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different general character; and the nature of the Judaism and the extent of the Jewish element, which the New Testament Greek displays, prove that it must have been written before the close of the first century.* Thus a reference to the language of the Christian Scriptures, confirms, both as to the age and persons of their authors, their claims to be the work of the first followers of Christ.
2. History:-The period of the Jewish history, during which Christ and his Apostles lived, is one of great confusion. The family of Herod the Great divided his dominions among them; they were all called Herod, but had in addition other titles, and the limits of their jurisdiction were frequently changed, so that to make mistakes concerning them is very easy; yet in the New Testament there is no mistake with regard to them. Persons and facts are mentioned incidentally, yet never erroneously; a fabricator would unavoidably have fallen into some error; it is only one who wrote at the time, or soon after, who could in every instance be exact. The Roman governors followed one another with considerable rapidity, yet the right one, for each period is always spoken of, and his peculiar and exact titles are assigned to each, as a careful comparison of sacred with profane history will show. These assertions might be proved by many instances, but two will be sufficient.
We are told, Luke iii., 14, that soldiers came to John the Baptist, and the Greek word means, not only soldiers, but "soldiers in actual service." Now the Roman soldiers in Palestine were not employed in any war at this time; why then is this word used? Again, Luke iii., 19, 20, narrates John's imprisonment by Herod, and Mark, vi., 27, relating the death of John, uses for "executioner," a word employed for a soldier. Why do both evangelists use these words, as though war was being then carried on? They afford in themselves no answer to the question, but we can explain their language, by referring to Josephus, who tells us that Herod was at this time involved in war with Aretas, king of Arabia, and this shows that Luke and Mark each used the right word to express his meaning, as the soldiers, who came to John the Baptist, would be on active service, and Herod, being at this time at war, would probably employ a soldier as an executioner; yet no inventor would have thought of this, and scarcely any one, writing a long time after the
* Marsh's lectures, xxvi,
events, would have been aware of the propriety of such expressions.
Another instance, yet more remarkable, is found Acts xiii., 7, 12, where the writer gives to Sergius Paulus the title of "deputy," which title was generally given only to those who governed provinces, which were invested with proconsular dignity; on the supposition that Cyprus was not one of these, it was formerly supposed that the historian had made a mistake, in using this title, but a Greek coin has been discovered, which was struck in the first century, under the government of the successor to Sergius Paulus, and which gives the governor of Cyprus this same title of "deputy;" thus showing, that the author was correct in the very particular in which he was accused of inaccuracy, about which a modern writer would have fallen into error.
3. Geography:-The divisions and subdivisons of Palestine, the position of the towns of Judea and Gallilee, the topography of Jerusalem and its neighbourhood, points not likely to be known by any but Jews, and many of them so altered by the destruction of Jerusalem, that any one living and writing after that event, could not know them, are often incidentally mentioned iu the New Testament. Yet these references are always clear, always consistent, and as far as we can judge, always correct. We find also representations relating to Ephesus, Corinth, Athens, and Italy, which precisely agree with all that we know of these localities.
4. Manners and customs: The peculiarities of the Jews, with respect to Religion, distinguished them from all other nations, and made it impossible for any one who did not live amongst them, to realize the minor characteristics of their social life. Yet these are all faithfully pourtrayed in the gospels. The distinctions of their leading sects; the customs of their synagogues, and of their temple worship; the relation in which they stood to the Samaritans, and the feelings which prevailed between the two nations; the notions which they had concerning the advent and kingdom of the Messiah; their mode of arguing, their ideas of a future life, their reliance on tradition and authority; the subjection in which they were held by the Romans; the method of collecting the tribute, and the estimation in which those who collected it were held; and many other minor particulars, are all pourtrayed in the Gospels, not designedly, but in a simple and natural manner, as the course of the History calls forth the mention of them. And let it be observed, that after the destruction of Jeru
salem, and the dispersion of the Jews, these particulars could no longer be observed, and the intimate acquaintance with them displayed by the New Testament Historians, proves that they lived before that event, and lived too, at least during part of their lives, in Palestine, among the scenes which they describe, and in the state of society which their narratives pourtray,
But allusion is also made to many things external to Palestine; to the characteristic features of several famous cities; Ephesus, Athens, Corinth; to the favourite employments and prevailing worship in each of these, and in many other places; to the method of travelling, and the means of communication of that age; and in all these particulars there is the same exactness and freedom from error, as we have before noticed on other points; the representations of Scripture uniformly correspond with all that we can learn, from other and independent accounts.
