« السابقةمتابعة »
of which he was preserved by being sent away to lening the apostles, and commanding them to be Cilicia, his native country.
beaten with stripes, without urging at that time For some reason, not mentioned, perhaps not the persecution further, the historian candidly and known, but probably connected with the civil his distinctly records their forbearance. When, theretory of the Jews, or with some danger* which fore, in other instances, he states heavier persecuengrossed the public attention, an intermission tions, or actual martyrdoms, it is reasonable to beabout this time took place in the sufferings of the lieve that he states them because they were true, Christians. This happened, at the most, only and not from any wish to aggravate, in his acseven or eight, perhaps only three or four, years count, the sufferings which Christians sustained, after Christ's death. -Within which period, and or to extol, more than it deserved, their patience notwithstanding that the late persecution occupied under them. part of it, churches, or societies of believers, had Our history now pursues a narrower path. been formed in all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria; Leaving the rest of the apostles, and the original for we read that the churches in these countries associates of Christ, engaged in the propagation “had now rest, and were edified, and walking in j of the new faith (and who there is not the least the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the reason to believe abated in their diligence or Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”+ The original courage,) the narrative proceeds with the separate preachers of the religion did not remit their la- memoirs of that eminent teacher, whose extraor. bours or activity during this season of quietness ; | dinary and sudden conversion to the religion, and for we find one, and he a very principal person corresponding change of conduct, had before been among them, passing throughout all quarters. We circumstantially described. This person, in confind also those who had been before expelled from junction with another, who appeared among the Jerusalem by the persecution which raged there, earlier members of the society at Jerusalem, and travelling as far as Phænice, Cyprus, and Anti- amongst the immediate adherents* of the twelve och ;# and, lastly, we find Jerusalem again in the apostles, set out from Antioch upon the express centre of the mission, the place whither the business of carrying the new religion through the preachers returned from their several excursions, various provinces of the Lesser Asia.t During where they reported the conduct and effects of this expedition, we find that, in almost every place their ministry, where questions of public concern to which they came, their persons were insulted, were canvassed and settled, whence directions and their lives endangered. After being expelled were sought, and teachers sent forth.
from Antioch in Pisidia, they repaired to Ico The time of this tranquillity did not, however, nium. At Iconium, an attempt was made to continue long. Herod Agrippa, who had lately stone them; at Lystra, whither they fied from acceded to the government of Judea, "stretched Iconium, one of them actually was stoned, and forth his hand to vex certain of the church.” He drawn out of the city for dead. These two men, began his cruelty by beheading one of the twelve though not themselves original apostles, were original apostles, a kinsman and constant com- acting in connexion and conjunction with the panion of the Founder of the religion. Perceiving original apostles; for after the completion of their that this execution gratified the Jews, he pro- journey, being sent on a particular commission to ceeded to seize, in order to put to death, another Jerusalem, they there related to the apostles and of the number,--and him, líke the former, associ- elders the events and success of their ministry, ated with Christ during his life, and eminently and were, in return, recommended by them to the active in the service since his death. This man churches, " as men who had hazarded their lives was however delivered from prison, as the account in the cause." states,ll miraculously, and made his escape from The treatment which they had experienced in Jerusalem.
the first progress, did not deter them from preThese things are related, not in the general paring for a second. Upon a dispute, however, terms under which, in giving the outlines of the arising between them, but not connected with the history, we have here mentioned them, but with common subject of their labours, they acted as the utmost particularity of names, persons, places, wise and sincere men would act; they did not reand circumstances; and, what is deserving of tire in disgust from the service in which they were notice, without the smallest discoverable propensi- engaged, but, each devoting his endeavours to the ty in the historian to magnify the fortitude, or ex- advancement of the religion, they parted from one aggerate the sufferings of his party. When they another, and set forwards upon separate routes fied for their lives, he tells us. When the The history goes along with one of them; and churches had rest, he remarks it. When the peo- the second enterprise to him was attended with ple took their part, he does not leave it without the same dangers and persecutions as both had notice. When the apostles were carried a second met with in the first. The apostle's travels hitime before the Sanhedrim, he is careful to ob- therto had been confined to Asia. He now crosses, serve that they were brought without violence. for the first time, the Ægean sea, and carries with When milder counsels were suggested, he gives him, amongst others, the person whose accounts us the author of the advice, and the speech which supply the information we are stating. I The first contained it. When, in consequence of this ad- place in Greece at which he appears to have vice, the rulers contented themselves with threat- stopped, was Philippi in Macedonia. Here him
self and one of his companions were cruelly * Dr. Lardner (in which he is followed also by Dr. whipped, cast into prison, and kept there under Benson) ascribes this cessation of the persecution of the the most rigorous custody, being thrust, whilst Christians to the attempt of Caligula to set up his own Blatue in the temple of Jerusalem, and to the conster: yet smarting with their wounds, into the inner nation thereby excited in the minds of the Jewish peo. ple: which consternation for a season suspended every
* Aets iv. 36.
