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Christianity does not owe a single proselyte renounced the faith of their ancestors, and to its doctrines, but to the power and credit embraced the religion of Jesus, they would of its evidences, and that Judea was the have been equivalent to a thousand adchief theatre on which these evidences were ditional testimonies in favour of Christianiexhibited. It cannot be too often repeated, ty, and testimonies too of the strongest and that these evidences rest not upon argu- most unsuspicious kind, that can well be ments, but upon facts; and that the time, imagined. But this evidence would make no and the place, and the circumstances, ren- impression on the mind of an infidel, and dered these facts accessible to the inquiries the strength of it is disguised, even from of all who chose to be at the trouble of this the eyes of the Christian. These thousand, examination. And there can be no doubt in the moment of their conversion, lose the that this trouble was taken, whether we re-appellation of Jews, and merge into the flect on the nature of the Christian faith, as name and distinction of Christians. The being so offensive to the pride and bigotry Jews, though diminished in number, retain of the Jewish people, or whether we reflect the national appellation; and the obstinacy on the consequences of embracing it, which with which they persevere in the belief of were derision, and hatred, and banishment, their ancestors, is still looked upon as the and death. We may be sure, that a step adverse testimony of an entire people. So which involved in it such painful sacrifices, long as one of that people continues a Jew, would not be entered into upon light and his testimony is looked upon as a serious iminsufficient grounds. In the sacrifices they pediment in the way of Christian evidences. made, the Jewish converts gave every evi- But the moment he becomes a Christian, his dence of having delivered an honest testi- motives are contemplated with distrust. He mony in favour of the Christian miracles; is one of the obnoxious and suspected party. and when we reflect, that many of them | The mind carries a reference only to what must have been eye-witnesses, and all of he is, and not to what he has been. It overthem had it in their power to verify these looks the change of sentiment, and forgets, miracles, by conversation and correspond-that, in the renunciation of old habits, and old ence with by-standers, there can be no prejudices, in defiance to sufferings and disdoubt, that it was not merely an honest, but grace, in attachment to a religion so repuga competent testimony. There is no fact nant to the pride and bigotry of their nation, better established, than that many thou- and above all, in submission to a system of sands among the Jews believed in Jesus doctrines which rested its authority on the and his apostles; and we have therefore to miracles of their own time, and their own allege their conversion, as a strong ad- remembrance, every Jewish convert gives ditional confirmation to the written testi- the most decisive testimony which man mony of the original historians.

can give for the truth and divinity of our One of the popular objections against the religion. truth of the Christian miracles, is the gene But why, then, says the infidel, did they ral infidelity of the Jewish people. We are not all believe?' Had the miracles of the convinced, that at the moment of proposing Gospel been true, we do not see how huthis objection, an actual delusion exists in man nature could have held out against an the mind of the infidel. In his conception, evidence so striking and so extraordinary; the Jews and the Christians stand opposed i nor can we at all enter into the obstinacy to each other. In the belief of the latter, of that belief which is ascribed to the mahe sees nothing but a party or an interested jority of the Jewish people, and which led testimony, and in the unbelief of the for- | them to shut their eyes against a testimony mer, he sees a whole people persevering in that no man of common sense could have their ancient faith, and resisting the new resisted. faith on the ground of its insufficient evi- Many Christian writers have attempted dences. He forgets all the while, that the to resolve this difficulty, and to prove that testimony of a great many of these Chris- the infidelity of the Jews, in spite of the tians, is in fact the testimony of Jews. He miracles which they saw, is perfectly cononly attends to them in their present ca- sistent with the known principles of human pacity. He contemplates them in the light nature. For this purpose, they have enof Christians, and annexes to them all that larged, with much force and plausibility, on suspicion and incredulity which are gene- the strength and inveteracy of the Jewish rally annexed to the testimony of an in- prejudices-on the bewildering influence terested party. He is aware of what they of religious bigotry upon the understandare at present, Christians and defenders of ing of men-on the woeful disappointment Christianity; but he has lost sight of their which Christianity offered to the pride and original situation, and is totally unmindful interest of the nation on the selfishness of of this circumstance, that in their transition the priesthood-and on the facility with from Judaism to Christianity, they have which they might turn a blind and fanatical given him the very evidence he is in quest multitude, who had been trained, by their of. Had another thousand of these Jews | earliest habits, to follow and to revere them.

