Imatges de pÓgina
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up Skin of Anaxarchus, for you do not beat him. Now this Anaxarchus was no more than a natural Philofopher. What did Epictetus do? Why, when his Master was torturing his Leg, without Concern he smiled in his Face, and said, You will break my Leg: And when he had broken it, he only said, Did not I tell

you that you would break it? But what did your God say comparable to this? Nay, I will add farther, That his praying that the Cup might pass from him, and his complaining of God's Desertion of him upon the Cross, seem to thew a Fear and Despondency, unworthy of any great Mind under Afflictions.

Cred. Any one, who is acquainted with the Lives of Heathen y the Philosophers, knows it was a chief Part of their Study Philofoto invent (mart Sayings to be talk'd of, which was the phers not

more patiThing they principally aimed at; but then it is observable, that these Sages who said so many fine Things, sel- rageous dom did any good ones. They did not set half the Va. thanChrif. lue upon a good charitable Axion, as they did upon an Apothegm; and Men of the most vicious Lives, have utter'd some of the finest Flowers of the Pagan Morality. 'Tis the Character of our Saviour, and his true Follow ers, Non magna loquimur, sed vivimus : Not to talk greas Things, but to live them. And one good Action of Christ and his Apostles, was worth an hundred of the Philosophers Sayings. If a Man had been to look into the Heart of one of these Philosophers, when he was asserting one of these Sentences, he might have read there a great deal of Pride reflected upon himself for the witty Thought, a great deal of impotent Malice against his Enemies, and a great deal of Fear and Impatience, tho'a predominant Pride made him carry off all, with a Jest. But when Celsus says, What did Christ say comparable to these? Origen answers admirably well, His Silence under the Whips and the Torments, bewed a greater Courage and Patience than the most eloquent Greek could fbew, by speaking in those Circumstances. To which we may add one thing more, but such an one as eclipses all the Glory of the Heathen Phim losophy, which is, that our Saviour, under his Sufferings,

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prays for his Enemies, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. Here is the greatest Degree of Love and Charity

discovered towards the most inveterate Entmics, whilst the Sayings of your fuffering Philosophers carıy in their Face an unregenerate Malice, and spightful Reflection

upon

their Adverfaries. Reacon of As to what you object against our Saviour's Praying, eur Sari- That the bitter Cup might pass from him; I cannot tell

, ing shatine why you should impute that to his Want of Courage or Cup, &c. Patience.

He made not passionate Exclamations, be thew'd no desponding Griet

, nor any other indecent Paifion, under his Torments, but bore them all with as much Miliness and Patience, as human Nature is capable of. Suppose, one of your Heathen Philosophers had been in our Saviour's Place, and endured as much Pain in Mind and Body, as He? He would perhaps have said, that Pain was no Evil, and that his Mind' was fix'd upon such a fiim Basis, that his Torments were insensible; though, at the same Time, every Groan and Shrug would have given the Lie to his Principles. But our blefled Lord, with all the Truth and Modesty of an innocent Perfon, own'd the Imperfection of human Nature, and its being fhocked ar such a direful Passion, but then, by the Asistance of Grace, he quickly overcoming those natural Strugglings, with the greatest Meekness and Patience, resigns himself perfectly to the good Pleasure of God. O my Father, if it be possible, let this Cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt, Mat. xxvi. 39.

Nor does Christ's crying out, Eli, Eli, lama fazeka thani, make any thing for what you assert.

assert. For our Sao viour there repeats only a Part of a Psalm, which was a Prophesy of him, and applicable to his present Circumfrances; and therefore it cannot be expected that every Word of it fhould as exactly agree to our Saviour's Cordition, as if the Expressions had been framed by himet Besides, we freely own, that our Saviour, when he used thefe Words, was under the Pressure of the greatest Pais and Grief that ever was known; he not only felt the Torments of the Cross in his Body, but had his Soul weigs

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ed down with the Grief of the whole World's Sins upon
it; and, if the Sense of a Man's own Sins are apt, often-
times, to raise a Despondency in himn; how like a perfect
Dereliction must our Saviour's Grief appear, whole Soul,
at one Time, was oppressed with Grief, for the Sins of lo
many Millions of Offenders?
Phil

. My next Exception is against the Story of Christ's Resurrection. If it were true, it would not be such a wondrous Miracle, as you make of it. For it would not be the first Time, that an executed Malefactor has come to Life again.

