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CH A P. V.

The epiles of the New Teftament are free from the Characters of

SECT. I. The epifles of St. Paul were not dilated by enthufiafm;

their obfcurity is confidered in this fection.



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Ift. Additional references and obfervations on different facts and passages
of fcripture, alluded to in the preceding work.



THAT Christianity was founded on enthusiasm, was one of the earliest imputations thrown upon it. The politicians and philofophers of the Heathen world regarded the steadiness with which the primitive Chriftians fuftained perfecution, and the zeal they displayed in making profelytes, as certain proofs of obftinate fanaticism; and they conceived that thè faith required as effential to the Chriftian profeffion was founded on blind credulity; difdaining to examine the doctrines, or weigh the evidence of an upftart Jewish fect, they fatisfied themselves with fuch diftant views, and fuch fuperficial objections as these, and too frequently difmiffed the religion of the gofpel as a fordid and gross fuperftition, unworthy the attention of a philofophic mind. We find the antient apologists complaining of this proceeding, as most uncandid and irrational, and furely with good cause. "Some (fays Tertullian) look upon it as "madness, that when we might facrifice at the moment and depart uninjured, retaining in our mind "a fixed refolution to continue firm to our religion,

a Tertulliani Apologeticus, cap. xxvii. edit. Havercampi, Lugduni, 1718, p. 259.

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"we should prefer our obftinacy to our lives ;" and in the conclufion of his apology, "That, fays he, "which you call madness and despair in us, are the very actions which, under virtue's ftandard, lift up your fons to fame and glory, and emblazon them "to future ages."He then adduces the examples of Mutius Scævola, Regulus, the ftoick Zeno, and the Lacedemonian youths, with fome others, and he proceeds, "Not one of thefe contemners of death "and cruelty, in its feveral fhapes, have had their "actions fullied with the imputation of madness and "defpair. A man fhall fuffer with honour for his • country, for the empire, for a friend, what he is દ not tolerated to fuffer for his God. Strange! that

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you fhould look on the patience of Chriftians, as fuch, as an inglorious thing, and yet for the per"fons I have mentioned, caft ftatues and adorn, figures with infcriptions and magnificent titles, "to perpetuate the memory of their actions to eternity to fuch an eternity as monuments can be. "ftow, and by this means give them a kind of re"furrection from the dead; on the contrary, he "who expects a real refurrection, and in hopes of "this fuffers for the word of God, fhall pafs among 66 you for a fot and a madman." And in the next paragraph he states, "That which you reproach in us as ftubbornnefs, has been the most inftructive


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b lb. p. 429. I have here adopted Reeves's Tranflation, which, though fometimes vulgar, is here fpirited and faithful. Vid. Reeves's Apologies, vol. 1, p. 296.


"mistress in profelyting the world; for who has not "been ftruck with the fight of what you call ftub"bornnefs, and from thence been pufhed on to look "into the reality and reafon of it, and who ever look"ed well into our religion but came over to it, and "who ever came over to it, but was ready to suffer "for it, to purchase the favour of God, and obtain "the pardon of all his fins, though at the price of "his blood, for martyrdom is fure of mercy.'


Thus in the Octavius of Minucius Felix, Cæ cilius, the advocate for idolatry, is introduced as reproaching the Chriftians with being "a col"lection of fools only and credulous women, who "by the weakness of their sex lie fairest for delusion.” Celfus urged the fame objection; he advifes, fays

Origen," that we should adopt opinions following "the guidance of reafon, fince every deception "arifes from men not being thus difpofed; and he

compares fuch as believe without reafon, to those "who are delighted with obfervers of omens, and jugglers, with magicians and bacchanalians, and with "the vifions of Hecate, and of other dæmons, for

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t by fuch means artful men working on the fimpli"city of those who are deceived, lead them which

Vid. Editionem Ouzeli, 4to. Lugduni, 1652, p. 8. Reeves's Apologies, vol. 2, p. 42.

d Origen Contra Celfum, p. 8; in fine, Spencer's Edition, Cambridge, 1677, or Origenis Opera Studio Caroli Delarue, Paris, 1733, vol. 1, p. 327.

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way they will, and this is the cafe among Chrif "tians for, (fays Celfus) fome of them do not "choose to give or receive a reafon for their faith, "but employ this maxim-do not enquire but believe, "and your faith will fave you; and this, the wifdont

of the world is evil, but folly is good." In this paffage we discover the ingenuity of the sophist mifquoting the fcripture he wishes to mifreprefent; and in other paffages he compares the " appearances of "our Lord, after his refurrection, to vulgar spectres "and vifions." Thus alfo Eufebius, in the f preface to his demonftration of the truth of the gospel, "This work fhould be acceptable to the Greeks, if "they would be reasonable, from the wonderful "foreknowledge of futurity, and the accomplish"ment of events, according to predictions: thus "at once fhewing the divinity and certainty of the "truth with us, and stopping the mouths of the ' patrons of falsehood by a rational proof, which

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thefe calumniators contend we cannot fupply, "maintaining every day, in their disputes with us, "with their utmost ftrength, and infifting on this "accufation, that we are able to establish nothing

← Vid. Ibid. p. 98—354 and 355. Vid. in anfwer. Infra, chap. i. fect. 5.

f Vid. this preface first printed by Fabricius in Greek and Latin, and prefixed to his Delectus Argumentorum, and Syllabus Scriptorum qui Veritatem Religionis Chriftianæ Afferuere. Hamburgi, 1725, p. 8 and 9. The fame affertion is repeated, chap. i. Vid. Eufeb. Præp. Evangel. Tranf lated by Vigerus. Paris, 1628.

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