صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

who had wrought no deliverance for the Jewish | miraculous pretensions alone, were what they had nation, was declared to be their Messiah. This, to rely upon. without ascribing to him at the same time some That the original story was miraculous, is very proofs of his mission, (and what other but super- fairly also inferred from the miraculous powers natural proofs could there be ?) was too absurd a which were laid claim to by the Christians of succlaim to be either imagined, or attempted, or cre- ceeding ages. If the accounts of these miracles dited. In whatever degree, or in whatever part, be true, it was a continuation of the same powers; the religion was argumentative, when it came to if they be false, it was an imitation, I will not say the question, “Is the carpenter's son of Naza- of what had been wrought, but of what had been reth the person whom we are to receive and reported to have been wrought, by those who preobey ?" there was nothing but the miracles at- ceded them. That imitation should follow reality, tributed to him, by which his pretensions could be fiction should be grafted upon truth; that, if miramaintained for a moment. Every controversy and cles were performed at first, miracles should be every question must presuppose these; for, how. pretended afterwards; agrees so well with the ever such controversies, when they did arise, ordinary course of human affairs, that we can might, and naturally would, be discussed upon have no great difficulty in believing it. The contheir own grounds of argumentation, without trary supposition is very improbable, namely, that citing the miraculous evidence which had been miracles should be pretended to, by the followers asserted to attend the Founder of the religion, of the apostles and first emissaries of the religion, (which would have been to enter upon another, when none were pretended to, either in their own and a more general question,) yet we are to bear persons or that of their Master, by these apostles in mind, that without previously supposing the and emissaries themselves. existence or the pretence of such evidence, there could have been no place for the discussion of the argument at all. Thus, for example, whether the prophecies, which the Jews interpreted to belong

CHAPTER VII. to the Messiah, were, or were not applicable to the history of Jesus of Nazareth, was a natural subject There is satisfactory evidence that many, proof debate in those times; and the debate would fessing to be original witnesses of the Chris. proceed, without recurring at every turn to his tian miracles, passed their lives in labours, miracles, because it set out with supposing these; dangers, and sufferings, voluntarily underinasmuch as without miraculous marks and tokens, gone in attestation of the accounts which they (real or pretended,) or without some such great delivered, and solely in consequence of their change effected by his means in the public condi belief of those accounts; and that they also tion of the country, as might have satisfied the submitted, from the same motives, to new rules then received interpretation of these prophecies, I of conduct. do not see how the question could ever have been entertained. A vollos, we read, "mightily con It being then once proved, that the first provinced the Jews, snowing by the Scriptures that pagators of the Christian institution did exert acJesus was Christ ;'* but unless Jesus had ex- tivity, and subject themselves to great dangers and hibited some distinction of his person, some proof sufferings, in consequence and for the sake of an of supernatural power, the argument from the old extraordinary, and, I think, we may say, of a miScriptures could have had no place. It had no- raculous story of some kind or other; the next thing to attach upon. A young man calling him- great question is, Whether the account, which our self the Son of God, gathering a crowd about him, Scriptures contain, be that story; that which these and delivering to them lectures of morality, could men delivered, and for which they acted and sufnot have excited so much as a doubt among the fered as they did? This question is, in effect, Jews, whether he was the object in whom a long no other than whether the story which Chrisseries of ancient prophecies terminated, from the tians have now, be the story which Christians had completion of which they had formed such mag- then? And of this the following proofs may be nificent expectations, and expectations of a nature deduced from general considerations, and from so opposite to what appeared; I mean, no such considerations prior to any inquiry into the pardoubt could exist when they had the whole case ticular reasons and testimonies by which the aubefore them, when they saw him put to death for thority of our histories is supported. nis officiousness, and when by his death the evi "In the first place, there exists no trace or vestige dence concerning him was closed. Again the effect of any other story. It is not, like the death of of the Messiah's

coming, supposing Jesus to have Cyrus the Great, a competition between opposite been he, upon Jews, upon Gentiles, upon their accounts, or between the credit of different hisrelation to each other, upon their acceptance with torians. There is not a document, or scrap of God, upon their duties and their expectations; account, either contemporary with the commencehis nature, authority, office, and agency; were ment of Christianity, or extant within many ages likely to become subjects of much consideration after that commencement, which assigns a history with the early votaries of the religion, and to oc- substantially different from ours. The remote, cupy their attention and writings. I should not brief, and incidental notices of the affair, which however expect, that in these disquisitions, whe- are found in heathen writers, so far as they do go, ther preserved in the form of letters, speeches, or go along with us. They bear testimony to these set treatises, frequent or very direct mention of facts:- that the institution originated from Jesus; bis miracles would occur. Still miraculous evi- that the Founder was put to death, as a maletacdence lay at the bottom of the argument. In the tor, at Jerusalem, by the authority of the Roman primary question, miraculous pretensions, and governor, Pontius Pilate ; that the religion never

