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SECT. VII. The objection drawn from the seeming impossibility of a resurrection, answered.

INDEED, nobody can withstand the credibility of so many and so great testimonies, without saying, that a thing of this nature is impossible to be, such as we say all things that imply a contradiction are. But this cannot be said of it.217217   See the seventh answer to the objections concerning the resurrection, in the works of Justin. “An impossibility in itself is one thing; and an impossibility in any particular is another; an impossibility in itself is, that the diagonal of a square should be commensurate with the side; a particular impossibility is, that nature should produce an animal without seed. To which of these two kinds of impossibles do unbelievers compare the resurrection? If to the first, their reasoning is false; for a new creation is not like making the diagonal commensurate with the aide; but they that rise again, rise by a new creation. If they mean a particular impossibility; surely all things are possible with God, though they may be impossible to any one else.” Concerning this difference of impossibilities, see the learned notes of Maimonides, in his guide to the doubting, part iii. ch. 15. It might indeed, if any one should affirm, that the 89same person was alive and dead at the same time: but that a dead man should be restored to life, by the power of him who first gave life to man, there is no reason why this should be thought impossible.218218   All those, who are skilful in the true philosophy, acknowledge that it is as hard to understand how the fœtus is formed in the mother’s womb, as how the dead should be raised to life. But ignorant men are not at all surprised at the things which they commonly see; nor do they account them difficult, though they know not the reason of them: but they think those things which they never saw are impossible to be done, though they are not at all more difficult than those things they see every day. Le Clerc. Neither did wise men believe it to be impossible: for Plato relates it of Er the Armenian;219219   The place of Plato concerning this matter is extant in his tenth book of Republics, transcribed by Eusebius, in his Gospel Preparat. book xi. chap. 35. The report of which history is in Valerius Maximus, book i. chap. 8. the first foreign example; in the hortatory discourse among the works of Justin; in Clemens, Strom v.; in Origen, book ii. against Celsus; in Plutarch, Symposiac ix. 5.; and in Macrobius, in the beginning, upon Scipio’s dream. Heraclides Ponticus, of a certain woman;220220   There was a book of his “concerning the dead,” mentioned by Diogenes Laërtius in his preface, and in his Empedocles; and by Galen, in the sixth, concerning the parts that are affected. Pliny speaks thus of him, book vii. chap. 52. “That noble volume of Heraclides amongst the Greeks, of a woman’s being restored to life, after she had been dead seven days.” And Diogenes Laërtius, in the latter place, assigns her thirty days. Herodotus, of Aristæus;221221   In his Melpomene. See Pliny’s Nat. Hist. book vii. ch. 52. Plutarch’s Romulus, and Hesychius concerning the philosophers. and Plutarch, of another:222222   Of Thespesius. Plutarch has this in his discourse of God’s deferring punishment. And Antyllus, concerning whom Eusebius has preserved that place of Plutarch, from his first book of the soul, in his Prepar. book xi. ch. 36. and Theodoret, serm. xi. which, whether they were true or false, shews the opinion of learned men, concerning the possibility of the thing.

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The truth of Jesus’s doctrine proved from his resurrection.

IF it be not impossible that Christ should return to life again, and if it be proved from sufficient testimonies, such as convinced Bechai, a teacher of the Jews, so far as to acknowledge the truth of it;223223   It were to be wished that Grotius had quoted the place; for though his reasoning, drawn from the resurrection of Christ, does rot want the approbation of R. Bechai, yet perhaps the Jews might be affected with his authority. Le Clerc. and Christ himself (as both his own disciples and strangers confess) declared a new doctrine, as by a divine command, it will certainly follow, that this doctrine is true; because it is repugnant to the justice and wisdom of God to bestow such endowments upon him who had been guilty of a falsity, in a matter of so great moment. Especially when he had, before his death, declared to his disciples that he should die, and what manner of death; and also that he should return to life again; and that these things should therefore come to pass, that they might confirm the truth of his doctrine.224224   See John xiv. Luke xxv. 46, 47.


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