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himself would crofs them and blast their wicked endea- SERM. vours to propagate the belief of such a lie, which moft XXIX. profanely they dared to father on him, and to vent in his name. They could not hope the father of lies himself, or any powers of darkness, would be favourable or helpful to them ; whose interest they so manifestly impugned; that the success of their doctrine, whether true or false, could not but much prejudice their kingdom; as in effect we see that it did in a manner quite subvert it: they were fure ainong men to encounter the most potent and most earnest adversaries that could be; all the grandees of the world, both political and religious, deeply concerned in honour and interest to labour with all their power the detection of their cheat, and overthrow of their design: whence it must be a boldness more than human, more than gigantic, that could bear up against all these adversaries, if their testimony was in their conscience false; against all these oppositions and disadvantages, what could those poor men have to confide in, beside the natural prevalence of truth, and divine assistance thereto; being in their hearts assured of the former, and therefore greatly hoping for the latter ?

9. And how indeed could such a cheat, contrived and condu&ted by so, to human esteem, weak and filly a knot of people, so easily prosper, and obtain so wonderful a progress, so as presently to induce very many persons, pupiádes WETIO TEUXÓTwv, (myriads of believers, as it is Acts xxi. 20.) many of them considerable, (even wonùy öxnoy Acts vi. 7. ispéwy, a great crowd or company of priests, as it is said in

Acts,) to embrace it, together with all the crosses and damages attending it ? so as to escape all inquisition about 2 Theff. iii. it, and overbear all persecution against it, being neither

Acts xix.20. convincible by proof, nor controllable by force; but in de- vi.7.xii. 20.

κατά κράτος {pite of all assaults holding its ground, and running for- Hušave, grew ward with huge success; according to that in the Acts,

force. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

10. The matter of their testimony (if we consider that as we should do) and its drift were very implausible, such as no impostors would be likely to forge, and no hearers,

1.

SERM. without great evidence of truth, would be ready to adXXIX. mit.

d It was no fine story apt to please the lufts, to flatter the humours, or to gratify the fancies of men ; but rather very distasteful to flesh and blood, (whose inclinations it mainly thwarted,) likely to offend the ears of all men who should hear it; apt to raise fierce anger and indignation in Jews, great contempt and scorn in Gentiles toward it. The Jews, to whom it was first addressed, it did plainly charge with heinous iniquity and impiety in cruelly murdering a Person most innocent, most excellent in virtue and dignity, most dear to God; it withal defeated their longings for a gaudy Messias, who should restore and rear them into a lofty state of temporal profperity, substituting in the room a spiritual King, with overtures of felicity invisible and future, little fuiting their gross conceit and carnal gust of things; it also imported the abrogation of those ritual laws, and revolution of

those special privileges, wherein they did so please and Vid. Aa. pride themselves; it opened the enclosures of God's faxxii. 21, 22.

vour and grace, making them common to all people; it crossed their secular interests of emolument and honour annexed to the present outward frame of religion, which it diffolved; it menaced severe vengeance and horrible desolation to their nation and city : and was such a report likely to be entertained by them otherwise than with displeasure and detestation? Neither unto the Gentiles was it likely to be acceptable; for it did also subvert all the religion established among them by law and custom, destroying consequently all the interests of those who were concerned in upholding thereof; such as those who

made that famous uproar, crying out, Great is Diana of Acts xix. the Ephefans: it seemed to thwart the common maxims

of policy, and dictates of worldly prudence ; it could not but appear, to men prepofTeffed with admiration of fecular

28, 34,

4 Τί δε περί αυτού λέγοντες έδόκουν αν είναι πιθανοί; &c. Chryf. in 1 Cor. Οr. ν.

Si rem credibilem crediderunt, videant quam fint ftolidi qui non cředunt: fi autem res incredibilis credita eft, etiam hoc utique incredibile eft, fic creditum effe quod incredibile est, &c. Aug. de Civitate Dei, xxii. 5. Vid. Chrys. tom. vi. Or. 61.

wealth, power, and glory, a story most ridiculously extra- SERM. vagant, that so pitiful and wretched a person, as Jesus XXIX. seemed in the eye of the world to have been, should in this miraculous way be declared the Son of God and Lord of all things, author of life and salvation to all men, fovereign object of all worship and obedience : such a story therefore it was not likely that any men in their senses should conspire to forge, should offer to obtrude on the world, so uncapable of it, so averse from embracing it; and being such, it were strange that by a general repulse it should not presently be stifled and quellede.

11. One would indeed think that this report, had it been false, might easily have been disproved and quashed : they who were mightily concerned, and as eagerly dif- nes v. 28. posed to confute it, wanted no means of doing it: they were not surprised in the matter; but were forewarned of it, and did forebode it coming; they were not drowsy or neglectful, but very apprehensive, careful and cautious in preventing it, that it should not be produced, or, being so, that it might be defeated; for to this purpose they Matt. xxvii. caused the fepulchre of our Lord to be sealed up, and 64. guarded by soldiers; that being masters of his body, they might by exhibiting it difprove any report that should be made about his resurrection: they had full opportunity of examining the matter to the bottom; it being fresh, and presently divulged after its being reported done; they having also all the power and authority on their side, in furtherance of the discussion of the business: we may accordingly suppose them very zealous, diligent, and active in thoroughly fifting it, and striving to detect the falsehood therein: they did so certainly; and thereto they Aes iv. 17, added strict prohibitions, fierce menaces, and bloody per- 18. V. 28.

