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Christianity & Science
A Series of Ten Lectures
 
by Andrew P. Peabody, D.D., LL.D.
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Professor of Christian Morals in Harvard University · 1875
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LECTURE I
Antiquity of the Gospels
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SCIENCE AND CHRISTIANITY DEFINED.
--THEIR SOURCES OF EVIDENCE. -
I. TESTIMONY.
-DEPENDENCE OF SCIENCE ON TESTIMONY.
-ANTIQUITY OF THE GOSPELS.

THERE is no scriptural type oftener reproduced than that of Uzzah, who thought that the ark of the Lord would be overturned because the oxen shook the cart. Good men, in every age of unfettered thought and bold investigation, have been afraid for the truth, and afraid of the truth; unwilling that inquiry and research should have free course, lest their results should unsettle verities which they yet profess to believe divine and eternal, or throw discredit on records which they yet maintain to have been written by the inspiration of God. The supposed antagonism varies with the spirit of the times; each and every department of learning and liberal study, when in the ascendant, having been regarded as of ill omen to religious faith and piety. Apprehensions of this kind are virtual infidelity. They who entertain them have not the firm belief which they profess, and their fears do more injury to their cause than can be done by open and bitter enmity. While they mean to be loyal, they play the part of Judas, and betray the Master whom they love.

The chief cause of alarm at the present time is found by timid Christians in the progress and tendencies of physical science, as hostile to the authority and prestige of the Gospel. That speculations and hypotheses which seem opposed to Christianity are rife in certain quarters cannot be denied; but that actual and ascertained results of scientific inquiry are repugnant to aught that God has revealed or Jesus Christ has taught, is an assumption as baseless as the most absurd of those made in the opposite camp. True science and Christianity, if it come from divine revelation, cannot by any possibility contradict each other: they must coincide as far as they cover the same ground; and it cannot but be that at numerous points each should confirm the other. If God is, he must have put his signature on his whole creation no less than his impress on his manifested or written Word. The hieroglyphs of nature must needs correspond to the alphabetic writing of revelation, which may interpret and supplement, but cannot supersede or falsify them.

But what are the science and the Christianity which we may expect to find thus coincident and harmonious? This question let us answer with due care and caution; for we cannot extend our statement to whatever any sciolist or erratic student of nature may choose to term science, nor yet to whatever any enthusiast or bigot may claim as Christianity.

In the first place, we use science in the literal sense of the word; for in this sense only can scientific men claim for science the respect and deference of Christians. Science is not speculation, but knowledge; not half-truths, but whole truths; not hypotheses which may explain the phenomena of nature, but principles which do explain them, and at the same time are verified by them. There is, as you well know, such science. There are truths appertaining to the material universe, of which there is no more doubt than of the laws of number and proportion; and I have yet to learn that there is any repugnancy between science thus defined and Christianity. But all is not science that demands to be so called. This name is wholly inapplicable to theories which include only a portion, and ignore a portion, of the facts or phenomena within their scope, to those which from their very nature do not admit of proof or verification, and to those which are of too recent origin to be fully verified. The opinions of scientific men, however plausible, nay, however probable, are not science, - not, even though they prevail so generally as to make dissent from them seem a mark of an illiberal and narrow mind. There have been many such opinions thus dominant at former periods, but now obsolete, and even objects of ridicule. There have been such opinions inconsistent with all received religious verities, which have shown open fight, and have threatened the very existence of Christianity, but which passed into an early and unhonored grave, while the religion that they assailed survived unharmed.

I do not regard the theory of development or evolution, now so generally received among scientific men, as necessarily hostile to religious faith; for there are among its most intelligent and able adherents some earnest and devout Christian believers. Moreover, there are certain aspects in which this theory is peculiarly attractive on religious grounds. If specific creation implies creative wisdom, much more is it implied in the endowment of primeval atoms or monads with the power of development into all the various and unnumbered, forms of organized, sentient, intelligent, moral, spiritual being; and we have thus presented to us, were it possible, even a more sublime significance for the opening words of the Hebrew Scriptures, " In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Then, too, were we constrained to trace our descent from an ancestry of apes or frogs or infusoria, we could look with no little complacency on our humble origin, from which we might anticipate further development in a posterity of angels and archangels, as far superior to ourselves, as we are to the brutes or animalcules from which we sprang. When we compare the alleged beginnings of our race with its present condition, there is no limit to what it may become, and the brightest visions of prophecy may be transcended by the history that shall be written. Then, again, when we are told that the individual human being actually passes through the various forms of his lower ancestry, why may he not in his own person pass successively through all the higher forms of which finite being is susceptible? But while we have no reason, as the friends of religion, to fear these speculations, we are not called upon to make concessions to them or compromises with them: for they are mere hypotheses, are entirely unproved, have no claim to be regarded as science, and have not as yet complied with the first condition of science; namely, the production of evidence which points conclusively in their direction. From the nature of the case, it may be doubted whether they admit of such evidence; and if not, however strong, however well grounded may be the bias of the scientific mind in their favor, they can have no argumentative value against truths or facts which purport to rest on direct evidence.

