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It does not touch the intrinsic evidences of the Gospel: those which to the believer are, after all, the highest proofs. But it is to be remembered, that these are proofs which are not satisfactory until an examination of the outward evidences has led men to the conviction, that the Gospels cannot be false.
Professor Greenleaf on the Gospels, and Strauss' Life of Jesus."Of course we place the titles of these two books together only by way of contrast. They relate, it is true, to the same general subject; but it is hard to conceive of two works more unlike in their scope, character, and purpose. The object of the one is to prove, and of the other to disprove, the Christian religion. The one is the production of an able and profound lawyer, a man who has grown grey in the halls of justice and the schools of jurisprudence, a writer of the highest authority on legal subjects, whose life has been spent in weighing testimony and sifting evidence, and whose published opinions on the rules of evidence are received as authoritative in all the English and American tribunals,—for fourteen years the highly respected colleague of the late Mr. Justice Story, and now the honoured head of the most distinguished and prosperous school of English law in the world. The other is the work of a German professor and speculatist, also profoundly learned in his way,—an ingenious and erring framer of theories of the most striking character, almost unheard of till his brain either conceived them or gave them currency, though relating to topics with which men have been familiar for eighteen centuries,-a subtle controversialist, whose work, as he himself avows, is deeply tinged with the most strongly marked peculiarities of the philosophy and theology of his countrymen. We presume the most ardent admirer of Dr. Strauss will not object to our characterising the two works as excellent specimens, the one of clear and shrewd English common sense, the other of German erudition, laborious diligence, and fertility in original speculation. And if the subject of inquiry were one that involved his own temporal and immediate interests, and it were necessary to determine which of these two writers would give the wiser and safer counsel, or the more trustworthy opinion, we suppose the same person would agree with us in making the choice.
On the publishers announcing to Professor Greenleaf their wish to introduce his Harmony to the notice of the British Public, he with equal promptitude and kindness communicated to them some important additions to his Introduction, and also numerous valuable notes, more particularly adapted to the use of Theological Students. These are now printed for the first time and at the suggestion of a very eminent and learned clergyman of the Established Church, the publishers have added in an Appendix an accurate and elegant translation of the late learned French Advocate, A. M. J. J. Dupin's Refutation of the eminent Jewish writer, Joseph Salvador's "Trial and
Condemnation of Jesus," exccuted by the late distinguished American Lawyer and Statesman, JOHN PICKERING, LL.D., Counsellor at Law, and President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (sometime Secretary to the American Embassy in this country); who has most truly characterised M. Dupin's examination of Salvador, as being "conducted with an ability, learning, animation, and interest, that leave nothing to be desired."
MEMBERS OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION.
THE subject of the following work I hope will not be deemed so foreign to our professional pursuits, as to render it improper for me to dedicate it, as I now respectfully do, to you. If a close examination of the evidences of Christianity may be expected of one class of men more than another, it would seem incumbent on us, who make the law of evidence one of our peculiar studies. Our profession leads us to explore the mazes of falsehood, to detect its artifices, to pierce its thickest veils, to follow and expose its sophistries, to compare the statements of different witnesses with severity, to discover truth and separate it from error. Our fellow-men are well aware of this; and probably they act upon this knowledge more generally, and with a more profound repose, than we are in the habit of considering. The influence, too, of the legal profession upon the community is unquestionably great; conversant, as it daily is, with all classes and grades of men, in their domestic and social relations, and in all the affairs of life, from the cradle to the grave. This influence we are constantly exerting for good or ill; and hence, to refuse to acquaint ourselves with the evidences of the Christian religion, or to act as though, having fully examined, we lightly esteemed them, is to assume an appalling amount of responsibility.
The things related by the Evangelists are certainly of the most momentous character, affecting the principles of our conduct here, and our happiness for ever. The religion of Jesus Christ aims at nothing less than the utter overthrow of
all other systems of religion in the world; denouncing them as inadequate to the wants of man, false in their foundations, and dangerous in their tendency. It not only solicits the grave attention of all, to whom its doctrines are presented, but it demands their cordial belief, as a matter of vital concernment. These are no ordinary claims; and it seems hardly possible for a rational being to regard them with even a subdued interest; much less to treat them with mere indifference and contempt. If not true, they are little else than the pretensions of a bold imposture, which, not satisfied with having already enslaved millions of the human race, seeks to continue its encroachments upon human liberty, until all nations shall be subjugated under its iron rule. But if they are well founded and just, they can be no less than the high requirements of Heaven, addressed by the voice of God to the reason and understanding of man, concerning things deeply affecting his relations to his sovereign, and essential to the formation of his character and of course to his destiny, both for this life and for the life to come. Such was the estimate taken of religion, even the religion of pagan Rome, by one of the greatest lawyers of antiquity, when he argued that it was either nothing at all, or was everything. Aut undique religionem tolle, aut usquequaque conserva. *
With this view of the importance of the subject, and in the hope that the present work may in some degree aid or at least incite others to a more successful pursuit of this interesting study, it is submitted to your kind regard, by
Your obedient servant,
HARVARD UNIVERSITY, DANE HALL, May 1, 1846.
*Cicero, Philip. II. § 43.
The figures in the first column refer to corresponding Sections in NEWCOME'S HARMONY. Those in
An Angel appears to the Shepherds.
The Magi. Jerusalem. Bethlehem. 2, 1-12
The flight into Egypt. Herod's
cruelty. The return. Bethlehem.
At twelve years of age Jesus goes to
15 The Baptism of Jesus. The Jordan.