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dependent arguments, for the Veracity of the Scriptures, of which the effect would be greater than that of the separate works could be, which might be read perhaps out of the natural order, and which were not altogether uniform in their plan. But as this test of veracity proved applicable, though in a less degree, for reasons I have assigned elsewhere, to the Prophetical Scriptures also, I have introduced into the present Volume in its proper place, evidence of the same kind which had been long lying by me, for the Veracity of some of those Writings; thus employing one and the same touchstone of truth, to verify successively the Books of Moses, the Historical Scriptures of the Old Testament, the Prophetical, and the Gospels and Acts, in their order.
The argument, as my readers will of course be aware, is an extension of that of the Hora Paulina, and which originated, as was generally supposed, with Dr. Paley. But Dr. Turton,1 the present bishop of Ely, has rendered the claims of Dr. Paley to the first conception of it doubtful, by producing a passage from the conclusion of Dr. Doddridge's Introduction to his Paraphrase and Notes on the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, to the following effect.
"Whoever reads over St. Paul's Epistles with attention will discern such intrinsic characters in their genuineness, and the divine authority of the doctrines they con
1 In his "Natural Theology considered with reference to Lord Brougham's Discourse," &c. p. 23.
tain, as will perhaps produce in him a stronger conviction than all the external evidence with which they are attended. To which we may add, that the exact coincidence observable between the many allusions to particular facts, in this, as well as in other Epistles, and the account of the facts themselves as they are recorded in the History of the Acts, is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of each."
Be this however as it may, Dr. Paley first brought the argument to light in support of the Epistles of St. Paul; and I am not aware that it has since been deliberately applied to any other of the sacred books, except by Dr. Graves, in two of his Lectures on the Pentateuch, to that portion of holy writ. Much, however, of the same kind of testimony I have no doubt has escaped all of us; and still remains to be detected by future writers on the Evidences. For myself, though I may not lay claim to the merit (whatever it may be) of actually discovering all the examples of consistency without contrivance, which I shall bring forward in this volume,—indeed, I could not myself now trace to their beginnings thoughts which have progressively accumulated' and though in many cases, where the detection was my own, I may have found, on examination, that there were others who had forestalled me, qui nostra ante
1 I have availed myself in this republication, of several suggestions on the subject of the Patriarchal Church, (No. i. Part 1.) offered to me some years ago in a letter by the Rev. J. W. Burgon of Worcester College, Oxford; and of one coincidence (No. xi. Part IV.) communicated to me in substance, by letter also, by the Rev. J. Daniel, of St. John's College, Cambridge, soon after the first Edition of the Veracity of the Gospels came out.
nos, yet most of them I have not seen noticed by commentators at all, and scarcely any of them in that light in which only I regard them, as grounds of Evidence. It is to this application, therefore, of Expositions, often in themselves sufficiently familiar, that I have to beg the candid attention of my readers; and if I shall frequently bring out of the treasures of God's word, or of the interpretation of God's word," things old," the use that I make of them may not perhaps be thought so.
As the argument for the Veracity of the Gospels and Acts, derived from undesigned coincidences, discoverable between them and the Writings of Josephus, does not fall within the general design of this work, as now constructed, and yet is related to it, and important in itself, I have thought it best not to suppress, but to throw it into an Appendix.
May 3, 1847.
THE BOOKS OF MOSES.
It is my intention to argue in the following pages the Veracity of the Books of Scripture, from the instances they contain of coincidence without design, in their several parts. On the nature of this argument I shall not much enlarge, but refer my readers for a general view of it to the short dissertation prefixed to the Hora Paulina of Dr. Paley, a work where it is employed as a test of the veracity of St. Paul's Epistles with singular felicity and force, and for which suitable incidents were certainly much more abundant than those which any other portion of Scripture of the same extent provides; still, however, if the instances which I can offer, gathered from the remainder of Holy Writ, are so numerous and of such a kind as to preclude the possibility of their being the effect of accident, it is enough. It does not require many circumstantial coincidences to determine the mind of a jury as to the credibility of a witness in our courts, even where the life of a fellowcreature is at stake. I say this, not as a matter of charge, but as a matter of fact, indicating the authority which attaches to this species of evidence, and the confidence uni
versally entertained that it cannot deceive. Neither should it be forgotten, that an argument thus popular, thus applicable to the affairs of common life as a test of truth, derives no small value when enlisted in the cause of Revelation, from the readiness with which it is apprehended and admitted by mankind at large; and from the simplicity of the nature of its appeal; for it springs out of the documents, the truth of which it is intended to sustain, and terminates in them; so that he who has these, has the defence of them.
2. Nor is this all. The argument deduced from coincidence without design has further claims, because, if well made out, it establishes the authors of the several books of Scripture as independent witnesses to the facts they relate; and this, whether they consulted each other's writings, or not; for the coincidences, if good for anything, are such as could not result from combination, mutual understanding, or arrangement. If any which I may bring forward may seem to be such as might have so arisen, they are only to be reckoned ill-chosen, and dismissed. For it is no small merit of this argument, that it consists of parts, one or more of which (if they be thought unsound) may be detached without any dissolution of the reasoning as a whole. Undesignedness must be apparent in the coincidences, or they are not to the purpose. In
our argument we defy people to sit down together, or 、transmit their writings one to another, and produce the like. Truths known independently to each of them, must be at the bottom of documents having such discrepancies and such agreements as these in question. The point, therefore, whether the authors of the books of Scripture have or have not copied from one another, which in the case of some of them has been so much labored, is thus rendered a matter of comparative indifference. Let them