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the composition of the Pentateuch can, with any show; to my words; for these men are not drunken, as ye of reason or probability, be assigned. The only re- suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. maining question is, whether it can be thought to have Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, been written during the three hundred and fifty-six by miracles, and signs, and wonders, which God did years which elapsed between the entrance of the Is- by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know; raelites into Palestine, and he appointment of Saul to Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and be king of Israel.

foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked “Now, the whole history which we have of that pe- hands have crucified and slain. This Jesus hath God riod utierly forbids such a supposition. The Israelites, raised up, whereof we are all witnesses. Therefore, though perpetually lapsing into idolatry, are uniformly being by the right hand of God exalted, and having redescribed as acknowledging the authority of a written ceived of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he Law of Moses; and this Law, from generation to ge- hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear.' neration, is stated to be the directory, by which the “Thus, by the miraculous effusion of the Holy Judges governed the people. Thus, Samuel expressly Spirit on the day of Pentecost, were the resurrection refers to a well-known commandment of Jehovah, and and ascension of Christ proved to a variety of nations to the divine legation of Moses and Aaron, in a speech of Asia, Africa, and Europe, all the quarters of the which he made to the assembled Israelites. Thus, the globe which were then known, as completely as if he man of God, in his prophetic threat to Eli, similarly had actually appeared among that mixed multitude in refers to the familiar circumstance recorded in the Jerusalem, reproved the high priest and council of the Pentateuch, that the house of his ancestor had been Jews for their unbelief and hardness of heart, and then chosen to the Pontificate out of all the tribes of Israel. ascended in their presence to heaven. They had such Thus, when the nations are enumerated which were evidence as was incontrovertible, that St. Peter and the left to prove the people, it is said that they were left for other Apostles were inspired by the Spirit of God; they this purpose, that it might be known whether the Israel- could not but know, as every Theist admits, that the ites would hearken unto the commandments of Jeho- Spirit of God never was, nor ever will be, shed abroad vah, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of to enable any order of men to propagate falsehood with Moses. Thus, Joshua is declared to have written the success; one of those, who by this inspiration were book which bears his name, as a supplement to a prior speaking correctly a variety of tongues, assured them, book which is denominated the book of the Law of God. that Jesus of Nazareth whom they had slain was raised Thus, likewise, he especially asserts, that this book of from the dead, and exalted to the right hand of God; the Law of God is the book of the Law of Moses; speak- and that the saine Jesus had, according to his promise, ing familiarly of precepts which are written in that shed abroad on the Apostles that which they both saw book; represents himself as reading its contents to all and heard. The consequence of all this, we are told, the assembled people, so that none of them could be was, that three thousand of his audience were instantly ignorant of its purport; and mentions his writing a converted to the faith, and the same day incorporated copy of it in the presence of the children of Israel. And into the church by baptism. thus, finally, we hear of the original, whence that copy “Would any in his senses have written a narrative is professed to have been taken, in the volume of the of such events as these, at the very time when they Pentateuch itself; for we are there told, that Moses are said to have happened, and in any one of those counwith his own hand wrote the words of THIS Law in a tries, to the inhabitants of which he appeals as witBOOK; and that he then commanded the Levites to take nesses of their truth, if he had not been aware that their THIS Book of the Law, and put it in the side of the truth could not be called in question? Would any forger ark of the covenant, that it might be there for a witness of such a book as the Acts of the Apostles, at a period in all succeeding ages against the Israelites, in case they

nat in which he relates that such astonishshould violate its precepts."--Abridged from FABER'S ing events had happened, have needlessly appealed for Hore Mosaice.

the truth of his narrative to the people of all nations,

and thus gone out of his way to furnish his readers Note B.-Page 49.

