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Title: The Truth of Christianity - Being an Examination of the More Important Arguments For - and Against Believing in that Religion
Author: Turton, William Harry
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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'The book is a distinctly readable one.'--_Glasgow Herald_,
September 18, 1902.

'Really excellent little work.'--_Daily News_, September 26, 1902.

'We cannot commend it too highly.'--_Western Morning News_, January
2, 1903.

'Carefully thought-out little work ... written with frank and
tolerant impartiality.'--_Standard_, May 26, 1905.

'The arguments are admirably marshalled; difficulties are not
evaded, but met fairly.'--_Westminster Review_, August, 1905.

'We welcome a new edition.... The appeal of the book is evidently
one to common sense, and the success it has met is fully deserved.
There is a healthy lay atmosphere about Colonel Turton's arguments
which renders them, we fancy, peculiarly effective.'--_Pall Mall
Gazette_, March 11, 1907.

'It is difficult to know whether to admire most the logical
precision with which he marshals his facts, and enforces his
conclusions, or the charming candour, and freshness of style, which
make his book so readable.'--_Liverpool Daily Post_, March 14, 1907.

'This is a new edition, thoroughly revised, of LIEUTENANT-COLONEL
TURTON'S famous book.... We are specially struck with the detached
manner in which he examines the case; he holds the scales evenly,
and is not rhetorical. Anyone who has any power of reasoning at all
can follow him clearly from start to finish.'--_Bristol Times and
Mirror_, February 18, 1907.

'It is a book for the hour, and needs to be circulated by thousands
... straightforward, manly, and convincing.'--_Schoolmaster_, March
27, 1909.

=Church of England.=

'The book is of considerable value to everyone who is concerned with
the controversy on Christian Evidences; it presents a perfect
storehouse of facts and the conclusions which may be legitimately
drawn from them.'--_Church Times_, November 2, 1900.

'We have already expressed our high opinion of this work--the
author of which, it may be mentioned, is serving in South
Africa.'--_Guardian_, October 17, 1900.

'This thoughtful and convincing treatise.... We are glad to be able
to give our good word for the book, which should be found in the
catalogue of every public library in the kingdom. It is a volume
admirably suited for a gift-book to young men. It furnishes an
armoury of invincible weapons against the scepticism and
semi-scepticism which are rampant among us.'--_English Churchman_,
November 1, 1900.

'This very excellent volume.... We strongly recommend this book to
the clergy for their own use and for lending to thoughtful and
painstaking readers.'--_Church Union Gazette_, January, 1901.

'It is one of the best books of its class, readable, candid,
convincing, and thorough. It would be cheering news to hear that it
had been widely read. The book will continue to make its way; and
all Christians will rejoice that it should do so.'--_Church
Intelligencer_, October, 1905.

'We give a hearty welcome to this revised edition. It is admirably
suited for general use.'--_Churchman_, February, 1909.

'This is a textbook on Christian Evidence we would readily place in
the hands of the lay worker as an essential part of his
equipment.'--_Lay Reader_, December, 1912.

'There is no padding, and no unnecessary rhetoric. All the available
space is filled with good solid reasoning, put in simple language
which an intelligent artisan can follow as easily as an educated
person.'--_Church Family Newspaper_, October 3, 1902.

'Throughout the book the reader will be delighted with the sanity
and level-headedness of the writer, whose frequent appeals to common
sense are remarkably telling and effective.'--_Birmingham Diocesan
Magazine_, October, 1907.

'The brilliancy of the author does not consist in his rhetoric or
appeal, but in the really brilliant fairness which he displays
towards the other side, in the accuracy with which he analyses each
situation, and in the clear and simple arguments which he
adduces.'--_Church Standard_, January, 1906.

'Personally, we have never met with any book which can be more
confidently recommended.'--_Church Army Review_, December, 1912.

'This is the kind of book which strengthens believers and makes
converts. It is one which should be placed within the reach of every
lad at that period of his life when he begins to think for
himself.'--_The_ (Church Lads') _Brigade_, October, 1905.

=Roman Catholic.=

'We most heartily wish that a copy of it could be found
in the library of every Catholic family, school, and
institution.'--_Catholic Times_, January, 1909 (sixth notice).

'This excellent book, ... well written, attractive in its style,
clearly thought out, and convincing.'--_Tablet_, August 29, 1903.

'This is a work of uncommon merit.... The style is clear and makes
for pleasant reading. We wish many of our Catholic young men would
try and analyse a chapter in COLONEL TURTON'S helpful defence of
Christianity.'--_Universe_, July 21, 1905.

'Having read and thoroughly approved every page of the book, we can
well believe that many clergy and teachers are finding it a useful
compendium of replies to all the chief arguments advanced against
Christianity. Though written by a non-Catholic, we can most strongly
recommend it as a book of the highest merit.'--_Catholic Herald_,
February 19, 1909.

'A capital book already much used by priests in this country, and to
be found upon the shelves of very many of our clerical libraries.
But we wish that the Catholic paterfamilias would procure it too,
and recommend it to his boys ... There is a masculine ring about it,
and no shuffling over difficulties.'--_Catholic Fireside_, March 23,


'One does not know what to admire most in the book--the accurate
knowledge gathered from so many fields, the clear reasoning,
the sound judgment, or the fine spirit which animates the
whole.'--_Christian Leader_, June 15, 1905.

'Admirably arranged and clearly expressed.'--_Weekly Leader_,
October 6, 1902.

'One of the best books of its kind.'--_St. Andrew_, June 1, 1905.

'This is an admirable summary. It is clear, simple, and
well arranged ... The style also makes it extremely
readable.'--_Presbyterian_, March, 1906.


'He is eminently fair to opponents, clear in statement, and
convincing in argument for his own case, and his standpoint, is
unmistakably evangelical. His style suits his work, being calm,
lucid, and simple.'--_Methodist Times_, August 22, 1901.

'Is a tried favourite, and has served the Kingdom in many lands.
There is no book of the class known to us so complete and
conclusive.'--_Methodist Recorder_, February 28, 1907.

'It deserves all the good that has been said of it.'--_United
Methodist_, November 19, 1908.

'One characteristic may be singled out for notice--the writer's
extraordinary alertness in the use of the most recent material. He
seems to be continually on the watch for discoveries and
suggestions, and to be able to utilise them promptly and
skilfully.'--_Baptist_, January 21, 1909.

'On the whole, it is the best popular summary that we have met. It
excels in definiteness of purpose, in clearness of statement, in
moderation, and in conciseness.'--_Baptist Times_, October 24, 1902.

'The book is one that every young man would do well to read. Its
absolute fairness, convincing logic, and withal extreme simplicity
are such as cannot fail to establish the faith of multitudes.'
_Y.M.C.A. Review_, December, 1912.

'The author's line of argument is irresistible in its rugged force.
... A fascinating book.'--_Social Gazette_ (Salvation Army), April
27, 1907.


'Again, as in 1902, we commend LIEUTENANT-COLONEL TURTON'S book as a
handy epitome of nearly all conceivable arguments in support of
Christianity. The twenty-four chapters champion twenty-four
propositions, and the whole thing is worked out as systematically as
a problem in a successful student's honours paper. ...However, it is
of no avail to argue such points with our well-meaning and
unimaginative Lieutenant-Colonel; and we will merely remark that he
is quite a gentleman, and uses no disdainful language towards the
poor Agnostic.'--_Literary Guide and Rationalistic Review_, March,

'This remarkable volume contains over 500 pages, with scarcely a
dull one among them. The author's easy flow of unlaboured thought,
his facility of expression, and his fine gift of exposition, carry
the reader on in spite of himself.... Differ as we may from much
that is in the gallant Colonel's volume, we gladly pay him the
respect due to frankness, cleverness, and transparency of mind and
motive, and thank him for putting his own side of a great
subject so simply and interestingly, and without prejudice or
bitterness.'--_New Age_, August 3, 1905.





    Examination of the More Important Arguments
    For and Against Believing in that Religion


    LT.-COL. W. H. TURTON, D.S.O.


    (_Carefully revised throughout_)


    _First Edition             published Oct.,   1895.   }1,000 copies._
    _Cheap   "                      "    Oct.,   1897._  }
    _Third   " carefully revised    "    Sept.,  1900._   1,000    "
    _Fourth  "     "        "       "    Mar.,   1902._   2,000    "
    _Fifth   "     "        "       "    Mar.,   1905._   3,000    "
    _Sixth   "     "        "       "    Jan.,   1907._   5,000    "
    _Seventh "     "        "       "    Nov.,   1908._   8,000    "
    _Eighth  "     "        "       "    Nov.,   1912._  10,000    "
    _Ninth   "     "        "       "    Oct.,   1919._  10,000    "


    _Japanese Edition      published     Dec.,   1910.      500 copies._
    _Italian    "             "          Oct.,   1915._   1,000   "
    _Chinese    "  shortened  "         June,    1919._   1,000   "
    _Arabic     "             "          Oct.,   1919._   1,000   "


I have again carefully revised the whole book. Some additions have
been made here and there, especially in Chapter XIX.; but as a rule
the alterations have been merely to shorten and condense the
arguments where this could be done without spoiling them, and to
simplify the language as much as possible. The book is thus shorter,
and I hope simpler than any previous edition. Another slight
improvement, which will commend itself to most purchasers, is
reducing the price to 2s. net. The work, as before stated, lays no
claim to originality, and I have not hesitated to borrow arguments
and illustrations from any source. The references to the Bible are
all to the Revised Version.

    W. H. T.

    _October 1, 1919_.




  CHAPTER                                                          PAGE

  I. THAT THE UNIVERSE HAD A CREATOR                                  3

  II. THAT THE CREATOR DESIGNED THE UNIVERSE                         10


  IV. THAT MAN IS A FREE AND RESPONSIBLE BEING                       38


















        PROBABILITY                                                 324


        CHRISTIANITY                                                374

        CHRISTIANITY                                                396


        CONCLUSION                                                  436

        TESTAMENT                                                   458

        PROBABLE                                                    483

  INDEX OF TEXTS                                                    495

  INDEX OF SUBJECTS                                                 502







     Explanation of the universe, its origin, a Free Force.

     (1.) The Philosophical Argument. If the universe had
           not an origin, all events must have occurred before,
           and this seems incredible.
     (2.) The Scientific Argument. From the process of evolution
           and the degradation of energy.


     The Single Supernatural Cause, which originated it.

It is proposed in this Essay to consider the reasons for and against
believing in the truth of Christianity, meaning by that term, as
will be explained later on (Chapter XIII.), the doctrines contained
in the Three Creeds. For convenience the subject has been divided
into three Parts, Natural Religion, the Jewish Religion, and the
Christian Religion; but the second of these may be omitted by anyone
not specially interested in that subject. At present we are
considering _Natural Religion_ only, which deals with the great
questions of the Existence of God, and the probability, or
otherwise, of His making some Revelation to man. And we will
commence at the very beginning, though the first chapter will
unfortunately have to be rather technical.


Now by the universe is meant the _material_ universe, which includes
everything that exists (earth, sun, stars, and all they contain),
with the exception of immaterial or spiritual beings, if there are
any such. And by this universe having had an _origin_ is meant that
it was at some time acted on by a _Free_ Force, that is to say, by a
force which does not always act the same under the same
circumstances, but which can act or not as it pleases. No doubt such
a force would be totally different from all the known forces of
nature; but there is no difficulty in understanding what is meant by
the term, since man himself _seems_ to possess such a force in his
own free will. He _seems_ for instance to be able to raise his hand,
or not, as he likes. We are not, of course, assuming that man's will
is really free, but merely that the idea of a free force, able to
act or not as it pleases, is well known and generally understood.

Hence the statement that the universe had an origin means that at
some time or other it was acted on by such a Free Force; in other
words, it has not existed for ever under the fixed and invariable
forces of nature, and without any external interference. We have now
to consider the two arguments in favour of this, which may be called
the Philosophical and the Scientific argument.

(1.) _The Philosophical Argument._

By this is meant that, when we reflect on the subject, it seems
inevitable that if the universe had not an origin, all present
events must have occurred before. The reason for thinking this is,
that if all free force is excluded, it is plain that matter must be
eternal, since its coming into existence at any time could not have
been a necessity, and must therefore have been due to some free
force. It is equally plain that what we call the forces of nature
and the properties of matter must also be eternal, since any
alteration in them at any time would also have required a free
force. And from this it follows that no _new_ event can happen
_now_. For every event which the forces of nature could possibly
bring about of themselves would, since they have been acting from
eternity, have been brought about long ago. Therefore present events
are not new, but must have occurred before.

This is no doubt a possible theory. For example, if we assume that
the universe will in process of time work itself back into precisely
the same condition in which it was long ago as a _nebula_ or
anything else, when it will begin again precisely the same changes
as before; then, and only then, is it possible that it has been
going on doing so from all eternity. But this theory, though
possible, is certainly not credible. For it requires that all
events, past, present, and future, down to the minutest detail, have
occurred, and will occur, over and over again. They must, in fact,
form a _recurring series_. And when applied to a single example, say
the history of the human race, this is seen to be quite incredible.

We must hence conclude that the universe has not existed for ever
under the fixed forces of nature, and without any external
interference; in other words, that it had an origin. No doubt there
are difficulties in regard to this theory also, but they are mostly
due to our ignorance. We may not know, for instance, whether matter
itself is eternal. Nor may we know why, if a free force once acted
on the universe, it never apparently does so at present, and still
less can we picture to ourselves what such a force would be like;
though the difficulty here is no greater than that of picturing a
force which is not free, say gravity.

But our ignorance about all this is no reason for doubting what we
do know. And it appears to the writer that we do know that, unless
present events have occurred before, which seems incredible, the
universe cannot have existed for ever without some _Free Force_
having acted on it at some time. In short, it seems less difficult
to believe that the universe had an origin than to believe that it
had not.

(2.) _The Scientific Argument._

And this conclusion is greatly strengthened by two scientific
theories now generally accepted--that of the process of evolution
and the degradation of energy; both of which seem to show that the
universe had a beginning.

The first subject, that of _Evolution_, will be discussed more fully
in the next chapter. All that need be said here is, that the atoms
of the universe, with their evolving properties, cannot have existed
eternally; for then the course of evolution would have commenced in
the eternal past, and would therefore have been finished now. But
this is certainly not the case, and evolution is still in progress,
or at all events was so a few thousand years ago; and a state of
progress cannot be _eternal_. It thus differs from a mere state of
_change_ which as we have seen, might be eternal, if the changes
were recurring. But a state of _progress_, in which the changes are
not recurring, but all tend in one direction, can never be eternal.
It must have had a commencement. And this commencement cannot have
been a necessity, so it must have been due to some Free Force. In
short, evolution requires a previous _Evolver_; since it cannot have
been going on for ever, and it cannot have started itself.

