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1x. Celadion, ten ; but in Eusebias's computation, fourteen. Cena X. Agrippinus, fourteen ; according to Eusebius, twelve. so danes XI. Julianus, fifteen ; though Eusebius allows but ten.
31 db XII, Demetrios, twenty-one ; according to Eusebius, forty-three.
XIII. Heraclas, a man of philosophical genius and way of life. He sas sixteen years ; though Nicephorus of Constantinople, by a mistake, we suppose, for his predecessor, makes it forty-three.
XIV. Dionysius, seventeen. He was one of the most eminent bishops of his time. He died in the twelfth year of the emperor Gallineas.
Xy. Maximus. Of a presbyter he was made bishop of Alexandria. He sat in that chair eighteen years
, according to Eusebius's computation; though Nicephorus of Constantinople assigns him
bat eight. XVI. Theonas, seventeen; or according to St. Jerom's version of Eusebius nineteen, to him succeeded,
XVII. Petrus, twelve. He began his office three years before the last persecution. A man of infinite strictness and accuracy, and of indefatigable industry for the good of the church. He suffered in the ninth year of the persecution, gaining the crown of martyrdom with the loss of his head.
XVIII. Achillas, nine ; though Nicephorus of Constantinople allows bim but one year. By him Arins, upon his submission, was ordained presbyter,
XIX. Alexander, twenty-three. Uuder him Arius began more openly to broach his heresy at Alexandria, and shortly after condemned by the fathers of the council of Nice. Nevertheless, his abominable tenets have infected the church more or less, to the present day, and are openly avowed by the enemies of the gospel of Jesus, who is God over all, blesa sed for ever. Amen.
to drys THE EVIDENCES Upon w'ich
CHRISTIANITY is founded; including a Complete Defence of Christianity, together with plain and satisfactory Answers to
all objections made against our Holy Religion by Jeros, Atheists, DeSelists, Infidels, Free-Trinkers, &c. &c.destina it' AMONGST other andoubted anthorities concerning our Saviour and his miracles, extant among Pagan writers, the particolara which follow, are all attested by some one or other of those Heathea authors, who lived in or near the age of our Saviour and his disciples. Identitas ***** That Augustus Cæsar had ordered the whole empire to be censed and taxéd,” which brought our Saviour's reputed parents to Bethlehem this is mentioned hy several Roman historians, as Tacitus. Suetonius, and Dion. * That a great light, or a new star appeared in the East, which directed the wise men to our Saviour :"> this is recorded by Chalcidius. * That Herod, the king of Palestine, so often mentioned in the Roman history, made a great slaughter of innocent children,” being so jealous of his "successor, that he pot to death his own sons on that account"; this character of him is given by several historians, and this crvel fact mentioned by Ma. *crobius, a Heatben author, who tells it as a known thing, without any remark upon it." 'Flat our Saviour had been "in Egypt:" "thie, Celsos, though he raises a monstrous story upon it, iş so far from denying, that the tells us oor Saviour learned the arts of magic in that country. That Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea that our Saviour was brought in judgment before him, and by him condemded and crucified :" this is recorded by 'facitus. '* 'That many miraculous cores and works, out of the ordinary course of nature were wrought by him." This is confessed by Julian ihe apostate, Porphyry, and Hierocles, all of them, not only Pagans, but professed enemies and persecutors of Christianity. That our Sava jour, foretold several things which came to pass according to his predic
jection so very frivolous and groundless that we may venture to call it even blasphemy against common sense. It would be absurd to imagine ahat evil spirits would enter into a combination with our Saviour to cut off all their correspondence and intercourse with mankind, and to prevent any for the future from addicting themselves to those rites and ceremonies, which had done them so much honour. We see the early effect which Christianity had on the minds of men in this particular, by that number of books which were filled with the secrets of magic, and made a sacrifice to Christianity by the converts mentioned in the Acts of the apostles. We have likewise an eminent instance of the inconsistency of our religion with magie, in the history of the famous Aquila. This person, who was e kinsman of the emperor Trajan, and likewise a man of great learning, notwithstanding
be bad embraced Christainity, could not be brought off from the studies of magic, by the repeated admonitions of his fellow Christians ; so that at length
they expelled him their society, as rather choosing to lose the reputation of so considerable a proselyte, than communicate with one who dealt in such dark and infernal practices. Besides, we may observe, that all the favourers of magic were the most professed and bitter enemies to the Christian religion ; not to mention Simon Magus and many others, we shall only take notice of those two great persecutors of Christianity, the emperors Adrian and Julian the apostate, both of them initiated in the mysteries of divination, and skilled in all the depths of magic. We shak only add, that evil spirits can not be supposed to have concurred in the establishment of a religion, which triumphed over them, drove them out of the places they possessed, and divested them of their influence on mankind; nor would we mention this particular, though it be Christian authors, did it not appear from the authorities above cited, that this was a fact confessed by Heathens themselves.
