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CHAPTER II.

On the Moral Evidence for the Truth of the

New Testament.

1. Tre argument of the last chapter is of frequent aplication in questions of general criticism; and more its authority alone many of the writers of

mes have been admitted into credit, and stave been condemned as unworthy of it. Tesmerous and correct allusions to the customs

utions, and other statistics of the age in

Sees of the New Testament profess to es give evidence of their antiquity. ਵt designed

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evidence which lies in the tone, the manner, the circumstantiality, the number, the agreement of the witnesses, and the consistency of all the particulars with what we already know from other sources of information. Now, it is undeniable, that all those marks which give evidence and credibility to spoken testimony, may also exist to a very impressive degree in written testimony ; and the argument founded upon them, so far from being fanciful or illegitimate, has the sanction of a principle which no philosopher will refuse; the experience of the human mind on a subject on which it is much exercised, and which lies completely within the range of its observation.

2. We now enter on the consideration of the moral evidence for the truth of the New Testament, - thered, however, not from the present char

nesses, but from the nature of that

ich they delivered; or, more from themselves but from the heir testimony. Doubtless, we e performance itself, such marks y, as entitle us to conclude, that employed in the construction of nen of veracity and principle.

has already been resorted to, ntial argument it is. Our ound an internal evidence for ure on the morality of its

of that moral light which

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re we also adverted to the arguth such particularity or fulness,

if not impracticable of all imitations and the more as the idioms in question, instead of being simply inserted in the volume, are obviously incorporated or interwoven therewith. It is an infusion rather than a mixture; and what altogether precludes the theory of a fabrication, as aggravating tenfold the unlikelihood of its ever being realized, is the distinct and characteristic variety of style, which appears in each of the individual writers--another coincidence, by the way, between the internal character of the volume and its external history. There is no mistaking, for example, the signatures of one and the same hand in the gospel of John and in the epistles which are ascribed to him. And the same remark is applicable to the obvious mannerism of Paul—in whose writings we cannot fail to recognize the same energy, and affection, and argumentative vehemence, and abrupt transitions of a mind fired by its subject, and overflowing with its fulness every new channel which every new suggestion opens up to him.

The argument is all the more enhanced by the peculiarities that obtain in the writings of Luke; and by the circumstance that Paul, notwithstanding the peculiarities of his style, gives abundant evidence of that more accomplished literature and general erudition, which harmonize with the accounts that are handed down to us by ecclesiastical history, of his superior education and opportunities to those of the other apostles.*

17. And we have to remark in this department

* Michaelis' Introduction to the New Testament by Marsh, Edition 4th. Part I. chap. ii. sect. x.

too_in the external harmonies of scripture with other and separate testimony, as well as in its internal harmonies with itself—a great and general coincidence, between the whole history which it unfolds to us, and all that is known beside of the history of the world. And the history in the Bible is the history of the world; but under the peculiar aspect, in the language of Butler, of its being God's world.* He deduces a strong argument for the truth of scripture, from the immense number of places at which it lies open to comparison with profane history; and yet the manner in which it stands its ground, and bears to be confronted with all the informations and documents of antiquity. This argument for the general truth of scripture grows in strength and intensity, the more intensely it is reflected on. This book professes to be an account of the world regarded as the dominion and property of God; and, both in its commencement and its conclusion as well as its intermediate contents, there is a greatness altogether commensurate to this object-beginning as it does with the creation of the species, and ending with an account of the two distinct and everlasting destinies which await the two great divisions of the human family. In the conducting of this sublime narrative, there are references to beings and places external to our world, arising from the interchanges which are said to have taken place between the visible and the invisible—the occasional visits from heaven to earth, actual or alleged—the inspirations which descended

Analogy, Part II. chap. vii.

if not impracticable of all imitations—and the more as the idioms in question, instead of being simply inserted in the volume, are obviously incorporated or interwoven therewith. It is an infusion rather than a mixture; and what altogether precludes the theory of a fabrication, as aggravating tenfold the unlikelihood of its ever being realized, is the distinct and characteristic variety of style, which appears in each of the individual writers—another coincidence, by the way, between the internal character of the volume and its external history. There is no mistaking, for example, the signatures of one and the same hand in the gospel of John and in the epistles which are ascribed to him. And the same remark is applicable to the obvious mannerism of Paul-in whose writings we cannot fail to recognize the same energy, and affection, and argumentative vehemence, and abrupt transitions of a mind fired by its subject, and overflowing with its fulness every new channel which every new suggestion opens up to him. The argument is all the more enhanced by the peculiarities that obtain in the writings of Luke; and by the circumstance that Paul, notwithstanding the peculiarities of his style, gives abundant evidence of that more accomplished literature and general erudition, which harmonize with the accounts that are handed down to us by ecclesiastical history, of his superior education and opportunities to those of the other apostles.*

17. And we have to remark in this department

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* Michaelis' Introduction to the New Testament by Marsh, Edition 4th. Part I. chap. ii. sect. x.

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