Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Apologetics Quote from the Past

But I speak to a great many who have no difficulty on this head, being fully satisfied that the gospel of Christ is a divine revelation. What concern have they with the investigation before us? "Much every way." The question for them to ask, is, on what grounds are we satisfied? Are we believers in Christianity because we were born of believing parents, and have always lived in a Christian country; or because we have considered the excellence and weighed the proofs of this religion, and are intelligently persuaded that it deserves our reliance? I am well aware that there are many truly devoted followers of Christ who have never made the evidences of Christianity their study, and in argument with an infidel, would be easily confounded by superior skill and information; but whose belief nevertheless is, in the highest degree, that of rational conviction, since they possess in themselves the best of all evidence that the gospel of Christ is "the power and wisdom of God," having experienced its transforming, purifying, elevating, and enlightening efficacy upon their own hearts and characters. Did such believers abound, Christianity would be much less in need of other evidence. Were all that call themselves Christians thus experimentally convinced of the preciousness of the gospel, I would still urge upon them the duty and advantage of studying as far as possible the various arguments which illustrate the divinity of its origin. I would urge it on considerations of personal pleasure and spiritual improvement. There is a rich feast of knowledge and of devout contemplation to be found in this study. The serious believer, who has not pursued it, has yet to learn with what wonderful and impressive light the God of the gospel has manifested its truth. Its evidences are not only convincing, but delightfully plain; astonishingly accumulated, and of immense variety, as well as strength. He who will take the pains not only to pursue the single line of argument which may seem enough to satisfy his own mind; but devoutly to follow up, in succession, all those great avenues which lead to the gospel as the central fountain of truth, will be presented, at every step, with such evident marks of the finger of God; he will hear from every quarter such reiterated assurances of: "this is the way; walk thou in it ;" he will find himself so enclosed on every hand by insurmountable evidences shutting him up unto the faith of Christ, that new views will open upon him of the real cause and guilt and danger of all unbelief; new emotions of gratitude and admiration will arise in his heart for a revelation so divinely attested; his zeal will receive a new impulse to follow and promote such heavenly light.

---- Charles P. McIlvaine, The evidences of Christianity; in their external, or historical, division: exhibited in a course of lectures, published [I think] in 1861 or so. [I think the book originally appeared in 1832.]

[Taken from Lecture I]

My friend Tim McGrew recommended McIlvaine's Evidences, having just finished reading them himself. The site at which the link to the book appears has five chapters so far online. It is enjoyable reading --- food for the mind for those who enjoy thinking about such questions.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh, from the ridiculous (20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity) to the sublime. Thanks, PP!

Saturday, January 14, 2006 3:47:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

I'll gladly take credit for the unintentional shift from one extreme to another!

Saturday, January 14, 2006 8:04:00 PM  

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