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tries; that the converts were numerous; that they another passage allowed by many, although not suffered great hardships and injuries for their pro- without considerable question being moved about fession; and that all this took place in the age of it, we hear of "James, the brother of him who the world which our books have assigned. They was called Jesus, and of his being put to death."* go on further, to describe the manners of Chris- In a third passage, extant in every copy that retians in terms perfectly conformable to the ac-mains of Josephus's History, but the authenticity counts extant in our books: that they were wont of which has nevertheless been long disputed, we to assemble on a certain day; that they sang have an explicit testimony to the substance of our hymns to Christ as to a god; that they bound history in these words:" At that time lived Jethemselves by an oath not to commit any crime, sus, a wise man, if he may be called a man, for he but to abstain from theft and adultery, to adhere performed many wonderful works. He was a strictly to their promises, and not to deny money teacher of such men as received the truth with deposited in their hands; that they worshipped pleasure. He drew over to him many Jews and him who was crucified in Palestine; that this Gentiles. This was the Christ; and when Pilate, their first lawgiver had taught them that they at the instigation of the chief men among us, had were all brethren; that they had a great contempt condemned him to the cross, they who before had for the things of this world, and looked upon conceived an affection for him, did not cease to them as common; that they flew to one another's adhere to him; for, on the third day, he appeared relief; that they cherished strong hopes of im- to them alive again, the divine prophets having mortality; that they despised death, and surren- foretold these and many wonderful things condered themselves to sufferings.t This is the ac- cerning him. And the sect of the Christians, so count of writers who viewed the subject at a great called from him, subsists to this time." Whatever distance; who were uninformed and uninterested become of the controversy concerning the genuineabout it. It bears the characters of such an account ness of this passage; whether Josephus go the upon the face of it, because it describes effects, whole length of our history, which, if the passage namely, the appearance in the world of a new re-be sincere, he does; or whether he proceed only a ligion, and the conversion of great multitudes to very little way with us, which, if the passage be it, without descending, in the smallest degree, to rejected, we confess to be the case; still what we the detail of the transaction upon which it was asserted is true, that he gives no other or different founded, the interior of the institution, the evi- history of the subject from ours, no other or difdence or arguments offered by those who drew ferent account of the origin of the institution. over others to it. Yet still here is no contradic- And I think also that it may with great reason tion of our story; no other or different story set be contended, either that the passage is genuine, up against it: but so far confirmation of it, as or that the silence of Josephus was designed. that, in the general points on which the heathen For, although we should lay aside the authority account touches, it agrees with that which we of our own books entirely, yet when Tacitus, who find in our own books. wrote not twenty, perhaps not ten, years after Josephus, in his account of a period in which Josephus was nearly thirty years of age, tells us, that a vast multitude of Christians were condemned at Rome; that they derived their denomination from Christ, who, in the reign of Tiberius, was put to death, as a criminal, by the procurator, Pontius Pilate; that the superstition had spread not only over Judea, the source of the evil, but had reached Rome also:—when Suetonius, an historian contemporary with Tacitus, relates that, in the time of Claudius, the Jews were making disturbances at Rome, Christus being their leader; and that, during the reign of Nero, the Christians were punished; under both which emperors, Josephus lived: when Pliny, who wrote his celebrated epistle not more than thirty years after the publication of Josephus's history, found the Christians in such numbers in the province of Bithynia, as to draw from him a complaint, that the contagion had seized cities, towns, and villages, and had so seized them as to produce a general desertion of the public rites; and when, as has already been observed, there is no reason for imagining that the Christians were more numerous in Bithynia than in many other parts of the Roman empire; it cannot, I should suppose, after this, be believed, that the religion, and the transaction upon which it was founded, were too obscure to engage the attention of Josephus, or to obtain a place in his history. Perhaps he did not know how to represent the business, and disposed of his difficulties by passing it over in silence. Eusebius wrote the

The same may be observed of the very few Jewish writers, of that and the adjoining period, which have come down to us. Whatever they omit, or whatever difficulties we may find in explaining the omission, they advance no other history of the transaction than that which we acknowledge. Josephus, who wrote his Antiquities, or History of the Jews, about sixty years after the commencement of Christianity, in a passage generally admitted as genuine, makes mention of John under the name of John the Baptist; that he was a preacher of virtue; that he baptized his proselytes; that he was well received by the people; that he was imprisoned and put to death by Herod; and that Herod lived in a criminal cohabitation with Herodias, his brother's wife. In

*See Pliny's Letter.-Bonnet, in his lively way of expressing himself, says,-" Comparing Pliny's Letter with the account of the Acts, it seems to me that I had not taken up another author, but that I was still read ing the historian of that extraordinary society." This is strong: but there is undoubtedly an affinity, and all the affinity that could be expected.