with innumerable means of detecting his imposture ? "In events so public and so signal, there was no At no period, indeed, could forged books, such as the room for mistake or deception. Of all the miracles re- four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, have been corded in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments received as authentic, unless all the events which they there is not one of which the evidence is so multiplied record, whether natural or supernatural, had been beas that of the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of lieved, all the principal doctrines received, and all the Pentecost; for it rests not on the testimony of those, rites of religion which they prescribe practised, from whether many or few, who were all with one accord the very period at which they represent the Son of God in one place. It is testified by all Jerusalem, and by the as sojourning on earth, laying the foundation of his natives of regions far distant from Jerusalem; for there church, dying on a cross, rising from the dead, and were then, says the historian, 'dwelling at Jerusalern, ascending into heaven. The argument cannot, perJews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven; haps, be employed to prove the authenticity of all the and when the inspiration of the disciples was noised Epistles which make so great a part of the New Testaabroad, the multitude came together and were all con- ment; but it is certainly as applicable to some of them founded, because that every man heard them speak in as it is to the Gospels and the book called the Acts of his own language. And they were all amazed and the Apostles. marvelled, saying, one to another, Behold, are not all “ The Apostles, as Michaelis justly observes, * «frethese who speak Galileans? and how hear we every quently allude, in their Epistles, to the gift of miracles, man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Par- which they had communicated to the Christian conthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in verts by the imposition of hands, in confirmation of the Mesopotamia, and in Judæa, and Cappadocia, and Pam-doctrine delivered in their speeches and writings, and phylia, in Egypt, and the parts of Lybia about Cyrene, sometimes to miracles which they themselves had perand strangers of Rome, Jews and Proselytes, Cretes formed. Now, if these Epistles are really genuine, the and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues miracles referred to must certainly have been wrought, the wonderful works of God.'

and the doctrines preached must have been divine; for " It hath been objected by infidelity to the resurrection no man in his senses would have written to large comof Christ, that he ought to have appeared publicly, munities that he had not only performed miracles in wherever he had appeared before his crucifixion; but their presence, in confirmation of the divine origin of here is a miracle displayed much farther than the resur- certain doctrines, but that he had likewise communirection of Christ could have been by his preaching cated to them the same extraordinary endowments, openly, and working miracles for forty days in the Or if we can suppose any human being to have postemple and synagogues of Jerusalem, as he had done sessed sufficient effrontery to write in this manner to formerly; and this miracle is so connected with the any community, it is obvious, that, so far from gaining resurrection, that if the Apostles speaking a variety of credit to his doctrine by such assertions, if not known tongues be admitted, the resurrection of Jesus cannot to be true, he would have exposed himself to the utmost be denied. In reply to those (probably the natives of ridicule and contempt, and have ruined the cause Jerusalem), who, imagining that the Apostles uttered which he attempted to support by such absurd con. gibberish, charged them with being full of new wine, duct. St. Peter said, 'Ye men of Judæa, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken * Introduction to the New Testament, chap. 2, sec. d,

near to

“St. Paul's First Epistle to the Thessalonians is ad- | dexterity of his hands, and persuade the ignorant and dressed to a Christian church which he had lately the credulous that more than human means are requifounded, and to which he had preached the Gospel site for the performance of his extraordinary feats; but only three Sabbath-days. A sudden persecution obliged he will hardly persuade those whose understandings him to quit this community before he had given to it remain unimpaired, that he has likewise communiits proper degree of consistence; and what is of conse- cated to his spectators the power of working miracles, quence in the present instance, he was protected nei- and of speaking languages which they had never ther by the power of the magistrate nor the favour of learned, were they conscious of their inability to perthe vulgar A pretended wonder-worker, who has form the one or to speak the other. If the Epistle, once drawn the populace to his party, may easily per- therefore, was written during the life of St. Paul, and torm his exploits and safely proclaim them. But this received by the Corintliian church, it is impossible to very populace, at the instigation of the Jews, had ex doubt but that St. Paul was its author, and that among cited the insurrection which obliged St. Paul to quit the the Corinthians were prevalent those spiritual gifts of town, He sends therefore to the Thessalonians, who which he labours to correct the abuse. If those gists had received the Gospel, but whose faith, he appre- were never prevalent among the Corinthian Christians, hended, might waver through persecution, authorities and this Epistle was not seen by them until the nexi and proofs of his divine mission, of which authorities age, it could not have been received by the Corinthian the first and the chief are miracles and the gifts of the church as the genuine writing of the Apostle, because Holy Ghost. * Is it possible, now, that St. Paul, with the members of that church must have been aware, out forfeiting all pretensions to common sense, could, that, if those gifts of which it speaks had been really when writing to a church which he had lately esta- possessed and

so generally displayed by their fathers, blished, have spoken of miracles performed and gifts as it represents them to have been, some of themselves of the Holy Ghost communicated, if no member of that would surely have heard their fathers mention them; church had seen the one or received the other; nay, if and as the Epistle treats of some of the most important many mernbers had not witnessed both the performance subjects that ever occupied the mind of man, the introand ihe effusions of the Holy Ghost? But it is equally duction of death into the world through Adam, and the impossible that the Epistle making this appeal to mi- resurrection of the dead through Christ, they must have racles and spiritual gifts could have been received as inferred that their fathers would not have secreted from authentic, if forged in the name of St. Paul, at any them, their children, a treatise on topics so interesting future period, during the existence of a Christian church to the whole human race.”Gleig's Edition of Stackat Thessalonica. In the first two chapters it represents house's History of the Bible, vol. 3, Introd. p. 11, &c. its author and two of his companions as having been lately in that city, and appeals to the church for the manner in which they had conducted themselves while there, and for the real and success with which they

