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3. That neither the Saviour, nor his apostles, ever undertook to deny or disown this belief, but, on the contrary, used the very same technicalities and style of speech on the subject, with which the ears of the Jewish church had been long familiar, holding forth the coming and kingdom of the Messiah in this world, as the grand inducement to faith and repentance, and making it the very burden, the sum and substance of their preaching
4. That immediately after their day, in the direct line of their successors, and in the writings of all the fathers of the first century that are extant, the same unbroken testimony is to be found, in favor of the literal interpretation of prophecy, as it held forth the approaching, personal, and visible coming of Christ to judgment, and for the establishment of his kingdom, as the great object of earnest and universal hope and expectation in the church of God.
. 5. That nowhere throughout this whole period, do we meet with the least hint of a 1,000 years' universal religious prosperity, or the conversion of the world, before Christ's coming to judgment.
6. And that even, by the testimony of its enemies, it appears to have been the general expectation of the church-which contributed to their self-denial and holiness and practice of Christian graces—that Christ would visibly come, and, having raised his saints, reign with them 1,000 years on the earth ; nor was it ever for a moment questioned, till a new style of interpreting the Scriptures—which, originating with Platonic philosophers, found favor with heretics, was commended by Easebius, and admired and adopted by the learned-led the wise and philosophical to pour contempt upon the simplicity of the ancient faith, as the merest credulity, fostered by the wild and extravagant legends of the Jews.
Our examination of traditionary history, in the last chapter, brought us down to the close of the first century. Beginning with the prophets of the captivity, we traced the stream of tradition through two channels: 1. The Jewish, flowing in the testimony of their Targums, their apocryphal historians, their learned and pious Rabbis, down to the days of Christ. 2. The profane, flowing down through the Gentile nations, in the writings of Zoroaster, the servant of Daniel, the instructor of Pythagoras, and the restorer of the Magian religion in Persia.
These five things formed the object of ancient expectation, and prevailed, to a greater or less degree, in greater or less distinctness, through the Oriental nations, and among the Greeks and Romans of the West; viz. the coming of some illustrious being,—the destruction of the dominion of evil in this world, the resurrection of the dead,—the dispensation of judgment,—and the consequent happiness of the world. This testimony, it was remarked, is not quoted, as evidence of any other value than to establish the fact, that the prophetical writings—as grammatically interpreted in the traditionary explanations of the Jews, from the very days of the captivity-have made an extensive impression on the world, and may be traced, even to this day, among the Oriental sects and nations.
We resume the chain of historical testimony, where we left it, at the close of the first century.
The first author, in the second century, whose testimony we quote, is Justin Martyr. He was born A. D. 89, and suffered martyrdom A. D. 163. He was in his early life cotemporary with Papias and Polycarp, was originally “ a Platonic philosopher, but was converted to the Christian faith. He taught the gospel,” says Spanheim,* « at Rome, with great success and boldness until he suffered martyrdom in the reign of Antoninus Pius. Many of his writings against the heretics have perished. His genuine works are two apologies, and his dialogue with Trypho, the Jew, which are still extant.”
Eusebius speaks in high terms of him, saying, “ This Justin has left us many monuments of a mind well stored with learning, and devoted to sacred things, replete with matter profitable in every respect.” + This learned and excellent writer, in his dialogue with Trypho, the Jew, on the advent of Christ, expresses himself in the most pointed terms, and quotes passage after passage, from the writings of Isaiah, and from the revelations of John, in proof of the visible coming of Christ to raise the dead, to establish his kingdom, and to reign with his saints on the earth.
“ Tell me,” I says Trypho,“ do you honestly allow
,.* Spanh. Eccles. Annal., p. 194. Euseb. Eccles. Hist., p. 137.
t Και ο Τρύφων προς ταυτα έφη" είπον πρός σε, ώ άνθρωπε, ότι ασφαλής εν πάσι σπουδάζεις ειναι ταϊς γραφαϊς προσπλεκόμενος. ειπε δέ μοι, αληθώς υμείς ανοικοδομηθήναι τον τύπον Ιερουσαλήμ τούτον ομολογείτε, και συναχθήσεσθαι τον λαον υμων, και ευφρανθήναι συν τω Χριστη άμα τοις πατριάρχαις και τους προφήταις, και τους από του ημετέρου γενόμενοις, ή και των πρωσηλύτων γενομένων πριν ελθείν υμων τον Χριστόν προσδοκάτε, ή ένα δόξης περικρατείν ημων εν ταίς ζητήσεσι προς το ταυτα ομολογείν εχωρησαις. Καγω είπον" ουχ ούτω τάλας εγω, ω Τρύφων, ως έτερα λέγειν παρ' ά φρονω. ωμολογησα ούν σοι και πρότερον, ότι εγώ μεν και άλλοι πολλοί ταυτα φρονουμεν, ώς και παντως επίσασθε τούτο γενησόμενον πολλοίς δε άυ και των της καθαράς και
this Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and do you expect our nation will be gathered, and with joy be brought back, together with the Messiah, and the patriarchs, and prophets, and proselytes, before the coming of your Messiah ; or do you hold this that you may seem to triumph in argument ?"