We now ask, What is the Christianity for which we can claim and hope to establish equal validity with that of the accredited truths of science? I answer, Simply and solely, the genuineness of the divine mission of Jesus Christ; that is, not of any Christ of one's own special shaping or fancy, but of the Christ of history, of the Gospels, of the Church,- including, of course, the substantial authenticity of the evangelic narrative of what Jesus was, said, did, and suffered. This narrative has come down to us in human language, and is intimately connected, in the faith and reverence of Christians, not only with contemporary writings that may illustrate and confirm it, but with writings of a much earlier date, which contain large sections of biography and history, numerous details of dates and incidents, and frequent references to opinions of their times. But chronology, secular history, ethnology, cosmogony, names and dates, genealogies, unscientific opinions, are not religion, can have formed no part of a divine revelation, and do not need to be verified in order to substantiate a revelation. " We have this treasure in earthen vessels;" they look to me, indeed, like vessels which never could have been fashioned on a potter's wheel, had not the spirit of God been in the wheel; but, supposing it were not so, our concern is not with the vessels, but with their contents. I grant that the vessels - whatever of the divine handwork may or may not be discoverable in them - are by no means masterworks in their human aspect, and, especially, that the Gospels are singularly unelaborate. I rejoice that this is the case. If the life and teachings of Jesus had been transmitted to us in such an artistical form as would elude all cavil, their very perfectness would prove that these records were not written by the peasants and fishermen whose names they bear, but that they were concocted at some later day when there were in the Church learned men and practised writers. That the wonderful story is told with precisely such omissions, repetitions, inadvertencies, and discrepancies, as ignorant men and unskilled writers could not avoid, is to every candid inquirer among the foremost tokens of its genuineness, and guarantees for its authenticity. It is Christianity thus defined and limited - the Christianity contained in, identical with, the historical Christ, and this alone - that I shall, in the present course of lectures, attempt to verify as pre-eminently worthy of belief and acceptance.

Before I go farther, permit me to state explicitly what I do not intend to do, and to give my reasons for thus limiting the discussion.

I shall omit, as far as possible, all reference to the dogmatic contents of the Christian revelation. I shall exclude them from consideration, not because I occupy with regard to them a different position from those by whose invitation I am here; for the same catholic spirit which gave the invitation would, I am sure, extend itself to the expression-were it pertinent - of any opinions of mine that diverge from theirs. But, while I do not deem the differences of belief among Christians unimportant, all questions of interpretation are justly thrown into the background in comparison with the fundamental question, Have we a record of revelation that needs and craves to be interpreted? If we have no such record, then we are left, in the battle of life and in the chances of the unknown future, to stand or fall, to sink or swim, as we may: we owe no allegiance; we can look for no help or quarter; our own right arm must work out our salvation, whatever that salvation be; our only alternative is defiance or despair. But if from the parted heavens a voice from on high has broken the eternal silence; if " the mighty God, even Jehovah, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof," - then are we no longer orphans, abandoned to our miserable self-help; the everlasting arms are beneath and around us; there is room for faith, submission, religion; the union of the human spirit with the divine, before inconceivable, becomes possible. In fine, the very dispositions of mind and heart implied in accepting a revelation - the abnegation of all self-dependence, and the felt need of redemption and salvation from God alone - are precisely those which the contents of the Christian revelation demand and cherish. These are the two poles of the religious life, and those who are within the sphere of their attraction must of necessity differ so much less from one another than from their unsphered brethren that their very differences are unity. I want, then, in the discussion before us, to omit these differences on the same principle on which the mathematician, in working out the equation of some great cosmical law, drops remainders and eliminates factors which would be of essential import in a problem of more limited scope.

