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CHAPTER 5 Against those that disbelieve the Account of Our Saviour's Miracles given by His Disciples.
(c) Now if they say that our Saviour worked no miracle at all, nor any of the marvels to which His friends bore witness, let us see if what they say will be credible, if they have no rational explanation why the disciples and the Master were associated. For a teacher always promises some special form of instruction, and pupils always, in pursuit of that instruction, come and commit themselves to the teacher. - 127 -
Is not the answer clear? It was only and altogether the instruction which they carried to other men, when they had learned it from Him. And His precepts were those of a philosopher's life, which He outlined when He said to them: "Provide neither gold nor silver 47 in your girdles, nor a staff for the road," [[Matt. x. 9.]] and similar words, that they should commit themselves to all-governing Providence, and take no care for their needs, and bade them to aim higher than the Jews under Moses' commandments, to whom he gave a law as to men prone to murder. "Do (110) not kill," and likewise, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" as to men who were lascivious and lecherous, and again, "Thou shalt not steal," as to men of the type of slaves; but our Saviour taught that they must regard such laws as not applying to them, and aim above all at a soul free from passion, cutting away from the depths of their minds as from the roots the shoots of sin: they must try to (b) master anger and every base lust, and more, they must never ruffle the sublime calm of the soul with anger: they must not look upon a woman with unbridled lust, and so far from stealing they must lavish their own property on the needy: they must not be proud of not defrauding one another, but consider rather that they must bear no malice against those who defrauded them. But why should I collect everything that He taught and that they learned? (c) He commanded them besides all this to hold so fast to truth, that so far from swearing falsely they should not need to swear at all, and to contrive to exhibit a life more faithful than any oath, going so far only as Yea and Nay, and using the words with truth.
I would ask, then, where would be the sense in suspecting that hearers of such teaching, who were themselves masters in such instruction, invented their account of their Master's work? How is it possible to think that they were all in (d) agreement to lie, being twelve in number especially chosen, and seventy besides, whom He is said to have sent two - 128 - and two before His face into every place and country into which He Himself would come? But no argument can prove that so large a body of men were untrustworthy, who embraced a holy and godly life, regarded their own affairs as of no account, and instead of their dearest ones —I mean their wives, children, and all their family—chose a life of poverty, and carried to all men as from one mouth a consistent account of their Master. Such would be the right and obvious and true argument; let us examine that which opposes it. Imagine the teacher and his disciples. Then admit the fanciful hypothesis that he teaches not the aforesaid things, hut doctrines opposed to them, that is to say, to transgress, to be unholy, to be unjust, to be covetous and fraudulent, and anything else that is evil; that he recommends them to endeavour so to do without being found out, and to hide their disposition quite cleverly with a screen of holy teaching and a novel profession of godliness. Let the pupils pursue these, and more vicious ideals still, with the eagerness and (b) inventiveness of evil: let them exalt their teacher with lying words, and spare no falsity: let them record in fictitious narrative his miracles and works of wonder, so that they may gain admiration and felicitation for being the pupils of such a master. Come, tell me, if such an enterprise engineered by such men would hold together? (c) You know the saying, "The rogue is neither dear to rogue nor saint."1 Whence came, among a crew of so many, a harmony of rogues? Whence their general and consistent evidence about everything, and their agreement even unto death? Who, in the first place, would give heed to a wizard giving such teaching and commands? Perhaps you will say that the rest were wizards no less than their guide. Yes—but surely they had all seen the end of their (d) teacher, and the death to which He came. Why then after seeing His miserable end did they stand their ground? Why did they construct a theology about Him when He was dead? Did they desire to share His fate? No one surely on any reasonable ground would choose such a punishment with his eyes open.
