Evidence of Christianity eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 396 pages of information about Evidence of Christianity.
the friend of Origen, founded a library at Cesarea, A.D. 294.  Public defences were also set forth, by various advocates of the religion, in the course of its first three centuries.  Within one hundred years after Christ’s ascension, Quadratus and Aristides, whose works, except some few fragments of the first, are lost; and, about twenty years afterwards, Justin Martyr, whose works remain, presented apologies for the Christian religion to the Roman emperors; Quadratus and Aristides to Adrian, Justin to Antoninus Pins, and a second to Marcus Antoninus.  Melito, bishop of Sardis, and Apollinaris, bishop of Hierapolis, and Miltiades, men of great reputation, did the same to Marcus Antoninus, twenty years afterwards; (Euseb.  Hist. lib. iv. c. 26.  See also Lardner, vol. ii. p. 666.) and ten years after this, Apollonius, who suffered martyrdom under the emperor Commodus, composed an apology for his faith which he read in the senate, and which was afterwards published. (Lardner, vol. ii. p. 687.) Fourteen years after the apology of Apollonius, Tertullian addressed the work which now remains under that name to the governors of provinces in the Roman empire; and, about the same time, Minucius Felix composed a defence of the Christian religion, which is still extant; and, shortly after the conclusion of this century, copious defences of Christianity were published by Arnobius and Lactantius.

SECTION II.

Reflections upon the preceding account.

In viewing the progress of Christianity, our first attention is due to the number of converts at Jerusalem, immediately after its Founder’s death; because this success was a success at the time, and upon the spot, when and where the chief part of the history had been transacted.

We are, in the next place, called upon to attend to the early establishment of numerous Christian societies in Judea and Galilee; which countries had been the scene of Christ’s miracles and ministry, and where the memory of what had passed, and the knowledge of what was alleged, must have yet been fresh and certain.

We are, thirdly, invited to recollect the success of the apostles and of their companions, at the several places to which they came, both within and without Judea; because it was the credit given to original witnesses, appealing for the truth of their accounts to what themselves had seen and heard.  The effect also of their preaching strongly confirms the truth of what our history positively and circumstantially relates, that they were able to exhibit to their hearers supernatural attestations of their mission.

We are, lastly, to consider the subsequent growth and spread of the religion, of which we receive successive intimations, and satisfactory, though general and occasional, accounts, until its full and final establishment.

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Evidence of Christianity from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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