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men without learning, and of the lowest of the people; that he lived with them three years and a half, preaching his doctrines, correcting the traditions of the Jews, and working the greatest miracles in the most public manner, as at the marriage at Cana, turning the water into wine; that he fed above five thousand persons with two loaves and five fishes; that he walked upon the sea, and enabled his disciples so to do; that he cast out devils, and raised Lazarus from the grave, after he had been dead four days: these were acts, to which not only the Jews were eye-witnesses, but the Romans in Judea were fully informed of them.
The relation of these events which Pilate sent to Tiberius, sufficiently testifies they were generally known ; and as the certainty of them could not be contested, the Jews accused Jesus of doing them by some magic secret. The Samaritan woman, much more rationally, queried : "When the Messiah shall come, will he do greater signs than these?" The Jews came up from all parts of Jerusalem, to celebrate ten solemn feasts, according to the law, during the time in which these things were acting; and thence they carried the report of them into several parts of the world, where they were dispersed.
That Jesus Christ, notwithstanding all his mi
racles, was crucified by the Jews, and by the order of Pontius Pilate, is a fact to which the whole people of the Jews were witnesses; because it was at the feast of the passover, that is, at a solemnity where the whole nation of the Jews were assembled.
This is a fact which we do not find that any Heathen attempts to deny.
That there was thick darkness over all the land at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, from the third hour to the sixth, that is from nine of the clock till twelve, according to our way of computing time, was a fact of that nature, that the whole nation of the Jews might easily have convinced the apostle of an imposture, if the truth of it had not been as generally admitted as that of the darkness in Egypt, before the departure of the Israelites.
Phlegon, who was a Heathen, and a freeman to Adrian the emperor, records in his annals: "At the time when Jesus Christ died, there was the most miraculous darkness that had ever been; insomuch that the stars were visible at noon day; and that afterwards there was a great earthquake." The same is also noticed by Dion, Thallas, Suetonius, and Tertullian.
That Jesus Christ was raised the third day, is a fact attested by a great number of witnesses
the memorial of which they celebrated every eighth day, as long as they lived, by a constant law; because they considered the resurrection as the seal of these truths which Jesus Christ had taught them. It is a fact, the truth of which they maintained before magistrates, rulers, and people, in all parts of the world; and notwithstanding all prohibitions to the contrary, they asserted it in the midst of the most cruel torments, and even until death.
That Jesus sent down upon his disciples, the miraculous gifts of the holy spirit, is a fact of which all Jerusalem was witness, fifty days after the feast of the passover, at which Jesus was crucified. It is as remarkable a fact as ever happened. Twelve fishermen of Galilee maintain in the face of the whole Jewish nation, that the same Jesus, whom the whole nation had demanded to be crucified but fifty days before, and who did actually suffer upon an infamous cross, is risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven, after having eaten and drunk with them, and having appeared to them several times, after his resurrection; and that he had given to these simple men the power of speaking all sorts of languages, and of healing all manner of diseases. That they spoke divers languages is a fact most notorious; the truth whereof appeared in the
conversion of the world, which was found to be filled with their disciples, but a few years after this fact was exhibited.
That they had the power of healing all diseases, is a fact, the truth of which is established upon indisputable testimonies; in as much as their successors received the same gift by the laying on of their hands.
Even two hundred years afterwards, Tertullian mentions this gift, as being at that time, well known among Christians.
Here are facts of the most astonishing kind. Having glanced at the miracles of Jesus, we shall also briefly advert to his predictions. When he called the fishermen to follow him, he foretold, in allusion to the gospel, by which they should draw men unto them, that he would make them fishers of men.
He foretold the calling of the Gentiles to his religion: "Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." He foretold the rejection of the Jews: "The children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness."
He foretold the persecutions of his disciples, both from the Jews, and the Roman governors: "They shall lay their hands on you, and perse
cute you; delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prison, being brought before kings, &c.
He foretold, notwithstanding all these persecutions, that his church should continue; and the gates of hell should never prevail against her. Above thirty times, he foretold his sufferings and death.
He foretold his resurrection on the third day. He foretold that Judas should betray him, Peter deny him, and that his apostles should be scattered, as soon as they should see him smitten.
He foretold that after his ascension to heaven, he should begin the call of all the nations of the earth: "When I shall be lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men unto me."
But in all the annals of history, there is not a more remarkable passage, than the prophecy of our Saviour concerning the miserable fall of Jerusalem, and the horrible catastrophe of his country; and he who carefully reads this most distinguished prophecy of our Lord, and after, wards diligently compares it with the account which the Jewish historian hath left us of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem, would be disposed to believe that Josephus was a Christian; and as he was a spectator of these dreadful events, that he published a faithful histori