The other theory, that of the _Degradation of Energy_, is that all
energy (motion, etc.) tends to _heat_; the simplest instance being
that of two bodies hitting each other when a certain amount of
motion is lost, and a corresponding amount of heat is produced. And
heat tends to be equally distributed. The heat, for instance, which
is now stored up in the sun will in process of time be distributed
throughout space, and the same applies to the whole universe; so
that everything will eventually have the same temperature. And
though this may take millions of years, they are yet nothing to
eternity. Therefore, if the universe with all its present forces has
existed from eternity, and without any external interference, it
must have been reduced to this state long ago. So if this theory is
correct (and the only reason for doubting it, is the curious
behaviour of _radium_), it seems not only probable, but certain,
that the universe had an origin.

But an objection has now to be considered. It may be said that the
above reasoning is merely another form of the old argument,
'Everything must have a cause, and therefore there must have been a
First Cause;' the obvious answer to which is, that then this First
Cause must also have had a cause, and so on indefinitely. But this
is not the case; for the alleged First Cause is of a different
_kind_ from all the others. It is a _Free_ Cause, whereas natural
causes are not free, but are themselves effects of other natural
causes; and these, again, of previous ones. What we want is a cause
which is _not_ also an effect, in other words, a cause which is not
moved by anything else, but is moved by itself, or _Free_. When once
we get to such a cause as this, there is no need for a previous one.

This objection, then, cannot be maintained, and we therefore decide
that the universe had an origin. And all we know at present about
the Force which originated it, is that it was a Free Force. And the
conclusion at which we have arrived may be concisely expressed by
saying, that before all natural causes which acted necessarily,
there was a _First Cause_ which acted voluntarily.


We have next to consider what else we can ascertain in regard to
this First Cause. To begin with it can scarcely be disputed at the
present day that it was a _Single_ Cause, as modern science has
completely established the unity which pervades the universe. We
know for instance that the same materials are used everywhere, many
of the elements which exist on this earth being also found in the
sun and stars. Then there is the force of gravity, which is
all-embracing, and applies equally to the most distant stars, and
to the most minute objects on this earth; and many other examples
might be given. But it is scarcely necessary, as everyone now admits
that the universe (as the word implies) is one whole, and this
plainly points to a _Single_ First Cause.

Nor can it be disputed that this First Cause was _Supernatural_,
which merely means that it differs from natural forces in being
_free_; for this is exactly what we have shown. It was thus no kind
of gravitation, or electricity, or anything of that sort. All these
and all similar forces would always act the same under the same
conditions; while the Force we are considering was of a different
kind. It was a _Free_ Force, a Force which voluntarily chose to
originate the universe at a certain time. And such a Force must
clearly have been Supernatural.

In conclusion we will call this _Single Supernatural Cause_, which
originated the universe, its _Creator_. And if it be objected that
the universe may have had no _origin_, owing to some Free Force
having been always acting on it, such a Force must also be Single
and Supernatural, and may equally well be called its Creator.



Design means voluntary action, combined with foreknowledge.


     Seems overwhelming throughout organic nature; and we
      are not appealing to it to show the Creator's existence,
      but merely His foreknowledge.

     (1.) The example of a watch: its marks of design show that
           it had a maker who foresaw its use.
     (2.) The example of an eye: this also has marks of design,
           and must also have had a Designer.
     (3.) The evidence cumulative.


     (1.) The meaning of Evolution: it is a process, not a cause.
     (2.) The effect of Evolution on the present argument: it
           increases the evidence for design.


     (1.) Its great improbability: for several reasons.
     (2.) Free Will and Foreknowledge not inconsistent; so
           the chief argument in its favour cannot be maintained.

Having decided that the universe had a Creator, we have next to
examine whether the Creator designed the universe. Now by _Design_
is meant any voluntary action, combined with foreknowledge of the
results that will follow from such action. So when the Creator
originated the universe, if He foreknew the results of His action,
it would be to _design_ those results, as the word is here used. And
these include, either directly or indirectly, the whole course of
the universe, everything that exists, or that ever has existed in
the world.

By the word _foreknew_ it is not meant that the Creator necessarily
_thought_ of all future events, however insignificant, such as the
position of the leaves on each tree; but merely that He was able to
foresee any of them He wished, and in this sense foreknew them.
Compare the case of memory; a man may be able to remember a thousand
events in his life; but they are not all before his mind's eye at
the same time, and the insignificant ones may never be. In the same
way the Creator may have been able to foresee all future events in
the world's history without actually thinking about them. At all
events, this is the kind of foresight, or rather foreknowledge,
which is meant to be included in the term _design_.


Passing on now to the evidence of design, this is of the most varied
kind, especially throughout organic nature, where we find countless
objects, which seem to point to the foresight of the Cause which
produced them. The evidence is indeed so vast that it is difficult
to deal with it satisfactorily. Perhaps the best way will be to
follow the well-known _watch_ argument of Paley, first showing by
the example of a watch what it is that constitutes marks of design;
next, how a single organ, say the human eye, possesses these marks;
and then, the cumulative nature of the evidence.

(1.) _The example of a watch._

Now, when we examine a watch, we see that it has marks of design,
because the several parts are put together for a _purpose_. They are
so shaped and arranged as to produce motion, and this motion is so
regulated as to point out the hour of the day. While, if they had
been differently shaped or differently arranged, either no motion at
all would have been produced, or none which would have answered the
same purpose. And from this, we may infer two things. The first is
that the watch had a _maker_ somewhere and at some time; and the
second is that this maker understood its construction, and
_designed_ it for the purpose which it actually serves.

These conclusions, it will be noticed, would not be altered by the
fact that we had never seen a watch made; never knew a man capable
of making one; and had no idea how the work could be done. All this
would only exalt our opinion of the unknown watchmaker's skill, but
would raise no doubt in our minds either as to his existence, or as
to his having made the watch for the purpose of telling the time.

Nor should we feel that the watch was explained by being told that
every part of it worked in strict accordance with natural laws, and
could not possibly move otherwise than it did; in fact, that there
was no design to account for. We should feel that, though the action
of every part might be in strict accordance with law, yet the fact
that all these parts agreed in this one particular, that they all
helped to enable the watch to tell the time, did show design
somewhere. In other words, we should feel that the properties of
matter could only partly account for the watch, and that it required
a skilful watchmaker as well, who made use of these properties so as
to enable the watch to tell the time.

Now suppose on further investigation we found that the watch also
possessed the unexpected property of producing in the course of its
movements another watch very like itself. It might, for instance,
contain a mould in which the new works were cast, and some machinery
which fitted them together. What effect would this have on our
former conclusions? It would plainly increase our admiration for the
watch, and for the skill of its unknown maker. If without this extra
property, the watch required a skilful maker, still more would it do
so with it. And this conclusion would not be altered by the fact
that very possibly the watch we were examining was itself produced
in this way from some previous one, and perhaps that from another.
We should feel that, though each watch might be thus produced from a
previous one, it was in no sense _designed_ by it. And hence this
would not in any way weaken our conviction as to the existence of a
watchmaker somewhere and at some time who designed the whole series.

This, then, is the watch argument. Wherever we find marks of design,
there must be a designer somewhere; and this conclusion cannot be
altered by any other considerations whatever. If, then, we find in
nature any objects showing marks of design, the obvious inference is
that they also had a designer. And this inference, it should be
noticed, does not depend on any supposed _analogy_ between the works
of man and the works of nature. The example of the watch is merely
given _as an example_, to show clearly what the design argument is;
but the argument itself would be just as sound if man never had
made, and never could make, any object showing marks of design.

Moreover, to complete the example, we must assume that the
_existence_ of the watchmaker, and the fact of his having made the
watch, are already admitted for other reasons. And we are only
appealing to these marks of design to show that _when_ he made the
watch, he must have known that it would be able to tell the time,
and presumably made it for that purpose. And in this case the
inference seems, if possible, to be still stronger.

(2.) _The example of an eye._

We will next consider the _human eye_ as an example of natural
organs showing marks of design. It is a well-known instance, but
none the worse on that account. Now, in order to see anything
clearly, it is necessary that an image or picture of it should be
formed at the back of the eye, that is, on the _retina_ from whence
the impression is communicated to the brain. And the eye is an
instrument used for producing this picture, and in some respects
very similar to a telescope. And its marks of design are abundant
and overwhelming.

To begin with, in both the eye and the telescope the rays of light
have to be _refracted_, so as to produce a distinct image; and the
lens, and humours in the eye, which effect this, somewhat resemble
the lenses of a telescope. While the _different_ humours through
which the rays pass, prevent them from being partly split up into
different colours. The same difficulty had of course to be overcome
in telescopes, and this does not seem to have been effected till it
occurred to some one to imitate in glasses made from different
materials the effect of the different humours in the eye.[1]

[Footnote 1: Encyc. Brit., 9th edit., vol. xxiii., p. 137.]

In the next place, the eye has to be suited to perceive objects at
different _distances_, varying from inches to miles. In telescopes
this would be done either by putting in another lens, or by some
focussing arrangement. In the eye it is effected by slightly
altering the _shape_ of the lens, making it more or less convex. A
landscape of several miles is thus brought within a space of half an
inch in diameter, though the objects it contains, at least the
larger ones, are all preserved, and can each be distinguished in its
size, shape, colour, and position. Yet the same eye that can do this
can read a book at the distance of a few inches.

Again, the eye has to be adapted to different _degrees of light_.
This is effected by the _iris_, which is a kind of screen in the
shape of a ring, capable of expanding or contracting so as to alter
the size of the central hole or pupil, yet always retaining its
circular form. Moreover, it is somehow or other self-adjusting; for
if the light is too strong, the pupil at once contracts. It is
needless to point out how useful such a contrivance would be in
photography, and how much we should admire the skill of its

Again, the eye can perceive objects in different _directions_; for
it is so constructed that it can turn with the greatest rapidity
right or left, up or down, without moving the head. It is also
provided _in duplicate_, the two eyes being so arranged that though
each can see separately should the other get injured, they can, as a
rule, see together with perfect harmony. Lastly, our admiration for
the eye is still further increased when we remember that it was
formed _before birth_. It was what is called a _prospective_ organ,
of no use at the time when it was made; and this, when carefully
considered, shows design more plainly than anything else.

On the whole, then, the eye appears to be an optical instrument of
great ingenuity; and the conclusion that it must have been made by
someone, and that whoever made it must have known and designed its
use, seems inevitable.

These conclusions, it will be noticed, like the similar ones in
regard to the watch, are not affected by our ignorance on many
points. We may have no idea as to how an eye can be made, and yet
feel certain that, as it exists, it must have been made by someone,
and that its maker designed it for the purpose it serves.

Nor should we feel that the eye is explained by being told that
every part of it has been produced in strict accordance with natural
laws, and could not have been otherwise; in fact, that there is no
design to account for. No doubt every single part has been thus
produced, and if it stood alone there might be little to account
for. But it does not stand alone. All the various and complicated
parts of the eye agree in this one remarkable point, and in this one
only, that they all help to enable man to see; and it is this that
requires explanation. We feel that there must be some connection
between the cause which brought all these parts together and the
fact of man's seeing. In other words, the result must have been

Nor does the fact that every organism in nature is produced from a
previous one of the same kind alter this conclusion. Indeed, as was
shown with reference to the watch, it can only increase our
admiration for the skill which must have been spent on the first
organism of each kind. Moreover, no part of the design can be
attributed to the _parents_. If, for instance, the eyes of a child
show design, it is not due to the intelligence or designing power of
its father and mother. _They_ have not calculated the proper shape
for the lens, or the mechanism of the iris, and as a rule know
nothing whatever about it. And the same applies to _their_ parents,
so that our going back ever so far in this way brings us no nearer
to what we are in search of. The design is still unaccounted for, we
still want a designer.

We hence conclude that the marks of design in the eye afford, at all
events, what seems to be a very strong argument in favour of a
_Designer_. And if only one eye existed in the universe, and there
were no other mark of design in nature, this conclusion would be
none the less clear.

(3.) _The evidence cumulative._

But the argument is far stronger than this. It is cumulative in a
_triple_ sense. To begin with, an eye is found not in one man only,
but in millions of men, each separately showing marks of design, and
each separately requiring a designer. Secondly, the human eye is
only one example out of hundreds in the human body. The ear or the
mouth would lead to the same conclusion, and so would the lungs or
the heart. While, thirdly, human beings are but one out of many
thousands of organisms in nature, all bearing marks of design, and
showing in some cases an even greater ingenuity than in the human
eye. Of course, as a rule, the lower organisms, being less
complicated than the higher ones, have less striking marks of
design, but their existence is equally clear; the flowers of plants
affording some well-known examples.

Nor is this all, for even the world itself bears traces of having
been designed. Had it been a mere chaos, we might have thought that
the Creator was unaware of what would be the result of His action.
But a planet like our earth, so admirably adapted for the support of
life, can scarcely have been brought about by accident.

We conclude then, on reviewing the whole subject, that there are
countless objects in nature, more especially organs like the eye,
which bear strong marks of having been _designed_. And then the
Unity of Nature, and the fact that all its parts act on one another
in so many ways (the eye for instance being useless without light),
shows that if anything has been designed, everything has been
designed. Now there are two, and only two, important objections to
this argument, which may be called the _Evolution_ and the _Free
Will_ objection.


The first objection is that the whole of nature has been brought
about in accordance with fixed laws by the process of _Evolution_.
Therefore, though it is possible the Creator may have foreseen
everything that exists; yet the apparent marks of design in nature,
being all the necessary results of these laws, do not afford any
evidence that He actually did so. And before discussing this
objection we must first consider what we mean by laws of nature and
natural forces.

Now by a _law of nature_ is meant any regular, or uniform action
which we observe in nature. For example, it is called a law, or rule
of nature that (with certain exceptions) heat should expand bodies,
which merely means that we see that it does so. In other words, we
observe that heat is followed by expansion, and we therefore assume
that the one is the cause of the other. But calling it a law of
nature for heat to expand bodies, does not in any way account for
its doing so. And the same is true in other cases, so that a law of
nature _explains_ nothing, it is merely a summary of the facts to be

It should also be noticed that a law of nature _effects_ nothing. It
has no coercive, or compelling power whatever. The law of
gravitation, for instance, has never moved a planet, any more than
the rules of navigation have steered a ship. In each case it is some
power or force acting according to law which does it. And _natural
forces_ are those which, as far as we know, _always_ act according
to some fixed law. They have no freedom of choice, they cannot act
or not as they like; they must always and everywhere act the same
under the same circumstances. We pass on now to the subject of
Evolution, first considering its meaning, and then its effect on the
present argument.

(1.) _The meaning of Evolution._

Now by the term Evolution is meant to be included the processes of
Organic Evolution, Natural Selection, and the Survival of the
Fittest. The former may be described as meaning that all the
different forms of life now existing, or that ever have existed on
this earth, are the descendants of earlier and less developed forms,
and those again of simpler ones; and so on, till we get back to the
earliest form of life, whatever that may have been.

