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This evidence is especially strong in the case of Judas Iscariot. He was one of the twelve who always companied with Jesus. He was the treasurer of the family-admitted to every opportunity of knowing whatever secrets may have belonged to the works of Christ. That he knew what and where the imposition was, if any existed in the gospel miracles, cannot be doubted. That he was treacherous enough to betray it, is manifest from his having betrayed the Master himself. That he had every inducement to do so, none can question who knows how precious the chief priests and Pharisees would have considered such a disclosure. Did he come forward with any such thing? He delivers up the person of Christ; does he accuse his character? deny his works? expose his cause? The Saviour is arraigned before his powerful enemies-witnesses are called. Where is Judas? False witnesses are brought. Where is Judas? Has he nothing to say against him whom he has already sold for thirty pieces of silver? The enemies of Christ could not be ignorant of the importance of such a witness; nor could he be ignorant of the gain that would accrue from his delivering such testimony. But he was not there. The Jews never pretended to have obtained any accusation from that traitor. Not a word is spoken, in all the controversy with primitive adversaries, about the treachery of Judas as having turned to their advantage. On the contrary, it is written in the gospel history, and never denied by those men, that he not only ab. stained from any accusation, but in the strongest
possible manner confessed the truth and excellence of Jesus and his cause. Under the stings of conscience, and in spite of the covetousness of his disposition, he went and delivered up the money he had received for his iniquity into the hands of those who had paid it. Nor was this all. He was constrained to confess to the chief priests and elders, whose wrath he knew it would inflame to the uttermost, saying, "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself."* Stronger evidence of truth and righteousness, it is impossible for any works or any cause to possess.
12. Having considered in another place the character of the individuals by whom the miracles of the gospel were performed, it is important now to remark the character of the miracles themselves. Either they were real miracles, or false. If false, the individuals who performed them could not, by any excess of infatuation, have supposed them true. They must, therefore, have been the deliberate asserters of a divine commission, which they knew had not been given them, and the persevering exhibiters of credentials which they knew were forgeries. Hence, it is not possible that they could have been honest men ; much less, good men. And inasmuch as they must have acted from some motive and with some object in view, and we cannot suppose that such impostors would be sacrificing themselves merely out of a benevolent disposition to promote the happiness of their
* Matt. 27: 4, 5.
fellow-creatures and relieve their woes, it must have been some object of ambition or of gain which they were pursuing. We do not pause now to show what perfect idiots they must have been to select such a scheme out of ambitious or pecuniary motives. But since, on the supposition that their works were fictitious, we can imagine no other, the question arises, How do these miracles correspond with the idea that the agents were impostors, and their motives ambitious or covetous?
Now I maintain, that considering how many and various are the miracles recorded in the New Testament, in what various circumstances and by what various agents they were performed-not for a month. or year only, but many years, in full assemblages of enemies-it would have been quite miraculous, supposing them false, had they been in every instance garnished with a concealment so perfect that nothing low, or mean, or undignified, nothing betraying the spirit of designing, ambitious, or covetous men, should ever have been manifested. Take up the accounts of any confessedly fictitious miracles, in any age or country, and you will soon detect the handwriting of the spirit and motives that produced them. But most singularly, contrary to all experience and all law, on the assumption that the miracles of Christ. and his apostles were fictitious, you discover nothing in them but what is entirely worthy of the majesty, holiness, justice, and goodness of that God by whose power they professed to be wrought. The most perfect correspondence appears between the exalted and
holy character and office in which the Saviour and his apostles claimed to be received, and the works by which their claim was sustained. Propriety, dignity, disinterestedness, benevolence of the loveliest spirit, and compassion of the tenderest sensibility, distinguished them. Not the least trace is marked on them. of any ambitious or other suspicious motive. Though the Lord Jesus and his apostles were compassed about with reproachful and persecuting enemies, you discern nothing vindictive or resentful. Though always in personal poverty, "despised and rejected of men," their miracles discover nothing ostentatious, nothing to gratify curiosity, no anxiety for repute, no aim at wealth or temporal power. While feeding the hungry by thousands, Jesus continued in poverty. While, as the good shepherd, ever following the lost sheep through suffering and want, that he might administer to their necessities, he showed no sign of any care for himself. Now, if Jesus and his apostles did not work miracles in truth-if their high claims were false, and they consequently were prosecuting a scheme of imposture with selfish purposes, either of ambition or gain, there is something in all this singularly unaccountable-very unlike the laws of nature-exceedingly miraculous.
13. But that the miracles of the gospel were not fictitious, but genuine and undeniable, we have the plainest and strongest confession from the primitive adversaries of Christ and his cause. In the first place, we have a very conclusive and impressive confession, though silent, from the whole Jewish nation
and the whole gentile world. It consists in this unquestionable fact, that no individual among them ever detected, or was supposed to have detected, an imposture. You are to remember that these miracles were addressed to the senses, performed in open daylight, with all possible publicity; that they were exceedingly numerous and various, wrought by many different agents, in many and remote countries, before citizens of the most enlightened cities, and in the most enlightened age of the Roman empire; that those of the apostles did not cease until nearly seventy years from their commencement, during all which time they must have endured the very closest scrutiny that the combined forces of learning, enmity, and political authority could institute. You are to remember, also, what kind of men were those who performed them, and that the accounts of them which we now possess were published far and wide in the very places where the works were done, and among the very people who are said to have witnessed them. You are to remember, for example, the miracle of the gift of tongues on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem; how it was published abroad in Jerusalem and the whole empire, that on that day an immense multitude of people of all languages were amazed at hearing the twelve apostles, who were well known as unlettered Jews, preaching the gospel in so many different languages; that all, whether Cretes, Arabians, Mesopotamians, or of any other name, all heard in their respective tongues the wonderful works of God. You are to consider, that in publishing an