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which is recorded in the Gospels, and the transactions at Jerusalem, recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, must have been recorded therefore at a time, when the Jewish state was still in being. Nor is it merely a knowledge of things relating to Judæa, that we find displayed in the New Testament. Whether they relate to Jerusalem, or relate to Ephesus, or to Corinth, or to Athens, or to Rome, we find representations, that accord with the places, which are the scenes of action. That an impostor therefore in the second century should have united this knowledge of foreign countries with that minute knowledge of Judæa, as it existed in the first century, is quite incredible.

But for the sake of argument, let us suppose that the thing was possible, and consider the conclusion, to which the supposition will lead. If the historical books of the New Testament were fabricated by an impostor, or by impostors, who had all the knowledge necessary to make those books agree with the circumstances, under which they were said to be written, and they were accordingly made to agree, in order to conceal the fraud, the fraud would still betray itself, and betray itself through the means, which were employed to conceal it.

In compositions, which are not intended to deceive, but are honest representations of what the writers know or believe, an agreement with dates, whether of time or of place, and in general an accordance with things that are co-existent, will be of such a description, as to betray no appearance of design. And for this reason will such agreement be without design, because there is no fraud to be concealed. Indeed they who have had opportunities of searching for internal marks of authenticity, whether in books, or in written letters, will have observed examples of coincidence in dates, of which the writers themselves were evidently not aware. And the authenticity of their writings is thus established by means, which had escaped their own notice. But if an impostor undertakes to fabricate a work in the name of another, and in order to give colour to the forgery contrives an artificial coincidence with times, or places, or co-existent transactions, such coincidence being itself a fabrication, contrived for a particular purpose, the contrivance will always be apparent. The object of an impostor is to obtain the semblance of authenticity; and that object would be defeated, if the coincidence were not easily perceived. Far different is the situation of a writer, who has no need of contrivance, who has no imposition

to conceal, who honestly writes in his own name, and assumes not a character, which does not belong to him. Conscious of his own integrity he has no motive to obtain a semblance of authenticity, when he knows it to be real. His agreement therefore with dates, whether of time or of place, his accordance with things or persons coexistent with what he himself describes, will every where appear to be incidental and undesigned. It will appear as the consistency of truth, not as the consistency of art. Though every minute examination will confirm the accuracy of the agreement, the agreement will not be glaring. On the contrary, it will often happen, , that such coincidences not only lie concealed from the view of common observers, but require a combination of various and sometimes unconnected facts, before it is possible to perceive them. And as such coincidences must be free from all suspicion of design, the stronger is their evidence for authenticity, when they are discovered.

Now if we examine the historical books of the New Testament, we shall find many coincidences of this description ; coincidences, which are not apparent, but which, as soon as they are

discovered, are found to be perfectly exact. It will be sufficient to give two or three examples.

In the third chapter of St. Luke's Gospel * it is related, that while John the Baptist was preaching in the country about Jordan, there came to him certain soldiers, who as appears from the expression used by St. Luke,t were not merely soldiers by profession, but soldiers in actual service. Now the Roman soldiers, who were then stationed in Judæa, do not appear to have been at that time engaged in any war: and though it might be reasonably inferred, that St. Luke would not have used an expression that did not accord with the actual state of things, the accordance is not apparent from his own narrative. He further relates in the same chapter, # that Herod the Tetrarch being reproved by John the Baptist for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils, which Herod had done, added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison. But what connexion there was between Herod and the soldiers just before mentioned, does not appear. Nor does it appear what connexion there was between those soldiers and the place of John's imprisonment; though we may infer that the place of his imprisonment was somewhere in the neighbourhood of the Jordan, because the order for his imprisonment was given while John was preaching there. Again, in the sixth chapter of St. Mark's Gospel, where St. Mark also mentions the imprisonment of John the Baptist, and assigns the same reason for it, which St. Luke did, we find an expression applied to the person, whom Herod subsequently dispatched with the order, that John the Baptist should be beheaded, which expression is used for persons, who are in military service. * Now it does not at all appear from the narrative of St. Mark, why a military person was employed on this occasion. The order for the death of John the Baptist was given by Herod at an entertainment, an entertainment, at which Herodias was present with her daughter. The entertainment was given on Herod's birth-day ;t and, as described by St. Mark, it has simply the appearance of an entertainment given at a royal court. Though we must conclude therefore, that St. Mark, as well as Luke, had reasons for employing the particular expressions, which they did on this occasion, those reasons are not apparent. But we shall discover those reasons, if we consult

* Ver. 14.

+ Στρατευόμενοι, not στρατιώται.

1 Ver. 19, 20.

Enekovaatwp, ver. 27. On this word see Schleusner's Lexicon.

† Mark vi. 21.

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