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viv'd about that number of years. " And Irenaus, in an Epiftle to Florinus, a Heretick, who had confiderable Employments in the Emperor's Court, declar'd, that he remember'd exactly what he had heard Polycarp difcourfe, concerning the account of the Miracles and Doctrine of our Saviour, which he had receiv'd from St. John, and others, who had convers'd with Chrift; and that it differ'd in nothing from the Scriptures.

And befides the infpir'd Writings, the chief Points of the Chriftian Religion were teftify'd in Apologies written from time to time, to the Heathen Emperors themselves. W Quadratus, a Difciple of the Apostles, and Bishop of Athens, in his Apology to the Emperor Adrian, declared, that Perfons, who had been healed by our Saviour, and others, who had been raised from the Dead by him, were ftill living in his Time. And his Apology being deliver'd to that Emperor, had fuch effect, as to put a stop to the Perfecution then raging against the Chriftians. Ariftides presented an Apology to that Emperor at the fame time at Athens. Y Juftin Martyr wrote two Apologies, the first dedicated to Antoninus Pius and his two Sons, and the Roman Senate; the latter to M. Antoninus and the Se

x

Iren. 1. 3. c. 3. Eufeb. 1. v. c. 20, w Eufeb. Hift. lib. iv. C. 3. Quadratus Apoftolorum Difcipulus, Athenienfis Pontifex Ecclefia non Adriano Principi Eleufina facra invifenti librum pro noftrâ Religione tradidit ? & tanta admirationi omnibus fuit, ut perfecutionem graviffimam illius excellens fedaret ingenium. Hieron. ad Magnum Ep. Vid. Orof. lib. vii. c. 13.

* Τέτῳ (Hadriano) Κοδράτου λόγου προσφωνήσας αναδίδωσιν, Σπολογίαν συλάξας; ὑπὲρ δ καθ ̓ ἡμᾶς θεοσεβείας. Eufeb. Hift. 1. 4. c. 3. Cúmque Hadrianus Athenis exegiffet hyemem porrexit ei Librum pro Religione noftra compofitum (Quadratus). Hieron. Cat. Ariftides- -volumen noftri dogmatis rationem continens, eodem tempore, quo & Quadratus Hadriano Principi dedit, id. ib.

ἡ Ἰωσῖνον δεύτερον ὑπὲρ * καθ' ἡμας δογμάτων βιβλίον ἀναδὸς τοῖς δεδηλωμύοις ἀρχεσι. Eufeb. ib. c. 16.

nate;

nate; and he had the good fuccefs to deliver the Church at that time from Perfecution. a Melito, Bifhop of Sardis, and Apollinaris Bishop of Hierapolis, likewife wrote a Vindication of the Chriftian Religion to M. Antoninus. Athenagoras offer'd his Apology to M. Aurelius and Commodus; Meltiades to Commodus, or to the Deputies of the Provinces. Apollonias, a Roman Senator, made a publick Defence of the Chriftian Religion in the Senate of Rome, and Tertullian prefented his Apology to the Senate, or to the Governors of the Provinces. And the Apologists did not dwell only upon generals, but defcended to fuch particulars, as to appeal to the publick Records for the truth of what they delivered concerning the place of our Saviour's Birth, and the manner of his Death, and his Resurrection, and to give an account of the Christian Worship, and of the celebration of the Eucharift it felf; fo that the Principles and Foundations of the Chriftian Religion, were from the beginning afferted in publick Writings, dedicated and prefented to the Heathen themselves, who were moft concerned and moft capable of difproving it, if it had been falfe. e And though the Acts which were forged under the Emperor Maximin, and pretended to be Pilate's, but bearing fdate divers Years before Pilate was Governour of Judea, were by his command fent into all the Provinces of his Empire, and publish ed in all places, and ordered to be taught Children, and to be learnt by heart by them; yet all this malicious care and contrivance was ineffectual to the fuppreffing the Truth of the Hiftory of our Saviour, which was fo well attefted, and fo fully publifhed a

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e Eufeb. lib. ix. c. 5. & 7.

mongst

mongst all forts of Men, that it was impoffible to extirpate the belief of it. And this Emperor himself (as I before fhewed) was by miraculous Difeafes inflicted on him, forced to retract by a publick Edi&, his Practices against Christianity, and to acknowledge that his Sins and Blafphemies againft Chrift, were the juft caufe of his Punishment.

CHAP. XVIII,

Of the Doctrines contained in the Holy Scrip

tures.

