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can no otherwise be accounted for. It would also bare been impossible to have forged such stories of publtck miracles, so circumstantially related, and to have given them currency among contemporaries. Whole nations, especially of enemies, cannot thus be deprived of their senses, or inhibited the use of them. It would have been equally impossible to have persuaded the next generation, that their fathers had told them of these wonders from their infancy, and that they had seen and heard them; if they had never been told such stories by their fathers. And at what time could the belief have been received either by Jews or christians, that these miracles had always been credited among them, had there been no truth in them? The attempt to convince whole nations, or large bodies of people, that from time immemorial such things had been generally known and assuredly believed; and that they liad observed certain festivals and institutions in commemoration of them, and were subject to laws and ordinances given at the same time; if the whole bad been a forgery, must have been deemed an insult on the common sense of mankind.
The fables, which have obtained credit in different nations, had always some foundation in truth, however distorted. They never specify the precise time, place, and manner, in which things happened: and they do not appeal to numerous living witnesses, and challenge investigation. The poets of Greece and Rome did not pretend, that they were eye-witnesses of the stories, with which they embellished their works. Homer and Hesiod vamped up fabulous traditions current among the Greeks: but they did not
declare, that the whole nation, yea, and rival nations also, saw those things; and that they wrote their account at the time and upon the spot. This could never have obtained credit, even in those days,.—But can any man conceive that it would now be possible to invent a history of the remote times of this nation; and to persuade mankind, that it had always been as commonly known among us, as the books of Moses are among the Jews, or the New Testament among christians? And would it not be equally impossible to introduce such an history with this kind of appeal, at any future time, had it never, before been published? In order to illustrate the subject, let us consider the single miracle of our Lord's resurrection.—His ignominious death and subsequent glory are evidently predicted in the Old Testament; and his enemies knew, that he had foretold his own resurrection on the third day, and took their measures accordingly. On the third day the body was gone, and they could give no rational account of its removal. Twelve men, of goad character and sober understanding, such as any court of justice would allow to be unexceptionable witnesses, constantly affirmed that they saw Jesus after his resurrection, and examined his hands, feet, and side; that they had long known him, and were sure it was he; that they had repeated opportunities of conversing with him, and renewed assurances that they beheld the identical body again alive, which had l)een nailed to the cross; and at length that they saw him ascend towards heaven. In this testimony they persisted till death, without one cf them deviating from it. In support of their testimony, they renounced every interest, and faced all kinds of dangers and suf. ferings imaginable; till most of them sealed it with their blood. In all other respects they were most vir. tuous and holy characters: and their doctrine is so strict, that according to it a forgery of this kind, however well intended, will, unless repented of, ensure a man's eternal damnation. A great number of other witnesses confirmed their testimony; and the silence of their enemies, whose credit, authority, and even safety, were deeply concerned, teads to establish it. In authentick history we are told, that they wrought divers miracles, and communicated similar powers to others, in support of their evidence; and that thus God himself attested it. In the epistles written by them to the churches, they speak of these miraculous powers, as things well known, without fear of being disproved. Their success, in opposition to all the power, learning, genius, and religion in the world, merely by preach. ing a crucified and risen Saviour, confirms these claims and the event they testified: and the existence and effects of christianity for nearly eighteen hundred years, combine with all the foregoing proofs, to au. thenticate the miracle of Christ's resurrection. If that event had not actually taken place, how could such multitudes, prejudiced in various ways against the gospel, have been induced to embrace it? How came they, who continued enemies, to submit silently to the charge of having murdered the Prince of life? Or how was christianity established in the world? No fact was ever so fully confirmed as this, by multiplied and varied testimony; and by permament, extensive, and most important consequences.
Even the Jews have not denied the miracles of Christ and his apostles, however perplexed to account for them: yet each miracle was equal at least to an unexceptionable witness of the resurrection, and consequently to the truth of christianity. This may also answer Mr. P.'s objection to the testimony of the Jews. 1 suppose no man ever thought of bringing them forward as direct voluntary witnesses to the truth of the gospel: but they indisputably confirm the antiquity of the Old Testament, and the reverence with which it hath been regarded by their nation for at least five hundred years before Christ; they establish all the facts that relate to him, except his resur. rection; and their present condition, fulfils the predictions both of the Old and New Testament. But to say, that the Jews are the best evidence 'concerning * the truth of the gospel;'* is to affirm in other words, that none but enemies should be admitted as witnesses; and that when any of them are convinced and become christians, their testimony is thenceforth inadmissable.
MR- P. would persuade us that prophets were merely poets, or musicians, who made no pretensions to inspiration or prediction; and that christian theologists have advanced them to their present rank!* This he endeavours to prove, by observing that there '.is not 'a word in the Bible which signifies a poet.' Certainly there is in the New Testament; f but if there were not, what would this be to the purpose? There is no word in the Bible for a metaphysician; ergo a prophet signifies a metaphysician!—But he says that the prophets wrote in verse! This they did frequently: yet they sometimes wrote in prose.—Occasionally they played also on musical instruments. What then? Did none except prophets write poetry, and use music- and psalmody? Did they all do these things? The New Testament prophets are not recorded to have used either musick or poetry. AbraIiam, Isaac, and Jacob are expressly and repeatedly called prophets;% though Mr. P. denies it: and says, • it does not appear that they could either sing, play