And if. it be supposed that they honoured Him, while - 129 - He was still their comrade and companion, and as some might say their deceitful cozener, yet why was it that after His death they honoured Him far more than before? For while He was still with men they are said to have once deserted Him and denied Him, when the plot was engineered against Him, yet after He had departed from men, they chose willingly to die, rather than to depart from their good witness about Him. Surely if they (112) recognized nothing that was good in their Master, in His life, or His teaching, or His actions—no praiseworthy deed, nothing in which He had benefited them, but only wickedness and the leading astray of men, they could not possibly have witnessed eagerly by their deaths to His glory and holiness, when it was open to them all to live on untroubled, and to pass a life of safety by their own hearths with their dear ones. How could deceitful and shifty men have thought it desirable to die for some one else, especially, if one may say so, for a man who they knew had been of no service to them, but their teacher in all evil? For (b) while a reasonable and honourable man for the sake of some good object may with good reason sometimes undergo a glorious death, yet surely men of vicious nature, slaves to passion and pleasure, pursuing only the life of the moment and the satisfactions which belong to it, are not the people to undergo punishment even for friends and relations, far less for those who have been condemned for crime. How then could His disciples, if He was really a deceiver and a wizard, recognized by them as such, with their own minds enthralled by still worse viciousness, (c) undergo at the hands of their fellow-countrymen every insult and every form of punishment on account of the witness they delivered about Him?—this is all quite foreign to the nature of scoundrels.
And once more consider this. Granted that they were deceitful cozeners, you must add that they were uneducated, and quite common men, and Barbarians to boot, with no knowledge of any tongue but Syrian—how, then, did they go into all the world? Where was the intellect to sketch out 48 so daring a scheme? What was the power that - 130 - enabled them to succeed in their adventure? For I will admit that if they confined their energies 49 to their own (d) country, men of no education might deceive and be deceived, and not allow a matter to rest.50 But to preach to all the Name of Jesus, to teach about His marvellous deeds in country and town, that some of them should take possession of the Roman Empire, and the Queen of Cities itself, and others the Persian, others the Armenian, that others should go to the Parthian race, and yet others to the Scythian, that some already should have reached the very ends of the world, should have reached the land of the Indians, and some have crossed the Ocean and reached the Isles of Britain, all this I for my part will not admit (113) to be the work of mere men, far less of poor and ignorant men, certainly not of deceivers and wizards.51
I ask you how these pupils of a base and shifty master, who had seen His end, discussed with one another how they should invent a story about Him which would hang together? For they all with one voice bore witness that He cleansed lepers, drove out demons, raised the dead (b) to life, caused the blind to see, and worked many other - 131 - cures on the sick—and to crown all they agreed in saying that He had been seen alive after His death first by them. If these events had not taken place in their time, and if the tale had not yet been told, how could they have witnessed to them unanimously, and guaranteed their evidence by their death, unless at some time or other they had met together, made a conspiracy with the same intent, and come to an agreement with one another with regard to their lies and inventions about what had never taken place? What speech shall we suppose was made at their covenant? Perhaps it was something like this:
"Dear friends, you and I are of all men the best-informed with regard to the character of him, the deceiver and master of deceit of yesterday, whom we have all seen undergo the extreme penalty, inasmuch as we were initiated into his mysteries.52 He appeared a holy man to the people, and yet his aims were selfish beyond those of the people, and he has done nothing great, or worth a resurrection, if one leaves out of account the craft and guile of his disposition, and the crooked teaching he gave us and its vain deceit. In return for which, come, let us join hands, and all together make a compact to carry to all men a tale of deceit in which we all agree, and let us say that we have seen him bestow sight on the blind, which none of us ever heard he did, and giving hearing to the deaf, which none of us ever heard tell of: (let us say) he cured lepers, and raised the dead. To put it in a word, we must insist that he really did and said what we never saw him do, or heard him say. But since his last end was a notorious and well-known death, as we cannot disguise the fact, yet we can slip out even of this difficulty by determination, if quite shamelessly we bear witness that he joined us after his resurrection from the dead, and shared our usual home and food. Let us all be impudent and determined, and let us see that our freak lasts even to death. There is nothing ridiculous in dying for nothing at all. And why should we dislike for no good reason undergoing scourging and bodily - 132 - torture, and if need be to experience imprisonment, dishonour, and insult for what is untrue? Let us now (b) make this our business. We will tell the same falsehoods, and invent stories that will benefit nobody, neither ourselves, nor those we deceive, nor him who is deified53 by our lies. And we will extend our lies not only to men of our own race, but go forth to all men, and fill the whole world with our fabrications about him. And then let us lay down laws for all the nations in direct opposition to the opinions they have held for ages about their ancestral gods. Let us bid the Romans first of all not to worship the gods (c) their forefathers recognized. Let us pass over into Greece, and oppose the teaching of their wise men. Let us not neglect the Egyptians, but declare war on their gods, not going back to Moses' deeds against them of old time for our weapons, but arraying against them our Master's death, to scare them;54 so we will destroy the faith in the gods which from immemorial time has gone forth to all men, not by words and argument, but by the power of our Master Crucified.