theless spread in that city, and throughout Judea; • Acis xviii. 28

and that it was propagated thence to distant coun

tries; that the converts were numerous; that they another passage allowed by many, although no suffered great hardships and injuries for their pro- without considerable question being moved about fession; and that all this took place in the age of it, we hear of " James, the brother of him who the world which our books have assigned. They was called Jesus, and of his being put to death."* go on further, to describe the manners of Chris. In a third passage, extant in every copy that retians in terms perfectly conformable to the ac- mains of Josephus's History, but the authenticity counts extant in our books: that they were wont of which has nevertheless been long disputed, we to assemble on a certain day; that they sang have an explicit testimony to the substance of our hymns to Christ as to a god; that they bound history in these words :-" At that time lived Jethemselves by an oath not to commit any crime, sus, a wise man, if he may be called a man, for he but to abstain from theft and adultery, to adhere performed many wonderful works. He was a strictly to their promises, and not to deny money teacher of such men as received the truth with deposited in their hands; that they worshipped pleasure. He drew over to him many Jews and him who was crucified in Palestine; that this Gentiles. This was the Christ; and when Pilate, their first lawgiver had taught them that they at the instigation of the chief men among us, had were all brethren; that they had a great contempt condemned him to the cross, they who before bad for the things of this world, and looked upon conceived an affection for him, did not cease to them as common; that they flew to one another’s adhere to him; for, on the third day, he appeared relief; that they cherished strong hopes of im- to them alive again, the divine prophets having mortality; that they despised death, and surren- foretold these and many wonderful things condered themselves to sufferings.t This is the ac- cerning him. And the sect of the Christians, so count of writers who viewed the subject at a great called from hím, subsists to this time.”+ Whatever distance; who were uninformed and uninterested become of the controversy concerning the genuine about it. 'It bears the characters of such an account ness of this passage; whether Josephus go the upon the face of it, because it describes effects, whole length of our history, which, if the

passage namely, the appearance in the world of a new re- be sincere, he does; or whether he proceed only a ligion, and the conversion of great multitudes to very little way with us, which, if the passage be it, without descending, in the smallest degree, to rejected, we confess to be the case; still what we the detail of the transaction upon which it was asserted is true, that he gives no other or different founded, the interior of the institution, the evi- history of the subject from ours, no other or difdence or arguments offered by those who drew ferent account of the origin of the institution. over others to it. Yet still here is no contradic- And I think also that it may with great reason tion of our story; no other or different story set be contended, either that the passage is genuine, up against it: but so far a confirmation of it

, as or that the silence of Josephus was designed. that, in the general points on which the heathen For, although we should lay aside the authority account touches, it agrees with that which we of our own books entirely, yet when Tacitus, who find in our own books.

wrote not twenty, perhaps not ten, years after JoThe same may be observed of the very few sephus, in his account of a period in which Jose Jewish writers, of that and the adjoining period, phus was nearly thirty years of age, tells us, that a which have come down to us. Whatever they vast multitude of Christians were condemned at omit, or whatever difficulties we may find in ex- Rome; that they derived their denomination from plaining the omission, they advance no other his- Christ, who, in the reign of Tiberius, was put to tory of the transaction than that which we acknow-death, as a criminal, by the procurator, Pontius ledge. Josephus, who wrote his Antiquities, or Pilate; that the superstition had spread not only History of the Jews, about sixty years after the over Judea, the source of the evil, but had reached commencement of Christianity, in a passage ge- Rome also :-when Suetonius, an historian connerally admitted as genuine, makes mention of temporary with Tacitus, relates that, in the time John under the name of John the Baptist; that of Claudius, the Jews were making disturbances he was a preacher of virtue; that he baptized his at Rome, Christus being their leader; and that, proselytes; that he was well received by the peo- during the reign of Nero, the Christians were ple; that he was imprisoned and put to death by punished; under both which emperors, Josephus Herod; and that Herod lived in a criminal co- lived: when Pliny, who wrote his celebrated habitation with Herodias, his brother's wife. In epistle not more than thirty years after the pub

lication of Josephus's history, found the Christians

in such numbers in the province of Bithynia, as See Pliny's Letter.—Bonnet, in his lively way of to draw from him a complaint, that the contagion with the account of the Acts, it seems to me that I had had seized cities, towns, and villages, and had so not taken up another author, but that I was still read. seized them as to produce a general desertion of ing the historian of that extraordinary society." This the public rites; and when, as has already been is strong: but there is undoubtedly an affinity, and all observed, there is no reason for imagining that the affinity that could be expected.

