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dences of authenticity, all of which are found in the New Testament and none in any of the apocryphal writings. We will now exhibit certain evidences of spuriousness, all of which are found in the apocryphal writings, and none in those of the New Testa
The reasons which render the authenticity of a work suspicious, are thus enumerated in the learned "Introduction to the New Testament," by Michaelis: 1. When doubts have been entertained, from its first appearance, whether it was the work of its reputed author. 2. When his immediate friends who were able to judge, have denied it to be his. 3. When a long series of years has elapsed after his death, in which the book was unknown, and in which it must have been mentioned or quoted had it been in existence. 4. When the style is different from that of his other writings; or in case no others remain, different from what might be reasonably expected. 5. When events are recorded which happened later than the time of the pretended author. 6. When opinions are advanced contradictory to those which he is known to have maintained in other writings. Now it may be affirmed, without fear of contradiction, that the apocryphal books exhibit all these evidences of spuriousness; none of them being exempt from nearly the whole list, and few of them deficient in any particular. While, with equal confidence, it is asserted that the books of the New Testament exhibit none of them. In no book of that holy volume, *Michaelis' Int. vol. 1, p. 25.
are opinions professed that are contradictory to any which the reputed author is known elsewhere to have maintained; nor are facts recorded which happened later than the age in which he lived; nor is the style different from that of his other writings, or from what might reasonably have been expected from his pen. No book of the New Testament was unknown during a long series of years subsequent to the death of the individual to whom it is ascribed; none can be shown to have been denied by the near friends of the reputed author as his production; no doubts can be proved to have been entertained of the authenticity of any part of the New Testament at the time of its first publication.
That apocryphal writings existed in the first centuries, is a fact which, so far from embarrassing the evidence for the authenticity of the New Testament books and the truth of the gospel history, very materially confirms it. Had it not been notorious that the apostles did write gospels and epistles, it is not likely that so many would have attempted to pass off spurious gospels in their names. Had it not been that the fame of Christ and his apostles was very great in all lands from the beginning, it is not probable that all these apocryphal authors would have thought of writing about them, or in their names; much less that they would have expected a market for their works. Had it not been notorious and universally allowed, that Christ and his apostles wrought miracles and did many wonderful works, it is not probable that all these writers would have
taken it for granted, and sought to build up their particular opinions upon the assumption. "They all suppose the dignity of our Lord's person, and a power of working miracles, together with a high degree of authority, as having been conveyed by him to his apostles."*
That apocryphal books should have been published in the name of the apostles, is precisely what was to be expected from the wide circulation, great popularity, and eminent reverence which their authentic writings had obtained. Current notes soon awaken a disposition to counterfeit them. Popular medicines soon bring into the market apocryphal inventions wearing their names. The effort to pass off the latter is the best proof of the estimation of the former. The New Testament writers have been treated in this respect precisely like others. So writes Augustine: "No writings ever had a better testimony afforded them, than those of the apostles and evangelists; nor does it weaken the credit and authority of books received by the church from the beginning, that some other writings have been without ground, and falsely ascribed to the apostles; for the like has happened, for instance, to Hippocrates; but yet his genuine works have been distinguished from others which have been published under his name."t Such also has been the case with many others. Several spurious orations were published under the names of Lysias and Demosthenes. Works were ascribed to Plautus and Virgil and Horace, which had no title to * Lardner, vol. 3, p. 131. + Ibid. 3, 134.
their names. But it was no difficult matter for the Greek and Roman critics to separate the genuine from the apocryphal works of those authors. Thus it was also with the early Christians. They proved all things, and held fast that only which was good. "We receive Peter and the other apostles as Christ," said Serapion, bishop of Antioch; "but as skilful men, we reject those writings which are falsely ascribed to them.”
Here we might safely leave the question of authenticity; for if the evidence adduced does not prove the New Testament books to have proceeded from the apostles, no book of a past age has any pretension to authenticity: that Milton wrote Paradise Lost must be considered unworthy of credit; that the orations bearing the name of Cicero were composed or delivered by that orator, must be condemned as one of the apocryphal inventions of some age of monks and darkness. "I find more sure marks of authenticity in the New Testament," said Sir Isaac Newton, "than in any profane history whatever."
But inasmuch as your minds cannot be furnished with too much information on this fundamental subject, I will reserve some important views for a subsequent lecture.
There is a lesson for the believer in what has been exhibited of great practical interest. It is manifest from the testimonies adduced, that the scriptures of the New Testament were treated among the primitive Christians, not only as true and possessed of inspired authority in reference to all questions of doctrine and
obedience, but as very precious-"more to be desired than gold." They loved them as an inestimable treasure; they kept them, consulted them, and exalted them in their hearts and houses and assemblies, as a companion for every trial, a guide in every difficulty, a gift of God, for the preservation and honor of which they were ready to shed their blood. They felt them to be "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." How does all this rebuke the lukewarmness with which the Scriptures are regarded by too many professing Christians of the present day. In primitive times, believers would read them, though they paid for the privilege with their lives. In these days, multitudes who call themselves believers can hardly be persuaded to search the Scriptures, though every facility is afforded and the Bible is in honor. What a tremendous account must he give to God, who neglects his word! Let us imitate not only the affectionate devotion with which the primitive Christians read the Bible, but also the diligent zeal with which they surmounted innumerable obstacles in circulating copies of its books through the world. We possess facilities for such an object which they had not. The press is placed in our hands for this very purpose. It is our gift of tongues. Let us realize the responsibility we are under for the improvement of so rich a talent, and speed its work and multiply its branches of application, till the sound of the gospel has gone out into all the earth, and the words of Jesus to the ends of the world, and there is nothing hid from the light thereof.