When a man is born under Christian parents, and trained op in the profession of religion from a child, he generally guides himself by the rules of Christian faith, in believing what is delivered by the evangelists; the learned Pagans of antiquity, before they became Christians, were only guided by the common rules of historical faith; that is, they examined the nature of the evidence which was to be met with in common fame, tradition and the writings of those persons who related them, together with the number, concurrence, veraeity, and private characters of those persons ; and being convinced upon all accounts, that they had the same reason to believe the history of our Saviour, as that of any other person at which they themselves were not actually eye witnesses, they were bound by all the rules of historical faith, and of right reason to give credit to this histosy. This they did accordingly, and in consequence of it, published the same truths themselves, soffered many affictions, and very often death itself, in the assertion of them. 76 A learned man of our nation, who examined the writings of our most ancient fathers, refers to several passages in Irenæus, Tertullian, Clemens of Alexandria, Origen, and Cyprian, hy which he plainly shews, that each of these early writers, ascribed to the four evangelists by name their respective histories : so that there is not the least room for doubting of their be. Jief in the listory of our Saviour, as recorded in the gospels. We shall only add, that three of the five fathers here mentioned, and probably four, were Pagans converted to Christianity, as they were all of them very inquisitive and deep in the knowledge of heathen learning and philosophy.
Several of these, therefore, when they had informed themselves of our Saviour's history, and examined with unprejudiced minds the doctrines and manners of his disciples and followers, were so struck and convinced, that they professed themselves of the fact ; notwithstanding, by this profession in that juncture of time, they bid farewell to all the pleasure of this life, renounced all the views of ambition, engaged in an uninterrupted course of severities, and exposed thera selves to the public hatred and contempt, to sufferings of all kinds, and to death itaclf. Of this sort we may reckon
Those three early converts to Christianity, who each of them was a member of a senate famous for it's wisdom and learning. Joseph the Arimathean, was of the Jewish Sanhedrim: Dyonisins, of the Athepian Aceopagus ; and Fhivius Clemens, of the Roman senate; nay at the time of his death eonsal of Rome.
Tertulian tells the Roman governors, that their cotporations, councils, armies, tribes, companies, the palace, senate, and courts of judicature were filled with Christains ; as Arnobius asserts, that men of the finest part and learning, oratory grammarians, retoritians, lawyers, physicians, phi, Josophers, despising the sentiments they had been once fond of, took op their rest in the Christian religion ; and who can imagine, that men of chim character did not theroughly inform themselves of the history of that person whose doctrines they embraced ?
Besides innumerable authors that are lost, we have the undoubted names works, or fragments of several Pagan Philosophers, which shew them to have been as learned as any unconverted Heathen authors of the age in which they lived. If we look into the greatest nurseries ef learning in those ages of the world, we find in Athens, Dionysius, Quadratus, Arislis des, and Athenagoras; and in Alexandria, Dionysius, Clemens, Ammonius, and to whom we may add Origen ; for though his father was a Christian martyr, he became without any controversy, the most learned and able philosopher of his age, by his education at Alexandria, in that famous semir hary of arts and sciences.
Heathens of every age, sex, and quality, born in the most different climates, and bred up under the most different institutions, when they saw men of plain sen'se without the help of learning, armed with patience and cograge, instead of wealth, pomp or power, expressing in their lives those excellent doctrines of morality, which they taught as delivered to them from our Saviour, averring that they had seen his miracles during his life, & conversed with him after his death, when they saw no suspicion of falsehood treachery, or worldly interest, in their behaviour and conversation, and that įhey submitted to the most ignominious and eruel deaths. rather than retract their testimony, or even be silent in matters which they were to publish by their Saviour's especial command, there was no reason to doubt of their veracity of those facts which they related, or of the divine mission in which they were employed.
