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alone, and not to the body, which they considered as a mass of malignant matter, and as the prison of the immortal spirit.

VIII. These differences, in matters of such vast consequence, between the three famous sects above mentioned, produced none of those injurious and malignant effects which are too often seen to arise from religious controversies. But such as have any acquaintance with the history of these times, will not be so far deceived by this specious appearance of moderation, as to attribute it to noble or generous principles. They will look through the fair outside, and see that their mutual fears of each other were the latent reason of this apparent charity and mutual forbearance. The Sadducees enjoyed the favour and protection of the great. The Pharisees, on the other hand, were extremely high in the esteem of the multitude. And hence they were both secured against the attempts of each other, and lived in peace, notwithstanding the diversity of their religious sentiments. The government of the Romans contributed also to the maintenance of this mutual toleration and tranquillity, as they were ever ready to suppress and punish whatever had the appearance of tumult and sedition. We may add to all this, that the Sadducean principles rendered that sect naturally averse to all sorts of altercation and tumult. Libertinism has for its objects ease and pleasure, and chooses rather to slumber in the arms of a fallacious security, than to expose itself to the painful activity, which is required

both in the search and in the defence of truth.

IX. The Essenes had little occasion to quarrel with the other sects, as they dwelt generally in a rural solitude, far removed from the view and commerce of men. This singular sect, which was spread abroad through Syria, Egypt, and the neighbouring countries, maintained, that religion consisted wholly in contemplation and silence. By a rigorous abstinence also, and a variety of penitential exercises and mortifications, which they seem to have borrowed from the Egyptians,' they endeavoured to arrive at still higher degrees of perfection in virtue. There prevailed, however, among the members of this sect, a considerable difference both in point of opinion and discipline. Some passed their lives in a state of celibacy, and employed their time in educating and instructing the children of others. Others embraced the state of matrimony, which they considered as lawful, when entered into with the sole design of propagating the species, and not to satisfy the demands of lust. Those of the Essenes who dwelt in Syria, held the possibility of appeasing the Deity by sacrifices, though in a manner quite different from that of the Jews; by which, however, it appears that they had not utterly rejected the literal sense of the Mosaic law. But those who wandered in the deserts of Egypt were of very different sentiments; they maintained, that no offering was acceptable to God but that of a serene and composed mind, addicted to the contemplation of divine things; and it is manifest from hence, that they looked upon the law of Moses as an allegorical system of spiritual and mysterious truths, and renounced in its explication all regard to the outward letter."

1 See the Annotations of Holstenius to Porphyry's Lafe of Pythagoras, p. 11. of the edition published by Kuster.

2 See Mosheim's observations on a small treatise of the

X. The Therapeutæ, of whom Philo the Jew makes particular mention in his treatise concerning Contemplative Life, are supposed to From this nohave been a branch of this sect. tion arose the division of the Essenes into theoretical and practical. The former of these were wholly devoted to contemplation, and are the same with the Therapeuta; while the latter employed a part of their tiine in the performance Whether this diviof the duties of active life. sion be accurate or not, is a matter which I will not take upon me to determine. But I see nothing in the laws or manners of the Therapeutæ, that should lead us to consider them as a branch of the Essenes : nor indeed has Philo asserted any such thing. There may have been, surely, many other fanatical tribes among the Jews, besides that of the Essenes ; nor should a resemblance of principles always induce us to make a coalition of sects. It is, however, certain, that the Therapeuta were neither Christians nor Egyptians, as some have erroneously imagined. They were undoubtedly Jews; nay, they gloried in that title, and styled themselves, with particular affectation, the true disciples of Moses, though their manner of life was equally that great lawrepugnant to the institutions giver, and to the dictates of right reason, and showed them to be a tribe of melancholy and wrong-headed enthusiasts."

