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Then with faint tone and quivering lip she sung,
" Rest, dearest, softly rest
A ceaseless watch shall o'er thee keep.
'God of the widowed one!
God of the fatherless!
Thou gav'st thine only Son
A wandering world to bless;
Praise to his name our lives who bought,
'Oh, sleep, my child, my blest,
'Sleep on; though shadowed night
Thine hour of rest illume;
Scon shall a bright and glorious morn
Hush! there's a crimson flushing of the cheek,
The infant's head hath sought its pillowed rest,
S. T. S.
The undesigned Coincidences discoverable between the Epistles of St. Paul and the Book of Acts.
Hora Paulina or, The Truth of the Scripture History of St. Paul evinced, &c. By William Paley, D. D., Archdeacon of Carlisle.
AMONG the various arguments which may be adduced in support of the authenticity of the Epistles of St. Paul, there is none which yields such entire satisfaction to our mind, as that which is founded on the undesigned coincidences that appear on a comparison of these epistles with the book of Acts.
This argument, we are aware, is less direct, and therefore less striking than some others. But although, on this account, it may not be so well adapted to impress the mass of minds, as those which are founded on external evidence, yet to minds accustomed to careful investigation, it must carry a conviction, which is almost, if not quite, irresistible. Indeed, more than seventeen centuries had elapsed from the commencement of the Christian era, before this argument was urged in any work that has come to our knowledge. We must ascribe the honor of suggesting it to the celebrated Dr. Paley, who first gave it to the world, in his Horæ Paulinæ.
This work, which is pre-eminently distinguished for depth and originality of thought, although it has been before the public more than forty years, appears to have escaped the attention of the higher class of infidel writers. Not one of them has attempted to attack it. Is not this circumstance a matter of gratulation to all sincere believers in the divine mission of the Son of God? Does it not go far to show, that this branch of evidence for the truth of our religion, is so formidable, when skilfully arranged, as to discourage, in its enemies, all attempts at refutation?
It would, perhaps, be a very improbable conjecture, and one not very creditable to the sharp-sighted opposers of Christianity, to say that they may have remained all this while unapprized of the existence of the work under consideration. Such a conjecture would greatly wound their pride, by supposing them ignorant of what is notorious to the general mass of readers. But if they knew of the existence of such a work, and have never read it with close attention, then they are cer
tainly deficient in candor; for all candid men, who are in search of truth on any controverted subject, feel themselves bound to examine what may be said on either side.
We feel, therefore, that we have a perfect right to press the inquiry, with all the earnestness which the importance of the subject demands, Why have the infidel authors of the present century particularly, suffered a work like Paley's Horæ Paulinæ to remain unanswered? Is not their total silence, in relation to this masterly production, calculated to excite a suspicion that they feel themselves incompetent to the task of exposing any fallacy in his argument? We apprehend this to be the true secret of their silence. For to make bold assertions against the religion of Jesus, and to start difficulties, require much less talent, and much less mental labor, than are necessary in the regular confutation of a course of sound dispassionate reasoning.
In the exposition of his argument, Paley remarks, with his usual candor, that,
'Agreement or conformity between letters bearing the name of an ancient author, and a received history of that author's life, does not necessarily establish the credit of either because, 1. The history may, like Middleton's Life of Cicero, or Jortin's Life of Erasmus, have been wholly, or in part, compiled from the letters; in which case, it is manifest that the history adds nothing to the evidence already afforded by the letters. Or, 2. The letters may have been fabricated out of the history; a species of imposture which is certainly practicable; and which, without any accession of proof or authority, would necessarily produce the appearance of consistency and agreement. Or, 3. The history and letters may have been founded upon some authority common to both; as upon reports and traditions which prevailed in the age in which they were composed, or upon some ancient record now lost, which both writers consulted; in which case also, the letters, without being genuine, may exhibit marks of conformity with the history; and the history, without being true, may agree with the letters.
