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defended by philosophers and men of sound judgement, capable of reasoning rightly on these important subjects. Among these may be noticed the aforementioned John Locke, the celebrated Boyle, the great sir Isaac Newton, and the mild Addison; men whose knowledge, dispositions and upright manners were a guard against every charge of their endeavouring to promote the delusions of priestcraft. Their lives were correspondent with their principles: they were men of strong abilities and of great liberality of mind; and few, if any, exceeded them in these, or in their modest opinions respecting their own attainments.
Fenelon, archbishop of Cambray, a man universally admired for his piety, virtue, and love to all mankind, observes, "That the establishment of the Christian religion among men, is the greatest of all miracles. In spite of all the power of Rome; in spite of all the passions, interests and prejudices of so many nations, so many philosophers, so many different religions, -twelve poor men, without art, without eloquence, without power (natural), publish and spread their doctrine throughout the world; in spite of a persecution for three centuries, which seemed every moment ready to extinguish it; in spite of continued and innumerable martyr.
doms of persons of all conditions, sexes, and countries, the truth in the end triumphs over error, pursuant to the predictions both of the old and new law. Let any one show some other religion which has the same marks of a divine protection.-A powerful conqueror may establish by his arms the belief of a religion which flatters the sensuality of men; a wise legislator may gain himself attention and respect by the usefulness of his laws; a sect in credit, and supported by the civil power, may abuse the credulity of the people ;-ali this is possible. But what could victorious, learned, and superstitious nations see to induce them so readily to own. Jesus Christ, who promised them nothing in this world but persecutions and sufferings; who proposed to them the practice of a morality to which all darling passions must be sacrificed? Is not the conversion of the world to such a religion without miracles, a greater and more credible one, than even the greatest of those which some refuse to believe?"
But lest the testimonies even of these, who might be suspected of partiality to their own sentiments, should be objected to, the evidence of several authors originally heathens shall be produced, most of them opposers of Christianity.
Justin Martyr, who before he embraced the Christian religion was a Platonic philosopher, and whose passion for truth was boundless; and who had carefully examined all the various opinions and principles of all the sects of philosophy, upon a diligent investigation of the evidences and excellence of the Gospel, received the fullest conviction of its divine authority; and in a flood of transport exclaimed, "This have I found to be the only true and useful philosophy!"
He presented his first Apology to the emperor Antoninus Pius, and had the celebrated conference with Trypho the Jew. He resided and made converts at Rome, where he was engaged with philosophers, and in a particular manner with Crescens the Cynie, who could have easily detected, and who would not have failed to have exposed him, had he quoted a record not in being. He even challenged Crescens to dispute the cause of Christianity before the Roman senate; which he refused. Justin, in his Apology for the Christians, speaking of the death and sufferings of Christ, refers the emperor to the acts of Pontius Pilate.-He suffered martyrdom in 164.
Tacitus tells us that Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea; that Jesus Christ was brought
to judgement before him, and by him condemned and crucified." The evidence that was given of the irreproachable character of Jesus Christ by Pontius Pilate his judge, is of the utmost importance; it is a testimony that is placed beyond the reach of all suspicion for every circumstance proves, not only that it was far from being to the interest of Pilate to acquit his prisoner, but that the accusers would not permit him to remain ignorant of any one symptom of weakness, duplicity, or guilt which they could have produced from the whole course of his public life. And yet, when sitting on the tribunal, he took water, and publicly washed his hands before all the multitude, solemnly declaring, "I am innocent of the blood of this just person, see ye to it.
In confirmation of the Scripture account,of Pilate's favourable opinion, we have the following evidence from Tertullian, which is also attested by Eusebius: "Lest that he should be ignorant of any thing which was done, it came to pass, that Pilate made Tiberius the emperor privy to those things which concerned the resurrection of our Saviour, and were published throughout Palestine; adding thereto his marvellous works; and that after his resurrection he was of many taken for a God. Tiberius,
then, in whose time the Christian name was spread abroad in the world, when this doctrine was signified to him out of Palestine, communicated the same unto the senate, declaring withal, that this doctrine pleased him right well. The senate rejected it, and refused to deify Jesus, because they had not first allowed the same. But Tiberius persevered in his opinion, threatening them with death that would accuse the Christians."-Euseb. lib. ii. cap. 2. Tertul. in Apol. adv. Gentes, lib. xv. cap. 5.
And it evidently appears from Josephus's History of the Jews, that Pilate from that time became their inveterate enemy, showing a disposi tion at all times to harass and distress them. -Vide Joseph. Antiq. lib. xviii. cap. 18. Apion. et Joseph. Bell. Jud. lib. ii. cap. 8.
Before the coming of our Saviour there was a general expectation spread over all the Eastern nations, that out of Judea should arise a person who should be governor of the world; and this is expressly affirmed by Suetonius and Tacitus.
These authors, and Dion, mention that Augustus Caesar had ordered the whole empire to be censed or taxed, which brought our Saviour's reputed parents into Bethlehem ; —that a great light or new star appeared in the east, which directed the wise men to Jesus Christ.