XI. None of these sects, indeed, seemed to have the interests of real and true piety at heart; nor were their principles and discipline at all adapted to the advancement of pure and The Pharisees courted posubstantial virtue. pular applause by a vain ostentation of pretended sanctity, and an austere method of living, while, in reality, they were strangers to true holiness, and were inwardly defiled with the most criminal dispositions, with which our Saviour frequently reproaches them. They also treated with more veneration the commandments and traditions of men, than the sacred precepts and laws of God. The Sadducees, by denying a future state of rewards and punishments, removed, at once, the most powerful incentives to virtue, and the most effectual restraints upon vice, and thus gave new vigour to every sinful passion, and a full encouragement to the indulAs to the gence of every irregular desire. Essenes, they were a fanatical and superstitious tribe, who placed religion in a certain sort of seraphic indolence, and, looking upon piety to God as incompatible with any social attachment to men, dissolved, by this pernicious doctrine, all the great bonds of human society.

XII. While then such darkness, such errors, and dissensions prevailed among those, who assumed the character and authority of persons distinguished by their superior sanctity and wisdom, it will not be difficult to imagine, how totally corrupt the religion and morals of the They were, acmultitude must have been. cordingly, sunk in the most deplorable ignorance of God, and of divine things; and had no no. tion of any other way of rendering themselves acceptable to the Supreme Being, than by sacri

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fices, washings, and the other external rites and ceremonies of the Mosaic law. Hence proceeded that dissolution of manners, and that profligate wickedness, which prevailed among the Jews, during Christ's ministry upon earth. And hence the Divine Saviour compares that people to a flock of sheep, which wandered without a shepherd; and their doctors to men, who though deprived themselves of sight, yet pretended to show the way to others.5

XIII. To all these corruptions, both in point of doctrine and practice, which reigned among the Jews at the time of Christ's coming, we may add the attachment which many of them discovered to the tenets of the oriental philosophy concerning the origin of the world, and to the doctrine of the Cabbala, which was undoubtedly derived from thence. That considerable numbers of the Jews had imbibed the errors of this fantastic system, appears evidently both from the books of the New Testament, and from the ancient history of the Christian Church and it is also certain, that many of the Gnostic sects were founded by Jews. Those among that degenerate people, who adopted this chimerical philosophy, must have differed vastly from the rest in their opinions concerning the God of the Old Testament, the origin of the world, the character and doctrine of Moses, and the nature and ministry of the Messiah; since they maintained, that the Creator of this world was a being different from the Supreme God, and that his dominion over the human race was to be destroyed by the Messiah. Every one must see that this enormous system was fruitful of errors, destructive of the very foundations of Judaism.

XIV. If any part of the Jewish religion was less disfigured and corrupted than the rest, it was, certainly, the form of external worship, which was established by the law of Moses. And yet many learned men have observed, that a great variety of rites were introduced into the service of the temple, of which no traces are to be found in the sacred writings. The institution of these additional ceremonies was manifestly owing to those changes and revolutions, which rendered the Jews more conversant with the nations round about them, than they had formerly been. For when they saw the sacred rites of the Greeks and Romans, they were taken with several of the ceremonies that were used in the worship of the Heathen deities, and did not hesitate to adopt them in the service of the true God, and add them as an ornament to the rites which they had received by divine appointment.

XV. But whence such enormous degrees of corruption in that very nation which God had, in a peculiar manner, separated from an idolatrous world to be the depository of divine truth? Various causes may be assigned, in order to give a satisfactory account of this matter. First, It is certain, that the ancestors of those Jews, who lived in the time of our Saviour, had brought from Chaldea, and the neighbouring countries, many extravagant and idle fancies,

5 Matth. x. 6. xv. 24, 25. John ix. 39.

6 See Joh. Chr. Wolf, Biblioth. Ebraica, vol. 11. ab. vii. cap. i. sect. ix. p. 206.

7 See the learned work of Spencer, De legibus Hebræoram, in the fourth book of which he treats expressly of those Hebrew rites which were borrowed from the Gentile worship, vol. ii. p. 1086, edition of Cambridge.

which were utterly unknown to the original founders of the nation. The conquest of Asia, by Alexander the Great, was also an event, from which we may date a new accession of errors to the Jewish system; since, in consequence of that revolution, the manners and opinions of the Greeks began to spread themselves among the Persians, Syrians, Arabians, and likewise among the Jews, who, before that period, were entirely unacquainted with letters and philosophy. We may, further, rank among the causes that contributed to corrupt the religion and manners of the Jews, their voyages into the adjacent countries, especially Egypt and Phenicia, in pursuit of wealth. For, with the treasures of these corrupt and superstitious nations, they brought home also their pernicious errors, and their idle fictions, which were imperceptibly blended with their religious system. Nor ought we to omit, in this enumeration, the pestilential influence of the wicked reigns of Herod and his sons, and the enormous instances of idolatry, error, and licentiousness, which this unhappy people had constantly before their eyes in the religion and manners of the Roman governors and soldiers, which, no doubt, contributed much to the progress of their national superstition and corruption of manners. might add here many more facts and circumstances, to illustrate further the matter under consideration; but these will be readily suggested to such as have the least acquaintance with the Jewish history from the time of the Maccabees.


XVI. It is indeed worthy of observation, that, corrupted as the Jews were with the errors and superstitions of the neighbouring nations, they still preserved a zealous attachment to the law of Moses, and were extremely careful that it should not suffer any diminution of its credit, or lose any, the least degree of that veneration, that was due to its divine authority. Hence Synagogues were erected throughout the province of Judea, in which the people assembled for the purposes of divine worship, and to hear their doctors interpret and explain the holy scriptures. There were, besides, in the more populous towns, public schools, in which learned men were appointed to instruct the youth in the knowledge of divine things, and also in other branches of science. And it is beyond all doubt, that these institutions contributed to maintain the law in its primitive authority, and to stem the torrent of abounding iniquity.

XVII. The Samaritans, who celebrated divine worship in the temple that was built on mount Gerizim, lay under the burden of the same evils that oppressed the Jews, with whom they lived in the bitterest enmity, and were also, like them, highly instrumental in increasing their own calamities. We learn from the most authentic histories of those times, that the Samaritans suffered as much as the Jews, from troubles and divisions fomented by the intrigues of factious spirits, though their religious sects were yet less numerous than those of the latter. Their religion, also, was much more corrupted than that of the Jews, as Christ himself declares

8 See Gale's observations on Jamblichus, De mysteriis Egyptiorum, p. 206. Josephus acknowledges the same thing in his Jewish Antiquities, book iii. ch. vii. sect. 2.

9 See Camp. Vitringa, De synagoga vetere, lib. iii. cap. V. p. 667. and lib. 1. cap. v. p. 133, vii. p. 156.

In his conversation with the woman of Samaria; Herod the Great, the Son of God descended though it appears, at the same time, that their upon earth, and taking upon him the human notions concerning the offices and ministry of nature, appeared to men under the sublime the Messiah, were much more just and conform-characters of an infallible teacher, an all-suffiable to truth, than those which were entertained at Jerusalem. Upon the whole, it is certain that the Samaritans mixed the profane errors of the Gentiles, with the sacred doctrines of the Jews, and were excessively corrupted by the idolatrous customs of the Pagan nations."

XVIII. The Jews multiplied so prodigiously, that the narrow bounds of Palestine were uo longer sufficient to contain them. They poured, therefore, their increasing numbers into the neighbouring countries, and that with such rapidity, that, at the time of Christ's birth, there was scarcely a province in the empire, where they were not found carrying on commerce, and exercising other lucrative arts. They were maintained, in foreign countries, against injurious treatment and violence, by the special edicts and protection of the magistrates; and this, indeed, was absolutely necessary, since, in most places, the remarkable difference of their religion and manners, from those of the other nations, exposed them to the hatred and indignation of the ignorant and bigotted multitude. All this appears to have been most singularly and wisely directed by the adorable hand of an interposing providence, to the end that this people, which was the sole depository of the true religion, and of the knowledge of one Supreme God, being spread abroad through the whole earth, might be every where, by their example, a reproach to superstition, contribute in some measure to check it, and thus prepare the way for that yet fuller discovery of divine truth, which was to shine upon the world from the ministry and gospel of the Son of God.



I. The errors and disorders that we have now been considering, required something far above human wisdom and power to dispel and remove them, and to deliver mankind from the miseruble state to which they were reduced by them. Therefore towards the conclusion of the reign of

cient mediator, and a spiritual and immortal king. The place of his birth was Bethlehem, in the land of Palestine. The year in which it happened, has not hitherto been fixed with certainty, notwithstanding the deep and laborious researches of the learned on that matter. There is nothing surprising in this when we consider that the first Christians laboured under the same difficulties, and were divided in their opinions, concerning the time of Christ's birth. That which appears most probable, is, that it happened about a year and six months before the death of Herod, in the year of Rome 748 or 749. The uncertainty, however, of this point is of no sort of consequence. We know that the Sun of Righteousness has shone upon the world. And though we cannot fix the precise period in which he arose, this will not hinder us from enjoying the direction and influence of his vita and salutary beams.

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II. Four inspired writers, who have transmitted to us an account of the life and actions of Jesus Christ, mention particularly his birth, his lineage, his family, and his parents; but they say very little concerning his infancy and his earlier youth. Not long after his birth, he was conducted by his parents into Egypt, that he might be there out of the reach of Herod's cruelty. When he was but twelve years old, he disputed, in the temple, with the most learned of the Jewish doctors, concerning the sublime truths of religion. And the rest of his life, until the thirtieth year of his age, was spent in the obscurity of a private condition, and consecrated to the duties of filial obedience." This is all that the wisdom of God hath permitted us to know, with certainty, of Christ, before he entered upon his public ministry; nor is the story of his having followed the trade of his adopted father Joseph built upon any sure foundation. There have been, indeed, several writers, who, either through the levity of a wanton imaginaton, or with a design to attract the admiration of the multitude, have invented a series of the most extravagant and ridiculous fables, in order to give an account of this obscure part of the Saviour's life.

III. Jesus began his public ministry in the thirtieth year of his age; and to render it more solemn and affecting to the Jews, a man, whose name was John, the son of a Jewish priest, a

1 Christ insinuates on the contrary, in the strong-person of great gravity also, and much respected

est manner, the superiority of the Jewish worship to that of the Samaritans, John iv. 22. See also, on this head, 2 Kings xvii. 29. The passage to which Dr. Mosheim refers, as a proof that the Samaritans had juster notions of the Messiah than the Jews, is the 25th verse of the chapter of St. John already cited, where the woman of Samaria says to Jesus, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ; when he is come, he will tell us all things. But this passage seems much too vague to justify the conclusion of our learned historian. Besides, the confession of one person, who may possibly have had some singular and extraordinary advantages, is not a proof that the nation in general entertained the same sentiments, especially since we know that the Samaritans had corrupted the service of God by a profane mixture of the grossest idolatries.

2 Those who desire an exact account of the principal authors that have written concerning the Samaritans, will find it in the learned work of Jo. Gottlob Carpzovius, entitled, Critica. S. Vet. Testam. part II. cap. iv. p. 595. 3 See the account, published at Leyden 1712, by James Gronovius, of the Roman and Asiatic edicts in favour of the Jews, allowing them the free and secure exercise of their religion, throughout all the cities of the Lesser Asia.

on account of the austere dignity of his life and manners, was commanded by God to proclaim to the people the coming of the Messiah, that had been promised to their fathers. This extraordinary man called himself the fore-runner of the Messiah. Filled with a holy zeal and a divine fervour, he cried aloud to the Jewish nation, to depart from their transgressions, and to purify their hearts, that they might thus partake

4 The learned John Albert Fabricius has collected all the opinions of the learned, concerning the year of Christ's birth, in his Bibliograph. Antiquar. cap. vii. sect. ix. p. 187.