And the theories of _Natural Selection_ and _the Survival of the
Fittest_ explain how this may have taken place. For among the slight
modifications that would most likely occur in every organism, those,
and only those, would be perpetuated which were of advantage to it
in the struggle for existence. And they would in time, it is
assumed, become hereditary in its descendants, and thus higher forms
of life would be gradually produced. And the value of these theories
is that they show how Organic Evolution may have taken place without
involving any sudden change, such as a monkey giving birth to a man.
We must remember, however, that the subject is far from settled; and
even now naturalists are beginning to doubt whether all the
modifications were in reality very slight. But still, speaking
broadly, this is the theory we have to discuss.

It will, of course, be noticed that Evolution is thus a _process_,
and not a _cause_. It is the method in which certain changes have
been brought about, and not the cause which brings them about. Every
slight modification must have been caused somehow. When such
modifications were caused, then Natural Selection can explain how
the useful ones alone were perpetuated, but it cannot explain how
the modifications themselves arose. On the contrary, it supposes
them as already existing, otherwise there would be nothing to select
from. Natural Selection, then, rather weeds than plants, and would
be better described as Natural _Rejection_. It merely shows how, as
a rule, among the various modifications in an organism, some good
and some bad, the useless ones would disappear, and the useful ones
would remain; in other words, how the fittest would survive. But
this survival of the fittest does not explain in the slightest
degree how the fitness arose. If, as an extreme example, out of a
hundred animals, fifty had eyes and fifty had not, it is easy to
understand how those that had eyes would be more likely to have
descendants; but this does not explain how they first got eyes. And
the same applies in other cases.

How, then, did the variations in each organism first arise? In
common language they may be ascribed to chance; but, strictly
speaking, such a thing is impossible. The word _chance_ is merely a
convenient term for the results of certain forces of nature when we
are unable to calculate them. Chance, then, must be excluded; and
there seem to be only two alternatives. Either the organisms in
nature possessed free will, and acted as they did _voluntarily_; or
else they did not possess free will, and acted as they did
_necessarily_. The former theory will be examined later on; the
latter is the one we are now considering.

(2.) _The effect of Evolution._

How then would this theory affect our previous conclusion that the
Creator designed all the organs of nature, such as the eye, and
hence presumably the whole of the universe? As we shall see, it only
confirms it. For to put it plainly, if all free will on the part of
the organisms is excluded, so that they were all bound to act
exactly as they did, it is clear that the earth and all it contains
is like a vast mass of machinery. And however complicated its parts,
and however much they may act on one another, and however long they
may take in doing so, yet if in the end they produce an organ
showing design, this must have been foreseen and intended by the
Maker of the machinery. In the same way if a mass of machinery after
working for a long time eventually turned out a watch, we should
have no hesitation in saying that whoever made the machinery, and
set it going, intended it to do so. And is the inference less clear,
if it not only turned out a watch, but a watchmaker as well, and
everything else that exists on this planet?

All then that evolution does is this. It shows that the whole of
nature forms such a long and continuous process; that if the end has
been foreseen at all, it must have been foreseen from the
beginning. In other words, just as the Unity of Nature shows that if
anything has been designed, everything has been designed; so
Evolution shows that if it has been designed at all, it has been
designed _from the beginning_. We must hence conclude that the
organs in nature, such as the eye, which undoubtedly show design,
were not designed separately or as _after-thoughts_, but were all
included in one grand design from the beginning. And this can only
increase our admiration for the Designer. Thus evolution, even in
its most extreme and automatic form, cannot get rid of a Designer.
Still less can it do so, if (as is probable) it is not automatic at
all; but is due to the _continuous_ action of the Creator, who is
what is called _immanent_ in nature, and directs every step.

It should be noticed, moreover, that in one respect evolution rather
_increases_ the evidence of design. For if, to take a single
example, a human hand has been evolved from a monkey's foot merely
by the monkey using it as a hand, and taking hold of things; it
increases the amount of design which must have been spent on the
foot to enable it to do so. And if _all_ the organs in nature have
been evolved in this way from simpler ones, it increases the amount
of design which must have been spent on those simpler ones to an
extent which is practically infinite.

Thus Evolution implies a previous _Involution_; since all forms of
life must have been involved in the first form before they could be
evolved from it; so that creation by evolution is more wonderful
than creation by direct manufacture. And it seems to many to be a
far nobler conception of the Creator that He should obtain all the
results He desired, by one grand system of evolution, rather than by
a large number of separate creations. For then the _method_ in which
the results were obtained would be as marvellous, and show as much
wisdom and foresight as the results themselves; and each would be
worthy of the other. Evolution, then, seems to be the highest form
of creation; and so far from destroying the present argument, it
only destroys its difficulties, by showing that every single part of
every single organism may have been _designed_, and yet in a manner
worthy of the great Creator.

Nor is the conclusion altered if we carry back the process of
evolution, and assume that the earliest form of life was itself
evolved from some previous form of inanimate matter; and this again
from a simpler one, and so on till we get back to the original form
of matter, whatever that may have been. For if the results as we now
see them show design, then the argument for a Designer is not
weakened, but our ideas of His skill are still further increased, if
we believe that they were already secured when our earth was merely
a nebula.

(_C._) _The Free Will Objection._

We have, lastly, to consider the other, and more important
objection, that arising from _Free Will_. Why, it is urged, may not
all organisms in nature have possessed free will within certain
limits, and have selected those forms which suited them best? For
example, referring to the case of a watch, if telling the time were
of any advantage to the watch itself, and if the spring, wheels, and
hands possessed free will; then it might be thought that they had
formed themselves into that arrangement which suited them best. And
if so, the idea that the watchmaker foresaw and intended them to
adopt this arrangement seems unnecessary.

Now, in the case before us, as the organs showing design in nature,
such as the eye, always conduce to the welfare of their possessor,
the objection is certainly worth considering. But as we shall see,
it is most improbable, while the chief argument in its favour cannot
be maintained. It need scarcely be pointed out that we are not
assuming that the organisms have free will, but merely admitting
that they may have it; and if anyone denies this, the objection, as
far as he is concerned, falls to the ground at once.

(1.) _Its great improbability._

This is apparent because low down in the scale of nature (plants,
trees, etc.), the free will of the organisms, if they have any, must
be extremely limited; yet they bear unmistakable marks of design.
While, in higher beings which have (or may have) an undoubted free
will, it is hard to believe that it can effect anything like what is
required. Would, for instance, wishing to see or trying to see, even
if blind animals were capable of either, have ever given them eyes?
And the same applies in other cases. It is hence most improbable
that the marks of design in nature are due to the organisms
themselves, rather than to their Creator.

But there is one important argument on the other side, which, if it
could be maintained, would be sufficient to outweigh all this
improbability. It is, that some beings, such as man, do, as a matter
of fact, possess a free will, and that man can and does alter his
condition, to a slight extent, by using that free will. Therefore,
it is said, it is impossible for the Creator to have foreknown what
man's condition would be, because free will and foreknowledge are
_necessarily_ inconsistent. But this latter point is disputed.

(2.) _Free Will and Foreknowledge not inconsistent._

Now, although at first sight freedom of action seems inconsistent
with any foreknowledge of what that action will be, yet on closer
examination this will be found to be at least doubtful. For our own
experience seems to show that in some cases, at all events, it is
not in the nature of things impossible to know how a free being will

For example, I myself may know how, under given external conditions,
I will act to-morrow. Never being sure of these, I cannot be said to
actually foreknow the event; so that foreknowing with man is never
more than foreguessing. But I may be quite sure how, _under given
conditions_, I will act. For instance, I may know that, provided I
keep in good health, provided I receive no news from anyone,
provided, etc, I will go to my office some time to-morrow morning.

Yet I feel equally sure that this foreknowledge of mine does not
prevent the act when it comes from being quite free on my part. My
knowing this evening what I will do to-morrow does not oblige me to
do it. My foreknowledge of the event does not bring the event
about. It is in no sense its _cause_. The act when it comes is due
to my own free will, I merely foreknow _what use I will make of my
freedom_. And these are probably the common feelings of mankind on
the subject.

It seems, then, that my foreknowledge need not be inconsistent with
my free will. And hence, if I tell someone else how I will act,
_his_ foreknowledge would not be inconsistent with my free will. So
that in some cases, and under given conditions, it does not seem
impossible for a man to foreknow how another man will act, yet
without interfering with his freedom. In short, free will does not
seem to be _necessarily_ inconsistent with the foreknowledge even of
man, though it is always practically so, owing to man's imperfect
knowledge of the surrounding circumstances. But the Creator knows,
or may know, these circumstances fully, therefore it must be still
less inconsistent with _His_ foreknowledge.

Of course it may be said that if the Creator foreknows how I will
act to-morrow, I am _certain_ to act in that way; and this is
doubtless true. But it does not follow that I _need_ act in that
way; for _certainty_ is not the same as _necessity_. This is obvious
enough in regard to a past event. I certainly did it, but I need not
have done it; and it may be equally true in regard to a future
event. I will certainly do it, but I need not do it. Therefore the
Creator may know that I will do it, though it will still be _free_
on my part.

And this is strongly confirmed when we reflect that the difficulty
of knowing how a free being will act, however great in itself,
seems as nothing compared with the difficulty of _creating_ a free
being. Apart from experience, we should probably have thought this
to be impossible. Yet man has been created somehow. Is it then
unlikely that the Being who was able to overcome the greater
difficulty, and create a free man, should also be able to overcome
the lesser difficulty, and foreknow how he would act?

Moreover, if free will and foreknowledge are _always_ and
_necessarily_ inconsistent, then the Creator cannot have any
foreknowledge of _His Own_ acts, or else they are not free on His
part; neither of which seems at all probable. We are not, of course,
arguing from this that He actually does foreknow how He will act
Himself, or how a free man will act, but only that it is not in the
nature of things impossible that He should do so; in other words,
that free will and foreknowledge are not _necessarily_ inconsistent.

And this is precisely what we had to show. The marks of design in
nature afford what seems to be overwhelming evidence in favour of
the foreknowledge of the Creator. The objection we are considering
is that, in spite of all this evidence, we must still deny it,
because some of the organisms in nature, such as man, possess a free
will; and therefore any foreknowledge is in the nature of things
impossible. And the instant it is shown that such foreknowledge is
not impossible, the objection falls to the ground.

We may now sum up the argument in this chapter. We first explained
that by _Design_ was meant any voluntary action combined with
foreknowledge of the results of that action. We next considered the
evidence for design in nature, taking, as a single example, the
human eye. And this evidence appeared complete and overwhelming;
more especially as we were not appealing to it to show the existence
of a Creator, which is already admitted, but merely His
foreknowledge. And we have since considered the two apparent
objections to this argument arising from Evolution and Free Will.
But when carefully examined, the former only strengthens the
argument, while the latter does not weaken it. We therefore
conclude, on reviewing the whole subject, that the Creator _designed
the universe_.




     The Personal Being who designed and created the universe.


     Wisdom and Power. He is also Omnipresent.


     This is partly true; but everything is unknowable in its
      real nature, though in each case the partial knowledge
      we can obtain is all we require.


The position in the argument at which we have now arrived is this.
We showed in the last chapter that the Creator designed the
universe; in other words, that when he created it, He foreknew its
future history. And from this the next step, as to the existence of
God, is quite plain; in fact, it is merely a question of words.


Now any being who is able to design we will call a _personal being_.
And GOD is the name given to the Personal Being who designed and
created the universe.

But it ought to be noticed, before we pass on, that the term
_personal being_ is also applied to _man_, and is said by many
writers to involve the three ideas of _thought_, _desire_, and
_will_. But these seem to be all included in design; for if I design
anything, I must first of all _think_ of it, then _wish_ it, and
then _accomplish_ it.

We will examine in the next chapter whether man is a personal being
as we have used the term; but if we admit that he is, we have
another and independent argument in favour of the Creator being so
too. For the Creator has somehow or other produced man, with all his
attributes; so He cannot be a mere impersonal Being or Force, since
a cause must be able to account for its effect. And a free and
intelligent man cannot be due to a Force, which is neither free nor
intelligent. Therefore, if man is a personal being, it follows that
man's _Maker_ must be so too.

It should also be noticed that man's mind and spirit, which make him
a personal being, cannot be discovered by any physical means. And
this meets the objection that we cannot discover God by any physical
means. It would be much more surprising if we could. But though the
telescope can find no God in the heavens, just as the microscope can
find no mind in man, the existence of each may be quite certain for
other reasons. In popular language, all we can see is the _house_,
not the _tenant_, in either case.


We must next notice somewhat carefully two of God's attributes,
_Wisdom_ and _Power_. Both of these are involved in the idea of a
Personal Being able to design. For _design_, as used in this Essay,
means originating or freely doing anything, as well as previously
planning it. Therefore, if we use the word, as is often done, for
planning alone, we must remember that a personal being is one who
can both design and accomplish. The former implies a mind able to
form some plan, and the latter a free force, or will, able to carry
it out. So a personal being must of necessity have _wisdom_ to
design and _power_ to accomplish. And considering the vastness of
the universe and the variety of its organisms, it seems only
reasonable to conclude that the Creator possesses these attributes
to the greatest possible extent, so that He is both Omniscient and

It is important, however, to notice the meaning given to these
words. By _Omniscient_, then, we mean possessing all possible
knowledge. Now the only knowledge which might be thought impossible
is how a free being would act in the future, and we have already
shown that such knowledge is not in the nature of things impossible;
so there does not seem to be any necessary restriction here.

But with _Omnipotent_ the case is different. This means, as just
said, possessing all possible power; that is to say, being able to
do anything which is not impossible. Of course some Christians may
be inclined to answer, that _with God all things are possible_; but
as He who said so began one of His own prayers with the words _if it
be possible_, this cannot be taken in its widest sense.[2] And
provided the word _impossible_ is used in its strict meaning, we
have no reason for thinking that God could do impossible things;
such as make a triangle with the properties of a circle, or allow a
man a free choice between two alternatives, and yet force him to
choose one of them. These, then, are two of the great attributes of
God, Wisdom and Power. There is a third, which will be considered in
Chapter V.

[Footnote 2: Matt. 19. 26; 26. 39.]

It should also be noticed that besides being the Designer and
Creator of the universe in the past, God seems to be also its
_Preserver_ at the present, being, in fact, the _Omnipresent_ Power
which is still working throughout nature. That there is such a Power
can scarcely be denied (however hard it may be to realise), and that
it is the same as the Creating Power is plainly the most probable
view. God is thus the Cause of all natural forces now, just as He
was their Creator in times past; and what are called secondary or
natural causes, have probably no existence. They may, indeed, be
called secondary _forces_, but they are not _causes_ at all in the
strict sense; for a cause must be _free_, it must have the power of
initiative. Thus man's free will, if it is free, would be a real
secondary cause, but the forces of nature are mere links in a chain
of events, each of which is bound to follow the previous one. This
is often spoken of as the Divine _Immanence_ in nature, and means
little else than the Omnipresence of a Personal God--the
all-pervading influence of One 'who is never so far off as even to
be called near.'


We must lastly consider an important objection which may be made to
the whole of these chapters. It may be said that the human mind is
unable to argue about the _First Cause_, because we have no
faculties for comprehending the Infinite; or, as it is commonly
expressed, because God is _Unknowable_.

Now this objection is partly true. There is a sense in which all
will admit that God is Unknowable. His existence and attributes are
too great for any human mind to comprehend entirely, or for any
human language to express completely and accurately. Therefore our
statements on the subject are at best only approximations to the
truth. We can apprehend His existence, but we cannot comprehend it,
and God in His true nature is certainly _Unknowable_.

But, strictly speaking, it is the same with everything. Man in his
true nature is also unknowable, yet we know something about man. So,
again, the forces of nature are all unseen and unknowable in
themselves, yet from their effects we know something about them. And
even matter when reduced to atoms, or electrons, or anything else,
is still a mystery, yet we know a good deal about matter. And in
each case this knowledge is not incorrect because it is incomplete.
Why, then, should the fact of God being in His true nature
unknowable prevent our having some real, though partial, knowledge
of Him? In short, we may know something about God, though we cannot
know everything about Him.

And it should be noticed that Natural Religion and Natural Science
are alike in this respect--they are both founded on inferences drawn
from the observed facts of nature. For example, we observe the
motion of falling bodies, and infer the existence of some force,
gravity, to account for this. Similarly, we observe the marks of
design in nature, and infer the existence, or at least foresight, of
some Being who designed them. In neither case have we any direct
knowledge as to the cause of what we see. And in some respects
Religion is not so unknowable as Science. For our own, real or
apparent, mind and free will do give us some kind of idea as to the
existence of a personal being, apart from what he does; while of a
natural force, such as gravity, apart from its effects, we can form
no idea whatever. Thus our knowledge of every subject is but
partial, and it finally leads us into the Unknowable.

But now comes the important point. This partial knowledge, which is
all we can obtain in either Science or Religion, is all we require.
It is not a perfect knowledge, but it is sufficient for all
practical purposes. Whatever the force of gravity may be in itself,
we know what it is _to us_. We know that if we jump off a cliff we
shall fall to the ground. And so in regard to Religion. Whatever God
may be in Himself, we know what He is _to us_. We know that He is
our Maker, and therefore, as will be shown in the next chapter, He
is the Being to whom we are responsible. This is the practical
knowledge which we require, and this is the knowledge which we can

Moreover, though our reason may be to some extent unfit to judge of
such matters, the vast importance of the subject seems to demand our
coming to some conclusion one way or the other. This is especially
the case because important results affecting a man's daily life
follow from his deciding that there is a God, and to leave the
question undecided is practically the same as deciding that there is
not a God. In the same way, if a ship were in danger of sinking,
and a steamer also in distress offered to take off the passengers,
for one of them to say that he did not know whether it was safer to
go in the steamer or not, and would therefore do nothing and stay
where he was, would be practically the same as deciding not to go in
the steamer. So in the case before us. To refuse to decide the
question because of the supposed inadequacy of human reason is
practically the same as to deny the existence of God.

Still, it may be urged, granting that our reason must decide the
question one way or the other, and granting that our reason seems to
force us to conclude in the existence of God, are there not great
difficulties in honestly believing this conclusion? No doubt there
are, and no thoughtful man would think of ignoring them. But after
all it is only a choice of difficulties; and, as we have shown,
there is _less_ difficulty in believing what we have here maintained
than the contrary. It is less difficult, for instance, to believe
that the universe had an origin, than to believe that it had not.
Similarly as to the existence of God; the theory is not free from
difficulties, but, with all its difficulties, it is still by far the
most probable theory to explain the origin and present state of the
universe. We therefore decide, judging by reason alone (which is the
line adopted in this Essay), that the existence of God is _extremely


In conclusion, we will repeat very briefly, the main line of
argument thus far. To begin with, in the present universe we observe
a succession of changes. If these changes are not recurring, which
seems incredible, they must have had a commencement; and this is
supported by the theories of Evolution and the Degradation of
Energy. Therefore, as this commencement cannot have been a
necessity, it must have been due to some _Free Force_. And a Free
Force must be a _Supernatural_ Force, since natural forces are not
free, but always act according to some fixed law, while the unity of
nature points to its being a _Single_ Supernatural Force, which we
called the Creator.

Next, it follows that the Creator must have foreknown the
consequences of His acts, judging by the marks of design which they
present. And this conclusion was shown to be not inconsistent with
either the process of evolution, or the existence of free will in
man or other beings. Hence He must have been a _Personal Being_,
possessing both Wisdom to design, and Power to accomplish.

Or the whole argument may be repeated in an even shorter form. The
universe (in its present condition) has not existed always, it is
therefore an _effect_,--something that has been effected, or brought
about somehow; and therefore like every effect, it must have had a
_Cause_. Then since the effect shows a certain unity throughout, the
Cause must have been One. Since the effect shows in some parts
evidence of having been planned and arranged, the capacity for
planning and arranging must have existed in the Cause. In other
words, a universe showing marks of design is the effect, and nothing
less than a Personal Being who designed it can be the Cause. And GOD
is the name given to this Personal Being.




     Man possesses a mind as well as a body; the opposite
      theory, materialism, has great difficulties.


     (1.) Man possesses a will.
     (2.) Man's acts are partly determined by his will.
     (3.) Man's will is _free_.
     (4.) Man knows that his will is free; and this enables him
           to design, and makes him a personal being.
     (5.) Man's _responsibility_ for his acts.
     (6.) Man's moral sense of right and wrong; which enables
           him to distinguish the quality of acts, and makes
           him a moral being.
     (7.) Man's conscience, by which he can judge of this quality
           in some cases.


     There is a great mental difference, though probably only
      of degree; and entire moral difference, since animals,
      even if free, do not possess a _known_ freedom, and are
      hence not personal beings.

     (_D._) CONCLUSION.

     Man consists of three parts, body, mind, and spirit: his
      unique position.

Having decided on the Existence of God, which is the great truth of
_Natural_ Religion, the question now arises whether, if nature can
lead us so far, there is no means of getting further. No one will
deny that further knowledge is desirable, both as to God, ourselves,
and our future destiny, and is there no means of obtaining it? And
this brings us to the subject of _Revealed_ Religion, that is to
say, of God's making some Revelation to man. And the probability of
this will depend partly on the _character of man_--is he a being at
all worthy of a revelation; and partly on the _Character of God_--is
He a Being at all likely to make one? The former question alone will
be discussed in this chapter, and we will consider man's _mental_
and _moral_ attributes separately. Nothing need be said about his
bodily or _physical_ characteristics, as they have no bearing on the
present argument.


By these are meant man's thoughts and feelings, and that they are
different from the matter composing his body seems self-evident.
Matter possesses size, weight, colour, shape, and hardness. Mind
does not possess any of these. They have no conceivable meaning when
applied to thoughts and feelings. Yet both mind and matter exist in
man. We each feel conscious that we have something which _thinks_,
and which we call mind; as well as something which _moves_, and
which we call matter (_i.e._, our bodies); and that these are
absolutely distinct from one another. And from the nature of the
case this _inherent conviction_ is all we can appeal to. For mind,
if it exists at all, being different from matter, is beyond the
reach of ordinary scientific discovery. We cannot however be more
certain of anything than of these inherent convictions, which form
the basis of all our knowledge. Even the propositions of Euclid are
only deductions from some other of our convictions, such as that the
whole is greater than its part.

Still the difficulty of understanding this compound nature in man,
part mind and part body, has led some persons to adopt the theory of
_materialism_. According to this there is no such thing as _mind_;
what we call thoughts and feelings being merely complicated motions
of the molecules of the brain. Now, that the mind and brain are
closely associated together none will deny, but it does not follow
that they are identical. The brain may be merely the instrument of
the mind through which it acts. And though, as far as we know, the
mind can never act without the brain, it may certainly have a
separate existence, and possibly, under different conditions, may be
able to act separately. It is in fact no more difficult to conceive
of thought without a brain, than to conceive of thought with a
brain. All we can say is, that within the range of our experience
the two seem to be somehow connected together.

Recent investigations, however, in what is called _telepathy_ (or
thought-transference) seem to show that in some cases one mind can
influence another _at a distance_, and without any material
connection. And this (if admitted) proves that the mind is something
more than a mere collection of particles of matter.

Moreover materialism, to be consistent, must deny not only that man
has a mind, but that he has anything immaterial at all; he must be
matter in motion, and nothing else. But this is disproved by our
_memory_, which convinces us that we are the _same_ persons now as
we were ten years ago; yet we know that every particle of our
bodies, including our brains, has changed in the interval. We must
then have something immaterial which survives, in spite of
everything material changing.

The case, it should be noticed, is not like that of a tree, which
may be popularly said to be the same now as it was ten years ago,
though every particle of it has changed in the interval. For as far
as we know, the tree has nothing which connects its present state
with its former state, it has no memory of what happened to it then.
We _have_, that is just the difference. We can remember now what
happened to us ten years ago, though our bodies now do not contain a
single atom or molecule which they did then. We must, therefore,
have something else besides atoms and molecules, in other words,
something _immaterial_; and if so, there is an end of materialism in
its only logical form.

This theory then cannot possibly be accepted, and we must abide by
our inherent conviction that we have a mind as well as a body. This
is an ultimate fact in human nature; and we are as certain of it as
we are of anything, though like some other ultimate facts it has to
be assumed, because it can be neither proved nor doubted.


We pass on now to man's moral attributes, which we will consider in

(1.) _Man possesses a will._

In the first place man possesses what, in common language, is called
a _will_. Strictly speaking, of course, the will is not anything
independent of the man, which he _possesses_, as he might possess a
dog; it is the man himself _who wills_, or who possesses the power
of willing. But the common language is so generally understood, that
it will be used here. Now the chief reason for believing that man
has a will is his own inherent conviction. He feels certain that he
does possess a will which is distinct from his body and his mind,
though closely associated with both, and apparently to some extent
controlling both. For example, I may resolve to raise my hand, and
then do it; or I may resolve to think out a problem, and then do it.
In each case the will is felt to be something distinct from the
subsequent bodily or mental action.

(2.) _Man's acts are partly determined by his will._

In the next place, a man's acts (and also his thoughts) are partly
determined by his will. By this is meant that a man's will is able
to move his limbs, so that, for instance, he can raise his hand when
he wishes, and this gives him the power of determining his acts. It
is not meant that a man's will can move his limbs directly; his
limbs are moved by his muscles, which are directed by his nerves,
and these by certain motions in the brain. All that the will can do
is to give a particular direction to these motions, which, combined
with various other forces, brings about the observed result.

Now we have in favour of this action of the human will on the human
body the universal experience of mankind, which is that a man can
somehow or other move his limbs at pleasure. Indeed, the question
whether a man can walk across the room when he wishes, seems to most
people to admit of a convincing answer: _solvitur ambulando_. But
still, the action of will on matter seems so improbable, and so
difficult to understand, that attempts have naturally been made to
find some other explanation.

But no satisfactory one can be suggested. For my wishing to move my
body, is followed by my moving it so frequently and so universally,
that there must be some connection between them. And though we
cannot imagine how a mere wish can move particles of matter (in the
brain or anywhere else), it is just as hard to imagine how the
movement of particles of matter can produce a wish. The latter
theory is no easier to understand than the other; and, as just said,
it is opposed to _the daily experience of mankind_, which is that a
man's will can, somehow or other, move his limbs, and hence
determine his acts.

(3.) _Man's will is free._

It must next be noticed that man's will is a _free_ will, and this
is a most important point. It is quite distinct from the previous
question. Then we decided that a man's raising his hand, for
instance, was the result of his wishing to do so. We have now to
consider whether this wish was free on the man's part, or whether he
could not help it; the latter view being called that of _Necessity_,
or _Determinism_, and meaning that a man's acts are necessarily
determined, and not free. Of course everyone admits that there are
_limits_ to human freedom. A man cannot always raise his hand when
he likes, it may be paralyzed. The important point is whether he is
_ever_ free; and there are two main arguments on each side.

Now the great argument in favour of free will is, again, our own
inherent conviction. It is one of the most universal, and one of the
most certain, beliefs of mankind that he has free will. This belief
is forced upon him by his own daily experience. He feels, for
instance, that he is free to raise his hand or not. And what is
more, he can verify the fact by actually raising it, whenever he
likes; so it is literally true to say that the conviction rests on
the daily experience of the human race. And to many, this argument
alone seems conclusive.

But, as a matter of fact, it is fully confirmed by _human conduct_.
For a man's conduct is _variable_ and quite unlike the uniformity
which we find in chemistry and physics, where there is no free
force, and everything is brought about in accordance with fixed
laws. So we seem to require some free force in man to account for
his variable conduct. These, then, are the two arguments in favour
of free will--man's _inherent conviction_, confirmed by his
_variable conduct_; and no more powerful arguments can be imagined.

On the other hand, the chief argument against human freedom is that
it would be an _anomaly_ in nature; since natural forces always act
in the same way, and any free force, able to act or not as it likes,
is quite unknown. If, then, man possesses such a force, no matter
how limited it may be, he is partly, at least, a _supernatural_
being, not bound by fixed laws.

Now all this may be admitted, but what then? Why should not man be a
partly supernatural being? God, Who has made man, is Supernatural;
He possesses free will, and He might, if He thought fit, bestow some
of this attribute on man, allowing him, that is to say, within
certain limits, to act in one way or another. No doubt, to persons
who study physical science alone, the existence of any free force in
man seems most improbable. But, on the other hand, to those who
study the actions of men, such as barristers, soldiers, or
politicians, the idea that man is a mere machine seems equally

And does not the same principle apply in other cases? Suppose, for
instance, that a man were to study inorganic chemistry alone, living
on an island where vegetation was unknown, would not a tree be a
complete anomaly to him? Yet trees exist and have to be allowed for.
In the same way man's free will may be an anomaly, but the evidence
for it is overwhelming.

Moreover, the anomaly is greatly lessened by the fact that man
already occupies a very anomalous position. For as we have seen, his
acts are often determined by his _will_, and this is utterly unlike
anything that we find elsewhere in nature. Indeed the _action_ of a
will is as great an anomaly as its _freedom_; and with the possible
exception of animals (see further on) we have no experience whatever
of a will that can act and is _not_ free. Therefore claiming freedom
for a man, is not like claiming freedom for a mineral, or a plant.
He is anyhow a unique being, by far the highest and most important
on this planet; and that he should be partly supernatural as well
does not seem so very unlikely after all.

We must also remember that we know more about ourselves where we are
conscious of freedom, than we do about the surrounding universe,
where we infer a rigid uniformity. Indeed, our own free will is the
only force of which we have any _direct_ knowledge, and the
so-called forces of nature, such as gravity, are, strictly speaking,
only assumptions which we make to account for observed facts. And,
as we have shown, even these forces seem to have originated in the
Free Will of the Creator; so as far as we can judge, _free will_, of
some kind is the ultimate cause of all force.

The other important argument against free will is that it would be
inconsistent with what is called the _Conservation of Energy_, since
it is said any voluntary act would involve the creation of energy.
But this is at least doubtful; for the will might be free as to its
acts, were it only able to control energy without producing it. And
it could do this if it possessed the power of altering either the
time, or the direction of force; deciding, for instance, whether to
raise my hand now, or a minute hence, or whether to raise my right
hand or my left. And if it possessed either of these powers, it
could turn the latent force, which a man possesses, into actual
motion when and how it pleased. And it would thus be free as to its
acts, without creating any energy at all.

We therefore decide on reviewing the whole subject, that man's will
is free; since this alone agrees with his own inherent _conviction_,
and fully accounts for his variable _conduct_. While, on the other
hand, though an _anomaly_ in nature, it is not on that account
incredible; nor is it inconsistent with the _conservation of

(4.) _Man knows that his will is free._

Having now decided that man's will is free, little need be said
about the next point, which is that man _knows_ that his will is
free, since, as we have shown, this is the chief argument for
admitting its freedom. There are, however, many other arguments for
proving that man believes that he has a free will, for it is shown
by his acts. It is this known freedom which enables a man to set
before him an end, and deliberately work towards it; in other words,
it enables him to _design_, and makes him a _personal being_, as we
have used the term. And it is needless to point out that the
evidence of human design is universal. Again, human language affords
a conclusive proof that man has always and everywhere believed
himself to be free; for such terms as _I will_, _I choose_, _I
decide_, exist in all languages. However, we need not pursue this
subject, since it is undisputed that man _believes_ that he has a
free will; and it is taken for granted in all human affairs.

(5.) _Man's responsibility for his acts._

By this is meant that a man is responsible for the way in which he
uses his freedom; and this seems to follow at once from his knowing
that he is free. Moreover, a sense of responsibility is among the
inherent convictions of mankind. Of course, there may be exceptions
to this as to most other rules; but taking mankind as a whole, he
certainly believes in his own responsibility.

He also believes that this responsibility is in the first place to
God, or some other supernatural Being. No doubt he is also
responsible to his fellow-men, more especially to those among whom
he is living; but a moment's reflection will show that this is not
the leading idea. For a man must in the first place be responsible
to his Maker rather than to his fellow-men. In the same way a child
is first of all responsible to his parents, and then, secondly and
consequently, to his brothers and sisters. Therefore, because God
has made us, we are responsible to Him; and because He has placed us
among other men, and presumably wishes us to take some part in human
society, we are in a lesser degree responsible to them also. So the
_brotherhood of man_, as it is called, naturally follows from the
Fatherhood of God.

(6.) _Man's moral sense of right and wrong._

In the next place, man has the remarkable faculty of distinguishing
the _quality_ of acts which are free, regarding some as right and
others as wrong, the latter being called _sins_. And it may be
noticed in passing, that the existence of moral evil or sin seems to
many to be an additional argument in favour of man's freedom;
otherwise God would be the sole author of man's misdeeds. Of course,
in this case, they would not be really _sins_, for if man has no
free will, he is a mere machine, and can no more sin against God (or
man either) than a watch can sin against its maker. Such a man
might be imperfect, and so might a watch, but he could not be
_wicked_; yet few will say that there are no wicked men in the
world. Now we will call a being who is thus able to distinguish the
quality of acts a _moral being_. Man is therefore a moral being,
having this _moral sense_, as it is called, of distinguishing right
from wrong.

It will perhaps make the meaning of this moral sense plainer if we
compare it with one of man's other senses, say that of sight. The
one, then, distinguishes right from wrong, just as the other
distinguishes red from yellow, or blue from green. And as man's
sense of colours is not disproved by one man thinking a colour blue
which another thinks green--or his sense of taste, by one man
thinking a taste nice, which another thinks nasty--so his moral
sense is not disproved by one man thinking an act right which
another thinks wrong.

Moreover this sense of right and wrong is quite distinct from the
pleasant or unpleasant consequences which are associated with
certain acts. For instance, I may avoid putting my hand into hot
water, because I remember having done so before, and it was painful;
but this is quite different from avoiding an act because it is
_wrong_. It is also quite distinct from expediency, or the idea of
benefiting by an act. For an act may not benefit us at all, or may
even injure us, and yet it may be right. In short, 'fifty
experiences of what is pleasant or what is profitable do not, and
cannot, make one conviction of what is right'; the ideas differ in
kind; and not merely in degree.

(7.) _Man's conscience._

Lastly, as to man's conscience. This is often confused with his
moral sense, but a little reflection will show that the two are
distinct. For a man might possess a moral sense, and be able to
classify acts as right or wrong, yet have no direct means of knowing
to which class any particular act belonged. He might have to work
this out by reasoning; and in difficult cases we sometimes do so.
But as a rule this is unnecessary. For mankind possesses a very
remarkable _something_, called a conscience, which tells him at
once, and without either argument or reasoning, that certain acts
are right and others wrong. Conscience is thus like an organ of the
moral sense, and may be compared to the eye or organ of sight; for
just as the eye perceives that certain colours are red and others
blue, so conscience perceives that certain acts are right and others
wrong. In each case the perception is almost instantaneous, and
quite distinct from any kind of reasoning.

Conscience, it will be noticed, does not _make_ the act right or
wrong, any more than the eye makes the colour red or blue; it merely
tells us what acts are right and what wrong. It is thus an
_intermediary_ between Someone else and ourselves; and this Someone
else can only be God, Who gave us our conscience, so that in popular
language it may be called _the Voice of God_. And it tells us we
ought to act right, because this is the way in which God wishes us
to act.

Now that mankind possesses a conscience is indisputable. It is
shared alike by young and old, rich and poor, educated and
uneducated. It has existed in all ages, countries and races. We all
have it, and what is very remarkable it seems to be independent of
our will, and not at our disposal. We do not correct it, but it
corrects us; for it not only tells us what acts are right and what
wrong, but it approves definitely of our doing the former, and
disapproves just as definitely of our doing the latter. Indeed, one
of the most striking effects of conscience is this feeling of
_remorse_ or self-condemnation after wrong-doing; and such a feeling
is practically universal.

And if it be objected that one man's conscience may say that an act
is right, which another man's conscience says is wrong, we must
remember that the decision of a man's conscience, only refers to the
man himself. It tells a man what is right _for him_, with his
knowledge and surroundings, and it is quite possible that this may
be wrong for another man.

These, then, are the moral attributes of the human race, and it
follows at once that man is a _free and responsible being_. But as
this conclusion is often disputed, because of the similarity between
animals and men, and the difficulty of admitting that they also are
free and responsible beings, or else of showing where the
distinction lies, we must examine this subject.


Now the _bodily_ difference between certain animals and men is
admittedly small; and though the accompanying _mental_ difference is
enormous, it is probably only one of degree; for all animals seem,
to some slight extent, to possess a mind, which enables them at
least to feel conscious of pleasure and pain. We must therefore
pass on to the _moral_ attributes of animals; and as we know nothing
as to their feelings on the subject, it is difficult to say
(referring to the first three points) whether they have a _free
will_ or not. Of course, if they have _not_, that would be a clear
distinction between animals and men. But we have no right to assume
this, and there is a good deal to be said on the other side, at
least in regard to the higher animals, so the question had better be
left open.

But with regard to the next point, that of _known_ freedom, we are
on surer ground; for the proof of man's _believing_ himself to be
free does not depend solely on his own feelings. It is shown by his
acts, as it enables him to _design_, and it is doubtful if there is
anything corresponding to this in animals. For though many of their
works show design somewhere, it does not seem to be due to _them_.
This kind of unconscious designing (which strange to say is most
apparent in the _lower_ forms of animal life) is called _instinct_,
and there are at least three reasons for thinking that it differs
from real design implying forethought.

The first is, that, if these works were due to the design of the
animals themselves, they must possess intellectual powers of a very
high order. Take, for instance, the well known example of the _cells
of bees_. These are built on the most perfect mathematical
principles, the three rhombs which close the hexagonal columns
having the exact angles so as to contain the greatest amount of
honey, with the least expenditure of wax. And as we require advanced
mathematics and a book of logarithms to work out such problems, it
is hard to see how the bees can do it. Nor is heredity of any use,
for the bees which build cells are all _workers_ (as they are
called) and have no descendants; while those which have descendants
are either _drones_ or _queens_, and these do no building. Thus the
cells are built by bees, none of whose ancestors have ever built
cells; so the design cannot be ascribed to anything they have
inherited from their parents.[3] Secondly, animals are only able to
design in a few special cases, and in other respects they often act
with the greatest stupidity. A bee, for example, with all its
mathematics, cannot very often, if it has flown in through an open
window, retrace its way, but will buzz helplessly against another
which is shut.

[Footnote 3: Encyc. Brit., 9th edit., vol. iii., pp. 490, 484. The
angles are 109° 28' and 70° 32'.]

Thirdly, the instincts of animals are practically the same, always
and everywhere. They are not more advanced in some countries, than
in others; or in some individuals, than in others. They are not even
more advanced as time goes on. The last cell built by a bee is no
better than the first, and no better, as far as we know, than cells
built by bees thousands of years ago; while the young of animals,
without any experience to guide them, have the same instincts as the
old. Clearly, then, an animal's instinct is born with it, and not
acquired; and therefore, any apparent design there may be in what is
done by instinct cannot be attributed to the animal itself, any more
than the design shown in its eyes, but to its Maker.

So far all is plain. It may, however, be urged that in some of the
higher animals, especially those in contact with man, we do find
certain acts which seem to imply forethought and design. A dog, for
example, will bury a bone one day, and go and look for it the next.
But when once it is admitted that what are apparently far more
striking instances of design are to be explained by instinct, it
seems better to explain them all in the same way.

And this is confirmed by the fact that even the higher animals do
not appear to have any idea of _responsibility_, or any sense of
_right_ and _wrong_, which in man are the result of his known
freedom. Of course, this also may be disputed, since as we punish a
dog for doing what we dislike, it looks as if we held it responsible
for the act. But this does not follow. We punish the dog to prevent
its repeating the act. And it may avoid doing so, because its memory
associates the act with _pain_, and not because it feels responsible
for it, or considers it to be _wrong_. While in the vast majority of
cases we never think of holding an animal responsible for its acts,
or look upon its injuring anyone as a sin. We conclude, then, that
_moral_ attributes form the great distinction between animals and
men; because though animals have, or may have, a free will, it is
not a _known_ freedom, so they are not able, like men, to _design_,
and are hence not _personal beings_.

Two further remarks may be made before leaving this subject. The
first is, that though there are difficulties in placing this known
freedom as the difference between animals and men, there are as
great, if not greater, difficulties in placing it anywhere else. If
we say that an ape or a dog can design, the difficulty is not
lessened; it is merely transferred lower down the scale. Can a
jellyfish design? The momentous attribute of known freedom must
begin _somewhere_; and it seems less difficult to place it between
animals and men than anywhere else.

The second and more important point is, that our ignorance about
animals is no reason for doubting what we do know about man. To do
this would be most illogical. Indeed, we might as well deny that a
man could see, or hear, because there are difficulties in deciding
where sight and hearing commence in the scale of animal life.


We may now conclude this chapter. With regard to man, it is clear
that his bodily, mental, and moral attributes are quite distinct. A
man may be strong in body, yet of weak intellectual power; or he may
have a great intellect, yet be of weak moral character. This makes
it probable that human nature consists of three parts--_body_,
_mind_, and _spirit_; the mind corresponding to the mental reasoning
part of man, and the spirit to the free moral part, the word _soul_
being often used for either of these latter.

And the difference between animals and men is probably that the
former have no _spirits_, but only bodies and (undeveloped)
minds. All life on this planet would then form three great
groups--_vegetation_, consisting of matter alone; _animals_, of
matter and mind; _man_, of matter, mind, and spirit. And from this
it seems to follow that while a man's _body_ may (conceivably) have
been evolved from any other form of matter, and his _mind_ from any
other form of mind, yet his _spirit_ is essentially distinct, and
cannot have been evolved from anything else.

Moreover, as a man's body and mind are both (to some extent) under
the known control of his free will, or spirit, this latter must be
looked upon as his real _self_. Thus he is not, strictly speaking,
an organism at all, but a free being served by organs both of body
and mind. They are _his_; they do not constitute _him_. He is the
personal being, who controls both. In other words man _is_ a spirit,
and _has_ a body and mind.

And our present conclusion is quite plain. We have shown that man is
a _free_ being, his freedom distinguishing him from natural forces,
and making him in part supernatural. And he is a _responsible_
being, his responsibility being due to his known freedom, and
distinguishing him from animals. He has thus a unique position.
Nothing else on this planet resembles him, and in his attribute of
known freedom which enables him to design, and makes him a _personal
being_, he resembles God alone.




     Since God is a _Moral_ as well as a Personal Being, He must
      be capable of caring for all His creatures; and we have
      abundant evidence that He does so, especially for man.
      But there are two great difficulties.


     (1.) Some counter-arguments, showing that even if insignificant,
           God might still care for him.
     (2.) Man's real importance, due to his mind and spirit.
     (3.) The supposed inhabitants of other planets.


     (1.) Physical evil in animals. The objection that it is vast
           in amount, wholly unmerited, and perfectly useless,
           cannot be maintained.
     (2.) Physical evil in man. Several ways of lessening the
           difficulty. Its explanation seems to be that God's
           designing evil does not mean His desiring it, as it is
           essential for forming a man's character.
     (3.) Moral evil in man. The possibility of this is essential
           to free will; and wicked men are as necessary as any
           other form of evil.

     (_D._) CONCLUSION.

     God's _Goodness_ includes Beneficence and Righteousness.

Having discussed in the last chapter the character of man, we have
next to consider, as far as we have any means of doing so, _the
Character of God_; more especially whether He seems to take any
interest in man's welfare. And we will first examine the evidence in
favour of this; then the two arguments on the other side from the
insignificance of man, and the existence of evil; and will conclude
by considering in what sense the term _Goodness_ can be ascribed to


To begin with, God is certainly capable of taking an interest in
man's welfare, for He is not only a Personal Being, but also a Moral
Being. This follows at once from what may be called the _moral
argument_ for the Existence of God, or that depending on man's free
will. It is briefly this, that no combination of natural forces,
which are uniform and always act the same under the same
circumstances, can ever produce a _free_ force, able to act or not
as it likes. The idea seems inconceivable. If, then, man possesses
such a force, which we have already admitted, it cannot have come
from any natural forces, nor can it have made itself, so it must
have been derived from some _previous_ free force, and this, again,
from a previous one, and so on till we finally arrive at a _Free
Force_, which was _not_ derived from any other, but which existed
eternally. And this, it will be remembered, was precisely the
conclusion we reached in Chapter I., though from quite a different
argument. And then it follows that this Free Force, or Free Being,
must know that He is free; and must therefore be a _moral_ Being,
able to distinguish the quality of acts as right or wrong. Indeed,
the mere fact that man possesses this remarkable faculty makes it
certain that man's Maker must possess it too.

