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about to make for mankind would be useful to all the human race, he presented himself voluntatily to those who came to take him.-The second part of our author's argument (which has also been copied by many modern philosophers) shews his malice and want of candour: for, in the place of acknowledging the sincerity of the Evangelists, who set forth everything which made for and
gainst them, and gave a faithful narrative of facts, he makes use only of a part of what they said, and would persuade the world, that they said things which they did not say. The Evangelists make no mention of any lamentations that Jesus made ; and when he said, O my Father, if it
be poffible, let this cup pass from me," he added, nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou
wilt.” And again,“ O my Father, if this cup
may not pass away from me, except I drink it, ૮
thy will be done. *" - Jesus herein shewed a great degree of firmness, but, at the same time, a perfect resignation and obedience to the will of his Father. In the first part of this prayer, Jesus speaks as a man, and shews the weakness of human nature ; but still he shewed his obedience, by not defiring the cup to pass away from him, except it was possible ; but he afterwards shew's the quickness and force of the Spirit of God, by adding, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”Moreover, the sufferings of Jesus Christ were to serve as an example to those who would follow
Matthew xxvi. 39, 426
mony would undoubtedly have great weight with all the impartial and discerning part of mankind: But a rhapsody of gross calumny; affertions, contradictory in themselves, and not properly supported; and an attempt to insult the understanding of men of moderation, judgment, and diligent enquiry; are not to be placed in the balance against a well-attested narrative of facts, whether the former come from a Celsus, from a Voltaire,
or from any other person. The honest reasoner will always be known by his modesty, candor, and the desire which he shews to discover the truth; and, although he may be in an error, he is worthy of our esteem: But the presumptuous, dogmatical, and impertinent babbler, calling himself a philoso pher, who would mislead his fellow-creatures, if he imagined he should thereby gain, for a time, the applause of the vulgar, and who would sacrifice the best-attested matters of fact, to his own confused and chimerical systems, is an object of contempt, and a real pest to human society.
But to return again to our author ; who now makes his Jew ask the rest of his countrymen, What has this Jesus done that was either great or noble, to prove that he was a God? did he despise bis enemies; and regard all their defigns against bim with contempt? or does be at present sew bis Divinity to the eyes of the world, and efface the same of his death, by revenging the injuries which they continue to do, through bis faithful followers, to him, and to bis Father? For, fupposing all that bis disciples say of him be true, the
excellency excellency of his doetrine, and the purity of his life, were not sufficient to place him above the rest of mankind.
Celsus, and his followers, admit all those matters, recited by the Evangelists, which they imagine will furnish them with some accusation against the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and reject all such as tend to confirm his Divinity : It would be more honest, either to reject the whole, or to admit the whole. --According to the Evangelists, while Jesus was in an agony upon the cross,
there was darkness over the whole earth, from the sixth to
the ninth hour; and the sun was darkened :"> Moreover, the vail of the temple was rent in
twain from the top to the bottom; the earth did quake, the rocks rent, and the graves were
opened * ;” So that, besides the mighty works which Jesus did in his life-time, when his mortal part expired upon the cross, all nature trembled.But our philosophers may pretend to deny the facts, or to call them illusions, because they are told by the disciples of Jesus: If that should be the case, I must beg leave to tell them, that a learned ancient authort tells us, that the great eclipse of the sun, which happened in the reign of the emperor Tiberius, when Jesus was crucified, and when the moon was almost in opposition to the fun, was such as astonished all the astronomers and philosophers of those days; and that the great
Luke xxiii. 45. Matthew xxvii. 51, + Phlegoa Chronic. lib. 13.
carthquake, which happened at the same time, was general over all the then known face of the earth. Celsus most likewise have known, that, in his time, multitudes of people were cured, in a miraculous manner, through the name of Jesus: Chrift: Was the like ever done, in the name of any person, almost one hundred years after he left this life, fince the creation of the world? Will the advocates of this author pretend to say, likewise, that this was done by magic? Therefore, in answer to Celsus's first question, I must observe, that it was in this manner that Jesus manifested himself to be the Son of God.
The second question, proposed by our author, has likewise been answered, in a great measure, by the foregoing: Jesus has given convincing proofs of his Divinity to all the impartial part of mankind, who form their judgment of those things from the incontestable facts which appear before them. Moreover, as' Celsus had read the history of the Evangelists, which was published foon after Jesus was crucified, he must have there seen what was prophesied respecting the Jews and the city of Jerufalem; where the punishment that they were to receive is particularly pointed out; and as that prophecy was fulfilled, in part, when he wrote his book, Jerusalem then being totally destroyed, as Jesus Christ had foretold; it is surprising, that he should expose himself so much as to ask a question of this kind. But, to carry this point a little farther, our modern philosophers,
who are the admirers of Celsus, must likewise have been well informed of the great attempts that were made, by the emperor Julian, to re-build again the temple at Jerusalem, to re-establish the Jews in their ancient habitations, and thereby to convince the world, that the prophecies of Jesus Christ were false; and as well what were the consequences of those attempts : they are also well acquainted with the wretched situation that the Jews have been in since those days; and in which they are actually at present : And, moreover, as our author supposed that the Greeks and Romans did a great injury to Jesus Christ, and to his Father, by the horrid persecutions which they inflicted upon
his faithful followers, who were never proved to have been, guilty of any immoral act; I think the Christians had a sufficient revenge, if Celsus and his admirers think that such acts of revenge can be agreeable to a well-disposed mind, in seeing their bloody persecutors cut off from the face of the earth, and all their pompous idolatry levelled with the dust. No person but a Celsus could have asserted, no other than a Voltaire would have propagated, that the excellency of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and the purity of his life, were not sufficient to place him above the rest of mankind: We should have been greatly obliged to Celsus, and to Voltaire, if they had told us, what then were sufficient for this purpose.
Again; this author, who, as I have already observed, would place the miracles of Jesus Chrift,