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elyte renounced the faith of their ancestors, and redit embraced the religion of Jesus, they would

the have been equivalent to a thousand adwere | ditional testimonies in favour of Christianated, ty, and testimonies too of the strongest and argu-most unsuspicious kind, that can well be Eime, I imagined. But this evidence would makes

ren- impression on the mind of an inhdel, and airies the strength of it is disguised, even from

this the eyes of the Christian. These thonsend, Coubt in the moment of their conversion, lose the

e re-appellation of Jews, and merge into the h, as name and distinction of Christians. The

otry Jews, though diminished in number, retain eflects the national appellation; and the obstines -hich with which they persevere in the belief of nent, their ancestors, is still looked upon as the

step adverse testimony of an entire people. $ fices, long as one of that people continues a Jer, - and his testimony is looked upon as a serious in

they pediment in the way of Christian evidences y evi- But the moment he becomes a Christian, bis

testi- motives are contemplated with distrust. He acles; is one of the obnoxious and suspected party.

them/ The mind carries a reference only to was all of he is, and not to what he has been. It over

these looks the change of sentiment, and forget bond-that, in the renunciation of old habits, and due e no prejudices, in defiance to sufferings and de t, but grace, in attachment to a religion so repet

fact nant to the pride and bigotry of their natics thou- and above all, in submission to a system a Jesus doctrines which rested its authority on 2 ore to miracles of their own time, and their on

ad- remembrance, every Jewish convert prie testi- the most decisive testimony which me

can give for the truth and divinity of ou st the religion. gene- But why, then, says the infidel, did the e are not all believe? 'Had the miracles of osing Gospel been true, we do not see how sts in man nature could have held out agains a ption, evidence so striking and so extraordia posed j nor can we at all enter into the obstos atter, of that belief which is ascribed to the rested) jority of the Jewish people, and which e for them to shut their eyes against a testimon ng in that no man of common sense could ta

In the Gospel history itself, we have a measure, a voluntary act; and that it is very consistent account at least of the Jew often in the power of the mind, both to turn ish opposition to the claims of our Saviour. away its attention from what would land We see the deeply wounded pride of a na- it in any painful or humiliating conclusion, tion, that felt itself disgraced by the loss of land to deliver itself up exclusively to those its independence. We see the arrogance arguments which flatter its taste and its of ils peculiar and exclusive claims to the prejudices. All this lies within the range favour of the Almighty. We see the antici- lor familiar and every-day experience. We pation of a great prince, who was to deliver all know how much it insures the success them from the power and subjection of their lof an argument, when it gets a favourable enemies. We see their insolent contempt hearing. In by far the greater number of for the people of other countries, and the instances, the parties in a litigation are not louiest scorn that they should be admitted ) merely each attached to their own side 1 to an equality with themselves in the hon- the question; but each confident and beours and benefits of a revelation from hea- lieving that theirs is the side on which jusven. We may easily conceive, how much I tice lies. In those contests of. opinion, which wuctrine of Christ and his apostles was take place every day between man and

Ito gall, and irritate, and disap- man, and particularly if passion and inpull them; how it must have mortified terest have any share in the controversy,

ional vanity; how it must have it is evident to the slightest observation, the jealousy of an artful and in- that though it might have been selfishness, u priesthood; and how it must have in the first instance, which gave a pecuni

the great body of the people, direction to the understanding, yet each of cally with which it addressed it the parties often comes, at last, to entertain len, and to all nations, and raised la sincere conviction in the truth of his own Un with themselves. those l argument. It is not that truth is not one

ind prejudices of and immutable. The whole difference lies my nad led them to contemplate lin the observers; each of them viewing grace and ignominy of object through the medium of his own pre

judices, or cherishing those peculiar habits we know, in fact, that bitter-löf attention and understanding, to which atment, and wounded pride, I taste or inclination had disposed him. . 1 of a great deal of the op-1 In addition to all this, we know, that Christianity experienced though the evidence for a particular truth

ople. In the New Tes- be so glaring, that it forces itself upon the liseli, we see repeated ex- understanding, and all the sophistry of pas