In the next place, I shall take no note of specific theories of inspiration. The kind and degree of inspiration that may be claimed for the Bible or for portions of it is a question for Christians among themselves, not between Christians and unbelievers; and it is at best a matter of secondary moment. The prime, all-important question is that of authority, trustworthiness, infallibleness. Have we a record of divine truth which cannot mislead us? To this inquiry we have an affirmative answer when we have established the genuineness of the Gospels; for, first, it is impossible that, if the Author of our being has revealed the way of salvation, he should have confined the knowledge of that way to the contemporaries of Christ, and left all coming generations to records which cannot claim their confidence; and, secondly, if the gospel narratives are genuine and true, there must have been in the apostolic circle, whence the Gospels emanated, a fulfilment of the promise, " The Holy Spirit shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." The Bible, from Genesis to the Apocalypse, is all along ablaze with light never kindled in our lower sphere. But it is the best, I would even say the only, evidence for its own inspiration. God's Spirit in the soul of man bears unanswerable testimony to his Spirit in the written Word. Inspiration is therefore to be discerned and felt, rather than proved ab extra; while genuineness and authenticity may be proved in accordance with the established laws of evidence.

One more omission. I shall say little or nothing of Judaism and of the Old Testament. It seems to me to have been a very damaging error in the defenders of the Christian faith, to blend Judaism with Christianity; to put on the same level of credibility the obscure traditions of the earliest ages and the gospel narratives with their transparent simplicity and self-evidencing truthfulness; to make the reality of Christ's mission from heaven depend on verifying the capacity of Noah's ark, or reconciling the genealogies in the Chronicles with the various passages where the several names occur. I have no fault to find with these learned exercitations on the Old Testament. There is no portion of the records of remote antiquity so well deserving and so richly rewarding research. I believe in the divine mission of Moses, in the divine origin of Judaism, in the miracle and prophecy which attested and attended it. But Judaism is superseded. It is no longer, as once, the avenue to the Christian Church. We are not to become Jews, in order to become Christians. What wonder then is it, that Providence should permit here and there a broken arch or a tottering wall in those once appointed, now disused, forecourts of heaven? That the evidence for Judaism was, in its own time, as clear and full as can have been needed or desired I cannot doubt. That it should be less obvious and attended with greater difficulties at the present day, is precisely what we should expect to find, if its age has passed and its mission has terminated. Instead of coming to Christ through Moses, our way evidently is to go to Moses through Christ. Independently of the New Testament, I see in the Old, along with numerous tokens of divinity which I cannot ignore or explain away, a great deal which I cannot understand, and know not how to appreciate. But Christ's full and emphatic recognition of Moses and the prophets constrains my own. My belief hangs on his knowledge. My ground, then, is that the evidences of Christianity carry Judaism along with Christianity; while Judaism, being so much more ancient, obscure, and open to cavil than Christianity, cannot essentially subsidize the Christian evidences. It must be remembered that the strength of a chain of evidence is precisely that of its weakest link; and so far as we put-in the same category, and attempt to prove by the same line of argument, the swimming of the prophet's axe and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we attach to the latter event whatever of suspicion or incredulity may cling to the former. While I can admit both as credible, I can imagine a condition of mind in which the former would seem to me a legend, the latter a glorious reality; and I am sure that our course of reasoning with regard to the one should be such as should not clog it with the doubts and misgivings that might innocently exist as to the other. Concentrate your forces in the citadel, and from it you can defend the outworks. Divide and scatter your forces through a long array of antiquated and half-dismantled outworks, both outworks and citadel will suffer detriment from your feeble defence.

So much as this it was necessary to say, in order that my omissions may be charged, not to my own lack of faith, but to my proposed course of argument.

The proposition which I hope to maintain is, that science and Christianity, as I have defined them, so far from being mutually hostile, and from excluding and negativing each the other, in fact rest upon the same foundation, and must stand or fall together. They appeal to precisely the same sorts of evidence, and there is no principle on which these can be admitted in behalf of science, and set aside in the case of Christianity. Science and Christianity have, in common, three sources of proof or evidence, - testimony, experiment (or experience), and intuition. We will consider these successively; though the first of the three, as demanding more detail of statement, will occupy the greater part of the course.

