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Luke's. It plainly shows they wrote as eye and ear witnesses of what they saw and heard; or from the months of those that were. We need not expect inspiration would be given to write history,because it was not needed. Superfluous gifts we do not find lavishly bestowed upon any, whether prophets or apostles.

Perhaps this concession may be thought to destroy all confidence in the writings of the Evangelists, as inspired truth. But if I read a text of scripture by my learning, does this destroy the inspiration of the text, because I do not read by inspiration? It is easily seen it does not. When we account a person suffi. ciently acquainted with letters to be able to read well, can we not place full confidence in his ability to read, without the aid of divine inspiration? If we can, then no such inspiration in this case is needed. If Jesus be the Son of God in whom he was well pleased; if he came down from heaven not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him, it rationally follows that his doctrine and preaching was and is infallibly true. Nor have we reason to doubt the truth of the account we have of his life and doctrine, if we can feel persuaded, it was given by faithful witnesses, though this account be but human testimony, or divine testimony by human witnesses. We yield a full assent to the testimony of human witnesses, in the most important cases of tem poral concern. From the foice of such testi-

mony, the murderer is sentenced to execution, and accordingly shut out from all human society by death. Long periods of imprisonment many suffer for their crimes, who are condemned, solely by the force of human testimony. In such cases where the testimony is clear, our minds fully assent to the evidence. Now shall we make an exception in religion only, and say, the best of human testimony is doubtful? To disbelieve, in this case, we must believe what, in a great degree, is the most improbable; we must be extremely credulous for fear of being imposed upon in matters of faith. And this is true in all cases, when our faith turns on the side of improbability.

But if any doubt remains, whether the disciples would be able to remember all the transactions which they have recorded, it is to be recollected, our Lord promised them, that the Comforter which is the holy Ghost, which the Father would send in his name, would teach them all things, and bring all things to their remembrance, whatsoever he said unto them.

Respecting the integrity of the witnesses of Jesus' resurrection, we will attend in another place. We will now notice the marks of evidence that the histories of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, were written in the apostolic age, and not since fabricated by impostors. If this cannot be decided to our satisfaction, it will be in vain to pursue our subject any

further; for the greater part of the evidence , lies in historic accounts. On this subject I quote the following. from Paley's Evidences of Christianity, page 74 and 75 :


"We are able to produce a great number of ancient manuscripts, found in many differ. ent countries, and in countries widely distant from each other; all of them anterior to the art of printing, some certainly seven or eight hundred years old, and some which have been preserved probably above a thousand years.* We have also many ancient versions of these books, and some of them into languages which are not,at present, nor for many ages, have been spoken in any part of the world. The existence of these manuscripts and versions, proves that the scriptures were not the production of any modern contrivance. It does away also the uncertainty which hangs over such publi cations as the works, real or pretended, of Ossian and Rowley, in which the editors are challenged to produce their manuscript, and to show where they obtained their copies, The number of manuscripts, far exceeding those of any other book, and their wide dis persion, affords an argument, in some measure, to the senses, that the scriptures anciently, in like manner as at this day, were more read and sought after than any other books, and that in many different countries. The greatest part of spurious Christian writings

*The Alexandrian manuscript, now in the king's library, was written probably in the fourth or fifth century,

are utterly lost, the rest preserved by some single manuscript. There is weight also in Dr. Bentley's observation, that the New Testament has suffered less injury by the errors of transcribers than the works of any profane author of the same size and antiquity; that is, there never was any writing in the preservation and purity of which the world was so interested or so careful."

"An argument of great weight with those who are judges of the proofs upon which it is founded, and capable, through their testi, mony, of being addressed to every understanding, is that which arises from the style and language of the New Testament. It is just such language as might be expected from the apostles, from persons of their age and in their situation, and from no other persons. It is the style neither of classic authors, nor of the ancient Christian fathers, but Greek coming from men of Hebrew origin; abounding, that is, with Hebraic and Syriac idioms, such as would naturally be found in the writings of men who used a language spoken indeed where they lived, but not the common dialect of the country.

"This happy peculiarity is a strong proof of the genuineness of these writings; for who should forge them? The christian fathers were for the most part entirely ignorant of Hebrew, and therefore were not likely to insert Hebraisms and Syriasms into their writings. The few who had a knowledge of the Hebrew,

as Justin Martyr, Origen, and Epiphanius, wrote in a language which bears no resemblance to that of the New Testament. The Nazarenes, who understood Hebrew, used chiefly, perhaps almost entirely, the gospel of St. Matthew, and therefore cannot be suspected of forging the rest of the sacred writings. The argument, at any rate, proves the antiquity of these books; that they belong to the age of the apostles; that they could be composed indeed in no other." Thus far from our excellent author.

It is observable in the historic books of the New Testament, that there are many internal marks of honesty and fidelity, which no impostor would be likely to counterfeit. He would be apt to judge them more against his cause than in its favor. The noticing of Christ's brethren, who did not believe in him, could not be thought in the eyes of an unbelieving world to add much to the interest of christianity. It would be natural to say, if his brethren did not believe in him, can he expect to persuade others? But the remark is a proof of the candor in which the history was written, and the confidence the writer had, that no truth relating to Jesus, would harm him.

The mention of Christ's words where he says, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword," &c. no friend would be likely to

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