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he was the author of a new religion. They had opportunities of being well informed : could have no interest in falsifying: were no converts to the new sect; but talk of Christ, only as they would of any singular person, whom they had occasion to mention. Their testimony therefore is beyond cavil.



OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. This discourse, of all the disputables in the world, shall require the fewest things to be granted; even nothing but what was evident; even nothing but the very subject of the question, viz. That there was such a man as Jesus Christ; that he pretended such things, and taught such doctrines : for he that will prove these things to be from God, must be allowed that they were from something or other.

But this postulate I do not ask for need, but for order's sake and art; for what the histories of that age reported as a public affair, as one of the most eminent transactions of the world, that which made so much noise, which caused so many changes, which occasioned so many wars, which divided so many hearts, which altered so many families, which procured so many deaths, which obtained so many laws in favour, and suffered so many rescripts in the disfavour, of itself; that which was not done in a corner, but was thirtythree years and more in acting; which caused so many sects, and was opposed by so much art, and so much power, that it might not grow; which filled the world with noise, which effected such great changes in the bodies of men by curing the diseased, and smiting the contumacious or the hy. pocrites, which drew so many eyes, and filled so many tongues, and employed so many pens, and was the care and the question of the whole world at that time, and immediately after; that whick was consigned by public acts and records of courts, which was in the books of friends and enemies, which came accompanied and remarked with eclipses and stars and prodigies of heaven and earth; that which the Jews, even in spite and against their wills, confessed, and which the witty adversaries, intending to overthrow, could never so much as challenge of want of truth in the matter of fact and story, that which they who are infinitely concerned that it should not be believed, or more, that it had never been, do yet only labour to make it appear not to have been divine : certainly, this thing is so certain that it was, that the defenders of it need not account it a kindness to have it presupposed; for never was there any story in the world that had so many degrees of credibility, as the story of the person, life, and death, of Jesus Christ; and if he had not been a true prophet, yet that he was in the world, and said and did such things, cannot be denied; for even concerning Mahomet we make no question but he was in the world, and led a great part of mankind arter bim, and what was less proved, infinitely, we believe, and what all men say, and no man denies, and was notorious in itself, of this we may make further in: quiries whether it was all that which it pretended ; for that it did make pretences and was in the world, needs no more probation.

But now, whether Jesus Christ was sent from God and delivered the will of God, we are to take accounts from all the things of the world which were on him, or about him, or from him.

Bp. Taylor.


MOST SINGULAR AND INCONTESTABLE FACTS. The truth of Christianity depends upon its leading facts, and upon them alone. Now of these we have evidence which satisfy us, at least until it appear that mankind have ever been deceived by the same. We have some uncontested and incontestable points to which the history of the human species has nothing similar to offer. A Jewish peasant changed the religion of the world, and that without force, without power, without support, without one natural source or circumstance of attraction, influence, or success. Such a thing hath not happened in any other instance. The companions of this person, after he himself had been put to death for this attempt, asserted his supernatural character, founded upon his supernatural operations; and, in testimony of the truth of their assertions, that is, in consequence of their own belief of that truth, and in order to communicate the knowledge of it to others, voluntarily entered upon toils and hardships, and, with a full experience of their danger, committed themselves to the last extremity of persecution. This hath not a parallel.–More particularly, a few days after this person had been publicly executed, and in the very city in which he was buried, these his companions declared with one voice, that his body was restored to life; that they had seen him, handled him, eat with him, con-, versed with him; and in pursuance of their persuasion of the truth of what they told, preached his religion, with this strange fact as the foundation of it, in the face of those who had killed him, who were armed with the power of the country, and necessarily, and naturally disposed to treat his followers as they had treated himself; and having done this upon the spot where the event took place, carried the intelligence of it abroad, in despite of difficulties and opposition, and where the nature of their errand gave them nothing to expect but derision, insult, and outrage. This is without example. These three facts I think are certain, and would have been nearly so, if the Gospels had never been written. · The Christian story as to these points have never varied. No other hath been set up against it. Every letter, every discourse, every controversy, amongst the followers of the religion; every book written by them, from the age of its commencement to the present time, in every part of the world in which it hath been professed, and with every sect into which it hath been divided, (and we have letters and discourses written by contemporaries, by witnesses of the transactions, by persons themselves bearing a share in it, and other writings following that age in regular succession), concur in representing these facts in this manner. A religion, which now posseses the greatest part of the civilized world, unquestionably sprung up at Jerusalem at this time. Some account must be given of its origin; some cause assigned for its rise. · All the accounts of this origin, all the explications of this cause, whether taken from the writings of the early followers of the religion, (in which, and in which perhaps alone, it could be expected that they should be distinctly unfolded,) or from occasional notices in other writings of that or the adjoining age, either expressly alledge the facts above stated as the means by which the religion was set up, or advert to its commencement in a manner which agrees with the supposition of these facts being true, and which testifies their operations and effects.

These propositions alone lay a foundation for our faith ; for they prove the existence of a transaction, which cannot even in its most general parts be accounted for, upon any reasonable supposition, except that of the truth of the mission. But the particulars of the detail of the miracles or miraculous pretences, (for such there necessarily must have been); upon which this unexampled transaction rested, and for which these menacted and suffered as they did act and suffer, it is undoubtedly of great importance to us to know. We have this detail from the fountain head, from the persons themselves; in accounts written by eyewitnesses of the scene, by contemporaries and companions of those who were so; not in one book, but four, each containing enough for the verification of the religion, all agreeing in the fundamental parts of the history. We have the authenticity of these books established by more and stronger proofs than belong to almost any other ancient book whatever, and by proofs which widely distinguish them from any others

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