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miracle was unknown to any who lived at that time. The history tells us, that Apollonius appeared after his death to Aurelian, when he besieged Tyana; of which we have no other proof than the testimony of this romance writer. Apollonius is represented as manifesting the greatest vanity, and pretending to universal knowledge. He taught the doctrine of transmigration. He said, "it was wise to speak well of all the gods, especially at Athens, where altars of unknown demons were erected." He attempted to deify a lion. Three instances are given of his pretended prophetic spirit. Two of them evidently imply nothing superior to human knowledge. The third, that Nerva should one day be emperor, one is not surprised at, when the feigned prophet was, by flattery and advice, actually encouraging him, at that time, to a revolt; and what totally destroys the authority of the prediction is, that he denied it before Domitian. "His wonderworking faculty he pretends to have fetched from the East Indies; yet the account which he has given of those parts is so grossly fabulous, that that alone convicts him of imposture."

These instances will suffice to manifest the striking contrast that subsists between the memoirs of Apollonius and those which we have of Jesus. Genuine marks of truth distinguish the narratives of the Evangelists, while characters of fiction abound in the history written by Philostratus.

We shall conclude this section with the concessions of three writers upon the Christian records, whose sentiments will not be suspected to have arisen from an unreasonable partiality in favour of them.

Mr. Hobbes acknowledges, that "the writings of the New Testament are as antient as the times of the Apostles; and that they were written by persons who lived in those times, some of whom saw the things which they relate. And though he insinuates that the copies of the Scriptures were but few, and in the first ages in the hands of the ecclesiastics only, yet he adds, that he sees no reason to doubt, but that the books of the New Testament, as we have them, are the true registers of those things, which were done and said by the Prophets and Apostles." He says, also, "that he is persuaded the ecclesiastics did not falsify the Scriptures; because if they had had an intention so to do, they would surely have made them more favourable to their power over Christian princes, and civil sovereignty than they


Mr. Chubb left the following sentiments. "That there was such a person as Jesus Christ, and that he, in the main did and taught as is recorded of him, appears probable, because it is improbable that Christianity should take place in the way and to the degree that it did, (or at least that we are told it did) supposing the history of Christ's life and ministry to be a fiction." He adds, that "if such

1 Lard. Heath. Test. chap. xxxix. sect. 5, 6. and append. to chap. xxxix. near the end. Bp. Douglas's Criterion, pp. 55, et seq.Houtville's Diss. on the Life

of Apollonius. Paley's Evid. vol. ii. part 2. chap. 6. sect. 41. p. 180.

2 Leviathan, p. 204.

Leland's View of Deistical Writ. vol. i. p. 58, let. 3.

3 Leviathan, p. 203.- Leland, ib. let. v. p. 104.

power attended Jesus Christ in the exercise of his ministry as the history sets forth, then, seeing his ministry, and the power that attended it, seems at least in general to have terminated in the public good, it is more likely that God was the primary agent in the exercise of that power, than any other invisible being. And then it is probable that Jesus Christ, upon whose will the immediate exercise of that power depended, would not use that power to impose upon and mislead mankind to their hurt; seeing that power appears to have been well directed and applied in other respects, and seeing he was accountable to his Principal for the abuse of it." He adds, "From these premises, or from this general view of the case, I think this conclusion follows, viz. it is probable Christ's mission was divine; at least it appears so to me, from the light or information I have received concerning it."

Lord Bolingbroke grants, that "Christianity has all the proofs which the manner in which it was revealed, and the nature of it, allowed it to have." He further acknowledges, that "it is out of dispute that we have in our hands the Gospels of Matthew and John, who give themselves out for eye and ear witnesses of all that Christ did and taught. That two channels were as sufficient as four to convey those doctrines to the world, and to preserve them in their original purity. The manner, too, in which these Evangelists recorded them, was much better adapted to this purpose than that of Plato, or even of Xenophon, to preserve the doctrines of Socrates. The Evangelists did not content themselves to give a general account of the doctrines of Jesus Christ in their own words, nor presume in feigned dialogues to make him deliver their opinions in his own name, and as his own doctrines. They recorded his doctrines in the very words in which he taught them, and they were careful to mention the several occasions on which he delivered them to his disciples or others. If, therefore, Plato and Xenophon tell us with a good degree of certainty what Socrates taught, the two Evangelists seem to tell us with much more what the Saviour taught, and commanded them to teach."3

What but the irresistible force of truth could have extorted such concessions from men of learning and ability, who have written several things to depreciate the Christian religion, and the Divine authority of its Author?

