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dies professing a particular sense of the holy scriptures ; and it is possible, that sense may not be the true one. But the primitive martyrs, at least the earliest of them, died in attestation of public Facts ; touching which it was impoffible, that they them felves should be deceived, and all the world faw, they could have no imaginable temptation, to de. ceive others. The martyrdom of such men was, indeed, a strong argument, in favour of their cause ; to which their blameless lives, and unexampled fortitude, gave additional lustre.
Cicero has exhibited, with his usual vigour of imagination, and energy of language, a striking picture of Roman patience, in one who was publicly scourged, while not a groan was heard, not a word was uttered, during his chastisement, except “Civis Romanus sum.' But
the first Christians were many, of each sex and of every age, who, under much sharper tortures, pofseffed no less courage ; from whose lips, after praying for their enemies, not a fyllable could be extorted, excepting that name, in which they gloried even in death, Xgsstavos Espen. They h “ I am a Roman.” Vid. Cic. in Verr. L. V. c. Ixii.
"I am a Christian." See an elegant and affecting letter, in Euseb. Hift. Eccl, L. V. c. i. giving an account of the
evidently shewed, or rather, as it was on the occasion remarked, He who suffered in them, and supported them, thewed, &to pender polepov οπε Πατρος αγαπη, μηδε αλγεινον όπε Χρις δοξα *. Their cause was the cause of truth; and the malice of the world, the machinations of infidelity, and the gates of hell, never did, nor ever Thall, prevail against it. It is founded upon a rock, and that rock is Christ, “ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
martyrdom of some Chriftians in Gaul. See also L. IV. c. xv. p. 167, and L. VIII. c. iii.
k « Where the love of the Father reigns, nothing can create fear; where Christ's glory is the object, nothing can give pain.” See the letter, as above, p. 202. See likewise the Epistle concerning the martyrdom of Polycarp, Ibid. P.
I Heb. xiii. 8.
162. n. 5.
SE R M ON
MATT. XXIV. 4, 5.
Take heed that no man deceive
many Shall come in my name, saying, I am Cbrift ; and Mall deceive many:
E have considered one of the signs,
which our blessed Saviour gave to his disciples, whereby it might be known, that the desolation of the temple, and the overthrow of the Jewish state, were nigh at hand. The gospel, it was foretold, should be preached in all the world ; and then the end should come. However, from this mark alone, had no others been added, the time of the approaching vengeance could not have been discovered, with sufficient precision, to answer all those purposes of mercy, which the Redeemer of mankind graciously intended,
Before St. Paul had finished the course of his ministry, he himself informs us, that the “ sound” of the apostles was gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world • ;” that the gospel was “come,” or rather was " present 5,” had taken firm hold, and was bringing forth fruit, in all the world, having been preached to the whole creation under heaven. Here then was the accomplishment of our Lord's prediction.
But although there now were believers in all lands; yet inasmuch as there were still, and long after this time, many adversaries, and hitherto perhaps some cities, or districts, where the faith had not been taught; it might have been doubted, by the Christians in Judea, who were most nearly concerned in the prophecies respecting Jerusalem, whether the gospel had been preached, in that fulness and extent, with which it was to be published, before the Jewish affairs should have an end. At least those among them,
a Rom. x. 18. - b-Col. i. 5,6. Tx svácyathos 78 TLÇOrtos kis igas, xgoo w roho $1 &17! Troopeo. Ibid. i,
It is not, as the common translation would lead us to fuppofe, κηρυχθεντος παση κτισει, but κηρυχθεντος εν πκση τη κτισε, τη υπο τον καιριού,