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still more widely the works of their deliverer. The rising of Lazarus was so widely published in Bethany, where it took place, and in the region round about, that in a few days "much people of the Jews came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead."t When, at the word of Peter and John, the impotent man at the gate of the temple had been made whole, they immediately published the miracle on the spot to the multitude of Jerusalem, appealing to it in evidence of the power of their Lord. "His name, through faith in his name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know; yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all." Only about fifty days was Jesus risen from the dead when his disciples began to proclaim everywhere, and first at Jerusalem, among those who slew him and had set the guard at the sepulchre, this greatest of miracles. They appealed to it in every discourse, challenged every examination, defied all contradiction. All the miracles of Christ they declared before the very people whom they asserted to have witnessed them. "Ye men of Israel, hear these words," said Peter; "Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know." How eminently this bold and immediate publication must have aided as well as stimulated

* Matt. 4: 23-25.

Acts 3: 16.

↑ John 12: 9.

§ Acts 2: 22.

the investigation of the enemies of the gospel, furnishing those who had every disposition, and all power, and all intelligence and cunning, with every opportunity to try the minutest circumstance, and ferret out every clue to the detection of imposture, I need not show.

10. Now, consider who the agents were, whose works were obliged to stand such trials. Had they been men of learning, of power, of wealth, accustomed to any thing that was calculated to furnish them for the work of imposing upon mankind, the case would not be quite so strong. But on the supposition that Christ was a mere man and pretender, what was he, or what were his apostles, by education or standing in society, that they should be qualified for such an unparalleled effort of ingenuity and concealment? Is there any miracle more marvellous than that which is involved in the idea of a poor and, humanly speaking, unlearned individual of Nazareth, followed by twelve obscure, unlettered Jews, for the most part accustomed to nothing but their nets and fishingboats, having practised such a system of imposture, under such circumstances of risk and exposure, without an individual among their numerous enemies being able to discover their secret, or detect the deceit ?

11. Consider, moreover, that notwithstanding all that was done to entice and intimidate the early Christians who were eye-witnesses of what Jesus or his apostles wrought, none were induced to confess themselves deceived, or that they had seen any thing but truth in those miraculous gifts by which

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they had been persuaded to embrace the gospel. It is not asserted that none who professed to be converted from Judaism or paganism to Christianity, ever renounced the profession of Christianity. The persecution of enemies was sometimes successful in forcing their victims to forsake the gospel, and do sacrifice to idols, rather than be burned at the stake or thrown to wild beasts. But the case cannot be brought of one such unhappy deserter, whether man or woman, having been persuaded to bear witness against the Christian miracles. A convert, after having united himself to the apostles, been received to the fellowship of the church, and become an agent in advancing its cause, must have become acquainted with its secrets. He must have often looked behind the scenes, and had many opportunities of knowing the hidden machinery by which the imposition, if any existed, was carried on. Had the evidence of contrivance and forgery been ever seen by the primitive Christians, those who deserted the cause had every motive to divulge it. Their own indignation at having been deceived, the rewards which they might have expected from the enemies of Christianity, would have been sufficiently persuasive. That none ever went a step further than simply to give up profession of the gospel, through fear of torture; that none ever turned round upon the apostles by whose miracles they had been convinced, and charged them with fraud, is absolutely inexplicable on any supposition than their thorough conviction that fraud

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This evidence is especially strong in the case of Judas Iscariot. He was one of the twelve who always companied with Jesus. He was the treasurer of the family-admitted to every opportunity of knowing whatever secrets may have belonged to the works of Christ. That he knew what and where the imposition was, if any existed in the gospel miracles, cannot be doubted. That he was treacherous enough to betray it, is manifest from his having betrayed the Master himself. That he had every inducement to do so, none can question who knows how precious the chief priests and Pharisees would have considered such a disclosure. Did he come forward with any such thing? He delivers up the person of Christ; does he accuse his character? deny his works? expose his cause? The Saviour is arraigned before his powerful enemies-witnesses are called. Where is Judas? False witnesses are brought. Where is Judas? Has he nothing to say against him whom he has already sold for thirty pieces of silver? The enemies of Christ could not be ignorant of the importance of such a witness; nor could he be ignorant of the gain that would accrue from his delivering such testimony. But he was not there. The Jews never pretended to have obtained any accusation from that 'traitor. Not a word is spoken, in all the controversy with primitive adversaries, about the treachery of Judas as having turned to their advantage. On the contrary, it is written in the gospel history, and was never denied by those men, that he not only abstained from any accusation, but in the strongest

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possible manner confessed the truth and excellence of Jesus and his cause. Under the stings of conscience, and in spite of the covetousness of his disposition, he went and delivered up the money he had received for his iniquity into the hands of those who had paid it. Nor was this all. He was constrained to confess to the chief priests and elders, whose wrath he knew it would inflame to the uttermost, saying, "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.”* Stronger evidence of truth and righteousness, it is impossible for any works or any cause to possess.

12. Having considered in another place the character of the individuals by whom the miracles of the gospel were performed, it is important now to remark the character of the miracles themselves. Either they were real miracles, or false. If false, the individuals who performed them could not, by any excess of infatuation, have supposed them true. They must, therefore, have been the deliberate asserters of a divine commission, which they knew had not been given them, and the persevering exhibiters of credentials which they knew were forgeries. Hence, it is not possible that they could have been honest men; much less, good men. And inasmuch as they must have acted from some motive and with some object in view, and we cannot suppose that such impostors would be sacrificing themselves merely out of a benevolent disposition to promote the happiness of their

*Matt. 27: 4, 5.

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