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them. Would not they have confuted the things herein related, when it might have been so easily done, had they not been true? Was not this the sure method to suppress the growth of Christianity, and wholly overthrow it ?

But supposing, which is indeed almost an impossible supposition, that no enemy of Christianity had seen the Acts of the Apostles till Trypho and Celsus: might not they have shewn the falsity of the facts related therein, had they not been true? They both lived in the time of the emperor Hadrian; but we will suppose they began not an inquiry into the truth of these things till the beginning of the reign of the emperor Antoninus Pius, or about the year of Christ 137. Might they not at that distance of time have easily satisfied themselves of the truth or falsity hereof? Trypho was both at Corinth and at Ephesus. It was but fourscore years before, that St. Paul is reported to have done his miraculous cures in the city of Ephesus. And should we allow that there were none then living who were St. Paul's converts, or had been cured by him, yet what numbers of their immediate descendants, how many that had seen and conversed with them must there have been living at that time! How strong must have been the tradition of the wonders performed !

In fine, had either Trypho or Celsus, or any other of the enemies of Christianity in their time, made it appear to the world, that, upon a strict scrutiny into the facts related, there was found little or no tradition of them remaining in the places where they are said to have happened, they had done much more to the overthrow of the Christian religion than by all the other arguments they made use of, or methods they employed. But forasmuch as they did not make this appear, is it not a clear case that they could not, and a convincing proof of the truth of these facts ?

CHAP. XVII. The evidence of the truth of Christianity arising from the principal matters related in the History of the Acts.

I PROCEED now to the fourth general head, and shall lay before you the incontestible evidence these facts afford of the truth of Christianity. The facts are, that Jesus Christ, after a long course of miracles wrought for the benefit of mankind, was put to death at the instigation of the Jewish rulers a ; that he arose from the dead, was seen of, and conversed with his disciples forty days b, and then ascended into heaven in their sighto; that before he ascended he ordered them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father, which was, that the Holy Ghost should come upon them, and endue them with power to be his witnesses, not only in Jerusalem, Judæa, and Samaria, but to the uttermost parts of the earth; and that this promise should be fulfilled within a few days"; that his disciples being accordingly met together in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, that is, about ten days after his ascension, the Spirit of God descended on them in a most astonishing manner, enabling them to declare the wonderful works of God in a great variety of languages, which they had never learnt. This was not only foretold by our Saviour, but had been long before prophesied of, and promised by Joel'.

a Acts ii. 22, 23. v. 30. and x, 38, 39.

Acts x. 40, 41. ii. 24. 32. and i. 3. d Acts i. 4, 5, 8.

e Acts ij. 1-12.

c Acts i. 2.

f Acts ii. 16, &c.

9, &c.

And in consequence of these miraculous gifts, the disciples courageously proceeded in executing the commission given them by their Master, bearing witness of his resurrection, not only before the common people of the Jews 8, but before the Jewish magistrates themselves", openly declaring that they had crucified their Messiah. They confirmed the testimony they gave to the resurrection of Jesus, both among Jews and heathens, by the performance of the greatest wonders', such as restoring decayed limbs k, healing the sick, curing the paralytic', and raising the dead m. And they conferred the like wonderful powers on others by laying on them their hands n.

For my part, I cannot persuade myself that there ever was that man in the world who believed these facts, and was not at the same time convinced in his own mind of the truth of the Christian religion. Whatever men may pretend or say for argument's sake, if once they assent to these facts as true, I make not the least doubt but the conclusion thence arising in their own breasts is, that the Christian revelation is divine. I am not now speaking of a partial belief of the facts related, such as many, both Jews and heathen, might entertain, who imputed them to art magic; but I am speaking of those who have read, considered, and give credit to the whole narration.

I think it scarce possible but that the faith of every man who believes the facts here related must at least carry him thus far, that the blessed Jesus, who did such great things for the benefit of mankind when on earth, and after his ascension to heaven empowered his disciples to do the like, is abundantly able to do for his followers all that he has promised, that is, raise them from the dead, receive them to himself, and make them happy. If we believe that he gave health to the diseased, strength to the weak, motion to the paralytic, reason to the lunatic, and life to the dead, when conversant here on earth; if we believe that he arose himself from the dead, and for a long course of years after his ascension performed the same beneficial works for mankind by his followers, not only curing the sick and lame, but also raising the dead; what should hinder us from believing that he is still able to perform the same, and that according to his promise he certainly will raise all the dead, and bestow rewards and punishments suitable to the behaviour of each one in the present life?

1

& Acts ii. and iii. 15.

h Acts iv. 10. and v. 30, 31. · Acts iv. 33. V. 12, &c. viii. 7. xiv. 3. and xix. 11, 12.

| Acts ix. 34. k Acts iii. 7. and xiv. 10. m Acts ix. 40. and xx. 9. 12. n Acts viii. 15. 17, and xix. 6.

When he was here upon earth, and had performed some great and eminent cures, it begat in the people a firm persuasion that he was able to do more of the same kind. This occasioned so great flocking after him, and their bringing from all parts diseased, maimed, and paralytic subjects to him. They made no doubt but what he had done he was still able to do, and we never find that he once disappointed them. Ought not the same reasoning to prevail with us? is it not easy? is it not natural ? If we believe that he raised the dead, when living upon earth, that he arose himself from the dead, and that he continued to raise the dead long after his ascension to heaven by the powers he communicated to

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