Putrageous violence; andsion and interest cannot withstand it; yet er writers. In the history of the mar- miliating kind, Dy the testimony of many lif this truth be of a very painful and nu.

the mar- | miliating kind, the obstinacy of man will carp, it is stated, that the loften dispose him to resist its influence,

nabiting Smyrna, in a and, in the bitterness of his malignant feel

a loud voice, cried ings, to carry a hostility against it, and that cher of Asia, the father too in proportion to the weight of the argu

e destroyer of our gods, ment which may be brought forward in its les all men not to sacrifice, nor to favour. They collected wood, and Now, if we take into account the inveteracy

for his pile; and of the Jewish prejudices, and reflect how unews also, according to palatable and how mortifying to their pride in the greatest forward- must have been the doctrine of a crucified less to multiply testimo-Saviour; we believe that their conduct, in generally understood; as, reference to Christianity and its miraculous onviction alone, which lay levidences, presents us with nothing anoma

their opposition to the lous or inexplicable, and that it will appear great deal of passion en-la possible and a likely thing to every un

at their numerous acts derstanding, that has been much cultivated he worshippers of Jesus, in the experience of human affairs, in the le marks of fury and re- nature of mind, and in the science of its

character and phenomena. ow that the power of passion. There is a difficulty, however, in the way 'y it very far over the power of this investigation. From the nature of We know that the strength the case, it bears no resemblance to any not in proportion to the thing else, that has either been recorded in rice presented, but to the history, or has come within the range of eace attended to, and per- our own personal observation. There is no usequence of that attention. I other example of a people called upon to W, that attention is, in a great I renounce the darling faith and principles

by the liberality with which it a
self to all men, and to all
to an elevation with themselves,
their country had led them to con
under all the disgrace and igno
outcasts.

Accordingly, we know, in fact, t
ness, and resentment, and wou
lay at the bottom of a great deal of 1!
position, which Christianity exper
from the Jewish people. In the
tament history itself, we see !
amples of their outrageous viol
this is confirmed by the testimony

tyrdom of Polycarp, it is stated
Gentiles and Jews inhabiting Smyrni
furious rage, and with a loud voice,
out, “This is the teacher of Asia,
of the Christians, the destroyer of
who teaches all men not to sa
worship them!" They collecte

he dried branches of trees for his pile; and of the

new resisted.

evi-l Many Christian writers have attempte t the to resolve this difficulty, and to prove Chris- the infidelity of the Jews, in spite of

He miracles which they saw, is perfectly it ca-sistent with the known principles of human lightnature. For this purpose, they have

that larged, with much force and plausibility, gene- the strength and inveteracy of the Jers n in- prejudices-on the bewildering influation

it is added, "the Jews also, acco
custom, assisting with the greatest 10
ness." It is needless to mult
nies to a point so generall
that it was not conviction :
at the bottom of their opposition
Christians; that a great deal on
tered into it; and that their nume
of hostility against the worshippers
carry in them all the marks of fury
sentment.

Now we know that the
will often carry it very far
of conviction. We know t
of conviction is not in prop
quantity of evidence presented
quantity of evidence attended
ceived, in consequence
We also know, that attenti

they of religious bigotry upon the understan rs of Jing of men-on the woeful disappointeet their/ which Christianity offered to the pride an ndful (interest of the nation-on the selfishness sition the priesthood-and on the facility w

have / which they might turn a blind and fanatica quest/ multitude, who had been trained, by the Jews learliest habits, to follow and to revere lhes

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of their country, and that upon the au-we do know of human nature, is not con thority of miracles exhibited before, them. sistent with the conduct of the Christian All the experience we have about the ope- party. Granting that we are not sure wheration of prejudice, and the perverseness of ther a miracle would force the Jewish nathe human temper and understanding, can- tion to renounce their opinions, all that we not afford a complete solution of the ques-can say of the conduct of the Jewish party tion. In many respects, it is a case sui | is, that we are not able to explain it. But generis, and the only creditable information there is one thing that we are sure of. We which we can obtain to enlighten us in this are sure, that if the pretensions of Chrisinquiry, is through the medium of that very tianity be false, it never could have forced testimony upon which the difficulty in ques- any part of the Jewish nation to renounce tion has thrown the suspicion that we want their opinions, with its alleged miracles, so to get rid of.

open to detection, and its doctrines so ofLet us give all the weight to this argu-fensive to every individual. The conduct ment of which it is susceptible, and the fol- of the Christian party, then, is not only lowing is the precise degree in which it what we are able to explain, but we can say affects the merits of the controversy. When with certainty, that it admits of no other the religion of Jesus was promulgated in explanation than the truth of that hypothesis Judea, its first teachers appealed to miracles which we contend for. We may not know wrought by themselves in the face of day, in how far an attachment to existing opinas the evidence of their being commissioned ions will prevail over an argument which by God. Many adopted the new religion is felt to be true; but we are sure, that this upon this appeal, and many rejected it. An attachment will never give way to an arguargument in favour of Christianity is de- ment which is perceived to be false; and rived from the conduct of the first. An particularly when danger, and hatred, and objection against Christianity is derived persecution, are the consequences of emfrom the conduct of the second. Now, bracing it. The argument for Christianity, allowing that we are not in possession of from the conduct of the first proselytes, experience enough for estimating, in abso rests upon the firm ground of experience. lute terms, the strength of the objection, we The objection against it, from the conduct propose the following as a solid and unex- of the unbelieving Jews, has no experience ceptionable principle, upon which to esti- whatever to rest upon. mate a comparison between the strength of The conduct of the Jews may be consithe objection and the strength of the argu-dered as a solitary fact in the history of the ment. We are sure that the first would not world, not from its being an exception to have embraced Christianity had its miracles the general principles of human nature, but been false; but we are not sure beforehand, from its being an exhibition of human nawhether the second would have rejected ture in singular circumstances. We have this religion on the supposition of the mi- no experience to guide us in our opinion as racles being true. If experience does not to the probability of his conduct; and noenlighten us as to how far the exhibition of thing, therefore, that can impeach a testimoa real miracle would be effectual in in-ny which all experience in human affairs ducing men to renounce their old and leads us to repose in as unquestionable. favourite opinions, we can infer nothing But after this testimony is admitted, we may decisive from the conduct of those who still submit to be enlightened by it; and in the kept by the Jewish religion. This conduct history which it gives us of the unbelieving was a matter of uncertainty, and any argu-Jews, it furnishes a curious fact as to the ment which many be extracted from it can- power of prejudice upon the human mind, not be depended upon. But the case is and a valuable accession to what we before widely different with that party of their na- knew of the principles of our nature. It lays tion who were converted from Judaism to before us an exhibition of the human mind in Christianity. We know that the alleged a situation altogether unexampled, and furmiracles of Christianity were perfectly open nishes us with the result of a singular exto examination. We are sure, from our experiment, if we may so call it, in the history perience of human nature, that in a ques of the species, We offer it as an interesting tion so interesting, this examination would fact to the moral and intellectual philosobe given. We know, from the very nature pher, that a previous attachment may sway of the miraculous facts, so remote from the mind even against the impression of a every thing like what would be attempted | miracle; and those who believe not in the by jugglery, or pretended to by enthusiasm, historical evidence which established the that, is ihis examination were given, it would authority of Christ and of the apostles, fix the truth or falsehood of the miracles. would not believe even though one rose The truth of these miracles, then, for any | from the dead. thing we know, may be consistent with the We are inclined to think, that the arguthe conduct of the Jewish party ; but the ment has come down to’us in the best posfalsehood of these miracles, from all that sible form, and that it would have been en

