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and if they had not had the courage to

itand so resolutely to the truthof what they di delivered, their Miracles themselves might I have become suspected; but acting by a pornoDivine Power, and being supported in all

their sufferings by a supernatural constancy
and greatness of Mind, and being so sud.
denly changed and raised above them-
selves in all they did or suffered, and
working the fame change in others;" they
gave all the evidence and certainty of the
truth of the Doctrines they taught, that it
was possible for men to give.
- And as a power of working Miracles
was derived from the Apostles down upon
their Disciples, so was the spirit of meek-
ness and patience under affli&ions com-
municated to them. And it is observable,
that God was pleased not to raise up any

Christian Emperor, till above three hun$ •dred y ars after Christ, that he might shew

that the Religion which came from heaven could need no human aid nor be supprefd by any human force ; and that he might recommend the great vërtues of meekness and patience to the world by the exam. ples of men as eminent for these, as for the Miracles they wrought, and might instruct mankind in a suffering Religion. For to assure the world of the truth of it, he would not grant it protection from Christian Emperors, till most of the Empire was

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become Christian, and. Christianity had diffused itself into all the known parts of the Earth. For before the last: Perfecuti

on, begun by Dioclefian, (1) the Church (U Loseb: flourished as much, and had the favour of Hit. lib. the Court, and of great men, in as high a. viii. c. 1. degree almoft, as under Constan

antine bimself

3 till their Profperity caused their fins, and these brought Persecution. But at last the perfecuting Emperors were forced by a divine power, manifested in miraculous diseases inflicted on them, to reftore the Christians to their former liberty, in their worship of God; that so it might appear to all the world, that the Christian Religion needed no Patronage of men; for God would compel its worst Enemies to

become its Protectors, when he saw it fit., (m) So ting. And (m) when Julian made it his zom. lib.v.

great aim and business to restore Paganism again in the world, he faw, to his grief, how ineffectual all bis endeavours proved ; he observed that the Christian Religion still retained a general esteem and approbation, and that the Wives and Children and Servants of his own Priests themselves were most of them Christians.

If any one then, upon a serious consideration of all circumstances, can withstand the conviction of so

great evidence ; 1 would only ask him, whether he believes any History, or relation of matters of fact,

. 16.

which he never saw, and desirę him to shew what degrees of certainty he can dilcern in any of them, which are not to be

found here: and besides to consider, that an if in a vicious and subtile Age, a Do&rine

so contrary to flesh and blood, by so weak and incompetent means, could obtain fo universally amongst men of all Tempers,

and Professions, and Interests, in all Na. * tions of the world, against so violent op: 2 position, without the help of Miracles;

this is as great a Miracle as can be concei ved: either therefore the Christian Relie gion was propagated by Miracles, or it was not ; if it was, then the Miracles, by which it was propagated, prove it to be from God; if it was not propagated by Miracles, the Propagation itself is a Mira cle, and sufficient to prove it to be from him.

1

CHAP

CH A P. XVII.
Of the Writings of the Apostles and

Evangelifts. Hi hyvin
JT
T is justly esteemed a sufficient reason

for the credibility of any History, if it be written by men of Integrity, men who have no suspicion upon them of difhonesty, and have no Temptation to de ceive, and who reiate nothing, but of their own Times, and within their own knowledge, though the Authors never suffered any loss, nor run any hazard in asserting what they deliver. But the Hifto. ry of Christ has this further advantage, that many of the most confiderable things in it were done in the siglot of his enemies, and that which is an History: to future Ages, was rather an Appeal to that Age, whether the things related were true, or not. In

The History of our Saviour's Life and Death, and Resurrection, and Afcenfion, as it hath been proved, was attested by his Apostles, to the faces of his very. Crucifiers ; and they all remained upon the place, where what they witnessed had been done, for several years afterwards, declaring and preaching to all people, the

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1

things which they had seen and heard.
And soon after his Ascension, when all the
proceedings against him were freih jy me.
mory, they committed the fame to writing
in Greek, which was the most common lan-

guage, and generally known at that time. ! St. Matthew, who first penned his Gospel,

is said to have written it in Hebrew or Syri-
ack, (tho it was soon after translated into
Greek) so that whoever of the Jews did
not understand the Greek tongue, might
read the Gospel in their own Language.
Not long after the other Gospels were
penned, and they were all in a short time
dispersed into the several parts of the
world, and translated into all Languages.
It is particularly related, (a) that St. John's (a) Epi:
Gospel, and the Acts of the Apostles were phan.HR-
foon translated into the Hebrew tongue.

rer, Ebion,
The Evangelists give such air account
both of the Birth and Death of our Savi-
our, as must suppose them recorded at Rome.
For there the censual Tables were kept,
where, by St. Luke's account, the name of
our Saviour must have been registered ;
and his Death and Resurrection were fo
remarkable, as they relate them, that ac-
cording to the custom used in the Go-
vernment of the Roman Provinces, the
Emperor must have a relation fent him of
them, and (as I have fhewn) both Justin
Martyr and Tertullian appeal to the Ro-

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