Now a personal and moral God must clearly be able to take an
interest in the welfare of His creatures; and there is abundant
evidence that He actually does so. For everywhere in nature, and
especially in man, we meet with marks, not only of design, but of
_beneficent_ design--that is to say of design tending to the welfare
and happiness of the beings in question. Take, for instance, the
human eye, which we considered in Chapter II. Everyone will admit
that this conduces very greatly to man's happiness; and therefore
the conclusion that God, when He designed the eye, did so with the
object of benefiting man seems irresistible. Nor is this altered by
the fact that the eye has a few defects, in being liable to various
kinds of disease. For no one can think that it was made for the sake
of these defects. It was evidently made to see, and not to ache.
That it does ache now and then is in all probability due to its
being such a complicated instrument; and perhaps also to its being
often used too much.

But it may be said, beneficial organs like the eye, though they
abound throughout nature, are not the only ones we meet with. There
are others, like the claws and teeth of wild animals, which are just
the opposite, and seem designed to give pain to other creatures. But
this is quite untenable. They were plainly designed to enable the
animal to secure its food, and are perhaps necessary for that
purpose, and they all tend to the welfare of their possessor, and
sometimes also to that of their victim, as it hastens death. There
is not, in fact, a single organ in nature the _object_ of which is
to produce pain. Where pain is produced it is merely a sort of
_by-product_. Thus far then, we are quite justified in concluding
that God takes an interest in man's welfare. But there are two great


The first is from the apparent _insignificance_ of man. For though
he is doubtless by far the most important being on this planet, and
endowed with some of the Divine attributes, yet, after all how
utterly insignificant he is in comparison with his Maker. This is no
new difficulty,[4] but modern science has increased its force by
showing that our earth is only one among the planets which go round
the sun, while the sun itself is only one among many millions of
stars. And, we may ask, is it likely that the God Who rules these
millions of stars should take any interest in the beings on a small
planet like our earth?

[Footnote 4: Ps. 8. 3, 4.]

This is the difficulty we have to face; but a good deal depends on
the way in which it is stated. Would it not be better to argue from
the known to the unknown, and ask--Is it likely that the God Who has
made this earth, and Who we know (from the marks of design) takes an
interest in its inhabitants, should be _also_ the Ruler of the
distant stars? And when so stated, the unity of nature compels us to
say that it is not only likely, but practically certain. However, we
will discuss the subject more in detail, first considering some
counter-arguments, which show that even if man were insignificant
God might still care for him; then man's real importance; and
lastly, the question of other planets being inhabited.

(1.) _Some Counter-arguments._

To begin with, though it seems unlikely that God should take any
interest in such insignificant beings as us men, it also seems
unlikely that He should ever have designed and created such beings.
Yet He has done so. And having created them, there is at most only a
slight _additional_ improbability, if any at all, that He should
take an interest in their welfare. And this is especially the case
when we remember that man is not only the highest and noblest being
on this planet, but as far as we know on any planet. Therefore
though we may be quite unworthy of God's care, we do not know of any
other being who is more worthy of it. And it is most unlikely that a
Creator would not take an interest in _any_ of His works.

Next, as to the analogy of nature. Here we find nothing resembling a
neglect of small things. On the contrary, everything, down to the
minutest insect, seems finished with as much perfection as if it
alone existed in the universe. And this is surely what we should
expect. For true greatness does not exist in despising that which is
small; and it may be a very part of God's infinite greatness that
nothing should be too small for Him to care about, just as nothing
is too large. And while a Being, Who can govern the universe, and
attend to its millions of stars, is no doubt great--inconceivably
great; yet He is surely greater still--_inconceivably greater_--if
He can _also_ attend to our little planet, and its inhabitants; and
can do this so thoroughly, as not only to take an interest in the
human race, but in the welfare of each one of its members.

And the whole analogy of nature is in favour of His doing so; for
the forces of nature never deal with matter in bulk, but with each
particle separately. A stone, for instance, is attracted to the
ground, because, and only because, each particle of it is so
attracted. In the same way if God takes an interest in the human
race (and, as just said, it is hard to imagine His not doing so,
since it is His noblest work) it may be because, and only because,
He takes an interest in each individual member of it.

Thirdly, the difficulty of thus believing that God takes an interest
in the daily life of an individual man, though undoubtedly great, is
really no more than that of believing that He knows about it. For if
He knows about it, why should He not care about it? Yet, as said in
Chapter II., a world like ours cannot have been made without both
knowledge, and foreknowledge, on the part of its Maker. And though
we might at first be inclined to limit this to important matters, a
little consideration will show that such a distinction is untenable;
and that if God knows anything, He knows everything. And if He knows
everything, why should He not care about everything?

Fourthly, and this is very important, whether we are insignificant
or not, we are each of us _unique_. We are not like particles of
matter. Millions of these are (or may be) exactly alike, but no two
_men_ are exactly alike; not even to the same extent as plants and
animals. For each man is a separate spirit, a _personal being_
distinct from all else in the world. And since he possesses a free
will, his character is also distinct; for this depends to a large
extent on how he uses his free will, what he says, and what he does,
day by day. So it is out of the question to think that any two men
are exactly alike. And this is the common belief of mankind, for
however much we may think other people alike, we each feel sure that
there is no one else in the world exactly like _ourselves_.

Nor can there be. For though God might, if He chose, make two trees
exactly alike, or two men exactly alike in their external features,
He could not make them alike _in their character_. For this, as just
said, depends on their own free use of their own free will; and if
God were to force them to decide in the same way, they would cease
to be free. And from this it follows that each man is not only
unique, but _irreplaceable_. No other can be made like him.
Therefore, as we each have something special about us, God may take
a _special_ interest in each of us. Doubtless such an idea seems
very wonderful; but no one who has any knowledge of the marvels of
nature will think it, on that account, incredible. Indeed, from one
point of view, it is only what we should expect. For we all know how
a naturalist will value a unique specimen, which cannot be replaced,
in spite of its having some defects. And if each man is really
_unique_, and _irreplaceable_, why may not the God of Nature value
him too (in spite of his faults), and take an interest in his

Then, fifthly, as to the discoveries of science, there is here also
a good deal to be said on the other side. For though the telescope
has shown us that our world is like a mere drop in the ocean, the
microscope has shown us a new world in each drop; and the
_infinitely little_, as it is called, is as wonderful as the
infinitely great, and man still occupies a sort of central position.

When, for instance, we examine a single organ, say the human eye, we
find that it consists of an immense number of parts, each of which
is seen to be more and more complicated the more we are able to
magnify it, and so on without apparently any limit. And this makes
it more than ever likely that the God, Who has shown such marvellous
skill in the various organs of a man's body, should care for the man
himself, the personal and moral being, who possesses these organs.
Nor is the argument weakened by the fact that the organs of animals
also show a wonderful amount of design, for as far as we know, in
their case, there is no personal and moral being to care about.

Again, science has not only shown us the _magnitude_ of the
universe, and that there are millions of stars, millions of miles
apart, but it has also shown us its _unity_, and that all its parts
are closely connected together. And certainly the idea that the God,
Who rules these stars, should take an interest in us men, is no
harder to believe than that the gases, which are burning in these
stars, should influence our spectroscopes. Yet they do; so if this
were all, it would still lessen the difficulty a good deal.

(2.) _Man's real importance._

But this is not all, for science has also taught us a great deal
about man himself, and his long development; which has a most
important bearing on the argument. For we now know that our earth
has existed for thousands of centuries, gradually evolving higher
and higher forms of life, all leading up to _man_, who is the heir
of all the ages, the inheritor of all that is useful and best in his
long line of ancestors.

And (what is very important) organic evolution seems obliged to stop
here. Man is not merely a link in a series leading on to still more
perfect beings, but he is the _end_ of the series. In all
probability there will never be a higher being on the earth, for the
causes which have produced his evolution thus far, can carry it no
further. When, for instance, man acquired an erect position, there
was an end to any further improvement in that respect. When he took
to wearing clothes, there was an end to the body becoming hardier
and stronger through exposure. When he took to using weapons and
inventing machinery, mere physical strength was no longer essential,
and could no longer be increased.

In short, when Evolution began to take a _mental_ turn, there was an
end to bodily development. Henceforth there was to be no evolution
of any higher being, but rather the gradual perfecting of this one
being, by mental and moral, and not physical improvements. Man is
thus not only the highest being that ever has been evolved, but, as
far as we can judge, the highest being that ever will be evolved on
this earth. So the vast scheme of evolution, inconceivable alike in
magnitude, in duration, and in complexity, is all seen to be one
plan, with _man_ apparently at the end of it. And consequently, as
everything was designed by God, he must have been the foreknown and
intended end, from the very beginning; the first thought in
creation, as well as the last.

And when we thus regard man as the goal towards which nature has all
along tended, and therefore as the _chief_ object which God--the
Author of Nature--had in view all the time, it seems to increase his
importance tenfold; and shows conclusively that in God's sight he
must be anything but insignificant.

Nor is it difficult to suggest a reason for this. For man, as we
know, has a _mind_, as well as a body; and though the discoveries of
science have in some respects lessened the importance of his _body_,
by showing its evolution from other animals; they have at the same
time increased that of his _mind_, for it is his mind that has
discovered them. And every fresh discovery man makes can only exalt
him still higher for making it; so that the mind of man now shows
him to be a far nobler being than could possibly have been imagined
some centuries ago. And certainly, a mind that can discover the
motions of distant stars, and the elements of which they are
composed, cannot be thought insignificant. In fact, in one respect
man is greater than any of the stars; for he can think about them,
but they cannot think about him.

Moreover, man has not only a mind, but also a _spirit_, or free
will, able to act right or wrong. And even his acting _wrong_,
however sad it may be in other respects, is a powerful witness to
his greatness; for who but a great being could act in opposition to
the will of the Almighty? But then; if his acting _wrong_ proves his
greatness, still more does his acting _right_. Indeed (if we were
not so far from it ourselves) we should probably see that moral
perfection, or _always_ acting right, though one might act wrong, is
the noblest thing in the whole universe; and as far above mental
greatness, as this latter is above mere physical strength.

But though _we_ cannot properly appreciate it, God can. He is
Himself a Spirit, and therefore, in His sight, a man possessing a
mind and spirit, and thus made to some extent in His own image, and
capable of developing moral perfection, may be of more value
(because more like Himself) than a universe of dead matter. In the
same way (to quote a well-known analogy) a king will value his child
more than his palace: for the simple reason that the child is more
like himself. Thus _persons_ are always more valuable than _things_.
And they are _incomparably_ more valuable, for they have nothing in
common by which they can be compared. We cannot class an astronomer
with his telescopes, or say that one geologist is worth so many
fossils, or one bricklayer so many bricks. And this being so, what
shall we say of the millions of men who have lived, and are now
living, on this earth? Surely _their_ welfare cannot be thought
insignificant by anyone, least of all by their Creator.

(3.) _The supposed inhabitants of other planets._

But it may be said, what about other planets? Are not some of these
inhabited, and does not this weaken the argument a good deal, and
show that God cannot take any special interest in man, or other
beings on this earth?

Now there is, of course, no reason why God should take any _special_
interest in the beings on this planet, more than in similar beings
on other planets, if such exist; but this is very doubtful. For
modern science has shown that not only are the same _materials_
found in the other planets (and also in the fixed stars) as are
found here; but that _natural laws_, such as those of gravity,
light, and heat, are the same throughout the entire universe. And
this makes it probable that the laws of life are also the same; so
that if living beings exist on other planets, we should expect them
to be somewhat similar to the living beings here; and to have been
evolved in a somewhat similar manner. And this requires that a large
number of favourable circumstances, such as a moderate temperature,
a suitable atmosphere, sufficient water, etc., should all be found
on some other planet, not only now, but during the long ages which
(judging by this earth) appear necessary for the development of the
higher forms of life; and this certainly seems unlikely.

On the other hand, it is difficult to believe that God would create
an immense number of suns or stars, many of which have probably
planets round them, if only one out of the whole series was to be
inhabited by personal beings. But however strange this may seem to
us, it entirely agrees with God's methods in nature, where what
seems to be needless waste is the universal rule. So this is not an
insuperable difficulty. The question, however, may well be left
open, for even if other planets are inhabited, there is no reason
why God should not take an interest--and perhaps a great
interest--in their inhabitants, as well as in ourselves; since all
His capacities are boundless, and even the smallest part of
_infinity_ may be very large.


We now come to the other, and perhaps more important,
difficulty--that arising from the _existence of evil_. This term in
its widest sense includes both _pain_, which affects a man's body;
_sorrow_, which affects his mind; and _sin_, which affects his
spirit. The two former may be called _physical evil_, and apply also
to animals; while the latter is _moral evil_, and applies only to
man. And as the world is full of pain, sorrow, and sin, one may
naturally ask how could it have been designed and created by a God
Who cares for the welfare of His creatures? Or, to put the objection
in other words, does not the existence of this evil show that God
either could not or would not prevent it? If He _could_ not, he is
not All-Powerful; if He _would_ not, He is not All-Good. This is an
undoubted difficulty; and we will examine it in detail, both as it
affects animals and men.

(1.) _Physical evil in animals._

The objection here is that animals of all kinds suffer a vast
_amount_ of pain and misery, which is wholly _unmerited_ and
perfectly _useless_; since, having no moral nature, they can neither
deserve pain nor profit by it. We will consider these points in

And first, as to the _amount_ which animals suffer. One animal does
not suffer more because a million suffer likewise, so we must
consider the suffering as it affects the individual, and not the
_total_ amount. And as to its extent we know but little. That
animals appear to suffer greatly, _e.g._, a mouse being caught by a
cat, is obvious; but how far they really suffer is doubtful, as
their feelings are probably far less sensitive than those of man; so
it is quite misleading to think what we should feel like in similar
circumstances. This is indeed evident when we reflect that suffering
is connected with the brain, as is shown by the fact that savages
suffer much less than civilised nations. And therefore we should
expect animals, whose mental development is far less advanced, to
suffer still less; while the lower forms of life we should not
expect to suffer at all.

And this is confirmed by observation, as several facts have been
noticed which almost force us to this conclusion. A crab, for
instance, will continue to eat, and apparently relish, a smaller
crab, while being itself slowly devoured by a larger one; and this
shows that the crab can feel scarcely any pain, since the almost
universal effect of pain is to destroy the pleasure of eating. And
many other instances are known.[5]

[Footnote 5: Transactions of Victoria Institute, vol. xxv., 1891, p.

Moreover, animals, except domestic ones which are partly trained and
civilised, appear to have no anticipation of suffering, and no power
of concentrating their thoughts upon it, which increases it so
greatly in man. And assuming, with reference to the above example,
that the mouse is not to live for ever, its being destroyed by a
cat is at most a very short misery, and perhaps involving altogether
less pain than if it died from disease or old age. Indeed few things
could be worse than for old and weak animals to be left to
themselves, and gradually die of starvation. And we must remember,
in a state of nature, with uncertain meals the cat would never
_play_ at capturing the mouse, thus giving it needless and repeated
sufferings, but it would kill it at once.