Under the head of testimony, it is incumbent on us to show that human testimony is as essential to the establishment of scientific truth as to the verification of Christianity, and that the testimony in behalf of Christianity is not inferior in completeness and credibility to that which underlies the truths of science.

Scientific truth rests wholly on a basis of transmitted and accumulated testimony. In no department has any one man, or have the men of any one generation, gone over the whole ground; but observed facts have been collected from various and distant localities, and freshly observed facts have been collated with those that have come down from former times, and often from a very remote antiquity. Thus, in establishing the relations and the laws of the heavenly bodies, not only have astronomers in every zone contributed their observations; but these have been compared with data derived in some instances from sources reaching back thousands of years. Indeed, there are some secular variations in planetary and stellar motion, infinitesimal in amount, yet of prime importance in theory, which cannot be verified without resort to the testimony of Hipparchus and other astronomers who flourished long before the Christian era. In geology, explorations have been made all the world over, and very important conclusions have often been drawn from or modified by the testimony of a single witness, - the journal of a first explorer of a previously unknown region. Moreover, as regards gradual changes on the earth's surface, the alterations of coast-lines, local elevations and depressions, traces of volcanic agency, testimony from the very birth of history to the present time has been sought, received as authentic, and built upon as furnishing a solid ground for scientific inferences of the most, comprehensive character. Nor have the acknowledged misapprehensions, errors, and puerile theories of the ancient writers been regarded as invalidating their testimony as to facts that came properly within the sphere of their knowledge. Herodotus was grossly credulous; Aristotle and Pliny maintained the most absurd opinions about the natural objects and phenomena that they describe : yet no one doubts their trustworthiness as to what they had. themselves witnessed, or had received from witnesses worthy of credit. I am especially impressed by the intense stress which the advocates of the development-theory lay on even obscure and second-hand testimony, on the mere rumor of the creation of acari by artificial heat, or of some anticipative dawning of human intelligence or sensibility in dog or ape, bee or beaver. In fine, what now calls itself natural science a quarter of a century ago did not aspire to that name, but was merely natural history; and now, so far as it is science, it rests wholly on natural history, much of it very ancient history; but natural history, like all other history, is nothing else than human testimony. Christianity, equally with science, has an historical basis, and thus far depends on testimony. It has its historical records, to which it appeals for the life and the teachings of its Founder. There has been of late, in the theological world, almost a mania for discrediting the genuineness and authenticity of these records, just as a generation earlier it was the fashion among classical scholars to deny the authorship of the Iliad by Homer, or by any one man or generation, and as there has appeared more recently in some quarters a tendency-not without a plausible show of argument - to maintain that Shakespeare did not write the plays called his. Meanwhile, the really great biblical scholars - such men as Tischendorf, who has no pie-tistic prejudices to warp his critical judgment - have seen no cause to change their belief in the genuineness of these writings. As for Strauss, he may be fairly set aside as of no authority as to a question of fact; for he expressly admits that he shapes his chronology to suit his theories; and, during his last, ten years, he changed his chronological base more than half a century, solely because he found that the dates which, on documentary evidence, he had assigned to the composition of the Gospels in the earlier editions of his " Life of Jesus " were utterly incompatible with his mythical hypothesis. Renan's " Life of Jesus, "on the other hand, manifests no more noteworthy trait than the author's proclivity to give to and claim for the authenticity of the Gospels the fullest credit, wherever their narratives come within the limits which he, in his assumed omniscience, knows that the divine Providence can never have transcended.

Our first inquiry under the head of testimony must be as to the genuineness of these Gospels; that is, their authorship by the men whose names they bear. The inquiry embraces many considerations that apply to the four Gospels; some which are peculiar to the first three; some which belong to the fourth Gospel only, the genuineness and remote antiquity of which are denied by not a few critics who admit that the other three were written in the apostolic times and by their reputed authors. With reference to the Gospels, collectively and individually, the. stress of the question rests mainly on their antiquity; for, if we can trace them back to the lifetime of the men whose names are attached to them, it can hardly be maintained that they are either of spurious origin or of gradual growth.