Let us go to other foreign lands, and overturn all their (d) institutions. None of us must fail in zeal; for it is no petty contest that we dare, and no common prizes lie before us—but most likely the punishments inflicted according to the laws of each land: bonds, of course, torture, imprisonment, fire and sword, and wild beasts. We must greet them all with enthusiasm, and meet evil bravely, having our Master as our model. For what (115) could be finer than to make both gods and men our enemies for no reason at all, and to have no enjoyment of any kind, to have no profit of our dear ones, to make no money, to have no hope of anything gocd at all, but just to be deceived and to deceive without aim or object? This is our prize, to go straight in the teeth of all the nations, to war on the gods that have been acknowledged by them all for ages, to say that our Master, who (was crucified) 55 before our very eyes was God, and to represent Him as God's Son, for Whom we are ready to - 133 - die, though we know we have learned from Him nothing either true or useful. Yes, that is the reason we must (b) honour Him the more—His utter uselessness to us—we must strain every nerve to glorify His name, undergo all insults and punishments, and welcome every form of death for the sake of a lie. Perhaps truth is the same thing as evil, and falsehood must then be the opposite of evil. So let us say that He raised the dead, cleansed lepers, drove out daemons, and did many other marvellous works, knowing all the time that He did nothing of the kind, while we invent everything for ourselves, and deceive those we can. And suppose we convince nobody, at any rate we shall have the satisfaction of (c) drawing down upon ourselves, in return for our inventions, the retribution for our deceit."
Now is all this plausible? Docs such an account have the ring of truth? Can any one persuade himself that poor and unlettered men could make up such stories, and form a conspiracy to invade the Roman Empire? Or that human nature, whose characteristic clement is self-preservation, would ever be able for the sake of nothing at all to undergo a voluntary death? (or) that our Saviour's (d) disciples reached such a pitch of madness, that, though they had never seen Him work miracles, they with one consent invented many, and having heaped together a mass of lying words about Him were ready to suffer death to uphold them? What is that you suggest? That they never looked forward to or expected to suffer anything unpleasant because of their witness 56 to Jesus, and so they had no fear in going forth to preach about Him? What, you think it unlikely, that men who announced to Romans, Greeks, and Barbarians the total rout of their gods, would expect to undergo extreme sufferings on behalf of their (116) Master? At least the record about them is clear in shewing, that after the Master's death they were taken by plotters, who first imprisoned them, and afterwards released them, bidding them speak to none about the Name of Jesus. And discovering that after this they had publicly discussed the questions about Him before the multitude, they took them in charge and scourged them as a punishment - 134 - for their teaching. It was then Peter answered them, and said: "It is right to obey God rather than men." [[Acts v. 29.]] And after this Stephen was stoned to death for boldly addressing the Jewish populace, and an extraordinary (b) persecution arose against those who preached in Jesus' Name.
Herod again later on, the King of the Jews, killed James the brother of John with the sword, and cast Peter into prison, as is written in the Acts of the Apostles. [[Acts xii.1-3]] And yet, though they had suffered thus, the rest of the disciples held tenaciously to Jesus, and were still more diligent in preaching to all of Him and His miracles.
