Imatges de pÓgina

nifest that the history adds nothing to the evidence already afforded by the letters; or,

2. The letters may have been fabricated out of the history: a species of imposture which is certainly practicable; and which, without any accession of proof or authority, would necessarily produce the appearance of consistency and agreement; or,

3. The history and letters may have been founded upon some authority common to both; as upon reports and traditions which prevailed in the age in which they were composed, or upon some ancient record now lost, which both writers consulted; in which case also, the letters, without being genuine, may exhibit marks of conformity with the history; and the history, without being. true, may agree with the letters.

Agreement therefore, or conformity, is only to be relied upon so far as we can exclude these several suppositions. Now the point to be noticed is, that in the three cases above enumerated, conformity must be the effect of design. Where the history is compiled from the letters, which is the first case, the design and composition of the work are in general so confessed, or made so evident by comparison, as to leave us in no danger of confounding the production with original history, or of mistaking it for an independent authority. The agreement, it is probable, will be close and uniform, and will easily be perceived to result from the intention of the author, and from the plan and conduct of his work.Where the letters are fabricated from the history, which is the second case, it is always for the purpose of imposing a forgery upon the public; and in order to give colour and probability to the fraud, names, places, and circumstances, found in the history, may be studiously introduced into the letters, as well as a general consistency be endeavoured to be maintained. But here it is manifest, that whatever congruity appears, is the consequence of meditation, artifice, and design.-The third case is that wherein the history and the letters, without any direct privity or communication with each other, derive their materials from the same source; and, by reason of their common original, furnish instances of accordance and correspondency. This is a situation in

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which we must allow it to be possible for ancient writings to be placed; and it is a situation in which it is more difficult to distinguish spurious from genuine writings, than in either of the cases described in the preceding suppositions; inasmuch as the congruities observable are so far accidental, as that they are not produced by the immediate transplanting of names and circumstances out of one writing into the other. But although, with respect to each other, the agreement in these writings be mediate and secondary, yet is it not properly or absolutely undesigned: because, with respect to the common original from which the information of the writers proceeds, it is studied and factitious. The case of which we treat must, as to the letters, be a case of forgery: and when the writer who is personating another, sits down to his composition-whether he have the history with which we now compare the letters, or some other record, before him; or whether he have only loose tradition and reports to go by-he must adapt his imposture, as well as he can, to what he finds in these accounts; and his adaptations will be the result of counsel, scheme, and industry: art must be employed; and vestiges will appear of management and design. Add to this, that, in most of the following examples, the circumstances in which the coincidence is remarked are of too particular and domestic a nature, to have floated down upon the stream of general tradition.

Of the three cases which we have stated, the difference between the first and the two others is, that in the first the design may be fair and honest, in the others it must be accompanied with the consciousness of fraud; but in all there is design. In examining, therefore, the agreement between ancient writings, the character of truth and originality is undesignedness: and this test applies to every supposition; for, whether we suppose the history to be true, but the letters spurious; or, the letters to be genuine, but the history false; or, lastly, falsehood to belong to both-the history to be a fable, and the letters fictitious: the same inference will result -that either there will be no agreement between them, or the agreement will be the effect of design. Nor will it elude the principle of this rule, to suppose the same


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When be had gone over those parts (viz. Macedo had given them much exhortation, he came in Greece, and there abode three months; and hen Jeislaid wait for him, es he was about to sail proposed to return through Macedon this passage, compared with the accoun Paul's travels given before, and from the sequel or chanter, it appears that upon St. Paul's second to the pesula of Greece, his intention was, v abould leave the country, to proceed from Ach directly by se to Syria; but that to avoid the Je lving in wait to intercept him in his ro be so for changed his purpose as to go back thro age from thence towards Jerusalem. Here theref Macedonia, embark at Philippi, and pursue his v

is a journey

to Jerusalem; but not a syllable

journeys to Jerusalem before, and one also immedia
any contribution. And as St. Paul had taken seve
ly after his first visit into the peninsula of Gre
(dets xviii, 21.), it cannot from hence be collec
a which of these visits the epistle

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ference, in another part of the same history, afford us sufficient ground to believe that this silence was omis sion. When St. Paul made his reply before Felix, to the accusations of Tertullus; he alleged, as was natural, that neither the errand which brought him to Jerusalem, nor his conduct whilst he remained there, merited the calumnies with which the Jews had aspersed him. "Now after many years (i. e. of absence) I came to bring alms to my nation and offerings; whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude nor with tumult, who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had aught against me." Acts xxiv. 17-19. This mention of alms and offerings certainly brings the narrative in the Acts nearer to an accordancy with the epistle; yet no one, I am persuaded, will suspect that this clause was put into St. Paul's defence, either to supply the omission in the preceding narrative, or with any view to such accordancy.

After all, nothing is yet said or hinted concerning the place of the contribution; nothing concerning Macedonia and Achaia. Turn therefore to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. xvi. ver. 1-4, and you have St. Paul delivering the following directions: "Concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye; upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever you shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem; and if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me." In this passage we find a contribution carrying on at Corinth, the capital of Achaia, for the Christians of Jerusalem: we find also a hint given of the possibility of St. Paul going up to Jerusalem himself, after he had paid his visit into Achaia: but this is spoken of rather as a possibility than as any settled intention; for his first thought was, "Whomsoever you shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your libelem :" and in the sixth verse he add me on my journey whith

person to have been the author of all the letters, or even the author both of the letters and the history; for no less design is necessary to produce coincidence between different parts of a man's own writings, especially when they are made to take the different forms of a history and of original letters, than to adjust them to the circumstances found in any other writing.

With respect to those writings of the New Testament which are to be the subject of our present consideration, I think that, as to the authenticity of the epistles, this argument, where it is sufficiently sustained by instances, is nearly conclusive; for I cannot assign a supposition of forgery, in which coincidences of the kind we inquire after are likely to appear. As to the history, it extends to these points :-It proves the general reality of the circumstances: it proves the historian's knowledge of these circumstances. In the present instance it confirms his pretensions of having been a contempo-. rary, and in the latter part of his history a companion of St. Paul. In a word, it establishes the substantial truth of the narration; and substantial truth is that which, in every historical inquiry, ought to be the first thing sought after and ascertained: it must be the groundwork of every other observation.

The reader then will please to remember this word undesignedness, as denoting that upon which the construction and validity of our argument chiefly depend.

As to the proofs of undesignedness, I shall in this place say little; for I had rather the reader's persuasion should arise from the instances themselves, and the separate remarks with which they may be accompanied, than from any previous formulary or description of argument. In a great plurality of examples, I trust he will be perfectly convinced that no design or contrivance whatever has been exercised; and if some of the coincidences alleged appear to be minute, circuitous, or oblique, let him reflect that this very indirectness and subtilty is that which gives force and propriety to the example. Broad, obvious, and explicit agreements, prove little; because it may be suggested that the inrestion of such is the ordinary expedient of every for

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