In behalf of the antiquity of these books, the most conclusive argument is that furnished by the quotations from them and the coincidences with them in the writings of the early Christians. To appreciate this argument, let us take a closely parallel case. Suppose that of the many narratives of our late civil war that have been or will be written, there are four, and but four, by men personally conversant with the whole series of events, and worthy of being regarded as of conclusive authority, - we will say by A, B, C, and D, - and that these four will become the great historical monuments of this era of our history. What will take place as to quotations from these books? In the lifetime of the present generation they will not be quoted or referred to by name; for the events they record will be so recent, that all who make mention of them will write from their own memory, or from such memoranda or fugitive documents as they may have on hand. There will thus be coincidence with these authorities, but no quotation. In the next generation they will be quoted, but seldom and informally : for the men of that generation will have talked with the actors in the events described; there will remain a multitude of floating traditions and loose documents, and many of the events will still be too familiarly known to need the citation of authorities; while, the want of a standard history being not yet felt, those four histories, though known to be authentic, will not have assumed in the public esteem the paramount distinction as standard works which will afterward be accorded to them. There will, therefore, be in the writings of this next generation coincidence with our supposed histories, but few quotations from them and very scanty reference to them. But, with every successive year after the second generation shall have passed away, miscellaneous sources of information will fail; narratives of secondary value will disappear; these four histories will be more and more relied on as of sole authority; the quotations from them will grow more and more frequent, till at length they are appealed to by name whenever any subject of which they treat is recalled. Now suppose that, two thousand years hence, there will be historical sceptics who will say, " No, these books cannot have been the original works of A, B, C, and D, who, as we know, were contemporary with the events recorded in them. They must have been compiled a century or two later." Suppose that sound and reasonable critics take up the theme of inquiry thus started, what aspect will the mass of quotations from these histories bear? They will appear in the form of a pyramid, with a very broad base in the later ages, but always diminishing from century to century, growing very slender toward the middle, and tapering to us apex in the earlier half, of the twentieth century; beyond which there will be numerous close coincidences, but perhaps not a single quotation. The candid critic of the thirty-ninth century will then say, " There cannot be the slightest doubt that A, B, C, and D, who are known to have flourished in the middle of the nineteenth century, wrote these books. Had they been later works, or by other hands, they could not have been quoted as they were in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The quotations from them by name begin too early to leave any doubt as to their authorship. It is impossible that their real character as genuine compositions or otherwise should not have been known in the twentieth century; and, if they had been even doubted, they would have been quoted as probably, or as supposed to be, or as pretending to be, the writings of A, B, C, and D, not as actually their writings."

This precisely represents the case of the Gospels. The quotations from them form such a pyramid as I have described. After the first two or three centuries, we find them expressly quoted, and generally by name, whenever the events they record are referred to. As we go farther back toward the first century, we find them still quoted by name, but less and less frequently, till we come to writers that were contemporary with the Apostles, though their juniors, and they refer continually to the events described in the Gospels, sometimes in almost the very words of the evangelists, yet without citing them by name. This aspect of the Christian writings can be accounted for only by supposing the Gospels to have been written by the apostles and apostolic men whose names they bear. Had they been later, or forged, or mere compilations, they could not have been so early quoted as of undoubted authority. They could not, if on any score doubtful, have come into general use among Christians without disputes as to their origin; and these disputes would have left ineffaceable traces of themselves in the early Christian literature.

There is yet another consideration which may determine, not only the age of the Gospels, but the kind of men to which their authors must have belonged. The Gospels are written in Hellenistic Greek, - a dialect created by the transfusion of Hebrew idioms into Greek forms. There is hardly a sentence that does not betray the Hebrew origin and culture of the evangelists, who must needs have been born Jews. But it is universally admitted that in the middle of the second century these books were received throughout the Christian Church as of paramount authority with reference to the life and teachings of Christ. Yet, even in the lifetime of the apostles, feuds, not destined to be reconciled, broke out between the Jewish and Gentile Christians; and before the end of the first century there seems to have been between these portions of the Church an entire separation and a bitter enmity. It is absolutely certain that, at a later period than this, neither party would have received sacred books from the other as unquestionable and authoritative. Had the Gospels been written by post-apostolic Tews, they would have been either rejected by the Gentile churches, or received by them with marked suspicion and reserve. Of Jewish Christians, only the apostles and their coevals were recognized by Gentile converts as worthy of their entire confidence and fellowship. From this apostolic fraternity, then, the Gospels received by the Gentiles must have been derived.