CHAPTER XIII. had preached the Gospel, and it concludes with these awful words: 'I adjure you (opkišw vuas) by the Lord, THE UNCORRUPTED PRESERVATION OF THE Books that this Epistle be read unto all the holy brethren ;' i.e.

OF SCRIPTURE. all the Christians of the community. Had St. Paul The historical evidence of the antiquity and genuine. and Timotheus and Sylvanus never been in Thessalo- ness of the books ascribed to Moses, and those which nica, or had they conducted themselves in any respect contain the History of Christ and the establishment of differently from what they are said to have done in the his religion, being thus complete, the integrity of the first two chapters, these chapters would have convicted copies at present received is the point next in question. the author of this Epistle of forgery, at whatever time With respect to the Scriptures of the Old Testament, it had made its first appearance. Had they been actu- the list of Josephus, the Septuagint translation, and the ally there, and preached, and wrought miracles just as Samaritan Pentateuch, are sufficient proofs that the they are said to have done; and had some impostor, books which are received by us as sacred are the same knowing this, forged the Epistle before us at a consi- as those received by the Jews and Samaritans long bederable distance of time, the adjuration at the end of fore the Christian era. For the New Testament, beit must instantly have detected the forgery. Every sides the quotations from almost all the books now Thessalonian Christian of common sense would have included in that volume and references to them by name said, 'How came we never to hear of this Epistle be- in the earliest Christian writers, catalogues of authenfore? Its author represents himself and two of his tic scriptures were published at very early periods, friends as having converted us to the faith a very short which, says Dr. Paley, “though numerous, and made time before it was written and sent to us, and he in countries at a wide distance from one another, differ charges those to whom it was immediately sent in the very little, differ in nothing material, and all contain most solemn manner possible, that they should cause the four Gospels. it to be read to every one of us; no Christian in Thes- "In the writings of Origen which remain, and in salonica would, in a matter of this kind, have dared to some extracts preserved by Eusebius, from works of disobey the authority of an Apostle, especially when his which are now lost, there are enumerations of the enforced by so awful an adjuration; and yet neither books of Scripture, in which the four Gospels and the we nor our fathers ever heard of this Epistle till now Acts of the Apostles are distinctly and honourably specithat Paul and Sylvanus and Timotheus are all dead, fied, and in which no books appear besides what are now and therefore incapable of either confirming or refuting received.(8) The date of Origen's works is A. D. 230. its authenticity! Such an Epistle, if not genuine, “Athanasius, about a century afterward, delivered a could never have been received by any community. catalogue of the books of the New Testament in form,

"The same Apostle, in his first Epistle to the Co-containing our Scriptures and no others; of which he rinthians, corrects the abuse of certain spiritual gisis, says, ' In these alone the doctrine of religion is taught ; particularly that of speaking divers kinds of tongues, let no man add to them, or take any thing from them."(9) and prescribes rules for the employment of these super- “About twenty years after Athanasius, Cyril, bishop natural talents; he enters into a particular detail of of Jerusalem, set forth a catalogue of the books of Scripthem, as they existed in the Corinthian church; reasons ture publicly read at that time in the church of Jeruon their respective worth and excellence; says that salem, exactly the same as ours, except that the · Revethey were limited in their duration, that they were lation' is omitted.(1) no distinguishing mark of Divine favour, nor of so And, fifteen years after Cyril, the council of Laogreat importance as faith and virtue, the love of God, dicea delivered an authoritative catalogue of canonical and charity to our neighbours. Now, if this Epistle Scripture, like Cyril's, the same as ours, with the omiswas really written by St. Paul to the Corinthians, and sion of the Revelation.' they had actually received no spiritual gists, no power, “Catalogues now become frequent. Within thirty imparted by extraordinary means, of speaking foreign years after the last date, that is, from the year 363 to languages, the proper place to be assigned him were near the conclusion of the fourth century, we have catanot among impostors, but among those who had lost logues by Epiphanius,(2) by Gregory Nazianzen (3) by their understanding. A juggler may deceive by the Philaster bishop of Brescia in Italy,(4) by Amphilochius

