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CHAP. I. That there is not satisfactory evidence, that persons pretending to be original witnesses of any other similar miracles, have acted in the same manner, in attestation of the accounts which they delivered, and solely in consequence of their belief

0 of the truth of those accounts

CHAP. II. Consideration of some specific instances




98 P10

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CHAP. III. The candour of the writers of the New Testament
CHAP. IV.-Identity of Christ's character



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CHAP. VI. Conformity of the facts occasionally mentioned or referred to in Scripture, with the state of things in those times, as represented by foreign and independent accounts

CHAP. VII.-Undesigned Coincidences



CHAP. VIII. Of the History of the Resurrection
CHAP. IX. Of the Propagation of Christianity.
SECT. II.-Reflections upon the preceding Account
SECT. III. Of the success of Mahometanism.

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Page CHAP. I.-The Discrepancies between the several Gospels... 201 CHAP. II.-Erroneous Opinions imputed to the Apostles. . . . 203 CHAP. III. The connexion of Christianity with the Jewish History

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CHAP. IV. Rejection of Christianity

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CHAP. V. That the Christian miracles are not recited, or appealed to, by early Christian writers themselves, so fully or frequently as might have been expected

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CHAP. VI.-Want of universality in the knowledge and reception
of Christianity, and of greater clearness in the evidence
CHAP. VII.-The supposed Effects of Christianity

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WILLIAM PALEY, author of the following admirable volumes, was born at Peterborough, in the month of July, 1743. The day of his birth has not been preserved, but his baptism was solemnized on the 30th of August. His family was Yo the reputable and ancient, having resided for several generations in Craven, in West Riding of Yorkshire. In this district, his great-grandfather John, and his grandfather Thomas Paley, enjoyed in succession a small patrimonial estate at Langcliffe, in the parish of Giggleswick.

The father of our Author bore the same name, and was of the same college and profession, as his son. Having proceeded to the degree of Bachelor of Arts, at Christ's College, Cambridge, he was instituted August, 1735, to the vicarage of Helpstone, a small benefice in Northamptonshire. His promotion to a minor canonry in the cathedral church of Peterborough, occasioned him to fix his residence in that city; and here it was that the subject of these memoirs received his birth. He was the eldest child, and only son; but the family was subsequently augmented by the birth of three daughters. His mother was Elizabeth Clapham (of Stackhouse, in the parish of Giggleswick,) a woman commended for her strength and activity of mind; which qualities her son inherited, as well as the benevolence of disposition ascribed to his father.

Although our Author at his birth seemed excluded from the soil on which his ancestors had long resided; yet fortune, at an early age, transplanted him to the same northern abode. In 1745, his father resigned his minor canonry, and removed to Giggleswick, upon receiving the appointment of head master to the Free Grammar School established there. By this change, young Paley was placed within the sphere of those local and moral associations, which are supposed to have had a strong and permanent influence upon his character. "His originality," observes one of his friends, "I apprehend after all must be traced to the peculiar scene of his boyhood and youth. In a spot comparatively rude and rustic, like Giggleswick, in the free and familiar acquaintance with a people of strong mother-wit and Sabine simplicity, the peculiar genius of Paley was formed, void of art, and abhorrent to all affectation." An able critic* has attributed equal power to the same cause. The inhabitants of the rugged and remote tract of Craven, have, he assures us, like other mountaineers, a character more strongly marked than their lowland neighbours, from which Paley derived an early tincture, which no intercourse with the world ever wore off, or produced an inclination to wear off. They possess clear and shrewd understandings; great humour and naïveté in their conversation, fondness for old stories, rusticity often affected, and a dialect which heightens and sets off every other peculiarity.