5 Matt. iii. 2, &c. John i. 22, &c.
6 Matt. ii. 13.

7 Luke ii. 51, 52.

8 See the account, which the above-mentioned Albert Fabricius has given of these romantic triflers, in his Codex Apocryphus, N. T. tom. i.


of the blessings which the Son of God was now come to offer to the world. The exhortations of this respectable messenger were not without effect; and those who, moved by his solemn admonitions, had formed the resolution of correcting their evil dispositions and amending their lives, were initiated into the kingdom of the Redeemer by the ceremony of immersion, or baptism." Christ himself, before he began his ministry, desired to be solemnly baptized by John in the waters of Jordan, that he might not, in any point, neglect to answer the demands of the Jewish law.


question. But since it is manifest, from the words of our Saviour himself, that he intended the number of the twelve apostles as an allusion to that of the tribes of Israel; it can scarcely be doubted, that he was willing to insinuate by this appointment, that he was the supreme lord and high priest of these twelve tribes, into which the Jewish nation was divided. And as the number of disciples answers evidently to that of the senators, of whom the council of the people, or the sanhedrim, was composed, there is a high degree of probability in the conjecture of those, who think that Christ, by the choice of the seventy, designed to admonish the Jews, that the authority of their sanhedrim was now at an end, and that all power, with respect to religious matters, was vested in him alone.

IV. It is not necessary to enter here into a particular detail of the life and actions of Jesus Christ. All Christians must be perfectly well acquainted with them. They must know, that, during the space of three years, and amidst the VII. The ministry of the divine Saviour was deepest trials of affliction and distress, he in- confined to the Jews; nor while he remained structed the Jewish nation in the will and upon earth, did he permit his apostles or discicounsels of the Most High, and omitted nothing, ples to extend their labours beyond this distinin the course of his ministry, that could contri-guished nation. 14 At the same time, if we conbute either to gain the multitude, or to charm sider the illustrious acts of mercy and omnipothe wise. Every one knows, that his life was a tence, that were performed by Christ, it will be continued scene of the most perfect sanctity, and natural to conclude, that his fame must have the purest and most active virtue; not only been very soon spread abroad in other countries. without spot, but also beyond the reach of sus- We learn from writers of no small note, that picion. And it is also well known, that by Abgarus, king of Edessa, being seized with a miracles of the most stupendous kind, and not severe and dangerous illness, wrote to our blessed more stupendous than salutary and beneficent, Lord to implore his assistance; and that Jesus he displayed to the universe the truth of that not only sent him a gracious answer, but also religion which he brought with him from above, accompanied it with his picture, as a mark of and demonstrated the reality of his divine com- his esteem for that pious prince.15 These mission in the most illustrious manner. letters are still extant. But they are justly looked upon as fictitious by most writers, who also go yet farther, and treat the whole story of Abgarus as entirely fabulous, and unworthy of credit. 16 I will not pretend to assert the genuineness of these letters; but I see no reason of sufficient weight to destroy the credibility of the whole story, which is supposed to have given occasion to them.17

