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This is also recorded by Chalcidius the Platonist, a pagan historian, who wrote soon after the coming of Christ :-his Commentary on Timæus says: "There is another more holy and more venerable history, which relates the appearance of a new star, not to foretel diseases and death, but the descent of a venerable God, who was to preserve mankind, and to show favour to the affairs of mortals; which star the wise men of Chaldea observing as they travelled in the night, and being very well skilled in viewing the heavenly bodies, they are said to have sought after the new birth of this God; and having found that majesty in a child, they paid him worship, and made such vows as were agreeable to so great a God."
Abul- Pharagius, an Arab writer, mentioned in the Historia Dynastarum, page 54, tells us, that "Zoroaster, the head of the Persian magians (or clergy), foretold to his magians the coming of Christ; and that at the time of his birth there should appear a wonderful star, which should shine by day as well as by night; and therefore left it in command with them, that when that star should appear they should follow the directions of it, and go to the place where he should be born, and there offer gifts, and pay their adoration to him: and that it was by
this command that the three wise men came out of the east to worship Christ in Bethlehem."
Herod king of Palestine, so often mentioned in the Roman history, made a great slaughter of innocent children, being extremely jealous of his successor. This character of him is given by several historians; and this cruel act is mentioned by Macrobius, a heathen author, who adds: "When Augustus heard that Herod's own son was killed among the infants under two years of age, by his father's order, he said, It is better to be Herod's hog than his son.'"-Macrob. lib. ii. cap. 4.
It is also mentioned in Toledoth Jeshu "And the king (Herod) gave orders for the putting to death every infant in Bethlehem; and the king's messengers killed every infant according to the royal order.”
Julian, who flourished about the middle of the fourth century, produces no counter evidence in refutation of the Gospel history. Though he mentions the names of all the four Evangelists, he never attempts to disprove the authenticity of their writings, or to deny the reality of our Saviour's miracles. "Jesus did nothing," says he, "worthy fame, unless any can imagine, that curing the lame and blind, and exorcising dæmons in the villages of Beth
saida and Bethany, are some of the greatest works." And the greatest works they certainly are; infinitely surpassing all human power and abilities. He acknowledges" that Jesus had a sovereign power over impure spirits; that he walked on the surface of the deep, and expelled dæmons." He represents Peter as a great magician; adding," that many of his miracles are recorded, and that he did many wonderful works." Vide Cyrill. contra Julian. lib. vi. p. 213. Lipsiæ, 1696. Harwood's Introd. to New Test. p. 57.
That the power of working miracles and effecting supernatural cures was enjoyed by Jesus Christ, the Jews never deny; but ridiculously attribute the possession of this secret to the right pronunciation of the ineffable name, which they say he clandestinely stole out of the temple. The story is in Toledoth Jeshu.-Vide Dr. Sharp's First Argument, p. 33, 34.
Or they impute it to the magic art, which he learned in Egypt, and exercised with greater dexterity than any other impostor ever did.Dr. Sharp's First Argument, p 41, note.
Porphyry and Hierocles, both of them heathens, confess that many miraculous cures out of the ordinary course of nature were wrought by him.
Phlegon, in his Annals, attested that Jesus
our Lord was a prophet, and foretold several things, which came to pass according to his predictions. This same Phlegon, who was also a heathen, and a freeman to Adrian the emperor, records; "That at the time when Jesus Christ died, there was the most miraculous darkness that had ever been seen, insomuch that the stars were visible at noon-day; and that afterwards there was a great earthquake." The same is also noticed by Dion, Thallus, Suetonius, and Tertullian.
Pliny the younger, about seventy years after the death of Christ, gives this account of Christianity: "That Christ was worshipped as God among the Christians; that they would rather suffer death than blaspheme him; that they received a sacrament, and by it entered into a vow of abstaining from sin and wickedness."
A like honourable testimony Celsus gives of the Christians; and acknowledges that there were modest, temperate, and intelligent persons among them. The same celebrated deist mentions the principal facts in the Gospel history, relative to the birth, life, doctrines, miracles, death, and resurrection of Christ; declaring he had copied the accounts from the writings of the Evangelists. He quotes these books, and.makes
extracts from them, as being composed by the companions and disciples of Jesus, and under the names they now bear. He acknowledges the miracles which Jesus wrought, by which he engaged great multitudes to adhere to him as the Messiah. That they were really performed he never disputes: he attributes them to our Saviour's profound skill in the magic art, which he learned in Egypt whilst there with his parents. "What testimony," says Eusebius, "would you deem more valid and credible than the attestation of an enemy?"-Vide Grotius de Veritate Christ. Relig. lib. ii. cap. 5.
We learn from Porphyry, who objected to Christianity, that the devils were subject to them," (meaning the apostles;) adding, that since, Jesus had begun to be worshipped, Æsculapius and the rest of the gods did no more couverse with men.-Vide Grotius de Ver. Christ. Rel. lib. ii. cap. 5.
Celsus affirms the same thing in effect.
Quadratus, an Athenian philosopher, famed for his learning and wisdom, who lived within sixty years of our Saviour's crucifixion, after having shown that false miracles were generally wrought in obscurity, and before few or no witnesses, speaking of those which were wrought by our Saviour, has the following passage: