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still persisted with the greatest constancy to themselves and harmony with each other; so that if ever there might be any thing gathered of the temper of persons from the particular manner of their discourses, we may certainly discern the greatest fidelity in the apostles in the manner of their expressing themselves to the world. But then, in the fourth and last place, the credit which they found among those who were the best able to satisfy themselves whether they were honest or no, is a further evidence of their fidelity: for had they not been men of known honesty, it is not to be imagined that they could ever have obtained so much credit in a place where they were so intimately known, and among persons with whom they every day conversed with the greatest openness and freedom; especially considering how contrary their testimony was to the genius and interest of those who gave credit to them, many of whose hands had been imbrued in the blood of our Saviour; by which they were obliged, in their own vindication, so far as in them lay, to disprove the story of his resurrection; because, if that proved true, it proved them guilty of the most monstrous impiety that ever was acted, viz. the murder of the Son of God. And is it likely that the murderers of our Saviour would ever have believed the story of his resurrection, which was so clear an evidence of his innocency and their own guilt, had they had any reason to suspect the veracity of those that attested it; and yet in despite of themselves, great numbers of them were forced to believe it, although as soon as they did so, they were pricked at the heart with the sense of their horrid impiety, and forced to cry out in a bitter agony of conscience, Men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved? And as for those of them who had no hand in his murder, to be sure they were greatly prejudiced against the belief of his resurrection, because upon that depended the truth of his doctrine, which plainly contradicted a great part of that religion in which they had been educated, and of which they were infinitely zealous; and therefore to be sure they would never have given credit to it, had they not had undeniable evidence of the truth and integrity of those that testified it, especially when it was so easy for them to satisfy themselves about it. For it is not imaginable they would ever have entertained so ungrateful a story, but upon the most strict inquiry into the credit of its relators; and if upon inquiry they had found the least flaw, either in them or in their testimony, if they could have convicted them of any dishonest practices for the time past, or catched them tripping or contradicting one another in what they testified at present, they would soon have made the world ring of it; and the Jews, who were dispersed through all their neighbouring nations, would have divulged to all the world their fraudulent practices, and posted them up wherever they came for infamous knaves and liars; which must have infallibly blasted the credit of their testimony, and caused it to have been hissed out of the world for a fulsome imposture. Wherefore since no such thing ever happened, but contrariwise the credit of their report of Christ's resurrection did, in despite of all the wit and malice of its opposers, every day spread and increase, even in Jerusalem itself, where the thing was acted, and where the reporters of it lived, and that not only for a few days or

months, but from year to year, even till Jerusalem itself was destroyed; since, I say, all this is evident, what greater argument can we desire of the truth and integrity of those that attested it? And supposing them to be honest, their testimony must be true, because it was not matter of opinion, in which it is possible for the wisest men to be mistaken, but matter of fact, of which they had certain information from their own senses : and he who

says

that he saw such a thing, and it is evident that his senses were not imposed on, lies against his own conscience, if it be not true that he saw it.

4. Another circumstance requisite to render a testimony highly credible is, that there is no apparent motive to induce the attestors of it to testify falsely. For whether they are honest or no, we cannot well suppose that in a matter of importance they will testify falsely, without some great motive inducing them thereunto: but as for the witnesses of our Saviour's resurrection, had they not been certain of the truth of it, they could have no imaginable motive to induce them to attest it; for they could never hope to reap the least advantage from it, either here or hereafter. Not here, for their Lord had told them beforehand, that if they would be his disciples, they must suffer persecution ; and they themselves could not but foresee, that by testifying his resurrection they must infallibly alarm all the world against them, because the doctrine which they confirmed by it was extremely opposite both to the present religion and interest of the Jews, and to the common theology of the Gentiles; and that therefore, by going about to establish it, they must in effect proclaim war against all the world, and consequently expose themselves to the utmost rigour and severity that the wit and malice of men could invent or inflict; which must be a very sorry motive sure to induce men in their wits to undertake the propagation of a known imposture. But perhaps it may be thought they did all this for the glory and reputation of being the founders of a new sect. But from whence, I beseech you, could they promise themselves success ? Not from their master Jesus, who, if their testimony was not true, they could not but know was still detained under the power of the grave; not from God, whom, if they testified falsely, they were conscious they wickedly belied in suborning his power and veracity to bear witness to a falsehood; not from the force and charms of their own eloquence or sophistry, for that they pretended not to; not from their riches, for their staves and scrips were all the treasure they carried with them; nor from any authority or power they had, or ever were like to have; for how could such poor illiterate persons as they ever expect to arrive to an authority great enough to contest with all the power and wisdom of the world, which was armed against them : in a word, not from any proneness they found either in Jews or Gentiles to embrace the doctrine which they designed by this their testimony to confirm and assert, that being everywhere gainsaid and opposed by the interests and affections of both; and if their testimony was not believed, (as it was very unlikely it should, if it had not been true,) what could they expect, but to be branded to all posterity as a company of infamous cheats and impostors? So that unless they had been assured that their testimony was true, they had all the reason in the world to expect that it would prove the most fatal and unprofitable lie that ever was invented or broached among mankind; since it was so far from promising them any worldly advantage, that it visibly exposed them to all the miseries and calamities of human life. And then, if they knew this story of Christ's resurrection, which they attested, to be a lie, they had a great deal less reason to expect any advantage from it in the world to come. For either they believed that religion which they sought to confirm, by attesting this story, or they did not; if they did not, how could they hope to fare ever the better in the other world for endeavouring to propagate a false religion in this ? if they did, how could they hope to be made happy hereafter, by telling a lie for that religion which excommunicates liars out of the kingdom of happiness? Since therefore, if their testimony had been false, they could expect to reap no advantage from it in either world, doubtless they would never have been so mad as to assert and attest it, had they not known it to be true: for what man in his wits would ever tell a lie, that hath no reason to expect any other fruit from it, but only to die for it here, and to be damned for it hereafter?

5. Another circumstance requisite to render a testimony highly credible is, that the testifiers of it do give some great security for the truth of what they say; and therefore it is required by human laws, that in all great matters of fact the witnesses should give the security of their oaths, or of some great pledge to be forfeited by them, in case their testimony prove false.

But never did any men give greater security of their truth than the witnesses of

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