Acts xiv. 19.
| Acts xii. 3–17.
Acts svi. II.
dungeon, and their feet made fast in the stocks.* hands.* The officer, however, who had thus Notwithstanding this unequivocal specimen of seasonably interposed, acted from his care of the the usage which they had to look for in that coun- public peace, with the preservation of which he try, they went forward in the execution of their was charged, and not from any favour to the aposerrand. After passing through Amphipolis and tle, or indeed any disposition to exercise either Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica; in which justice or humanity towards him: for he had no city, the house in which they logged was assailed sooner secured his person in the fortress, than he by a party of their enemies, in order to bring them was proceeding to examine him by torture.t out to the populace. And when, fortunately for From this time to the conclusion of the history, their preservation, they were not found at home, the apostle remains in public custody of the Ro the master of the house was dragged before the man government. After escaping assassination magistrate for admitting them within his doors.t by a fortunate discovery of the plot, and delivering Their reception at the next city was something himself from the influence of his enemies by an better: but neither had they continued long before appeal to the audience of the emperor, he was their turbulent adversaries, the Jews, excited sent, but not until he had suffered two years' imagainst them such commotions amongst the in- prisonment, to Rome. He reached Italy, after a habitants, as obliged the apostle to make his es- tedious voyage, and after encountering in his pascape by a private journey to Athens. T'he ex- sage the perils of a desperate shipwreck.ll But tremity of the progress was Corinth. His abode although still a prisoner, and his fate still dependin this city, for some time, seems to have been ing, neither the various and long continued sufferwithout molestation. At length, however, the ings which he had undergone, nor the danger of Jews found means to stir up an insurrection his present situation, deterred him from persisting against him, and to bring him before the tribunal in preaching the religion; for the historian closes of the Roman president.š It was to the contempt the account by telling us, that, for two years, he which that magistrate entertained for the Jews received all that came unto him in his own hired and their controversies, of which he accounted house, where he was permitted to dwell with a Christianity to be one, that our apostle owed his soldier that guarded him,“ preaching the kingdom deliverance.!!
of God, and teaching those things which concern This indefatigable teacher, after leaving Corinth, the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence.". returned by Ephesus into Syria ; and again visited Now the historian from whom we have drawn Jerusalem, and the society of Christians in that this account, in the part of his narrative which recity, which, as hath been repeatedly observed, still lates to Saint Paul, is supported by the strongest continued the centre of the mission. It suited corroborating testimony that a history can receive. not, however, with the activity of his zeal to re- We are in possession of letters written by Saint main long at Jerusalem. We find him going Paul himself upon the subject of his ministry, and thence to Antioch, and, after some stay there, either written during the period which the history traversing once more the northern provinces of comprises, or if written afterwards, reciting and Asia Minor.** This progress ended at Ephesus; referring to the transactions of that period. These in which city, the apostle continued in the daily letters, without borrowing from the history, or the exercise of his ministry two years, and until his history from them, unintentionally confirm the success, at length, excited the apprehensions of account which the history delivers, in a great vathose who were interested in the support of the riety of particulars. What belongs to our present nation:d worship. Their clamour produced a tu- purpose is the description exhibited of the aposmult, in which he had nearly lost his life.tt. Un- tle's sufferings and the representation, given in dismayed, however, by the dangers to which he the history, of the dangers and distresses which saw himself exposed, he was driven from Ephesus he underwent, not only agrees, in general, with only to renew his labours in Greece. After pass the language which he himself uses whenever he ing over Macedonia, he thence proceeded to his speaks of his life or ministry, but is also, in many former station at Corinth.11 When he had formed instances, attested by a specific correspondency of his design f returning by a direct course from time, place, and order of events. If the historian Corinth into Syria, he was compelled by a conspi- put down in his narrative, that at Philippi, the racy of the Jews, who were prepared to intercept apostle “ was beaten with many stripes, cast into him on his way, to trace back his steps through prison, and there treated with rigour and indigniMacedonia to Philippi, and thence to take shipping ty;" we find him, in a letter to a neighbouring into Asia. Along the coast of Asia, he pursued church,** reminding his converts, that, " after he his voyage with all the expedition he could com- had suffered before, and was shamefully entreated mand, in order to reach Jerusalem against the at Philippi, he was bold, nevertheless, to speak feast of Pentecost.