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suppose, after this, be believed, that the religion, and the transaction
upon which it was founded, were too obscure to engage the attention of Josephus, or to obtain a place in his history. Perhaps he did not know how to repre. sent the business, and disposed of his difficulties by passing it over in silence. Eusebius wrote the life of Constantine, yet omits entirely the most remarkable circumstance in that life, the death of his son Crispus ; undoubtedly for the reason here given. The reserye of Josephus upon the subject of Christianity appears also in his passing over the banishment of the Jews by Claudius, which Suetonius, we have seen, has recorded with an express reference to Christ. This is at least as remarkable as his silence about the infants of Bethlehem. * Be, however, the fact, or the cause of the omission in Josephus,t what it may, no other or different history on the subject has been given by him, or is pretended to have been given.
But farther; the whole series of Christian writers, from the first age of the institution down to the present, in their discussions, apologies, arguments, and controversies, proceed upon the general story which our scriptures con
* Michaelis has computed, and, as it should seem, fairly enough, that probably not more than twenty children perished by this cruel precaution. Michael. introd. to the N. Test. translated by Marsh. Vol. 1. c. ii. sect. 2.
† There is no notice taken of Christianity in the Mishna, a collection of Jewish traditions compiled about the year 180, although it contains a Tract, “ De cultu Peregrino,” Of strange or idolatrous worship ; yet it cannot be disputed but that Christianity was perfectly well known in the world at this time. There is extremely little notice of the subject in the Jerusalem Talmud, compiled about the year 300, and not much more in the Babylonish Talmud, of the year 500, although both these works are of a religious nature, and although, when the first was compiled, Cristianity was upon the point of becoming the religion of the state, and, when the latter was published, had been so for 200 years.
tain, and upon no other. The main facts, the principal agents, are alike in all. This argument will appear to be of great force, when it is known that we are able to trace back the series of writers to a contact with the historical books of the New Testament, and to the age of the first emissaries of the religion, and to deduce it, by an unbroken continuation, from that end of the train to the present.
The remaining letters of the apostles, (and what more original than their letters can we have) ? though written without the remotest design of transmitting the history of Christ, or of Christianity, to future ages, or even of making it known to their contemporaries, incidentally disclose to us the following circumstances :-Christ's descent and family ; his innocence ; the meekness and gentleness of his character (a recognition which goes to the whole gospel history); his exalted nature ; his circumcision; his transfiguration ; his life of opposition and suffering ; his patience and resignation ; the appointment of the eucharist, and the manner of it ; his agony ; his confession before Pontius Pilate ; his stripes, crucifixion, and burial ; his resurrection; his appearance after it, first to Peter, then to the rest of the apostles ; his ascension into heaven ; and his designation to be the future judge of mankind; the stated residence of the apostles at Jerusalem ; the working of miracles by the first preachers of the gospel, who were also the hearers of Christ* ; the successful propagation of the religion ; the
* Heb. ii. 3. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, which, at the first, began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him, God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost ?" I allege this epistle without hesitation ; for, whatever doubts may have been raised about its author, there can be none concerning the age in which it was written. No epistle in the collection carries about it more. indubitable marks of antiquity than this does. It speaks, for instance, Vol. II.
persecution of its followers; the miraculous conversion of Paul ; miracles wrought by himself, and alleged in his controversies with his adversaries, and in letters to the persons amongst whom they were wrought ; finally, that MIRACLES were the signs of an apostle.*
In an epistle bearing the name of Barnabas, the companion of Paul, probably genuine, certainly belonging to that age, we have the sufferings of Christ, his choice of apostles and their number, his passion, the scarlet robe, the vinegar and gall, the mocking and piercing, the casting lots for his coatt, his resurrection on the eighth, (i. e. the first day of the weekt), and the commemorative distinction of that day, his manifestation after his resurrection, and lastly, his ascension. We have also his miracles generally but positively referred to in the following words : “ finally teaching the people of Israel, and doing many wonders and signs among them, he preached to them, and shewed the exceeding great love which he bare towards themy."
