BLTC Press Titles

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The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting

Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)

The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois

Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

A lecture on the historic evidence of the authorship and transmission of the books of the New Testament

by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles



In speaking of the historic evidence of the authorship and transmission of the books of the New Testament, I propose, first, to bring before your attention those proofs which are conclusive on the subject of their having really been written by the Apostles and their companions, and then, to point out briefly the channels through which they have been transmitted to us.

I need not dwell at length on the importance of the subject: it must be evident to all who value the revelation which God has given us in the New Testament, that it is well for our minds to be informed as to the distinct grounds of evidence on which we believe and receive these writings as authentic. We hold Christianity as a divinely-communicated system of religion,—a religion which is based on facts, and which sets forth doctrines connected with those facts: the New Testament presents to us the record by which those facts have been made known to us,—hence the interest of this subject to the mind of every intelligent Christian.

The ground-work of our religion is the fact that the Son of God, who was with the Father before all worlds, became man, and for our salvation, after He had in all things glorified God by a life of obedience, laid down his life upon the cross as a sacrifice for sinners, that He rose again from the dead, and that He ascended to the right hand of God the Father, after having commanded repentance and remission of sins to be preached in his name amongst all nations, and having set forth "the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," as the object of our allegiance and religious worship, whereunto we are baptized.

This fact—the cross of Jesus Christ—is the ground and reason why there is such a thing as Christianity in the world: it is this which has delivered nations from the blindness and idolatry in which they were once sunk. And although the name of Christian is unhappily too often a mere profession, and although it is in many lands almost identified with false and evil superstitions, hateful to God and hurtful to man,—yet still it is to this fact, brought to our souls by the life-giving power of the Holy Ghost, that any of us know the real blessing of peace with God, through a Saviour's blood.

It is thus, to those who really know the value of the gospel of Christ, that the subject before us is replete with interest; for such only can enter into the true value of the Scriptures, since they are not only their instructor in the truth of God, but they are also the title-deeds of their heavenly inheritance.

We may in a sense apply to this subject the words of St. Luke, in the introduction to his Gospel, " that thou mayest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed;" for, thoroughly satisfied as we may be in our own minds of the full authority of the records of our religion, we cannot but feel that exact information as to the grounds of evidence has a peculiar value, when objections or difficulties are raised by any. Our own minds may be wholly unaffected by the objections brought forward,—we may be as sure as ever we were that Scripture is the word of God, and yet we must feel that it is at least unsatisfactory to have questions raised which we do not know how to answer; and this must be especially true in a case like the present, when the difficulties and objections may be so fully met, as to show that they arise either from the objector not being fully aware of the bearings of the subject, or else from a desire on his part to take advantage of the ignorance of others.

But there are also inquirers,—persons who really wish to know on what ground the Scriptures of the New Testament are received: now, if such inquirers are candid, they certainly ought to be met:—such persons ought to be shown that it is not a mere prevalent opinion that Matthew and others bore testimony, in the books which bear their names, to the events of our Lord's life, death, and resurrection, but that we have the most simple and well-defined grounds of certainty that this is the unquestionable fact.

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