" It is incredible what expedition they use when the Christians were more numerous in Bithynia any of their friends are known to be in trouble. In a than in many other parts of the Roman empire; word, they spare nothing upon such an occasion :-for it cannot, I should suppose, after this, be believed, these miserable men have no doubt they shall be im that the religion, and the transaction upon which mortal and live for ever: therefore they contemn death, it was founded, were too obscure to engage the and many surrender themselves to sufferings. More. over, their first lawgiver has taught them that they are attention of Josephus, or to obtain a place in his all brethren, when once they have turned and renounced history. Perhaps he did not know how to reprethe gods of the Greeks, and worship this Master of theirs sent the business, and disposed of his difficulties who was crucified, and engage to live according to his by passing it over in silence. Eusebius wrote the laws. They have also a sovereign contempt for all the things of this world, and look upon them as common."Lucian de Morte Peregrini, t. 1. p. 565. ed. Græv.

* Antiq 1. xx. cap. ix. sect. l. * Antiq. . xvii. cap v. sect. 1, 2

Antig: L xviii. cap. ij. sect. 2

ife of Constantine, yet omits entirely the most religion; the persecution of its followers; the miremarkable circumstance in that life, the death of raculous conversion of Paul; miracles wrought his son Crispus: undoubtedly for the reason here by himself and alleged in his controversies with given. The reserve of Josephus upon the subject his adversaries, and in letters to the persons or Christianity appears also in his passing over amongst whom they were wrought; finally, that the banishment of the Jews by Claudius, which MIRACLES were the signs of an apostle. * Suetonius, we have seen, has recorded with an In an epistle, bearing the name of Barnabas, express reference to Christ. This is at least as the companion of Paul, probably genuine, cerremarkable as his silence about the infants of tainly belonging to that age, we have the sufBethlehem.* Be, however, the fact, or the cause ferings of Christ, his choice of apostles and their of the omission in Josephus,t what it may, no number

, his passion, the scarlet robe, the vinegar other or different history on the subject has been and gall, the mocking and piercing, the casting given by him, or is pretended to have been given. lots for his coat,t his resurrection on the eighth

But further; the whole series of Christian (i.e. the first day of the week,t) and the comwriters, from the first age of the institution down memorative distinction of that day, his manifestato the present, in their discussions, apologies, tion after his resurrection, and lastly, his ascenarguments, and controversies, proceed upon the sion. We have also his miracles generally but general story which our Scriptures contain, and positively referred to in the following words :upon no other. The main facts, the principal. Finally, teaching the people of Israel, and do agents, are alike in all. This argument will ap- ing many wonders and signs among them, he pear to be of great force, when it is known that preached to them, and showed the exceeding we are able to trace back the series of writers to a great love which he bare towards them."S contact with the historical books of the New Tes In an epistle of Clement, a hearer of St. Paul, tament, and to the age of the first emissaries of although written for a purpose remotely connected the religion, and to deduce it, by an unbroken with the Christian history, we have the resurrreccontinuation, from that end of the train to the tion of Christ, and the subsequent mission of the present.

