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Upon the whole, the matter admits of no softening qualification or ambiguity whatever. If St Paul did not work actual
, sensible, public miracles, he has knowingly, in these letters, borne his testimony to a falsehood. I need not add, that, in two also of the quotations, he has advanced his assertion in the face of those persons amongst whom he declares the miracles to have been wrought.
Let it be remembered that the Acts of the Apostles describe various particular miracles wrought by St Paul, which in their nature answer to the terms and expressions which we have seen to be used by St Paul himself.
Here then we have a man of liberal attainments, and, in other points, of sound judgment, who had addicted his life to the service of the Gospel. We see him, in the prosecution of his purpose, travelling from country to country, enduring every species of hardship, encountering every extremity of danger, assaulted by the populace, punished by the magistrates, scourged, beat, stoned, left for dead; expecting, wherever he came, a renewal of the same treatment, and the same dangers; yet, when driven from one city, preaching in the next; spending his whole time in the employment, sacrificing to it his pleasures, his ease, his safety; persisting in this course to old age; unaltered by the experience of perverseness, ingratitude, prejudice, desertion; unsubdued by anxiety, want, labour, persecutions; unwearied by long confinement, undismayed by the prospect of death. Such was St Paul. We have his letters in our hands; we have also a history, purporting to be written by one of his fellow-travellers, and appearing, by a comparison with these letters, certainly to have been written by some person well acquainted with the transactions of his life. From the letters, as well as from the history, we gather not only the account which we have stated of him, but that he was one out of many who acted and suffered in the same manner; and that of those who did so, several had been the companions of Christ's ministry, the ocular witnesses, or pretending to be such,,of his miracles, and of his resurrection. We, moreover, find this same person referring in his letters to his supernatural conversion, the particulars and accompanying circumstances of which are related in the history; and which accompanying circumstances, if all or any of them be true, render it impossible to have been a delusion. We also find him positively, and in appropriate terms, asserting that he himself worked miracles, strictly and properly so called, in support of the mission which he executed; the history, meanwhile, recording various passages of his ministry, which come up to the extent of this assertion. The question is, Whether falsehood was ever attested by evidence like this? Falsehoods, we know, have found their way into reports, into tradition, into books; but is an example to be met with, of a man voluntarily undertaking a life of want and pain, of incessant fatigue, of continual peril; submitting to the loss of his home and country, to stripes and stoning, to tedious imprisonment, and the constant expectation of a violent death, for the sake of carrying about a story of what was false, and of what, if false, he must have known to be so ?
PLENARY AND VERBAL
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
BY DONALD FRASER, D.D.,
MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL, KENNOWAY, FIFESHIRE.
THOMAS AFFLECK; WAUGH AND INNES; AND
THOMAS IRELAND, JUNIOR;