Then as to the so-called _struggle for existence_. It is nothing
like what is commonly supposed, as has been recognised by leading
naturalists. Thus _Darwin_ says:--'When we reflect on this struggle
we may console ourselves with the full belief that the war of nature
is not incessant, that no fear is felt, that death is generally
prompt, and that the vigorous, the healthy, and the happy survive
and multiply.' And _Wallace_ says:--'The popular idea of the
struggle for existence entailing misery and pain on the animal world
is the very reverse of the truth. What it really brings about is the
maximum of life, and of the enjoyment of life, with the minimum of
suffering and pain.'[6] On the whole, then, it seems probable that
pain among animals is far less than is commonly assumed, and in the
lower forms of life almost entirely absent.

[Footnote 6: C. Darwin. Origin of Species. 6th edit., 1888, p. 96.
A. R. Wallace. Darwinism, 1889, p. 40.]

Still it may be said, this only lessens the difficulty; for why
should animals suffer pain at all? As far as we can judge, it is
wholly _unmerited_, since, having no moral nature, and therefore no
responsibility, they cannot have done anything wrong to deserve it.
But then, the pleasure which they enjoy is also unmerited. The two
must in all fairness be taken together, and as a matter of fact,
animals seem to have a much greater amount of pleasure than of pain.
Their life (except when ill-treated by man) is, as a rule, one of
continual enjoyment, and probably, at any given moment, the number
of animals of any particular kind that are happy is incomparably
greater than those that are miserable. In short, health and
happiness is the rule, sickness and pain the exception.

Nor can it be said that pain is _useless_ to animals; for though
they have no moral nature to be improved, they have a physical
nature to be preserved and transmitted, and the sense of pain may be
essential for this. It is indeed a kind of sentry, warning them of
dangers, which might otherwise lead to their destruction. If for
example, animals felt no pain from excessive heat, they might not
escape when a forest was burning; or, if they felt no pain from
hunger, they might die of starvation. Thus pain is, in reality, a
_preservative of life_; and it is often not an evil at all; so no
part of this objection can be maintained.

(2.) _Physical evil in man._

We now pass on to the case of man. There is unfortunately no doubt
about the suffering which he endures. The struggling lives, the
painful diseases, the lingering deaths, not to mention accidents of
all kinds, are but too evident. And we may ask, would an Omnipotent
God, Who cared for man's welfare, have ever designed all this?

Now it is important to remember that a great deal of physical evil
originates in _moral_ evil, which will be considered later on. By
far the greater part of the pain and misery which men endure is
brought about by their own wickedness and folly, or by that of their
fellow-men. The recent war--worse in _extent_, though not worse in
kind, than all previous wars--has been a terrible example of this.
But it was man's doing, not God's; and man alone must be blamed for

In the next place, many of the so-called evils of life do not
involve any actual suffering. If for instance a man loses the sight
of one eye, he need not have any pain; and were he originally blind
the possession of even one eye would have been thought a priceless
blessing. Again, however great may be the sufferings of life, they
cannot be as great as its _joys_, since nearly everyone wishes to go
on living. While it is undeniable that human pain, like that of
animals, is most useful, serving to warn men of dangers and
diseases, which would otherwise lead to their destruction.

Moreover, in a material world like ours, if the forces of nature act
according to fixed laws, a certain amount of suffering seems
_inevitable_. If, for example, the force of gravity always acts as
it does, it will occasionally cause a tower to fall and injure
someone. Such an event could only be avoided by God's continually
interfering with these forces. But this would render all human life
a hopeless confusion. While, at present, owing to these forces being
invariable, a great deal of the evil which might otherwise result
from them can be foreseen and avoided. If, however, men will not
avoid it,--if, for instance, in spite of the numerous eruptions of
Vesuvius, they still choose to go and live on its slopes,--it is
hard to see how they can blame anyone but themselves. In the same
way, if a man chooses to sit on the safety valve of an engine, it is
his own fault if he gets blown up.

And even in other cases, when the evil cannot be foreseen, as in an
unexpected earthquake, it is at least open to doubt whether it is
any worse for a number of men to die like this, suddenly and
together, than that they should all die in the usual way, slowly,
one by one, and often after a long illness. It of course appeals
more to the imagination, but it probably involves less suffering.

Thus we may say that human suffering, excluding that due to man
himself, is by no means so great as it seems; that it is, as a rule,
more than counter-balanced by human happiness; and that a certain
amount seems not only useful, but in a world like ours inevitable.
But though all these considerations are undoubtedly true, and
undoubtedly lessen the difficulty, they do not remove it altogether.

The following appears to be the true explanation: that though God
foreknew all this suffering when He created the world, and in this
sense _designed_ it, He need not have _desired_ it, but may have
desired something else, for the attainment of which, this suffering
was a necessary condition. And this _something else_ must obviously
have been the training and perfecting of man's character; for which,
some kind of suffering seems essential.

For if there were no suffering in the world, there could be no
fortitude, no bravery, no patience, no compassion, no sympathy with
others, no self-sacrifice for their good--nothing, in fact, that
constitutes the highest type of man. In other words, a being such as
man, can only be made perfect through suffering. Therefore this
suffering implies no defect in God's design. It is a means, and, as
far as we can judge, the only possible means for developing the
highest and noblest character in man, such a character indeed as
alone makes him worthy of admiration. Moreover, a man's character
can only be formed by himself, it cannot be given him ready-made,
for then it would not be _his_ character at all; and it can only be
formed gradually, it cannot be done all at once. Therefore, if God
wishes a man to have the special character acquired by constantly
bearing suffering, it can only be obtained by constantly giving him
suffering to bear.

Here, then, we have the most probable explanation of the physical
evils which man endures. Their object is to develop and perfect his
character; and as this is a good object, and as it cannot be
obtained in any other way, they may well have been designed by a
good God.

(3.) _Moral evil in man._

But we now come to the most difficult part of the subject, the
existence of _moral evil_ in man. This, as before said, is the chief
cause of human misery, and might it not have been avoided? In other
words, could not all _sin_ have been excluded from the world? But
assuming man to be a _free being_, it could not have been avoided,
for freedom is always liable to abuse. Therefore, if God decided
that man was to be free in some cases to act right or wrong, it
necessarily follows that he may act wrong. No Omnipotence could
possibly alter this without destroying man's freedom. Hence, though
God designed all the moral evil in the world, He need not have
desired it, but (as before) may have desired some totally different
object, for the attainment of which, this evil was a necessary

Nor, again, is it difficult to suggest what this object may have
been. For unless man is a free being, he can be little better than a
machine--a correctly-behaved machine, no doubt, and one able to talk
and think, but still only a machine. And God may not have wished
that man, who is, as far as we know, His highest and noblest work,
should be only a machine. Indeed, the superiority of free men who
act right, though they might act wrong, to mere machines is obvious
to everyone; and it may far outweigh the disadvantage that some of
them should act wrong. Therefore, though we have to pay dearly for
freedom, it is well worth the price; and the _infinite value of
goodness_, as it is called, may justify, though nothing else could,
the risks involved in giving man a free will.

Nor is there anything unlikely in the Creator thus caring about the
conduct of His creatures. We certainly should not admire an earthly
ruler who regarded traitors to his cause, and his most faithful
adherents with the same indifference; or an earthly parent who did
not care whether his children obeyed him or not. Why, then, should
we think that God, Who has not only given us free will, but also a
conscience by which to know what is right (_i.e._, what is _His_
will), should yet be indifferent as to whether we do it or not?
Everything points the other way, that God, Who is a Moral Being, and
Who has made us moral beings also, wishes us to freely act right.
Therefore He allows us to act wrong, with all the misery it
involves, in order to render possible our thus freely choosing to
act right.

Or to put the argument in other words, a free being is far higher
than a being who is not free, and yet a free being cannot exist
without the possibility of his acting wrong. So, however strange the
conclusion appears, moral evil, or at least its possibility, is
essential to the universe, if it is to be worthy of its Creator, if,
that is, it is to contain beings of the highest order--_persons_ and
not _things_. Or, to put it still shorter, if God is good, it is
only natural that He should create beings capable of goodness, and
therefore of necessity capable of badness, for the two must go

And if it be still urged that, as God foreknew how men would use
their freedom, He need not have created those who would habitually
use it wrongly; in other words, there might be no _wicked men_ in
the world, the answer is obvious. Wicked men are as necessary as any
other form of evil to test a man's character, and to develop moral
perfection. For just as physical evil, pain, suffering, etc., can
alone render possible certain physical virtues, such as fortitude
and patience; so moral evil, or sin, can alone render possible
certain moral virtues.

If, for instance, there were no sin in the world there could be no
forbearance with the faults of others, no moral courage in standing
alone for an unpopular cause, no forgiveness of injuries, nor (what
is perhaps the highest of all virtues) any rendering good for evil.
These require not merely the possibility, but the actual existence
of sin, and they would all be unattainable if we had nothing but
physical evils to contend with, and there were only good men in the
world. The case then stands thus. Evil men are essential to an evil
world. An evil world is essential to proving a man's character.
Proving a man's character is essential to his freely choosing to
serve God; and his freely choosing to serve God seems essential to
his being such a servant as God would care to have.

One other point should be noticed before we conclude. It is that
with regard to the conduct of free beings, _foreknowing_ is not the
same as _foreordaining_. God may have foreknown how a man would use
or misuse his freedom, but without foreordaining or compelling him
to do either. In the same way, in human affairs it is possible in
some cases, and to some extent, to foreknow what a man will do, but
without in any way compelling him to do it. This is a most important
distinction, and we have no reason for thinking that God
foreordained any man to misuse his freedom, though He may have
foreknown that he would do so.[7]

[Footnote 7: Of course if God creates a man, _foreknowing_ how he
will act, He may, in a certain sense, be said to _foreordain_
it as well; compare Rom. 8. 29. "Whom He foreknew, He also


We may now sum up the argument in this chapter. We first showed that
God is not only able to take an interest in man's welfare; but that
the marks of beneficent design afford abundant evidence that He
actually does so. On the other hand, the so-called _insignificance
of man_ is more apparent than real, since his position at the end of
evolution shows his great importance; while his mind and spirit
fully account for this, and prove him to be an altogether unique
being, certainly in regard to this earth, and perhaps in regard to
the universe.

And as to the _existence of evil_, it is undeniable that God must
have foreknown all the evil in the world when He created it; and in
this sense He designed it. But He may also have foreknown that it is
only temporary, and that it will lead to a more than compensating
permanent good, which could not be obtained in any other way. For
the evils in this world need not be _ends_, but may be only _means_
to ends; and, for all we know, they may be the very best means for
obtaining the very best ends. Indeed, as before said, they seem to
be not only the best, but the only possible means for developing all
that is highest and noblest in man. We conclude, then, that though
God designed both the evil and the good in the world, He need not
have desired both: and there are indications in nature sufficient to
show that the good is what He desired, and the evil is only its
inevitable companion.

This conclusion is often expressed by saying that _Goodness_ is an
attribute of God; and the word may certainly be admitted. Indeed if
God is not _good_, He has made a being, in this respect, nobler than
Himself; since some men, in spite of their faults, are undoubtedly
good. But it is important to notice the sense in which the word is
used, and in which alone it is true.

By God's _goodness_, then, or by His taking an interest in man's
welfare, is not meant a mere universal beneficence, or wishing to
make everyone as happy as possible, without regard to his conduct.
The existence of evil seems fatal to such a theory as this. But
rather God wishes to promote man's welfare in the truest and best
way, not by giving him everything he likes, but by training and
developing his character. God is thus not only _beneficent_, but
_righteous_ also. And He therefore wishes man to be not only happy,
but righteous also. And He therefore of necessity (as a man cannot
be made righteous against his will) gives him _free_ will, with the
option of being unrighteous, and consequently unhappy. So this view
of God's character, combining beneficence with righteousness, not
only accounts for the marks of beneficent design all through nature,
but also for the existence of evil, especially moral evil, in man,
and seems the only way of reconciling them. In short, beneficence
and righteousness are both good, and the Goodness of God includes

Now if we admit that goodness is an attribute of God, the analogy
from His other attributes would show that He possesses it in its
highest perfection. He is thus a Being not only of infinite _Power_
and _Wisdom_, but also of perfect _Goodness_--the word 'perfect'
being obviously more suitable for a moral quality like goodness,
than 'infinite' would be. And it will be noticed that these three
great attributes of God correspond to the three chief arguments for
His existence. The first, or that from the universe requiring an
adequate Cause, proves an All-Powerful Creator; the second, or that
from its having been designed, proves that He is All-Wise; and the
third, or that from human nature, proves that He is All-Good. They
also correspond to some extent to the three aspects under which we
considered man's character in the last chapter; so we arrive at the
grand conclusion that God is physically _All-Powerful_, mentally
_All-Wise_, and morally _All-Good_.



     This depends chiefly on man's future destiny.


     By this is meant the personal immortality of man's spirit,
      and there are four chief arguments in its favour:

     (1.) From his unique position.
     (2.) From his unjust treatment.
     (3.) From his vast capabilities.
     (4.) From his inherent belief.
     (5.) Counter-arguments.


     (1.) From God's character; since He would be likely to
           benefit man.
     (2.) From man's character; since he desires it, and his
           unique position makes him not altogether unworthy
           of it.
     (3.) Two difficulties: a revelation is said to be unjust, if
           only given to certain men; and anyhow incredible
           unless quite convincing. But neither of these can
           be maintained.

We decided in the last two chapters that man is a free and
responsible being, and that God takes an interest in his welfare. We
now come to the subject of a _Revelation_, by which is meant any
superhuman knowledge directly imparted by God to man. And by
_superhuman_ knowledge is meant any knowledge which man could not
obtain for himself; such as God's object in creating him, His wishes
in regard to his conduct, or any past or future events of which he
would otherwise be ignorant. And that God could, if He chose, impart
such knowledge, either by visions, or dreams, or in some other way,
can scarcely be disputed. Nor will anyone affirm (least of all an
Agnostic) that we know enough about God to be quite sure that He
never would choose to do so. Therefore a revelation is certainly
_possible_; but is it at all _probable_? This is what we have to
examine. And as the answer to it will depend to a great extent on
man's future destiny, we will first consider the question of his
_Immortality_, and then the probability, or otherwise, of God's
making a _Revelation_ to him.


By this is meant the immortality of man's _spirit_. And if we admit
(as was admitted in Chapter IV.) that man is a compound being,
consisting of a free and partly supernatural spirit, his real
_self_, which controls his body and mind; what becomes of this
spirit at death? We know what becomes of the body: the various
molecules are arranged in other groups, and the natural forces are
changed into other natural forces. Nothing is lost or annihilated.
But what becomes of the spirit? If this is a free supernatural
force, the idea that it should perish altogether, when the
accompanying natural forces are re-arranged at death, is most
unlikely. Indeed the apparent indestructibility of matter points to
a corresponding immortality of spirit.

