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The records, and the facts they relate, are again attested by a series of subsequent witnesses. Clement, mentioned in the Epistle to the Philippians as the fellow-labourer of Paul, wrote an Epistle to the church of Corinth, some time after the destruction of Jerusalem. This epistle was held in such high esteem by the Christians, as to be publicly read, like the Scriptures, in many churches. As its object was to compose some dissensions which had arisen, it does not enlarge upon the facts of the Gospel; but it adverts to the resurrection of Christ, and thus describes the Apostles,—“ receiving the commandments, and being filled with full certainty by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and confirmed by the Word of God, with the assurance of the Holy Spirit, they went out announcing the advent of the kingdom of God.”

The epistles of Ignatius immediately follow ; with a letter addressed to the Philippians by Polycarp, who suffered martyrdom in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, replying, when urged to revile Christ,-“Fourscore and six years have I served him, and he has never done me any injury. How can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?” Papias, a hearer of the apostle John, a companion of Polycarp, a great collector of the sayings of the Apostles, left five books “On the Interpretation of the Divine Oracles,” which were extant in the time of Eusebius. Then followed Hegesippus, a Hebrew, who wrote a valuable ecclesiastical history as a continuation of that of Luke, but which has long been lost. Three other Hebrews, Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus, distinguished themselves by their translations of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek; their versions being quoted with great respect by all Christian writers. These (with the omission of many names of less note,) bring us down to the time of Justin Martyr,-i. e. to more than a century and a half from the appearance and prophesying of John in the desert. Justin Martyr was the author of many works which bore witness to the facts and records of the Gospel, though his partiality for the Platonic philosophy led him to corrupt the Christian doctrine in a manner the evil conse


quences of which he little foresaw. It would have been well if Christians in after ages had been willing to accept the lesson offered by his controversy with your countryman Trypho, who had the advantage of him in the argument respecting the nature of Christ, however right Justin Martyr might be respecting the office of the Messiah. It cannot be necessary to pursue further the series of written testimonies. You need only refer to all the writings of that time now extant, to be convinced that in the very first age of the Christian church, when the witnesses for or against the Messiahship of Jesus were still living, the facts of his miracles, prophecies and resurrection were as confidently assumed by the teachers of the people, as by the same class of men in the present day. The writings of the Evangelists and Apostles were publicly read in the churches, and none succeeded in shaking their authority. Those yet living who had seen Christ between his resurrection and ascension, testified to this fact in their old age; while those who had died, left their testimony in the form of tradition, and it was never contradicted. While the evidence of the facts was still accessible to all, while enemies were fiercely active, while all the superstitions of the multitude were arrayed against the Faith,—that Faith stood its ground by an appeal to fact alone, till the records of facts had become so numerous as to render the overthrow of the Faith impossible.

It is interesting, though it may not be necessary, to observe how perfectly the traditionary as well as the written testimony is kept up till beyond the time at which we are resting. This happened through the friendship which subsisted between a few Christian professors who successively lived to a great age. Polycarp was educated by the Apostles, and conversed with many

who had seen Christ. He had an attentive hearer in Irenæus, who suffered martyrdom in A.D. 202, and who in his old-age wrote to Florinus the letter preserved by Eusebius, from which the following is an extract.

I saw you, when I was very young, in the Lower Asia with Polycarp. For I better remember the affairs of that time than those which have lately happened the things which we learn in our childhood, growing up in the soul, and uniting themselves to it. Insomuch, that I can tell the place in which the blessed Polycarp sat and taught, and his going out and coming in, and the manner of his life, and the form of his person, and his discourses to the people ; and how he related his

