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more like its original, than these prophecies of Christ in one Testament, are to his history in the other. Here we see that extraordinary virginbirth unravelled. Here we see a life spent in turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just. Here we find the prince of his people, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Here we see the Lord of righteousness numbered with transgressors-we see his hands and his feet pierced-we see him made an offering for sin and we see realized that extraordinary idea, of death without corruption.
It were an easy matter to carry this comparison through a more minute detail of circumstances; but I mean only to trace the outlines of this great resemblance. To complete the picture would be a copious work. Gilpin.
ANECDOTE OF A LEARNED RABBI, CONFIRMING THE PROPHECY OF THE MESSIAH.
I HAVE Somewhere read an account of a solemn disputation which was held at Venice, in the last century, between a Jew and a Christian. The Christian strongly argued from Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks, that Jesus was the Messiah whom the Jews had long expected, from the predictions of their prophets: the learned Rabbi, who presided at this disputation, was so forcibly struck by the argument, that he put an end to the business, by saying, 'Let us shut up our Bibles; for if we proceed in the examination of this prophecy, it will make us all become Christians.'
FORCE OF THE ARGUMENT FROM PROPHECY.
PORPHYRY was so persuaded of the coincedencé between the prophecies of Daniel and the events, that he was forced to affirm, the prophecies were written after the things prophesied of had happened. Another Porphyry has in our days been so astonished at the correspondence between the prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, as related by St. Matthew, and the history of that event, as recorded by Josephus, that, rather than embrace Christianity, he has ventured (contrary to the faith of all ecclesiastical history, the opinion of the learned of all ages, and all the rules of good criticism), to assert, that St. Matthew wrote his Gospel after Jerusalem had been taken and destroyed by the Romans. You may from these instances perceive the strength of the argument from prophecy: it has not been able indeed to vanquish the prejudices of either the ancient or the modern Porphyry; but it has been ble to compel them both to be guilty of obvious falsehoods, which have nothing but impudent assertion to support them. Bp. Watson.
HISTORICAL EVIDENCE THAT JESUS CHRIST LIVED, AND WAS THE AUTHOR OF A NEW RELIGION. A PERSON celebrated as Jesus Christ was, we may suppose, would naturally find a place in the profane history of his times. It may not be amiss, therefore, to introduce the evidence we are about to collect, with the testimony of some of the more eminent of the heathen writers, who have mentionVOL. I.
ed him. They will at least inform us, that such a person lived at the time we assert: and that he was the author of a new religion. I shall quote only Suetonius, Tacitus, and Pliny.
Suetonius* tells us, that the emperor Claudius drove all the Jews from Rome, who, at the instigation of one Christ, were continually making disturbances,'
Tacitust, speaking of the persecution of Christians, tells us, that the author of that name was Christ, who was put to death by Pontius Pilate, in the reign of Tiberius.
Pliny's testimony is more large. It is contained in a letter, written to the emperor Trajan, desiring his instructions with regard to Christians. He blames their obstinacy in refusing to sacrifice to the Roman deities-but from their own confession can draw nothing, but that they assemble, on a certain day, before sun-rise-that they pay divine honours to Christ as a God-that they bind themselves by a sacrament not to steal, nor to commit adultery, nor to deceive-and that, after the perform. ance of these rites, they join in one common meal. Nay, he examined, he says, two of them by torture; yet still he finds nothing obnoxious in their behaviour, except their absurd superstitions. He thinks, however, the matter should be inquired into for Christianity had brought religion into great disuse. The markets were crowded with victims; and scarce a purchaser came near them.
These writers afford us sufficient testimony, that Jesus Christ lived at the time we assert; and that
In Vita Claud. Cæs.
+ Lib. xv.
They had opcould have no
he was the author of a new religión. portunities of being well informed 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. Gilpin.
VERY LITTLE REQUIRED TO PROVE THE TRUTH 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 which 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 after him, 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.