페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

prove it. If any Man fhould affirm, that in fuch a City or Village in England, at the Coinmand of fuch a King, and at fuch a time, within our Memory, all the Infants, from two years old and under, were murther'd, he must scarce expect to be believ'd, or to confirm any thing else he has to deliver, by fuch a Fiction to introduce it.

The triumphant Shouts and Hofanna's of the Multitude at Chrift's Entrance into Jerufalem, whereby all the city was moved, Matt. xxi. 10, 11. immediately before the Paffover, when there was the greatest Concourfe of People, was a thing that could not foon be forgotten: At the fame time he drove out all that sold and bought in the Temple, and overthrew the tables of the Money-changers; and when he was in the Temple, the blind and the lame came to him and he healed them; and the chief-priefts and fcribes faw the wonderful things that he did, and the Children crying in the Temple Hofannah to the Son of David, and they were fore difpleas'd at it. The Evangelifts would never have brought in the Chief-Priefts and Scribes themselves, with the whole People of Jerufalem, and the vaft numbers of Jews and Profelytes out of all Nations, affembled at the Paffover, as Spectators and Witneffes of these things, if they had not been fo certain of them as to appeal to them all, for the Truth of what they relate, fo lately, and fo folemnly, and publickly done.

The Darkness of the whole Earth for three hours together, in the midft of the day, the Veil of the Temple's being rent from the top to the bottom, the Earthquake, and the rending of the Rocks, and the opening of the Graves, are things that must have been generally known, and could not be feign'd; or if any Man can be fo vain as to imagine they might, let him but confider, whether fuch things could now be impofed upon any People, by the Writings of a few Men, as done in the Metropolis of a Nation, at a folemn time, within the Memory of thoufands yet

X 4

living,

living, who are able to contradict them, from their own certain Knowledge. If a Man fhould pretend, that but a few years ago, in the chief City of any Kingdom or Nation, one part of the principal Church was rent from the bottom to the top, by an Earthquake, which tore afunder the Rocks, and open'd the Graves of the dead, and that at the fame time, the Moon being in that Pofition, that the Sun could fuffer no Eclipfe, the Sun was darken'd from twelve at noon, to three in the afternoon, could he hope to gain any Credit or Belief to any Doctrine he had to propagate, by feigning fuch Circumftances, as would put it into the Power of every Man that heard of them to difprove him? Would not this be the readieft and the most effectual way he could poffibly invent, to expofe himself and his Caufe?

The Death of Judas, and the Cause and Manner of it, which is fo clear a Vindication of our Saviour, and fo plain a Proof that he is the Chrift, was known unto all the dwellers of Jerufalem, infomuch as that field was called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to fay, the field of blood, A&ts i. 19. Matt. xxvii. 8. If this Field had not been fo call'd, and this had not been well known at Jerufalem, would any Man have written in this manner?

And befides the Twelve Apoftles, and the Seventy Difciples, who all believ'd and attefted the Truths contain'd in the Evangelifts, many Perfons of Authority and Note among the Jews are mention'd, whọ would have found themfelyes concern'd to difprove what is related, if it had been falfe. Nicodemus is faid to have come to Chrift by night, who was a Pharifee, and a Ruler of the Jews, John iii. 2. vii. 50. xix. 39. and to put this Mark upon him three feveral times, That he came to Jefus by night, and durft not own his coming to him, was no flattering Character, or fuch as might engage Nicodemus or his Friends to diffemble the Injury, if it had not been true that Ni

T

codemus

codemus was his Difciple. The like is faid of Jofeph of Arimathea, a rich Man, and an honourable Counfellor, Matt. xxvii. 57. Mar. xv. 43. that he was a Disciple of Jesus, but fecretly for fear of the Jews, Joh. xix. 38. Herod and Pontius Pilate, Annas and Caiaphas, and feveral other Perfons particularly named, and most of them with no Commendation, but with that Character, which the Truth of the Hiftory required, would be concern'd themselves, or their Friends and Relations for them, after their Decease, to expofe any Falfhood, that could have been difcover'd in the Hiftory of our Saviour.

The other Books of the New Testament are explicatory and confequential to the Gospel or Hiftory of Chrift; and befides they contain many memorable and publick Facts, as the fpeaking of all forts of Langua ges, and working all kinds of Miracles at the folemn Feaft of Pentecoft, and the Converfion of many thoufands thereby, the frequent Examination of the Apoftles before the Council at Jerufalem, their Preachings and Miracles in the moft publick places, as in the Temple, in the Streets, &c. thefe are things that could not be impofed upon the World in that very Place, and in defiance of that very People, before whom they are faid to have been done. Gamaliel, Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch, Dionyfius the Areopagite, Sergius Paulus, Simon Magus, Felix, King Agrippa, Tertullus, Gallio, and others, were Names of too great Note and Fame to be used in a falfe Story, in which they are so much concern'd. And all their Proceedings in the Courts of Judicature were kept upon Record, and therefore could not be pretended, (without being discover'd) by thofe, who always had fo many Adverfaries.

