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u as a Deceiver and false Prophet; to "them did his Commission in a more es"pecial manner relate, and therefore, "for his own Justification, as well as "their Conviction, it was in a manner "necessary for him to manifest his Re"surrection. For, since his Resurrecti** on is acknowledg'd to be the chief "Proof of his Mission, the Evidence of <{ it should certainly have been so or"der'd, as to put it beyond all possibiu lity of Exception: But, instead of this, "we have none, but a Set of his own ** Creatures, who call themselves Wit"nejfis chosen before os God, to attest a "Matter of such Consequence. 'Tis "acknowledg'd indeed, that in Testi"mony of these Fictions, they persist*' ed with great Constancy and Resolu"tion; but, as it is no uncommon "thing to meet with Enthusiasts, who "will suffer to the uttermost in vindi"cation of Falsehoods, and sometimes to "meet with harden'd Villains, who will "even adventure to die in an obstinate "denial of the Truth; we may, from "the whole, conclude, that these pre"tended Witnesses of Je/as's Resur<c rection, were either Jilly enough to ** be impos'd on themselves in what * they attested, or, for some private B b 3 "Views

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<l Views or other, wicked enough tocn"deavour to impose upon others."

The Lose \The Resurrection of our Saviour of Ami- Christ is the great Point, upon which

SZ the whoIe weiSht of Mri/fiamty rests; greatDis- and therefore, as our Faith can never service to be too well grounded herein, whatever £,s? Objections have, in any Age, been ad. vanced against it, are not unworthy our Consideration. 'Tis much to be wislied therefore, that thec Antichristian Books, whose loss is so much lamented, were extant at this Pay, if it were but to stop the Mouths of their Admirers, who would not, I am confident, boast so much of them, if they had them, as they now do, that they want them. Whatever the strength of Wit or Malice can do, our modern Patrons of Infidelity have not left unattempted; and 'twould be a Dis* paragementto their fine Parts, and compass of Thinking, to imagine, that any of the Ancients could assist them in their Enquiries. If we may be allow'd to take the Character of Torfhyry (one of the most strenuous opposers of Christianity^ whose Books Theodojius the Emperor order'd to be burnt) from Eujebius, who had seen and read tfrem, we cannot

, but

* Dr. Pearceh Vind. Part i. p. i. J Defence of

Script. HiS. p. jo.

but suppose, that, if his manner was, d when he wanted Reasons, to fit himself to railing, and tho' he would finnetimes speak 'truth, when he could not help it, yet he never scrupled to tell a Lye, when he thought he could palm it upon his Readers, without being discovered, his Books could have been of any great service in our search after Truth. Nay, supposing that he, and some other Fathers of Infidelity, had made never so many Discoveries against Christianity, and, with the like Assurance, that some of their Sons have done, had afjirm'd that Jesus was a vile Impostor, and the History of his Miracles, (especially of his Resurrection,) as it is recorded by the Evan- gelifis, was all a mere Fable, yet, after all, the Question will be, whom we are to believe? e That they, or any Authorities, they could bring to vouch for them, could have better Opportunities of knowing the Trutrr, than the Evangelists had, is absolutely impossible; and that any of them have given any such Proofs of their Honesty and Sincerity, as the Evangelists did, a Man must be void of the Sense of Shame to maintain: And this (by the way) may supply us with a Reason, why the Fate of their WritB b 4 ings,

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* Eccles. Hist. L. 6. C. iS. 'Defence of Script, Hist. p. 5i) J»»

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ings, and of the YLvangelifls was so very different. Why it That the Heathens, when under the happen'd. power 0f Christians, were as able to preserve their Books from being destroy'd, as the Christians, when under the Power of Heathens, were to preserve theirs, can be no manner of doubt, if mere Power were to be consider'd: but the great Difference lay here, that the Books of the New Testament were so confirm'd and establifh'd by undoubted Eyidence, and Christians were so fully convinced of their divine Authority, that they willingly sacrificed their Lives, rather than deliver them up; and by this . means they were preferv'd and out-liv'd the Rage of ten Persecutions: whereas, the Writings ofCe/Jus and Porphyry, 8Cc. were senseless lying lnvetfives, which however Men of corrupt Fancies might be pleas'd with, yet no one was found to have that value for them, as to run the least Hazard for their Preservation, and therefore they easily fell under the Punishment, which many thought due to the Spite and Malice, which gave them birth. The Cir- Since then we are reduced to the sole ccoww'- Account of the Evangelists, in this great inzChrifi's Article of our Christian Faith, 'tis happy Kesmr.c- for USj that every Circumstance, rela

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ting to it, is so minutely told, as to leave no Umbrage for Suspicion. For, upon his being taken down from the Crois, and prepar'd for Interment, the sacred Historians inform us, that he was laid in a new Tomb; that this Tomb was hew'd out of a Rock', that a great Stone was rolled to the Door of it, that Stone secured with a Seal, and the whole watch'd and defended with a strong Guard of Soldiers. The Tomb is said to be a new one, wherein never Man foi fore was laid, to prevent all Suspicion of its being any other Body, that did arise; and to be hewn out of a Rock, closed with a Stone, and watch'd with a Guard, to silence the Pretence of the Jews that his Disciples stole the Body away: But, that the sealing the Door was intended for any Contract or Agreement between the Chief Priests and his Apostles is a mere Fiction, and full of Absurdities; because whoever considers the Situation of Affairs at that Time must needs imagine, that there could be no manner of Intercourse between them.

fWhen Christ was first seiz'd, andNo£»carriedto his Trial, his Disciples fled, ^"w?"'<■ and hid themselves for fear of the Jews, thTchief out of a just suspicion, that they Priests stiould, if apprehended, be sacrificed Hjj^

with

[ Bp. Sherlock'/ Trial of the Witnejfest p. 40.

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