We have another proof that these books were written by men who were contemporary with Jesus Christ, or who at least were conversant with Palestine before the destruction of Jerusalem, in their freedom from anachronisms, and from mistakes as to persons and places. The Gospels are, as you know, full of designations of time and names of places, and that, during an eventful period of Jewish history, when important political changes were continually occurring, when the tributary monarch of one year was likely to be the proscribed exile of the next, when even the names and boundaries of political divisions were undergoing frequent alterations. Of this whole period we have a detailed history by the Jew Josephus; and we find no discrepancy between his narrative and the circumstantial references in the Gospels. This negative fact has a positive bearing of the highest significance. A writer who undertakes local details in a field with which he has had no personal acquaintance, never fails to betray his ignorance. Even elaborate histories - on sure ground while describing the march of grand events - when they undertake to portray scenes on a contracted theatre, always contrive to misplace some of the actors or the incidents; and conscientious historians, aware of this liability, have often prepared themselves for their task by minute personal investigation. There are also not a few fictitious works - novels, tales, series of letters - which have been written expressly as imitations of antiquity, in which by an antique style, and by carefully framed references to well-known historical personages, places, and events, it has been designed to maintain the illusion undisturbed in the reader's mind. Some of these books, like Barthélemy's " Travels of Anacharsis" and the English " Athenian Letters," have been written by men of preeminent classical scholarship. Yet you can find no work of this kind in which the writer does not sometimes blunder or forget himself, fall into an anachronism, or insert some incident out. of place. Josephus knew the whole ground thoroughly, as no one could by any possibility have known it after the fall of Jerusalem. Had not the writers of the Gospels possessed the same conversance with Palestine while Jerusalem was still standing, it is a literary impossibility that, even with the history of Josephus in their hands, they should not have left traces of their ignorance of the country, which lynx-eyed criticism would long ago have detected and laid bare. The minute and manifold coincidences with history, as illustrated and confirmed by modern research, show that the evangelists in describing transactions and events in Palestine were on their own ground; that is, must have been Jews in Palestine before A.D. 70.

In addition to this absence of discrepancies, it would be easy to trace not a few latent and manifestly undesigned coincidences between the Gospels and exterior history. One must suffice. The word constantly employed by the evangelists, and in the New Testament generally, to denote a soldier, is a noun which may signify a man under military orders, whether in active service or not. Once only occurs the participle used to designate not merely soldiers, but soldiers in active service. This is in Luke's Gospel, where he speaks of the soldiers that resorted to the preaching of John the Baptist. It is a common belief that the period of the Saviour's lifetime was an era of universal peace. Moreover, that desert region on the banks of the Jordan was not a place where soldiers on garrison duty, or belonging to a peace establishment, were likely to be found. Thus the presence of persons who could be designated by the noun referred to was improbable, much more that of soldiers on actual military duty, to whom the participle evidently points. But we learn from Josephus that there may have been soldiers in active service passing down the valley of the Jordan at that very time. It must have been about this time that Herod Antipas, of Galilee, repudiated his wife, the daughter of Aretas, a petty Arabian king, in order to marry Herodias, to whose hatred John fell a victim. There had been previously hostile passages about boundaries between Herod and his father-in-law. Herod sent against Aretas a small army, which was betrayed and destroyed. This catastrophe, it seems most probable, took place a year or two later, after the death of John the Baptist; but a desultory warfare had then been going on for some length of time between Herod and Aretas, and any military expedition of Herod against his father-in-law would have taken John's preaching-ground on its way (see Appendix II, Note A).

The proofs that I have adduced are conclusive in behalf of the authorship of the Gospels in the age when they purport to have been written, and by men belonging, if I may so speak, to the apostolic circle; no mean witnesses, as regards their credibility, even if they were other than Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

One word only in conclusion. In my reasoning thus far - and I shall endeavor to adhere to the same rule through my whole course - I have taken and claimed no advantage for the Gospels because they are sacred books, and seem to me of vital importance. I have reasoned as I would about books of contested origin that had come down to us from the ancient times of Athens or of Rome. I think that I have, and I shall endeavor to give you, as good reasons for my belief in the genuineness of the Gospels as I have for that of Plutarch's Lives or of Virgil's Æneid.
 
 

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