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in the midst of his Enemies, and extorted a Confession from the Devils themselves, of his Divine Power. And if the Apostles had not been well assured, and abfolutely certain of his Resurrection, they would never have had the Confidence, and the Folly, (for it could have been no less) to maintain so soon after his Death, in Jerusalem, the City where he was crucify'd, that he was risen from the Dead; they would never have chosen that, above all places, to preach this Doctrine, and work their Miracles in, if they had not been true: at least, they would never have done it, at the great and folemn Feast of Pentecost, to provoke the Jews to expose them to all the World for Impostors; no, they would have taken time to have laid their Design with fome better Appearance and Contrivance: to be sure, they would have avoided Jerusalem as much as they could, and above all times, at so solemn a Festival as that of Pentecost, they would have gone rather to the remotest Corners of the Earth to have told their Story, than have run the Hazard of such a Discovery. But when they stood the Test of all that the Fews could say or do to them, when in that very City, where he had been so lately crucify'd, they told the Fews to their face, and before that numerons Concourse of People, which was then met together at Jerusalem, that they were Murtherers ; that they murther'd their Meffias, but that he was risen from the Dead, and that by virtue of his Resurrection they spoke those Languages, and did those Works, which they then saw and heard : This was plain and open Dealing, and there could be no Deceit in it; if any thing of this could have been disprov'd, they had been for ever silenced: but their worst Enemies were so far from being able to disprove what they said, that about three thousand Converts were made on the day of Pentecost.
The innocent and divine Life of our Saviour, the Holiness and Excellency of his Doctrine, the Simpli
city, and Meekness, and Constancy of his Disciples, the Continuance of Miracles for several Ages in the Church, the wonderful Propagation of the Gospel by a few poor, ignorant, despised, and persecuted Men, every Passage, every Circumstance, in the whole Dis pensation of the Gospel, is full of Evidence in proof of it. But thus much in this place shall fuffice, all Particulars having been largely insisted upon in their proper places.
That no manner of Confirmation might be wanting to our Religion, Apoftates themselves have given to all the Arguments above mention’d, an additional, accidental Strength and Force, which they so little need. Judas had been the Disciple and constant Attendant of Christ, and knew all that an Accuser would desire to know of one, whom he had betray'd. But what could he lay to his Master's Charge? Could he discover, or durst he invent, any thing against him? Did he not die in the Confession of Christ's Innocence, and of his own Guilt in betraying him ? Porphyry had taken great pains in studying all the Sects of Philosophy, and in examining all Religions, but he became such an Enthusiast, that no Philosophy, no Religion, could please him : He represented a Socrates under a very ill Character, but gave this Testimony of Christ, after he had renounced the Christian Religion ; that b he was a most pious Person, and is gone to Heaven, and ought not to be reviled. The Emperor Julian had been a Reader in the Church, and had exact Knowledge of the Manner of Life and Discipline and Do&rine among Christians; he had all the Opportunities of acquainting himself with whatever the Jews or Heathens, formerly or in his own time, had suge
Porphyr. apud Cyrill. contr. Jul. 1. vi. p. 185, 186. Ed. Lipf. Socrat. Hift. I. iii. c. 23. b Apud Eufeb. Demonftr. I. iii. c. 6.
gested, and knew how to make the moft Advantage of any thing, that fell under his own Observation, or which he had learnt by the Information of others, 2gainst a Religion, which all his Power, and Learning, and Subtilty, were employ'd to destroy. Yet this Apostate Emperor recommended the Charity, Piety, and good Conversation of the Christian Bifhops to the Imitation of his own Priests: He could d not den ny the Miracles of Moses and Elias, and of Christ himself. For what Reason, but because he found it impoffible to disprove them ? He had the Roman Archives in his Poflession; Why did he not confute what Justin Ma týr and Tertullian had publish'd from them, concerning the Birth of Christ, and the Acts of Pilate relating to his Miracles and Refurre&tion ? would he have had Recourse to remote Arguments, and tedious Reasonings, if the Jews, whom he fo highly favour'd in Opposition to the Gospel, or any other Enemies of Christianity, could have furnish'd him with Evidence against the Matters of Fact, upon which our Religion entirely depends?
And since, as sure as there is a God, there must be a Reveald Religion ; if any Man will dispute the Truth of the Christian Religion, let him instance in any other Religion that can make a better Plea, and has more Certainty that it came from God ; let him produce any other Religion that has more visible characters of Divinity in it, and we will not fcruple to be of it ; but if it be impossible for him to fhew any such, (as has been prov'd) then he ought to be of this, since there must be some Reveald Religion; and if this Religion, which has more Evidence for it, than any other Religion can be pretended to have, and all that it could be requisite for it to have, fuppor
sing it true, and which it is therefore impossible to discover to be false, if it were so; if this Religion be not true, God must be wanting to Mankind, in what concerns their eternal Interest and Happiness ; he must be wanting to himself, and to his own Attributes of Goodness, Justice, and Truth. And therefore he, that upon a due Examination of all the Reasons and Motives to it, will not be a Christian, can be no better than an Atheist, if he discern the Consequence of things, and will hold to his own Principles; for there can be no Medium, if we rightly consider the Nature of God, and of the Christian Religion ; but as sure as there is a God, (and nothing can be more certain) the Gospel was reveald by him.
Aving proved the Truth and Certainty of our
these Principles, give a Resolution of our Faith, which is a Subject that has caus’d such unnecessary and unhappy Disputes amongst Christians in these latter Ages; for in the Primitive Times, this was no Matter of Controversy, as indeed it could not then, and ought not now to be.
1. Considering the Scriptures only as an History, containing the Asions and Do&trines of Moses and the Prophets, and of our Saviour and his Apostles, we have the greatest humane Testimony, that can be, of Men, who had all the Opportunities of knowing the Truth of those Miracles, Öc. which gave Evidence and Authority to the Doctrines, as Reveal'd from God, and who could have no Interest to deceive
others, others, but exposed themselves to all manner of Dangers, and Infamy, and Torments, by bearing Testimony to the Truth of what is contain’d in the Scriptures; whereas Impoftures are wont to be invented, not to incur such Sufferings, but to avoid them, or to obtain the Advantages and Pleasures of this World. This Testimony amounts to a moral Certainty, or as it is properly enough called by some, to a moral Infallibility, because it implies a moral impossibility of our being deceived by it: such a Certainty it is, as that nothing with any reason can be objected against it. We can have as little reason to doubt, that Christ and his Apostles did, and suffered, and taught, what the Scriptures relate of them, in Jerusalem, Antioch, &c. as that there ever were such places in the World ; nay, we have that much better attested than this, for many Men have died in Testimony of the Truth of it.
II. This Testimony being considered with respect to the nature of the thing testified, as it concerns eternal Salvation, which is of the greatest concernment to all Mankind, it appears that God's Veracity and Goodness are engaged, that we should not be deceived inevitably in a Matter of this consequence : So that this moral Infallibility becomes hereby absolute Infallibility: and that which was before but Humane Faith, becomes Divine, being grounded not upon Humane Testimony, but upon the Divine Attributes, which do attest and confirm that Humane Testimony; and so Divine Testimony is the ultimate ground, why I believe the Will of God to be delivered in the Scriptures; it is no particular revealed Testimony indeed, but that which is equivalent to it, viz. the constant Attestation of God by his Providence. For it is repugnant to the very notion of a God, to let Men be deceived, without any possible help or remedy, in a matter of fuch-importance. And thus we have the ground of our Faith absolutely infallible, be