'Agreement, therefore, or conformity, is only to be relied upon so far as we can exclude these several suppositions. Now the point to be noticed is, that in the three cases above enumerated, conformity must be the effect of design. Where the history is compiled from the letters, which is the first case, the
design and composition of the work are in general so confessed, or made so evident by comparison, as to leave us in no danger of confounding the production with original history, or of mistaking it for an independent authority. The agreement, it is probable, will be close and uniform, and will easily be perceived to result from the intention of the author, and from the plan and conduct of his work. Where the letters are fabricated from the history, which is the second case, it is always for the purpose of imposing a forgery upon the public; and in order to give color and probability to the fraud, names, places, and circumstances found in the history, may be studiously introduced into the letters, as well as a general consistency be endeavored to be maintained. But here it is manifest, that whatever congruity appears, is the consequence of meditation, artifice, and design. The third case is that wherein the history and the letters, without any direct privity or communication with each other, derive their materials from the same source; and, by reason of their common original, furnish instances of accordance and correspondency. This is a situation in which we must allow it to be possible for ancient writings to be placed; and it is a situation in which it is more difficult to distinguish spurious from genuine writings, than in either of the cases described in the preceding supposition; inasmuch as the congruities are so far accidental, as that they are not produced by the immediate transplanting of names and circumstances out of one writing into the other. But although, with respect to each other, the agreement in these writings be mediate and secondary, yet is it not properly or absolutely undesigned: because, with respect to the common original from which the information of the writers proceeds, it is studied and fictitious. The case of which we treat, must, as to the letters, be a case of forgery; and when the writer, who is personating another, sits down to his composition whether he have the history with which we now compare the letters, or some other record before him; or whether he have only loose tradition and reports to go by, he must adapt his imposture, as well as he can, to what he finds in these accounts; and his adaptations will be the result of counsel, scheme, and industry; art must be employed; and vestiges will appear of management and design. Add to this, that, in most of the following examples, the circumstances in which the coincidence is remarked, are of too particular and domestic a nature, to have floated down upon the stream of general tradition.
"Of the three cases which we have stated, the difference between the first and the two others is, that in the first, the design may be fair and honest, in the others it must be accompa
nied with the consciousness of fraud; but in all there is design. In examining, therefore, the agreement between ancient writings, the character of truth and originality is undesignedness: and this test applies to every supposition; for, whether we suppose the history to be true, but the letters spurious; or, the letters to be genuine, but the history false; or lastly, falsehood to belong to both-the history to be a fable, and the letters fictitious: the same inference will result- that either there will be no agreement between them, or the agreement will be the effect of design. Nor will it elude the principle of this rule, to suppose the same person to have been the author of all the letters, or even the author both of the letters and the history; for no less design is necessary to produce coincidence between different parts of a man's own writings, especially when they are made to take the different forms of a history, and of original letters, than to adjust them to the circumstances found in any other writing.
'With respect to those writings of the New Testament which are to be the subject of our present consideration, I think that, as to the authenticity of the epistles, this argument, where it is sufficiently sustained by instances, is nearly conclusive; for I cannot assign a supposition of forgery, in which coincidences of the kind we inquire after, are likely to appear. As to the history, it extends to these points: -It proves the general reality of the circumstances; it proves the historian's knowl edge of these circumstances. In the present instance, it confirms his pretensions of having been a cotemporary, and in the latter part of his history, a companion of St. Paul. In a word, it establishes the substantial truth of the narration; and substantial truth is that which, in every historical inquiry, ought to be the first thing sought after and ascertained; it must be the ground-work of every other observation.
'The reader then will please to remember this word undesignedness, as denoting that upon which the construction and validity of our argument chiefly depend.'
We have given, in the language of the tion of the general features of his argument. in which he has conducted this argument the nice discrimination he has evinced, in applying it to the several instances which arise, in the course of his examination, we would commend to the close attention of Christians in general, but especially to those young men who are preparing themselves for the ministry of reconciliation. It is highly necessary, and even indispensable, that they should understand the internal,
Doctor, an exposi
But the manner