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rectness. Few, if any profane histories, can produce more positive proof of credibility than this. But try them by the scale on which the gospel history is measured; require them to present one half of the weight of evidence which infidels demand and Christians bring, in support of the sacred narrative, and you must exclude them from all claim to the confidence of their readers. We might speak of the unfairness of requiring so much more in proof of a history, merely because its character is sacred, and its facts are connected with religion. Whether the consequences deducible from an alleged fact be in the region of science, of morals, or of religion, is a question which has no connection with that of the amount of evidence necessary to its proof. Whether an evangelist be worthy of dependence when he relates the works of Jesus, is a question of testimony to be determined by the same degree of proof that should satisfy us as to the accuracy and honesty of any other writer, on any other subject of history. But we have no disposition to complain that so much has been demanded in evidence of the gospel narrative. It has only served to quicken the investigations of the friends of truth, and to exhibit with a more impressive assurance those great events on which all that is precious in a Christian's faith is founded. It has showed not only how amply, but how wonderfully the God of truth and grace has made the anchor of our hope to be sure and steadfast. It teaches how, in the hands of divine Wisdom, the wrath of man is made subsidiary to the praise of God-how the fiery darts of the
wicked are not only broken against the shield of faith, but made the means of increasing the light by which the Christian is guided, and often of carrying back confusion into the ranks of the enemy. It should lead the believer to adore with admiring gratitude the goodness of Him who, for the sake of those that love him, causes all the schemes and assaults of unbelievers to work together for good, making it more and more manifest, by the defeat of every new attack, that this is "the true light"—"the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day."
Had we time, or were it needful to enter upon a particular view of the authenticity and credibility of the Old Testament volume, this would be the place for the argument; but we have room only to advert to it. The connection between the truth of the Christian Scriptures and that of the Jewish is so obvious and essential; the dispensation of Christ so continually assumes the divine authority of that of Moses, and is so evidently built on its foundations; the writings of the apostles so frequently quote and refer to the law and the prophets, as authentic, credible, and inspired Scriptures; the argument for the books of the Old Testament is so parallel in its mode and means to that for the books of the New; and the cavils of sceptics in relation to the former are so similar in objection, principle, and reasoning, to those with which they assail the latter, that in having established the authenticity and credibility of the one, we may be fairly said to have equally established, in
outline, the character of the other. Certain we are, that a man who is intelligently convinced of the authenticity and credibility of the New Testament, will not halt between two opinions as to the writings of Moses and the prophets, but will read them as assuredly the writings of those whose names they bear, and as deserving, in relation to all matters of fact, the character of credible Scriptures.
OUR last lecture was on the credibility of the gospel history. In a previous one, we ascertained the authenticity of the books in which it is contained. If the evidence adduced in proof of both these fundamental articles appeared as satisfactory to the hearers as to the speaker, we are then prepared to open the New Testament with the assurance that the books it contains were written by those original disciples whose names they bear, and, that we may confidently depend on the historical correctness of their statements. The seals therefore of the volume are now unloosed. Immediately on inspecting the contents, it appears that the grand and continual reference is to Jesus Christ, as a Teacher and Saviour sent from God, to communicate personally and by his apostles a revelation of truth and duty to man. This revelation the New Testament professes to contain. Now, the grand question is, WHAT ARE THE EVIDENCES THAT THE RELIGION CONTAINED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT IS A DIVINE REVELATION?
When an ambassador from a foreign power presents himself at our seat of government, charged with certain communications from his sovereign, he first exhibits his credentials of appointment. These being
satisfactory, whatever he may communicate in his official character is received with as much reliance as if it were heard from the lips of his sovereign himself. It is treated as a revelation of the mind or will of that sovereign. In the New Testament we read that our Lord Jesus Christ appeared among men as an ambassador from God, charged with certain important communications to mankind. Before we can be justified in receiving those communications as a divine revelation, we must know the credentials of the ambassador-we must have sufficient evidence that he was sent of God. Furnish this, and we are bound to receive his communications as confidently as if they should be heard directly from the throne of the Most High. Thus the Jews said to him, "What sign showest thou then, that we may see and believe thee? What dost thou work?" The Saviour, admitting the propriety of the demand, appealed to his works as his credentials. "The works that I do, they bear witness of me."* On another occasion he called up his miracles. "The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up." As if he had said, "Such works can only be done by the direct and supernatural interposition of the power of God. They are done at my word and will. They are therefore a perfect attestation that God is with me, and that my claim to your confidence as his ambassador is true." Nicodemus understood this, and expressed no other than the plain dictate of common-sense, when he said to * John 6:30; 10:25.
t Matt. 11:5.