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are present by the Saviour "le was the
VI. How many books have perished in which possibly there might have been mention of our Saviour? Look among the Romans, how few of their writings are come down to our times? In the space of two hundred years from our Saviour's birth, when there was such a multitude of writers in all kinds, how small is the number of Authors that have made their way to the present age?
VII. One authentick Record, and that the most authentick heathen Record, we : are pretty sure is loft. I mean the account sent by the Governor of Judæa,under whom our Saviour was judged, condemned, and crucified. It was the custom in the Roman Empire, as it is to this day in all the governments of the world, for the præfects and vice-roys of distant provinces to transmit to their Soyereign a summary relation of every thing remarkable in their administration. That Pontius Pilate, in his account, would have touched on so extraordinary an event in Judæa, is not to be doubted; and that he actually did, we learn from Jufin Martyr, who lived about a hundred :: years after our Saviour's death, resided,, made Converts, and suffered martyrdom:
count"rety sure is not cathen Rec
Jogitt", out of iting, or dhe ou
at Rome, where he was engaged with Philosophers, and in a particular manner with Crescens the Cynick, who could easily have detected, and would not fail to have exposed him, had he quoted a Record not in being, or made any false ci. tation out of it. Would the great Apologist have challenged Crescens to dispute the cause of Christianity with him before the Roman Senate, had he forged such an evidence? or would Crescens have refused the challenge, could he have triumphed over him in the detection of such a forgery? To which we must add, that the Apology, which appeals to this Record, was presented to a learned Empetor, and to the whole body of the Roman Senate. This Father in his apology, fpeaking of the death and suffering of our Saviour, refers the Emperor for the truth of what he says to the acts of Pontius Pilate, which I have here mentioned. Tertullian, who wrote his Apology about fifty years after Justin, doubtless referred to the same Record, when he tells the Governor of Rome, that the Emperor Tiberius having received an account, out of Palestine in Syria of the Divine perfon, who had appeared in that country, paid him a particular regard, and threatned to punish any who fhould accuse the Christians; nay, that the Emperor would have adopted him among the Deities whom they worshipped, had not the Senate refused to come into his proposal. Tertullian, » who gives us this history, was not only one of the most learned men of his age, but what adds a greater weight to his authority in this case, was eminently skilful and well read in the laws of the Roman Empire. Nor can it be faid, that Tertullian grounded his quotation upon the authority of Justin Martyr, because we find he mixes it with matters of fact which are not related by that Author. Eufebius mentions the fame ancient Record, but as it was not extant in his time, I shall not insist upon his authority in this point. If it be objected that this particular is not mentioned in any Roman Historian, I shall use the same argument in a parallel case, and see whether it will carry any force with it. Ulpian the great Roman Lawyer gathered together all the Imperial Edicts that had been made against the Chriftians. But did any one ever say that there had been no such Edicts, because they were not mentioned
in the histories of those Emperors ? Be. sides, who knows but this circumstance of Tiberius was mention’d in other historians that have been lost, though not to be found in any still extant? Has not Suetonius many particulars of this Emperor omitted by Tacitus, and Herodian many that are not so much as hinted at by either? As for the fpurious iets of Pilate, now extant, we know the occasion and time of their writing, and had there not been a true and authentick Record of this nature, they would never have been forged:
VIII. The story of Agbarus King of Edesa, relating to the letter which he sent to our Saviour, and to that which he received from him, is a Record of great authority; and though I will not insist upon it, may venture to say, that had we such an evidence for any fact in Pagan history, an Author would be thought very unreasonable who should reject it. I believe you will be of my opinion, if you will peruse, with other Authors, who have appeared in vindication of these letters as genuine, the additional arguments which have been made use of by the late famous and learned Dr. Grabe, in the second volume of his Spicilegium.
Thought yet believe peruse,
I. What fačts in the history of our Saviour · might be taken notice of by Pagan Au
thors. II. What particular facts are taken notice
of, and by what Pagan Authors. III. How Celsus represented our Saviour's
miracles. IV. The same representation made of them
by other unbelievers, and proved unrea
fonable. : V. What facts in our Saviour's history not
to be expected from Pagan writers.
I. W E now come to consider what
W undoubted authorities are extant among Pagan writers ; and here we must premise, that some parts of our Saviour's history may be reasonably expected from Pagans. I mean such parts as might be known to those who lived at a., distance from Judæa, as well as to those who were the followers and eye-witnesses of Christ.