THE

HE Scriptures must be acknowledged by all confiderate Men, to contain excellent Rules and Precepts for the Government of our Lives, and it cannot be denied that it is to thefe we owe the Peace and Happiness we enjoy, even in this World. It is therefore the intereft of every good and prudent Man to wifh the Chriftian Religion true, though it were not fo, and there can be no caufe to wifh it falfe, but our own fin and folly. And this of it felf is a good argument that it is true, because it is for the benefit of Mankind that it fhould be fo, and upon that account it carries the vifible Characters of Divine Wifdom and Goodness in it: for it is certain, that the Religion, which God has eftablifhed in the World, must be of this nature, that none but wicked Men can diflike it, and that all fober and good Men must be well fatisfied with it, and mightily enclined to believe it, nay even the worst Men muft be forced to confefs, that they owe their own fafety and protection to the Doctrines of it. And that fuch is the nature of the Christian Religion, will be evident, if we confider that, I. It teacheth an univerfal Righteousness both

towards

ties.

towards God and Man. II. It layeth down the only true Principles of Holinefs. III. It propofeth the moft effectual Motives. IV. It affords the greateft Helps and Affiftances to an holy Life. V. It expreffeth the greateft compaffion and condefcenfion to our Infirmi VI. The propagation of the Gospel has had mighty effects towards the Reformation and Happinefs of Mankind. VII. The highest Mysteries of the Christian Religion are not merely fpeculative, but have a neceffary relation to Practice, and were revealed for the advancement of Piety and Vertue amongst Men. **

2.

1. The Chriftian Religion teacheth an univerfal Righteoufnefs both towards God and Man. It teach eth us the Nature of God, that he is a Spirit, and therefore ought to be worshipped in Spirit and in Truth; and gives us an account of the Power, and Wisdom, and Goodnefs of God, in the Creations of the World, and in the various Difpenfations of his Providence in the prefervation and government of it, and efpecially in the wonderful Work of our Res demption. God is reprefented in the Scriptures, as flow to anger, and great in power, and who will not at all acquit the wicked, Nahum i. 3. and we are required to love and ferve him with all our Abilities both of Body and Mind, Deut. vi. 5. Matth. xxii. 37od

The Duties of Men towards one another, are no lefs ftrictly enjoin'd, than our Duty towards God hims felf: For the Scriptures oblige all Men to the cons fcientious performance of their feveral Duties, in their respective capacities and relations: They teach Wives and Children, and Subjects and Servants, Obedience; not only for wrath, but alfo for confcience-fake; and they teach Princes and Husbands, and Fathers and Mafters, a proportionable Care, and Kindness, and Af fection; they check and restrain the Rich and Power ful from Violence and Oppreffion, and command them to relieve thofe that are in Want, and to protect all that

that are in Diftrefs, and to root up the very feeds and principle of Vice in us; they regulate our Defires, and give Laws to our Words, and Looks, and Thoughts; they command an univerfal Love and Charity towards all Mankind, to hurt no body fo much as in thought, but to do all the good which is in our power; they oblige Men to do as they would be done unto in all cafes, to confider others as Men of the fame nature with themselves, and to love and refpect them accordingly upon all occafions. I may add (what Grotius has not omitted) that more Favour and Equity is extended to one half of Human Kind by the Chriftian Religion, than ever had been by any other: For Bills of Divorce were permitted to the Fews, because of the hardness of their hearts; and among Infidels, Women are esteem'd but as Slaves to the Lufts of Men, who may have as many Wives as they please, and change them as often as they think fit.

II. The Scriptures propound to us the only true Principles of Holinefs: For they teach us to perform all Duties both towards God and Man, upon Principles of Love and Charity, which are the only Principles that can make Men happy in the performance of their refpective Duties, and that can caufe them to perfevere in it. What Men do upon Principles of Love, they do with delight; and what Men delight in, they will be fure to do: But Fear hath Torment; and Men will ufe all Arts to get rid of their Fears, and of that fenfe of Duty which proceeds only from an apprehension of Punishments, and therefore is perpetually grievous and burthenfome to them: Rewards themselves may become ineffectual, by proposals of contrary Rewards; for fmaller Advantages, which are prefent and in hand, may be more prevalent than never fo much greater, which are future, and looked upon only at a diftance. But a fenfe of Love, and Gratitude, and Charity, can never fail of its effect, because this brings its Reward with it, and makes our Duty

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