Evidence of Christianity eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 396 pages of information about Evidence of Christianity.
John; that neither Paul, nor Matthew, nor Luke, nor Mark, have dared to call Jesus God; that John wrote later than the other evangelists, and at a time when a great number of men in the cities of Greece and Italy were converted; that he alludes to the conversion of Cornelius and of Sergius Paulus, to Peter’s vision, to the circular letter sent by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem, which are all recorded in the Acts of the Apostles:  by which quoting of the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, and by quoting no other, Julian shows that these were the historical books, and the only historical books, received by Christians as of authority, and as the authentic memoirs of Jesus Christ, of his apostles, and of the doctrines taught by them.  But Julian’s testimony does something more than represent the judgment of the Christian church in his time.  It discovers also his own.  He himself expressly states the early date of these records; he calls them by the names which they now bear.  He all along supposes, he nowhere attempts to question, their genuineness.

The argument in favour of the books of the New Testament, drawn from the notice taken of their contents by the early writers against the religion, is very considerable.  It proves that the accounts which Christians had then were the accounts which we have now; that our present Scriptures were theirs.  It proves, moreover, that neither Celsus in the second, Porphyry in the third, nor Julian in the fourth century, suspected the authenticity of these books, or ever insinuated that Christians were mistaken in the authors to whom they ascribed them.  Not one of them expressed an opinion upon this subject different from that which was holden by Christians.  And when we consider how much it would have availed them to have cast a doubt upon this point, if they could; and how ready they showed themselves to be to take every advantage in their power; and that they were all men of learning and inquiry:  their concession, or rather their suffrage, upon the subject is extremely valuable.

In the case of Porphyry, it is made still stronger, by the consideration that he did in fact support himself by this species of objection when he saw any room for it, or when his acuteness could supply any pretence for alleging it.  The prophecy of Daniel he attacked upon this very ground of spuriousness, insisting that it was written after the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and maintains his charge of forgery by some far-fetched indeed, but very subtle criticisms.  Concerning the writings of the New Testament, no trace of this suspicion is anywhere to be found in him.  (Michaelis’s Introduction to the New Testament, vol. i. p. 43.  Marsh’s Translation.)

SECTION X.

Formal catalogues of authentic Scriptures were published, in all which our present sacred histories were included.

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Evidence of Christianity from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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