« EelmineJätka »
“ failed to Antioch ; and there they conti“nued a long time with the disciples." Chap. xiv. ver. 26.
Now what says the epistle ? ¢ When 66 Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood 6 him to the face, because he was to be “ blamed; and the other Jews dissembled 66 likewise with him; insomuch that Bar“ nabas also was carried away with their “ dissimulation.” Chap. ii. ver. 11. 13.
6. The stated residence of the apostles was at Jerusalem.
" At that time there was a great persecution against the church which “ was at Jerusalem; and they were all scat“ tered abroad throughout the regions of “ Judea and Samaria, except the apostles" (Acts, chap.viii.ver. 1). “ They (the Chris“ tians at Antioch) determined that Paul « and Barnabas should go up to Jerusalem, “ unto the apostles and elders, about this
question” (Acts, chap. xv. ver. 2). With these accounts agrees the declaration in the epistle : “ Neither went I up to Jerusalem $c to them which were apostles before me" (chap. i. ver. 17): for this declaration implies, or rather assumes it to be known, that
Jerusalem was the place where the apostles were to be met with.
7. There were at Jerusalem two apostles, or at the least two eminent members of the church, of the name of James. This is directly inferred from the A&s of the Apoftles, which in the second verse of the twelfth chapter relates the death of James, , the brother of John; and yet in the fifteenth chapter, and in a subsequent part of the history, records a speech delivered by James in the assembly of the apostles and elders. It is also strongly implied by the form of expression used in the epistle: “Other apofso tles saw I none, save James, the Lord's “ brother;" i. e. to distinguish him from James the brother of John.
To us who have been long conversant in the Christian history, as contained in the Acts of the Apostles, these points are obvious and familiar; nor do we readily apprehend any greater difficulty in making them
appear in a letter purporting to have been written by St. Paul, than there is in introducing them into a modern sermon. But, to judge correctly of the argument before us, we must
discharge this knowledge from our thoughts. We must propose to ourselves the situation of an author who sat down to the writing of the epistle without having feen the hiftory; and then the concurrences we have deduced will be deemed of importance. They will at least be taken for separate confirmations of the several facts : and not only of these particular facts, but of the general truth of the history.
For what is the rule with respect to corroborative testimony which prevails in courts of justice, and which prevails only because experience has proved that it is an useful guide to truth? A principal witness in a cause delivers his account: his narrative, in certain parts of it, is confirmed by witnesses who are called afterwards. The credit derived from their testimony belongs not only to the particular circumstances in which the auxiliary witnesses agree with the principal witness, but in some measure to the whole of his evidence; because it is improbable that acccident or fiction should draw a line
a which touched upon truth in so many points.
In like manner, if two records be produced manifestly independent, that is, manifestly written without any participation of intelligence, an agreement between them, even in few and flight circumstances (especially if, from the different nature and design of the writings, few points only of agreement, and those incidental, could be expected to occur) would add a sensible weight to the authority of both, in every part of their contents.
The same rule is applicable to history, with at least as much reason as any other species of evidence.
Bat although the references to various particulars in the epistle, compared with the direct account of the same particulars in the hiftory, afford a considerable proof of the truth not only of these particulars, but of the narrative which contains them; yet they do not fhew, it will be faid, that the epistle was written by St. Paul: for admitting (what seems to have been proved) that the writer, whoever he was, had no recourse to the Acts of the Apostles, yet many of the facts referred
to, such as St. Paul's miraculous conversion, his change from a virulent persecutor to an indefatigable preacher, his labours amongst the Gentiles, and his zeal for the liberties of the Gentile church, were so notorious as to occur readily to the mind of any Christian, who should choose to personatehischaracter, and counterfeit his name: it was only to write what every body knew. Now I think that this supposition-viz. that the epistle was composed upon general information, and the general publicity of the facts alluded to, and that the author did no more than weave into his work what the common fame of the Christian church had reported to his earsis repelled by the particularity of the recitals and references. This particularity is observable in the following instances; in perusing which; I defire the reader to reflect, whether they exhibit the language of a man who had nothing but general reputation to proceed upon, or of a man actually speaking of himself and of his own history, and consequently of things concerning which he possessed a clear, intimate, and circumstantial knowledge.