"It is incredible what expedition they use when

any of their friends are known to be in trouble. In a word, they spare nothing upon such an occasion; for these miserable men have no doubt they shal be im mortal and live for ever: therefore they contemn death, and many surrender themselves to sufferings. Moreover, their first lawgiver has taught them that they are all brethren, when once they have turned and renounced the gods of the Greeks, and worship this Master of theirs who was crucified, and engage to live according to his

laws. They have also a sovereign contempt for all the things of this world, and look upon them as common."Lucian de Morte Peregrini, t. i. p. 565. ed. Græv.

Antiq. I. xviii. cap. v. sect. 1, 2.

Antiq 1. xx. cap. ix. sect. I.
† Antiq. 1. xviii. cap. iii. sect. 3.

religion; the persecution of its followers; the miraculous conversion of Paul; miracles wrought by himself and alleged in his controversies with his adversaries, and in letters to the persons amongst whom they were wrought; finally, MIRACLES were the signs of an apostle.*


In an epistle, bearing the name of Barnabas, the companion of Paul, probably genuine, certainly belonging to that age, we have the suf ferings of Christ, his choice of apostles and their number, his passion, the scarlet robe, the vinegar and gall, the mocking and piercing, the casting lots for his coat,t his resurrection on the eighth (i. e. the first day of the week,t) and the commemorative distinction of that day, his manifestation after his resurrection, and lastly, his ascension. We have also his miracles generally but positively referred to in the following words:

life of Constantine, yet omits entirely the most remarkable circumstance in that life, the death of his son Crispus: undoubtedly for the reason here given. The reserve of Josephus upon the subject of Christianity appears also in his passing over the banishment of the Jews by Claudius, which Suetonius, we have seen, has recorded with an express reference to Christ. This is at least as remarkable as his silence about the infants of Bethlehem. Be, however, the fact, or the cause of the omission in Josephus, what it may, no other or different history on the subject has been given by him, or is pretended to have been given. But further; the whole series of Christian writers, from the first age of the institution down to the present, in their discussions, apologies, arguments, and controversies, proceed upon the general story which our Scriptures contain, and upon no other. The main facts, the principal agents, are alike in all. This argument will appear to be of great force, when it is known that we are able to trace back the series of writers to a contact with the historical books of the New Tes tament, and to the age of the first emissaries of the religion, and to deduce it, by an unbroken continuation, from that end of the train to the present.

Finally, teaching the people of Israel, and do ing many wonders and signs among them, he preached to them, and showed the exceeding great love which he bare towards them."§

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In an epistle of Clement, a hearer of St. Paul, although written for a purpose remotely connected with the Christian history, we have the resurrrection of Christ, and the subsequent mission of the apostles, recorded in these satisfactory terms: The remaining letters of the apostles, (and The apostles have preached to us from our what more original than their letters can we Lord Jesus Christ from God:-For, having rehave?) though written without the remotest de-ceived their command, and being thoroughly sign of transmitting the history of Christ, or of assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christianity, to future ages, or even of making it Christ, they went abroad, publishing that the known to their contemporaries, incidentally dis-kingdom of God was at hand." We find noclose to us the following circumstances:-Christ's ticed also, the humility, yet the power of Christ, T descent and family; his innocence; the meekness his descent from Abraham, his crucifixion. We and gentleness of his character; (a recognition have Peter and Paul represented as faithful and which goes to the whole Gospel history;) his ex-righteous pillars of the church; the numerous alted nature; his circumcision; his transfigura- sufferings of Peter; the bonds, stripes, and stoning tion; his life of opposition and suffering; his pa- of Paul, and more particularly his extensive and tience and resignation; the appointment of the unwearied travels. eucharist, and the manner of it; his agony; his confession before Pontius Pilate; his stripes, crucifixion, and burial; his resurrection; his appearance after it, first to Peter, then to the rest of the apostles; his ascension into heaven; and his designation to be the future judge of mankind-the stated residence of the apostles at Jerusalem; the working of miracles by the first preachers of the Gospel, who were also the hearers of Christ ;-the successful propagation of the

