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as an execrable generation through all the world. So that it is not to be doubted but they would use all possible artifices to take out this testimony of Josephus, wherever they had the management of the copies, either by themselves, or others, their emissaries for that purpose. But it was not possible for them to compass the razing it out of all the copies dispersed up and down the world. Besides, this famous testimony hath the manifest stamp of Josephus's style and diction. Again, we have certain evidence of other testimonies being razed out of Josephus : For Euse. bius (we find) quotes Josephus as recording how just and righteous a man James was, called the brother of Christ, and saying, that the sober and more considerate men among the Jews believed the destruction of Jerusalem to be a punishment inflicted on them for murdering ot him. Likewise we have Origen, and Jerom, and Suidas, quoting Josephus for the same passage. And yet in our days there is no such passage to be found in Josephus. Now, would so many authors have agreed in appealing to Josephus for such a passage, if they had not really found it in him ? Would it not have exposed their cause to the contempt of all the world, to have asserted a thing which every body could have refuted as false ?
11. Ancient pagan writers have owned the same thing concerning Christ; as Suetonius, Tacitus, Pliny, &c. Yea, Lucian expressly owns the crucifixion of Christ, though he jeers both him, and the Christians his worshippers, on that account. So doth Julian the appostate; he owns the truth of facts concerning Christ, though he endeavours what he can to lessen the reputation of his life and miracles, and alleges, that all he did was no great matter, but only to open the eyes of the blind, restore limbs to the lame, and deliver persons possessed from the power and enchantments of devils, which he seemed to make little account of. It is true, he doth not notice his raising the dead, but passes that by in silence, being what he could not pretend to
The Jews also owned the miracles ; but alleged that he did all his wonderful works by virtue of the sacred tetragrammation. Also Celsus, that enemy of Christianity, confesses the truth of Christ's nativity, his journey into Egypt, his passing from place to place with his disciples, the fact of his miracles, his being betrayed, and, lastly, his death and passion. I grant they make all these concessions, in order to their scoff and ridicule: However, it shows the things were so evident, they could not be denied; but Origen sufficiently chastises and exposes him for railing.
12. It is certain that the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, concerning the life and actions of Christ and bis apostles, were their genuine compositions, and not the writings of any other. To confirm this, consider that there is no reason to doubt, that the first teachers of the Christian faith would use the most efféctual means for propagating a doctrine they so zealously espoused themselves, and they would not on that score neglect so direct and necessary a method for obtaining their end, as that of committing their doctrines to writing. This is what may be rationally expected from the policy and care of the first founders of any sect, as being a step so necessary, in order to the preservation and progress thereof. All the sects who have made any figure in the world, have taken this course, and have the founders of Christianity too. While the autographa, or original manuscripts of these penmen were preserved in the church, there was no access to impose doctrines or facts on the world in their names, contrary to what they had written. And Tertullian, who flour. ished at the latter end of the second century, or the very beginning of the third, intimates, that these venerable writings were preserved till his time. Again, no particular sects of Christians
could ever get the writings of the New Testament so forged or adulterated, but all the other sects of Christians would have proclaimed the imposture to the world. The enmity and quarrels among different parties, were a strong guard on these sacred books, that no designing party could ever foist into these books their own notions, seeing the copies were dispersed among all the sects.
of the certainty of CHRIST's Resurrection.
WE have many undeniable evidences of it: 1. The tes. timony of many eye-witnesses; for, besides the apostles, who were witnesses of it in an eminent manner, there were many others : For Paul tells us, that in his time there were still remaining the greater part of more than 500, who did all at one time see Jesus after his rising again. Now, an imposture may lie concealed for a while in a few hands, but it is next to impossible that it should lie long undiscovered in the hands of a great many. It shocks a man to think, that so many persons should agree in all the punctilios of a notorious lie, and that they should agree to stand by it in so peremptory a manner as these persons did, and never clash together in any instance whatsoever. It is commonly observed that plots never thrive so well as when there are few let into the secret; and large cabals of knaves and liars seldom fail to tell tales of one another.
