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66 yet none of the former Evangelists have said cs, a word of it. The only Person that re-, 69 cords it, is St. John ; and yet he records it « almost an hundred Years after its date, when «s every one was dead that could disprove it : • That no possible Reason can be given, why « Jesus should raife Persons of so much ob« scurity; why we should have no Account « of their Transactions after their Resurrection, " how long they lived, or what Discourses they " had with their Friends concerning their seos parate Existence : Thaç very probably there " was some mistake or collusion in the Matters
the Ruler's Daughter might be asleep, the " Widow's Son in a Lethargy; and it seems * manifest from the Circumstances of the Story,
that there was a Combination between Jesus “ and Lazarus ; for we cannot imagine, why of the Fews should conceive such Malice againft « Jesus, or why Jesus should fee into the « Wilderness upon his working this Miracle, « had there been no Declaration of Fraud in 6c it.". To all which it is replied, That the Distinction of greater and less Miracles is destitute of all real Foundation ; and, confequently, the raising of one Person from the Dead is as much a Miracle; as raising another ; That the Evangelists, in their Accounts of our Saviour's Miracles, are so far from relațing every one, that they omic several, which the intended brevity of their Gospels, and the multiplicity of mata ter necessary to be comprized in them, obliged them to do : That upon these Considerations, and perhaps in point of Prudence, that they might not exasperate the Jews against Laza. rus, the three first Evangelists have passed by that Period in our Saviour's Life, wherein Laa
8 of one oundation Les Mitac That this
zarus was raised from the Dead, and contented themselves with relating the History of others so raised: That the Gospel of St. John was profeffedly written to supply the Defects of these other Evangelists, and accordingly has done it in many remarkable Instances : That the three Persons, whose Resurrections are recorded by these sacred Penmen, were, upon several accounts, the properest Objects of our Şaviour's kindness to them; and the Scripture's Silence concerning their future Lives, and Ins telligence from the other World, may, in a great measure be accounted for : That there could be no mistake in their Death, nor are there any Circumstances in the whole Story denoting a Fallacy in their Resurrection : That in the Case of Lazarus, particularly, the whole Process is so ordered, as to take away all imaginable Occasion of Suspicion ; and, lastly, that the bloody Resolves of the Jewish Council thereupon, and our Saviour's Retreat from Jerufalem for his Security, were no more than what an inveterate Prejudice in them, and a Principle of Self-preservation in him, may very well be supposed to suggest.
The 22d Section treats of Christ's own Relurreftion.'. To which it is objected, " That to « disprove the Truch of this Miracle, we want 66 several Anti-Christian Books which have been “ destroyed, because they gave us an Insighc " into this Impofture: That even the Hiftories
on the Imposture's side discover the thing " plain enough; for, whereas there was an « Agreement between the chief Priests and the 6. Apostles to seal the Door of the Sepulchre ; " and, in the presence of the Multitude, to “ open the Seals at the time prefixed for his
« Resurrection, we find the Seals broken withci out the privity of the Chief-Priests, the Body s stolen away a whole Day before the stated time, " and early in the Morning, while the Guards 16 were fast asleep: That had not this been the « Cafe, he would certainly have appeared to the 66 Jews in order to their Conviction, and not co to his own Disciples, who were engaged to " carry on the Story. For tho' many of them wo died with great Conftancy in attestation of w their Master's Refurrection ; yet this is no 66 'more than what we see hardened Villains, or ri giddy Enthusiasts do daily: and therefore 6c we may conclude, that these pretended Wit* nesses of his Resurrection were either silly
enough to be impofed on themselves, or. co wicked enough to impose on others." To all which it is replied, That, upon the loss of the ancient Anti-Christian Books (which, in all probability, would not have availed us much) we are now reduced, in our Enquiries into the Reality of Christ's Resurrection, to the sole Account of the Evangelists: That, according to the Relation of thefe Evangelists, the feveral Circumstances of the Sepulchre, where the Body was laid, and the great Care and Precaution which the Jewish Rulers took about it, did effectually secure the Body from the Danger of being carried off, either by. Fraud or Violence, had the Disciples been minded fo to do': That, from the whole Behaviour of these Disciples, it appears, that they were too fainthearted to attempt such an Enterprizė, or if ata tempting it, unlikely to succeed ; or if succeeding, in no probability to make any Advantage by it: That, after the Resurrection, the Se. pulchre was left in such Condition, as clears the
Disciples from the Imputation of any such Robe? bery, which their bitterest Enemies never once. alledged against them, even when they had the fairest Call and Opportunity to introduce the Accufation: That our blessed Saviour, as soon as he had fulfilled the Time of his Inter-, ment (which, according to the Jewish way of Computation, he actually did) may be well supposed desirous of hastening his Return to his disconsolate Disciples ; but was under no concern to do the same to the Chief Priests and Rulers, in whom an Exhibition of himself would have wrought no Conviction, and might probably have been an Obstruction to the Progress of the Gospel : That, after his Resurrection, he appeared so frequently to such a number of his Disciples, and conversed so faniliarly with them, that they could not possibly be mistaken in the Truth and Reality of his Person: That they, in their Testimony of this, could have no Bribe upon their Affections, nor any Temptation of temporal Advantage to pervert them ; but, on the contrary, a sure prospect of the bitterest Persecutions, which they, notwithstanding, un-derwent with great chearfulness, and sealed, at length, the Truth of their Testimony with their Blood, which no Impostor was ever known to do: and, lastly, that in confirmation of the Truth of their Testimony, God was pleased to accompany them with Signs and mighty Wonders, the Power of working Miracles, and the Gifts of the blessed Spirit ; and, therefore, 'tis plain, that in the whole Transaction, the Witnesses of our Saviour's Resurrection could be liable to no Suspicion. They could have no
hand in stealing away their Master's Body; · they could have no room to be deceived them
selves in what they frequently saw and felt; nor. could they have any Provocation to deceive others in an Affair, where they were sure to get nothing, but Danger and Distress: and, consequently, we have all the Assurance, which a Matter of Fast, at this distance of time, is capable of, that this great Article of our Religion, as it is related by the Evangelifts, is literally true, .
THE 234 Section treats of the Insufficiency of Reason, and Neceflity of Revelation. To which it is objected, " That since God, from the be6 ginning, must be supposed to give Mankind os fomne Religion, that Religion must be what. 66 we call the Religion of Nature, which, coming 66 from a Being infinitely perfect, must be equally « perfect itself, and consequently, uncapable of 6 any Alteration or Addition: That, since God « was minded that all Men pould come to the « Knowledge of the Truth, he must be supposed to < have given all Men'the means of knowing it ; 66 which can be no other than the due Exercise of 6. their rational Faculties, sufficient to instruct " them in all religious Duties, which result either 65 from the fitness of things, or the Relations " they stand in to God, or to one another : 4 and therefore, since the Religion of Nature 66 is perfect, and the Use of our Reason suffies cient to understand it, all supernatural Helps " are superfluous'; and confequently, the Chri- . • ftian Revelation, which pretends to be such, 16 niuft either be a Deception in the whole, or
only a Republication of the Laws of Nature, cc For God, who is no arbitrary Being, can 86 require nothing of us by Revelation, that he « has not required before; nor are we to ad“ mit any Doctrines or Institutions as Matters