Afterwards James, the Lord's brother, whom of old the people of Jerusalem called "the Just" for his extraordinary (c) virtue, being asked by the chief priests, and teachers of the Jews what he thought about Christ, and answering that He was the Son of God, was also stoned by them.57 Peter was crucified head downwards at Rome,58 Paul beheaded,59 and John exiled to an island. Yet though they suffered thus, not one of the others gave up his intention, (d) but they made their prayer to God that they themselves might suffer a like fate for their religion, and continued to bear witness to Jesus and His marvellous works with yet more boldness.
And even supposing that they combined together to invent falsehoods, it is surely wonderful that so large a number of conspirators should continue to agree about their inventions even to death, and that not one of them in alarm at what happened to those who had been already killed ever severed himself from the association, or preached against the others, and brought to light their conspiracy; nay, the very one who dared to betray his Master while He lived, dying by his own hand, at once paid the penalty for his treachery.
(117) And would it not be a most inexplicable thing that shifty and unlettered men, unable to speak or understand any other language but their own, should not only take it into their heads to dare to go forth to the whole circle60 of the nations, but that having gone forth they should - 135 - succeed in their undertaking. And note, what a remarkable thing it is that they all agreed in every point in their account of the acts of Jesus. For if it is true that in all matters of dispute, either in legal tribunals or in ordinary (b) disagreements, the agreement is decisive (in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word is established), 61 [[Deut. xiv.15; 2 Cor.xiii.1]] surely the truth must be established in their case, there being twelve apostles and seventy disciples, and a large number apart from them, who all shewed an extraordinary agreement, and gave witness to the deeds of Jesus, not without labour, and by bearing torture, all kinds of outrage and death, and were in all things borne witness to by God, Who even now empowers the Word they preached, and will do so for ever.
I have thus concluded the working out of what would (c) follow if for the sake of argument a ridiculous hypothesis were supposed. This hypothesis was, to make suppositions contrary to the records, and to argue that Jesus was a teacher of impure words, injustice, covetousness, and all kinds of intemperance, that the disciples, profiting by such instruction from Him, surpassed all men in cupidity and wickedness. It was, indeed, the height of absurdity, equivalent to saying that when Moses said in his laws: "Thou shall not kill, Thou shall not commit adultery, Thou shall not steal, Thou shall not bear false witness," he should be calumniated and accused falsely of speaking in irony and pretence, and of really desiring that (d) his hearers should kill and commit adultery, and do the opposite to what his laws commanded, and of merely putting on the appearance and disguise of a holy life for a pretence. In this way, too, any one might slander the records of all the Greek philosophers, their strenuous life and sayings, with the calumny that their disposition and mode of life was contrary to their writings, and that their choice of a philosopher's life was but a hypocritical pretence. And in this way, to speak generally, (118) one might slander all the records of the ancients, annul - 136 - their truth, and turn them upside down. But just as no one who had any sense would not scruple to set down one who acted thus as a madman, so also (should it be) with regard to our Saviour's words and teaching, when people try to pervert the truth, and suggest that He really believed the opposite to what He taught. But my argument has been, of course, purely hypothetical, with the object of shewing the inconsistency of the contrary, by proving too much would follow from granting for the moment an absurd supposition.
This line of argument, then, being refuted, let me recur to the truth of the sacred writings, and consider the character of the disciples of Jesus. From the men as they stand, surely any sensible person would be inclined to consider them worthy of all confidence; they were admittedly poor men without eloquence, they fell in love with holy and philosophic instruction, they embraced and persevered in a strenuous and a laborious life, with fasting and abstinence from wine and meat, and much bodily restriction besides, with prayers and intercessions to God, (c) and, last but not least, excessive purity, and devotion botli of body and soul.