V. As this divine religion was to be propagated to the utmost ends of the earth, it was necessary that Christ should choose a certain number of persons to accompany him constantly through the whole course of his ministry; that thus they might be faithful and respectable witnesses of the sanctity of his life, and the grandeur of his miracles, to the remotest nations; and also transmit to the latest posterity a genuine account of his sublime doctrines, and of the nature and end of the gospel dispensation. Therefore Jesus chose, out of the multitude that attended his discourses, twelve persons whom he separated from the rest by the name of Apostles. These men were illiterate, poor, and of mean extraction, and such alone were truly proper to answer the views of the divine Saviour. He avoided making use of the ministry of persons endowed with the advantages of fortune and birth, or enriched with the treasures of eloquence and learning, lest the fruits of this embassy, and the progress of the gospel, should be attributed to human and natural causes.' These apostles were sent but once to preach to the Jews during the life of Christ." He chose to keep them about his own person, that they might be thoroughly instructed in the affairs of his kingdom. That the multitude however, might not be destitute of teachers to enlighten them with the knowledge of the truth, Christ appointed seventy disciples to preach the glad tidings of life eternal throughout the whole province of Judea.12


VI. The researches of the learned have been employed to find out the reason of Christ's fixing the number of the apostles to twelve, and that of the disciples to seventy, and various conjectures have been applied to the solution o' this

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VIII. A great number of the Jews, struck with those illustrious marks of a divine autho

13 Matt. xix. 28. Luke xxii. 30.
14 Matt. x. 5, 6. xv. 24.

15 Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. 1. cap. xiii. p. 21. Jo. Albert Fabric. Codex Apocryphus N. T. tom. i. p. 317.

16 See Basnage, Histoire des Juifs. vol. i. cap. xviii. p. Osroena, lib. iii. p. 104. Jos. Simon Assemanus, Biblioth. 500. As also Theoph. Sigf. Bayerus, Historia Edessena et Oriental. Clement. Vaticana, tom. i. p. 554.

17 There is no author who has discussed this question (concerning the authenticity of the letters of Christ and Abgarus, and the truth of the whole story) with such learning and judgment, as the late Mr. Jones, in the second volume of his excellent work, entitled, A New and Full Method of settling the Canonical Authority of the New Testament. Notwithstanding the opinions of such cele these letters, and the history to which they relate, Mr. brated names, as Parker, Cave, and Grabe, in favour of Jones has offered reasons to prove the whole fictitious, which seem unanswerable, independent of the authorities of Rivet, Chemnitius, Walther, Simon, Du Pin, Wake, Spanheim, Fabricius, and Le Clerc, which he opposes to the three above mentioned. It is remarkable that this story is not mentioned by any writer before Eusebius; that it is but little taken notice of by succeeding writers; that the whole affair was unknown to Christ's apostles, and to the Christians their contemporaries, as is manifest from the early disputes about the method of receiving Gentile converts into the church, which this story, had it been true, must have entirely decided. As to the letters, no doubt can be made of their spuriousness; since, if Christ had written a letter to Abgarus, it would have been a part of sacred Scripture, and would have been placed at the head of all the books of the New Testament. See Lardner's Collection of Ancient Jewish and Heathen Testimonies, vol. i. p. 297, &c. It must be observed in behalf of Eusebius, that he relates this story as drawn from the archives of Edessa.



rity and power, that shone forth in the ministry | resumed the enjoyment of that glory which he and actions of Christ, regarded him as the Son was possessed of before the worlds were crented. of God, the true Messiah. The rulers of the people, and more especially the chief priests and Pharisees, whose licentiousness and hypocrisy he censured with a noble and generous freedom, laboured with success, by the help of their pas sions, to extinguish in their breasts the convic- CONCERNING THE PROSPEROUS EVENTS THAT HAPtion of his celestial mission; or, at least, to suppress the effects it was adapted to produce upon their conduct. Fearing also lest the ministry of Christ should tend to diminish their credit, and to deprive them of the advantages they derived from the impious abuse of their authority in religious matters; they laid snares for his life, which, for a considerable time, were without effect. They succeeded, at length, by the infernal treason of an apostate disciple, by the treachery of Judas, who discovered the retreat which his divine Master had chosen for the purposes of meditation and repose, and thus delivered him into the merciless hands of a brutal soldiery.

