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important statements we have singled out were in the original manuscripts as they are in our common Authorized Version, and in that given us by its learned revisers.
“There is satisfactory evidence," wrote Archdeacon Paley,“ that many, professing to be original witnesses of the Christian miracles, passed their lives in labours, dangers, and sufferings, voluntarily undergone in attestation of the accounts which they delivered, and solely in consequence of their belief of those accounts ; and that they also submitted, from the same motives, to new rules of conduct."
This proposition applies, in all its force, to "the feeding of the five thousand," and also to the resurrection of Jesus, and were we, like Paley, satisfied with the evidence for it, it would only remain to inquire into the circumstances to decide as to the possibility of mistake, and if there were no such possibility, we should, I think, accept the statements as facts.
Let us first see whether or not we can accept the celebrated proposition of Paley without some important qualifications.
The marvellous feeding with a few loaves and fishes is asserted in the first four books of the New Testament, and the resurrection is either expressed or implied in almost every one ?
We turn, then, to the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, to inquire : first, Who were the writers ? secondly, What was the character of these writers ? and thirdly, What were their sources of information ?
First, then, who were the authors of the New Testament? Was each of its books written by him whose name it carries on its front?
On looking over the Boyle Lectures for 1863, on “ The Divine Plan of Revelation,” by Edward Garbett, M.A., we were somewhat surprised to find this question answered as follows. The author, stating that the evidences from miracles and prophecy were “positive proofs not even touched at any single point by the weapons of modern criticism” (see p. 6), says, “It” (modern criticism) "allows all the books of the New Testament to be the productions of the authors whose names they bear."
Perhaps Mr. Garbett has since made similar statements in the lectures delivered for the Christian Evidence Society ; but, if ignorant of modern criticism, why did he not remember that, “ If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch ”? In contrast to this, we find in the “Congregational Year Book for 1874,” p. 41, that “To so destructive lengths has internal criticism proceeded, that there is a school which admits the genuineness of five only among all the books of the New Testament canon.” Thus the Rev. J. Radford Thomson, M.A., who might even have gone a step further, and have said,—there are only four books whose genuineness is not disputed by some critic of the first class.
It will be convenient for us to divide the New
Testament books into two classes, viz. those which profess to relate the details of the life and teaching of Jesus, and those which do not. To the first category belong the four biographies or Gospels, and to the second all the other books of the New Testament canon. As the latter can be more speedily dealt with, we will glance at them first.
Of these twenty-three books there are but four which are admitted genuine by the consent of all critics of the highest eminence. These four are—the Epistle to the Galatians, the two to the Corinthians, and that to the Romans (except its two last chapters), all which we may regard therefore as unquestionably written by Paul. When such a man as Baur can admit only these to be of Pauline origin, we of the uncritical class are bound to suspend judgment. For who was this Baur ? Let us ask a countryman of his, though not a follower—Dr. Christlieb, university preacher and Professor of Theology at Bonn, who will tell us,* “Of all modern opponents of our old faith the greatest is Dr. Ferdinand Christian von Baur, Professor of Theology at Tübingen (died December 2, 1860), one of the greatest, if not the greatest, theological scholar of this century ; after Neander, the most notable historian of the Church, not only in Germany, but in the world; the most indefatigable of investigators, especially as regards the history of primitive Christianity, in the elucidation of which he has deserved well of theology. He stands a head and shoulders above all our modern opponents of the miraculous. . . . If human power, human diligence and acuteness, could ever bring about the overthrow of our faith, this man would have accomplished it.”
* We quote at second hand from p. 39 of “The Wave of Scepticism and the Rock of Truth,” a little work written in opposition to that entitled “ Supernatural Religion.”
Others of less "vigour and rigour" admit as genuine about one-third or even half the books of the New Testament. Dr. Davidson, for example, nine. Dr. Otto Pfleiderer, Professor of Theology at Jena, etc., puts forth the following in regard to the Pauline writings:-"In addition to the four undisputed Epistles I hold to be genuine the First to the Thessalonians, the Epistle to Philemon, and that to the Philippians ; as unqualifiedly spurious, that to the Ephesians and the three pastoral Epistles; as spurious with qualifications, the Second to the Thessalonians, and that to the Colossians. In these two, and especially in the last, it appears to me as impossible to conceive that they are genuine in every part as that they are in every part spurious ; and since this is so, scarcely any other conclusion remains for us than the view elaborated by Holtzmann in the most recent work on the Epistle to the Colossians and the Ephesians, that the Epistle to the Colossians which we have is founded on a genuine letter of Paul, retouched by a later hand. But I cannot agree with Holtzmann in thinking that the hand is that of the author of the Epistle to the Ephesians,"
“ that to the Colossians being a monument of a development of Paul's doctrine after the time of Paul. With the Epistle to the Hebrews and that to Barnabas, it marks the first phase of this development, determined chiefly by Alexandrian influence. The second phase of it is mainly represented by the Epistle to the Ephesians, the tendency of which towards Church union has already been foreshadowed in the First Epistle of Clement and the First of Peter." *
Turning now to the greatest champion of the old faith who has appeared in modern times, Dr. Augustus Neander, who was Professor of Theology in Berlin University, we find he doubts the Pauline origin of the First Epistle to Timothy. In his “ History of the Planting, etc., of the Christian Church by the Apostles” (Ryland's Translation, 1851), he says, in footnote to p. 339, “I cannot deny that when I come from reading other Pauline Epistles, I feel myself struck by the impression of something not Pauline."
The Apocalypse, he, like Luther, “cannot acknowledge as a work of the apostle ;” and the Second Epistle of Peter he unhesitatingly styles a forgery, and gives in a note to p. 376, “ The principal marks of the spuriousness of this Epistle.” †
Professor Plumptre would plead for at least a suspension of judgment in regard to this Epistle, for he points out resemblances in expression between it and the Gospel of Mark (who is, by many orthodox critics,
* Introduction to “ Paulinism,” p. 29.
† “ If there is any recent theologian from whom I have learnt more than from another, it is the German Neander.”—Professor (now Bishop) Lightfoot, May, 1875, in Contemporary Review.