Justin, in reply, protests that he was honest in his sentiments, and that the Jew need not fear to be caught in a trap by what appeared to him a new and ingenious mode of argument. According to some copies, he admits that some Christians reputed orthodox, did not acknowledge (non agnoscere) these sentiments. That this is the genuine reading, however, both Mede and Bishop Newton and Mr. Vint deny, affirming, what Mr. Homes, by a diligent examination of manuscript copies, has proved, that the word “not"
ευσεβούς όντων χριστιανών γνωμης, τουτο μη γνωρίζειν εσήμανα σοι. Τους γάρ λεγομένοις μεν χριστιανοίς, όντας δε αθέοις και ασηβείς αιρεσιωτας, ότι κατά πάντα βλάσφημα και άθεα και ανοητατα διδάσκουσιν, εδηλωσα σοι. ότι δε ουκ εφ' υμων μονων τούτο λέγειν με επιστασθε, των γεγενημένων ημίν λογων απαντων, ως δύναμίς μου, συνταξιν ποιήσομαι» εν οίς και τουτο ομολογουντά με ό και προς υμάς ομολογώ, εγράψω. Ου γάρ ανθρωπους μάλλον ή ανθρωπίνοις διδάγμασιν αιρουμαι ακολουθείν, αλλα θεω, και τοίς παρ' εκείνου διδάγμασιν, ει γαρ και συνεβάλετε υμείς τισι λεγομένοις χριστιανούς, και τούτο μη ομολογούσιν, αλλά και βλασφημεϊν τολμώσι τον θεόν Αβραάμ, και τον Ισαακ, και τον θεόν Ιακώβ, οί και λέγουσι μή είναι νεκρών αναστασιν, αλλά άμα τω αποθνήσκειν, τας ψυχάς αυτων αναλαμβάνεσθαι εις τον ουρανόν, μη υπολάβητε αυτους χριστιανοίς. ώσπερ ουδε Ιουδαίοις, άν τις ορθώς εξεταση, ομολογήσαιεν είναι τους Σαδδουκαίοις, ή τας ομοίας αίρεσας Γενιστών, και Μεριστών, και Γαλιλαίων, και Ελληνιανων, και Φαρισαίων βαπτιστών (και μη αηδως ακουσητε μου παντα & φρονώ λέγοντες) αλλα λεγομένοις μετα Ιουδαίοις τε τέκνα Αβραάμ, και χείλεσιν ομολογούν τας τον θεόν, ως αυτος κέκραγεν ο θεος, την δε καρδίαν πόρρω εχειν απ' αυτου. εγώ δε, τε εί τινές εισιν ορθογνώμενες κατα πάντα χριστιανοί, δε σαρκός αναστασιν γενήσεσθαι επιστάμεθα: και χίλια ετη εν Ιερουσαλημ οικοδομηθείση και κοσμηθείση τε πλατυνθείση, οι προφήται Ιεζεκιήλ και Ησαϊας, και οι αλλοι ομολογουουσιν.-Justini Martyris Dialogus cum Tryphone Judæo. Op. Om. Paris Ed. Sec. 80, pp. 177, 178.
is an interpolation, and that Justin Martyr affirmed that orthodox Christians universally believed it. He tells Trypho, “That some indeed called Christians, are in fact atheists, and impious heretics, because, in every way, they teach blasphemy, impiety, and folly.” He gives proof of his sincerity, and protests that he was “determined to follow not men, nor human authority, but God, and the doctrine taught by Him;" adding, “ Should you happen upon some who are called Christians, indeed, and yet are far from holding these sentiments," (which is a blow at the Platonism then beginning to creep into the church,)“ but even dare to assail the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob with blasphemy, and say, 'There is no resurrection of the dead; but instantly when they die, their souls are received up into heaven,' do not count these among Christians, even as they are not Jews, if accurately considered, who are called Sadducees, and the like sects of Genistæ, Meristæ, Galileans, Hellenists, Pharisees, and Baptists, and others, (that I may not tire you to hear me express all I think,) but under the name of Jews and sons of Abraham, they worship God, as he accuses them, with their lips only, while their heart is far from him. But I, and all that are orthodox Christians, are · acquainted with the resurrection of the body, and the thousand years in Jerusalem, that shall be rebuilt, adorned and enlarged, as the prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah, and others, declare.” Then he quotes a variety of passages from Isaiah, commenting on them, and concluding with this testimony from the book of Revelations. “Moreover, a certain man among us, whose name is John, being one of the twelve apostles of Christ, in that Revelation which was shown to him, prophesied that those who believe in our Christ shall fulfil a thousand years at Jerusalem ; and after that the general, and in a