$$ His reception at Jerusalem unto them (to whose city he next came) the Goswas of a piece with the usage he had experienced pelof God." If the history relate, tt that, at Thesfrom the Jews in other places. He had been only salonica, the house in which the apostle was a few days in that city, when the populace, insti- lodged, when he first came to that place, was asgated by some of his old opponents in Asia, who saulted by the populace, and the master of it dragattended this feast, seized him in the temple, ged before the magistrate for admitting such a forced him out of it, and were ready immediately guest within his doors; the apostle, in his letter to to have destroyed him, had not the sudden pre- the Christians of Thessalonica, calls to their resence of the Roman guard rescued him out of their membrance“ how they had received the Gospel in
much affliction.”1 If the history deliver an ac• Acts xvi. 23, 24. 33. † Acts xvii. 1-5. 1 Acts xvii. 13.
$ Acts xviii. 12. | Acts xviii. 15.
| Acts xxvii.
Acts xvi. 23, 24. ** Acts xviii. 23. # Acts xix. 1. 9,10.
# Acts xvii. 5. 11 Acts xx. 1, 2 Sg Acts xx. 16.
11 1 Thess. i. 6.
* Acts xxi. 27-33.
+ Acts xxii. 24.
Acts xxiv. 27.
1 Acts xviii. 22.
** 1 Thess. ii. 2.
count of an insurrection at Ephesus, which had the Romans, in a piece very little connected with nearly cost the apostle his life; we have the apos- historical recitals, thus speaks: "Such as have be tle himself
, in a letter written a short time after lieved and suffered death for the name of Christ, his departure from that city, describing his despair, and have endured with a ready mind, and have and returning thanks for his deliverance.* If the given up their lives with all their hearts." history inform us, that the apostle was expelled Polycarp, the disciple of John (though all that from Antioch in Pisidia, attempted to be stoned at remains of his works be a very short epistle,) has Iconium, and actually stoned ai Lystra; there is not left this subject unnoticed. “I exhort (says preserved a letter from him to a favourite convert, he) all of you, that ye obey the word of righteous whom, as the same history tells us, he first met ness, and exercise all patience, which ye have seen with in these parts ; in which letter he appeals to set forth before your eyes, not only in the blessed that disciple's knowledge “ of the persecutions Ignatius, and Lorimus, and Rufus, but in others which befell him at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lys- among yourselves, and in Paul himself and the tra.”+ If the history make the apostle, in his rest of ihe apostles ; being confident in this, that speech to the Ephesian elders, remind them, as all these have not run in vain, but in faith and one proof of the disinterestedness of his views, that, righteousness; and are gone to the place that was to their knowledge, he had supplied his own and due to them from the Lord, with whom also they the necessities of his companions by personal la- suffered. For they loved not this present world, bour ;t we find the same apostle, in a letter writ- but Him who died, and was raised again by God ten during his residence at Ephesus, asserting of for us."'+ himself, that even to that hour he laboured, Ignatius, the contemporary of Polycarp, recogworking with his own hands."'S
nises the same topic, briefly indeed, but positively These coincidences, together with many rela- and precisely. "For this cause, (i. e. having felt tive to other parts of the apostle's history, and all and handled Christ's body after his resurrection, drawn from independent sources, not only confirm and being convinced, as Ignatius expresses it, both the truth of the account, in the particular points by his flesh and spirit,) they (i.e. Peter, and those as to which they are observed, but add much to who were present with Peter at Christ's appearthe credit of the narrative in all its parts: and sup- ance) despised death, and were found to be above port the author's profession of being a contempo it.": rary of the person whose history he writes, and, Would the reader know what a persecution in throughout a material portion of his narrative, a these days was, I would refer him to a circular companion.
