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admit Age of Reason Almighty ancient angels appears assert believe benevolent Bible called character chris christianity circumstance compared conceive creation cred death deistical Deists Deity devils divine doctrines equal evangelical EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIANITY evil facts faithfully recorded favour foretold ginally gion gospel grand happy hath heathen heaven Hebrew historians Holy idolatry Infidelity Isaiah Israel Jerusalem Jesus Christ Jewish Jews Judaism Judea least lives Lord Matt means Messiah miracles of Jesus moral truth mystery nation nature never objections observed Old Testament Paine PAINE's perhaps persecution person philosophers poet pretended Prophecies prophets psalm quire racter raised the dead reader religion resurrection reve revelation sacred Satan Saviour says our author scriptures shew Socrates Spirit sublime sufferings suppose tament tell tence term Tertullian thing thou tion true virtuous whence Whiston whole witnesses wonder word writings wrought
Page 21 - Such a supposition, in fact, only shifts the difficulty without obviating it: it is more inconceivable that a number of persons should agree to write such a history, than that one only should furnish the subject of it. The Jewish authors were incapable of the diction, and strangers to the morality contained in the Gospel, the marks of whose truth are so striking and inimitable that the inventor would be a more astonishing character than the hero.
Page 20 - What prepossession, what blindness must it be to compare the son of Sophronicus to the son of Mary! What an infinite disproportion there is between them! Socrates dying without pain or ignominy, easily supported his character to the last; and if his death, however easy, had not crowned his life, it might have been doubted whether Socrates, with all his wisdom, was anything more than a vain sophist.
Page 55 - Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve; after that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
Page 61 - I well remember, when about seven or eight years of age, hearing a sermon read by a relation of mine, who was a great devotee of the church, upon the subject of what is called redemption by the death of the Son of Cud.
Page 20 - The death of Socrates, peaceably philosophizing with his friends, appears the most agreeable that could be wished for ; that of Jesus, expiring in the midst of agonizing pains, abused, insulted, and accused by a whole nation, is the most horrible that could be feared. Socrates, in receiving the cup of poison, blessed indeed the weeping executioner who administered it ; but Jesus, in the midst of excruciating tortures, prayed for his merciless tormentors.
Page 20 - Where is the man, where the philosopher, who could so live and so die, without weakness and without ostentation ? When Plato described his imaginary good man loaded with all the shame of guilt, yet meriting the highest rewards of virtue, he describes exactly the character of Jesus Christ; the resemblance was so striking that all the Fathers perceived it.
Page 29 - ... Such trials seem to me above the strength of human nature, and able to over-bear duty, reason, faith, conviction, nay, and the most absolute certainty of a future state. Humanity, unassisted in an extraordinary manner, must have shaken off the present pressure, and have delivered itself out of such a dreadful distress, by any means that could have been suggested to it. We can easily imagine, that many persons, in so good a cause, might have laid down their lives at the gibbet, the stake, or the...
Page 39 - And, on the other hand, are we to suppose that every world in the boundless creation, had an Eve, an apple, a serpent and a redeemer ? In this case, the person who is irreverently called the Son of God, and sometimes God himself, would have nothing else to do than to travel from world to world, in an endless succession of death, with scarcely a momentary interval of life.
Page 56 - That such a person as Jesus Christ existed, and that he was crucified, which was the mode of execution at that day, are historical relations strictly within the limits of probability. He preached most excellent morality, and the equality of man; but he preached also against the corruptions and avarice of the Jewish priests; and this brought upon him the hatred and vengeance of the whole order of priest-hood.
Page 53 - The resurrection and ascension, supposing them to have taken place, admitted of public and ocular demonstration, like that of the. ascension of a balloon, or the sun at noon day, to all Jerusalem at • least. A thing which every body is required to believe, requires that the proof and evidence of it should be equal to all, and universal...