From the preceding observations, it is evident that we have all the evidence that can be reasonably desired in favour of the credibility of the Scripture History, and particularly of what the evangelical historians relate concerning Jesus Christ. It is manifest that they were every way qualified to give an account of the transactions which they have recorded: they had no design to impose on mankind; they

1 Chubb's Posthumous Works, vol. ii. p. 41 to 43; compared with p. 394 to 396. - Leland, ib. letter xii. p. 338 to 339.

2 Works, vol. v. p. 91. 4to edit.

3 Bolingbroke's Works, vol. iv. ess 4, sect. 18, p. 390.

could have no inducement whatever to attempt an imposture, but every imaginable inducement to the contrary; nor could they possibly have succeeded, if they had made the attempt.



THE evidences for the credibility of the Old and New Testaments, which have been stated in the preceding section, have been drawn principally from an examination of those books compared with facts that have existed, and many of which continue to exist to the present day. We might safely rest the credibility of the Scriptures upon those evidences; but there is an additional testimony to their credibility and truth as well as to their genuineness, which is afforded by their agreement with natural and civil history, and which is too valuable to be passed in a cursory manner.


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I. Testimonies to the Mosaic account of the creation of the world. II. Particularly of man. -III. Of the fall of man.-IV. Of the translation of Enoch.-V. Of the longevity of the antediluvian patriarchs. VI. Of the deluge. 1. Proofs of that event from the fossilised remains of the animals of a former world; — 2. From civil history, particularly from the paucity of mankind, and vast tracts of uninhabited land, mentioned in the accounts of the first ages, the late invention and progress of arts and sciences, and from the universal tradition of the deluge;- Refutation of objections to the Mosaic history of that catastrophe, — VII. Testimonies of profane history to the building of the tower of Babel. - VIII. To the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. -IX. To the Mosaic account of the patri-X. To the reality of the person and character of Moses, and to the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. - XI. Notice of various customs borrowed by antient nations from the Hebrews. XII. And of certain personal histories, which may be traced to the Old Testament history. - XIII. Testimonies of antient and modern writers to the truth of the Scripture account of the fertility of Palestine. Concluding observations.


THE Scripture history agrees, in a surprising manner, with the most authentic records that remain of the events, customs, and manners of the countries and ages to which it stands related. The rise and fall of empires, the revolutions that have taken place in the world, and the grand outlines of chronology, as mentioned or referred to in the Scriptures, are coincident with those stated by the most antient writers that are extant: while the palpable errors in these respects, which are detected in the apocryphal books, constitute one of the most decisive reasons for rejecting them as spurious. The history of the Bible is of far greater antiquity than any other records extant in

the world and it is remarkable that, in numerous instances, it shows the real origin of those absurd fables which disgrace and invalidate all other histories of those remote times: which is no feeble proof that it was derived from some surer source than human tradition. The facts recorded in the Old Testament cannot be disproved; but, on the contrary, they are confirmed by the traditionary accounts of almost all nations. Mr. Hume, indeed, affirmed that the Pentateuch 66 was wrote [written] in all probability long after the facts it relates." That this book was written long after some of the facts which it relates, is not denied but that it was written long after all or even most of those facts, there is (as we have already shown) no reason to believe. If, as Dr. Campbell forcibly remarked (and Mr. Hume neither did nor could refute the remark), this writer meant to signify by the expression quoted, that this was in all probability the case, why did he not produce the grounds on which such probability is founded? Shall a bold assertion pass for argument? or can it be expected that any one should consider reasons, which are only in general supposed, but not specified?