letter, written by the church of Smyrna soon after What the epistles of the apostles declare of the the death of Polycarp, who, it will be remembered, suffering state of Christianity, the writings which had lived with Saint John; and which letter is enremain of their companions and immediate follow- titled a relation of that bishop's martyrdom. “ The ers, expressly confirm.
sufferings (say they) of all the other martyrs were Clement, who is honourably mentioned by Saint blessed and generous, which they underwent acPaul in his Epistle to the Philippians, Il hath left cording to the will of God. For so it becomes us, us his attestation to this point, in the following who are more religious than others, to ascribe the words: “Let us take (says he) the examples of power and ordering of all things unto him. And our own age. Through zeal and envy, the most indeed who can choose but admire the greatness faithful and righteous pillars of the church have of their minds, and that admirable patience and been persecuted even to the most grievous deaths. love of their Master, which then appeared in them? Let us set before our eyes the holy apostles. Peter, Who,' when they were so flayed with whipping, by unjust envy, underwent, not one or two, but that the frame and structure of their bodies were many sufferings; till at last, being martyred, he laid open to their very inward veins and arteries, went to the place of glory that was due unto him. nevertheless endured it. In like manner, those For the same cause did Paul, in like manner, re- who were condemned to the beasts, and kept a ceive the reward of his patience. Seven times he long time in prison, underwent many cruel torwas in bonds; he was whipt, was stoned; he ments
, being forced to lie upon sharp spikes laid preached both in the East and in the West, leav- under their bodies, and tormented with divers ing behind him the glorious report of his faith; other sorts of punishments; that so, if it were posand so having taught the whole world righteous- sible, the tyrant by the length of their sufferings, ness, and for that end travelled even unto the ut- might have brought them to deny Christ.”S most bounds of the West, he at last suffered martyrdom by the command of the governors, and departed out of the world, and went unto his holy place, being become a most eminent pattern of
CHAPTER V. patience unto all ages. To these holy apostles were joined a very great number of others, who, There is satisfactory evidence that many, profeshaving through envy undergone, in like manner, sing to be original witnesses of the Christian many pains and torments, have left a glorious ex miracles, passed their lives in labours, dan. ample to us. For this, not only men, but women gets, and sufferings, voluntarily undergone have been persecuted; and, having suffered very in attestation of the accounts which they degrievous and cruel punishments, have finished the livered, and solely in consequence of their becourse of their faith with firmness.'T
lief of those accounts; and that they also subHermas, saluted by Saint Paul in his Epistle to mitted, from the same motives, to new rules of
conduct. * Acts xix. 2 Cor.& 10. | Acts xiii. 50; xiv. 5. 19. 2 Tim. iii. 10, 11. ġ 1 Cor. iv. II, 12.
* Shepherd of Hermas, C. xxviii. Philipp. iv. 3.
| 19 Ep. Smyr. c. ii. Clem. ad Cor. c. v, vi. Abp. Wake's Trans,
& Rel. Mor, Pol. c. ii.
Acts XX. 34.
† Pol. ad Phil. c. ix.
* Os the history, of which the last chapter con- fects were certainly these, of which this history tains an abstract, there are a few observations sets forth the cause, and origin, and progress. It is which it may be proper to make, by way of apply acknowledged on all hands, because it is recorded ing its testimony to the particular propositions for by other testimony than that of the Christians which we contend.
