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C Ο Ν Τ Ε Ν Τ S.
CHA P. IV.
· CH A P. VI.
SECT. II. The speculative doëirines of Christianity did not originate
APPENDI X. Page 281, CONTAINING
of scripture, alluded to in the preceding work.
moraliiy of the gospel as being extravagant and fanatical.
co.confirm the defcription travagant and fanatid against the
That Christianity was founded on enthusiasmi, was one of the earliest imputations thrown upon it. The politicians and philosophers of the Heathen world regarded the steadiness with which the primitive Christians sustained persecution, and the zeal they displayed in making profelytes; as certain proofs of obstinate fanaticism, and they conceived that the faith required as essential to the Christian profession was founded on blind credulity; disdaining to examine the doctrines, or weigh the evidence of an upstart Jewish sect, they satisfied themselves with such distant views, and such superficial objections as these, and too frequently difmissed the religion of the gospel as a fordid and gross superstition, unworthy the attention of a philosophic mind. We find the antient apologists complaining of this proceeding, as most uncandid and irrational, and surely with good cause. “ Some (säys *Tertullian) look upon it as « madness, that when we might facrifice at the mo“ ment and depart uninjured, retaining in our mind « a fixed resolution to continue firm to our religion,
La Tertulliani Apologetieus, cap. xxvii. edit. Havercampi, Lugduni, 1718, p. 259.
" we should prefer our obstinacy to our lives ;” and in the conclusion of his apology, “ b That, says he: “ which you call madness and despair in us, are the “ very actions which, under virtue's standard, lift up “ your fons to fame and glory, and emblazon them 6 to future ages.”_He then adduces the examples of Mutius Scævola, Regulus, the stoick Zeno, and the Lacedemonian youths, with some others, and he proceeds, “ Not one of these contemners of death “ and cruelty, in its several shapes, have had their 66 actions sullied with the imputation of madness and
despair. A man shall suffer with honour for his 66 country, for the empire, for a friend, what he is
not tolerated to suffer for his God. Strange! that 6 you should look on the patience of Christians, as 66 such, as an inglorious thing, and yet for the per6 sons I have mentioned, cast statues' and adorn ; « figures with inscriptions and magnificent titles, “ to perpetuate the memory of their actions to eter66 nity to such an eternity as monuments can be. 66 stow, and by this means give them a kind of re“ furrection from the dead ; on the contrary, he 56 who expećts a real resurrection, and in hopes of “ this suffers for the word of God, shall pass among 66. you for a sot and a madman.” And in the next paragraph he states, “ That which you reproach in “6 us as stubbornness, has been the most instructive
6 lb. p. 429. I have here adopted Reeves's Translation, which, though sometimes vulgar, is here fpirited and faithful. Vid. Reeves's Apologies, vol. I, p. 296.
mistress in profelyting the world, for who has not “ been struck with the fight of what you call stub36 bornness, and from thence been pushed on to look " into the reality and reason of it, and who ever looka “ ed well into our religion but came over to it, and 56 who ever came over to it, but was ready to suffer " for it, to purchase the favour of God, and obtain " the pardon of all his fins, though at the price of " his Blood, for niartyrdom is sure of mercy.”
Thus in the Octavius of Minucius Felix, Cæcilius, the advocate for idolatry, is introduced as reproaching the Christians with being “a col“lection of fools only and credulous women, who “ by the weakness of their sex lie fairelt for delusion.” Celsus urged the same objection; he advises, says * Origen, “ that we should adopt opiniens following " the guidance of reason, fince every deception * arises from men not being thus difpofed ; and he “ compares such as believe without reason, to those “ who are delighted with observers of omens, and " jugglers, with magicians and bacchanalians,and with
the visions of Hecate, and of other dæmons, for “ by such means artful men working on the fimpli« city of those who are deceived, lead them which
c Vid. Editionem Ouzeli, 4to. Lugduni, 1652, p. 8. Reeves's Apologies, vol. 2, p. 42.
d Origen Contra Cellum, 'p. 8; in fine, Spencer's Edition, Cambridge, 1677, or Origenis Opera Studio Caroli Delarue, Paris, 1733, vol. 1, P: 327.
* way they will, and this is the case among Chrif: “ tians : for, (says Celsus) fome of them do not
choose to give or receive a reason for their faith, “ but employ this maxim-do not enquire but believe, “ and your faith will save you ; and this, the wisdont “ of the world is evil, but folly is good.” In this passage we discover the ingenuity of the sophist milquoting the scripture he wishes to misrepresent; and in other e passages he compares the “ appearances of “ our Lord, after his resurrection, to vulgar spectres “ and visions.” Thus also Eusebius, in the f preface to his demonstration of the truth of the gospel; “ This work should be acceptable to the Greeks, if co they would be reasonable, from the wonderful “ foreknowledge of futurity, and the accomplish- ment of events, according to predictions : thus “ at once shewing the divinity and certainty of the “ truth with us, and stopping the mouths of the “ patrons of falsehood by a rational proof, which “ these calumniators contend we cannot fupply, “ maintaining every day, in their disputes with us, “ with their utmost strength, and insisting on this “ accusation, that we are able to establish nothing
e Vid. Ibid. p. 98-354 and 355. Vid. in answer. Infra, chap. i. fect. 5.
f Vid. this preface first printed by Fabricius în Greek and Latin, and prefixed to his Dele&tus Argumentorum, and Syllabus Scriptorum qui Veritatem Religionis Christianæ Asferuere. Hamburgi, 1725, p. 8 and 9. The same assertion is repeated, chap. i. Vid. Eufeb. Præp. Evangel. Translated by Vigerus. Paris, 1628.