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In an epistle of Polycarp, a disciple of St. John, though only a brief hortatory letter, we have the humility, patience, sufferings, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, together with the apostolic character of St. Paul, distinctly recognised.** Of this same father we are also assured by Irenæus, that he (Irenæus,) had heard him relate, "what he had received from eye-witnesses concerning the Lord, both concerning his miracles and his doctrine."++

In the remaining works of Ignatius, the contemporary of Polycarp, larger than those of Polycarp (yet, like those of Polycarp, treating of subjects in nowise leading to any recital of the Christian history,) the occasional allusions are proportionably more numerous.-The descent of

Michaelis has computed, and, as it should seem, fairly enough, that probably not more than twenty children perished by this cruel precaution-Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament, translated by

Marsh, vol. i. c. ii. sect. 11.

†There is no notice taken of Christianity in the Mishna, a collection of Jewish traditions compiled about the year 180; although it contains a Tract Detation; for, whatever doubts may bave been raised cultu peregrino," of strange or idolatrous worship; yet about its author, there can be none concerning the age it cannot be disputed but that Christianity was per- in which it was written. No epistle in the collection fectly well known in the world at this time. There is carries about it more indubitable marks of antiquity extremely little notice of the subject in the Jerusalem than this does. It speaks, for instance, throughout, of Talmud, compiled about the year 300, and not much the temple as then standing, and of the worship of the more in the Babylonish Talmud, of the year 500; al- temple as then subsisting. Heb. viii. 4: "For, if he though both these works are of a religious nature, and were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing there although, when the first was compiled, Christianity are priests that offer according to the law." Again, was on the point of becoming the religion of the state, Heb. xiii. 10: "We have an altar whereof they have and, when the latter was published, had been so for 200 no right to eat which serve the tabernacle." years.

Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds."-2 Cor. xii. 12.

1 Heb. ii. 3. "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, which, at the first, began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him, God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost?" I allege this epistle without hesi20

Ep. Bar. c. vii. 1 Ibid. c. vi. § Ibid. c. v. Ep. Clem. Rom. c. xlii. T Ep. Clem. Rom. c. xvi. ** Pol. Ep. ad Phil. c. v. viii, ìì, ìîì. tf Ir. ad Flor, ap. Euseb. 1. v. c. 20.


Christ from David, his mother Mary, his miraculous conception, the star at his birth, his baptisin by John, the reason assigned for it, his appeal to the prophets, the ointment poured on his head, his sufferings under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch, his resurrection, the Lord's day called and kept in commemoration of it, and the eucharist, in both its parts,-are unequivocally referred to. Upon the resurrection, this writer is even circumstantial. He mentions the apostles' eating and drinking with Christ after he had risen, their feeling and their handling him; from which last circumstance Ignatius raises this just reflection; They believed, being convinced both by his flesh and spirit; for this cause, they despised death, and were found to be above it."*


Quadratus, of the same age with Ignatius, has left us the following noble testimony:-"The works of our Saviour were always conspicuous, for they were real; both those that were healed, and those that were raised from the dead; who were seen not only when they were healed or raised, but for a long time afterwards: not only whilst he dwelled on this earth, but also after his departure, and for a good while after it, insomuch that some of them have reached to our times.'†

Justin Martyr came little more than thirty years after Quadratus. From Justin's works, which are still extant, might be collected a tolerably complete account of Christ's life, in all points agreeing with that which is delivered in our Scriptures; taken indeed, in a great measure, from those Scriptures, but still proving that this account, and no other, was the account known and extant in that age. The miracles in particular, which form the part of Christ's history most material to be traced, stand fully and distinctly recognised in the following passage:-" He healed those who had been blind, and deaf, and lame from their birth; causing, by his word, one to leap, another to hear, and a third to see: and by raising the dead, and making them to live, he induced, by his works, the men of that age to know him."+

It is unnecessary to carry these citations lower, because the history, after this time, occurs in ancient Christian writings as familiarly as it is wont to do in modern sermons;-occurs always the same in substance, and always that which our evangelists represent.

