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SECTION 1. I. General division of the following discourse,
with regard to Pagan and Jewish Authors, who mention particulars relating
to our Saviour. II. Nos probable that any such should be
mennoned by Pagan Writers who lived at the same time, from the Nature of such
transactions. III. Especially when related by the Jews : IV. And beard at a distance by those who
pretended to as great miracles of their own. V. Besides that, no Pagan Writers of that age lived in Judæa or its Confines. B 3
VI. And becausé many books of
are loft. VII. An instance of one record proved to be
: authentic. VIII. A second record of probable, though
not undoubted, authority.
HAT I may lay before you a full state of the fube ject under our consideration, and methodize the fe.
veral particulars that I touched upon in discourse with you; I shall first take notice of such Pagan Authors as have given their testimony to the history of our Saviour ; reduce these Authors under their respective classes, and shew what authority their testimonies carry with them. Secondly, I shall take notice of * Jewish Authors in the same light.
II. There are many reasons why you should not expect that matters of such a wonderful nature should be taken notice of by those eminent Pagan writers who were contemporaries with Jesus Chrift, or by those who lived before his Disciples had personally appeared among them, and afcertained the report which had gone
* The author did not live to write this fecond part.
abroad concerning a life so full of miracles.
Supposing such things had happened at this day in Switzerland, or among the Grisons, who make a greater figure in Europe than Judæa did in the Roman Empire, would they be immediately believed by those who live at a great distance from them? Or would any certain account of them be transmitted into fo. reign countries, within so short a space of time as that of our Saviour's public ministry ? Such kinds of news, though never so true, seldom gain credit, till some time after they are transacted and exposed to the examination of the curious, who by laying together circumstances, attestations, and Characters of those who are concerned in them, either receive, or reject what at first none but eye-witnesses could absolutely believe or disbelieve. In a case of this fort, it was natural for men of sense and learning to treat the whole account as fabulous, or at farthest to suspend their belief of it, until all things stood together in their full light.
III. Besides, the Jews were branded not only for superstitions different from all the religions of the Pagan world, but