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satisfactorily proves the truth of the Old, by frequently referring to its authors, its ceremonies, its prophecies, its events, its promises, and its precepts, it may suffice to restrict our allusions, to the writings which relate to the Saviour and his immediate followers.*
Tacitus, a celebrated Roman historian, informs his readers, that “Christ, the Author of the Christian name, during the reign of Tiberius, suffered under the Procurator Pontius Pilates." We also learn from the same author, that there was “ a great multitude of christians not only in Judea, but even in the city," (meaning Rome) “ on whom Nero inflicted the most cruel punishments."
To the same effect is the information of Suetonius his contemporary.f It is also well known that an appeal was frequently made to the records of Pilate, as containing a statement of the trial and death of the Saviour. Pliny the younger, in an Epistle
* Lest it be suspected, that this omission arises from any other cause than NECESSARY BREVITY, we take the liberty of referring to the following writers of antiquity. Longinus de Sublim. Sec. 9.-Abydenus in Eusebius, lib. 9. præparat. cap. 12 et 14-Lucian, lib. de Dea Syria, &c.-Berosus, Diocles and Philostratus in Josephus-Diodorus Siculus, lib, 2, 3 et 19-Zoroaster, Hecatæus, &c.
§ Book 15. Sueton, &c. cap. 16 et 15.
to the Emperor, informed him of the Christians “ assembling to say a hymn to Christas God, to bind themselves from the commission of vice, &c.” Alluding to their numbers, he remarked, that “the contagion of this superstition,” (for so these writers called Christianity)" had spread, not only through cities, but villages and countries, and that many of every age, of every rank, and of both sexes, were infected with it.”ll Jou sephus, the Jewish historian, but an enemy to Christianity, has recorded the existence and character of the Saviour. Many other Jewish authors refer to him under the opprobrious epithet, of“the man who was hanged;" and term his followers, “ the servants of him that was crucified.” To these testimonies might be added the accounts of Porphyry, Lucian, Spartian, and others, but our limits forbid further enlargement.
Here then, my brethren, pause and exercise your reflection. Various statements respecting Christ, the founder of our religion, and his immediate followers, have fallen under our observation. The authors of these passages, were men of superior learning, but enemies to Christianity. Their design was not to promote the Gospel, but to hold it up to contempt, and if possible, to crush
it in its infancy. They cannot therefore, be suspected of inserting the above particulars, unless they were true. By this, however, they have handed down to successive generations the most undeniable testimony, that there were once alive upon the earth, such persons as our New Testament records, and that many circumstances respecting them, which are therein related, actually took place. This being ascertained, we are in possession of one decisive evidence of the authenticity of the sacred writings, and are prepared for further proofs which present themselves.
II. We therefore proceed to found a second argument on several well-known exist. ing circumstances. A multiplicity of standing facts confirm the Mosaic history of the creation. The same may
The same may be said of Noah's Flood.-Large trees, which are frequently discovered far beneath the surface of the earth-the teeth and bones of animals, sea shells, and other relics of fishes, which have been repeatedly found enclosed in the hardest strata-even in flint and marble, most strikingly corroboratethe Scripture-narrative of that awful event. If the reports of modern travellers, who profess to have seen the ruins of Babel, are not altogether admissible; yet the disadvantages constantly experienced, through an ignorance of foreign
languages, are an evident confirmation of the Mosaic account of that structure, and the destiny of its builders. The dead Sea, and its contiguous parts, are standing evidences of the fatal overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah. The venomous and destructive creatures, which infest the places where Babylon the great once stood, are so many living demonstrations of the veracity of the Sacred Oracles*. And, to add no more on this point, if we have paid attention to the writings of the Prophets, every time we look upon a Jew, we cannot but be struck with an awfulexemplification of the truth of God's holy word. And now, my brethren, carefully and impartially estimate the evidence, arising from this brief enumeration of standing facts, and surely you must be constrained to own, that no other book has such claims to authenticity as the Bible !
III. A third proof may be deduced from the Miracles recorded in Scripture. If it can be ascertained, that these miracles were facts, an incontrovertible argument will be obtained, in confirmation of the sacred writings for, it must be allowed, that no beings merely human, could perform such wonders,“ except God were with them.'
• See Isaiah, ch. xlii. V. 19 to the End, and ch. xiv. v. 25. Also
Jeremiah, chl. v. 39 & 40, and ch. li. v. 36 & 37.
It is such a self-evident truth, that not only Christ and his immediate followers, but that Moses likewise, and the Jewish nation, were once in existence, that not the most prejudiced opponent, I apprehend, would venture to expose his ignorance by denying it. Neither will any presume to object, that the Jewish nation, at some period or another, actually credited the reality of the Old Testament miracles. Here therefore a question arises How were they induced to credit them? Imposition, say the enemies of revelation, was the cause. This, it must be asserted, was utterly impossible; because a personal appeal was made to the Jews, as being living witnesses of the facts. Turn to Deut. ch. xi. v. 2 to 8. There you will notice, with what confidence Moses addresses them on the subject. “ And know you this day, for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God; his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched-out arm, and his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt; and what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariot, how he made the waters of the Red Sea to overflow them as they pursued after you; and what he did unto you in the wilderness, until he came into this place; and what he did unto Dathan and Abiram ; how