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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 profeffed and bitter enemies to the Christian religion. Not to mention Simon Magus and many others, I shall only take notice of 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. I Mall only add, that evil spirits cannot be supposed to have concurred in the establishment of a religion which triumphed over them, drove them out of the places they pofleffed, and divested them of their influence on mankind ; nor would I mention this particular, though it be unanimously reported by all the ancient Christian authors, did it not appear, from the authorities above cited, that this was a fact confessed by Heathens themselves.
V. We now see what a multitude of Pagan teftimonies may be produced for all those remarkable pafrages, which might have been expected from them; and indeed of several, that, I believe, do more than answer your expeétation, as they were not subjects in their own nature fo exposed to public notoriety. It cannot be expected they should mention particulars which were transacted among the disciples only, or among some few even of the disciples themselves ; such as the transfiguration, the agony in the garden, the appearance of Christ after his resurrection, and others of the like nature. It was impossible for a Heathen author to relate thefe things; because, if he had believed them, he would no longer have been a Heathen, and by that means his testimony would not have been thought of so much validity. Befides, his very report of facts, so favourable to Chriftianity, would have prompted men to say that he was probably tainted with í heir doctrine.' We have a parallel cafe in Hecatæus, a famous Greek historian, who had several pallages in his book conformable to the history of the Jewith writers, which, when quoted by Josephus, as a confirmation of the Jewish hiftory, when his Heathen adversaries could give no other answer to it, they would need suppose that Hecatæus was a Jew in his heart, though they had no other reason for it, but because his history gave greater authority to the Jewish than the Egyptian records.
SECTION III. 1. Introduction to a second list of Pagan Authors, who give testimony of
our Saviour. II. A poljage concerning cur Saviour, from a learned Athenian. III. His conversion from Paganism to Ch: islianity makes his evidencé
tronger than if he had continued a Pagan. IV. Of another Athenian Philosopher converted to Christianity. V. Why their conversion, instead of weakoning, strengthens their evidence
in defence of Christianity. VI. Their belief in our Saviour's hiflory founded at first upon the prine
ciples of historical faith. VII. Their testimonies extended to all the particulars of our Saviour's history, VIII. As related by the four Evangelists.
I. TO this list of Heathen writers, who make mention of our Saviour, or touch upon any particulars of his life, I shall add those authors who were at first Heathens, and afterwards converted to Christianity; upon which account, as I shall here shew, their testimonies are to be looked upon as the most authentic. And in this list of evidences, I shall confine myfelf to such learned Pagans as came over to Christianity in the three first centuries, because those were the times in which men had the best means of informing themselves of the truth of our Saviour's history, and because among the great number of philosophers who came in afterwards, under the reigns of Chrifa tian emperors, there might be several who did it partly out of worldly motives.
11. Let us now suppose, that a learned Heathen writer, who lived within fixty years of our Saviour's crucifixion, after having shewn that false miracles were generally wrought in obfcurity, and before few or no witnesses, speaking of those which were wrought by our Saviour, has the following paflage : “ But his works were always seen, because
they were true ; they were seen by those who were healed, and by “ those who were raised from the dead. Nay, these persons who were " thus healed and raised, were seen not only at the time of their " being healed and raised, but long afterwards. Nay, they were not “ seen only all the while our Saviour was upon earth, but survived " after his departure out of this world; nay, some of them were living, “ in our days.
III. I dare say you would look upon this as a glorious attestation, for the cause of Christianity, had it come from the hand of a famous Athenian' philosopher. These forementioned words, however, are actually the words of one who lived about fixty years after our Saviour's crucifixion, and was a famous philosopher in Athens; but it will be faid, he was a convert to Christianity. Now consider this matter impartially, and see if his testimony is not much more valid for that reafon. Had he continued a Pagan philofopher, would not the world have said, that he was not sincere in what he writ, or did not believe it? for, if 1o, would not they have told us he would have embraced Christianity?' This was indeed the case of this excellent man: he G 2
had so thoroughly examined the truth of our Saviour's history, and the excellency of that religion which he taught, and was so entirely convinced of both, that he became a profelyte, and died a martyr.
IV. Aristides was an Athenian philosopher, at the same time famed for his learning and wisdom, but converted to Christianity. As it cannot be questioned that he perused and approved the apology of Quadratus, in which is the paflage just now cited, he joined with him in an apology of his own, to the same emperor, on the same subject. This apology, though now loft, was extant in the time of Ado Vinnensis, A. D. 789, and highly esteemed by the most learned Athenians, as that author witnesses. It must have contained great arguments for the truth of our Saviour's history, because in it he asserted the divinity of our Saviour, which could not but engage him in the proof of his miracles.
V. I do allow that, generally speaking, a man is not so acceptable and unquestioned an evidence in facts which make for the advancement of his own party. But we must consider, that, in the case before us, the persons to whom we appeal were of an opposite party, till they were persuaded of the truth of those very facts which they report. They bear evidence to a history in defence of Christianity, the truth of which history was their motive to embrace Christianity. They attest facts which they had heard while they were yet Heathens ; and, had they not found reafon to believe them, they would still have continued Heathens, and have made no mention of them in their writings.