themselves, that the religion began to prevail at I. Although our Scripture history leaves the that time, and in that country. It is very difgeneral account of the apostles in an early part of ficult to conceive how it could begin, or prevail at the narrative, and proceeds with the separate ac- all, without the exertions of the Founder and his count of one particular apostle, yet the informa- followers, in propagating the new persuasion. tion which it delivers so far extends to the rest, as The history now in our hands describes these exit shows the nature of the service. When we see ertions, the persons employed, the means and enone apostle suffering persecution in the discharge deavours made use of, and the labours undertaken of his commission, we shall not believe, without in the prosecution of this purpose. Again, the evidence, that the same office could, at the same treatment which the history represents the first time, be attended with ease and safety to others. propagators of the religion to have experienced, And this fair and reasonable inference is confirm was no other than what naturally resulted from ed by the direct attestation of the letters, to which the situation in which they were confessedly we have so often referred. The writer of these placed. It is admitted that the religion was letters not only alludes, in numerous passages, to adverse, in a great degree to the reigning opinions, his own sufferings, but speaks of the rest of the and to the hopes and wishes of the nation to apostles as enduring like sufferings with himself. which it was first introduced; and that it over"I think that God hath set forth us the apostles threw, so far as it was received, the established last, as it were, appointed to death; for we are theology and worship of every other country. We made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, cannot feel much reluctance in believing that, and to men ;-even unto this present hour, we when the messengers of such a system went both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are about not only publishing their opinions, but colbuffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; and lecting proselytes, and forming regular societies labour, working with our own hands: being revil- of proselytes, they should meet with opposition in ed, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being their attempts, or that this opposition should somedefamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of times proceed to fatal extremities. Our history the world, and as the offscouring of all things unto details examples of this opposition, and of the sufthis day."* Add to which, that in the short ac- ferings and dangers which the emissaries of the count that is given of the other apostles in the for- religion underwent, perfectly agreeable to what mer part of the history, and within the short pe- might reasonably be expected, from the nature of riod which that account comprises, we find, first, their undertaking, compared with the character two of them seized, imprisoned, brought before the of the age and country in which it was carried on. Sanhedrim, and threatened with further punish IV. The records before us supply evidence of ment;† then, the whole number imprisoned and what formed another member of our general propobeaten ; # soon afterwards, one of their adherents sition, and what, as hath already been observed, stoned to death, and so hot a persecution raised is highly probable, and almost a necessary conseagainst the sect, as to drive most of them out of quence of their new profession, viz. that, together the place; a short time only succeeding, before with activity and courage in propagating the reone of the twelve was beheaded, and another sen- ligion, the primitive followers of Jesus assumed, tenced to the same fate; and all this passing in upon their conversion, a new and peculiar course the single city of Jerusalem, and within ten years of private life. Immediately after their Master after the Founder's death, and the commencement was withdrawn from them, we hear of their "conof the institution.
tinuing with one accord in prayer and supplica. II. We take no credit at present for the mi- tion;"* of their "continuing daily with one acraculous part of the narrative, nor do we insist cord in the temple;" + of "many being gathered upon the correctness of single passages of it. together praying."We know what strict inIf the whole story be not a novel, a romance; junctions were laid upon the converts by their the whole action a dream; if Peter and James, teachers. Wherever they came, the first word of and Paul, and the rest of the apostles mentioned their preaching was, “ Repent!” We know that in the account, be not all imaginary persons; if these injunctions obliged them to refrain from their letters be not all forgeries, and, what is more, many species of licentiousness, which were not, at forgeries of names and characters which never that time, reputed criminal. We know the rules existed; then is there evidence in our hands suf- of purity, and the maxims of benevolence, which ficient to support the only fact we contend for Christians read in their books ; concerning which (and which, I repeat again, is in itself highly rules, it is enough to observe, that, if they were, probable,) that the original followers of Jesus I will not say completely obeyed, but in any deChrist exerted great endeavours to propagate his gree regarded, they would produce a system of religion, and underwent great labours, dangers, and conduct, and what is more difficult to preserve, a sufferings, in consequence of their undertaking. disposition of mind, and a regulation of affections,
III. The general reality of the apostolic history different from any thing to which they had hitheris strongly confirmed by the consideration, that it, to been accustomed, and different from what they in truth, does no more than assign adequate would see in others. The change and distinction causes for efiects which certainly were produced, of manners, which resulted from their new chaand describe consequences naturally "resulting racter, is perpetually referred to in the letters of from situations which certainly existed. The ef- their teachers. “And you hath he quickened
who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in • 1 Cor. iv. 9, et seq.
† Acts iv. 3. 21.
1 Acts xii. 12.
tacts ji. 46.
