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disciples, which Christ sent forth to preach, &c. but then, this, in point of number, is expressly contradicted by St. Matthew, chap. x. and by St. Mark, chap. vi. both of which say, that it was the twelve disciples which Christ sent forth to preach, as aforesaid and that these three historians refer to the same thing, is most obvious from the relations themselves. Besides, there is nothing throughout the histories of Christ's life, from the beginning of his ministry to his afcenfion, (the above relation by St. Luke, only excepted) that does, in the least, countenance the supposition of two fetts of disciples, a greater and a less, one consisting of seventy men, and the other of twelve. And had that been the case, is it not then exceeding strange, that the lefser of these bodies of disciples should be taken notice of, not only by every historian, but also in almost every chapter of their respective histories;, and that the larger, and thereby much more considerable of these bodies, should be taken notice of but once, and that by one historian only ? this, surely, is very strange, and more than strange, if such a thing can be ; especially, if it be considered, that, according to St. Luke, the greater body of

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disciples were equally commissioned, and were invested with equal powers as the lifs. Moreover, two of the gospel-historians are supposed to have been Christ's conftant attendants, through the whole course of his ministry, viz. St. Matthew and St. John; and that they should know nothing of these seventy men, or, at least, should give no account in their histories of this large body of disciples; and that St. Luke, who knew nothing of the matter himself, but took every thing upon trust from others, (upon what, authority we know not) that he should be furnished out with more and better materials for Christ's history, than Christ's disciples themselves, this renders it still more strange. This relation, therefore, of St. Luke, that Christ had a large body of seventy disciples, beside the twelve, is past all belief ; and as it has nothing to support it, but the bare relation itself, and as it has not Only the greatest probability against it, but is also contradi&ted by two other historians so, surely, it ought to be given up, and not to be admitted even as apocryphal, because it is rather a disadvantage than a benefit to any cause it is brought to support. I am also fensible, that the author of the

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history of the acts of the Apostles, when he had given an account of Christ's disciples having met together, to chuse a person to fill up the place of the traitor Judas, he computed their number to be about one hundred and twenty, (as the relation now stands in the history ;) but then, the number one hundred may, I think, be justly suspected to be an interpolation ; not only, because one hundred and twenty, seems to be a number much too large for the body of disciples before mentioned, nor can it be supported by any other part of the history; but also, because it seems, at least, to be contrary to the account which immediately precedes it, that was given by this very historian, with respect to which, about twenty seems to be a much more probable computation ; and therefore, one hundred, probably, has been added. However, admitting the number one hundred and twenty, which cannot be admitted without extending the relation greatly beyond the bounds of probability; yet still the question will remain, how shall we make up the account with St. Paul? who, as has been observed, informed the Corinthians, that Christ was seen by above five hundred brethren at one time, which is

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more than four times that number. This, surely, was carrying the matter much too far, and is like straining the string till it breaks. This account, therefore, of St. Paul's, may very justly be doubted of. Besides, such a body of people, as five hundred, met together, must have drawn upon them the observation of the people, and from thence the censure of the civil magistrate, which was what the disciples themselves, at that time, very carefully avoided, John xx. 19. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were mut, where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, &c. Here we see what caution was used by the disciples, to prevent their being publickly taken notice of; and therefore, it is altogether unlikely, that so great a body as five hundred and lipwards should have affembled together at that time, supposing their number to have been so large; but that is incredible, as I have already observed. And St. Paul, when his hand was in, might as well have said above five thousand; one number being as credible, and as likely to have been the case, as the other. Upon the whole, I think, it appears, that St. Paul's

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fupernumerary witnesses seem rather to weaken, than strengthen the credit of the fact referred to.

I WILL conclude this subject, with observing that man is an intelligent free-being, who, from his make and constitution, is qualified to discern the good and evil, the propriety and impropriety of his actions; and who has it in his power, and it is left to his option, whether he will rightly use, or Nothfully neglect, or wickedly abuse the parts and powers of which his constitution is compounded, and thereby of promoting or frustrating the great end of creation, by his being a friend, or an enemy to the common good: and likewise, thereby, of rendering himself the proper object of divine favour or displeasure. And from hence arises a probability that there will be a future state of existence to men, in which state that favour and displeafure will be properly and amply shewn forth; the farther consideration of which point will more properly take place in the next Section.

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