apostles, recorded in these satisfactory terms: The remaining letters of the apostles, (and: The apostles have preached to us froin our what more original than their letters can we Lord Jesus Christ from God :-For, having rehave ?) though written without the remotest de- ceived their command, and being thoroughly sign of transmitting the history of Christ, or of assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christianity, to future ages, or even of making it Christ, they went abroad, publishing that the known to their contemporaries, incidentally dis kingdom of God was at hand."! We find noclose to us the following circumstances :-Christ's ticed also, the humility, yet the power of Christ, descent and family ; his innocence; the meekness his descent from Abraham, his crucifixion. We and gentleness of his character; (a recognition have Peter and Paul represented as faithful and which goes to the whole Gospel history;) his ex- righteous pillars of the church; the numerous alted nature; his circumcision; his transfigura- sufferings of Peter; the bonds, stripes, and stoning tion; his life of opposition and suffering; his pa- of Paul, and more particularly his extensive and tience and resignation ; the appointment of the unwearied travels. eucharist, and the manner of it; his agony; his In an epistle of Polycarp, a disciple of St. John, confession before Pontius Filate; his stripes, cru- though only a brief hortatory letter, we have the cifixion, and burial; his resurrection; his ap- humility, patience, sufferings, resurrection, and pearance after it, first to Peter, then to the rest ascension of Christ, together with the apostolic of the apostles ; his ascension into heaven; and characterof St. Paul, distinctly recognised.** Of his designation to be the future judge of man- this same father we are also assured by Irenæus, kind;—the stated residence of the apostles at Je- that he (Irenæus,) had heard him relate, “what rusalem; the working of miracles the first he had received from eye-witnesses concerning preachers of the Gospel

, who were also the hear- the Lord, both concerning his miracles and his ers of Christ ;-—the successful propagation of the doctrine.”tt

In the remaining works of Ignatius, the conMichaelis has computed, and, as it should seem,

temporary of Polycarp, larger than those of Polyfairly enough, that probably not more than twenty carp (yet, like those of Polycarp, treating of subchildren perished by this cruel precaution.-Michaelis's jects in nowise leading to any recital of the Introduction to the New Testament, translated by Christian history,) the occasional allusions are Marsh, vol. i. c. ii. sect. II.

There is no notice taker of Christianity in the proportionably more numerous. The descent of Mishna, a collection of Jewish traditions compiled about the year 180 ; although it contains a Tract "De tation ; for, whatever doubts may bave been raised cultu peregrino," of strange or idolatrous worship; yet about its author, there can be none concerning the age it cannot be disputed but that Christianity was per in which it was written. No epistle in the collection fectly well known in the world at this time. There is carries about it more indubitable marks of antiquity extremely little notice of the subject in the Jerusalem than this does. It ks, for instance, throughout, of Talmud, compiled about the year 300, and not much the temple as then standing, and of the worship of the more in the Babylonish Talmud, of the year 500; al. temple as then subsisting. Heb. viii. 4: “ For, if he though both these works are of a religious nature, and were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing there although, when the first was compiled, Christianity are priests that offer according to the law." Again, was on the point of becoming the religion of the state, Heb. xiii. 10: “We have an altar whereof they have and, when the latter was published, had been so for 200 no right to eat which serre the tabernacle." years.

* "Truly the signs of an apostlo were wrought among 1 Heb. ii. 3. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty great salvation, which, at the first, began to be spoken deeds."-2 Cor. xii. 12. by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by thein that † Ep. Bar. c. vii. 1 Ibid. c. vi.

$ Ibid. c. v. heard him, God also bearing them witness, both with | Ep Clem. Rom.c. xlii. !! Ep. Clem. Rom. c. xvi. signs and wonders, and with dicers miracles, and gifts ** Pol. Ep. ad Phil. c. v. viii. ij. ni. of the Holy Ghost ?" I allege this epistle without hesi. *Ir. ad Flor. ap. Euseb. I. v. c. 20. 2 O

(225)

Christ from David, his mother Mary, his miracu- | as the cause, or as the pretence of the institu lous conception, the star at his birth, his baptism tion. by John, the reason assigned for it, his appeal to Now that the original story, the story delivered the prophets, the ointment poured on his head, by the first preachers of the institution, should his sufferings under Pontius Pilate and Herod have died away so entirely as to have left no rethe tetrarch, his resurrection, the Lord's day cord or memorial of its existence, although so many called and kept in commemoration of it, and the records and memorials of the time and transaction eucharist, in both its parts, -are unequivocally remain; and that another story should have step referred to. Upon the resurrection, this writer is ped into its place, and gained exclusive possession even circumstantial. He mentions the apostles' of the belief of all who professed themselves dis eating and drinking with Christ after he had ciples of the institution, is beyond any example risen, their feeling and their handling him; from of the corruption of even oral tradition, and still which last circumstance Ignatius raises this just less consistent with the experience of written his reflection –"They believed, being convinced tory: and this improbability, which is very great, both by his flesh and spirit; for this cause, they is rendered still greater by the reflection, that no despised death, and were found to be above it."* such change as the oblivion of one story, and the