2. These witnesses had personal knowledge of what they testified : Yea, they not only declared that they saw Christ, but many of them, that they saw him frequently and familiarly, and that for a considerable tract of time. They conversed with him for forty days; they ate and drank with him; they saw him do several wondrous works; they received orders and instructions from him about the government of his church; he bid them, “ Go, teach and baptize all nations ;" he promised them his peace and blessing in so doing, to the end of the world; he commanded them to tarry in Jerusalem, till they were endued with power from on high; and a great many other things are recorded, that he said to them, and after all, they saw him taken up
from them, and ascend into heaven, angels standing by. "Now, it never could be a dream or imagination in so many men, for so many weeks, to fancy all these things alike, without the least variation.
3. Consider the manner of the testimony, and how they delivered it. They invoked God's tremendous name, and begged his assistance and blessing. They appealed to him
as the omniscient judge of the world, concerning the sincerity and integrity of their hearts. They declared they did not this of themselves, but by God's order and appointment ; and that he gave them power of working signs and wonders for the confirmation of all they said ; and they accordingly wrought them before all men.
4. They did not testify of a matter that was transacted at a distance from the place where they gave their testimony, nor a long time after the thing was done. No, there is no ground of objection on any of these accounts : For those men appeared upon the very spot that was the scene of the action at Jerusalem, where Christ was crucified, and where they affirmed he also rose. They neither sent people a great way to inquire, nor did they defer the publication of it till Jesus Christ was forgotten, and the story of his res. urrection worn out of mind. No, instead of that, they did it while it was fresh in the minds and mouths of all men, and while those persons who could have confuted them were alive, and ready to be produced, if they had any thing to have advanced against it.
5. They did not make a secret of this matter, but declared it in the most public and open mannner that possibly could be. It was not a story whispered among those of their own party, but proclaimed in the ears of all people, and at a time when Jerusalem was crowded with foreigners of all nations, and where was no want of persons able and curious enough to inquire into the truth of all the strange reports they made. 'i'hey went into the temple and into the synagogues, and preached the resurrection of Christ, yea, in the most august councils of the Jews, they testified it to the rulers and high-priests who had condemned Christ. Peter's bold speech is most remarkable, Acts iv. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
And we see how confounded the whole council was with their testimony; and not one of them had the confidence to tell them that they were publishing a notori
6. These persons were men of such probity and virtue, that none of their adversaries could ever cali in question, nor show to the world that they were ill men.
7. They were persons not bred up in courts, nor instruct. ed in the arts and intrigues of the world, able to persuade people by elegant discourses, &c. No, they were generally inean, though plain and honest njen, and their discourses plain and homely: And though Paul was a man of polite learning, yet he would make no use of human learning in the propagation of Christianity,
8. They could not possibly have any secular view, by preaching such a doctrine to the world : Nay, in preaching it, they acted against all the rules of worldly interest and policy, and could have no prospect from the world, but what was frightful and discouraging; their doctrine being to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness. They could not propose to themselves either to gain reputation and esteem, or to advance their fortunes in the world; nåy, suffering the greatest hardships was all they had in their view.
9. Consider how severe the laws were which they published against lying, forgery, and a false testimony: And if they themselves were guilty of it, they were condemned to everlasting punishment for what they did, by the very
doc. trine which they preached. Yet in this doctrine they persisted to the last, and if it were a lie, they went out of the world with a horrible lie in their mouths, which is horrid to think ; for so they could have no hope of finding mercy and forgiveness at God's hands; and thus you would make them the most depraved wretches in the world.
10. Now, had they been men who had no religious awe or sense of God themselves, how is it credible that they would have been so very zealous and industrious to impress it upon the minds of others, and to press them to love and fear bim, as the scope of all their writings and sermons do show? How oft do they tell us of a judgment day, and of God's being the searcher of the thoughts and counsels of the heart.
11. It is plain to a demonstration, that these persons heartily believed the doctrines they preached to the world: otherwise, how would they have exposed themselves to such dangers and sufferings upon that score ?
12. The Jews who lived at that time were infallibly convinced of the resurrection of Jesus Christ : which appears from this, that the writers of the gospel-history did in express terms publish to the world, that the Jews bribed the