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Of the Truth of the Chriftian Religion. By DAVID
This Tract is printed from the fecond volume of Doctor Hartley's
Of the Truth of the Chriftian Religion. By JOSEPH
This pofthumous Treatife of Mr. Addifon has been much ef
Of the Argument for the Truth of Chriftianity arifing from the fulfilment of our Saviour's predictions concerning deftruction of the Temple, and the City of Jerufalem, and the difperfion of the fews. Being the third chapter of the firft vol. of a Collection of Jewish and Heathen Teftimonies to the Truth of the Chriftian Religion. By N. LARDNER, D. D. 1764. p. 103.
The argument for the truth of Chriftianity which is taken from the history of the deftruction of Jerufalem as related by Jofephus, compared with our Saviour's prediction of that event recorded by the Evangelifts Matthew, Mark, and Luke, has always been confidered as one of the strongest which can be urged, either against the Jews in particular, or against unbelievers in general. In modern times this argument has been illuftrated by Jackfon in the first volume of his works, 1673; by Tillotfon in the 12th vol. (8vo ed.) of his Sermons; by Kidder in his Demonftration of the Meffiah; by Whitby in his Commentary on St. Matthew, and in his General Preface; by Sharpe in a difcourfe intituled, The Rife and Fall of the Holy City and Temple of Jerufalemn, preached at the Temple Church, 1764; and, to mention no others, by Fortin in the firft vol. of his Remarks on Ecclefiaftical History. This author has alfo well proved, not only that the Gofpels, in which the predictions of Chrift relative to the deftruction of Jerufalem are delivered, were written before that event; but that the predictions themselves could not have been inferted into the Gofpels, as interpolations, after the event: the reader will not efteem this to have been an unneceffary labour, who recollects the confidence with which Voltaire, with a view probably of evading the force of the argument in queftion, declares that the Gospels were written after Jerufalem was deftroyed-fans doute après la deftruction de Jerufalem.-Many an unbeliever is apt to think and fay, that he would have faith in the Gofpel, if he could fee a man raifed from the dead, or any one notable miracle performed in atteftation of its truth. Now the completion of an ancient prophecy is, to us who fee the completion, a miracle; and I would fincerely recommend it to every one, who is not steadfaft in the faith, to examine carefully, and liberally, whether the prophecies-concerning Jerufalem being trodden under foot of the Gentiles-concerning the fterility of Palestine-the ftate of the Jewish people-the introduction of the Gentiles into the Church of God-the apoftafy of the latter times--the independency of the Arabs-the fervitude of Ham's pofterity, &c. have not been literally fulfilled. These things are facts which fail within our own obfervation; and if we fearch the Scriptures, we fhall find that thefe facts were predicted long before either we or our fathers were born.
The prefent conftitution of the world, with respect to the civiliza-
tion, the religion, the liberty, or flavery of the different empires
which fubfift in it, is but one ftage of the completion of the va-
rious prophecies, which were of old delivered, concerning the for-
tunes of individuals, nations and countries. We in our days may
fay what Tertullian, fpeaking of the accomplishment of Scripture
prophecy, faid in his Quicquid agitur prænunciabatur, quicquid vi-
detur audiebatur. The reader may find thefe fubjects difcuffed by
This Tract is the 4th chap. of the 1ft book of the Truth of the
Of the Argument for the Truth of the Chriftian Religion
arifing from the converfion of the world to Chriftianity;
taken from the Truth of the Gospel Hiftory. By JAMES
That great multitudes out of every nation in the then known
world were converted from Heathenifm to Chriftianity, within a
few years after the death of Jefus, is a fact allowed on all hands
the question is, whether this fact can be properly urged as a decifive
proof of the divine origin of the Chriftian religion. And, with-
but doubt, the fact, abftractedly confidered, cannot. The exten
five propagation of a religion, how rapidly foever it may have been
made, is a proof of nothing but that the means were adequate to the end, the cause to the effect. A falfe religion may be fpeedily and widely spread by force or by fraud; or it may, by degrees, gain an extenfive eftablifhment in the world, from its being propitious to the follies, the vices, and paffions of mankind; or from its being first introduced in an unenlightened and credulous age; or in a country fitted by peculiar circumftances to fofter and fupport it; or from a concurrence of many other human means. This may be readily granted; but that the Chriflian religion fhould have been quickly propagated from Judea through the Roman Empire, during the reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, &c. by the human abili ties of the Apostles, appears to me to be an incredible fact. Thofe who think otherwife would do well, in addition to the fact ittelf, to confider the prophecies which were fulfilled when it took place. What motive, fays Justin Martyr in his Apology (Reeve's Tranf.), could ever poffibly have perfuaded us to believe a crucified man to be the first begotten of the unbegotten God, and that he would come to judge the world, had we not met with thofe prophetic teftimonies of him proclaimed fo long before his incarnation? Were we not eye-witneiles to the fulfilling of them? Did we not fee the defolation of Judea, and mea out of all nations profely ted to the faith of his Apofiles, and renouncing the ancient errors they were brought up in? Did we not find the prophecies made good in ourselves, and fee Chriftians in greater numbers, and in greater fincerity, from among the Gentiles, than from the Jews and Samaritans "This argument has been infifted upon by Henry More in the firft vol. of his works, where there is a chapter intituled, Veritas Evangelii demonArata ex Succeffu; by J. Dine in a difcourfe printed 1725, intituled, The miraculous Succefs of the Gofpel, a Proof of its divine Origin; by Lefley in his, Short Method with the Deifts; by Millar in his Hiftory of the Propagation of Chriftianity, and Overthrow of Paganifin : by. Tillotson in the 12th vol.-of his Sermons; by Leng in his Sermons at Boyle's Lecture; by Fortin in his Truth of the ChriftianReligion; by Leland in the 6th chapter of the 2d part of his Defence of Chriftianity by Bp. Atterbury in his two Sermons on the Miraculous Propagation of the Golpel; by Boffuet in his Difcourfe on Univerfal Hiftory; by Lardner in his Collection of Jewish Teftimonies; by Powell in his 10th Difcourfe; by Benfon in his Reafonableness of Chriftianity; and by Young in the 2d vol. of his Differtations on Idolatrous Corruptions; where, alfo, there is a pendious view, fupported by proper authorities, of the countries through which the Apostles travelled in propagating the Gospel.
An Effay on the Man of Sin, from Benfon's Paraphrafe and Notes on St. Paul's Epiftles. p. 268.
That the Popish religion is the Chriftian religion, is a falfe pofition; and therefore Chriftianity may be true, though the religion