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There is fatisfactory evidence, that many, profeffing to be original witnesses of the Chrif tian miracles, paffed their lives in labours, dangers, and fufferings, voluntarily undergone in atteftation of the accounts which they delivered, and folely in confequence of their belief of thofe accounts; and that they alfo fubmitted from the fame motive to new rules of conduct.

OF the primitive condition of Christianity,

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a diftant only and general view can be acquired from heathen writers. It is in our own books that the detail and interior of the tranfaction must be fought for. And this is nothing different from what might be expected. Who would write a history of Christianity but a Christian? Who was likely to record the travels, sufferings, labours, or fucceffes of the Apoftles, but one of their own number, or of their followers? Now

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Now these books come up in their accounts to the full extent of the propofition which we maintain. We have four histories of Jesus Christ. We have a history taking up the narrative from his death, and carrying on an account of the propagation of the religion, and of fome of the most eminent persons engaged in it, for a space of nearly thirty years. We have, what some may think still more original, a collection of letters, written by certain principal agents in the business, upon the business, and in the midst of their concern and connection with it. And we have these writings severally attesting the point which we contend for, viz. the sufferings of the witnesses of the hiftory, and attesting it in every variety of form in which it can be conceived to appear; directly and indirectly, expressly and incidentally, by assertion, recital, and allufion, by narratives of facts, and by arguments and difcourfes built upon thefe facts, either referring to them, or neceffarily prefuppofing them,

I remark this variety, because in examin

ing ancient records, or indeed any species of testimony, it is, in my opinion, of the greatest importance to attend to the information or grounds of argument which are cafually and undefignedly disclosed; forafmuch as this fpecies of proof is, of all others, the leaft liable to be corrupted by fraud or misrepresentation.

I may be allowed therefore, in the enquiry which is now before us, to fuggeft fome conclufions of this fort, as preparatory to more direct teftimony.

1. Our books relate, that Jesus Christ, the founder of the religion, was, in confequence of his undertaking, put to death, as a malefactor, at Jerufalem. This point at least will be granted, because it is no more than what Tacitus has recorded. They then proceed to tell us, that the religion was, notwithstanding, fet forth at this fame city of Jerufalem, propagated from thence throughout Judea, and afterwards preached in other parts of the Roman empire. These points also


are fully confirmed by Tacitus, who informs us that the religion, after a fhort check, broke out again in the country where it took its rife; that it not only fpread throughout Judea, but had reached Rome; and that it had there great multitudes of converts: and all this within thirty years after its commencement. Now these facts afford a strong inference in behalf of the propofition which we maintain. What could the disciples of Christ expect for themselves when they faw their mafter put to death? Could they hope to escape the dangers, in which he had perished? If they have perfecuted me, they will also perfecute you, was the warning of common sense. With this example before their eyes, they could not be without a full fense of the peril of their future enterprise.

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2. Secondly, all the hiftories agree prefenting Chrift as foretelling the persecution of his followers.

"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and fhall kill you, and ye fhall


be hated of all nations for my name's fake*"

"When affliction or perfecution ariseth for the word's fake, immediately they are offended +."

"They fhall lay hands on you, and perfecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prifons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's fake and ye fhall be betrayed both by parents and brethren, and kinsfolks and friends, and some of you shall they cause to be put to death t."

"The time cometh, that he that killeth you will think that he doeth God fervice, And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the father nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come ye may remember that I told you of them §."

* Mat. xxiv. 9. + Mark iv. 17. See also x. 30.

Luke xxi. 12-16. See alfo xi. 49.

John xvi. 4. See alfo xv. 20, and xvi. 33.

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