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Page a similar manner. Proof of authenticity, applicable to the New Testament in general, deduced from the peculiar Greek dialect, in which the several books are composed. Further proof from the style, the manner, und the character of the several writers. All these internal marks of authenticity, combined with the external evidence, are decisive in favour of the New Testament..... 69 LECTURE XXIII.
He system of Theology adopted in these Lectures consists of seven branches ; namely, the Criticism of the Bible, the Interpretation of the Bible, the Authenticity and Credibility of the Bible, the Divine Authority of the Bible, the Inspiration of the Bible, the Doctrines of the Bible, and the History of those Doctrines with Ecclesiastical History in general.
The two first Branches, having been already considered, we now enter on the third Branch, which relates to the Authenticity and Credibility of the Bible. And it is hardly possible, that these important questions should be examined at a period more seasonable than the present, when every
effort has been made to shake the fabric of Christianity to its very basis. If it could be proved, that the Bible were not authentic, the foundation itself would be destroyed, on which we build our faith in this life, and our hopes of
everlasting happiness in the life to come. If, for instance, it were true, that the Holy Gospels were not written by the Evangelists to whom they are áseribed, or that the Epistles, which we believe to be St. Paul's, were the fabrications of an impostor, who assumed the name of the Apostle, though it would still be an unfair conclusion, that Christianity itself was a fraud (since we cannot argue from the doubtfulness of a record to the falsity of the things recorded), we should yet be destitute of positive proof, and unable to afford the evidence required, that our religion was given by divine revelation. It is a matter therefore of the highest importance to establish the authenticity of the sacred writings. And this importance will appear still more conspicuous, when we have shewn, how closely the proof of their authenticity is connected with the proof of their divine authority, or with the evidences for our Holy Religion.
But before we enter on this proof, it is necessary to give a definition of the term “Authentic' For as the term is used by different writers in different senses, it is impossible that any one should argue with perspicuity on this subject, unless he previously explains what he himself understands by it. Some writers use the term 'authentic' in so extensive a sense, as to make it include both
the question of authorship, and the question of fidelity and truth. In this acceptation of the term, a book, though genuine if written by the person to whom it is ascribed, is not authentic, unless the accounts, which it contains are worthy of credit. With this distinction between the terms 'authentic' and 'genuine,' great caution is necessary to prevent confusion in the conduct of the argument. For, with this distinction the proof of genuineness is one thing, the proof of authenticity is another. And though we may often argue from the former to the latter, we cannot always do it. There are many books, both ancient and modern, of which no doubt is entertained in regard to the authorship, but of which doubts may be entertained in regard to the question, whether the authors have related what is worthy of credit. But it too frequently happens, that writers who thus distinguish authenticity from genuineness, overlook the distinction in their mode of reasoning: and the very circumstance, that other writers have used the terms as synonymous, has led them more easily to the conclusion, that when they have conducted the proof of genuineness, they have furnished also a proof of authenticity, even in their sense of the term. It is true, that when the question relates to the sacred writings, a proof of the former affords a sure foundation, on which we may establish the truth of the latter. But the inference is not immediate, unless we take for granted, what it is our previous duty to prove. Another inconvenience arising from such an application of the terms 'genuine' and 'authentic,' is, that, though they are thus distinguished, they do not each for itself denote a separate quality, but are so far alike, that the latter includes the former, while it includes also an additional quality.
These inconveniences will be avoided, by using the term 'authentic'in the confined sense, in which many English, and most foreign writers use it ; and by expressing the quality, otherwise included in the term ' authentic,' by a term, which applies to that quality only. In this manner all ambiguity will be avoided, and the argument may be conducted with precision. Instead therefore of employing the terms 'genuineness' and 'authentiçity', I employ the terms 'authenticity' and 'credibility’; the former to denote, that a book was written by the author, to whom it is ascribed, the latter to denote, that the contents of the book are justly entitled to our assent.
There is one more point, on which the use and application of these terms requires explanation.