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confequence of detection and failure, was, nevertheless, the moft credible account that could be given of the matter. But it proceeds entirely upon the fuppofition of fraud, as all the old objections did. What account can be given of the body, upon the supposition of enthusiasm? It is impoffible our Lord's followers could believe that he was rifen from the dead, if his corpfe was lying before them. No enthusiasm ever reached to such a pitch of extravagancy as that: a spirit may be an illufion, a body is a real thing; an object of fenfe, in which there can be no mistake. All accounts of spectres leave the body in the grave. And, although the body of Chrift might be removed by fraud, and for the purposes of fraud, yet, without any fuch intention, and by fincere but deluded men, which is the reprefentation of the apoftolic character we are now examining, no fuch attempt could be made. The prefence and the abfence of the dead body are alike inconfiftent with the hypothesis of enthusiasm: for, if present, it must have cured their enthufiafm at once; if ab fent,

fent, fraud, not enthufiafm, must have carried it away.

But further, if we admit upon the concurrent teftimony of all the hiftories, fo much of the account as ftates that the religion of Jefus was fet up at Jerufalem, and fet up with afferting, in the very place in which he had been buried, and a few days after he had been buried, his refurrection out of the grave, it is evident that, if his body could have been found, the Jews would have produced it, as the fhortest and completeft anfwer poffible to the whole ftory. The attempt of the apoftles could not have furvived this refutation a moment.

If we also admit, upon the authority of St. Matthew, that the Jews were advertised of the expectation of Chrift's followers, and that they had taken due precaution in confequence of this notice, and that the body was in marked and public cuftody, the observation receives more force ftill. For, notwithftanding their precaution, and although thus prepared and forewarned; when the story


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of the refurrection of Chrift came forth, as it immediately did; when it was publicly afferted by his difciples, and made the ground and basis of their preaching in his name, and collecting followers to his religion, the Jews had not the body to produce but were obliged to meet the testimony of the apoftles by an answer, not containing indeed any impoffibility in itself, but abfolutely inconfiftent with the fuppofition of their integrity; that is, in other words, inconfiftent with the fuppofition which would refolve their conduct into enthufiafm.



The Propagation of Christianity.


this argument, the first confideration is the fact; in what degree, within what time, and to what extent, Chriftianity actually was propagated.


The accounts of the matter, which can be collected from our books, are as follow: A few days after Chrift's disappearance out of the world, we find an affembly of dif ciples at Jerufalem, to the number of "about one hundred and twenty*;" which hundred and twenty were, probably, a little affociation of believers, met together, not merely as believers in Chrift, but as perfonally connected with the apoftles, and with one another. Whatever was the number of be

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lievers then in Jerufalem, we have no reason to be surprised that so small a company should assemble; for there is no proof that the followers of Christ were yet formed into a fociety, that the fociety was reduced into any order, that it was at this time even understood, that a new religion (in the sense which that term conveys to us) was to be fet up in the world, or how the profeffors of that religion were to be diftinguished from the reft of mankind. The death of Christ had left, we may fuppofe, the generality of his difciples in great doubt, both as to what they were to do, and concerning what was to follow.

This meeting was held, as we have already faid, a few days after Chrift's afcenfion; for, ten days after that event was the day of pentecoft, when, as our history relates, upon a fignal difplay of divine agency attending the perfons of the apostles, there were added to the fociety "about

Acts ii. 1.


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