times past ye walked, according to the course of tian miracles, passed their lives in labours, this world, according to the prince of the power dangers, and sufferings, voluntarily underof the air, the spirit that now worketh in the chil gone in attestation of the accounts which they dren of disobedience; among whom also we had delivered, and solely in consequence of their our conversation in times past, in the lust of our belief of those accounts; and that they also sub flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the milled, from the same motives, to new rules of mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, conduct, even as others." *—“For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the When we consider, first, the prevalency of the gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, religion at this hour; secondly, the only credible excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abomi- account which can be given of its origin, viz. the nable idolatries; wherein they think it strange activity of the Founder and his associates; thirdly, that ye run not with them to the same excess of the opposition which that activity must naturally riot.' + Saint Paul, in his first letter to the Co- have excited; fourthly, the fate of the Founder of rinthians, after enumerating, as his manner was, a the religion, attested' by heathen writers as well catalogue of vicious characters, adds, "Such were as our own; fifthly, the testimony of the same some of you ; but ye are washed, but ye are sanc- writers to the sufferings of Christians, either contified." # In like manner, and alluding to the temporary with, or immediately succeeding, the same change of practices and sentiments, he asks original settlers of the institution; sixthly, predicthe Roman Christians, “what fruit they had in tions of the sufferings of his followers ascribed to those things, whereof they are now ashamed ?"'& the Founder of the religion, which ascription The phrases which the same writer employs to alone proves, either that such predictions were de describe the moral condition of Christians, com-livered and fulfilled, or that the writers of Christ's pared with their condition before they became life were induced by the event to attribute such Christians, such as " newness of life,” being "freed predictions to him; seventhly, letters now in our from sin,” being dead to sin;" “ the destruction possession, written by some of the principal agents of the body of sin, that, for the future, they in the transaction, referring expressly to extreme should not serve sin;" " children of light and of labours, dangers, and sufferings sustained by the day,” as opposed to "children of darkness and themselves and their companions ; lastly, a history of the night;"** not sleeping as others;" imply, at purporting to be written by a fellow-traveller of least, a new system of obligation, and, probably, a one of the new teachers, and, by its unsophisticanew series of conduct, commencing with their ted correspondency with letters of that person still conversion.
extant, proving itself to be written by some one The testimony which Pliny bears to the be- well acquainted with the subject of the narrative, haviour of the new sect in his time, and which which history contains accounts of travels, persetestimony comes not more than fifty years after cutions, and martyrdoms, answering to what the that of St. Paul, is very applicable to the subject former reasons lead us to expect: when we lay under consideration. The character which this together these considerations, which taken sepawriter gives of the Christians of that age, and rately, are, I think, correctly, such as I have stated which was drawn from a pretty accurate inquiry, them in the preceding chapters, there cannot much because he considered their moral principles as doubt remain upon our minds, but that a number the point in which the magistrate was interested, of persons at that time appeared in the world, is as follows :-He tells the emperor, ." that some publicly advancing an extaordinary story, and for of those who had relinquished the society, or who, the sake of propagating the belief of that story, to save themselves, pretended that they had re- voluntarily incurring great personal dangers, tralinquished it, affirmed that they were wont to versing seas and kingdoms, exerting great indusmeet together, on a stated day, before it was light, try, and sustaining great extremities of ill usage and sang among themselves alternately a hymn and persecution. It is also proved, that the same to Christ as a god; and to bind themselves by an persons, in consequence of their persuasion, or oath, not to the commission of any wickedness, pretended persuasion, of the truth of what they as but that they would not be guilty of theft, or rob-serted, entered upon a course of life in many res bery, or adultery; that they would never falsify pects new and singular. their word, or deny a pledge committed to them, From the clear and acknowledged parts of the when called upon to return it.” This proves that case, I think it to be likewise in the highest dea morality, more pure and strict than was ordinary, gree probable, that the story, for which these perprevailed at that time in Christian societies. And sons voluntarily exposed themselves to the fatigues to me it appears, that we are authorized to carry and hardships which they endured, was a mira this testimony back to the age of the apostles; be- culous story; I mean, that they pretended to micause it is not probable that the immediate hearers raculous evidence of some kind or other. They and disciples of Christ were more relaxed than had nothing else to stand upon. The designation their successors in Pliny's time, or the missiona- of the person, that is to say, that Jesus of Nazaries of the religion, than those whom they taught. reth, rather than any other person, was the Mes
siah, and as such the subject of their ministry, could only be founded upon supernatural tokens
attributed to him. Here were no victories, no CHAPTER VI.
conquest, no revolutions, no surprising elevation
of fortune, no achievements of valour, of strength, There is satisfactory evidence that many, pro- or of policy, to appeal to; no discoveries in any sessing to be original witnesses of the Chris- arts or science, no great efforts of genius or learr
ing to produce. A Galilean peasant was announced Eph. ii. 1–3. See also Tit. iii. 3. f 1 Pet. iv. 3, 4.
to the world as a divine lawgiver. A young man 1 1 Cor. vi. 11.
Rom. vi. 21. of mean condition, of a private and simple life, and