And Histories make mention of several others, who have returned to Life again a considerable Time after they were seemingly dead. As * Aristeas Proconnefius mentioned by Herodotus; Hermorimus Clazomenius, whose Soul did frequently go out of his Body, and return a

gain; Epimenides of Crete, who slept in a Cave for fifty 1.nd 72

Years together; and Harmonins's Son, who lay dead for ten Days, and revived upon the Funeral Pile. But, for my Part, I do not find any Ground to believe this Rela

tion of his Resurrection; for the Matter is attested only Ay af at by the Followers of Christ

, whose Interest it was to make him alive again, or else People would have laughed at

them, for their believing a dead Man to be the Messias , CTETICA besides, some of the Witnesses were filly Women, one

of which had been a crazed Demoniack. Now, who can believe a Matter of fact, attested after this rate? Besides,

what should be the Reason of Christ's being so shy of why L. being seen after the Resurrection? And why did he not

converse as freely with his Disciples, as he did before?

The Relation of his dropping in so accidentally upon of a par them, and sometimes not to be known by them, and his de to his mouen giving them only some imperfect Views and Glances of

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himself, over what he had done at other Times, shews ree to co som fomething in this Matter more than ordinary.

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* Celfus apud Orig. lib. 3. Ed. Cant. p. 125.
+ Id, Lib. 2. p. 94. & p. 101,

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Chrisi re- Cred. I wonder, Philologus, you should be so afraid of ally dead. believing a Matter so well attested as our Saviour's Resur

rection, and yet you can swallow down all the Improbabilities and Contradictions, which the contrary Opinicn includes in it. What a Jest is it to compare the Resurrection of Christ with the Recovery of some hang’d Malefactors? Do you think seriously, that the Death upon the Cross was any thing like our ordinary Suspenfion? You know in that Punishment, the miserable Criminal was well nigh whipt to Death with Rods or Scourges; the tendereft Part of his Body, the Palms of his Hands, and the Soles of his Feet, were pierced thro' with Nails, and so suffered to linger out the little Remains of Life in extreme Pain and Anguish; and was never taken down from the Cross, till he was dead, which the attending Executioners did make sure of, by breaking his Bones, or stabbing his Body. Now, though it may sometimes happen, that, when a Man is executed only by Strangulation, the Constriction of his Throat may be abated, and his Blood, when it is not quite cold and stagnated, may come to circulate again ; yet this is impossible naturally to happen in a Person, that was almost expiring under the Lashes of the Whips, that for several Hours was torn by the Nails of the Cross, and had at last his Heart pierced through by a Soldier's Spear. The Executioners, who were used to these Matters, knew very well, when the Person was fully dead, and understood the great Severity they must undergo, if they did not inflict the utmost of the Sentence upon the Criminal. Or if this was posible to have happened, it must be by great Care of the Body, by keeping it warm all the while, and cherishing it; but our Saviour's Body had the Funeral Rites immediately bestow'd upon it, and laid only in a cold ftony Grave. The Chill and Damps of such a place would, probably, in all that Time, have killed any one that was not of the hardiest Constitution; but a Body fo miserably wounded and torn, as our blersed LORD's was, could never have revived.

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But what are these Instances of Ariftcas Proconnesius, &c.Iaftances of in to the Purpose? Aristeas was a Man, who, Herodotus says, Bac.confudropt down dead in a Fuller's House. The Fuller went red. to tell his Friends what happened, and when he came back, no Aristeas was to be found, and several Persons said they saw him at the same Time at a distant Place Seven Years after he appeared at Proconnesius, and made Verses. Many Years after, he appeared among the Metapontini in Italy, and advised them to build an Altar to Apollo and him. Now is not this worthy Stuff to be compared with the History of our Saviour's Resurrection? Origen argues very well against the Silliness of this Story; because there could be no manner of Use in this Prodigy; But our Saviour's Resurrection was, to confirm an excellent Institution of Religion. But it was not worth while to come into the World to write Verses, and to occasion the building of an Altar or two. And we need not take any great Pains to confute this Fable, which is discarded by the most judicious of the Heathens, by Pliny, Plutarch, Tamblicus, and A. Gellius; and is a monstrous Story either of Herodotus's coining, or the Pythagoreans, who as Heinsius, in his Notes upon Maximus Tyrius, has sewn, were above all the Philosophers, most pleased with such Stories. As for the Story of Hermotimus, Lucian looks upon it as a Table, and Pliny says, his Body only lay half dead. And as for the long Sleep of Epimenides, Pliny and Diogenes Laertius say, it is an idle Tale; the Truth of which is, that all this Time he was absent, to study the Nature of Plants: And Maximus Tyrius says, this was only a moral Fable of Epimenides's own coining, to shew forth, that Man's Life is only like a long Dream. And so, lastly, as for Harmonius's Son, it is plain that Story, as it is told in Plato, was designed only as a Physiological Fable, Plato himself calls it pedos, arónogo, cc. and the Way of telling it imports as much; for he mentions there the Sirens, and the Parce, and such other Mythological Romance, which he would never have done in a true Story, But Plutarch owns this to be only a Fable, of which there is an allegorical Sense to be given; for when Plato

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