And who would not admire them, cut off by their divine philosophy even from lawful nuptials, not dragged in the train of sensual pleasure, not enslaved by the desire of children and descendants, since they did not yearn for mortal but immortal progeny? And who would not be astonished at their indifference to money, certified by their not turning from but welcoming a Master, Who forbade the possession of gold and silver, Whose law did not even allow the acquisition of a second coat? Why, any one only hearing such a law might reject it as too heavy, but these men are shewn to have carried out the words in fact. For once, when a lame man was begging from Peter's companions (it was a man in extreme need who begged for food), Peter, not having anything to give him, confessed that he had no belongings in silver or gold, and said: (119) "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I unto thee: In the Name of Jesus Christ,62 arise and walk." [[Acts iii. 6.]]
When the Master gave them gloomy prophecies, if they - 137 - gave heed to the things He said to them: "Ye shall have tribulation," [[John xvi. 33.]] and again: "Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice" [[John xvi. 20]]—the strength and depth of their nature is surely plain, since they did not fear the discipline of the body, nor run after pleasures. And the Master also, as One Who would not soothe them by deceit Himself, was like them in renouncing His property, and in His prophecy of the future, so open and so true, fixed in their minds the choice of His way of life. These were (b) the prophecies of what would happen to them for His Name's sake—in which He bore witness, saying that they should be brought before rulers, and come even unto kings, and undergo all sorts of punishments, not for any fault, nor on any reasonable charge, but solely for this—His Name's sake. And we who see it now fulfilled ought to be struck by the prediction; for the confession of the Name of Jesus ever inflames the minds of rulers. And (c) though he who confesses Christ has done no evil, yet they punish him with every contumely "for His Name's sake," as the worst of evil-doers, while if a man swears away the Name, and denies that he is one of Christ's disciples, he is let off scot-free, though he be convicted of many crimes.63 But why need I attempt to describe further the character of our Saviour's disciples? Let what I have said suffice to prove my contention. I will add a few words (d) more, and then pass to another class of slanderers.
The Apostle Matthew, if you consider his former life, did not leave a holy occupation, but came from those occupied in tax-gathering and over-reaching one another. [[Luke v. 27: Mark]] None of the evangelists has made this clear, neither his fellow-apostle John, nor Luke, nor Mark, but [[Matthew ii. 14.]] himself,64 who brands his own life, and becomes his own accuser. Listen how he dwells emphatically on his own name in the Gospel written by him,65 when he speaks in this way: - 138 -
(120) "9. And as Jesus passed by from thence, he saw a man, called Matthew, sitting at the place of toll, and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. 10. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples." [[Matt.ix.9.]]
(b) "Of the twelve apostles the names are these: First, Simon, called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican." [[Matt. x.2-3.]]
Thus Matthew, in excess of modesty, reveals the nature of his own old life, and calls himself a publican, he does not conceal his former mode of life, and in addition to this he places himself second after his yoke-fellow. For he is paired with Thomas, Peter with Andrew, James with John, and Philip with Bartholomew, and he puts Thomas before himself, preferring his fellow-apostle to himself, while the (c) other evangelists have done the reverse. If you listen to Luke, you will not hear him calling Matthew a publican, nor subordinating him to Thomas, for he knows him to be the greater, and puts him first and Thomas second. Mark has done the same. Luke's words are as follows:
"And when it was day, he called his disciples unto him, and chose twelve whom he also named apostles, Simon whom he also called Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John, and Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas." [[Luke vi.13]]
(d) So Luke honoured Matthew, according to what they delivered, who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word. And you would find John like Matthew. For in his epistles he never mentions his own - 139 - name, or call himself the Elder, or Apostle, or Evangelist; and in the Gospel, though he declares himself as the one whom Jesus loved, he does not reveal himself by name. Neither did Peter permit himself to write a Gospel through (121) his excessive reverence.66 Mark, being his friend and companion, is said to have recorded the accounts of Peter about the acts of Jesus, and when he comes to that part of the story where Jesus asked whom men said that He was, and what opinion His disciples had of Him, and Peter had replied that they regarded Him as (the) Christ, he writes that Jesus answered nothing, and said naught to him, except that He charged them to say nothing to any one about Him.
