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publication.-Had Chrift perished in the grave, what advantagecould have been reaped, or expected from his lifeless corpfe? And had not Jesus been alive, whence this fudden courage, this ardent zeal, this strong and unaccountable impulse ?-Had not our Lord spoke in him, who would have put any truft or confidence in what he said, at least so far, as upon his bare word, to preach, publish, and feal his affirmation with their blood?

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Moreover, the very objections of gainfayers ferve only to fet the truth in a fairer and more advantageous point of light. To this end the Jews pretend that his difciples ftole away his body by night, because they could not find it. But the method that was. taken to fecure it fully confutes fuch a prepofterous tale. SomeHeathens gave out, that they crucified a spectre, or ghost, instead of Jefus; but this notion the Jews unanimously condemn; for: they were fcandalized at his death, and believed that he did actually fuffer. Upon which account, they commonly call him. the crucified man.

Christ-lived therefore, and lives for ever; and fent down in purfuance of his promise to his disciples before his death the Holy Ghoft upon them.-A little time after his refurrection, they received the gift of tongues, in fo fingular a manner, that the fame gift, by the impofition of their hands, defcended on many others. This is another article which obftinate and wilful men carp at, as if God Almighty could not, if he pleafed, with the fame ease bestow the gifts of many languages upon one man, as confound and divide one language into a great many, as he did in the infancy of the world, to testify his divine difpleasure. But had it been only a matter of oftentation, as they vainly furmife; what ends could they propose to themselves in fuch idle boafting ?-How. eafily, how readily had they been confuted and difproved? They were in the cuftody of the magistrates and judges; why were they not examined before the people? Jerufalem was the metro

polis of the east, where could they better have detected the cheat, or forced them to a recantation ?-But the certainty of the narration plainly appears from the effects of it. For the Apoftles themselves, and their disciples, though originally no more than fishermen and publicans, a tribe of ignorant illiterate men, that understood no other language than their own, and were no great critics very probably in that; yet compofed divers books, travelled over the greatest part of the world, and preached with majesty and power to all nations.. How would either the Jews or Gentiles have approved of fuch men as these for their orators ?-And yet fo fuccessful were they in their labours, that in less than forty years, the name and doctrine of the Lord Jefus was not only promulgated, but received in most parts of the habitable world. And how could they poffibly have effected this, if they had not, by fome extraordinary means, fome fupernatural affiftance, attained to the perfect knowledge of the languages? And this event was fo common, fo univerfally believed, that Simon Magus before-mentioned affured his disciples, that he was the very perfon that defcended on the apostles in fiery tongues.

Let us now look a little into the hiftory of St. Paul. He was the disciple of Gamaliel, and was fent to Damafcus with an unlimited commiffion to perfecute the chriftians. In his journey, a fudden light fhone around him, and falling on his face to the ground, he heard a voice, faying, SAUL, SAUL, WHY PERSECUTEST THOU ME?-In a word, immediately of a Jew, he became a christian, and of a perfecutor a martyr. And if And if you will. not believe St. Luke in the Acts, St. Paul himfelf confirms this circumftance in feveral other places. Now, what objection can incredulity itself raise against this, except, perhaps, a bare denial? Our apostle has a very fair profpect of advancing himself, and is in great favour with the magiftrates and priests: all on a fudden


