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


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

Obfervations on the objections which have been advanced against the

morality of the gospel as being extravagant and fanatical.


THAT Christianity was founded on enthusiasm, was one of the earlieft 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 difplayed in making profelytes, as certain proofs of obstinate 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 themfelves with fuch diftant views, and fuch fuperficial objections as these, and too frequently difmiffed the religion of the gospel as a fordid and gross superstition, 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 mo "ment and depart uninjured, retaining in our mind a fixed refolution to continue firm to our religion,


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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 madnefs and defpair in us, are the


very actions which, under virtue's standard, 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 "not tolerated to fuffer for his God. Strange! that 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 eter"nity to fuch an eternity as monuments can be

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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

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


bornness, and from thence been pushed 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 fuffer "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 fex lie faireft for delufion." Celfus urged the fame objection; he advifes, fays a Origen, "that we fhould adopt opinions following "the guidance of reafon, fince every deception "arifes from men not being thus difpofed; and he

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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

by fuch means artful men working on the fimplicity of those who are deceived, lead them which

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


4 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 reason 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 fophift mifquoting the fcripture he wishes to misrepresent; 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 gofpel, "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

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patrons of falsehood by a rational proof, which "these calumniators contend we cannot fupply, "maintaining every day, in their disputes with us, "with their utmost strength, and infifting on this "accufation, that we are able to establish nothing

e Vid. Ibid. p. 98—354 and 355. Vid. in answer. 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 Chriftianz Afferuere. Hamburgi, 1725, p. 8 and 9. The fame affertion is repcated, chap. i. Vid. Eufeb. Præp. Evangel. Tranflated by Vigerus. Paris, 1628.

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