Mr. Hume added that the Pentateuch was "corroborated by no concurring testimony." To which we may reply, that it is as little invalidated by any contradicting testimony; and both for this plain reason, because there is no human composition that can be compared with this in respect of antiquity. It were absurd to require that the truth of Moses's history should be attested by heathen writers of the same or nearly the same antiquity with himself: since we know that those, who affected to fix upon other nations the name of barbarians, were in his time, and for several centuries afterwards, themselves barbarians. But though the Pentateuch is not corroborated by the concurrent testimonies of any coeval histories, because if such histories were ever extant, they have long since perished, yet it is not on that account destitute of collateral evidence. On the contrary, its authority is legible in the few fragments that remain of the earliest writers: and subsequent historians have fully confirmed it by the accounts which they give, though evidently mixed with depravation, of the history of the Jews, and of his legislation; as will appear from the following instances, selected out of a greater number which have been pointed out, and treated at length by various learned men.

I. Thus, the heathens had a tradition among them concerning the primeval chaos whence the world arose, and the production of all things by the efficiency of a supreme mind, which bears so close a resemblance to the Mosaic account of the creation, as proves that they all originated from one common source; while the striking contrast between the unadorned simplicity of the one, and the allegorical turgidity of the others, accurately distinguishes the inspired narrative from the distorted tradition. This remark applies particularly to the Chaldæan, Egyptian, Phoenician, Hindoo, Chinese, Etruscan, Gothic, Greek, and American Cosmogonies.1

1 See an account of these various Cosmogonies in Mr. Faber's Hora Mosaicæ,

One of the most striking collateral confirmations of the Mosaic history of the creation, is the general adoption of the division of time into weeks, which extends from the Christian states of Europe to the remote shores of Hindostan, and has equally prevailed among the Hebrews, the Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks, Romans, and northern barbarians; nations, some of whom had little or no intercourse with others, and were not even known by name to the Hebrews. It is to be observed, that there is a great difference between the concurrence of nations in the division of time into weeks, and their concurrence in the other periodical divisions into years, months, and days. These divisions arise from such natural causes as are every where obvious, viz. the annual and diurnal revolutions of the sun, and the revolution of the moon. The division into weeks, on the contrary, seems perfectly arbitrary consequently its prevailing in distant countries, and among nations which had no communication with one another, affords a strong presumption that it must have been derived from some remote tradition (as that of the creation), which was never totally obliterated from the memory of the Gentiles, and which tradition has been older than the dispersion of mankind into different regions. It is easy to conceive, that the practice, in rude and barbarous ages, might remain through habit, when the tradition on which it was founded was entirely lost it is easy to conceive, that, afterwards, people addicted to idolatry, or who, like the Egyptians, had become proficients in astronomy, should assign to the different days of the week the names of their deities or of their planets.1


Even the Mosaic method of reckoning by nights instead of days has prevailed in more than one nation. Thus, the polished Athenians computed the space of a day from sun-set to sun-set:2 and from a similar custom of our Gothic ancestors, during their abode in the forests of Germany, words expressive of such a mode of computing time have been derived into our own language. The same custom also prevailed among the Celtic nations.4

II. Of the formation of man in the moral image of God, and his being vested with dominion over other animals, similar traditionary vestiges remain in the widely diffused notion, that mankind formerly lived in complete happiness and unstained innocence; that spring reigned perpetually, and that the earth spontaneously gave her increase. This was the origin of the fabled golden age, so exquisitely described by the classic poets, and which may also be distinctly traced

vol. i. pp. 17-40. The Greek and Latin Cosmogonies are particularly considered in Edwards on the Truth and Authority of the Scriptures, vol. i. pp. 88-102. The testimonies of profane writers to the truth of the principal facts related in the Scriptures, are adduced and considered, with great ability, by Dr. Collyer, in his Lectures on Scripture Facts.' 8vo. 2d edit. London, 1809. The subjects, noticed in this section, particularly the Creation and the Deluge, are likewise copiously treated of in the notes to Grotius, de Veritate Rel. Christ. lib. i. c. 16.

1 Dr. Campbell's Dissertation on Miracles, p. 219, note.

2 Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticæ, lib. iii. c. 2.

3 Tacitus, de Mor. Ger. c. 11. The expressions of fortnight, and se'night, for fourteen nights and seven nights, are still in use among us in England.

4 Cæsar, de Bell. Gall. lib. vi. c. 18.



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