VI. When a man is born under Christian parents, and trained up in the profession of that religion from a child, he generally guides himself by the rules of Christian faith, in believing what is delivered by the Evangelifts : but 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, veracity, and private characters of those persons; and being convinced, on all accounts, that they had the fame reason to believe the history of our Saviour, as that of any other person to 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 history. This they did accordingly, and in consequence of it published the fame truths themselves, suffered many afflictions, and very often death itself, in the affertion of them. When I say, that an historical belief of the acts of our Saviour induced these learned Pagans to embrace his doctrine, I do not deny that there were many other motives which conduced. to it; as the excellency of his precepts, the fulfilling of prophecies, the miracles of his disciples, the irreproachable lives and magnanimous sufferings of their followers, with other considerations of the same nature : but, whatever other collateral arguments wrought more or less with philosophers of that age, it is certain that a belief in the history of our Saviour was one motive with every new convert, and that upon which all others turned, as being the very basis and foundation of Christianity.
VII. To this I must further add, that, as we have already seen many particular facts, which are recorded in Holy Writ, attested by particular Pagan authors, the testimony of those I am now going to produce, extends to the whole history of our Saviour, and to that continued series of actions which are related of him and his disciples in the books of the New Testament.
VIII. This evidently appears from their quotations out of the Evangelists, for the confirmation of any doctrine or account of our blessed Saviour. Nay, a learned man of our nation, who examined the writings of our most ancient fathers in another view, refers to reveral passages in Irenæus, Tertullian, Clemens of Alexandria, Origen, and Cyprian, by which he plainly thews, that each of these wri. ters ascribed to the four Evangelists by name their respective histories; so that there is not the least room for doubting of their belief in the history of our Saviour, as recorded in the Gospels. I shall only add, that three of the five fathers here mentioned, and probably four, were Pagans converted to Chriftianity, as they were all of them very inquisitive and deep in the knowledge of heathen learning and ptilosophy.
SECTION IV. 1. Chara&ter of the times in which the Christian Religion was fropagated, Il. And of many who embraced it. JI. Three eminent and early instances. IV. Multitudes of learned men who came over to it. V. Belief in our Saviour's history, the first motive to their conversion. VI. The names of several Pagun philosophers, who were Christian con
I. IT happened very providentially to the honour of the Christian religion, that it did not take its rise in the dark illiterate ages of the world, but at a time when arts and sciences were at their height, and when there were men who made it the business of their lives to search after truth, and sift the several opinions of philosophers and wise men concerning the duty, the end, and chief happiness of reasonable crea
II. 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 that fect; notwithstanding by this profession, in that juncture of time, they bid farewell to all the pleasures of this life, renounced all the views of ambition, engaged in an uninterrupted course of severities, and exposed themselves to public hatred and contempt, to sufferings of all kinds, and to death itself.
III, Оf this fort we may reckon those three early converts to Christianity, who each of them was a member of a fenate famous for its wisdom and learning. Joseph the Arimathean was of the Jewish Sanhedrim; Dionysius, of the Athenian Areopagus; and Flavius Clemens, of the Roman Senate ; nay, at the time of his death, consul of Rome. These three were so thoroughly satisfied of the truth of the Christian religion, that the first of them, according to all the reports of antiquity, dicd a martyr for it; as did the second, unlefs we disbelieve Aristides, his fellow-citizen and contemporary; and the third, as we are informed both by Roman and Christian authors.
IV. Among those innumerable multitudes who in most of the known nations of the world came over to Christianity at its first appearance, we may be sure, there were great numbers of wife and learned men, besides those whose names are in the Christian records, who without doubt took care to examine the truth of our Saviour's hiftory, before they would leave the religion of their country and their forefathers, for the sake of one that would not only cut them off from the allurements of this world, but subject them to erery thing terrible or disagreeable in it. Tertullian tells the Roman governors, that their corporations, councils, armnies, tribes, companies, the palace, fenate, and courts of judicature, were filled with Chriftians; as Arnobius afferts, that men of the finest parts and learning, orators, grammarians, rhetoricians; lawyers, physicians, philosophers, defpising the sentiments they had been once fond of, took up their rett in the Christian religion.
V. Wbo can imagine that men of this character did not thoroughly inform themselves of the history of that person whose doctrines they embraced ? for, however consonant to reason his precepts appeared, how good soever were the effects which they produced in the world, nothing could have tempted men to acknowledge him as their God and Saviour, but their being firmly persuaded of the miracles he wrought, and the many attestations of his divine million, which were to be met with in the history of his life, This was the groundwork of the Christian religion ; and, if this failed, the whole superstructure funk with it. This point, therefore, of the truth of our Saviour's history, as recorded by the Evangelifts, is every where taken for granted in the writings of those who from Pagan philosophers became Chriftian authors, and who, by reafen of their conversion, are to be looked upon as of the strongeit collateral testimony for the truth of what is deliyered concerning our Saviour.
VI. 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 of learning in those ages of the world, we find in Athens, Dionyfius, Quadratus, Aristides, Athenagoras; and, in Alxandria, Dionysius, Clemens, Ammonius, and Anatolius, to