This is not only true of those writings of Christians, which are genuine, and of acknowledged authority; but it is, in a great measure, true of all their ancient writings which remain; although some of these may have been erroneously ascribed to authors to whom they did not belong, or may contain false accounts, or may appear to be undeserving of credit, or never indeed to have obtained any. Whatever fables they have mixed with the narrative, they preserve the material parts, the leading facts, as we have them; and, so far as they do this, although they be evidence of nothing else, they are evidence that these points were fired, were received and acknowledged by all Christians in the ages in which the books were written. At least, it may be asserted, that, in the places where we were most likely to meet with such things, if such things had existed, no relicks appear of any story substantially different from the present,

as the cause, or as the pretence of the institution.

Now that the original story, the story delivered by the first preachers of the institution, should have died away so entirely as to have left no record or memorial of its existence, although so many records and memorials of the time and transaction remain; and that another story should have stepped into its place, and gained exclusive possession of the belief of all who professed themselves disciples of the institution, is beyond any example of the corruption of even oral tradition, and still less consistent with the experience of written history: and this improbability, which is very great, is rendered still greater by the reflection, that no such change as the oblivion of one story, and the substitution of another, took place in any future period of the Christian era. Christianity hath travelled through dark and turbulent ages; nevertheless it came out of the cloud and the storm, such, in substance, as it entered in. Many additions were made to the primitive history, and these entitled to different degrees of credit; many doctrinal errors also were from time to time grafted into the public creed; but still the original story remained, and remained the same. In all its principal parts, it has been fixed from the beginning.

Thirdly: The religious rites and usages that prevailed amongst the early disciples of Christianity, were such as belonged to, and sprung out of, the narrative now in our hands; which accordancy shows, that it was the narrative upon which these persons acted, and which they had received from their teachers. Our account makes the Founder of the religion direct that his disciples should be baptised: we know, that the first Christians were baptised. Our account makes him direct that they should hold religious assemblies: we find, that they did hold religious assemblies. Our accounts niake the apostles assemble upon a stated day of the week: we find, and that from information perfectly independent of our accounts, that the Christians of the first century did observe stated days of assembling. Our histories record the institution of the rite which we call the Lord's Supper, and a command to repeat it in perpetual succession: we find, amongst the early Christians, the celebration of this rite universal. And indeed, we find concurring in all the abovementioned observances, Christian societies of many different nations and languages, removed from one another by a great distance of place and dissimili tude of situation. It is also extremely material to remark, that there is no room for insinuating that our books were fabricated with a studious accommodation to the usages which obtained at the time they were written; that the authors of the books found the usages established, and framed the story to account for their original. The Scripture accounts, especially of the Lord's Supper, are too short and cursory, not to say too obscure, and, in this view, deficient, to allow a place for any such suspicion.*

Amongst the proofs of the truth of our proposition, viz. that the story, which we have now, is, in substance, the story which the Christians had

*The reader who is conversant in these researches,

by comparing the short Scripture accounts of the Chris

tian rites above-mentioned, with the minute and cir cumstantial directions contained in the pretended apos

Ad Smyr. c. iii. † Ap. Euseb. H. E. lib. 4. c. 2. tolical constitutions, will see the force of this observaJust. Dial. cum Tryph. p. 288. ed. Thirl.

tion: the difference between truth and forgery.


