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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
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
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
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,
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.
CH A P. XVII.
Evangelifts. Hi hyvin
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
things which they had seen and heard.
guage, and generally known at that time. ! St. Matthew, who first penned his Gospel,
is said to have written it in Hebrew or Syri-