I. JESUS, being ascended into heaven, soon showed his afflicted disciples, that, though invisible to mortal eyes, he was still their omnipotent protector, and their benevolent guide. About fifty days after his departure from them, he gave them the first proof of that majesty and power to which he was exalted, by the effusion of the Holy Ghost upon them according to his promise. The consequences of this grand event were surprising and glorious, infinitely honourable to the Christian religion, and the divine mission of its triumphant author. For no sooner had the apostles received this precious gift, this celestial guide, than their ignorance was turned into light, their doubts into certainty, their fears into a firm and invincible fortitude, and their former backwardness into an ardent and inextinguishable zeal, which led them to undertake their sacred office with the utmost intrepidity and alacrity of mind. This marvellous event was attended with a variety of gifts, particularly the gift of tongues, so indispensably necessary to qualify the apostles to preach the gospel to the different nations. These holy apostles were also filled with a perfect persuasion, founded on Christ's express promise, that the divine presence would perpetually accompany them, and show itself by miraculous interpositions, as often as the success of their ministry should render this necessary.

IX. In consequence of this, Jesus was first brought before the Jewish high priest and sanhedrim, before whom he was accused of having violated the law, and blasphemed the majesty of God. Dragged from thence to the tribunal of Pilate the Roman prætor, he was there charged with seditious enterprises, and with treason against Cæsar. Both these accusations were so evidently false, and destitute even of every appearance of truth, that they must have been rejected by any judge, who acted upon the principles of common equity. But the clamours of an enraged populace, set on by the impious instigations of their priests and rulers, intimidated Pilate, and engaged him, though with the utmost reluctance, and in opposition to the dictates of his conscience, to pronounce a capital sentence against Christ. The divine Saviour be- II. Relying upon these celestial succours, the haved with inexpressible dignity under this apostles began their glorious ministry, by heavy trial. As the end of his mission was to preaching the gospel, according to Christ's make expiation for the sins of men, so when all positive command, first to the Jews, and by enthings were ready, and when he had finished the deavouring to bring that deluded people to the work of his glorious ministry, he placidly sub-knowledge of the truth. Nor were their labours mitted to the death of the cross, and, with a serene and voluntary resignation, committed his spirit into the hands of the Father.

X. After Jesus had remained three days in the sepulchre, he resumed that life which he had voluntarily laid down; and, rising from the dead, declared to the universe, by that triumphant act, that the divine justice was satisfied, and the paths of salvation and immortality rendered accessible to the human race. He conversed with his disciples during forty days after his resurrection, and employed that time in instructing them more fully concerning the nature of his kingdom. Many wise and important reasons prevented his showing himself publicly at Jerusalem, to confound the malignity and unbelief of his enemies. He contented himself with manifesting the certainty of his glorious resurrection to a sufficient number of faithful and credible witnesses; foreseeing, perhaps, that if he appeared in public, those malicious unbelievers, who had formerly attributed his miracles to the power of magic, would now represent his resurrection, as a phantom or vision, produced by the influence of infernal powers. After having remained upon earth, during the space time above mentioned, and given to his disciples a divine commission to preach the glad tidings of salvation and immortality to the human race, he ascended into heaven, in their presence, and


unsuccessful, since in a very short time, many thousands were converted, by the influence of their ministry, to the Christian faith. From the Jews, they passed to the Samaritans, to whom they preached with such efficacy, that great numbers of that nation acknowledged the Messiah. And after that they had exercised their ministry, during several years, at Jerusalem, and brought to a sufficient degree of consistence and maturity the Christian churches which were founded in Palestine and the adjacent countries, they extended their views further, carried the divine lamp of the gospel to all the nations of the world, and saw their labours crowned, almost every where, with the most abundant fruits.

III. No sooner was Christ exalted on high, than the apostles determined to render their number complete, as it had been fixed by their divine Master, and accordingly to choose, in the place of Judas, who had desperately perished by his own hands, a man endowed with such degrees of sanctity and wisdom, as were necessary in a station of such vast importance. Hav

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