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it extends to these points :-It proves the general reality of the circumstances; it proves the historian's knowledge of these circumstances. In the present instance it confirms his pretensions of having been a cotemporary, and in the latter
and in the latter part of his history a companion of St. Paul. word, it establishes the substantial truth of the narration ; and substantial truth is that which, in every historical enquiry, ought to be the first thing fought after and ascertained; it must be the groundwork of every other observation.
The reader then will please to remember this word undefignedness, as denoting that
upon which the construction and validity of our argument chiefly depend.
As to the proofs of undesignedness, I shall in this place say little ; for I had rather the reader's persuasion should arise from the instances themselves, and the separate remarks with which they may be accompanied, than from any previous formulary or description of argument. In a great plurality of examples, I trust he will be perfectly convinced that no design or
contrivance whatever has been exercised; and if some of the coincidences alledged appear to be minute, circuitous, or oblique, let him reflect that this very indirectness and subtility is that which gives force and propriety to the example. Broad, obvious, and explicit agreements prove little ; because it may be suggested that the insertion of such is the ordinary expedient of every forgery : and though they may occur, and probably will occur, in genuine writings, yet it cannot be proved that they are peculiar to these. Thus what St. Paul declares in chap. xi. of 1 Cor. concerning the institution of the eucharift" For I have received of the Lord that “ which I also, delivered unto you, that " the Lord Jesus, the same night in which “ he was betrayed, took bread; and when " he had given thanks, he brake it, and " said, Take, eat; this is my body, which “ is broken for you; this do in remem“ brance of me”-though it be in close and verbal conformity with the account of the same transaction preserved by St. Luke, is yet a conformity of which no use can be
made in our argument ; for if it should be objected that this was a mere recital from the gospel, borrowed by the author of the epistle, for the purpose of fetting off his compofition by an appearance of agreement with the received account of the Lord's supper, I should not know how to repel the infinuation. In like manner, the description which St. Paul gives of himself, in his epistle to the Philippians (iii. 5) " Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock " of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an “ Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching " the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal,
persecuting the church; touching the “ righteousness which is in the law, blame« less”-is made up of particulars so plainly delivered concerning him, in the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistle to the Romans, and the Epistle to the Galatians, that I cannot deny but that it would be easy for an impoftor, who was fabricating a letter in the name of St. Paul, to collect these articles into one view. This, therefore, is a conformity which we do not adduce. But when I read, in the Acts of the Apo
stles, that “when Paul came to Derbe and
Lystra, behold a certain disciple was “ there, named Timotheus, the son of a “ certain woman which was a Jewels; and when, in an epistle addressed to Timothy, I find him reminded of his “ having “ known the holy scriptures from a child,” which implies that he must, on one side or both, have been brought up by Jewish parents; I conceive that I remark a coincidence which shews, by its very obliquity, that scheme was not employed in its formation. In like manner, if a coincidence depend upon a comparison of dates, or rather of circumstances from which the dates are gathered the more intricate that comparison shall be; the more numerous the intermediate steps through which the conclusion is deduced; in a word, the more circuitous the investigation is, the better, because the agreement which finally results is thereby farther removed from the suspicion of contrivance, affectation, or defign. And it should be remembered, concerning these coincidences, that it is one thing to be minute, and another to be precarious; one
thing to be unobserved, and another to be obfcure; one thing to be circuitous, or oblique, and another to be forced, dubious, or fanciful. And this distinction ought always to be retained in our thoughts.
The very particularity of St. Paul's epiftles; the perpetual recurrence of names of persons and places; the frequent allusions to the incidents of his private life, and the circumstances of his condition and history; and the connection and parallelism of these with the same circumstances in the Acts of the Apostles, so as to enable us, for the most part, to confront them one with another; as well as the relation which sublists between the circumstances, as mentioned or referred to in the different epistles--afford no inconfiderable proof of the genuineness of the writings, and the reality of the transactions. For as no advertency is sufficient 'to guard against flips and contradictions, when circumstances are multiplied, and when they are liable to be detected by cotemporary accounts equally circumstantial, an impostor, I should expect, would either have avoided particulars entirely, contenting himself with