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The Miraculous Conception

The Miraculous Conception

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Published by glennpease
BY SAMUEL HORSLEY



Luke, i. 28. — Hail, thou that art highly favoured ! The

Lord is with thee : Blessed art thou among women ••
BY SAMUEL HORSLEY



Luke, i. 28. — Hail, thou that art highly favoured ! The

Lord is with thee : Blessed art thou among women ••

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 28, 2013
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THE MIRACULOUS COCEPTIOBY SAMUEL HORSLEYLuke, i. 28. — Hail, thou that art highly favoured ! TheLord is with thee : Blessed art thou among women ••THAT she who in these terms was saluted by anangel should in after ages become an object of su})er-stitious adoration, is a thing far less to be wondered at,than that men professing to build their whole hopesof immortality on the promises delivered in the sacredbooks, and closely interwoven with the history of ourSaviour's life, should ((uestion the tnith of the mes-sage which the angel brought. Some nine yearssince, the Christian church was no less astonisliedthan offended, by an extravagant attempt to heighten,as it was pretended, the importance of the Christianrevelation, by overturning one of those first princi-ples of natural religion which had for ages been con-sidered as the basis upon which the whole super-structure of Revelation stands. 'I'he notion of animmaterial priuci])le in num, which, without an im-mediate exertion of the Divine power to the expresspurj)()se of its destructicm, nuist necessarily survivethe dissolution of the body, — the notion of an im-• Preached on Christmas-day.87mortal soul — was condemned and exploded, as aninvention of heathen philosophy : death was repre-sented as an utter extinction of the whole man ; andthe evangelical doctrine of a resurrection of the body
 
in an improved state, to receive again its immortalinhabitant, was heightened into the mystery of a repro-duction of the annihilated person. How a persononce annihilated could be reproduced, so as to be thesame person which had formerly existed, when noprinciple of sameness, nothing necessarily permanent,was supposed to enter the original composition, howthe present person could be interested in the futureperson*s fortunes, — why / should be at all con-cerned for the happiness or misery of the man whosome ages hence shall be raised from my ashes, whenthe future man could be no otherwise the same withme than as he was arbitrarily to be called the same,because his body was to be composed of the samematter which now composes mine, — these difficul-ties were but ill explained. It was thought a suf-ficient recommendation of the system, with all itsdifficulties, that the promise of a resurrection of thebody seemed to acquire a new importance from it ;(but the truth is, that it would lose its whole im-portance if this system could be established ; since itwould become a mere prediction concerning a futurerace of men, and would be no promise to any mennow existing ; ) and the notion of the soul's naturalimmortality was deemed an unseemly appendage of aChristian's belief, — for this singular reason, that ithad been entertained by wise and virtuous heathens,who had received no light from the Christian, nor, asit was supposed, from any earlier revelation.It might have been expected, that this anxiety toG 488t'Xtinjijuish every ray of li()})e uiiicli beams not I'romthe glorious promises of the Gospel would have beenaccompanied with the most entire submission of the
 
understanding to the letter of the written word, — the most anxious solicitude for the credit of thesacred writers, — the \vainiest zeal to maintain everycircumstance in the history of our Saviour's lifewhich might add autliority to his precepts, andweight to his promises, by heightening the dignityof his person : but so inconsistent with itself is hu-man folly, that they who at one time seemed to think it a preliminary to be recjuired of every one whowould come to a right belief of the Cios])el, that heshould unlearn and unbelieve what ])hilosophy hadbeen thought to have in counuon with the Ciospel(as if reason and Revelation could in nothing agree),upon other occasions discover an aversion to the be-lief of any thing which at all puts our reason to astand : and in order to wage war with mystery withthe uu)re advantage, they scruple not to deny thatthat S])irit uliicli enlightened the first ])reachers inthe delivery of their oral instruction, aiul renderedthem infallible teachers of the age in which theylived, directed them in the com])()sition of thosewritings which they left for the edification of suc-ceeding ages. They pretend to have made dis-coveries of inconclusive reasoning in the E})istles, — of doubtful facts in the (lospels ; and appealing fnmithe testiuu)ny of the apostles to their own judgments,they have not scru])le(l to declaiv their opinion, thatthe minicii/ou.s conrrj/tiofi ft/' our JLorf/ is a subject•' with respect to whieh any person is at full libertyto think as the evidence shall ap})ear to him, uitlu)utany impeachment of his faith oi' character as a Chris-89tian : " and lest a simple avowal of this extraordinaiyopinion should not be sufficiently offensive, it is ac-companied with certain obscure insinuations, ''thereserved meaning of which we are little anxious to

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