A few persons of an odious and despised country, could not have filled the world with believers, had they not shewn ondoubted credentials from the divine Person who sent them on such a message. Accordingly, we are assured, that they were invested with the power of working miracles, which was the most short and the most coprincing argument that could be produced, and the only one that was adopted to the reason of all man. kind, to the capacities of the wise and ignorant, and could overcome every cavil-and every prejudice. Who would not believe that our Saviour heal ed the sick, and raised the dead, when it was published by those who them. selves often did the same miracles, in their presence, and in bis name? Could any reasonable person imagine, that God Almighty would arm men with such powers to anthorize a lie, and establish a religion in the world which was displeasing to him, or that evil spirits would lend them such an effectual assistance to beat down vice and idolatry.
When the apostles had formed many assembles in several parts of the Pa. gan world, who gave credit to the glad-tidings of the gospel, that, upoo their departure, the memory of what they had related might not perish, they appointed out of these new converts, men of the best sense and of the most únblemished lives, to preside over these several assemblies, and to in sulcate without ceasing, what they had heard from the mouths of these eye-witnesses.
We cannot imagine, that there was a single person arrived at any degree
age or consideration, who had not heard and repeated above a ihousa times in his life, all the particulars of our Sarieu's birth, life, death.
burrection, and ascension especially if we consider that they could not ihten be received as Christians, till they had undergone several examina tions. Persons of riper years, who flocked daily into the church during the three first
centuries, were obliged to pass through many repeated in structions, and give a strict account of their proficiency, before they were admitted to baptism. And as for those who were born of Christian pasents and had been baptized in their infancy, they were, with the like care, prepared and disciplined for confirmation, which they could not arrive at till they were found upon examination to have made a sufficient progress in the kaowledge of Christianity.
We must further observe, that theré was not only in those times this religious conversation amongst private Christians but a constant correspondence between the churches that were established by the apostles of their successors, in the several parts of the world. If any new doce trine was started, or any fact reported of our Saviour, a strict inquiry was made amongst the churches, especially those planted by the apostles themselves, whether they had received any such doctrine or account of our Saviour, from the mouths of the apostles, or the tradition of the Christians who had preceded the present members of the churches, which were thus consulted. By this means, when any novelty was published, it was immediately detected and censured.
St. John, who lived so many years after our Saviour, was appealed to in those emergencies, as the living oracle of the church, and as his oral testimony lasted the first century, many have observed, that, by a particu fat providence of God, several of cur Saviour's disciples, and of the early converts of his religion, lived to a very great age, that they might personally convey the truth of the gospel to those times, which were very remote from the first publication of it. Of these, besides St. John we have a remarkable instance in Simeon, who was one of the seventy sent forth by our Saviour, to publish the gospel before his crucifixion, and g bear kinsman to our Lord.
This venerable person, who had probably heard with his own eats, our Saviour's prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, presided over the charch established in that city, during the time of its memorable siege, and drew his congregation out of those dreadful and unparalleled calamities which befell bis countrymen, by following the advice our Saviour had given, when they should see Jerusalem encompassed with armies, and the Roman standards, or abomination of desolation, set up. He lived Lill the year of our Lord 107, when he was mertýred under the empero: Trajan.
Irenæus very aptly remarks, that those barbarous nations, who in his time were not possessed of the written gospels, and had only learned the history of our Saviour from those who had converted them to Christianity before the gospels were written, had amongst them the same accounts of our Saviour, which are to be met with in the four evangelists; an incontestable proof of the harmony and concurrence between the Holy Scrip ture and the tradition of the churches in those early times of Christianity. Thus we see what opportunities the learned and inquisitive Heathens had of informing themselves of the truth of our Saviour's history, during the three first centuries, especially as they lay nearer one than another to the fountain-head; besides which there were many uncontroverted traditione, records of Christianity, and particular histeries, that then threw Night into these matters but are now entirely lost.
We cannot omit that which appears to us a standing miracle in the three first centuries, namely, that amazing and supernatural courage or patience which was shewn by innumerable multitudes of martyrs, in those slow and painful torments that were inflicted on them. We cannot conceive a man placed in the burning iron chair at Lyons, amidst the insults and mackeries of a crowded amphitheatire and still keeping his seat ; or strelched upon a grate of iron, over coals of fire, and breathing out his