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stances of it are related with the greatest Plainness imaginable ; they all concur in their Testimony, and the greatest Sufferings never prevailed upon them to deny or conceal it. And it is not to be imagined, that so many among the first converts to Christianity, that were famous for their Learning and Judgment, and inquisitive Temper, brought up in the Prejudices of a false Religion, should have declared themselves Worshippers of a crucified Saviour under all worldly Disadvantages, if the Evidence of our Saviour's Resurrection upon the stricteft Examination had not appeared in the clearest Light, and that there had been no Doubt remaining concerning the Truth of it.
Q. How was the Resurrection of our Saviour an Evidence of bis divine Mission ?
A. In that it fulfilled the Prophecy concerning the Mesñas, that He should not see Corruption; and in that it confirmed the Truth of what our Saviour had afferted in Relation to his being the true Meffias, and the Son of God, agreeable to those Apprehensions and Expectations which the Jews had concerning the Messias. For God, by raising him from the Dead, did plainly demonstrate to the World, that our Saviour was no. Impofter, and that he did not vainly arrogate to himself those Titles of King of Israel, and Son of God, for which he was crucified and put to Death; for if such Evidence as this could be given to a Deceiver, we should be at a Loss ever to distinguish a true Prophet.
Q. What Evidence had our Saviour besides Miracles of bis being a Person sent from God?
10. Mat. 20. 19.
A. He had the utmost Testimony of divine Authority by the Spirit of Prophecy, which refided in him, and was made manifest by the Accomplishments of his own Predictions, and whenever the Predictions have been plain and clear, and the Event answerable, it hath always been counted a sure Proof of a divine Mission; upon which Account the Angel tells St. John, That the Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Rev. 19. Prophecy. Thus our Saviour foretold his own Death, with the Manner of it, and the Circumstances of his Sufferings, the Treachery of fu- Mark 10. das, the Cowardice of his Disciples, and St. Pe-33, 34, ter's denying bim ; his own Resurrection, and Mat. 16.
21.26.21, the Descent of the Holy Ghost in those miraculous Powers we now commemorate. He pro-Luke 24 phesied of the Destruction of Jerusalem, which 49.
Mark 16. came to pass in forty Years after his own Death, within the Compass of that Generation, Mat. 24 as he had foretold ; the very Foundations of the Temple and City were destroyed, and the Ground plowed up, so that there was not left one Stone upon another that was not thrown down, according to our Saviour's Prediction. And indeed the Signs that he foretold should fore-run the Destruction of that City, with the concomitant and subsequent Circumstances, exactly agree with that punctual and credible History of the Fact related by Josephus a Jew. He assured his Disciples, that his Gospel should be published in all Nations, and that his Reli-Mat. 24. gion should prevail against all the Opposition 14: of worldly power and Malice, and that the 28. 19:
16. 18. Gates of Hell fbould not prevail against it. Now these Things being purely contingent in respect of us, and many of them unlikely to
happen, the fulfilling of such Predictions do argue a prophetick Spirit in our Saviour, and consequently a divine Authority.
Q. What Evidence did the Apostles give of their divine Million ?
A. As Witnesses they justified the Credibility of their Testimony, in testifying only of such Things as they themselves had seen and heard, and in venturing their Lives for this Testimony, and fealing it with their Blood. And God was pleased to confirm this Testimony, by endowing them with the Power of working Miracles, whereby they spoke all Languages, healed Diseases, cast out Devils, foretold Things to come, raised the Dead; which sensible Demonstrations of a divine Power gave Credit to their Testimony among those to whom they were otherwise unknown.
Q. What Proof have After-ages of the miraculous Evidence that was given to the Truth of the Christian Religion ?
A. They have a credible Account and Relation of those Matters of Fact transmitted down to them through all Ages to this Time, in such a Manner, and with such Evidence, that they have no Reason to doubt of the Truth of them ; for all those general Rules before-mentioned concur; which, when they meet, the Matters of Fact cannot be false. These Things being transacted many Years ago, must rely up
: on the Testimony we call moral Evidence; and though these After-ages must want the Evidence those had, that were contemporary with our Saviour and his Apostles, yet they have other Advantages to supply that Defect. They have the Reason and Judgment of the most con
siderable Part of Mankind for Wisdom and Impartial Consideration to confirm them. They can compare the Events already passed with the Predictions; they see the Dispersion of the Jews in all Nations, and that they have for above sixteen hundred Years continued a distinct People ; a Monumnet of the divine Justice, and a standing Testimony of the Truth of our Saviour's · Predictions, and of the Christian Religion. They have the wonderful Success of the Gospel in Verefication of Prophecy, notwithstanding the Opposition of the Power and Malice of the World; and the wonderful Prefervation of it, through all the various Scenes of Prosperity and Adverfity. And it is likely, that they that believe not at a Distance under such strong Motives of Credibility, would not have believed, if they had been Eye and Ear-witnesses of our Saviour and his Apostles.
Q. Pray new how the four Rules mentioned in the former Chapter concerning Matters of Fact, meet in the Matters of Fact recorded in the Gospel of our blessed Saviour, fince, where they meet, the Matters of Fact cannot be false?
A. According to the two first Rules the Matters of Fact of the Gospel were such as Mens outward Senses, their Eyes and Ears could judge of, and were done publickly in the Face of the World ; and thus our Saviour argues with his Accusers, I spake openly to the World, and in se-John 18. cret I have said nothing : And it is related in the 20. Asts, that three thousand at one Time, and five Aes 2.41. thousand at another, were converted upon the Conviction of what themselves had seen, what had been done publickly before their Eyes,
wherein it was impossible to have imposed upon them. Then for the two last Rules we find Baptism and the Lord's Supper were instituted as perpetual Memorials of these Things, and this at the very Time when these Things were said to be done ; and have been observed without Interruption in all Ages through the whole Christian World, down all the way from that Time to this : And Christ himself did ordain Apostles and other Ministers of his Gospel to preach and administer these Sacraments, and to govern his Church, and that always unto the End of the World ; and they have accordingly continued to this Day, and consequently are as notorious a Matter of fact, as the Tribe of Levi was among the Jews. So that if the Gospel were a Fiction, and invented, as it must be, in some Ages after Christ, then at that Time when it was first invented, there could be no such Sacraments, nor Order of Clergy, as derived themselves from the Institution of Christ ; which must give the Lie to the Gospel, and demonstrate the whole to be false ; and therefore by the last two Rules, it was as impossible to have imposed upon Mankind in this Matter, by inventing it in After-ages, as at the Time when those Things were said to be done.
Q. How doth the intrinfick Evidence of the Christian Revelation confirm the external Evidence that was given to it?
A. In that it excels all other Institutions of Religion that ever appeared in the World. It is every Way worthy of God, and entirely beneficial to his Creatures, and agreeable to the belt Reason and Sense of Mankind. And where