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dred brethren, and during forty days after his resurrection he instructed his apostles in the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, after which as he was conversing with his disciples at Bethany," whilst they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight.”2 Hundreds were yet living, who had been eyewitnesses of these stupendous miracles, and in any ordinary collection of hearers in or near Jerusalem, one or more of these persons would usually be embraced.

d) It was moreover known, that this Jesus had himself commissioned his apostles, Judas excepted, to publish his doctrines to all nations ; hence their divine authority could not be disputed, and they were authorized to teach. And Jesus told them that the Holy Ghost, whose special influences should be poured out on them at pentecost, would bring to their recollection, and further teach them all things necessary for their official duties. There could be no doubt therefore of the infallible accuracy of their instructions. The hearers of the apostles, moreover, knew, that Jesus had conferred on them the power of working miracles in his name ; for they indisputably exercised it. When Peter healed the lame man,even the Jewish sanhedrim was compelled to exclaim, “For that indeed a notable miracle hath been wrought by them, is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.”4 No, we cannot deny it, we who have heretofore possessed the confidence of the people, we whose interest so strongly demands it, we whose honour and power depend on it; we cannot deny it.

And why?

Because the lame man was for many years known to thousands, who all now see him restored. We cannot deny it, because we and hundreds beside us, know it with as much certainty, as we do the existence of Jerusalem, the city in which we dwell; for we see it with our own eyes !

e) The reflecting Jew would moreover remember, that a

2 Acts 1: 9.

3 Acts 3:5—7.

11 Cor. 15: 5-8.
4 Acts 4: 16.

bout that time the expectation of the coming of Messiah prevailed in Israel. And if he knew the predictions which had been given to his people, or if he inquired of Moses and the prophets, how surprizingly clear and striking would he find their applicability to Jesus! Had it been indefinitely predicted, that at some future time, a distinguished personage should arise and establish an extensive empire, it might have been Cyrus or Philip of Macedon, or Alexander the Great, or Cæsar, as well as Christ. Or, had the prophecies only determined, that this personage should arise from among the Jews; it might have been fulfilled in Judas Maccabeus, or Jonathan, or John Hircanus or Aristobulus, as well as by Jesus of Nazareth. But when he finds the prophets determining the very time of his appearance, namely before the sceptre or civil power should depart from the Jews; whilst the sacred temple was yet standing; and at the expiration of the seventy prophetic weeks of Daniel, which ended in the year of his death ; when he heard them specify the very tribe (that of Judah) from which he should descend—yea, the very family of David in that tribe—and the very town, Bethlehem, in which he should be born; and, as there were two towns of that name, adding that it was Bethlehem in Judea and not in Galilee ;-when on investigation, the sincere, and inquiring Jew found these, and many other particulars, distinctly predicted by one or other of the prophets, and knew that all these things were so perfectly fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth ; how was it possible for him to doubt? Who that could weigh the force of evidence, and was anxious to learn the truth, would not have been convinced? Who that was not blinded by prejudice, or enslaved to lust, would not, under such circumstances, have been constrained to exclaim, Lord, it is enough, I believe that thou art the Christ, the son of the living God, to whom else shall we go, thou hast the words of eternal life!

f) Such were the primitive evidences which Christianity presented to those to whom it was first preached. And if they

attended to its doctrines and endeavored to obey its prescriptions, they soon experienced within their souls another, a still more impressive and convincing evidence of its divine origin. They found these sacred truths penetrating the inmost recesses of their hearts, shedding abroad their benign light, enlisting their feelings in the cause of God, and urging them to return to the love and obedience of their forsaken heavenly Father, and find happiness in the paths of his commandments. In short they found, as every inquiring sinner will now find by happy experience, the truth of the Saviour's declaration, If any man will do my will, he shall know of my doctrine whether it be of God.

