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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 äge. The miracles in particular, which form the part of Christ's history most material to be traced, stand fully and distinctly recognized 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 *."
* Ap. Euseb. H. E. lib. 4. c. 3.
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
* Just. Dial. cum Tryph. p. 288, ed. Thirl.
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 fixed, 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 reliques 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 æra. 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 baptized ; we know that the first Christians were baptized. Our account makes him direct that they should hold religious assemblies : we find that they did hold religious assemblies. Our accounts make 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 above-mentioned observances, Christian societies of many different nations and languages, removed from one another by a great distance of place and dissimilitude of situation. It is also extremely material to remark, that there is no room for insinuating that our books