Others there are, who allow that a revelation from God may be both necessary, and credible, but allege that the scriptures, that is the books of the Old and New Testament, cannot be that Revelation, because in them are to be found error and inconsistencies, fabulous stories, false facts, and false philosophy, which can never be derived from the fountain of all wisdom and truth. To this I reply, that I readily acknowledge, that the scriptures are not revelations from God, but the history of them. The revelation itself is derived from God, but the history of it is the production of men, and therefore the truth of it is not in the least affected by their fallibility, but depends on the internal evidence of its own supernatural excellence. If in these books such a religion, as has been here described, actually exists, no seeming, or even real defect to be found in them can disprove the divine origin of this religion, or invalidate my argument. Let us, for instance, grand that the Mosaic history of the creation was founded on the erroneous but popular principles of those early ages, who imagined the earth to be a vast plain, and the celestial bodies no more tahn luminaries hung up in the concave firmament to enlighten it, will it from thence follow, that Moses could not be a proper instrument in the hands of Providence, to impart to the Jews a divine law, because he was not inspired with a fore-knowledge of the Copernican and Newtonian systems? or that Christ must be an impostor, because Moses was not an astronomer? Let us also ssuppose, that the accounts of Christ's temptation in the wilderness, the devils taking refuge in the herd of swine, with several other narrations in the New Testament, frequently ridiculed by unbelievers, were all but stories accommodated to the ignorance and superstitions of the times and countries in which they were written, or pious frauds intended to impress on vulgar minds a higher reverence of the power and sanctity of Christ, will this in the least impeach the excellence of his religion, or the authority of it's founder? or is Christianity answerable for all the fables of which it may have been the innocent occasion? The want of this obvious distinction has much injured the Christian cause, because on this ground it has ever been most successfully attacked, and on this ground it is not easily to be defended; for if the records of this revelation are supposed to be the revelation itself, the least defect discovered in them must be fatal to the whole. What has led many to overlook this distrinction, is the common phrase, that the scriptures are the word of God, and in one sense they certainly are, that is, they are the sacred repository of all the revelations, dispensations, promises, and precepts, which God has vouchsafed to communicate to mankind, but by this expression we are not to understand, that every part of this voluminous collection of historical, poetical, prophetical, theological, and moral writings, which we call the Bible, was dictated by immediate influence of divine inspiration; The authors of these books pretend to no such infallibility, and if they claim it not for themselves, who has authority to claim it for them? Christ required no such belief from those who were willing to be his disciples. He says, "He that believeth on me, hath eternal life; but where does he say, He that believeth not every word contained in the Old Testament, which was then extant, or ever word in the New Testament, which was to be wrote for instruction of future generations, hath not everlasting life? There are innumerable occurrences related in the scriptures, some of greater, some of less, and some of no importance at all, the truth of which we can have no reason to question, but the belief of them is surely not essential to the faith of a Christian. I have no doubt but that St. Paul was ship-wrecked, and that he left his cloak and his parchments at Troas; but the belief of these facts makes no part of Christianity, nor is the truth of them any proff of its authority. It proves only that this apostle could not in common life be under the perpetual influence of infallible inspiration; for, had he been so, he would not have put to sea before a storm, nor have forgot his cloak. These writers were undoubtedly directed by supernatural influence in all things necessary to the great work, which they were appointed to perform. At particular times, and on particular occasions, they were enabled to utter prophecies, to speak languages, and to work miracles, but in all other circumstances, they seem to have been left to the direction of their own understandings, like other men. In the sciences of history, geography, astronomy, and philosophy, they appear to have been no better instructed than others, and therefore were not less liable to be misled by the error and prejudices of the times and countries in which they lived. They related facts like honest men, to the best of their knowledge or information, and they recorded the divine lessons of their master with the utmost fidelity; but they pretended to no infallibility; but they sometimes differed in their relations, and they sometimes disagreed in their setitments. All which proves only, that they did not act, or write, in a combination to deceive, but not in the least impeaches the truth of the revelation which they published; which depends not on any external evidence whatever.