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CREDIBILITY OF THE GOSPEL HISTORY,

129

A book may be authentic and not credible,

129

Aim of this lecture to prove that what the gospel history relates as

matter of fact is worthy of reliance as such, independently of all

inferences or doctrines connected therewith,

130

The credibility of the gospel history ascertained precisely like that of

any other history,

130

The peculiarity of the present case such as that, having proved the

authenticity of the books containing the gospel history, we have

proved the credibility of the history,

130

But a broader plan of argument is taken:

A general view of the proof of credibility. The two points to be

made out in relation to any historical document are competent

knowledge and trustworthy honesty in the writer,

134

I. The writers of the gospel history had opportunities of possessing

adequate knowledge as to those matters of fact which they re-

lated,

138

II. There is abundant evidence that they were too honest to relate any

thing but truth,

139

1. The narratives are in a high degree circumstantial,

139

2. The authors manifest no consciousness of narrating any thing

about which, as a matter of fact, there was the smallest doubt, 142

3. There is a minute accuracy in all the allusions to the manners,

customs, opinions, political events, etc., of the times,

144

4. The argument greatly strengthened by considering the New

Testament as a collection of writings by eight perfectly independent

authors,

146

The consideration that the writers of the gospels were disciples and

ministers of Christ should be regarded as strengthening their testi-

mony,

. 147

Absurd consequences of supposing them not to have been sincere in

their statements,

152

5. The gospel history has all the testimony that could possibly have

been expected, in the nature of things, from the enemies of Chris-

tianity,

. . 155

It was utterly impossible that the gospel history should have gained

such currency as it had in the apostles' time, had it not been

true,

· 157

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LECTURE V.

MIRACLES,

. . 161

Authenticity of the books, and credibility of the history contained

therein, being ascertained, we are prepared to open the contents of
the New Testament. The first thing we perceive is, that it pro-

fesses to teach a divinely revealed religion, and the question is,

What are the evidences that the religion contained in the New Testa-

ment is a divine revelation ? .

164

The Lord Jesus Christ constantly appealed to miracles for his creden-

tials as an ambassador from God, .

165

The sufficiency of miracles as credentials, when well attested, acknow-

ledged by infidels,

166

Reasons for not proceeding directly to the proof of such creden-

tials,

166

The present lecture devoted to certain preliminary considerations.

1. There is nothing unreasonable or improbable in the idea of a miracle

being wrought in proof of a divine revelation,

167

2. If miracles were wrought in attestation of the mission of Christ and

his apostles, they can be rendered credible lo us by no other evidence

than that of testimony,

170

3. Miracles are capable of being proved by testimony,

172

Hume's argument against miracles, in proof of a divine revelation,

stated and answered,

173

4. The testimony in proof of the miracles of the gospel has not dimin-

ished in force by the increase of age,

189

5. In being called to examine the credibility of these miracles by the

evidence of testimony, we are more favorably situated than if we had

been enabled to subject them to the evidence of the senses, 192

The whole truth exhibited in this lecture calls us to adore the wisdom

of God,

197

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2. The alleged miracles of Christ were such as admitted at once of

the test of the senses,

206

3. They were performed in the most public manner,

207

4. They were very numerous and of great variety,

208

5. The success was in every instance instantaneous and complete, 210

6. There is no evidence of an attempt on the part of Christ or his

apostles to perform a miracle, in which they were accused of a

failure,

210

7. The length of time during which they professed to perform mirac-

ulous works, .

212

8. Their works underwent the most rigid examination from those who

had every opportunity of ascertaining their character,

213

9. Their adversaries had every advantage in the fact that these

miracles were published and appealed to immediately after, and in

the places where they occurred,

214

10. These arguments derive important aid from a consideration of

the agents whose works were subjected to such scrutiny, . . 217

11. None of those who were eye-witnesses of what Jesus or his apos-

tles wrought, were ever induced to confess themselves deceived, or

tliat they had ever seen any thing but truth in those miraculous

gifts by which they had been persuaded to embrace the gospel, 217

12. The character of the miracles themselves,

220

13. Evidence from the primitive adversaries of Christianity, . 222

14. Testimony of all who were converted to Christianity. Such

testimony shown to be stronger than that of adversaries, 227

The absurdities which must be believed by those who maintain that

the miracles were fictions, and consequently, that their authors

were deceivers,

230

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The religion of the Bible is the only one which, on its first introduc-

tion, appealed to prophecy for the credentials of its founder, 244
The weight of the evidence from prophecy, and the moral grandeur

with which it appears in evidence of Christianity, can be appreci-
ated only by a full view of the immense scheme and extent of the
prophecies in the Bible,

248
The fulfilment of a selection of miscellaneous prophecies exhibited.

Prophecies concerning Zedekiah, the destruction of Babylon, and
of Tyre; concerning Egypt; concerning the country and cities of
Judea; concerning the Jews; concerning the empires of Chaldea,
Persia, Macedon, and Rome, in Daniel,

254-267

The fulfilment of prophecies concerning Christ,

1. Those which relate to the time and circumstances of his ad-

vent,

2. Those which speak of his life, sufferings, death, resurrection, and

increase of his kingdom,

268

The idea of chance, as explaining the coincidences mentioned,

Three conclusions from the prophetic argument, as exhibited, .276

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THE PROPAGATION OF CHRISTIANITY,

319

The proof of Christianity as a divine revelation has already been twice

finished : first, by the argument from miracles; secondly, by that

from prophecy,

. 319

A third independent proof is now to be undertaken.
In estimating the propagation of the gospel as an evidence of divine

attestation, consider,

I. The difficulties which its first promulgators encountered, . 320

1. The novelty of the idea of propagating a new religion, to the exclu-

sion of all others,

320

2. The peculiarity of the gospel, as a system of doctrine, and a rule

of heart and life,

322

3. From the above, it results that the propagation of Christianity

must have been opposed by all the influence of every priesthood,

heathen and Jewish,

. 325

4. The opposition of the magistrate was added to that of the

priest,

329

5. To these associated powers were added the opposing prejudices and

passions of all people,

330

6. The wisdom and “pride of the heathen philosophers were not the

least formidable opponents,

331

7. All these opponents derived the greater influence from the peculiar

character of the age,

332

8. They appear the more formidable in contrast with the peculiar

character of the men to whom the propagation of the gospel was

committed,

9. And by a consideration of the circumstances of depression and

discouragement under which those men began their work, 335

10. And of the mode they adopted,

336

11. They were met everywhere by the fiercest persecution, 337

It is certain that they understood the difficulties and anticipated the

dangers of their undertaking,

341

II. The success of the apostles in propagating the gospel,

342

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