The force of this argument is increased by the fact, that the writers have not made it their object to give information on topics of History, &c. Their aim is to record the facts connected with the life and teachings of Jesus, and the early spread of his religion, and in doing this, they accidentally and undesignedly mention those particulars which confirm their testimony. The knowledge they display with regard to History and Geography, the language which they use, the allusions they make to local circumstances, and national peculiarities, prove that these writings must have been produced in the time and country of their reputed authors, and by persons situated as they were; none but a Jew could have shown such a knowledge of Palestine, and the Jewish language, customs, and literature; none but a Jew converted to Christianity, and thus brought into contact with the heathen, could have written with such truth about the Gentile world. This reasoning, therefore, shows that the New Testament Scriptures had their origin in the period, immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem, and were the work of men intimately connected with Judea; and, if so, they could not be forgeries, for, if they had been written under the names of apostles, in the very age and country in which those apostles lived, the imposture would have been immediately detected.
Such is the evidence, with regard to the books of the New Testament, which is obtained from the careful examination of these books; evidence depending on nothing external, which can be denied or doubted; evidence which can never vary or
cease, as long as the Scriptures themselves remain. Let every one search for himself, to ascertain whether the assertions which have been made are founded on truth, and let every one remember, that if they are so, THE INTERNAL
EVIDENCE PROVES, THAT THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES ARE THE WORK OF THE APOSTLES AND EARLIEST DISCIPLES OF CHRIST.
PROOFS OF DESIGN IN BIRDS.
PERHAPS no class of animals so much excites our admiration, awakens our interest, or adds to our innocent enjoyment as that of BIRDS. Their graceful forms, their light and ærial motions, their brilliant plumage, their varied and exquisite minstrelsy, their powers of flight, their apparent desire, so kindred to that of our own spirit in its holiest mood, of forsaking earth for a higher, a purer and a brighter dwelling-place, all are calculated to arouse the attention and awaken the sympathies even of the dullest and the coldest. We are so familiar too with some of the species; we hear the lark so regularly in our summer walks, and behold the red-breast return so duly with autumn to our yards and windows; our hearts so leap in us with renewed youthfulness at the first call of the cuckoo, and the cawing of the colony of rooks returning home at eventide from their foraging excursions, is so in harmony with the other tender accompaniments of that
Soft hour which wakes the wish and melts the heart; the Magpie with its lively strut and chatter so punctually meets us in the meadows, and the Wren so startles us as its tiny form vanishes amid the leaves of the hedge row, that with many of them we contract not only a familiarity, bnt an attachment.
But our admiration is not only enlightened but elevated, when we observe the wonderful and exquisite adaptation of their structure to the kind of existence they are destined to spend, and thence to mount upward, as on their own wings, towards a designing and contriving MIND. How difficult to human view is the problem solved in their conformation-to frame an animal, that shall possess a bony skeleton, the support to many muscles, some of them of amazing power, and yet be so light, that it shall not only soar in the atmosphere, but ascend upwards like the Condor to the height of twenty thousand feet above the level of the sea, or dart along like the Swift at the rate of three miles in a minute of time, or sustain itself above our heads for a lengthened period, apparently without the slighest motion, or the smallest exertion. So many are the requirements to be secured, so nice the balances to be effected, so delicate the compensations to be supplied, the most trivial error in any one of which would prevent the accomplishment of the end desired, that man,