* 1 Thess. i. 5-10.-See Hardy's Greek Testament, (8) Lard. Cred. vol. iii. p. 234 et seq., vol. viii. p. 196. Whitby on the Place, with Schleisner and Parkhurst's (9) Ib. vol. viii. p. 223. (1) Ib. p. 270. (2) Ib. p. 368. Lexicons on the word duvapis,

(3) Ib. vol. ix. p. 132. (4) Ib. p. 373.

bishop of Iconium, all, as they are sometimes called, | Sanballat, the first high priest of the temple at Samaclean catalogues (that is, they admit no books into the ria.(7) Now, by one or both of these means, the Samanumber besides what we now receive), and all, for every ritans had the Pentateuch as well as the Jews; but purpose of historic evidence, the same as ours.(5) with this difference, that the Samaritan Pentateuch was

"Within the same period, Jerome, the most learned in the old Hebrew or Phænician characters, in which Christian writer of his age, delivered a catalogue of the it remains to this day; whereas the Jewish copy was books of the New Testament, recognising every book changed into Chaldee characters (in which it also now received, with the intimation of a doubt concerning remains to this day), which were fairer and clearer the Epistle to the Hebrews alone, and taking not the than the Hebrew, the Jews having learned the least notice of any book which is not now received.(6) Chaldee language during their seventy years' abode in

“Contemporary with Jerome, who lived in Palestine, Bahylon. The jealousy and hatred 'which subsisted was Saint Augustine, in Africa, who published likewise between the Jews and Samaritans made it impracticable a catalogue, without joining to the Scriptures, as books for either nation to corrupt or alter the text in any thing of authority, any other ecclesiastical writing whatever, of consequence without certain discovery; and the and without omitting one which we at this day ac- general agreement between the Hebrew and Samaritan knowledge.(7)

copies of the Pentateuch, which are now extant, is " And with these concurs another contemporary such as plainly demonstrates that the copies were oriwriter, Rafen, presbyter of Aquileia, whose catalogue, ginally the same. Nor can any better evidence be like theirs, is perfect and unmixed, and concludes with desired that the Jewish Bibles have not been corrupted these remarkable words: “These are the volumes or interpolated, than this very book of the Samaritans; which the fathers have included in the canon, and out which, after more than two thousand years' discord of which they would have us prove the doctrine of our between the two nations, varies as little from the other faith.? "(8)

as any classic author in less tract of time has disagreed This, it is true, only proves that the books are sub- from itself by the unavoidable slips and mistakes of so stantially the same; but the evidence is abundant, that many transcribers.(8) they have descended to us without any material altera- “After the return of the Jews from the Babylonish tion whatever.