For Mark was not present when Jesus spoke those words; and Peter did not think it right to bring forward on his own testimony what was said to him and concerning him by Jesus. But Matthew tells us what was actually said to him, in these words:
"15. But whom say ye that I am? 16. And Simon (b) Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon bar-Jonah: for flesh and blood have not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18. And I also say unto thee. That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19. And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: and whatsoever things 67 thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever things thou shall loose on earth shall be [[Matt. xvi.15]] loosed in heaven."
Though all this was said to Peter by Jesus, Mark does not record it, because, most likely, Peter did not include it in his teaching—see what he says in answer to Jesus' question: (c) "Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ. And [[Mark viii.29.]] he straitly charged them that they should tell no man." About this event Peter for good reasons thought it best to keep silence. And so Mark also omitted it, though he made known to all men Peter's denial, and how he wept - 140 - about it bitterly. You will find Mark gives this account of him:
"66. And as Peter was in the court,68 there cometh one of the maids of the high priest; 67. and when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68. But he denied saying (I know not) 69 neither understand what thou sayest; and he went into the outside porch, and the cock crew. 69. And the maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean. 71. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72. And the second time the cock crew." [[Mark xiv.66.]]
(122) Mark writes thus, and Peter through him bears witness about himself. For the whole of Mark's Gospel is said to be the record of Peter's teaching. Surely, then, men who refused (to record) what seemed to them to spread their good fame, and handed down in writing slanders against themselves to unforgetting ages, and accusations of sins, which no one in after years would ever have known of unless he had heard it from their own voice, by thus placarding themselves, may justly be considered to have (b) been void of all egoism and false speaking, and to have given plain and clear proof of their truth-loving disposition. And as for such people who think they invented and lied, and try to slander them as deceivers, ought they not to become a laughing-stock, being convicted as friends of envy and malice, and foes of truth itself, who take men that have exhibited in their own words good proof of their integrity, and their really straightforward and sincere (c) character, and suggest that they are rascals and clever sophists, who invent what never took place, and ascribe gratuitously to their own Master what He never did?
I think then it has been well said: "One must put complete confidence in the disciples of Jesus, or none at all." And if we are to distrust these men, we must distrust - 141 - all writers, who at any time have compiled, either in Greece or other lands, lives and histories and records of men of their own times, celebrated for noble achievements,70 or else we should be considering it reasonable to believe others, (d) and to disbelieve them only.71 And this would be clearly invidious. What! Did these liars about their Master, who handed down in writing the deeds He never did, also falsify the account of His Passion? I mean His betrayal by one of His disciples, the accusation of the false witnesses, the insults and the blows on His face, the scourging of His back, and the crown of acanthus set on His head in contumely, the soldier's purple coat thrown round Him like a cloak, and finally His bearing72 the very trophy of the Cross, His being nailed to it, His hands and feet pierced, His being given vinegar to drink, struck on the cheek with a reed, and reviled by those who looked on. Were these things and everything like them in the Gospels, (123) also invented by the disciples, or must we disbelieve in the glorious and more dignified parts, and yet believe in these as in truth itself? And how can the opposite opinion be supported? For to say that the same men both speak the truth, and at the same time lie, is nothing else but predicating contraries about the same people at the same time.
What, then, is the disproof? That if it was their aim to deceive, and to adorn their Master with false words, they would never have written the above accounts, neither would they have revealed to posterity that He was pained and (b) troubled and disturbed in spirit, that they forsook Him and fled, or that Peter, the apostle and disciple who was chief of them all, denied Him thrice though untortured and - 142 - unthreatened by rulers. For surely if their aim was solely to present the more dignified side of their Master they would have had to deny the truth of such things, even when stated by others. And if their good faith is evident in (c) their gloomier passages about Him, it is far more so in the more glorious. For they who had once adopted the policy of lying would have the more shunned the painful side, and either passed it over in silence, or denied it, for no man in an after age would be able to prove that they had omitted them.