u- / we do know of human nature, is not cor m. sistent with the conduct of the Christian e-party. Granting that we are not sure whiên of ther a miracle would force the Jewish 18-n- tion to renounce their opinions, all that we es- can say of the conduct of the Jewish pari -uil is, that we are not able to explain it. But on there is one thing that we are sure of. We nis are sure, that if the pretensions of Chris

rystianity be false, it never could have forced 29- any part of the Jewish nation to removed nt their opinions, with its alleged miracles.so

| open to detection, and its doctrines sod gu- fensive to every individual. The conduct ol- of the Christian party, then, is not only

it what we are able to explain, but we can say en with certainty, that it admits of no de

in explanation than the truth of that hypothess les which we contend for. We may not know ay, in how far an attachment to existing opis ned ions will prevail over an argument fra ion is felt to be true; but we are sure that is An/attachment will never give way to an 278 de- ment which is perceived to be false; 2016 An particularly when danger, and hatres, as ved persecution, are the consequences of en ow, bracing it. The argument for Christians

of from the conduct of the first proselytes So- rests upon the firm ground of experienet. we The objection against it, from the conduc ex-, of the unbelieving Jews, has no experient Esti- whatever to rest upon.

of The conduct of the Jews may be consgu- dered as a solitary fact in the history of ! not world, not from its being an exceptes i les the general principles of human nature, F. nd, from its being an exhibition of human Eted ture in singular circumstances mni- no experience to guide us in our opindot 3 not to the probability of his conduct; and Bin 7 of thing, therefore, that can impeach a tesut

in- ny which all experience in human 3 and leads us to repose in as unquesto

ing But after this testimony is admitted, We D? still submit to be enlightened by it; and

down, presents us with an argument ir
of all these exceptions. We, in the hrs

feebled by that very circumstance, which sanity were partial. We, in this way, se-
the infidel demands as essential to its vali- cure all the support which is derived from
dity. Suppose for a moment that we could the inexplicable fact of the silence of its
give him what he wants, that all the priests enemies, inexplicable on every supposition,
and people of Judea were so borne down by but the undeniable evidence and certainty
the resistless evidence of miracles, as by one of the miracles. Had the Roman empire
universal consent to become the disciples made a unanimous movement to the new
of the new religion. What interpretation religion, and all the authorities of the state
might have been given to this unanimous lent their concurrence to it, there would have
movement in favour of Christianity ? A been a suspicion annexed to the whole his-
very unfavourable one, we apprehend, to tory of the Gospel, which cannot at present
the authenticity of its evidences. Will the apply to it; and from the collision of the
inħdel say, that he has a higher respect for opposite parties, the truth has come down
the credibility of those miracles which to us in a far more unquestionable form than
ushered in the dispensation of Moses, be- if no such collision had been excited.
cause they were exhibited in the face of al. The silence of Heathen and Jewish wil.
Wiole people, and gained their unexcepted | ters of that period, about the miracles of
sion to the laws and the ritual of Ju-Christianity, has been much insisted upon

s new revolution would have by the enemies of our religion; and has received the same explanation. We would leven excited something like a painful susple

u of its being sanctioned by their cion in the breasts of those who are attach

its being agreeable to their led to its cause. Certain it is, that no anils being supported by the cient facts have come down to us, support.

and encouragement of theired by a greater quantity of historical od, and that the jugglery of its mi- evidence, and better accompanied will to imposed upon all, because all were the circumstances which can co Willing to be deceived by them.

vere the circumstances which can confer crediThe ac-bility on that evid

The ac- bility on that evidence. When we demand al form in which the history has come the testimony of Tac

y has come the testimony of Tacitus to the Christian

with an argument free miracles, we forget all the while that we auce, behold a number of proselytes, I cisive testimonies; to

ions. We, in the first in- can allege a multitude of much more dellose testimony to the facts of Christianity temporary authors, a

