Our religion, then, rests on the credit due to these witnesses.
That man is a religious being, is universally conceded, for it has been seen to be universally true.
The proof that God has revealed himself to man by special and express communications, and that Christianity constitutes that revelation, is no part of these inquiries.
In trials of fact, by oral testimony, the proper inquiry is not whether is it possible that the testimony may be false, but whether there is sufficient probability that it is true.
The importance of the facts testified, and their relations to the affairs of the soul, and the life to come, can make no difference in the principles or the mode of weighing the evidence.
In requiring this candor and simplicity of mind in those who would investigate the truth of our religion, Christianity demands nothing more than is readily conceded to every branch of human science.
The foundation of our religion is a basis of fact - the fact of the birth, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection by the Evangelists as having actually occurred, within their own personal knowledge.
But if, on the other hand, we should be justified in rejecting it, if there testified on oath, then, supposing our rules of evidence to be sound, we may be excused if we hesitate elsewhere to give it credence.
In examining the evidence of the Christian religion, it is essential to the discovery of truth that we bring to the investigation a mind freed, as far as possible, from existing prejudice, and open to conviction.
In the ordinary affairs of life we do not require nor expect demonstrative evidence, because it is inconsistent with the nature of matters of fact, and to insist on its production would be unreasonable and absurd.