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the point under review; but it seems unnecessary to dwell any longer on the subject.

We have seen, then, that the New Testament consists of various books composed in the first century of the Christian era; and that it has come down to us as it was origi nally written.

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MY DEAR YOUNg friend,

THE arguments which were brought forward in my last letter, have established the antiquity, genuineness, and uncorrupted preservation, of the New Testament. A similar and not less convincing train of reasoning could be adduced to prove the same things of the Old Testament. But we are to confine our present inquiry to the New Tes


have arrived.

Observe, then, at what precise point of our investigation we have arrived. We have seen, 1st, that the The point at which we books of the New Testament were composed at the date which Christians assign to them; and, 2ndly, that they have been handed down to us in the form in which they were originally delivered. Here, then, is a volume, venerable and interesting, at all events, for its antiquity, whatever it may treat of,-whether religion, history, philosophy, or any thing else. Let us open it, and see what it contains. The first thing that strikes us, is that it consists of the writings of eight separate authors. Then we see that about half of it is occupied with an account of the origin of the Christian Religion, and its progress in early days-the rest being chiefly made up of letters written by an eminent Apostle, or preacher, distinguished Value of the in the first period of Christianity. Let us its antiquity pause for a moment, to note how exceedand contents. ingly precious a book like this must be. If

N. T. from

we should discover a volume containing history and letters connected with any religion, Greek, Latin, Hindu, or Chinese, written eighteen hundred years ago, learned men all over the world would seize the treasure with the greatest possible avidity. Orientalists have often complained of the sad want of ancient historical documents connected with the East; and letters-epistolary documents-we may be said to have none at all. And hence a thick darkness rests on ancient India, Persia, Arabia, and many other coun tries, which learned men greatly lament, but cannot hope to dispel. Just suppose that a book were now discovered which could be proved to have been composed about the period when Zoroaster or Buddha appeared, and which contained a full, plain statement of facts, and also letters written by the disciples of those famous men. What a prodigious excitement the discovery would make! What eagerness there would be among learned men to decypher, translate, expound, illustrate, the inestimable relic! But if this interest would be manifested (and very properly so) in a volume of this kind connected with Zoroastrianism or Buddhism, a far profounder interest surely should be felt in a book which throws a flood of light on the origin of such a system as the Christian Religion, which (whether it be true or false) has exerted, and must continue to exert, so vast an influence on the progress of the human mind and on the destinies of the human race.

What, then, does this remarkable book tell us? what information does it contain? It contains (among other things) an account of the birth, life, death, resurrection from the dead, and ascension to heaven, of Jesus Christ. It informs us that he was born miraculously of a virgin, that he taught new and very remarkable doctrines, that he died a sacrifice for the sins of men, and that after his death he appeared to his disciples, and was seen by them ascending to heaven, after he had commanded them to proclaim

his religion to all nations. disciples, after their master's removal, continued to preach and baptize in his name, and how the Christian religion spread abroad in the world.

Farther, it informs us how his

The point, then, that now falls under consideration, is the credibility of the facts recorded in the New Testament. Is the book true or false? We have seen that it is old; but that does not prove it to be true. We have also seen that it is historical; but all histories are not true histories,-is it genuine history, or fable?

The credibility, or trustworthiness, of the New Testament is proved by the following arguments.

I. In the first place, it is proved by the fact that we Four histo- possess no fewer than four different histories of ries of Christ. the life of Christ.

And yet Although

These books are all independent of each other. They evidently do not copy from each other. they agree remarkably in their statements. they tell the story in different words, there is absolutely no contradiction among them.-We often believe a history when we have no more than one statement of it. For example, the wars of the Roman general Scipio Africanus are recorded by only one contemporary author, viz. Polybius; and yet the work of Polybius is deservedly held in the highest esteem, because he was the companion of Scipio and chiefly describes events which he himself had witnessed. But the events of the life of Christ are recorded by no fewer than four contemporary historians. Two of these, Matthew and John, were the constant companions of Christ, and had been eye-witnesses of what they relate. Another, Mark, was connected in the closest manner with Peter, one of Christ's disciples;-and the remaining historian, Luke, was the companion of the Apostle Paul.

Very seldom-probably never-has it happened that

any historical facts have been so fully and consistently attested as the events in the life of Christ.

The last historical book of the New Testament, the Acts of the Apostles, which was also written by Luke, is mainly occupied with the life of Paul, the friend and companion of the author.

II. In the second place, the credibility of the New Testament is proved by the situation and cir


of the writers.

cumstances of the writers.

They had ample means of information as to the facts they record; and their whole position secured their makMeans of ing a right use of that information. The New information. Testament writers do not speak of a remote period, hidden in the mists of antiquity, of which little could with much certainty be either affirmed or denied. Nor do they refer to some far-off region, unexplored and unknown. No; but things recent, things near, things (as was mentioned above) of which they had been eye-wit nesses and ear-witnesses-these form the subjects of their history. Nor were these things known to the writers

Publicity of the facts.

alone. On the contrary, so far from being "done in a corner," the chief events which they relate, occurred in Jerusalem and other cities of Judea, while they were garrisoned by Roman soldiers, and carefully watched by the Roman authorities. The things described took place in the presence of hundreds and often thousands of men, capable of judging, and ready to yield their testimony. You will at once perceive the great importance of this publicity, when I point to something entirely opposite in connection with Muhammad. Muhammadans tell us that, in one night, he rode from Mecca to Jerusalem, and then into heaven-and back again, after seeing and hearing many wonderful things which they specify. Here the question at once occurs; How can that be proved? Who saw, or who accompa

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