Why, then, did they not lie, and say that Judas who betrayed Him with a kiss, when he dared to give the sign of treachery, was at once turned into a stone? 73 and that the man who dared to strike Him had his right hand at once dried up; and that the high priest Caiaphas, as he conspired with the false witnesses against Him, lost the (d) sight of his eyes? And why did they not all tell the lie that nothing disastrous happened to Him at all, but that He vanished laughing at them from the court, and that they who plotted against Him, the victims of an hallucination divinely sent, thought they were proceeding against Him still though He was no longer present? 74 But what? Would it not have been more impressive, instead of making up these inventions of His miraculous deeds, to have written that He experienced nothing of the lot of human beings or mortals, but that after having settled all things with power (124) divine He returned to heaven with diviner glory? For, of course, those who believed their other accounts would have believed this.
And surely they who have set no false stamp 75 on anything that is true in the incidents of shame and gloom, ought to be regarded as above suspicion in other accounts wherein they have attributed miracles to Him. Their evidence then may be considered sufficient about our (b) Saviour. And here it will not be inappropriate for me to make use of the evidence of the Hebrew Josephus 76 as - 143 - well, who in the eighteenth chapter of The Archaeology of the Jews, in his record of the times of Pilate, mentions our Saviour in these words:
"And Jesus arises at that time, a wise man, if it is befitting to call him a man. For he was a doer of no common works, a teacher of men who reverence truth. And he gathered many of the Jewish and many of the Greek race. This was Christus; and when Pilate (c) condemned him to the Cross on the information of our rulers, his first followers did not cease to revere him. For he appeared to them the third day alive again, the divine prophets having foretold this, and very many other things about him. And from that time to this the tribe of the Christians has not failed." 77
If, then, even the historian's evidence shews that He attracted to Himself not only the twelve Apostles, nor the seventy disciples, but had in addition many Jews and Greeks, He must evidently have had some extraordinary power beyond that of other men. For how otherwise could (d) He have attracted many Jews and Greeks, except by wonderful miracles and unheard-of teaching? And the evidence of the Acts of the Apostles goes to shew that there were many myriads of Jews who believed Him to be the Christ of God foretold by the prophets. And history also assures us that there was a very important Christian Church in Jerusalem, composed of Jews, which existed until the siege of the city under Hadrian.78 The bishops, too, who stand first in the line of succession there are said to have been Jews, whose names are still remembered by - 144 - (125) the inhabitants.79 So that thus the whole slander against His disciples is destroyed, when by their evidence, and apart also from their evidence, it has to be confessed that many myriads of Jews and Greeks were brought under His yoke by Jesus the Christ of God through the miracles that He performed.
Such being my answer to the first division of the unbelievers, now let us address ourselves to the second body, (b) This consists of those, who while they admit that Jesus worked miracles, say that it was by a species of sorcery that deceived those who looked on, like a magician or enchanter. He impressed them with wonder.
Harnack regards all traditions of apostolic missions as legendary, except those of Paul, Peter, and "perhaps John of Ephesus," but accepts the Mission of Pantaenus (Expansion of Christianity, I. pp. 439-441). For earlier statements of the diffusion of Christianity cf. Justin, Trypho, c. cxvii.; Tertullian Apol. xxxvii., adv. Jud. 7: "The haunts of the Britons inaccessible to the Romans subjugated to Christ." About A.D. 150 the Church of Edessa counted the king among its members (see F. C. Burkitt, Early Christianity outside the Roman Empire, p. 11, Cambridge, 1899) and Persia, Media, Parthia and Bactria were evangelized. Origen (185-254) visited the Arabian Churches more than once. In Africa, Egypt, Cyrene, and Carthage were evangelized before 200. In Gaul there were strong Churches, e. g. Lyons and Vienne. (G. P. Fisher, History of the Church, pp. 46, 47. London, 1892.)