8, | cisive testimonies; no less than eight con

y temporary authors, and a train of succeedat they lost and suffer- ing writers, who follow one another with a We in the w enance of their faith: and I closeness and a rapidity, of which there is

histance, behold a num-no example in any other department of an. y eager, vigilant, and exaspe- cient history. We forget that the authen progress of the new religion, I city of these different writers, and their

| pretensions to credit, are founded on consideublic and widely talked of miracles of much stronger in de

lose silence, as to rations, perfectly the same in kind, though

so much stronger in degree, than what have is apostles, we have a right to I been employed to establish the es most triumphant of all of the most esteemed historians of former

| ages. For the history of the Gospel, we ocess of reasoning is applica- f behold a series of testimonies, more con

ntiles. Many adopt- tinuous, and more firmly sustained, than egion, and many rejected it. I there is any other example oi in me

ure, !! we can give an compass of erudition. And to refuse this waion of the conduct of the levidênce, is a proof that in this investiga. Pposition that the evidences Ition there is an aptitude in the human mind ve are perfectly sure, that wel to abandon all ordinary principles, and to

quate explanation of the con- / be carried away by the delusions which we ormer, on the supposition that I have already insisted on

se. For any thing we But let us try the effect of that testimony

the one party may which our antagonists demand. Tacitus eir former prejudices, in has actually attested the existence of Jesus I the force and urgency of Christ; the reality of such a personage;

even an authentic miracle his public execution under the administraun it. But we know that it tion of Pontius Pilate; the temporary check

at the other party should which this gave to the progress of his reliprejudices, and that too in gion; its revival a short time after his death; ger and persecution, unless its progress over the land of Judea, and to u been authentic. So great Rome itself, the metropolis of the empire:

between the strength of the all this we have in a Roman historian; and, u the strength of the objection, Jin opposition to all established reasoning

It fortunate for the merits of l upon these subjects, it is by some more nrm. at the conversions to Christi-lly confided in upon his testimony, than upon

is approved of by what they lost and suffer
ed in the maintenance of their faith; and
we, in the second instance, behold
ber of enemies, eager, vigilan
rated at the progress of the
who have not questione
of our histories, and whose silence, as

bes

Cuct history which it gives us of the unbeden gu- Jews, it furnishes a curious fact as to it an-power of prejudice upon the human be e is and a valuable accession to what are pe na- knew of the principles of our nature. It has

to before us an exhibition of the human mun yed a situation altogether unexampled, and pen nishes us with the result of a singular es experiment, if we may so call it, in the history jes of the species. We offer it as an interest

uld fact to the moral and intellectual phiae cure, pher, that a previous attachment may su com / the mind even against the impression de

Christ and his apostles, we
interpret into the most triumphani
estimonies.

The same process of reason
ble to the case of the Gentiles. Many adopla
ed the new religion, ang
We may not be sure, if we
adequate explanation of the
latter on the supposition that
are true; but we are perfect
can give no adequate explan
doct of the former, on the su
the evidences are false. For any
know, it is possible that the one party
have adhered to their former prejus
opposition to all the force and urg
argument, which even an authe
carries along with it. But
is not possible that the other
renounce these prejudices, a
the face of danger and P
the miracles had been authen
is the difference between the
argument and the strength
that we count it fortunak
the cause, that the conve

oted / miracle; and those who believe not in e

sm, historical evidence which established muld / authority of Christ and of the aposta les. / would not believe even though one line iny) from the dead. the! We are inclined to think that the agt the ment has come down to us in the best porn hat/sible form, and that it would have been