then, or, in other words, that the accounts in our Gospels are, as to their principal parts at least, the accounts which the apostles and original teachers of the religion delivered, one arises from observing, that it appears by the Gospels themselves, that the story was public at the time; that the Christian community was already in possession of the substance and principal parts of the narrative. The Gospels were not the original cause of the Chris-ciple, proves that the characters and the discourse tian history being believed, but were themselves were already public. And the observation which among the consequences of that belief. This is these instances afford, is of equal validity for the expressly affirmed by Saint Luke, in his brief, purpose of the present argument, whoever were but, as I think, very important and instructive the authors of the histories. preface:-" Forasmuch (says the evangelist) as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed amongst us, even as they delivered them unto us, which, from the beginning, were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understand ing of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed."-This short introduction testifies, that the substance of the history, which the evangelist was about to write, was already believed by Christians; that it was believed upon the declarations of eye-witnesses and ministers of the word; that it formed the account of their religion in which Christians were instructed; that the office which the historian proposed to himself, was to trace each particular to its origin, and to fix the certainty of many things which the reader had before heard of. In Saint John's Gospel, the same point appears hence, that there are some principal facts, to which the historian refers, but which he does not relate. A remarkable instance of this kind is the ascension, which is not mentioned by Saint John in its place, at the conclusion of his history; but which is plainly referred to in the following words of the sixth chapter:-"What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before ?" And still more positively in the words which Christ, according to our evangelist, spoke to Mary after his resurrection, "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go unto my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, unto my God and your God." This can only be accounted for by the supposition that Saint John wrote under a sense of the notoriety of Christ's ascension, amongst those by whom his book was likely to be read. The same account must also be given of Saint Matthew's omission of the same important fact. The thing was very well known, and it did not occur to the historian that it was necessary to add any particulars concerning it. It agrees also with this solution, and with no other, that neither Matthew, nor John, disposes of the person of our Lord in any manner whatever. Other intimations in Saint John's Gospel of the then general notoriety of the story are the following: His manner of introducing his narrative (ch. i. ver. 15:) "John bare witness of him, and cried, saying,"-evidently presupposes that his readers knew who John was. His rapid parenthetical reference to John's imprisonment, "for John was not yet cast into prison,"‡ could only come from a

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writer whose mind was in the habit of considering John's imprisonment as perfectly notorious. The description of Andrew by the addition “Simon Peter's brother," takes it for granted, that Simon Peter was well known. His name had not been mentioned before. The evangelist's noticing the prevailing misconstruction of a discourse, which Christ held with the beloved dis

These four circumstances; first, the recognition of the account in its principal parts, by a series of succeeding writers; secondly, the total absence of any account of the origin of the religion substantially different from ours; thirdly, the early and extensive prevalence of rites and institutions, which result from our account; fourthly, our account. bearing, in its construction, proof that it is an account of facts, which were known and believed at the time;-are sufficient, I conceive, to support an assurance, that the story which we have now, is, in general, the story which Christians had at the beginning. I say in general; by which term I mean, that it is the same in its texture, and in its principal facts. For instance, I make no doubt, for the reasons above stated, but that the resurrection of the Founder of the religion was always a part of the Christian story. Nor can a doubt of this remain upon the mind of any one who reflects that the resurrection is, in some form or other, asserted, referred to, or assumed, in every Christian writing, of every description, ich hath come down to us.

And if our evidence stopped here, we should have a strong case to offer: for we should have to allege, that in the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, a certain number of persons set about an attempt of establishing a new religion in the world: in the prosecution of which purpose, they voluntarily encountered great dangers, undertook great labours, sustained great sufferings, all for a miraculous story which they published wherever they came; and that the resurrection of a dead man, whom during his life they had followed and accompanied, was a constant part of this story. I know nothing in the above statement which can, with any appearance of reason, be disputed; and I know nothing, in the history of the human species, similar to it.


There is satisfactory evidence that many professing to be original witnesses of the Christian miracles, passed their lives in labours, dangers, and sufferings, voluntarily undergone in attestation of the accounts which they delivered, and solely in consequence of their belief of those accounts; and that they also submitted, from the same motives, to new rules of conduct.

THAT the story which we have now is, in the main, the story which the apostles published, is, I think, nearly certain, from the considerations which have been proposed. But whether, when we come to the particulars, and the detail of the ↑ Ibid. xxi 24.

• John i. 40.


narrative, the historical books of the New Tes-
tament be deserving of credit as histories, so that
a fact ought to be accounted true, because it is
found in them; or whether they are entitled to be
considered as representing the accounts which,
true or false, the apostles published;-whether
their authority, in either of these views, can be
trusted to, is a point which necessarily depends
upon what we know of the books, and of their

tion; both living in habits of society and correspondence with those who had been present at the transactions which they relate. The latter of them accordingly tells us, (and with apparent sincerity, because he tells it without pretending to personal knowledge, and without claiming for his work greater authority than belonged to it,) that the things which were believed amongst Christians, came from those who from the beginning were he had traced accounts up to their source; and eye-witnesses and ministers of the word; that that he was prepared to instruct his reader in the certainty of the things which he related. Very few histories lie so close to their facts; very few historians are so nearly connected with the subject of their narrative, or possess such means of