In an epistle of Clement, a hearer of St. Paul, although written for a purpose remotely connected with the Christian history, we have the resurrection of Christ, and the subsequent mission of the apostles, recorded in these satisfactory terms : “ The apostles have preached to us from our Lord Jesus Christ from God :-For, having received their command, and being thoroughly assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, they went abroad publish
throughout, of the temple as then standing, and of the worship of the temple as then subsisting.—Heb. viii. 4. For, if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing there are priests that offer according to the law.”-Again, Heb. xiii. 10. “ We have an altar whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.”
“Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs and wonders, and mighty deeds.”--2 Cor. xii. 12.
| Ep. Bar. c. vii. # Ibid. c. vi. $ Ibid.c. y.
ing that the kingdom of God was at hand*.” We find noticed also, the humility, yet the power of Christt, his descent from Abraham, his crucifixion. We have Peter and Paul represented as faithful and righteous pillars of the church, the numerous sufferings of Peter, the bonds, stripes, and stoning of Paul, and more particularly his extensive and unwearied travels.
In an epistle of Polycarp, a disciple of St. John, though only a brief hortatory letter, we have the humility, patience, sufferings, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, together with the apostolick character of St. Paul, distinctly recognizedt. Of this same father we are also assured by Irenæus, that he (Irenæus) had heard him relate," what he had received from eye-witnesses concerning the Lord, both concerning his miracles and his doctrineg."
In the remaining works of Ignatius, the contemporary of Polycarp, larger than those of Polycarp (yet, like those of Polycarp, treating of subjects in no wise leading to any recital of the Christian history), the occasional allusions are proportionably more numerous. The descent of Christ from David, his mother Mary, his miraculous conception, the star at his birth, his baptism by John, the reason assigned for it, his appeal to the prophets, the ointment poured on his head, his sufferings under Pontius Pilate and Herod the Tetrarch, his resurrection, the Lørd's day called and kept in commemoration of it, and the eucharist, in both its parts, are unequivocally referred to. Upon the resurrection this writer is even circumstantial. He mentions the apostles' eating and drinking with Christ after he had risen, their feeling and their handling him ; from which last circumstance Ignatius raises this just reflection :
Ep. Clem. Rom. c. xlii. † Ep. Clem. Rom. c. xvi.
Pol. Ep. ad Phil. c. v. viii. ii. iii.
They believed, being convinced both by his flesh and spirit ; for this cause, they despised death, and were found to be above it*."
Quadratus, of the same age with Ignatius, has left us the following noble testimony :-“The works of our Saviour were always conspicuous, for they were real ; both those that were healed, and those that were raised from the dead; who were seen not only when they were healed or raised, but for a long time afterwards, not only whilst he dwelled on this earth, but also after his departure, and for a good while after it, insomuch that some of them have reached to our timest."
Justin Martyr came little more than thirty years after Quadratus. From Justin's works, which are still extant, might be collected a tolerably complete account of Christ's life, in all points agreeing with that which is delivered in our scriptures ; taken, indeed, in a great measure, from those scriptures, but still proving, that this account, and no other, was the account known and extant in that age. The miracles in particular, which form the part of Christ's his, tory most material to be traced, stand fully and distinctly recognized in the following passage :-" He healed those who had been blind, and deaf, and lame, from their birth, causing, by his word, one to leap, another to hear, and a third to see and by raising the dead, and making them to live, he induced, by his works, the men of that age to know him t.
It is unnecessary to carry these citations lower, because the history, after this time, occurs in ancient Christian writings as familiarly as it is wont to do in modern sermons ;---Occurs always the same in substance, and always that which our evangelists represent.
* Ad Smyr. c. iii. † Ap. Euseb. H. E. lib. iv. C. 3. #Just. dial. cum Tryph. p. 288. ed. Thirk