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world, concerning him ilephus (noucha Perlo
the reproachful name on Him, of Talue, or a person that was hanged, and call the Christians, the servants of Talui. Though they disown him to be the Messiah, yet they never refuse there being such a Person. Their learned countryman Josephus (no christian) his testimony concerning him is well known to all the learned world, Antiq. Jud. lib. xviii cap. 4. p 261. Edit. Gea nev. 1935. where he plainly testifies of the life, iniracles, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and of the fulfilling of the prophecies in him, and of the wonderful conversion both of Jews and Gentiles to the faith of his gospel. Some indeed question the genuineness of this passage of Josephus, but without just ground; for we find this testimony taken notice of as his by very ancient writers, as Eusebius in Hit Ecclef. lib. I. cap. ii. pag. 30. Edit. Parif. 1659, in vita Tiberii; also by Nicephorus Calistus, by Sozomen, by Jerom, by Ifadorus Pelufiola, &c.
Object. This paffage is not taken notice of by the ancient defenders of Christianity, as Justin Martyr, Orie gen, Tertullian, &c. Ans. The reason of this might be, the copies of Josephus they chanced to make use of might want this testimony, which, in all likelihood, was razed out of as many copies as the malicious Jews could come at: For this teftimony of such a famous man as Josephus, one of their own country and religion, against the Jews, for treating such an excellent Per. fon so barbarously, could not but expose them 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 emiffaries 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 itamp of Joftphus his Ityle and diction. Again, we have certain e. vidence of other teitimonies being razed out of Josephus : For Eusebius (we fud) quotes Josephus as recording how just and righteous a man James was, cal. led the brother of Christ, and saying, that the sober and more considerate men among the Jews believed the de. struction of Jerusalem to be a punishment inflicted on them for murdering of him. Likewise we have Origen, and Jerom, and Saidas, quoting Josephus for the same passage. And yet in our days there is no such passage to be fourd 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 expofed 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 fame 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 worshipper, on that account: So doth Julian the apoftate; he owns the truth of facts concerning Christ, though he endeavours what he can to lessen the reputation of his life and miracles, and alledges, 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 poffeffed from the power and enchantments of devils, which he seemed to make little account of. It is true, be doth not notice his railing the dead, but passes that : by in Glence, being what he could not pretend to anfver. The Jews also owned the miracles; but alledged that he did all his wonderful works by virtue of the facred tetragrammaton. Also Celsus, that enemy of Chriftianity, 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, laniy, his death and passion. I grant they make all these concessions, in order to their scoff and ridicule : However, it shews the things were so evident, they could not be denied; but Origen fufficiently chastises and expofts him for railing.
12. It is certain, that the writings of Matth., Mark, Luke, and John, concerning the life and actions of Christ and bis apoftles, were theirgenuine 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 eff-etual means for propagating a doctrine they so zealously espoused themselves, and they would not on that score neglect so direct and neceffary a method for obtaining their end, as that of committing their doctrines to writing. This is whit may be rationally expected from the policy and care of the first founders of any fect, as being a step fo 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 so have the founders of Christi. anity too. While the autographa, or original manuscripts of these penmen were preserved in the church, there was no access to impofe doctrines or facts on the world in their names, contrary to what they had written. And Tertullian, who flourilhed at the latter end of the fecond century, or the very beginning of the third, intimates, that these venerable writings were preserved till his time. Again, no particular fect of Christians could ever get the writings of the new testament so forged or adulterate, but all the other fects 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 disperfed among all the sects.
We have many undeniable evidences of it: 1. The testimony of many eye-witnesses; for, besides the a. postles, 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 impoffible that it could lie lenz undiscovered in the hands of a great many. It shocks a man to think, that so many persons should agree in all the pundilios of a notorious lie, and that they should agree to stand by it in so peremptory a manner as these perfons 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. There witreffes 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 familia:ly, and that for a confiderable tract of time. They converled with him for forty days; they eat 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, 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 ailistance and blessing. They appealed to him as the omniscient judge of the world, cor cerning the fincerity and integrity of their hearts. They declared they did not this of themselves, but by God's oriler and appointment; and that he gave them power of working ligns and wonders for the confirma. tion of all they said, and accordingly wrought them before all men.
4. They did not teftify of a matter that was tran. facted 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 enquire, nor did they defer the publication of it till Jesus Christ was forgotten, and the story of his resurrection 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.
s. They did not make a secret of this matter, but declared it in the most public and open manner that pofsibly 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 enquire into the truth. of all the strange reports they made. They went into the temple and into the synagogues, and preached the resurrection of Chrift; yea, in the most august councils of the Jews, they teftified it to the rulers and high-priests who had condemned Christ. Peter's bold fpeech 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 publifhing a notorious lie. .
6. These perfons were men of such probity and vir. tue, that none of their adversaries could ever call in question, nor shew to the world that they were ill mena
7. They were perfons not bred up in courts, nor in truded in the arts and intrigues of the world, able to persuade people by elegant discourses, &c No, they were generally mean, though plain and honest men, and their discourses plain and homely: And thoughi Paul was a man of polite learning, yet he would make no use of human learning in the propagation of Chris tianity. VOL. IV