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extant, one of which was made to the senate of Rome, the other to a Roman governor, they both appeal to these records of Pontius Pilate, as then generally known ; which we cannot conceive such able apologists would have done, if no such records had ever existed.
. PROOF, IN THE MANNER OF AN ALIBI, OF THE
RESURRECTION OF JESUS. As we cannot have the vira voce examination of all the witnesses [of the resurrection), let us call up and question the evangelists as witnesses to a supernatural alibi. Did you find the sepulchre of Jesus empty? One of us'actually saw it empty, and the rest heard froin eye-witnesses that it was empty. -Did you, or any of the followers of Jesus, take away the dead body from the sepulchre? All answer, No.-Did the soldiers, or the Jews, take away the body? No.--How are you certain of that? Because we saw the body when it was dead, and we saw it afterwards when it was alive.-How do you know that what you saw was the body of Jesus? We had been long and intimately acquainted.with Jesus, and knew his person perfectly. Were you not affrighted, and mistook a spirit for a body? No: the body had flesh and bones; we are sure that it was the very body which hung upon the cross, for we saw the wound in the side, and the print of the nails in the hands and feet.-And all this you are ready to swear? We are': and we are ready to die also, sooner than we will deny any part of it. This is the testimony wlich all the evangelists would give, in whatever court of justice they were examined; and this, I apprehend, would sufficiently establish the alibi of the dead body from the sepulchre by supernatural means.
PAUL A PROPER WITNESS OF THE RESURRECTION, You* think Paul an improper witness of the resurrection: I think him one of the fittest that could have been closen ; and for this reason his testimony is the testimony of a former enemy. He had, in his own miraculous conversion, sufficient ground for changing his opinion as to a matter of fact; for believing that to have been a fact, which he had formerly, through extreme prejudice, considered as a fable. For the truth of the resurrection of Jesus he appeals to above five bundred living witnesses; and before whom does he make this appeal?-Before his enemies, who were able and willing to blast his character, if he had advaneed an untruth.—You know, undoubtedly, that Paul had resided at Corinth near two years; that, daring a part of that time, he had testified to the Jews, that Jesus was the Christ; tirat finding the balk of that nation obstinate in their unbelief, he had turned to the Gentiles, and had converted many to the faith in Christ; that he left Corinth, and went to preach the gospel in other parts; that, about three weeks after he had quitted Corinth, he wrote a letter to the converts which he had made in that place, and who, after his depar
• Thomas Paine-Editor,
ture, had been split into different factions, and had adopted different teachers in opposition to Paul. From this account we may be certain, that Paul's letter, and every circumstance in it, would be examined. The city of Corinth was full of Jews : these men, in general, were Paul's bitter enemies : yet, in the face of them all, he asserts, that Jesus Christ was buried; that he rose again the third day; that he was seen of Cephas; then of the twelve; that he was afterwards seen of above tive hundred brethren at opce, of whom the greater part were then alive. An appeal to above two hundred and fifty living witnesses is a pretty strong proof of a fact; but it becomes irresistible, when that appeal is submitted to the judgment of enemies. St. Paul, you must allow, was a man of ability; but he would have been an idiot, bad he put it in the power of his enemies to prove, from his own letter, that he was a lying rascal. They neither proved, nor attempted to prove any such thing; and therefore we may safely conclude, that this testimony of Paul to the resurrection of Jesus was true; and it is a testimony, in my opinion, of the greatest weight. Bp. Watson.
OF FAITH IN TESTIMONY. THERE are, in the world, many men whose declaration concerning any fact which they have seen, and of which they are competent judges, would engage my belief as effectually as the evidence of my own senses. A metaphysician may tell me that this implicit confidence in testimony is unworthy of a phiJosopher and a logician, and that my faith ought to be more rational. It may be so; but I believe as before notwithstanding. And I find that all men have the same confidence in the testimony of certain persons; and that, if a man should refuse to think as other men do in this matter, he would be called obstinate, whimsical, narrow-minded, and a fool. If, after the experience of so many ages, men are still disposed to believe the word of an honest man, and find no inconvenience in doing so,
I must conclude that it is not only natural, but . rational, expedient, and manly, to credit such tes
timony: and though I were to peruse volumes of metaphysics written in proof of the fallibility of testimony, I should still, like the rest of the world, believe credible testimony without fear of inconvenience. I know very well, that testimony is not admitted in proof of any doctrine in mathematics, because the evidence of that science is quite of a different kind. But is truth to be found in mathe. matics only? is the geometrician the only person who exerts a rational belief? do we never find conviction arise in our minds, except when we contemplate an intuitive axiom, or run over a mathematical demonstration? In natural philosophy, a science not inferior to pure mathematics in the certainty of its conclusions, testimony is admitted as a sufficient proof of many facts. To believe testimony, therefore, is agreeable to nature, te reason, and to sound philosophy. Beattie.
THE POWER OF WORKING MIRACLES THE PROPER,
ACCOMPANIMENT OF A DIVINE REVELATION. MIRACLES are not intended to prove the being of a God, nor the doctrines of morality; for natural religion is supported by natural reason, and has for its evidence the works of nature. In the most degenerate times, God did not leave himself with. out witness, continuing to do good, to give rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling the hearts of men with joy and gladness. These are the standing proofs of the being and goodness of God; and men need but open their eyes, and look around them, to see the wonderful and stupendous works, of nature, which lead directly to the knowledge of God. And what greater evidence can man have than this ? For if the making one world will not prove the being of a God, the making of ten thou-. sand will not; and therefore this is a principle of religion not learnt from revelation, but which is always supposed the foundation of revelation. For. no revelation can bring greater works to prove its authority, than the works by which the clear and unexceptionable dictates of natural religion are. proved : for the distinction between miracles and works of nature is no more than this, that works of nature are works of great power produced constantly and in a regular course, which course we. call nature; that miracles are works of great. power also, wrought in an unusual way: but they are both considered in the same light, and with equal advantage, as effects leading to the know. ledge of a great, though invisible, power. Thus we must acknowledge great power to be shown in