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that nothing was more notorious, than that the Devils were wont to cry out for very Anguish and Torment, when they were adjur'd by the true God, and Tertullian made publick Challenges to the Heathens, that if they would but admit them to this Trial, the Chriftians would undertake to make their moft famous Deities acknowledge the Power of Chrift, and to make their very Gods confefs themselves to be wicked and feducing Spirits, or elfe they would be con tented to be flain upon the place; and this he wrote under Perfecutions, and in Apologies dedicated and prefented to their Perfecutors themselves.nob

And indeed, the Oracles in all parts of the World foon began to fail, fo as they had been never known to do before for their Power began to abate and decay upon the Approach of our Saviour's Birth into the World, till by degrees they quite ceas'd, which the Heathens wonder'd at, and were much perplex'd about it, as we learn from what they have left written upon that Subject. And tho' Julian m the Apo ftate ufed all the ways that he could think of, to bring them into credit again, he was never able to effect it, but the most famous of them confefs'd to him, when he confulted it, that a miraculous and Divine Power refiding in the Remains of a Chriftian Martyr after his Death, would fuffer no Anfwer to be given.And it is fo remarkable, that I muft mention it once more, that when the fame Apoftate Emperor, in Hatred and Defpite to the Chriftian Religion, became a great Pa tron of the Jews, and encourag'd them to re-buil'd their Temple, great Balls of Fire broke forth near the Foundation, and deftroy'd both the Work it felf and the Perfons employ'd in it. And this we have rela ted, not only by feveral Chriftian Writers that liv'd ༢། ༣



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Apolog. c. 23. defectu.- m 1.5. c. 19.


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Cicer. de Divinat. Plutarch. de Oracul. Chryfoft. in Babylam Martyr. Orat. 2. Soz. Hift..


about that time, but by an n Heathen Historian, who was then living, and wrote the Hiftory of those times, and has fhewn himself in no refpect over-favourable to the Christians, but was a Soldier under Julian, and had no Inclination to fay any thing that might feem to diminish his Character. The Judgments alfo which befel feveral of the greatest Perfecutors of the Chriftian Religion, were fo miraculous and fo terrible, as to extort a Confeffion from fome of them, of God's Juftice in their Punishment, and to force them to re call their perfecuting Edicts, and change them for others in favour of Chriftianity. The Edicts of Maximianus and Maximin, to this purpose, are to be feen in Eufebius and P the Judgment upon Julian was fo fudden and fo remarkable, that fome of the Heathen cavill'd, that the God of the Chriftians had not thewn that Mercy and Forbearance, which they reported of him, in it.


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And when the Power of Miracles which came down on the day of Pentecoft upon the Apostles, and was continued in the Church after them, thus manifefted it felf in oppofition to the Pretences both of the Jews and Heathens, in fuch a manner, as muft provoke them to make all the Discoveries they poffibly could, concerning it, when it thus triumph'd over all the Gods of the Heathen, whilft its poor and perfecuted Profeffors were under the Feet of the Heathen Emperors, and lay continually exposed to their Cruelties, and at the peril of their Lives, proffer'd in publick Apologies, by a miraculous Power, or, as the Apofle fpeaks, by the Power and Demonstration of the Spirit, to prove their own Religion true, and theirs falfe, and its cruelleft Perfecutors were by miraculous



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Ammian, Marcellin. lib. xxiii. c. I. citat. fup. p. 237, 238. Eufeb. Hift. lib. viii. c. 17. ix. c. 1o. Lactant. de Morib: Perfecut. c. xxxiv. xlix.


P Hieron. in Hab, caili,


Judgments forced to become its Protectors; this was all that could be defired towards the fulfilling the Promife of our Saviour to his Apoftles, that they fhould become his Witnesses to all Nations. But,

3. The Gospel could not have been thus propaga ted, unless this Power of the Holy Ghost had been still farther manifeft, by the Courage and Refolution, and Patience of the Apostles under their Sufferings. Our Saviour tells them, that they fhould receive power after that the Holy Ghoft was come upon them, to become witnef fes unto him, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria; thefe were the places where our Saviour himself had wrought his Miracles, and where he had been hated and perfecuted, and at last crucified; and there is reason to believe, that the Apostles went not from Jerufalem and the parts adjacent, 9 till twelve years after his Afcenfion: and when they had teftified his Refurrection, and preach'd his Gospel to the Jews, their Work was not yet at an end, but they were to be his Witneffes unto the uttermost parts of the earth; and even thither feveral of them went, fearing no Dans gers, and being difcouraged at no Sufferings...