Amidst a people of such native originality, the mind of Paley received its earliest ideas and impressions. To his father he was indebted, as well for the first seeds of scholastic knowledge, as for the careful infusion of moral and religious principles. No instances of remarkable precocity are related of him; although his boyhood was distinguished by a studious disposition of mind, and greater habits of reflection than are usually discovered at that age: These might be increased by his inability to join in the ordinary amusements of youth. He was excluded from all athletic sports, by wanting in body that activity which nature had liberally bestowed upon his mind; so that the quiet and indolent recreation of angling was the principal amusement in which he took delight. His mind was ardent and his curiosity active, especially upon subjects of mechanical ingenuity. That attention also, which he paid through his whole life, to the laws of his country, and the practice of courts of justice, was early awakened in his bosom. Having been present one year at the assizes in Lancaster, his youthful fancy was so * Quarterly Review, No. xviii. p. 390.

interested by the proceedings he had witnessed, that the solemnities of the court were re-acted at school, and young Paley, assuming the dignity of a venerable judge, had his playmates arraigned before his mimic tribunal.

But the realities of life were soon to commence. Upon the completion of his fifteenth year, he accompanied his father to Cambridge, and was admitted on the 16th of November, 1758, a sizer of Christ's College; a society which can enumerate among its members, Milton, the sublimest of poets, and Paley, the clearest of philosophers. The journey to Cambridge, or part of it, was to be accomplished on horseback and our young hero not being so skilful in keeping close to a steed, as to an argument, suffered a series of disasters which he used himself to relate. "I was never a good horseman, and when I followed my father on a pony of my own, on my first journey to Cambridge, I fell off seven times. I was lighter then than I am now, and my falls were not likely to be serious. My father, on hearing a thump, would turn his head half aside and say, "Take care of thy money, lad.'"

The year between Paley's admission and residence at college was devoted to the cultivation of mathematical knowledge. As classics were the only study pursued at Giggleswick school, he was placed under the care of Mr. William Howarth, at Dishforth, near Topcliffe, in Yorkshire, for the sake of instruction in geometry and algebra. To this new field of investigation there is no doubt that he applied himself sedulously and with avidity. In demonstrative science there must have been something congenial to his logical and penetrating mind; for notwithstanding his studies in it were commenced late, and suffered considerable interruption for two years at college, he was able to carry off the highest mathematical honour which a mathematical university can confer.


His residence at Cambridge began in October, 1759, when he had attained the age of little more than sixteen. His father seems to have formed a correct estimate of his genius, and to have indulged in hopeful anticipations, which rested on some stronger basis than parental partiality. My son," he observed to one of his pupils, "is now gone to college-he'll turn out a great man, very great in'deed-I'm certain of it; for he has by far the clearest head I ever met with in my life." Paley possessed few advantages, besides his acuteness, to assist him. Adorned with no accomplishments of learning but what a village school could supply, he was to contend with the well-trained sons of Eton, Westminster, and other public seminaries. Furnished with little experience from his intercourse with the world, he found himself, at the most dangerous age of boyish petulance, left to his own control. It was difficult at sixteen to resist the temptations which on all sides solicited him; inclination was to be thwarted, idleness repelled, and pleasure overcome. His uncouthness of appearance and rusticity of manners, were at first topics of merriment to his more polished collegians; these disadvantages, however, were soon overlooked in the admiration which his worth and talents excited. Horace long ago had written his apology:

-Minùs aptus acutis

Naribus horum hominum? Rideri possit, eò quòd
Rusticiùs tonso toga defluit, et malè laxus

In pede calceus hæret? At est bonus, ut melior vir
Non alius quisquam : at tibi amicus: at ingenium ingens
Inculto latet hoc sub corpore.- -Serm. lib. i. 3. 4. 30.

