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in Knowledge, or he could not have " known "what was in Man," (see John ii. 25.) or "per"ceived the Thoughts of the Heart" (see Luke ix. 47.) but he did not exert either in his ordinary Course of living, and upon every Occasion that offered itself. In short, if Men would separate the Passages relating to the Divine Nature of Christ from those that respect his human, instead of blending and confounding them together, their Faith would be more clearly ascertained, and innumerable Objections of this Sort effectually removed.—But of this, more hereafter.—There can be no reasonable Doubt then of the Divinity of Jesus Christ, nor, by Parity of Argument, of that of the Holy Ghost, provided we allow their just Weight to the many Texts declarative of his Personality, his Attributes, &c. &c. the Sense of which cannot be affected by Expressions plainly figurative and metaphorical only, or relative to Christ's human Character; I say, there can be no' Doubt in either Case, if we can depend upon the Sincerity and Veracity of those who have given us such clear Accounts of the Life, Actions, and Doctrine of Jesus Christ*
Now, not to enlarge upon the many Points that have been often urged upon this Head, as, the extreme Folly and Imprudence, the imminent Hazard and Danger, and the apparent Impossibility of their supporting an Imposture, and obtruding it
E 2 . , upon upon the World; I shall beg Leave to take Notice of one Circumstance only, which I look upon to be equivalent to a Demonstration of the Integrity of their Hearts, and consequently of the Truth of what they have asserted: I mean, the Manner in which they generally relate several Particulars of the Life and Actions of their Master.
It had been natural for Men, who were chosen Instruments of Imposture, to have magnified and extolled every thing that might derive Honour on their Leader, to have displayed to all possible Advantage the Success of his Preaching, and the wonderful Propagation of his Gospel; and to have omitted, or, as much as in them lay, disguised every Circumstance of the least Reproach, or Disparagement to his Person and Authority; nor can it be denied that the Apostles were endued with Sagacity equal to such obvious Precautions as these; at least, that their Master was able to have given them Instructions for such Purposes. We find them nevertheless relating in the most minute and exact Manner, and with that unaffected Simplicity which is always the Handmaid of Truth, the mean and humble Circumstances that distinguished his Life, and the ignominious ones that preceded his Death, together with several other Particulars which the usual Cunning of Impostors would have been industrious to conceal: Insomuch that by
faithfully recording the many Difficulties and Obstructions the Gospel originally met with from the World, they themselves furnish Infidels at this very Day with Objections, such as they are, to the Christian Dispensation. Thus, they tell us that our Saviour's own Countrymen, astonished as they were as well at his Doctrines as his Miracles, could not bring themselves to acknowledge the Force of them, or shake off the Prejudice they had conceived against the Meanness of his Family, and the Obscurity of his worldly Station. c Many hearing him were ajlonijhed, faying, from whence hath this Man these 'Things? And what Wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty Works are morought by his Hands? Is not this the Carpenter, the Son of Mary, the Brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his Sisters here with us? And they were offended at him"—In another Place we are informed, that his own Friends, upon observing the great Multitudes that continually surrounded him, resolved the whole of his Conduct into the Warmth of a strong Imagination, and the Flights of a blind Enthusiasm: f And the Multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat Bread: And when his Friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him ; for they said he is beside himself? I need not dwell here upon the still more ridicu
c Markvi. 2, 3. f Mark iii. 20, 21.
E 3 lous lous and wicked Calumny of his Enemies, the Scribes and Pharijees, who, we know, ascribed the Power by which he cast out Devils to his Correspondence with evil Spirits, and a Commission from Satan himself.
Again, we are told that his Pretensions to Divinity, notwithstanding the many Proofs he gave of it, were generally received by the Jews with the highest Resentment and Indignation; thus when he plainly and peremptorily declared the Reality of his Existence before Abraham, s Before Abraham was, I am; they took up Stones to cajl at him. And when, in Answer to the solemn Adjuration of the High Priest, he explicitly asserted his Power and Godhead, he was immediately considered as a horrid Blasphemer by the whole infatuated Assembly.—And lastly, to mention one Particular more, when he abundantly confirmed all he had said and done by his Resurrection, the Chief Priests, we are told, endeavoured to stifle the Splendour of so glorious a Truth, by encouraging a Report h that his Disciples came by Night,
andstole him away, while the Soldiers slept.
To these Accounts we may add here those of the Miracles above taken Notice of; for if Jesus Christ either curst the Fig-tree, or sent the Herd of Swine into the' Sea, With any undue Views or
s Johnviii. 58, &c. "> Matth. xxviii. 13.
Motives whatsoever, or to any injurious Effect, all Circumstances known and considered; we may fairly presume either that the Evangelists would have past over these Facts in Silence, or have given us more plausible Narrations of them. And lastly, with regard to that most important Article, the Resurrection of our Lord from the Dead, they must either wilfully endeavour to deceive the World, which, whether we consider the Number, the Simplicity, the Probity, the present or future Interest of these Witnesses, it is scarce possible to conceive: or else, (which are the only remaining Cases to be supposed) they themselves, and 1 jive hundred Brethren at once, were deceived by the Phantoms of their own Imaginations, or by diabolical Delusion and Enchantment.
How far either of these Cases might be absolutely impossible, I will not pretend to say; but surely if our Belief is to be determined by the Strength of Evidence, and the Force of Reason and Argument, it is infinitely more probable that the Apostles upon this Occasion spake forth the Words of 'Truth and Soberness, than that they were combined in the Publication of a Falfhood, or were themselves under the Influence of any Delusion whatsoever: especially if we consider, that
i 1 Cor. xv. 6.