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THE

AUTHENTICITY,
UNCORRUPTED PRESERVATION,

AS*

CREDIBILITY

OP THE

NEW TESTAMENT.

GODFREY LESS,

iATE PROFESSOR IN THE UNIVERSITY o* • OTTINGKN,&C.

TRANSLATED FROM

THE LAST EDITION OF THE GERMAN.

Et

ROGER KINGDON, A.M,

[graphic]

op St. John's Collsse, Cambridge.

LONDON:

Printed For F. C. And I. Rivincton, No. 62, St. Pauf/j
Church-yard; I. Hatchard, No. 190, 3iccaiui.lv;
Deiohton, And Nicholson, Cambridge; And Cooks,
Man Well, And Parker, Oxford;

By Bye and Law, St. John's Square, ClerkenweM,

1804.

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TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

1 HE subject of the work now offered to the public in an English translation is an examination of the following questions: Whether the books us the New Testament were really written by the persona to whom they are ascribed; Whether they have descended to us perfectly uncorrupted in all essential matters, as they left the hands of their authors; And, lastly, Whether they contain a narration of events which did actually take place.

That this inquiry is of the greatest consequence, and demands our most impartial attention, .will be evident from these considerations:—That if we cannot answer the above questions in the affirmative, then is the Christian Religion a cunningly devised fable:—but, on the contrary, if in result of the examination, it sliould be found that the New Testament is both genuine and authentic,—then it a 2 will will require but few arguments to shew that the miracles contained in it, are true, that the writers wpre inspired persons, and that our holy faith is a revelation of the will of God.

On this subject the learned author of the following work, Dr. Less, had himself entertained doubts during many years of his life: for his own private satisfaction he instituted a severe and rigid inquiry: the result is exhibited to the Public in the present treatise; and to himself the consequence was a solid, rational, and satisfactory conviction. The Original was put into my hands, during my residence jn Germany, by a person of distinguished worih: on perusal it appeared to me extremely well calculated, from its conciseness, perspicuity, and severity of examination to produce the same effect on others, and to be of service to the Christian cause; as I cannot conceive it possible for any man, who honestly and impartially, seeks after truth, to read it with the attention which the subject demands, without receiving the fame conviction which the author himself obtained.—This opinion of the original work first led me to form the design of translating it into my native language.

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Few are the writers who have expressly treated on the Authenticity of the books of the New Testament, and fewer still who have done it in a manner always satisfactory to the reader. Du Pin is miserably defective: and Jones seems to have been anxious rather to shew that certain writings are Apocryphal, than to prove that the books of the New Testament are Canonical. Indeed he has pasted over all the Epistles and the Apocalypse without paying the least regard to them.

l*ut since his time Dr. Lardner has employed immense labour and profound erudition on the same subject: nor do I know any man to whom the Christian world has more obligations than to the author of the Credibility of the Gospel-History. He appears to have almost exhausted his subject, and to have rendered any subsequent undertaking of a similar nature perfectly unnecessary. Instead of giving my own opinion on the difference between the present treatise and the voluminous work of Lardner, I will lay before the reader the sentiments of the great Michaelis and of the Rev. Herbert Marsti, one of the most accurate Theological scholars that any age or country has ever pro* duced. "The best treatises" fays Michaelis a .3 'I - upon

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