and

201

the numerous and concurring testimonies becoming a Christian in consequence of it.
of nearer and contemporary writers. But Yet the moment that this transition is
be this as it may, let us suppose that Taci-made-a transition by which, in point of
tus had thrown one particular more into his fact, his testimony becomes stronger-in
testimony, and that his sentence had run point of impression it becomes less; and,
thus; “They had their denomination from by a delusion, common to the infidel and
Christus, who, in the reign of Tiberius, was the believer, the argument is held to be
put to death as a criminal by the procura- weakened by the very circumstance which
tor Pontius Pilate, and who rose from the imparts greater force to it. The elegant and
dead on the third day after his execution, accomplished scholar becomes a believer.
and ascended into heaven." Does it not The truth, the novelty, the importance of
strike every body, that however true the this new subject, withdraw him from every
last piece of information may be, and how other pursuit. He shares in the common
ever well established by its proper historians, enthusiasm of the cause, and gives all his
this is not the place where we can expect talents and eloquence to the support of it.
to find it? If Tacitus did not believe the Instead of the Roman historian, Tacitus
resurrection of our Saviour, (which is pro- comes down to posterity in the shape of a
bably the case, as he never, in all likelihood, Christian father, and the high authority of
paid any attention to the evidence of a faith his name is lost in a crowd of similar testi-
which he was led to regard, from the outset, monies.
as a pernicious superstition, and a mere mo- A direct testimony to the miracles of the
dification of Judaism,) it is not to be sup- New Testament from the mouth of a hea-
posed that such an assertion could ever then, is not to be expected. We cannot
have been made by him. If Tacitus did be- satisfy this demand of the infidel; but we
lieve the resurrection of our Saviour, he can give him a host of much stronger tes-
gives us an example of what appears not to timonies than he is in quest of-the testi-
have been uncommon in these ages-hemonies of those men who were heathens,
gives us an example of a man adhering to and who embraced a hazardous and a dis-
that system which interest and education graceful profession, under a deep conviction
recommended, in opposition to the evidence of those facts to which they gave their testi-
of a miracle which he admitted to be true. mony. “0, but you now land us in the tes-
Still, even on this supposition, it is the most timony of Christians !" This is very true;
unlikely thing in the world, that he would but it is the very fact of their being Chris-
have admitted the fact of our Saviour's re- tians in which the strength of the argument
surrection into his history. It is most im- lies; and in each of the numerous fathers
probable, that a testimony of this kind of the Christian church, we see a stronger
would have been given, even though the testimony than the required testimony of
resurrection of Jesus Christ be admitted ; the heathen Tacitus. We see men who,
and, therefore, the want of this testimony if they had not been Christians, would have
carries in it no argument that the resurrec- risen to as high an eminence as Tacitus in
tion is a falsehood. If, however, in opposi- the literature of the times; and whose direct
tion to all probability, this testimony had testimonies to the gospel history would, in
been given, it would have been appealed to that case, have been most impressive, even
as a most striking confirmation of the main to the mind of an infidel. And are these
fact of the evangelical history. It would testimonies to be less impressive, because
have figured away in all our elementary they were preceded by conviction, and seal-
treatises, and been referred to as a master / ed by martyrdom ?
argument in every exposition of the evi- Yet though, from the nature of the case,
dences of Christianity. Infidels would have no direct testimony to the Christian mira-
been challenged to believe in it on the strength cles from a heathen can be looked for, there
of their own favourite evidence, the evidence are heathen testimonies which form an im-
of a classical historian ; and must have been portant accession to the Christian argu-
at a loss how to dispose of this fact, when ment. Such are the testimonies to the state
they saw an unbiassed heathen giving his of Judea ; the testimonics to those nume-
round and unqualified testimony in its fa-rous particulars in government and cus-
vour.

toms, which are so osten alluded to in the
Let us now carry the supposition a step New Testament, and give it the air of an
farther. Let us conceive that Tacitus not authentic history; and above all, the testi-
only believed the fact, and gave his testimo-monies to the sufferings of the primitive
ny to it, but that he believed it so far as to Christians, from which we learn, through a
become a Christian. Is his testimony to be channel clear of every suspicion, that Chris-
refused, because he gives this evidence of tianity, a religion of facts, was the object of
its sincerity? Tacitus asserting the fact, and persecution at a time, when eye-witnesses
remaining a heathen, is not so strong an taught and eye-witnesses must have bled
argument for the truth of our Saviour's re- for it.
surrection, as Tacitus asserting the fact and! The silence of Jewish and heathen wri-

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