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For, in studying the External Evidence, our attention is directed to plain historical questions, on which it is as easy to obtain complete satisfaction as on any other historical facts. Did Jesus Christ exist, and did he do what is asserted of him-this, as an historical question, is precisely of the same kind as another, Did Julius Cæsar exist, and did he do what is asserted of him?-We must examine and determine the one historical question in the same manner as we examine and determine the other historical question.

We shall begin with the easier subject—an examination of the External Evidence of Christianity. I think it will be proved to your entire conviction that the facts recorded in the Bible are as firmly to be believed as the most undoubted historical events. We shall see that it is quite as certain that Jesus Christ lived and died in Judea at the time asserted by Christians, and did what is recorded of him, as it is that Julius Cæsar invaded Britain, or that Shivájí, the founder of the Maráthá kingdom, rose in arms against the Emperor Aurangzib.

I am, &c.

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You are aware that the book which Christians receive as containing a Revelation from God, is commonly called the Bible. The Bible consists of two parts, viz. the Old Testament, which was originally written in the Hebrew language; and the New Testament, which was originally written in Greek. We might commence our inquiry by an examination either of the Old Testament or of the New. We may probably find it the simpler and more interesting way to take up the New Testament first.

When a volume is put into our hands that contains very important information, we naturally inquire in the first place: Who wrote the book? and when, and where, did it first appear? Christians speak of the New Testament as having been composed more than 1700 years ago; but, on so grave a question, it would not be right to be satisfied with mere hearsay. We require to know the grounds on which the opinion is based. What if the book was written only four or five hundred years ago? We want distinctly to see how it can be proved to be more than seventeen hundred years old.

Happily, this subject is involved in no difficulty. Any young Native who will give his attention to the argument, may perfectly well understand the question we are now to discuss,


The antiquity and genuineness of the New Testa Ancient ment are proved from the Ancient TranslaTranslations. tions of it that are still in existence.

Of course you are well aware of the fact that Missionaries in India have translated the Bible into many different languages-Maráthí, Gujarátí, Canarese, Hindustání, &c. But it is not only of late years that Christians have Been anxious that their sacred books should be rendered into various languages, and the knowledge of them communicated as widely as possible. At the time of the Reformation, in the sixteenth century, the illustrious Luther translated the Bible into the German language; and various other learned men rendered it into French, Spanish, English, Danish, and other European tongues. Nearly all the translations which are now in use throughout the Protestant churches in Europe date from the time of the Reformation, or shortly after. Of course, no one can imagine that the Bible has been composed since these translations were made.

But we have much more ancient versions of the Bible than any yet mentioned. We have versions into Arabic, Persian, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopic, Syriac, Latin, Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, and other languages. These were composed at various periods; but most of them are very old. For example, the Anglo-Saxon version was completed in the early part of the eighth century, that is, eleven hundred · years ago. The Gothic was made in the end of the fourth century, that is, fifteen hundred years ago. The Armenian version was executed soon after the time when the Armenian nation was converted to Christianity, which event took place about the middle of the fourth century. The Ethiopic version was made before the middle of the fourth century. The Latin version was originally composed early in the second century, and was revised by the learned Jerome towards the conclusion of the fourth. In Syriac,

we possess two celebrated versions-one of which was executed, at the latest, early in the second century, or more probably in the end of the first, that is to say, before the year 100 after the birth of Christ,-or more than seventeen hundred years ago. Translations of the New Testament of a still more ancient date were not necessary; indeed, they were scarcely possible, as the various books of which it is composed were all written after the year 33, and some of them about the year 90. This brings us very near to the date of the earlier Syriac version.

Now, these various translations can be compared both with each other and with the original Greek. Of course they are not inspired. The ancient versions into Syriac, Latin, &c. are no more inspired than the modern ones into Maráthí, Gujarátí, &c. Not one of them is entirely free from error. The sense of the original has occasionally been imperfectly understood. But even when this is the case, we can generally see what the Greek text must have been from which the translation was made. Any man who is possessed of sufficient learning, on comparing the various translations, will discover 1st, that they well agree with each other; and 2ndly, that they must all have been made from the same original. In fact these ancient versions of the New Testament agree as closely as the Maráthí, Gujarátí, Hindustání, and other versions which have been lately published by Missionaries in India, and which we know to have all been prepared from the same Greek text.

You easily perceive what all this demonstrates. In the first place, it establishes the antiquity of the New Testament. We have now traced the New Testament up to about the year of Christ 100. We might trace the various books composing the New Testament to still earlier dates; but this is not necessary. In the next place, it proves its genuineness, or uncorruptedness, that it is to say, that it

is the same now, as it was when originally composed. No man can suppose that the various translations, after they had been made, could have been altered for the purpose of making them agree with each other. The Saxons in England, the Goths in Mosia, the Abyssinians in Africa, the Armenians in the neighbourhood of Mount Ararat, the Syrians in Mesopotamia and Southern India &c. were all in possession of versions of the New Testament. Could these nations, then, ever have met together, for the purpose of revising and changing their respective versions, and making them all harmonize? The supposition is absurd. was utterly impossible. ed, the versions, in consequence of frequent transcription, would become somewhat more unlike each other than they were at first. But we find them still wonderfully like each other. This proves that they were all made from the same original. It proves also that neither the original nor the versions have sustained any serious change; -that is to say, it proves their genuineness and uncorruptedness.

For many reasons, such a thing

When they were once execut

II. In the second place, the antiquity and genuineAncient Manu- ness of the New Testament are proved scripts. from the Ancient Manuscripts of it that are

still in existence.

Since the art of printing was discovered in the fifteenth century, copies of the Bible have been multiplied in Europe by means of the press; but before the art of printing was known, books could be multiplied only by the slow process of transcription or copying with a pen. You have often seen manuscripts of Sanskrit and Maráthí works, and no doubt you are aware that the sacred books of the Hindus have begun to be printed only recently. Almost all the copies of the Vedas and Puránas that the Hindus have ever seen, are manuscripts. In like manner,

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