Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature: An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891. Vol. IV: Literature of the Republic, Part I., Constitutional period, 17881820
By Archibald Alexander (17721851)
[From Evidences. Edition of 1836.]
IF any man can bring himself, after an impartial examination of the Scriptures, to believe that they were written by unprincipled impostors, then he may believe that an untutored savage might construct a ship of the line; that a child might have written the Iliad or Paradise Lost: or even that the starry firmament was the work of mere creatures. No: it cannot be that this is a forgery. No man or set of men ever had sufficient talents and knowledge to forge such a book as the Bible. It evidently transcends all human effort. It has upon its face the impress of divinity. It shines with a light, which by its clearness and its splendor shows itself to be celestial. It possesses the energy and penetrating influence which bespeak the omnipotence and omniscience of its author. It has the effect of enlightening, elevating, purifying, directing, and comforting all those who cordially receive it. Surely then it is the Word of God, and we hold it fast as the best blessing which God has vouchsafed to man.
O precious gospel! Will any merciless hand endeavor to tear away from our hearts this best, this last, and sweetest consolation? Would you darken the only avenue through which one ray of hope can enter? Would you tear from the aged and infirm poor the only prop on which their souls can repose in peace? Would you deprive the dying of their only source of consolation? Would you rob the world of its richest treasure? Would you let loose the flood-gates of every vice, and bring back upon the earth the horrors of superstition or the atrocities of atheism? Then endeavor to subvert the gospel; throw around you the firebrands of infidelity; laugh at religion, and make a mock of futurity; but be assured that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.