captivity, the book of the law and the prophets were "1. Before that event (the time of Christ), the regard publicly read in their synagogues every Sabbath-day;(9) which was paid to them by the Jews, especially to the which was an excellent method of securing their law, would render auy forgery or material change in purity, as well as of enforcing the observation of the their contents impossible. The law having been the law. The Chaldee paraphrases, and the translation of deed by which the land of Canaan was divided among the Old Testament into Greek, which were afterward the Israelites, it is improbable that this people, who pos- made, were so many additional securities. To these sessed that land, would suffer it to be altered or falsified. facts we may add, that the reverence of the Jews for The distinction of the twelve tribes, and their separate their sacred writings is another guarantee for their interests, made it more difficult to alter their law than integrity: so great, indeed, was that reverence, that, that of other nations less jealous than the Jews. Far- according to the statements of Philo and Josephus,(1) ther, at certain stated seasons, the law was publicly they would suffer any torments, and even death itself, read before all the people of Israel ;(9) and it was ap- rather than change a single point or iota of the Scrippointed to be kept in the ark, for a constant memorial tures. A law was also enacted by them, which deagainst those who transgressed it.(1). Their king was nounced him to be guilty of inexpiable sin, who should required to write him a copy of this law in a book, out presume to make the slightest possible alteration in of that which is before the priests the Levites, and to their sacred books. The Jewish doctors, fearing to read therein all the days of his life ;(2) their priests also add any thing to the law, passed their own notions as were commanded to teach the children of Israel all the traditions or explanations of it; and both Jesus Christ statutes, which the Lord had spoken to them by the hand and his apostles accused the Jews of entertaining a of Moses ;(3) and parents were charged, not only to prejudiced regard for those traditions, but they never make it familiar to themselves, but also to teach it dili- charged them with falsifying or corrupting the Scripgently to their children ;(4) besides which, a severe tures themselves. prohibition was annexed, against either making any “ 2. After the birth of Christ. For, since that event, addition to, or diminution from, the law.(5) Now, such the Old Testament has been held in high esteem both precepts as these could not have been given by an im- by Jews and Christians. The Jews also frequently postor who was adding to it, and who would wish men suffered martyrdom for their Scriptures, which they to forget rather than enjoin them to remember it: for, would not have done had they suspected them to have as all the people were obliged to know and observe the been corrupted or altered. Besides, the Jews and law under severe penalties, they were, in a manner, the Christians were a mutual guard upon each other, which trustees and guardians of the law, as well as the priests must have rendered any material corruption impossible, and Levites. The people, who were to teach their if it had been attempted: for if such an attempt had children, must have had copies of it; the priests and been made by the Jeu's, they would have been detected Levites must have had copies of it; and the magistrates by the Christians. The accomplishment of such a demust have had copies of it, as being the law of the land. sign, indeed, would have been impracticable, from the Farther, after the people were divided into two king. moral impossibility of the Jews (who wore dispersed doms, both the people of Israel and those of Judah still in every country of the then known world) being able retained the same book of the law; and the rivalry or to collect all the then existing copies, with the intention enmity that subsisted between the two kingdoms, pre- of corrupting or falsifying them. On the other hand, if vented either of them from altering or adding to the any such attempt had been made by the Christians, it law. After the Israelites were carried captive into would assuredly have been detected by the Jews: nor Assyria, other nations were placed in the cities of Sa- could any such attempt have been made by any other maria in their stead; and the Samaritans received the man or body of men, without exposure both by Jews Pentateuch, either from the priest who was sent by and Christians. To these considerations, it may be order of the king of Assyria, to instruct them in the added, that the admirable agreement of all the ancient manner of the God of the land,(6) or several years after parapiirases and versions, and the writings of Josephus, ward from the hands of Manasseh, the son of Joiada with the Old Testament as it is now extant, together the high priest, who was expelled from Jerusalem by with the quotations which are made from it in the New Nehemiah, for marrying the daughter of Sanballat the Testament, and in the writings of all ages to the present governor of Samaria; and who was constituted, by time, forbid us to indulge any suspicion of any material

corruption in the books of the Old Testament; and (5) Epiphanius omits the Acts of the Apostles. This give us every possible evidence of which a subject of must have been an accidental mistake, either in him or in some copyist of his work; for he elsewhere ex- (7) Neh. viii. 28. Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xi. c. 8. pressly refers to this book, and ascribes it to Luke. Bishop Newton's Works, voi. i. p. 23. (6) Lard. Cred. vol. x. p. 77.

(8) Dr. BENTLEY’s Remarks on Freethinking, part i. (7) Ib. p. 213. (8) Ib. p. 187.

remark 27 (vol. v. p. 144, of Bp. RANDOLPH's Enchiridion (9) Deut. xxxi. 9—13. Josh. viii. 34, 35. Neh. viii. 1--5. Theologicum, 8vo. Oxford, 1792).. (1) Deut. xxxi. 26. (2) Deut. xvii. 18, 19.

(9) Acts xiii. 14, 15. 27. Luké iv. 17-20, (3) Levit. X. 11. (4) Deut. xvii. 18, 19.

(1) Philo, apud. Euseb. de Præp. Evang. lib. viii, c, 2. (5) Deut. iv. 2, xi. 32. (6) 2 Kings xvii 26.

Josephus contra Apion. lib. i. 8 8.

this kind is capable, that these books are now in our nal books; and if some only should make the attempt, hands genuine and unadulterated.

