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bly be made, that they would have done it in the most public manner.

Every reflecting person must perceive, that the evidence is completely satisfactory, provided it can be made clear that these books were published at the time to which they refer. To obviate therefore every doubt on that head, without engaging in an argument far too complicated for this occasion, I would inquire, at what subsequent time it could have been possible to obtain credit to writings of this description : If a manuscript, said to have been long concealed in some library, be produced or published, as the work of an eminent author, who flourished two or three centuries ago; it immediately is subjected to a severe scrutiny, and imposture in such cases seldom escapes detection. But writings which contain a circumstantial narrative of “ things not done in a corner,” but in the open view of mankind, during several years ; and connected with an epistolary correspondence resulting from them: could never have obtained the least credit in the world, if published after the times referred to, with an express appeal to mankind, that they had all along been familiarly acquainted with them. Such an insolent attempt to persuade whole nations out of their senses and understandings must have excited universal astonishment and indignation : or, had it been possible to convince a few individuals that they had received these books from their ancestors, and been taught from infancy to revere them as the writings of the apostles, when in fact neither they nor any other persons had ever seen or heard of them; the effrontery of the deceivers, and the credulity of the deceived must have constituted an unprecedented event, and marked the age in which it occurred. As therefore no time can be mentioned, when any attempt of this kind is so much as hinted at, by either Christian, Jewish, or Pagan historians; we might be confident that the writings in question were extant, and well known in the church, from the very period in which they are said to have been published ; even had we no other evidence. But no impartial man of learning can be imposed upon by pretences of this kind ; having access to ab dant proof of another nature that the books of the New Testament were extant in the early ages of Christianity: and this argument is principally adduced for the benefit of those who have neither leisure nor advantages for these investigations.

We should also remember, that on the day of Pentecost, immediately following the resurrection of Christ, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the assembled apostles, with such extraordinary circumstances as drew together vast multitudes who then resided at Jerusalem. In the presence of all these witnesses they spake, fluently and correctly, in the languages of the several countries from which their hearers were collected: though it was certainly known that they had not had the opportunity of learning them : and this stupendous miracle, together with Peter's sermon on the occasion, was made effectual to the conversion of three thousand persons. The gifts of tongues, and of working miracles in the name of Jesus, were ever after continued to them, and were frequently exercised in the most public and undeniable manner, before numerous witnesses, enemies as well as friends

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The same powers were likewise communicated to many others, by the laying on of the apostles' hands. The time, place, occasion, and circumstances of these extraordinary transactions are frequently specified in their writings. Thus the inhabitants of many cities and countries were appealed to ; and the enemies of Christianity were challenged to disprove their pretensions. But none ever attempted to do it : for the Jews themselves do not deny that many extraordinary works were performed by Jesus and his disciples ; and the way, in which they try to account for them, demonstrates that from the first their ancestors had nothing plausible to object. In this manner the witnesses and proofs of our Lord's resurrection were multiplied, in almost every part of the vast Roman empire : yea,“ God also bare them witness, “ both with signs and wonders, and with divers “ miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost.” And can any reasonable man suppose that a general belief could ever have prevailed, through whole nations, of such public and extraordinary events, without any person attempting to deny them; if they had not actually happened, and been so notorious as to be uncontrovertible ?

The chosen witnesses of our Lord's resurrection were likewise the principal writers of the New Testament, and the whole was doubtless written under their inspection. Now in these books prophecies are inserted, which have been accomplishing ever since to the present day. A sceptic indeed might doubt, whether the predictions concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple were not written after the event : but who can account for

other parts of the same prophecy, without allowing that the writer was divinely inspired? “The peo

ple shall be led away captive into all nations, “ and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the

gen“ tiles, until the times of the gentiles be ful“ filled.”! Has not this been actually the case with the Jews and with Jerusalem during almost eighteen hundred years ? Could human sagacity have foreseen such an unparalleled series of events? Or would God have thus confirmed the testimony of impostors? And does not this prophecy, thus wonderfully accomplished, demonstrate the resurrection of Christ, and the truth of Christianity? The coming of “the man of sin," with “ lying miracles," doctrines of demons," “ worshipping of “ angels,” “ prohibitions of marriage,” and “ com“ mands to abstain from meat ;" the impositions, usurpations, and persecutions of the Roman Antichrist; with various other particulars, were most exactly and circumstantially predicted by the several witnesses of our Lord's resurrection : and the undeniable accomplishment of these prophecies are so many divine attestations to their testimony, for the satisfaction of all succeeding generations.

The Jewish ritual, or the pagan theology, was intimately connected with the foundations of the several governments then existing in the world : and all the learning, ingenuity, and authority on earth were engaged in their support. Yet a few unarmed, obscure, unlettered men, by preaching a crucified and risen Saviour, in the midst of persecution and sufferings, established Christianity on an

Luke xxi. 24.

immovable basis ; and their successors following their example, so wonderfully prevailed, that at length Judaism and Paganism, fell before them; the religion of Jesus was professed by powerful nations; and, however corrupted or despised, it subsists to this day! Whatever men may insinuate concerning the ministers of religion, it is an undeniable fact, that plain preaching, fervent prayers, holy lives, and patient sufferings were the only weapons that the primitive preachers of the gospel opposed to all the authority and learning of the world, which were resolutely employed against them : and yet they decidedly triumphed in a contest apparently so unequal! A wise man will always allow, that every effect is produced by some adequate cause : but what adequate cause of this astonishing effect can be assigned: unless we allow that Christianity was of God, and man could not overthrow it, or prevent its success and triumph? I will only add, that every instance which at this day occurs of notoriously wicked persons converted by the preaching of the gospel from their evil ways, and afterwards walking in newness of life, constitutes a proof that Christ is risen : that he has “ all power in heaven and earth,” and is efficaciously present with his faithful servants, “always even to the end of the world.”

We may now I trust confidently say, that no other past event was ever proved by such an accumulated body of evidence. Who doubts whether Alexander conquered Darius ? or Julius Cæsar, Pompey? Yet who can produce the tenth part of the proof in respect of these facts, which

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