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the reproachful name on Him, of Talur, 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 testi. móny concerning him is well known to all the learned world, Antiq. Jud. lib. xviii cap. 4. P 261. Edit Genev. 1935. where he plainly testifies of the life, riracles, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, an i 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 Hift Ecclef. lib. I. capii. pag. 30. Edit. Parif. 1659, in vita Tiberii; also by Nicephorus Califfus, by Sozomen, by Jerom, by Ifodorus Pelufóla, &c.
Object. This paffage is not taken notice of by the ancient defenders of Christianity, as Justin Mariyr, Origen, Tertullian, &c. Ans. The reason of this might be, the copies of Josephus they chanced to make use of might want this teftimony, which, in all likelihood, was razed out of as many copies as the malicious Jews could come at: For this teitimony of such a famous man as Josephus, one of their own country and religion, against the Jews, for treating such an excellent Perlon fo barbaroutly, could not but expose them as an er. ecrable generation through all the world. So that it is not to be doubted but they would use all possible artifices to take out this teftimony 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. Beldes, this farnous teitimony hath the manifest stamp of Jor:phus his style and diction. Again, we have certain e., vidence of other teftimonies being razed out of Joren phus : For Eusebius (we find) quotes fosephus as recording how juft and righteous a man James was, cal. led the brother of Christ, and saying, that the sober and
srore considerare men among the Jews believed the de. firection of Jerusalem to be a punishment inflicted on iherr for murdering of him. Likewise we have Origen, and Jerom, and Suidas, quoting Jofephus for the same past ge. And yet in our days there is no such passage to be for din 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 falle?
11. Ancient pagan writers have owned the same thing concernirg Christ, as Suetonius, Tacitus, Pliny, &c. Yea, Lucian expressly owns the crucifixion of Christ, though he jeers both him, and the Christians bis worthippers, on that account: So doth Julian the apostate ; he owns the truth of facts concerning Chrift, 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 limba, to the lame, and deliver persons poffefled from the power and enchantments of devils, which he seemed to make little account of. It is true, he doth not notice his railing the dead, but passes that by in filence, being what he could not pretend to answer. The Jews also owned the miracles ;, but alledged that he did all his wonderful works by virtue of the sacred tetragrammaton Also Celsus, that enemy of Chriftianity, confesses the truth of Christ's nativity, his journey into Egypt his palling from place to place with his difciples, the fact of his miracles, his being betrayed, and, laflly, his death and passion. I grant they make all theie concessions, in order to their scoff and ridicule: However, it Thews the things were so evident, they couid not be denied ; but Origen sufficiently chastises and exposes him for railing.
12. It is certain,' that the writings of Matth., Mark, Luk, and John, concerning the life and actions of Christ and his apostles, were theirgenuine compositions, and not the writings of any other. To confirm this, consider that :here is no reason to doubt, that the first teachers of the
Christian faith would use the most effectual means for propagating a doctrine they so zealously espoused themselves, and they would not on that score neglect codirect and neceffarv 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 feet, as being a step fo neceflary, in order to the preservation and progress thereof. All the fects 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 minufcripts 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 writ. ten. And Tertullian, who flourished at the latter end of the second century, or the very beginning -of the third; intimates, that thefe venerable writings were preserved till his time. Again, no particular fect of Christians could ever get the writings of the new testament fo forged or adulterate, 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 deligning party could ever foift into these books their own notions, seeing the copies were dispersed among all the fects.
WE have many undeniable evidences of it: 1. The teftimony of many eye-witnesses; for, belides the a. postles, who were witnesses of it in an eminent man. ner, 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 in.poiture 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 fo 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 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 baprize 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 faid 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, mer, for so many weeks, to fancy all these things alike, without the least variation.
3. Conīder the manner of the testimony, and how .. they delivered it. They invoked God's tremendous name, and begged his asistance 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 thenilelves, but by God's order 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 tefore all men.
4. They did not testify of a matter that was tranfacted at a distance from the place where they gave their Icftimony, 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 eople 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.
5 They did not make a secret of this matter, but declared it in the most public and open manner 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 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 Christ ; yea, in the most august councils of the Jews, they testified it to the rulers and high-priests who had condemned Chrilt. Peter's bold speech is most remarkable, Acts iv. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. And we fee 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 notorious lie.
6. Thefe persons were men of such probity and virtue, that none of their adversaries could ever call in question, nor shew to the world that they were ill men.
7. They were persons not bred up in courts, nor inftru&ted in the arts and intrigues of the world, able to perfuade people by elegant discourses, &c. No, they were generally mean, though plain and honest men, 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 Chris. tianity. VOL. IV.