Now, in treating of this part of our argument, the first and most material observation upon the subject is, that such was the situation of the authors to whom the four Gospels are ascribed, that, if any one of the four be genuine, it is sufficient for our purpose. The received author of the first, was an original apostle and emissary of the re-authentic information, as these. ligion. The received author of the second, was an inhabitant of Jerusalem at the time, to whose of the facts which they record. But at present we The situation of the writers applies to the truth house the apostles were wont to resort, and him- use their testimony to a point somewhat short of self an attendant upon one of the most eminent this, namely, that the facts recorded in the Gosof that number. The received author of the third, pels, whether true or false, are the facts, and the was a stated companion and fellow-traveller of the sort of facts, which the original preachers of the most active of all the teachers of the religion, and religion alleged. Strictly speaking, I am conin the course of his travels frequently in the cerned only to show, that what the Gospels consociety of the original apostles. The received au- tain is the same as what the apostles preached. thor of the fourth, as well as of the first, was one of Now, how stands the proof of this point? A set these apostles. No stronger evidence of the truth of men went about the world, publishing a story of a history can arise from the situation of the composed of miraculous accounts, (for miraculous historian, than what is here offered. The authors from the very nature and exigency of the case of all the histories lived at the time and upon the they must have been,) and, upon the strength of spot. The authors of two of the histories were these accounts, called upon mankind to quit the present at many of the scenes which they de- religions in which they had been educated, and to scribe; eye-witnesses of the facts, ear-witnesses take up, thenceforth, a new system of opinions, of the discourses; writing from personal know- and new rules of action. What is more in attes ledge and recollection; and, what strengthens tation of these accounts, that is, in support of an their testimony, writing upon a subject in which institution of which these accounts were the fountheir minds were deeply engaged, and in which, dation, is that the same men voluntarily exposed as they must have been very frequently repeating themselves to harassing and perpetual labours, the accounts to others, the passages of the history dangers, and sufferings. We want to know what would be kept continually alive in their memory. these accounts were. Whoever reads the Gospels (and they ought to be i.e. many particulars, from two of their own numWe have the particulars, read for this particular purpose,) will find in them ber. We have them from an attendant of one of not merely a general affirmation of miraculous the number, and who, there is reason to believe, powers, but detailed circumstantial accounts of was an inhabitant of Jerusalem at the time. We miracles, with specifications of time, place, and have them from a fourth writer, who accompanied persons; and these accounts many and various. the most laborious missionary of the institution in In the Gospels, therefore, which bear the names his travels; who, in the course of these travels, of Matthew and John, these narratives, if they was frequently brought into the society of the really proceeded from these men, must either be rest; and who, let it be observed, begins his nartrue, as far as the fidelity of human recollection is rative by telling us that he is about to relate the usually to be depended upon, that is, must be true things which had been delivered by those who in substance, and in their principal parts (which were ministers of the word, and eye-witnesses of is sufficient for the purpose of proving a super- the facts. I do not know what information can natural agency,) or they must be wilful and medi- be more satisfactory than this. We may, perhaps, tated falsehoods. Yet the writers who fabricated perceive the force and value of it more sensibly, if and uttered these falsehoods, if they be such, are of the number of those who, unless the whole we reflect how requiring we should have been if contexture of the Christian story be a dream, sa-proved, that the religion now professed among us, we had wanted it. Supposing it to be sufficiently crificed their ease and safety in the cause, and for owed its original to the preaching and ministry a purpose the most inconsistent that is possible of a number of men, who, about eighteen cenwith dishonest intentions. They were villains turies ago, set forth in the world a new system of for no end but to teach honesty, and martyrs religious opinions, founded upon certain extraorwithout the least prospect of honour or advan-dinary things which they related of a wonderful tage. The Gospels which bear the name of Mark person who had appeared in Judea; suppose it to and Luke, although not the narratives of eye-witnesses, are, if genuine, removed from that only by one degree. They are the narratives of contemporary writers; or writers themselves mixing with the business; one of the two probably living in the place which was the principal scene of ac


this historian be believed, as well as that which Dion
*Why should not the candid and modest preface of
Cassius prefixes to his Life of Commuodus?
things and the following I write not from the report of
see no reason to doubt but that both passages describe
others, but from my own knowledge and observation."
truly enough the situation of the authors.


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