Imatges de pàgina
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AUTHENTICITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT,

The study of the evidences of Christianity may be brief or extended,

according as the object is simply conviction; or, in addition to that,
the pleasure of collecting all the various lights which may be con-

centrated on this subject.

T'he evidences are of two general classes, namely, external, or histor-

ical, and internal,

57

A brief account of what each head includes,

57

The present course of lectures confined to the external.

The complete treatment of this division would begin with the neces-

sity of a divine revelation, as the history of mankind exhibits it, 58

We begin with the AUTHENTICITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, 59

Difference between authenticity and credibility, as used in these lec-

tures,

59

The question is, How does it appear that the several parts of the New

Testament were written by the men to whom they are ascribed, the

original disciples of Christ, and are therefore authentic? 61

The same course pursued as in ascertaining the authenticity of any

other book,

61

A general sketch of the argument,

62

The books of the New Testament are quoted, or alluded to, by a series

of writers, who may be followed up in unbroken succession from the

present age to that of the apostles, .

64

This shown by reference to catalogues, etc., from the fourth century

to the age of the apostles,

65-75

Particulars included in the above which require a more special notice.

1. The books of the New Testament, when quoted or alluded to, are

treated with supreme regard, as possessing a singular authority,

and as conclusive in questions of religion,

75

2. They were united at a very early period in a distinct volume, . 76

3. They were at a very early period publicly read and expoun..ed in

the churches,

77

4. Commentaries were written or them, harmonies constructed,

copies diligently compared, and translations made into different

languages,

79

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LECTURE III.

AUTHENT CITY AND INTEGRITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, 89

From the tenor of the preceding lecture, it is evident that the canon

of the New Testament was not made without the most intelligent and

careful investigation,

90

This further appears from the numerous catalogues that have come

down to us,

91

From the pains taken to procure information, and the decisive censure

with which an attempt to pass & spurious book was visited, • 91

The gradual steps by which the canon was completed afforded the

best opportunity for the settlement of the claim of any book to

authenticity,

92

Some remarks concerning the formation of the canon of the New

Testament,

93

The canonical authority of the epistle to the Hebrews, of James, the

second of Peter, the socond and third of John, of Jude, and of tho

book of Revelation,

98–105

The testimony of the adoersaries of Christianity, :

105

The preceding evidence confirmed by a reference to

The language and style of the books of the New Testament.

1. They are in perfect accordance with the looal and other circum.

stances of the reputed writers, .

110

2. They are in perfect harmony with the known characters of the

reputed writers,

116

The result is, that if the books, of the New Testament be not authen.

tic, nothing less than a miracle can account for their early and uni.

versal currency,

116

On the integrity of these books, that they have undergone no mate-

rial alteration, we reason,

1. From the perfect impossibility of any material altera tion, 123

2 From the agreemont among the existing manuscripts,

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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 cory,

· 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

1. 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 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,

164

Authenticity of the books, and credibility of the aistory contained

therein, being ascertained, we are prepared to open the contents of

the New Testament. The first thing we perceive is, that it gro.

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

What are the evidences that the rehg2012 contained in the New Tesla

ment is a divine revelation?.

164

The Lord Jesus Christ constantly appealed to miracles for his crelen.
tials as an ambassador from God, .

Ilj

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

ledged by infidels,

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 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

$ 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 niirac-

ulous works,

212

9. 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

that 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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