the uncorrupted copies would still remain to detect "3. Lastly, the agreement of all the manuscripts of them. And supposing there was some error in one the Old Testament (amounting to nearly eleven hundred translation or copy, or something changed, added, or and fifty) which are known to be extant, is a clear | taken away; yet there were many other copies and proof of its uncorrupted preservation. These manu- other translations, by the help of which the neglect or scripts, indeed, are not all entire; some contain one fraud might be or would be corrected. part, and some another. But it is absolutely impossible “ Farther, as these books could not be corrupted that every manuscript, whether in the original Hebrew, during the life of their respective authors, and while a or in any ancient version or paraphrase, should or could great number of witnesses were alive to attest the facts be designedly altered or falsified in the same passages, which they record: so neither could any material alterawithout detection either by Jews or Christians. The tion take place after their decease, without being demanuscripts now extant are, confessedly, liable to errors tected while the original manuscripts were preserved in and mistakes from the carelessness, negligence, or inac- the churches. The Christians who were instructed by curacy of copyists; but they are not all uniformly the Apostles, or by their immediate successors, traincorrect throughout, nor in the same words or pas- | velled into all parts of the world, carrying with them sages; but what is incorrect in one place is correct in copies of their writings; from which other copies were another. Although the various readings, which have multiplied and preserved. Now, as we have already been discovered by learned men, who have applied seen, we have an unbroken series of testimonies for themselves to the collection of every known manuscript the genuineness and authenticity of the New Testaof the Hebrew Scriptures, amount to many thousands, ment, which can be traced backwards, from the fourth yet these differences are of so little real moment, that century of the Christian era to the very time of the Their laborious collations afford us scarcely any oppor- Apostles: and these very testimonies are equally applitunities of correcting the sacred text in important pas- cable to prove its uncorrupted preservation. Moreover, sages. So far, however, are these extensive and pro- harmonies of the four Gospels were anciently confound researches from being either trivial or nugatory, structed ; commentaries were written upon them, as that we have, in fact, derived from them the greatest well as upon the other books of the New Testament advantage which could have been wished for by any (many of which are still extant), manuscripts were real friend of revealed religion; namely, the certain collated, and editions of the New Testament were put knowledge of the agreement of the copies of the ancient forth. These sacred records, being universally reScriptures, now extant in their original language, with garded as the supreme standard of truth, were received each other, and with our Bibles.(2)

by every class of Christians with peculiar respect, as “Equally satisfactory is the evidence for the inte being divine compositions, and possessing an authority grity and uncorruptness of the New Testament in any belonging to no other books. Whatever controversies, thing material. The testimonies adduced in the pre- therefore, arose among different sects (and the church ceding section in behalf of the genuineness and authen- was very early rent with fierce contentions on doctriticity of the New Testament are, in a great measure, nal points), the Scriptures of the New Testament were applicable to show that it has been transmitted to us received and appealed to by every one of them, as being entire and uncorrupted. But, to be more particular, conclusive in all matters of controversy: consequently we remark, that the incorrupted preservation of the it was morally impossible, that any man or body of men books of the New Testament is manisest,

should corrupt or falsify them in any fundamental arti“1. From their contents ; for, so early as the two cle, should foist into them a single expression to favour first centuries of the Christian era, we find the very their peculiar tenets, or erase a single sentence, withsame facts, and the very same doctrines universally out being detected by thousands, received by Christians, which we of the present day “If uny material alteration had been attempted by the believe on the credit of the New Testament.

orthodox, it would have been detected by the heretics; “2. Because a universal corruption of those writings and, on the other hand, if a heretic had inserted, altered, was impossible, nor can the least vestiğe of such a cor. or falsified any thing, he would have been exposed by ruption be found in history. They could not be cor- the orthodox, or by other heretics. It is well known rupted during the life of their authors; and before their that a division commenced in the fourth century, bedeath, copies were dispersed among the different com-tween the eastern and western churches, which, about munities of Christians, who were scattered throughout the middle of the ninth century, became irreconcilable, the then known world. Within twenty years after and subsists to the present day. Now, it would have the agcepsion, churches were formed in the principal been impossible to alter all the copies in the eastern emcities of the Roman empire; and in all these churches, pire; and if it had been possible in the east, the copies the books of the New Testament, especially the four in the west would have detected the alteration. But, Gospels, were read as a part of their public worship, in fact, both the eastern and western copies agree, which just as the writings of Moses and the Prophets were could not be expected if either of them was altered or read in the Jewish synagogues.(3) Nor would the use falsified. The uncorrupted preservation of the New of them be confined to public worship; for these books Testament is farther evident, were not, like the Sybilline Oracles, locked up from the “3. From the agreement of all the manuscripts. The perusal of the public, but were exposed to public inves- manuscripts of the New Testament which are extant are tigation. When the books of the New Testament were far more numerous than those of any single classic aufirst published to the world, the Christians would natu- thor whomsoever; upwards of three hundred and filty rally entertain the highest esteem and reverence for were collected by Griesbach, for his celebrated critical writings that delivered an authentic and inspired his edition. These manuscripts, it is true, are not all entire: tory of the life and doctrines of Jesus Christ, and would most of them contain only the Gospels; others, the Gosbe desirous of possessing such an invaluable treasure. pels, Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles; and a few Hence, as we learn from unquestionable authority, contain the Apocalypse or Revelation of John. But they copies were inultiplied and disseminated as rapidly were all written in very different and distant parts of the as the boundaries of the church increased ; and trans- world; several of them are upwards of twelve hundred lations were made into as many languages as were years old, and give us the books of the New Testament, spoken by its professors, some of which remain to this in all essential points, perfectly accordant with each day; so that it would very soon be rendered absolutely other, as any person may readily ascertain by examining impossible to corrupt these books in any one important the critical editions published by Mill, Kuster, Benget, word or phrase. Now, it is not to be supposed (with- Wetstein, and Griesbach. The thirty thousand various out violating all probability), that all Christians should readings which are said to be found in the manuscripts agree in a design of changing or corrupting the origi- collated by Dr. Mill, and the hundred and fifty thousand

