Evidences: The Historical Christ – Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

Proposition I—There was such a person as Christ.

This proposition we mention, not so much to argue it, as merely to refer to it as a universally admitted fact. Christ could not have been a mere fictitious character, manufactured in modern times; for an immense variety of writers, both friends and enemies, mention him in every century of the Christian era, and among them all there is no evidence to the contrary.

Any position stated and admitted by writers in every age, where not only no contrary evidence is found, but no contrary opinion is expressed, must be indisputably true. This is the case with the real existence of such a person as Christ; it is mentioned and admitted by an immense variety of writers in every age, with no evidence to the contrary, and not even a respectable opinion in opposition.

Proposition II—Christ lived at the time stated in the Bible.

This proposition is not denied by infidels; but if any one should deny it, we know that it is true, because he is mentioned by numerous writers, both friends and enemies, in every century back to the time when the Bible says he lived. He could not have been mentioned by men who wrote before he lived, unless they were prophets. He is mentioned by many who wrote soon after he came into the world. This shows when he lived, for he must have lived before the first mention of him. For instance, we read of General Washington in many books, written at various periods between our time and the day when he lived. He must have lived before the writing of the first book in which there is mention of him, for no writer could have mentioned him before he lived.

In the same way, the numerous references to Christ, by various writers, who gave the date of his birth, without any material variation, or any contrary opinion, establishes the time of his advent beyond dispute. In this argument, the allusion to him of an enemy is as good as that of a friend. It is a fact known and admitted by all well-informed men, that Christ is mentioned by numerous writers, in an immense variety of ways, both by friends and enemies, in every century back to the time when the Bible says he lived; but he is not mentioned by any one who wrote before that time, except by Jewish prophets, and by them always as a person yet to come. This fixes the time when he lived beyond dispute.

Proposition III—Christ lived in the place where the Bible says He did.

This is not denied by unbelievers; but if it should be, we know that it is true from the fact of the agreement of all writers, both ancient and modern, and no evidence to the contrary. All writers who have alluded to him, could not have agreed in his locat1on, unless guided by some certain evidence. This is a great point in Christian evidence.

Whatever doubt, and however serious the doubt may be with reference to some points of evidence, there is not, and has not been, at any period, the least doubt from any quarter that could command respect, as to the place where the Lord lived and died. This is a great and a well-settled point, as admitted on all hands.

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Author: Editor

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