions, were ac-
ceptable olierings and delightful fervices, I will
not prerend to determine: Only in venting
their unaccountable fpite ac!;ainll: the Chriftian
Revelation, they fometimes feem to alledge,
that the vv^oiid would have done better, had
they been ftiU the worfliippers of that rabble
of gods and goddeifes which the Gofpel has
expo fed and baniflied. But Avhatever be the
m.^.fortune, which thofe Gentlemen may think
has befallen the v/oiid from the prevalency
of Chriflianity, kt them, now precifely declare.
What is the great end they have in view, whilil
they fo violently oppofe that inflitution. No
doubt, as Nc: G and other Roman Emperors
intended by their perfecutions, and as Ce/Jiis,
rorplrp:yy Jidiaj?, &:c. intended by their Vv'ri-
tings ; c«ur Infidels are likewife intending the to-
. tal extirpation of the religion of J efi/s. But
innljce. thereof, what is iuhey propofc fiiould
be fnbftituted? Moft of thofe Gentlemen havlnp:
r^iade tneir objections/ and expreffed their fierce




and outragious padions in the fouled and moft
indecent language, againfl the Chrillian Re-
velation, feeni to concern themrelves no farther
about' the religion of mankind. But, as it is
inipoffible for mankind, without fome kind of
religion, to fubfift together, 1 cannot iiiffer
myfelf to think, that they mean to rob the
world of all religion whatfoever. Let us fup-
pofe then, what Heaven has declared ihall never
happen ; let us, I fay, fappofe, that thefe
Gentlemen have carried their defign, and Chri-
ftianity is wholly extinguiilied. After what
manner will they now be pleafed to diljpofe of
us, or what is the religion wherein they
would chufe to train us up, or which they
would recommend to our belief and pra-
<5Hce? The Religion of Jcfiis is, indeed,
not very focial ; it will admit of no ob-
jeft of woriliip but the true God, and of no
form of worfliip but of his appointment. But,
before this religion made its appearance, there-
was in the world a vaft variety of religious ob-
jeds, and religious forms, of worlhip; and
now that, v/e here fuppofc, it is quite abo-
liflied, do thefe abohfliers of Chriilianitymeaq,
to bring us back to where the world vv^as about
feventeen hundred years ago, to thofe religious
inflitutioH which then e\'ery where prexailed
among manlcind? Or, if. they do not mean to
.oppreis us with fo great a mobb of gods and
goddeffcs, and thcir'abfurd and infonious, and
pernicious wcrfhip; is there any particular re-


ligious inftitution, any where to be found in the
world, then profeffed by any particular man,
or fociety of men, which, to the exchifion of
every other inftitution, they defig^n we jQiould
now take up withal ? If either of thefe be intend-
ed, is it not fair we Ihould be informed of it ?
Or, have they difcovered any new fyftem of
religion, not before known in the world,
wherein they defign we fhould be inftrudled
and confirmed ? And, if this be the cafe, why
do they not publifh their new fyftem, and
hpnefty let us know, what God we muft
ferve, and what worlhip we muft pay him,,
and by what motives, fuited to our rational
nature, we muft be animated in his fervice?
It camiot well be expefted that men, not al-
together indifferent to matters fo very impor-
tant, will change their religion, on any other
confideration, but for a better. They fpeak,
indeed, in general, of a religion of Nature,
which they feem to imagine all mankind,
left to themfelves, would naturally follow ;
after the fame manner, I fuppofe, as brute
creatures follow their inftinft. A very fenfelefs
conceit in the cafe of creatures, whofe pafTions
do firft prevail and prevent all other govern-
ment, and never tamely yield up their empire.
But would thefe gentlemen favour tife world,
as Spinofa has done, with a particular expla-
nation of their fentiments concerning God^
and the immortality of the foul, and a future
ftate of rewards and puniftiments, which, when




rightly apprehended, are the great foundation
of true rational religion, I am afraid we fliould
find them in the utmoft confufion, diflering
widely from one another, and breaking into
various fefts and parties.

It is true, the fhrewdeft book I know of
againft the Chriftian revelation, mentions
thofe fundamental articles of religion; and,
upon the truth of fuch principles, recommends
to mankind the law of reafon^ or the religion
of Nature^ as the only religion that can come
from God, or bear the ftamp of his authority.
From whence the Author would infer, that the
religion of Jefits^ in particular, is an impofition
upon the world, and can be counted no divine
Revelation. Here therefore the Chriftian in-
ftitution is fet afide, and in its room is iubfli-
tuted the religion of Nature, grounded upon
the being and perfedions of God, the immor-
tality of the foul, and a future ftate of rewards
and punifliments. But I would beg to be
informed, in what age, and m what part of the
world, was this religion known and profefTed
among mankind ? We are told, it is as old as
the creation. And no doubt, the religion of
Nature is as old as the nature of things; and fo
is every geometrical or mathematical truth,
tho', I verily believe, all mankind were not
mathematicians from the beginning. But, 1
fay, when or where was the perfon, the family,
or the nation, upon the face of the earth, that
knew and profelTed this religion, as contra di-


xviii PREFACE.

ftmguifhed from eveiy other religious inftitu^
tion? From the eariieft times, to this prelent
age, ranfack all the records m the world, I
dare venture to aiFirm, not one inftance Ihall
be found of people's profelTmg only this par-
ticular fyftem of religion. It is therefore a
religious inftitution abfolutely new, which Dr.
Tmdal propofes to mankind, an inftitution that
never yet obtained in the world, and which,
I ftrongly incline to think, never will obtain.
I confefs, that in this Gentleman's view of
things, one might expecft to find only this
religion fabfiliing among mankind, and that
the finding it quite otherwife, is the moft
furprifmg event that can poffibly happen. In
his opinion, the knowledge of the religion of
Nature is a matter of no difficulty: He ap-
prehends that all its eilential articles are obvious
to every common underftanding, and that no
man needs an inftrudor to teach him the being
and perfeftions of God, the immortahty of
the foul, or a future ftate of rewards and pu-
mfhments, and what particular duties, in his
feveral relations, are incumbent upon him.
So that every man beine able to inftracl: himfelf
m the religion of Nature, and this religion
being confefTedly the great foundation of
human happinefs in both worlds. Revelation
is 72eedkfj\ and every other religious inftitution
is vain and to no purpofe. In^ this view it is
that I have confiderd Dr. Tindal's book in my

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