It was soon discovered that the young fresh-man was an agreeable and entertain-
ing, if not an elegant companion. His powers of conversation, his facetiousness,
and that invincible good-humour, which always made him willing to turn a laugh
against himself, speedily drew around him a large circle of idle and thoughtless
young men.
This love of society had nearly overcome his industry, and ruined
all hopes of obtaining eminence in the university. A singular occurrence (dis-
closed by himself) fortunately awakened reflection, and stimulated the great powers
of his mind into vigorous action. "I spent," he confessed, "the first two years
of my under-graduateship happily, but unprofitably. I was constantly in society,
where we were not immoral, but idle and rather expensive. At the commence-
ment of my third year, however, after having left the usual party at rather a late

hour in the evening, I was awakened at five in the morning by one of my companions, who stood at my bed-side and said, 'Paley, I have been thinking what a fool you are. I could do nothing, probably, were I to try, and can afford the life I lead; you could do every thing, and cannot afford it. I have had no sleep during the whole night on account of these reflections, and am now come solemnly to inform you, that if you persist in your indolence, I must renounce your society.'

"I was so struck with the visit and the visitor, that I lay in bed great part of the day, and formed my plan. I ordered my bed-maker to prepare my fire every evening, in order that it might be lighted by myself. I arose at five, read during the whole of the day, except such hours as chapel and hall required, allotting to each portion of time its peculiar branch of study; and just before the closing of gates (nine o'clock) I went to a neighbouring coffee-house, where I constantly regaled upon a mutton chop and a dose of milk-punch. And thus, on taking my bachelor's degree, I became senior wrangler."

Nothing could be more magnanimous than Paley's resolution, except it be the warm expostulation of his ingenious friend. Before he could proceed to his degree, it was necessary to keep what is called an act, that is, to defend so many mathematical and philosophical questions in the public schools of disputation. He happened to fix upon a subject which occasioned him a little embarassment; although he had selected it from a book usually referred to at that time in the university, Johnson's Questiones Philosophica. The most authentic account of this incident is to be found in Bishop Watson's memoirs of his own life.* "The first year I was moderator," says this prelate, "Mr. Paley, (afterward known to the world by many excellent productions, though there are some ethical and some political principles in his Philosophy which I by no means approve,) and Mr. Frere, a gentleman of Norfolk, were examined together. A report prevailed, that Mr. Frere's grandfather would give him a thousand pounds, if he were senior wrangler the other moderator agreed with me in thinking that Mr. Paley was his superior, and we made him senior wrangler. Mr. Frere, much to his honour, on an imputation of partiality being thrown on my colleague and myself, publicly acknowledged that he deserved only the second place; a declaration which could never have been made, had they not been examined in the presence of each other.

Paley, I remember, had brought me for one of the questions he meant for his act, Eternitas panarum contradicit divinis attributis ? I had accepted it; and indeed I never refused a question, either as moderator or as professor of divinity. A few days afterward, he came to me in a great fright, saying, that the master of his college (Dr. Thomas, dean of Ely) had sent to him, and insisted on his not keeping on such a question. I readily permitted him to change it, and told him, that if it would lessen his master's apprehensions, he might put in non before contradicit; and he did so. Dr. Thomas, I had little doubt, was afraid of being looked upon as a heretic at Lambeth, for suffering a member of his college to dispute on such a question, notwithstanding what Tillotson had published on the subject many years before.

"It is, however, a subject of great difficulty. It is allowed on all hands that the happiness of the righteous will be, strictly speaking, everlasting; and I cannot see the justness of that criticism which would intrepret the same word in the same verse in different senses. "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life,' Matt. xxv. 46. On the other hand, reason is shocked at the idea of God being considered as a relentness tyrant, inflicting everlasting punishment which answers no benevolent end. But how is it proved that the everlasting punishment of the wicked may not answer a benevolent end, may not be the means of keeping the righteous in everlasting holiness

* Vol. i. p. 30, octavo edition.

+ Whether eternal punishments are repugnant to the divine attributes.

The reader, perhaps, will recollect that the last part of the verse in our translation runs thus: "but the righteous into life eternal." The version above is more correct, because in the Greek the same epithet is applied both to “punishment" and "life.".

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