The miraculous Power beftow'd upon the Apoftles was chiefly employ'd in curing Difeafes, and for the Health and Prefervation of Mankind, but they had a Power of inflicting Difeafes likewife, and Death it

A

felf,

felf, upon just occafions, as in the cafe of Ananias and Sapphira, A&s v. of Elymas the Sorcerer, Acts xiii. and the inceftuous Corinthian, 1 Cor. v. And when this was done by private Men, and divulg'd to the World, with the Names of the Perfons who inflicted Diseases and Death it felf, and of thofe, on whom they were inflicted, this is an Evidence both of the Truth of the Matter of Fact, and of the Power by which it was done: for no Author could think to ferve his Friend or his Cause, by relating things of this nature, unless they had been evidently done in a miraculous manner, and by a Divine Commiffion and Authority.

The Converfion of St. Paul was a thing fo memorable, both for the Manner of it, and for the Business he was going about, and the Persons that employ'd him, and for his known Zeal at other times, in perfecuting the Church, that St. Paul appeals to King Agrippa, as one, who could not be ignorant of a thing fo notorious, Acts xxvi. 26. And it was the great Providence and Wisdom of God, that a Man fo well known and esteem'd by the Pharifees and Chief Priests before his Converfion, fhould be the greatest Inftrument, both by his Preaching and Writings, for the Propagation of the Gofpel; and both his Epiftles, and the other Books of Holy Scripture, have the same Proof, from the Obfervations already mention'd, concerning the Names and Characters of Perfons, and other Circumstances. And they were always read in

Η Μεγάλη μ Πέτρε καὶ Ἰωάννα μαρτυρία, ἀλλ' ὑποπλός τις ἦν. οἰκεῖοι γδ' ἦσαν. τὸ δὲ πρότερον ἐχθρῶ, ὅτερον ἢ ὑπεραποθνήσκον], τις ἔτι ἀμφιβάλλὰ πρὸς τ' ἀλήθειαν; ἐνταῦθα γενόμμα το λόγο τεθαύμακα ἀληθῶς ἢ τὸ ἁγία πνούμα]α οικονομίαν· πῶς τὰς μὲ τ ἄλλων ἐπισολας, εἰς ὀλίγον το διέγραψεν ἀριθμὸν. παύλῳ ἢ των προ τερον διώκτη γράψαι δεκατέσσαρας ἐπιτολὰς ἐχαρίσατο. 8 η ὅτι ἧτων ἦν Πέτρος καὶ Ἰωάννης, ενέκοψε το χάριν, μὴ γένοιτο· ἀλλ ̓ ὑπὲρ τὸ ἀναμφίβολον εἶναι ἢ διδασκαλίαν, τῷ πρότερον ὄντι ἐχθρῷ καὶ δια εκλη, πλεῖον ἐχαρίσαλο γράφειν, ἵνα πάντες έτω πιςοποιηθῶμεν. Cyrill. Hier. Catech. x. § 8.

the

the Affemblies of Chriftians, and were appointed to be read in them, Coloff. iv. 16. 1 Theff. v. 27. And the Writings both of him, and of the Evangelifts, and the other Apoftles, are cited by Authors contemporary with the Apoftles, by Barnabas an Apoftle himfelf, and by Clemens Romanus, Ignatius, Polycarp, &c. and they have been acknowledg'd to be the genuine Works of those whofe Names they bear, both by Jews and Heathens, and particularly by Tryphon the Jew, in his Dialogue with Juftin Martyr; and by Julian 4 the Apoftate. It is enough in this place to ob ferve, that (excepting fome very few Books, of which an Account fhall elsewhere be given) the Books of the Scriptures of the New Teftament have been receiv'd as genuine, from their firft Appearance in the World, during the Lives of their feveral Authors, and have been deliver'd down for fuch through the feveral Ages of the Church. In the main, they have been fo unanimously receiv'd, and fo fully attefted by Chriftians, that the Jews and Heathens themselves never denied them to be genuine, nor ever pretended the prin cipal Matters of Fact to be falfe or doubtful. r Many of the Eye-witneffes to the Miracles of our Saviour and his Apoftles, liv'd to a great Age; St. John himfelf above an hundred years, and he preach'd the Gofpel above seventy years. St. James was Bishop of Jerufalem thirty years. St. Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch more than forty years. Simeon the Son of Cleopas lived to an hundred and twenty years, and Polycarp the Difciple of St. John, at his Martyrdom profefs'd, that he had been a Servant of Christ four core and fix years; and he was Bishop above fixty years, as it appears from St. Ignatius's Epiftles, whom he fur

9 Apud Cyril. lib. x. Eufeb. 1. iii. c. 29. Hieron. Catal.

t

Hieron. adv. Jovin. 1. 1.
Eufeb. 1. iv. c. 15.

« 이전계속 »