he changes his courfe of life, runs to the other extreme, and patiently fubmits himself to be reviled, fcourged, beaten, stoned, and put to death. Suppofe now neither St. Luke nor St. Paul had difclofed the true reafon of this fudden alteration, would not any one naturally conclude, that fome extraordinary internal impulfe had induced him to fuch apoftacy? But here it may be faid, we daily find by experience, that men alter their opinion upon very flight and trivial occafions.-None furely, fools or mad excepted. But St. Paul weighs the matter maturely; firft argues the cafe, lays down axioms, and draws undeniable conclufions from them. The most learned of his enemies pity him, indeed, for the mifapplication, as they call it, of his learning, but admire his writings. Moreover, he knew that his preaching would be by fome accountedfolly; but as great a folly as it appeared to worldly minds, it was the wisdom of the Almighty;-that the continuation of it would reduce him to poverty, and the worst of worldly misfortunes; but yet he boldly and refolutely perfifts therein; and he who esteems him an ignorant perfon, reflects on his own understanding; fince all men of genius ftand confounded at his words and actions. Now, if he was a wife, a learned, and judicious perfon, as most certainly he was, it naturally follows, that the alteration fo made must proceed from fome caufe; and as it was great, it must be owing to fome great caufe; and as it was fudden, furprising, and preternatural, fo the cause must be preternatural too. Now, that reason which induces us to draw this general conclufion, ought to prevail on us to make this inference in particular, that fince it was fome great, fupernatural cause that wrought this fudden alteration, it can be no other than that, which St. Luke expressly mentions, and St. Paul himself, in various places, acknowledges. He efteemed it, we find, an happiness to undergo thofe various tortures which he had prepared for others; and after

after a thousand anxieties and afflictions chearfully and triumphantly laid down his life for the fake of it. But to proceed to a new objection.

THE DEATH OF HEROD likewife, as recorded in the Acts of the Apoftles, is another difficulty that perverfe men have frequently cavilled at; for which reason, we cannot forbear observing, that a more particular account of that awful fact has been tranfmitted by Jofephus than by St. Luke himself. "Herod, fays he, attended "in person at the celebration of the fports in Cæfarea, and on "the second day of the folemnity, early in the morning, entered "the theatre dreft in a robe of filver of most curious workman

hip. The rays of the rifing fun, reflected from fo fplendid a garb, gave him a majestic and awful appearance; upon which, "fome fawning parafites began to dignify him with the title of a "God, and paid him divine homage and adoration: but his proud heart accepting, at least not rejecting fuch fordid adulation, he presently efpied an owl perching over his head, "felt himfelf all on a fudden wrecked with unufual and inexpreffible torments; and, after he had languished for fome few days, expired in a most deplorable condition, having first openly acknowledged to those impious fycophants, that he justly de"ferved the judgment which the Almighty God had inflicted "on him for his boundless pride and ambition." Now, this particular accident is only just touched upon by St. Luke. "And

upon a fet day, Herod arrayed in royal apparel, fat upon his "throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave "a fhout, faying, it is the voice of a God, and not of a man. "And immediately the angel of the Lord fmote him, because "he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and the ghoft." gave up

These are the principal difficulties, the most exceptionable paffages which are objected against our New Teftament-and yet


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these were so far from being private tranfactions, that St. Paul, in his defence before King Agrippa, afferts, that his life, behaviour, and miraculous converfion, were things well-known at Jerufalem, and that he declared nothing but what Mofes and the prophets had foretold;-" Namely, that Chrift should fuffer, and "that he should be the first that should rife from the dead, and "fhould fhew light unto the people and to the gentiles." And as a further demonstration how public these were, he concludes in the manner following ;- -"the king knoweth of these things, "before whom I fpeak freely; for I am perfuaded that none of "these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done "in a corner." The king's answer thereupon was very remarkable, and plainly fhewed, that St. Paul had not afferted an idle fable." Then Agrippa faid unto Paul, almoft thou perfuadest "" ' me to be a christian."

Moreover the greater part of the tranfactions recorded in the New Testament are confirmed by the writings both of Jews and Gentiles, who mention them with the utmost surprise and admiration, and drefs them up in the most pompous defcriptions; whereas our Evangelists relate them with an air of plainness and fimplicity peculiar to themselves.-Now, fince in these transactions, which are fupernatural, they have proved very just and impartial hiftorians, what reasonable grounds have we to fufpect their fidelity, in transmitting to us the doctrines of the bleffed Jefus ? Especially, fince as we have fhewn already, they were miraculously affifted by the fpecial influence of the holy fpirit, according to the promises made unto them; and fince they underwent the forest torments, that the cruelty of man could poffibly devise, and death itself to juftify the truth of what they wrote.—What better proof can we defire of the validity of the christian religion?-Or, indeed, can any facts be better fupported, or any caufe produce ftronger and more substantial evidence?


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