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of the age in which his gofpel was written. Marcion thought this text fo objectionable, that he altered the words, fo as to invert the fenfe*.


Once more, Acts xxv. 19. brought none accufation against him, of fuch things, as I fuppofed, but had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jefus which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive." Nothing could be more in the character of a Roman governor than these words. But that is not precifely the point I am concerned with. A mere panegyrift, or a dishonest narrator, would not have reprefented his cause, or have made a great magiftrate reprefent it, in this manner, i, e. in terms not a little. difparaging, and bespeaking, on his part, much unconcern and indifference about the matter. The fame obfervation may be repeated of the speech which is afcribed to Gallio (Acts viii. 14.) "If it be a question

* Lard. vol. xv. p. 422.


of words, and names, and of your law, look ye to it, for I will be no judge of such



Laftly, where do we difcern a stronger mark of candour, or lefs difpofition to extol and magnify, than in the conclufion of the fame history? in which the evangelist, after relating that Paul, upon his firft arrival at Rome, preached to the Jews from morning until evening, adds, "And fome believed the things which were spoken, and fome believed not."

The following, I think, are paffages, which were very unlikely to have presented themselves to the mind of a forger or a fabulift.

Mat. xxi. 21. "C Jefus anfwered and faid unto them, Verily I fay unto you, if ye have faith and doubt not, ye fhall not only do this, which is done unto the fig-tree, but alfo, if ye fhall fay unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou caft into the


fea, it fhall be done; all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, it shall be done*." It appears to me very improbable, that these words fhould have been put into Chrift's mouth, if he had not actually spoken them. The term "faith," as here used, is perhaps rightly interpreted of confidence in that internal notice, by which the apoftles were admonished of their power to perform any particular miracle. And this expofition renders the sense of the text more eafy. But the words, undoubtedly, in their obvious conftruction, carry with them a difficulty, which no writer would have brought upon himself officiously,

Luke ix. 59. "And he faid unto another, Follow me; but he faid, Lord, fuffer me, first, to go and bury my father, Jefus faid unto him, Let the dead bury their dead, but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." This anfwer, though very ex

* See also xvii. 20. Luke xvii. 6.

+ See alfo Mat. viii. 21,


preffive of the tranfcendent importance of religious concerns, was apparently harsh and repulfive; and fuch as would not have been made for Chrift, if he had not really used it. At least, fome other inftance would have been chofen.

The following paffage, I, for the fame reafon, think impoffible to have been the production of artifice, or of a cold forgery : -"But I fay unto you, that whofoever is angry with his brother, without a cause, fhall be in danger of the judgement; and whofoever fhall fay to his brother, Raca, fhall be in danger of the council; but whofoever shall fay, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire (Gehenna)." Mat. v. 22. It is emphatic, cogent, and well calculated for the purpose of impreffion; but is inconfiftent with the fuppofition of art or warinefs on the part of the relator.

The short reply of our Lord to Mary Magdalen after his refurrection (John xx, 16, 17.) "Touch me not, for I am not yet


yet afcended unto my Father," in my opinion, must have been founded in a reference or allufion to fome prior converfation, for the want of knowing which, his meaning is hidden from us. This very obfcurity, however, is a proof of genuineness. No one would have forged fuch an answer.

John vi. The whole of the converfation, recorded in this chapter, is, in the highest degree, unlikely to be fabricated, especially the part of our Saviour's reply between the fiftieth and the fifty-eighth verfe. I need only put down the firft fentence, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he fhall live for ever; and the bread that I will give him is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." Without calling in queftion the expofitions that have been given of this paffage, we may be permitted to fay, that it labours under an obfcurity, in which it is impoffible to believe that any one, who made fpeeches for the perfons of his narrative, would have voluntarily involved


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