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In the remaining works of Ignatius, the contemporary of Polycarp, larger than those of Polycarp (yet, like those of Polycarp, treating of subjects in nowise leading to any recital of the Christian history), the occasional allusions are proportionably more numerous. The descent of Christ from David, his mother Mary, his miraculous conception, the star at his birth, his baptism by John, the reason assigned for it, his appeal to the prophets, the ointment poured on his head, his sufferings under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch, his resurrection, the Lord's Day called and kept in commemoration of it, and the eucharist, in both its parts,-are unequivocally referred to.Upon the resurrection, this writer is even circumstantial. He mentions the apostles' eating and drinking with Christ after he had risen; their feeling and their handling him; from which last circumstance Ignatius raises this just reflection:-"They believed, being convinced both by his flesh and spirit: for this cause, they despised death, and were found to be above it 17."

Quadratus, of the same age with Ignatius, has left us the following noble testimony:-"The works of our Saviour were always conspicuous, for they were real; both those that were healed, and those that were raised from the dead; who were seen not only when they were healed or raised, but for a long time afterwards; not only whilst he dwelled on this earth, but also after his departure, and for a good while after it, insomuch that some of them have reached to our times


Justin Martyr came little more than thirty years after Quadratus. From Justin's works, which are still extant, might be collected a tolerably complete Ap. Euseb. H. E. lib. iv. c. 3.

17 Ad Smyr. c. iii.


account of Christ's life, in all points agreeing with that which is delivered in our Scriptures; taken in deed, in a great measure, from those Scriptures, but still proving that this account, and no other, was the account known and extant in that age. The miracles, in particular, which form the part of Christ's history most material to be traced, stand fully and distinctly recognised in the following passage:—" He healed those who had been blind, and deaf, and lame from their birth; causing, by his word, one to leap, another to hear, and a third to see: and, by raising the dead, and making them to live, he induced, by his works, the men of that age to know him 19."

It is unnecessary to carry these citations lower, because the history, after this time, occurs in ancient Christian writings as familiarly as it is wont to do in modern sermons ;- occurs always the same in substance, and always that which our evangelists repre


This is not only true of those writings of Christians which are genuine, and of acknowledged authority; but it is, in a great measure, true of all their ancient writings which remain; although some of these may have been erroneously ascribed to authors to whom they did not belong, or may contain false accounts, or may appear to be undeserving of credit, or never indeed to have obtained any. Whatever fables they have mixed with the narrative, they preserve the material parts, the leading facts, as we have them; and, so far as they do this, although they be evidence of nothing else, they are evidence that these points were fired, were received and acknowledged by all Christians in the ages in which the books were written. At

19 Just. Dial. cum Tryph. p. 288, ed. Thirl.

least it may be asserted, that, in the places where we were most likely to meet with such things, if such things had existed, no reliques appear of any story substantially different from the present, as the cause, or as the pretence, of the institution.

Now, that the original story, the story delivered by the first preachers of the institution, should have died away so entirely as to have left no record or memorial of its existence, although so many records and memorials of the time and transaction remain; and that another story should have stepped into its place, and gained exclusive possession of the belief of all who professed themselves disciples of the institution, is beyond any example of the corruption of even oral tradition, and still less consistent with the experience of written history and this improbability, which is very great, is rendered still greater by the reflection, that no such change as the oblivion of one story, and the substitution of another, took place in any future period of the Christian era. Christianity hath travelled through dark and turbulent ages; nevertheless it came out of the cloud and the storm such, in substance, as it entered in. Many additions were made to the primitive history, and these entitled to different degrees of credit; many doctrinal errors also were from time to time grafted into the public creed; but still the original story remained, and remained the same. In all its principal parts it has been fixed from the beginning.

Thirdly: The religious rites and usages that prevailed amongst the early disciples of Christianity were such as belonged to, and sprung out of, the narrative now in our hands; which accordancy shows that it was the narrative upon which these persons acted, and


late. A remarkable instance of this kind is the ascension, which is not mentioned by St. John in its place, at the conclusion of his history, but which is plainly referred to in the following words of the sixth chapter 21: "What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?" And still more positively in the words which Christ, according to our evangelist, spoke to Mary after his resurrection:Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father but go unto my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your your Father, unto my God and your God"." This can only be accounted for by the supposition that St. John wrote under a sense of the notoriety of Christ's ascension, amongst those by whom his book was likely to be read. The same account must also be given of St. Matthew's omission of the same important fact. The thing was very well known, and it did not occur to the historian that it was necessary to add any particulars concerning it. It agrees also with this solution, and with no other, that neither Matthew, nor John, disposes of the person of our Lord in any manner whatever. Other intimations in St. John's Gospel of the then general notoriety of the story are the following: His manner of introducing his narrative (ch. i. ver. 15): “ John bare witness of him, and cried, saying,"-evidently presupposes that his readers knew who John was. His rapid parenthetical reference to John's imprisonment, "for John was not yet cast into prison 23," could only come from a writer whose mind was in the habit of considering John's imprisonment as perfectly notorious. The description of Andrew by the addition,

John, xx. 17.



23 John, iii. 24.

Also John, iii. 13, and xvi. 28.



"Simon Peter's brother" takes it for granted that Simon Peter was well known. His name had not been mentioned before. The evangelist's noticing the prevailing misconstruction of a discourse which Christ held with the beloved disciple, proves that the characters and the discourse were already public. And the observation which these instances afford is of equal validity for the purpose of the present argument, whoever were the authors of the histories.

These four circumstances;-first, the recognition of the account in its principal parts, by a series of succeeding writers; secondly, the total absence of any account of the origin of the religion substantially different from ours; thirdly, the early and extensive prevalence of rites and institutions, which result from our account; fourthly, our account bearing, in its construction, proof that it is an account of facts, which were known and believed at the time; are sufficient, I conceive, to support an assurance, that the story which we have now is, in general, the story which Christians had at the beginning. I say in general; by which term I mean, that it is the same in its texture and in its principal facts. For instance, I make no doubt, for the reasons above stated, but that the resurrection of the Founder of religion was always a part of the Christian story. Nor can a doubt of this remain upon the mind of any one who reflects that the resurrection is, in some form or other, asserted, referred to, or assumed, in every Christian writing, of every description, which hath come down to us.


And if our evidence stopped here, we should have a strong case to offer: for we should have to allege, that in the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, a certain number

24 John, i. 40.

25 John, xxi. 24,

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