« PreviousContinue »
those Prophecies or no, is not material to the present Questions.
Is it not manifest to Sight, that those Words, << the ancient Books referred to are extant, “ and no such Prophecies to be found,” express the Sense and Opinion of the Objector to the Resurrection ? But the Considerer charges it to the Author of the Tryal as his own Sentiment, which he could not have done had he quoted the Passage fairly. For this Reason he has altered it, and left out all the Words which expressly refer the Opinion to the Objector. His Quotation stands thus,—The Author of the Trial b (or Mr. Bi) says that though Jesus referred to the Aathority of the ancient Prophecies to prove that the Messias was to die and rise again; and that though the ancient Books referred to are extant, and no such Prophecies to be found, whether the Prophecies can be found or no, it is not material to the present Question.
I shall leave the Considerer's fair Dealing to be tried upon a Comparison with the Passage, as it stands in the Tryal, and as it is transcribed into his Answer: And let him account to his Readers, as he can, for having so grossly imposed on them.
The only Thing here properly to be charged on the Author of the Tryal, is expressed in those Words, whether the Gentleman (i.e. the Objector) can find those Prophecies or no, is not
, p. 30.
hi Firft Edit. p. 20.
· Third Edir.
material to the present Question. I think this is faid very justly; for surely Believers are not to wait for the Evidence of Prophecy, 'till Infidels can or will see it: and therefore whether the Gentleman (the Objector) could find the Prophecies or no, was not material; and further, whether he could or not find the Prophecies, it was not material to the present Question. The present Question related to the Truth of the Resurrection, considered merely as a Matter of Fact: And as Facts must be proved, not by Prophecy, but by historical Evidence, it was impertinent to talk of Prophecy, when the Enquiry concerned a mere Fact only.
But the Confiderer, for want of Discernment, or something else, says, it is granted the Gofpel Historians suggest there are Prophecies, which are not to be found in the Books they refer to; but this is said not to be material. He leaves out the Words, to the present Question, and
goes on; Strange! is it not material, whes ther what the Evangelists say be true or falje? Whether this is a true or false Insinuation to countenance the History? whether through Ignorance they imagined there were Prophecies which there were not, and so were deluded? and whether through Design they suggested there were, and so deceived others k? All this is
well; but before the Confiderer can be entitled to the full Merit of it; he must thew what he is doing, and whom he means to confute. He appears to me to be hunting down nothing but a very great Blunder of his own.
k First Edit. P. 21.
Third Edit. p. 14.
The Objector to the Truth of the Resura rection says, (Tryal, p. 14.) In other Cafes the Evidence supports the Credit of the History, but here the Evidence itself is presumed only upon the Credit which the History has gained. The Considerer quotes the Words, and introduces them in this Manner, « 'Tis true that in “other Cafes, &ca. and refers the Reader to the Tryal; as if the Words produced expressed the Sense of the Author of the Tryal himself. The Confiderer was made sensible of this Mistake, and tho' the Passage still stands, and very improperly, in his new Edition ; yet he has taken fome Care to cover the Blunder, by dropping the Reference to the Tryal.
But let us fee in other Instances how fairly the Confiderer deals.
The Author of the Tryal, to shew that the Jews, in guarding the Sepulchre, betrayed a sex cret Conviction of the Truth of the Miracless performed by Christ in his Life-time fays,
Tryal, p. 38.
The Considerer quotes For bad they been per- these Words thus : fuaded that he wrought They being persuaa no Wonders in bis Life, ded be performed no MiI think they would not racles in bis Life, were have
i Page & Firft Edit
have been afraid of fee-' not afraid of seeing any ing any done by him after done by him after his bis Death.
Deatbb. Again, p. 39. The Author of the Tryal, to fhew the Inconlistency of Woolston's Scheme, says,
Surely this is a most fin- Therefore that they gular Cafe ; when the should kill him, that his People thought him a Death might put an End Prophet, the chief Priefs to all Pretenfons ; yet fought to kill him, and think him not safe, when thought his Death would be was dead is, I must put an End to his Pre- own, a needless and pretensions ; when they and posterous Fear, and a the People had discovered most singular Case, as the bim to be a Cheat, then Gentleman ( meaning they thought him not safe, the Author of the Tryal) even when he was dead, rightly expresses it. but were afraid he should prove a true Prophet, and, according to his own Predi£tion, rise again.
By this artful Abuse of the Language of the Tryal, he makes the Reader imagine, that he has convicted the author out of his own Mouth.
Once more; amongst other things amazingly acted, as he expresses himself, the Confiderer e reckons this for one, that St. Matthew
b First Edit. p. 38.
Third Edit. p. 29. Edit. p. 48. Third Edit. p. 38.
should be admitted as an Evidence in a Court, tó prove a Faet when he was absent ; and for this amazing thing he refers the Reader to p. 42. of the Tryal.
I thought it impossible, that the Author of the Tryal should give any Handle for so impertinent an Objection to the Credit of St. Matthew. St. Matthew is an Historian, and who ever objected to an Historian, that he was not present at all the Transactions he reports ? However I turned to the Iryal, p. 42. but not one Word is there about the Credit of St. Matthew; nor is it easy to discern what the Confiderer refers to without supposing him guilty of a great Blunder, and not to know the Difference between an Historian, and one produced as an Eye-Witness.
The Author of the Tryal objects to the Credibility of the Story made by the Guards of the Sepulchre, because their own Relation thews they were alleep, when the Things they related happened. And to this purpose he says, I would ask the Gentleman whether be bas any Authorities in Point, to sew that ever any Man was admitted as an Evidence in
Court, to prove a Faet which happened when he was asleep? This, I suppose, must be the Passage, upon the Strength of which the Author of the Tryal is made a Party to the Objection against the Credit of St. Matthew; and it thews how well qualified the Confiderer is to determine on the Credit of the Gospe! Histo