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and some great effects were produced by them. In this view, how different do the miracles of scripture appear from the insulated, ambiguous, uncertain, and useless miracles, pretended to have been wrought by Vespasian, or in favour of Alexander's army! When examined, these appear but as foils to set the others off, though Mr. P. says they are quite as well authenticated as the Bible-miracles !!

If the miracles ascribed to Moses, or to Jesus Christ and his apostles, were actually performed ; it must be allowed that they were the work of omnipotence and can no otherwise be accounted for. It would also have been impossible to have forged such stories of public miracles, so circumstantially related, and to have given them currency among contemporaries. Whole nations, especially of enemies, cannot thus be deprived of their senses, or inhibited the use of them. It would have been equally impossible to have persuaded the next generation, that their fathers had told them of these wonders from their infancy, and that they had seen and heard them ; if they had never been told such stories by their fathers. And at what time could the belief have been received either by Jews or Christians, that these miracles had always been credited among them, had there been no truth in it? The attempt to convince whole nations, or large bodies of people, that from time immemorial such things had been generally known and assuredly believed; and that they had observed certain festivals and institutions in commemoration of them, and were subject to laws and ordinances

· P. ii. p. 5.

VOL. V.

given at the same time; if the whole had been a forgery, must have been deemed an insult on the common sense of mankind.

The fables, which have obtained credit in different nations, had always some foundation in truth, however distorted. They never specify the precise time, place, and manner, in which things happened: and they do not appeal to numerous living witnesses, and challenge investigation. The poets of Greece and Rome did not pretend that they were eye-witnesses of the stories with which they embellished their works. Homer and Hesiod vamped up fabulous traditions current among the Greeks : but they did not declare that the whole nation, yea and rival nations also, saw those things; and that they wrote their account at the time and upon the spot. This could never have obtained credit even in those days.-But can any man conceive that it would now be possible to invent a history of the remote times of this nation ; and to persuade mankind, that it had always been as commonly known among us, as the books of Moses are among the Jews, or thc New Testament among Christians ? And would it not be equally impossible to introduce such a history with this kind of appeal, at any future time, had it never before been published ?

In order to illustrate the subject, let us consider the single miracle of our Lord's resurrection. His ignominious death and subsequent glory are evidently predicted in the Old Testament; and his enemies knew that he had foretold his own resurrection on the third day, and took their measures accordingly. On the third day the body was gone, and they could give no rational account of its re

moval. Eleven men (to whom a twelfth was immediately added,) of good character and sober understanding, such as any court of justice would allow to be unexceptionable witnesses, constantly affirmed that they saw Jesus after his resurrection, and examined his hands, feet, and side ; that they had long known him, and were sure it was he; that they had repeated opportunities of conversing with him,and obtained renewed assurances that they beheld the identical body again alive, which had been nailed to the cross; and at length that they saw him ascend towards heaven. In this testimony they persisted till death, without one of them deviating from it. In support of their testimony, they renounced every interest, and faced all kinds of dangers and sufferings imaginable ; till most of them sealed it with their blood. In all other respects they were most virtuous and holy characters: and their doctrine is so strict, that according to it a forgery of this kind, however well intended, will, unless repented of, ensure a man's eternal damnation. A great mumber of other witnesses confirmed their testimony; and the silence of their enemies, whose credit, authority, and even safety, were deeply concerned, tends to establish it. The only original history of the first promulgators of Christianity, confirmed by various other histories, records that they wrought numerous and stupendous miracles, and communicated similar powers to others, in support of their evidence; and that thus God himself attested it. In the epistles written by them to the churches, they speak of these miraculous powers as things well known, without fear of being confuted—even when firmly opposing false teachers, and reproving their followers. Their success, in opposition to all the power, learning, genius, and religion in the world, merely by preaching a crucified and risen Saviour, confirms these claims and the event they testified: and the existence and effects of Christianity, for nearly eighteen hundred years, combine with all the foregoing proofs to authenticate the miracle of Christ's resurrection.

If that event had not actually taken place, how could such multitudes, prejudiced in various ways against the gospel, have been induced to embrace it? How came they, who continued enemies, to submit silently to the charge of having murdered “ the Prince of life?" Or how. was Christianity established in the world ? No fact was ever so fully confirmed as this by multiplied and varied testimony; and by permanent, extensive, and most important consequences.

Even the Jews have not denied the miracles of Christ and his apostles, however they may have been perplexed to account for them: yet each miracle was equal at least to an unexceptionable witness of the resurrection, and consequently to the truth of Christianity. This may also answer Mr. P.'s objection to the testimony of the Jews. I suppose no man ever thought of bringing them forward as direct voluntary witnesses to the truth of the gospel : but they indisputably confirm the antiquity of the Old Testament, and the reverence with which it hath been regarded by their nation since at least five hundred years before Christ; they establish all the facts that relate to him, except his resurrection ; and their present condition fulfils, in the most striking manner, the predictions of both the Old Testament and the New. But to say, that the Jews are the best evidence concerning the truth of the gospel,'' is to affirm, in other words, that none but enemies should be admitted as witnesses; and that, when any of them are convinced and become Christians, their testimony is thenceforth inadmissible!

· P. i. p. 9.

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