Quadratus, of the same age with Ignatius, has substitution of another, took place in any future left us the following noble testimony :-"The period of the Christian era. “Christianity hath works of our Saviour were always conspicuous, travelled through dark and turbulent ages; neverfor they were real; both those that were healed, theless it came out of the cloud and the storm, and those that were raised from the dead; who such, in substance, as it entered in. Many adwere seen not only when they were healed or ditions were made to the primitive history, and raised, but for a long time afterwards: not only these entitled to different degrees of credit; many whilst he dwelled on this earth, but also after his doctrinal errors also were from time to time grafted departure, and for a good while after it, insomuch into the public creed; but still the original story that some of them have reached to our times.”+ remained, and remained the same. In all its princi

Justin Martyr came little more than thirty pal parts, it has been fixed from the beginning, years after Quadratus. From Justin's works, Thirdly: The religious rites and usages that which are still extant, might be collected a tole- prevailed amongst the early disciples of Chrisrably complete account of Christ's life, in all points tianity, were such as belonged to, and sprung out agreeing with that which is delivered in our of, the narrative now in our hands; which acScriptures; taken indeed, in a great measure, from cordancy shows, that it was the narrative upon those Scriptures, but still proving that this ac- which these persons acted, and which they had count, and no other, was the account known and received from their teachers. Our account makes extant in that age. The miracles in particular, the Founder of the religion direct that his disciwhich form the part of Christ's history most ma- ples should be baptised: we know, that the first terial to be traced, stand fully and distinctly re- Christians were baptised. Our account makes cognised in the following passage :-"He healed him direct that they should hold religious assemthose who had been blind, and deaf, and lame blies : we find, that they did hold religious assemfrom their birth; causing, by his word, one to blies. Our accounts make the apostles assemble leap, another to hear, and a third to see : and by upon a stated day of the week: we find, and that raising the dead, and making them to live, he in- from information perfectly independent of our acduced, by his works, the men of that age to know counts, that the Christians of the first century did him.”

observe stated days of assembling. Our histories It is unnecessary to carry these citations lower, record the institution of the rite which we call the because the history, after this time, occurs in an- Lord's Supper, and a command to repeat it in cient Christian writings as familiarly as it is wont perpetual succession : we find, amongst the early to do in modern serinons ;-occurs always the Christians, the celebration of this rite universal. same in substance, and always that which our And indeed, we find concurring in all the aboveevangelists represent.

mentioned observances, Christian societies of many This is not only true of those writings of Chris- different nations and languages, removed from one tians, which are genuine, and of acknowledged another by a great distance of place and dissimiliauthority; but it is, in a great measure, true of tude of situation. It is also extremely material to all their ancient writings which remain; although remark, that there is no room for insinuating that some of these may have been erroneously ascribed our books were fabricated with a studious accomto authors to whom they did not belong, or may modation to the usages which obtained at the time contain false accounts, or may appear to be unde- they were written ; that the authors of the books serving of credit, or never indeed to have obtained found the usages established, and framed the story any. Whatever fables they have mixed with the to account for their original. The Scripture acnarrative, they preserve the material parts, the counts, especially of the Lord's Supper, are too leading facts, as we have them; and, so far as they short and cursory, not to say too obscure, and, in do this, although they be evidence of nothing else, this view, deficient, to allow a place for any such they are evidence that these points were fired, were suspicion.* received and acknowledged by all Christians in the Amongst the proofs of the truth of our proposiages in which the books were written. At least, tion, viz. that the story, which we have now, is, in it may be asserted, that, in the places where we substance, the story which the Christians had were most likely to meet with such things, if such things haŭ existed, no relicks appear of * The reader who is conversant in these researches, any story substantially different from the present, by comparing the short Scripture accounts of the Chrin

tian rites above-mentioned, with the minute and cir.

cumstantial directions contained in the pretended apog. * Ad Smyr. c. iji. † Ap. Euscb. H. E. lib. 4. c. 2. tolical constitutions, will see the force of this observa.