which Griesbach's edition is said to contain, in de(2) Bp. TOMLINE's Elements of Christ. Theol. vol. i. gree whatever afect the general credit and integrity of

the text. In fact, the more copies are multiplied, and (3) Dr. LARDNER has collected numerous instances the more numerous the transcripts and translations in the second part of his Credibility of the Gospel His from the original, the more likely is it, that the genuine tory; references to which may be seen in the general text and the true original reading will be investigated index to his works, article Scriptures. See particu- and ascertained. The most correct and accurate an. larly the testimonies of Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Ori- cient classics now extant are those of which we have gen, and Augustine.

the greatest number of manuscripts; and the most

p. 31.

depraved, mutilated, and inaccurate editions of the old There are four circumstances which never fail to give
writers are those of which we have the fewest manu- credibility to a witness, whether he depose to any thing
scripts, and perhaps only a single manuscript, extant. orally or in writing.
Such are Athenæus, Clemens Romanus, Hesychius, 1. That he is a person of virtuous and sober character.
and Photius. But of this formidable mass of various 2. That he was in circumstances certainly to know
readings, which have been collected by the diligence the truth of what he relates.
of collators, not one-tenth,-nay, not one-hundredth 3. That he has no interest in making good the story.
part, either makes or can make any perceptible, or at 4. That his account is circumstantial.
least any material alteration in the sense in any modern In the highest degree these guarantees of faithful and
version. They consist almost wholly of palpable errors exact testimony meet in the Evangelists and Apostles.
in transcription, grammatical and verbal differences, That they were persons of strict and exemplary vir-
such as the insertion or omission of an article, the sub- tue, must by all candid persons be acknowledged; so
stitution of a word for its equivalent, and the transposi- much so, that nothing to the contrary was ever urged
tion of a word or two in a sentence. Even the few that against the integrity of their conduct by the most ma-
do change the sense, affect it only in passages relating licious enemies of Christianity. Avarice and interest
to unimportant historical and geographical circum- could not sway them, for they voluntarily abandoned
stances, or other collateral matters; and the still smaller all their temporal connexions, and embarked in a cause
number that make any alteration in things of conse- which the world regarded, to the last degree, as wretched
quence, do not on that account place us in any absolute and deplorable. Of their sincerity they gave the utmost
uncertainty. For, either the true reading may be dis-proof in the openness of their testimony, never affect-
covered by collating the other manuscripts, versions, ing reserve, or shunning inquiry. They delivered their
and quotations found in the works of the ancients; or, testimony before kings and princes, priests and magis-
should these fail to give us the requisite information, trates, in Jerusalem and Judea where their master
we are enabled to explain the doctrine in question from lived and died, and in the most populous, inquisitive,
other undisputed passages of holy writ.

and learned parts of the world, submitting its evidences
" 4. The last testimony, to be adduced for the inte to a fair and impartial examination.
grity and uncorruptness of the New Testament, is “Their minds were so penetrated with a conviction
furnished by the agreement of the ancient versions of the truth of the Gospel, that they esteemed it their
and quotations from it, which are made in the writings distinguished honour and privilege to seal their attesta-
of the Christians of the first three centuries, and in tion to it by their sufferings, and blessed God that they
those of the succeeding fathers of the Church.

