A Lecture on the Historic Evidence of the Authorship and Transmission of the Books of the New Testament

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All men are not astronomers; yet all can appreciate the results of mathematical knowledge when applied to astronomy; just in the same way may the results of critical studies, applied to Scripture, be understood and used by readers in general. It is true that many may not even remember the names of the early witnesses to our New Testament books; still, however, if they can grasp the facts of their evidence, they will carry away and re tain those results which will be of great practical value when occasion should arise. On ordinary subjects there are many things to which we give credit, because we rely on the accuracy of our informant. Thus, even amongst men of some scientific knowledge, but few calculate an eclipse for themselves they see that its occurrence is stated in the almanack, and that is enough: and as to persons in general, they believe that the eclipse will take place at such a day and hour, with perhaps hardly a thought how it can be pre defined by astronomers. And so on most subjects: we trust the information which we receive, because we believe in the competency of our informant. But when questions are raised, then, indeed, there is Often enough a desire to investigate the grounds on which the information rests; we may frequently satisfy ourselves as to these, though we never could have traced them out for ourselves. Thus, as to this part of Christian evidence, I only ask for credit to be given me for bringing forward true testi monies Of persons who lived at the times mentioned; thus pointing out the steps Of argument which others may easily follow. On this it may be remarked that the evidence of the witnesses is by no means weakened through the peculiar Opinions which any of them held.

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