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“ be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only “ doeth wonderous things' And blessed be his “glorious name for ever; and let the whole ‘ earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and “ amen." But we must now turn away from this great sight, and follow these same men through the scenes of their subsequent lives. We must also examine the conduct of those who led the way under the former dispensation, and from whose writings the mission and the claims of Jesus
were proved; and it is our business this evening to present you with an outline of THE CHA RACTER or THE W R1TERs of THE OLD AND NEw TESTAMENTs. Listen to the discussion of a few simple propositions upon this subject. We assert
1. THAT THE BOOKS OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS WERE REALLY WRITTEN BY THOSE WHO S E N A M ES THEY BEAR.
We can attempt to prove this position only upon one common principle of reasoning, which will, however, be deemed conclusive. It is, the testimony of the people to whom these oracles were committed, and the concurrent consent of all nations. A large proportion of this volume consists of the public chronicles of a whole
empire; and there is an end of the good faith of nations if they admit forgeries into their public records: the very sources from which the historian draws are contaminated. With respect to the laws of Moses, the books of the respective prophets, the history of the gospels, and the epistles of the New Testament, they are allowed by the very persons among whom, and for whom they were written, to be the productions of those very men whose names are prefixed to them. The testimony of any man respecting the historians or the poets of his own country, and especially the testimony of a whole body of people respecting their own writers, ought to be deemed decisive; because they, and they only, are competent witnesses in the affair. Now these men were Jews; and we have the testimony of the whole Jewish nation, handed down from father to son through all successive generations, from the periods when the different writers flourished to the present hour, that such and such books, were, according to their pretensions, really written by such and such persons, to whom they are ascribed; and all nations have concurred, at every point of time, in this testimony. These writers ever have been acknowledged by them; and the chronology of their works, for the most part, has been accurately determined. No man who pretends to reason can
deny his assent to such evidence. He who can bring himself to reject such authority, may with equal propriety conclude that the productions of Homer or of Virgil, of Demosthenes or of Cicero, are not really the writings of the distinguished poets and orators whose names they bear. For these rest precisely upon the same evidence, which we now produce in favour of the sacred records—the testimony of their cotemporaries, and of their countrymen, and the concurrent consent of all nations. Deny this authority in the one case, and you must necessarily destroy it in the other: neither can you (to be consistent) believe with any degree of certainty, any thing but that which falls within the immediate sphere of your own knowledge. To follow this principle what a fund of genius and of information must be destroyed We must blot out the works of all our historians, on the pretence that they need decisive evidence; and human intelligence must be drawn from the scanty springs of threescore years and ten, furnished by a man's own life. But if the testimony of a people respecting their own writers, and the general consent of nations be any thing: if this be the authority upon which we receive all works, and all writers: if this be the basis of all our historical certainty: then, it is ceded to the writers of the Bible, and on this general principle must it be admitted, that the books of the Old and New Testaments were really written by those whose names they bear. We affirm,
II. THAT THE writeRs were, FoR THE Most PART, EYE-WITNESSEs of THE FActs which THEY RECORDED.
There is a sufficient degree of internal evidence, deducible from the different compositions themselves, to establish this assertion. Examine the first five books of the scriptures, and it will appear, that Moses was necessarily an eye-witness of most of the events recorded in his law. He was present during all the plagues of Egypt, and was constituted the great agent in producing them. He saw the water transformed into blood—the pestilence which destroyed the cattle—the insects which covered the country— the protracted night which brooded over the whole empire, Goshen excepted—and he heard the cry of despair sound from all quarters, reechoed from the palace to the prison, when the first-born were slain. He was an eye-witness to the deliverance of the Israelites, and to their miraculous journey through the wilderness. He saw the fire which encircled Mount Sinai, and M In 2 or
the cloud which rested upon it's summit: he heard the terrible thunderings, and the more fearful voice of God. He beheld every fact which he relates till they reached the very borders of Canaan. When he died, Joshua took the command of Israel's armies, and recorded events as they transpired, till he also was laid in the dust of death. The books of Judges, of Ruth, of Samuel, of the Kings, and Chronicles, although the compositions of different persons were evidently, from their style, written at the time, and on the spot, where the events which they relate took place. This is manifest, from the simplicity of the narrations, and the appeal both to persons and to things then well known, the remembrance of which is now lost. Moreover, we are incessantly referred in the historical parts of the scriptures to books which are no longer extant, but which were then unquestionably esteemed faithful records; and this very circumstance proves at once the antiquity, the veracity, and the preservation of the Bible. Precisely on the same ground is the New Testament recommended to us. Listen to the language of the apostles themselves. “That which was from the begin“ming, which we have heard, which we have “seen with our eyes, which we have looked “upon, and our hands have handled of the “word of life—declare we unto you!” We maintain,