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Leeds of that time ; who observed to him that, although he was a believer of the Christian religion, he was not satisfied with the common methods of proving it ; that the are gument was long and complicated; so that some had neither leisure, nor patience to follow it, and others were not able to comprehend it'; that, as it was the nature of all truth to be plain and simple, if Christianity were a truth, there must be some short way of show- . ing it to be so; and he wished Mr. Leslie would think of it. Such a hint to such a man, in the space of three days, furnished a rough draught of the Short and Easy Method with the Deists; which he presented to the Duke ; who looked it over, and then said, “ I thought I was a Christain before, but I
am sure of it now; and, as I am indebted “ to you for converting me, I shall henceforth “ look upon you, as my spiritual father.” And he acted accordingly; for he never came into his company afterward without asking his blessing. Such is the story ; very nearly, as Dr. Delany himself would tell it, if he were now alive.
The circumstances are so memorable, that there must have been something very extraordinary at the bottom to account for them; and so thought Dr. Middleton ; though the work affected him in a very different manner. Feeling how neceffary it was to his principles, that he should some way rid himself of Leslie's argument; he looked out for some false fact, to which the four marks
aight be applied ; and this he did for twenty years together, without being able to find one. This I learned from the late Dr. Berkley, son of the celebrated Bishop of Cloyne; who conversed much with the world, and I believe would not have reported such a thing, but upon good authority. I may mențion another event, which ought not to be forgotten upon this occasion. An anecdote it is not ; because ir must be already known to the public. Dr. Priestley, that unaccountable man, like the Qua. ker, who went over to Constantinople to con. vert the grand Seignior, wrote and printed a letter to the Infidels of France, with a view of bringing them back to Christianity ; in which letter he gives them Mr. Leslie's argument, as if it had been his own ; for he says not a word of the Author.
The world looks upon the Doctor, as one of the false Apostles of the age ; but, if he had been a true Apostle, and could work miracles, what reason have we to think that they would have more effect upon the French, than miracles had upon the Jews ?
To those, who take Mr. Leslie's tract into their hands, I have only this short advice to give. I beseech them to remember that, if Christianity be true, it is tremendously true. All the great things, this world can show, are nothing in comparison with it. Heaven and hell are the issue. Its facts yet to come are as certain, as those that are past. The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised; the heavens shull be. 01 firig and obe elements shall incit with fer
vent heat ; the Angels shall gather the elect of God from the four winds ; all men shall be called upon to give an account of their words and actions ; and they, who now deny Jesus Christ, and hold him in defiance, shall see the Heaven and earth flee before his face. A man must be stupified, if he can think on these things without fleeing from the wrath to come ; and there is no way, but in the belief of Christianity, which this book teaches.
I feel myself so deeply interested in this design of the Society, that I wish them all the aid and encouragement, which Heaven and earth can give them; and am their faithful friend and devoted humble servant,
NAYLAND, Feb. 23, 1799.
SHORT AND EASY METHOD
I. N answer to yours of the third instant, I
much condole with you on the unhappy circumstance of your being placed in company, where, as you say, you continually hear the sacred scriptures, and the histories therein contained, particularly of Moses and Christ, and all revealed religion, turned into ridicule by men, who set up for sense and reason.. They say that there is no better ground for believing in Christ, than in Mahomet ; that all these pretences to revelation are cheats, and ever have been among Pagans, Jews, Mahonetans, and Christians; that they are alike impositions of cunning and designing men upon the credulity, at first, of simple and unthinking persons, till, their numbers increasing, their delusions grew popular, and came at last to be established by laws; and then the force of education and custom gives a bias to the judgments of after ages, till such deceits come really to be believed, being received upon trust from the ages foregoing, without examining into the original and ground of them ; which