II. And what is the light in which Christianity presents itself to succeeding generations, to us at the present day? Has any certain record of its doctrines and duties and facts reached us? Can its primitive evidences exert any influence on our minds, and has the stream of evidence, as it rolled on through successive centuries, been scattered and lost, or has it accumulated greater volume and force ?

That we have as certain knowledge on the subject of Christianity, as the primitive hearers of the apostles, is indisputable, since in the kind Providence of our God, the very men whom Christ himself appointed as oral teachers of his religion, also reduced their instructions to writing for the benefit of distant Christians and of after ages. Those instructions are found in the books of the New Testament, which we have hitherto, in the progress of our argument, received only as ordinary, authentic narratives of the facts recorded in them. But since it is certain, that the written instructions of all men, are at least as accurate if not more so than their oral, extemporaneous communications ; it follows, that the written productions of the apostles

1 John 7: 17.

2 John 20:31. But these things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that ye might have life through his name. Luke 1: 1-4.

of Jesus must be as correct and authentic as their preaching. And it is evident from what has been said, that they were divinely authorized teachers of Christianity, and that the instructions which they gave were rendered infallible by the guidance of the Spirit. Hence, as it would be absurd to suppose, that those who were infallible when they spoke, would instantly cease to be so when they undertook to communicate the same truths to distant Christians or future generations by writing; it inevitably follows, that the writings of the apostles have the same kind and same degree of divine authority and inspiration, which belonged to their oral communications. The call of the apostle Paul was miraculous, but his divine mission and inspiration are established by evidence of the same kind and degree which sustains the others. The writings of Luke and Mark receive a similar character from the fact, that those of the former were written in the company of Paul and sanctioned' by him, and those of the latter dictated by Peter. And here it may in passing be remarked, that the divine authority of the books of the Old Testament, is also proved by the circumstance of their being so frequently quoted as such, by the infallible Saviour and his inspired apostles.

From the above argument we derive the important inference, that having the genuine, unadulterated written instructions of those very persons, who by divine authority first taught the Christian religion, that religion now comes to us arrayed in the full force of all its primitive or original evidences.

But the stream of evidence has received new accessions in the course of its progress, and the believer of after ages can find his faith confirmed by additional facts, not accessible to the primitive hearers of the apostles.

Among these progressive or cumulative evidences (which we | Acts 21:17. 24: 27. &c. see Storr's Biblical Theology, Vol. I.

p. 137.

2 See Storr's Bib. Theol. Vol. I. p. 136.

can take time merely to enumerate, but not discuss,) we may specify,

a) The astonishing harmony of the books of the Old and New Testaments, written in different countries, by different persons, and hundreds of years apart ; yet all constituting one connected, progressive revelation. This unexampled coincidence of persons many of whom never even saw each other, in forming one harmonious work, and in communicating such successive and connected degrees of revealed truth, is explicable on no other supposition than that it was the same Spirit who guided the pen from Genesis to Revelation.

b) The fulfilment of prophecy in the destruction of Jerusalem is another progressive evidence. A few years only elapsed after the departure of our Lord, until his disciples witnessed with their own eyes another fearful evidence of the divine origin of their religion. The Saviour had predicted in clear and unequivocal terms, the sad catastrophe, which awaited the devoted city of Jerusalem. He informed the Jews that "there should be great distress in the land and wrath upon the people;" “ that they should fall by the edge of the sword ; ” “that there should not one stone of the magnificent temple be left on another;” and that there should be great tribulation in the city such as was not since the beginning of the world, nor ever shall be, and that many of those who heard him should live to see it. How fearfully all this was accomplished in A. D. 70, when the city was taken and reduced to a heap of ruins by the Roman general Titus, is well known.

c) The dispersion of the Jews was also clearly foretold. “ They shall be led away captive into all nations," said the Saviour, and who has not been impressed with the singular spectacle presented by the descendants of this devoted people until the present day? For seventeen centuries have they literally been scattered among all nations, never amalgamating with them, yet

| Matthew 24, and Mark 13.

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