Ει γάρ και των πραγμάτων εκβεβηκότων- όμως είσί τινες μετά τοσαύτα τεκμήρια, και της οικουμένης, ως ειπείν, απάσης την μαρτυρίαν, οι διαπιστoύσι τοις γεγενημένοις, και πολλοί ούτως άβασανίστως και ανεξετάστως, τις αν παρά την αρχήν μήτε πράγματα θεασάμενος, μήτε μαρτυρίας αξιοπίστους τούτων έχων ταύτην την πίστιν dižamo luxñ; Chryf. tom. v. Or. 64.

Τίς ούτως εμεμώνει των ταύτα ακουόντων ως ψιλούς ρήμασι πιστεύσαι πιρί πραγμάτων τοιούτων και Ιbid.

SERM. secutions toward the suppression thereof; yet could they XXIX. not by all their industry confute it, nor by all their fury

quell it: Why? because it was not confutable; because truth, prosecuted with vigorous integrity and constancy, or rather supported by divine protection and blessing, is invincible. Put case there were now the like fact by so many people reported done within these two months, wherein the Church and State were in like manner exceedingly concerned, and should therefore employ all their power and care to discover the truth, one would think it impossible, that, were it an impofture, it should escape detection, and being soon, with the general fatisfaction of men, quite blown away and exploded : this is the fate of all falsehood, standing merely upon its own legs, and not propped by worldly power; but truth, as in the present case, is able to subsist by its own strength, especially heaven being concerned to aid it f.

12. As also this testimony had no power to sustain it, so it used no sleight to convey itself into the persuasions of

men; it did not creep in dark corners, it did not grow by 1 Theff. v. clandestine whispers; it craved no blind faith of men: buț

with a barefaced confidence it openly proclaimed itself, appealing to the common sense of men, and provoking the world to examine it; daring all adversaries here to confront it, defying all the powers beneath to withstand it; claiming only the patronage of heaven to maintain it.

13. Farthermore, the thing itself, had it been counterfeit, was in all probability apt to fall of itself; the witnesses

clashing together, or relenting for their crime. That adA&S v. 38. vice of Gamaliel had much reason in it; Refrain, said he,

from those men, and let them alone ; for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought ; xataTUTÝDetal, it will of itself be dissolved or destroyed: for how indeed could it be, that among so many confederates in a juggle, not one, either checked by conscience, or daunted by hazards, or wearied and worn out by sufferings, should

21.

fΟυδεμιάς γαρ δείται βοηθείας ή της αληθείας ισχύς, αλλά κάν μυρίους έχη τους εννώντας αυτήν, ου μόνον εκ αφανίζεται, αλλά και δι' αυτών των επηρεάζειν επιχειpoúrowy pasdgoripe xai vy naoriga ärion, &c. Chryf. tom. v. Or. 64.

Ainch and fall off, so as to detect the plot, disavow his SERM. fault, and retire from persecution, but that each one XXIX. should persist steadfast in so high a strain of vile dissimulation? If one had fallen off, he had certainly spoiled all the plot, opened all men's eyes, and prevented the faith of any one person to the story: and what cement could firmly combine such a pack of men to God, and to all the world, that they should continue invincibly stiff in their faith to one another, and constantly true to so vain a design, good to no man, worst to themselves ? that, I say, twelve such persons, every one for a long time, during their whole life, should persevere immoveable in so extravagant a resolution of lying, so as by no regrets or dissatisfactions from within, no threats, no perils, no troubles or pains from without, to be ever driven out of it, but should die with it in their mouths, yea, rejoice and glory in dying for it; should dying carry it into the presence of God, and dare with it to appear at his judgment, is exceedingly strange and incredible: it mult therefore surely be truth alone that could set them on this design, and could uphold them steady in it; fo unanimous a consent, so clear a confidence, so firm a resolution, so insuperable a constancy and patience, nothing but a sense of truth could inspire men with, nothing but a perfectly good confcience could sustain. Poffible it is, that in matters of speculation and subtilty men upon Nender grounds may be peremptorily opinionative, and desperately pertinacious; (this experience sheweth:) but in a matter of this nature, (a matter of plain fact and gross sense,) none can well be imagined (none especially fo qualified, in such circumstances, to such purposes can be imagined) to be so wretchedly stupid, or desperately obstinate.

14. He then who doubts of the fincerity of these wit- Aug. de nesses, or rejects their testimony as incredible, must instead Civ.D.xxii. of it admit of divers stranger incredibilities; refufing his faith to one fact, devious from the natural course of things, but very feasible to God; he must thence allow it to many others, repugnant to the nature of man, and to the course of human things; performed without God, yea

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