1 Just. Dial. cum Tryph. p. 238. ed. Thirl. tion: the difference between truth and forgery.

then, or, in other words, that the accounts in our | writer whose mind was in the habit of consider Guspels are, as to their principal parts at least, the ing John's imprisonment as perfectly notorious accounts which the apostles and original teachers The description of Andrew by the addition “ Siof the religion delivered, one arises from observing, mon Peter's brother,"'* takes it for granted, that that it appears by the Gospels themselves, that the Simon Peter was well known. His name had story was public at the time; that the Christian not been mentioned before. The evangelist's coinmunity was already in possession of the sub- noticingt the prevailing misconstruction of a disstance and principal parts of the narrative. The course, which Christ held with the beloved disGospels were not the original cause of the Chris-ciple, proves that the characters and the discourse tian history being believed, but were themselves were already public. And the observation which among the consequences of that belief. This is these instances afford, is of equal validity for the expressly affirmed by Saint Luke, in his brief, purpose of the present argument, whoever were but, as I think, very important and instructive the authors of the histories. preface :-"Forasmuch (says the evangelist) as These four circumstances; first, the recognition many have taken in hand to set forth in order a of the account in its principal parts, by a series of declaration of those things which are most surely succeeding

writers; secondly, the total absence of believed amongst us, even as they delivered them any account of the origin of the religion substanunto us, which, from the beginning, were eye- tially different from ours; thirdly, the early and witnesses and ministers of the word; it seemed extensive prevalence of rites and institutions, good to me also, having had perfect understand which result from our account; fourthly, our acing of all things from the very first, to write unto count bearing, in its construction, proof that it is thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that an account of facts, which were known and bethou mightest know the certainty of those things lieved at the time;-are sufficient, I conceive, to wherein thou hast been instructed.”—This short support an assurance, that the story which we introduction testifies, that the substance of the have now, is, in general, the story which Chrishistory, which the evangelist was about to write, tians had at the beginning. I say in general ; was already believed by Christians; that it was by which term I mean, that it is the same in its believed upon the declarations of eye-witnesses texture, and in its principal facts. For instance, and ministers of the word; that it formed the ac- I make no doubt, for the reasons above stated, but count of their religion in which Christians were that the resurrection of the Founder of the reliinstructed; that the office which the historian gion was always a part of the Christian story. proposed to himself, was to trace each particular Nor can a doubt of this remain upon the mind of to its origin, and to fix the certainty of many any one who reflects that the resurrection is, in things which the reader had before heard of. In some form or other, asserted, referred to, or asSaint John's Gospel, the same point appears sumed, in every Christian writing, of every dehence, that there are some principal facts, to scription, which hath come down to us. which the historian refers, but which he does not And if our evidence stopped here, we should relate. A remarkable instance of this kind is the have a strong case to offer: for we should have to ascension, which is not mentioned by Saint John allege, that in the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, a cerin its place, at the conclusion of his history; but tain number of persons set about an attempt of which is plainly referred to in the following words establishing a new religion in the world: in the of the sixth chapter :*—"What and if ye shall see prosecution of which purpose, they voluntarily the Son of man ascend up where he was before ?" encountered great dangers, undertook great laAnd still more positively in the words which bours, sustained great sufferings, all for a miracuChrist, according to our evangelist, spoke to Mary lous story which they published wherever they after his resurrection, "Touch me not, for I am came; and that the resurrection of a dead man, not yet ascended to my Father: but go unto my whom during his life they had followed and acbrethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my companied, was a constant part of this story. I Father and your Father, unto my God and know nothing in the above statement which can, your God.”+ This can only be accounted for with any appearance of reason, be disputed; and by the supposition that Saint John wrote un- I know nothing, in the history of the human speder a sense of the notoriety of Christ's ascen-cies, similar to it. sion, amongst those by whom his book was likely to be read. The same account must also be given of Saint Matthew's omission of the same important fact. The thing was very well known, and

CHAPTER VIII. it did not occur to the historian that it was necessary to add any particulars concerning it. It There is satisfactory eridence that many professagrees also with this solution, and with no other,

ing to be original witnesses of the Christian that neither Matthew, nor John, disposes of the

miracles, passed their lives in labours, dangers, person of our Lord in any manner whatever.

and sufferings, voluntarily undergone in atOther intimations in Saint John's Gospel of the

testation of the accounts which they delivered, then general notoriety of the story are the follow

and solely in consequence of their belief of ing: His manner of introducing his narrative (ch.

those accounts; and that they also submitted, i. ver. 15:) “ John bare witness of him, and cried,

from the same motires, to new

rules of conduct. saying,”—evidently presupposes that his readers That the story which we have now is, in the knew who John was. His rapid parenthetical main, the story which the apostles published, is, reference to John's imprisonment, " for John was I think, nearly certain, from the considerations not yet cast into prisun,"I could only come from a which have been proposed. But whether, when

we come to the particulars, and the detail of the Also John iii. 13; and xvi. 28. † John xx. 17. John iii. 24.

| Ibid. xxi. 24.

• John i. 40.

« السابقةمتابعة »