were accounted worthy to suffer reproach and shame "The testimony of versions, and the evidence of the for their profession. Passing through honour and disecclesiastical fathers, have already been noticed as a honour, through evil report and good report, as deceivproof of the genuineness and authenticity of the Newers, and yet true. Never dejected, never intimidated by Testament. The quotations from the New Testament | any sorrows and sufferings they supported; but when in the writings of the fathers are so numerous, that (as stoned, imprisoned, and persecuted in one city, flying it has frequently been observed) the whole body of the to another, and there preaching the Gospel with intrepid Gospels and Epistles might be compiled from the va- boldness and heaven-inspired zeal. Patient in tribularious passages dispersed in their commentaries and tion, fervent in spirit, rejoicing under persecution, calm other writings. And though these citations were, in and composed under calumny and reproach, praying many instances, made from memory, yet, being always for their enemies, when in dungeons cheering the silent made with due attention to the sense and meaning, and hours of night with hymns of praise to God. Meeting most commonly with a regard to the words as well as death itself in the most dreadful forms with which perto the order of the words, they correspond with the secuting rage could dress it, with a serenity and exultoriginal records from which they were extracted :-anation the Stoic philosophy never knew. In all these irrefragable argument this, of the purity and integrity public scenes showing to the world a heart infinitely with which the New Testament has been preserved." above what men vulgarly style great and happy, inti(HORNE's Introduction to the Critical Study and nitely remote from ambition, the lust of gold, and a Xnowledge of the Holy Scriptures, vol. i. chap. 2, passion for popular applause, working with their own sect. 3.)

hands to raise a scanty subsistence for themselves, that they might not be burdensome to the societies they had

formed, holding up to all with whom they conversed, CHAPTER XIV.

in the bright faithful mirror of their own behaviour, the

amiableness and excellence of the religion they taught, THE CREDIBILITY OF THE TESTIMONY OF THE SACRED and in every scene and circumstance of life distin WRITERS.

guished for their devotion to God, their unconquered The proofs of the existence and actions of Moses | love for mankind, their sacred regard for truth, their and Christ, the founders of the Jewish and Christian self-government, moderation, humanity, sincerity, and religions, having been adduced, with those of the an- every divine, social, and moral virtue that can adorn tiquity and uncorrupted preservation of the Records and exalt a character. Nor are there any features of which profess to contain the facts of their history, and enthusiasm in the writings they have left us. We the doctrines they taught, the only question to be de- meet with no frantic fervours indulged, no monkish termined before we examine those miracles and pro- abstraction from the world recommended, no maceraphecies on which the claim of the Divine authority of tion of the body countenanced, no unnatural institutheir mission rests, is, whether these records faithfully tions established, no vain flights of fancy cherished, no record the transactions of which they give us informa- absurd and irrational doctrines taught, no disobedience tion, and on which the divinity of both systems, the to any forms of human government encouraged, but all Jewish and the Christian, is built. To deny this because civil establishments and social connexions suffered to we object to the doctrines taught, is equally illogical remain in the same state they were before Christianity. and perverse, as it is assuming the doctrine to be false So far were the Apostles from being enthusiasts, and before we have considered all the evidence which may instigated by a wild undiscerning religious phrensy to be adduced in its favour; to deny it because we have rush into the jaws of death, when they might have already determined to reject the miracles, is equally ab- honourably and lawfully escaped it, that we find them, surd and impious. It has already been proved, that when they could, without wounding their consciences, miracles are possible; and whether the transactions re- legally extricate themselves from persecution and death, lated as such in the Scriptures be really miraculous or pleading their privileges as Roman citizens, and appealnot, is a subsequent inquiry to that which respects the ing to Cæsar's supreine jurisdiction.”(4) faithful recording of them. If the evidence of this is in- As it was contrary to their character to attempt to sufficient, the examination of the miracles is unneces- deceive others, so they could not be deceived themsary; if it is strong and convincing, that examination selves. They could not mistake in the case of feeding is a subject of very serious import.

of the five thousand, and the sudden healing of lepers, We might safely rest the faithfulness of the Scriptu- and lame and blind persons; they could not but know, ral Record upon the argument of Leslie, before adduced; whether he with whom they conversed for forty days but, from the superabundance of evidence which the was the same Jesus, as he with whom they had daily case furnishes, some amplifications may be added, and familiar intercourse long before his crucifixion. which we shall confine principally to the authors of the New Testament,

(4) HARWOOD's Introduction to the New Testament,

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