There is a natural Boldness and Courage in fome Men, by which they are often carried both to do and to endure a great deal more than others: But it was not fo with the Apoftles; they were naturally very timorous and faint-hearted, they all forfook their Ma fter, and fled, when he was first apprehended, and they were very backward to believe his Refurrection; and when they and the reft of the Difciples were con vinced of it, they did not preach it to others; but af ter he had been feen of them forty days, and dif cours'd with them of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God, they ftill had miftaken Notions and Expectations concerning it: when they therefore were come together, they asked of him, faying, Lord, wilt thou

9 Eufeb. Hift. lib. 5. cap. 18.

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at this time reftare again the Kingdom to Ifrael? And when Chrift was taken up from them, into Heaven, they stood gazing up after him, not knowing what to think of it, till two Angels admonish'd them, that it was in vain for them to ftand looking thus any longer: And after his Afcenfion, they ftay'd ten days, before they ventur'd to publish any thing of what had come to pass, till on the day of Pentecoft, in a vifible and audible manner, the Holy Ghost defcended upon them, and quite changed their Temper, and of the most timorous, made them the most couragious and refolute, infpiring them with a Divine Vigor and Prefence of Mind.

For of all their Miracles, few feem to have been more wonderful, than that Firmnefs and Conftancy of Mind, which Men fo low, and mean, and abject, and before so fearful, as the Apoftles were, now fhew'd, upon all occafions. When our Saviour spoke to thefe his poor Difciples, and commanded them to go and teach all nations, Matt. xxviii. 19. it was fuch a Com mand as no King nor Law-giver ever prefum'd to give, in the Height of all his Power and Greatnefs: And when God himself fent Mofes to the Children of Ifrael only, Mofes fear'd the Succefs, and would fain have declin'd the Meffage. And how might the Dif ciples have reply'd to our Saviour, how fhall we preach to the Romans, and dispute with the Gracians, and difcourfe with the moft remote and barbarous Na tions, who have been bred up in the Knowledge only of our own Native Tongue? How can we compel all Nations to forfake the Worfhip of the Gods of their feveral Countries, and to obferve all things whatso ever we are commanded to teach them? With what force of Eloquence are we fitted for fuch a Defign? What Hope can we have to fucceed in an Attempt to fet up Laws in oppofition to the Laws eftablished for fo many Ages, in behalf of their own Gods? What Strength can we have to overcome fuch Difficulties, and


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and to accomplish fuch an Enterprize? But they made no Objections; our Saviour had convers'd with them forty days, after his Resurrection, and now tells them, that all Power is given unto him in Heaven, and in Earth, and he commands them not to depart from Ferufalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, faith he, ye have heard of me, A&si 4. And when the Holy Ghost was come, they were endued by him with a courage and refolution almost as wonderful, as the Miracles they wrought, to perform the great Work which day before them: they were not in the leaft daunted at any Dangers, or Torments, or Deaths, but went on courageoufly in their Duty, by the power and affiftance of the Holy Ghoft, by whom they were enabled to bring the World to the obedience of the Gofpel of Chrift: They oppofed themselves to all the affaults of Men and Devils: Nothing could now difcourage them, who before were fo timorous and unbelieving; the coming of the Holy Ghoft down upon them, wrought a mighty change in them, who were to work as great an alteration in all the World befides. St. Peter ftanding with the Eleven lift up his voice, he fpoke with wonderful Refolution, and the reft ftood by to bear witnefs to the Truth of what he faid. They ftood now undaunted by, to teftifie that their Master was again alive, who had forfaken him as foon as he was apprehended; and he that before fo fhamefully denied him thrice, being ftartled and affrighted at the Queftion of the High Prieft's Maid, now speaks aloud in a vaft concourfe of People, with fo much stedfaftness, that this alone was a fufficient evidence of the truth of what he delivered. They were not in the leaft concerned at the mockery and abufes that were put upon them, the Spirit had defcended on them, and raised them above fuch meant and foolish apprehenfions, they were now full of the Holy Ghoft, and no worldly thoughts could move them, they acted with the force and vigour of




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