; conversation with John, and others who had seen the Lord; and how he related their sayings, and what he had heard from them concerning the Lord, both concerning his miracles and his doctrines, as he had received them froin eye-witnesses of the Word of Life: all which Polycarp related agreeably to the Scriptures. These things I then, through the mercy of God toward me, diligently heard and attended to, recording them not on paper

upon my

heart.” Here is no doubt, no shifting, no chasm to be filled up by probabilities. Irenæus saw and heard Polycarp; Polycarp saw and heard the Apostles, who witnessed of Christ. Thus, while there had been five apostolic fathers, and a rapid succession of Christian writers, nine of whose compositions fill up the interval between Irenæus and Polycarp, the verbal testimony is carried down by two old men to 200 years from the birth of Christ. A very powerful evidence appeals to you

from the

pages of the New Testament, which is lost upon the generality of Christians. Even the most learned among us can scarcely be so well able as yourselves to appreciate the exact accordance of the Gospel narratives with whatever is known of Hebrew antiquities; yet by a comparison of the evangelical writings with your Scriptures, and with the works of Hebrew authors of later days, enough may be ascertained to prove that the books were not only written by Hebrews, but in the time and place where they purport to have been written. Those of our scholars who devote themselves for a while to the study of your language, literature and antiquities, find, on their return to the Gospel histories, that they can almost imagine themselves set down in


Judea, eighteen hundred years ago. They can in imagination traverse the Temple, from the porticos to the treasury, from the treasury to the altar, and from the altar to the threshold of the Holy place; they can join the groups going up to make their offerings; they can behold the smoke rising from the morning and evening sacrifice. In private dwellings, also, they can recognise familiar objects in the apartments, the costume, the furniture, the modes of exercising hospitality, of practising devotion, of feasting, and of mourning. They can look abroad on the noonday glare, on the sudden sweeping storms of your land; marking how the herbs wither on the parched rocks, and how dwellings are washed down by the descending floods. They can go down the rugged and perilous way from Jerusalem to Jericho, or overlook the reedy banks of Jordan, or gaze on the mountains and groves reflected in the calm expanse of the Lake of Tiberias. They can look into the chambers of sepulchres, and pass the palace of the high-priest, and enter the judgement-hall of the Roman governor.-If this familiarity is so striking to them, how much more welcome must it be to you!

Let it be remarked, that not only are descriptions given and allusions made which are undoubtedly real, but much of the history, and many discourses, are so involved in these external realities as to be inseparable from them. In the first case, proof would be afforded that the narratives were penned by Hebrews:-as it is, we acknowledge the proof that the things related actually took place; that the discourses actually arose from the suggestions of surrounding objects. Any Jewish writer who wrote respecting Jesus, without having been a witness, i. e. without authority, might describe him as sitting on Jacob's well at Sychar, or in a boat on the lake, or lifting up his voice in the temple: he might relate how a woman came forth to draw water, in one case: how the multitudes assembled on the shore, in another; and in a third, how the temple was thronged with worshipers who came up to the feast. But


descriptions like these give no such impression of reality as is felt when those who understand the history and localities read what Jesus said of the widow who cast her offering into the treasury; in what manner the paralytic man was brought before him; how the temple was purified from the profane traffic carried on within its walls; how the great prophecy respecting the destruction of your state was suggested by observations on the magnificence of the temple; how the nightwatches passed in that dark time when the Disciples forsook their master and Peter himself denied him. The history, as a whole, is so involved in political circumstances, as to fix its date precisely: the many narratives which it comprehends are so inextricably associated with scenes and circumstances elsewhere described and attested, as to be capable of strict verification; and the discourses are so interwoven with external realities of every kind, as to be recognised as true and faithfully reported wherever a competent knowledge of those realities exists. It is enough to have suggested an examination into this species of evidence; for its interest must surely prove a sufficient incitement to its pursuit.

SECTION VI.-Conclusion.


The designs of the Supreme respecting the spiritual education of the human race have now been inferred from a survey of the history of the race, and a comparison of his Providence towards your nation in particular, with that experienced by mankind in general. The truth having been established that a revelation was given, the extent of that revelation was next ascertained ; it having been proved that Christianity is the appointed continuation and consummation of Judaism. The evidence that it is so, springs from the clear connexion, from the obvious unity, of what have been commonly called two systems; from their unity of object and of plan; from the strict

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