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his happiness in this life, and in all his hopes for futurity ? Besides, if prescription must be allowed in this case, how will you deal with it in others ? What will

you say to the ancient Persians, and their firealtars? Nay, what to the Turks, who have been long enough in possession of their faith to plead

Mr. B. I beg pardon for interrupting the gentleman : but it is to save him trouble. He is going into his favourite common-place, and has brought us from Persia to Turkey already; and if he goes on, I know we must follow him round the globe. To save us from this long journey, I will wave all advantage from the antiquity of the resurrection, and the general reception the belief of it has found in the world; and am content to consider it as a fact which happened but last year, and was never heard of either by the gentleman's grandfather, or by mine.

Mr. A. I should not have taken quite so long a journey as the gentleman imagines, nor, indeed, need any man go so far from home to find instances to the purpose I was upon. But since this advantage is quitted, I am as willing to spare my pains, as the gentleman is desirous that I should. And yet I sufpect some art even in this concession, fair and candid as it seems to be. For I am persuaded, that one reason, perhaps the main reason, why men believe this history of Jesus, is, that they cannot conceive that any one should attempt, much less succeed in such an attempt as this, upon the foundation of mere human cunning and policy ; and it is worth the while to go round the globe, as the gentleman expressed himself, to see various instances of the like kind, in

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order to remove this prejudice. But I stand corrected, and will go directly to the point now in judgment.

Mr. B. My Lord, the gentleman, in justification of his first argument, has entered upon another of a very different kind. I think he is sensible of it, and, seeming to yield up one of his popular topics, is indeed artfully getting rid of another; which has made a very good figure in many late writings, but will not bear in any place, where he who maintains it may be asked questions. The mere antiquity of the resurrection I gave up; for if the evidence was not good at first, it cannot be good now. The gentleman is willing, he says, to spare us his history of ancient errors; and intimates, that upon this account he passes over many instances of fraud, that were like in circumstances to the case before us. By no means, my Lord, let them be passed over. I would not have the main strength of his cause betrayed in complaisance to me. Nothing can be more material, than to Thew a fraud of this kind, that prevailed universally in the world. Christ Jesus declared himfelf a prophet, and put the proof of his mission on this ; that he should die openly and publicly, and rise again the third day. This surely was the hardest plot in the world to be managed : and if there be one instance of this kind, or in any degree like it, by all means let it be produced.

Mr. A. My Lord, there has hardly been an instance of a false religion in the world, but it has also afforded a like instance to this before us. Have they not all pretended to inspiration ? Upon what foot did Pythagoras, Numa, and others set up ? Did they not all converse with the gods, and pretend to deliver oracles ?

Mr. B. This only shews that revelation is, by the common consent of mankind, the very best foundation of religion, and therefore every impostor pretends to it. But is a man's hiding himself in a cave for some years, and then coming out into the world, to be compared to a man's dying, and rising to life again? So far from it, that you and I and every man may do the one, but no man can do the other.

Mr. A. Sir, I suppose it will be allowed to be as great a thing to go to heaven and converse with angels, and with God, and to come down to the earth again, as it is to die and rise again. Now this very thing Mahomet pretended to do, and all his disciples believe it. Can you deny this fact ?

Mr. B. Deny it, Sir ? No. But tell us who went with Mahomet? who were his witnesses ? I expect, before we have done, to hear of the guards set over the sepulchre of Christ, and the seal of the stone: what guard watched Mahomet in his going or returning? what seals and credentials had he? He himself pretends to none.

His followers pretend to nothing but his own word. We are now to consider the evidence of Christ's resurrection, and you thin to parallel it by producing a case for which no one ever pretended there was any evidence. You have Mahomet's word, and no man ever told a lie but you had his word for the truth of what he said ; and therefore you need not go round the globe to find such instances as these. But this story, it is said, has gained great credit, and is received by many nations. Very well: and how was it received? Was not every man converted to this faith with the sword at his throat? In our case, every witness to the resurrection, and every believer of it, was hourly exposed to death: in the other case, whoever refused to believe, died, or, what was as bad, lived a wretched conquered Nave: and will you pretend these cases to be alike? One case indeed there was within our own memory, which in some circumstances came near to the case now before us. The French prophets put the credit of their mission upon the resurrection of Dr. Emmes, and gave public notice of it. If the gentleman pleases to make use of this instance, it is at his service.

Mr. A. The instance of Dr. Emmes is so far to the purpose, that it shews to what lengths enthufiasm will carry men. And why might not the same thing happen at Jerusalem, which happened but a few years ago in our own country? Matthew and John, and the rest of them, managed that affair with more dexterity than the French prophets ; so that the resurrection of Jesus gained credit in the world, and the French prophets sunk under their ridiculous pretensions. That is all the difference.

Mr. B. Is it so? And a very wide difference, I promise you. In one case, every thing happened that was proper to convince the world of the truth of the resurrection ; in the other, the event manifested the cheat; and upon the view of these circumstances, you think it sufficient to say, with great coolness, that is all the difference. Why, what difference do you expect between truth and falsehood? What diftinction

Judge. Gentlemen, you forget that you are in a

court, and are falling into dialogue. Courts do not allow of chit-chat. Look ye, the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus is before the court, recorded by Matthew, Mark, and others. You must take it as it is : you can neither make it better nor worse. These witnesses are accused of giving false evidence. Come to the point; and let us hear what you have to offer, to prove the accufation.

Mr. B. Is it your meaning, fir, that the objections should be stated and argued all together, and that the answer should be to the whole at once? Or would you have the objections argued fingly, and answered separately by themselves ?

Judge. I think this court may dispense with the strict forms of legal proceedings, and therefore I leave this to the choice of the Jury.

After the Jury had consulted together, the Foreman

rose up

The Foreman of the Jury. We desire to hear the objections argued and answered separately. We shall be better able to form a judgment by hearing the answer, while the objection is fresh in our minds.

Judge. Gentlemen, you hear the opinion of the Jury. Go on.

Mr. A. I am now to disclose to you a scene, of all others the most surprising. 1“ The resurrection “ has been long talked of, and, to the amazement of

every one who can think freely, has been believed

through all ages of the church.” This general and constant belief creates in most minds a presump

• Sixth Discourse, p. 17.

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