No doubt God could, _if He chose_, destroy either, just as He could
create either; but without some supernatural interference, the
creation or destruction of either seems incredible. Yet if a man's
spirit is not destroyed, it must survive; for it does not seem to
have any separate parts into which it can be split up like a man's
body. Therefore, as it cannot undergo the only kind of death of
which we have any knowledge (which is this re-arrangement of
separate parts), it may survive for ever. And there are four chief
arguments in favour of this personal immortality of man;--those
derived from his _unique position_; his _unjust treatment_; his
_vast capabilities_; and his _inherent belief_. We will consider
each in turn, and then see what can be said on the other side.

(1.) _From his unique position._

The first argument is from man's _unique position_, more especially
when we regard him as the last and noblest result of the vast scheme
of evolution, which has been in progress here for so many thousands
of years. For such a vast scheme, like everything else, requires not
only a _cause_, but a _purpose_; and however much evolution can
explain, it cannot explain itself. Why should there have been any
evolution at all? Why should a universe of dead matter have ever
produced life? There must have been some motive in all this, and
what adequate motive can be suggested?

We can only look for an answer in _man_, who is not only the highest
creature on this planet, but as far as we know on any planet; so
here if anywhere we must find the explanation. Evolution would then
have _God_ for its Cause, and _man_ for its purpose--an undoubtedly
adequate _Cause_, but is it an adequate _purpose_? For the human
race cannot exist for ever as it is. Everything points to this earth
sooner or later falling into the sun, when all forms of life must
cease. Therefore, if man is not immortal, the whole of evolution
which has led up to him as its final end will still have had no
_permanent_ result. And no result which is not permanent seems
altogether worthy of the Eternal God, the Author of this evolution.

But if, on the other hand, man is immortal; and if this earth, with
its strange mixture of good and evil, is a suitable place in which
to test and form his character; and if perhaps God wishes hereafter
to be surrounded by men who have stood the test, and have formed
their character in accordance with His Will; then it may lead to a
_permanent_ result. And then its creation would not be such a
hopeless mystery as on the opposite theory; for the perfecting of
immortal beings seems an object worthy even of God.

Thus if we deny the immortality of man, the whole of evolution
becomes meaningless, and nature is a riddle without a solution. But
if we admit it, there is at least the possibility of a satisfactory
answer. For then, as just said, nature is seen to be only _a means
to an end_--a temporary (though perhaps necessary) means to a
permanent end--the end being to produce _man_ (a free being), and
then to provide a suitable place for his moral training. And this
will enable him, if he wishes, from being a _free_ man, to become
also a _righteous_ man, that is, a man who acts right, though he
might act wrong, and thus to some extent worthy to share in his
Maker's immortality. And we must remember, man could not have been
created righteous, using the word in its strict sense. He might have
been created _perfect_ (like a machine), or _innocent_ (like a
child), but to be _righteous_ requires, as just said, his own
co-operation--his continually choosing to act right, though he might
act wrong. And this of necessity is a slow process, with some
failures. But the end aimed at is a permanent, and therefore perhaps
an adequate, end; and the present world seems exactly suited to
attain this end, as it affords a man boundless opportunities (every
day, if he likes to use them) of acting right, though he might act

We thus seem forced to the conclusion--however strange it may
appear--that the gradual training and perfecting of _man_ is the
only adequate explanation of the world, the real object of its long
evolution. Yet, if he is not _immortal_, this object can never be
attained, for no one reaches moral perfection here; while even if
they did, it would only last for a short time. And we may ask, is it
likely that such a vast scheme should end in failure, or at most in
only a temporary success? Is it not rather probable that if man is
the end of evolution, then God, the Author of evolution, must value
him; and if God values him, He is not likely to let him perish for
ever. In short (as it has been well put), such vast progress from
such small beginnings points to an end proportionately great, and
this involves the immortality of man. On the whole, then, we may say
in the words of Romanes, one of the great champions of evolution,
that 'only by means of this theory of probation is it possible to
give any meaning to the world, _i.e._, any _raison d'être_ of human

[Footnote 8: Thoughts on Religion, 1895, p. 142.]

(2.) _From his unjust treatment._

The second argument is from man's _unjust treatment_ in this world.
For as we saw in the last chapter, God is a Moral Being, able to
distinguish right from wrong; and, as far as we can judge, He is One
Who will always act right Himself. Yet His treatment of men in this
world seems most unjust. Wicked men are allowed to prosper by their
wickedness, good men suffer unjustly, while some men's lives seem to
be nothing but suffering; and how is this to be accounted for?

There is here again one, and only one, satisfactory explanation,
which is that this life is not the whole of man's existence, but
only a preparation for a _future life_--a short trial for a long
hereafter. And, looked at from this point of view, the most
apparently miserable lives may afford as valuable training, perhaps
more so, than the outwardly happy ones. The temptation to
dishonesty, for example, can be as well resisted by a poor man who
is only tempted to steal sixpence, as by a rich man who is tempted
to embezzle a thousand pounds.

And if resisting such a temptation helps to form a man's character,
as it certainly does, and hence, perhaps, to fit him for a better
life hereafter, this can be as well done in the one case as in the
other. And the same principle applies universally; even a child has
his temptations, which are very real _to the child_, though they may
seem ridiculous to us. So if this life is intended as a time of
probation in which to form a man's character, we cannot imagine a
better system or one more admirably adapted to the end in view. And
we must remember a man's _character_ is the thing most worth
forming, since (as far as we can judge) it is his only _permanent_
possession. All else will be surrendered at death, but his character
will last as long as the man himself, and hence perhaps for ever.

Nor is this all, for these trials and sufferings themselves may be
the very means of adding to man's future happiness. The joy of
having resisted temptation, for instance, would be impossible if men
were never tempted; and the joy of rescuing others from suffering
and sin, and thus perhaps making everlasting friendships, would be
impossible if there were no suffering, and no sin. And the same
applies in other cases. So man's probation in this life, with its
incessant battle against evil, may (for all we know) increase his
future happiness in a way which nothing else could possibly do, and
to an extent of which we can form no conception. No pain or
suffering, then, can be looked upon as useless, and no position in
this world as one to be despised; in short, to anyone who believes
in a future state, life is always worth living. And we may be sure
that in a future state every injustice will be made good, and all
wrongs will be righted.

(3.) _From his vast capabilities._

The third argument is from man's _vast capabilities_. For he does
not seem adapted to this life only, but has aspirations and longings
far beyond it. His powers seem capable of continual and almost
endless development. Nearly all men wish for immortality. This life
does not seem to satisfy them entirely. For instance, men,
especially scientific men, have a longing after knowledge which can
never be fully realised in this world. A man's capacities are thus
out of all proportion to his destiny, if this life is all; and to
many it seems improbable that the Creator should have endowed men
with such needless and useless capacities.

And this is strongly confirmed by the analogy of nature. For
example, a bird in an egg shows rudimentary organs which cannot be
used as long as it remains in the egg; and this of itself is a proof
that it is intended some day to leave the egg. On the other hand, a
full-grown bird seems to be entirely adapted to its present state,
and not to have any longing after, or capacity for, any higher
state; therefore we may infer that no higher state is intended for
it. And by the same reasoning we may infer that some higher state is
intended for man, as his mental and spiritual nature is not entirely
satisfied by his present life. In short, all animals seem made for
this world alone, and man is the only unsatisfied being in the

Moreover, the period of preparation in a man's life seems out of all
proportion to the time prepared for, if death ends all. The
development in a man's moral character often continues till nearly
the close of his life. His character has then reached maturity. But
for what is it matured? Surely not for immediate destruction. Must
not the wise Creator, Who designed everything else with such
marvellous skill, have intended something better for His noblest
creatures than mere boundless capabilities, unsatisfied longings,
and a lifelong preparation all for nothing?

(4.) _From his inherent belief._

The fourth argument is from man's _belief_ in immortality. For such
a belief has existed among men in nearly every age and country,
learned and ignorant, civilised and uncivilised. It was implied by
the pre-historic men who buried food and weapons with their dead,
and it was maintained by such philosophers as Socrates and Plato,
and how are we to account for it? It cannot have arisen from
experience; and the attempts to explain it as due to the desire
which men have for immortality, or to someone occasionally dreaming
that he sees a departed friend, are quite inadequate. Desire is not
conviction, and dreams are notoriously untrustworthy. They might
account for an individual here and there entertaining this belief,
but not for mankind always and everywhere doing so; especially in
face of the apparent contradiction afforded by every grave.

The belief, then, seems intuitive, and an inherent part of human
nature; and we may ask, is it likely that God should have implanted
such a strange belief in man if it were erroneous?

These, then, are the four great arguments in favour of man's
immortality--those derived from his unique position; his unjust
treatment; his vast capabilities; and his inherent belief. And with
the doubtful exception of the second, not one of them applies to
animals; so the common objection, that if man is immortal, animals
must be so too, is quite untenable.

(5.) _Counter-arguments._

On the other hand, the great and only important argument _against_
man's immortality is that his spirit seems to be inseparably
connected with his body. As far as we can judge, it is born with the
body; it often inherits the moral character of its parents, just as
the body inherits bodily diseases; it certainly develops and matures
with the body; and in most cases it seems to gradually decay with
the body; therefore it is inferred the two perish together.

But this does not follow; since, as said in Chapter IV., it is not
the _same_ body (in the sense of the same material particles) with
which the spirit is united, even in this life. It is united to a
continually changing body, yet it always survives. So it is not
unlikely that it may survive the still greater change at death.
Moreover, it is united to the body as its _master_, not its servant.
It is, as already shown, a _free_ spirit; and it decides to a great
extent what the body shall say, and what it shall do. It thus uses
the body as a means, or instrument, by which to act in the outer
world; and therefore, of course, when the instrument gets out of
order, its actions will become confused, but without implying that
the spirit itself is so. In the same way, if we shut up a clerk in a
telegraph office, as soon as his instruments get out of order, the
messages he sends, which are his only means of communicating with
the outer world, will become confused, and finally cease, but
without implying that there is anything wrong with the clerk

And this is confirmed by the fact that instances are known in which
a man's intellect and will have remained quite vigorous all through
a mortal sickness, and up to the very moment of death; so the
gradual decay of the body does not necessarily involve that of the
mind and spirit. While in states which somewhat resemble death,
when, for instance, the body is fast asleep, or rendered unconscious
by an accident, the mind and spirit are often peculiarly active, as
in dreams. Therefore, when the body is really dead, the spirit may
(for all we know) not only survive, but be endowed with still
greater powers.

On the whole, then, this is not an insuperable difficulty; while the
previous arguments render the idea of a future life _distinctly
probable_. And this has, of course, a most important bearing on our
next question; indeed, it is scarcely too much to say that the
probability of a revelation depends on that of a future life. For if
death ends all, man's existence is so short that a revelation can
scarcely be thought probable; but if he is to live for ever, the
case is very different.


Now (assuming man to be immortal) a revelation, from whichever side
we regard it, appears to be somewhat _probable_. For God is a Being,
Who seems likely to make a revelation; and man is a being exactly
fitted to receive one; so we will consider these points first, and
then the chief difficulties.

(1.) _From God's character._

Now we have already shown that God takes an interest in man's
welfare, being not only beneficent, but _righteous_; and that He
apparently wishes to train and develop man's character, so that he
may be righteous also. And from this we may infer that if a
revelation would benefit man, and thus _help_ him to be righteous
also, it would not be improbable for God to make one. And that the
knowledge given by a revelation might influence him in this way
cannot be denied; for, as a matter of fact, such knowledge, either
real or pretended, has had precisely this effect on millions of men.

We may also infer from God's methods in nature, which are those of
slow development, that if He made a revelation at all it would be
done _gradually_. At first it would be very simple, and such as
could be transmitted orally. Then when man acquired the art of
writing, and could thus hand it on accurately, a more definite
revelation might be given. And this again might become more and more
perfect, as man himself became more perfect. We obviously do not
know enough to speak with confidence, but still God's character, so
far as we can judge of it, seems to be in favour of His making some
revelation--and that a _progressive_ revelation--to man.

(2.) _From man's character._

Passing on now to man's character, we find that he has been given a
nature exactly fitted to receive a revelation. For religion of some
kind is, and always has been, practically universal; and nearly all
important religions have rested on real or pretended revelations
from God, and have been accepted in consequence. In other words the
nature of man has everywhere led him to seek for, demand, and, if
need be, imagine a revelation from God. Nor is this in any way
surprising, for a thoughtful man cannot help _wishing_ to know why
he is placed in this world; why he is given free will; how he is
meant to use his freedom; and what future, if any, is in store for
him hereafter: in short, what was God's object in creating him. It
seems of all knowledge to be the highest, the noblest, the most
worth knowing.

And therefore as this result of man's nature was not only brought
about by God, but must have been foreknown, and intended by Him, it
is not improbable that He should satisfy it; especially as it cannot
be satisfied in any other way, for the knowledge being superhuman,
is out of man's own reach. And it may be added, the more we realise
this, and feel that God is _Unknowable_, in the sense that we can
gain no satisfactory knowledge about Him by human science and
reasoning, so much the more likely does it seem that He should give
us such knowledge by revelation.

And all this is strengthened when we consider man's _unique
position_ to which we have already alluded. For if we admit that the
creation and perfecting of man is the chief object the Creator had
in view for so many thousands of years, it does not seem unlikely
that He might wish to hold some communication with him. In fact, as
the whole of nature shows design or purpose; and as man occupies a
special place in nature; we may fairly conclude that God has some
special purpose in regard to man, and, for all we know, He may have
something special to tell him about it.

We conclude then that man's character, and the unique position he
occupies on this earth, is a strong argument in favour of his
receiving some revelation from God.

(3.) _Two difficulties._

But now for the other side. There are two chief difficulties. The
first is on the ground of _injustice_; since any revelation, it is
said, would imply a partiality to the men or nation to whom it was
given, and would therefore be unjust to the rest of mankind. But
this is quite untenable, for God's other benefits are not bestowed
impartially. On the contrary, pleasure and pain, good and evil, are
never equally distributed in this world. What seems to be partiality
and favouritism is the rule everywhere, and this without any
apparent merit on the part of the men concerned. Moreover, the
advantages of a revelation may not concern this world only. And all
who believe in a future life are convinced of God's justice, and
that men will only be judged according to the knowledge of His Will
which they possessed, or might have possessed had they chosen, and
not according to any higher standard which was out of their reach.

The other and more important difficulty is, that if God gave a
revelation at all, it would be absolutely _convincing_. Everything
that God does He does well; and we cannot, it is urged, imagine His
making a revelation to man, and yet doing it so imperfectly as to
leave men in doubt as to whether He had done it or not. For this
would imply that He either could not, or would not, make the
evidence sufficient to ensure conviction, neither of which is

Now, though all this seems very probable, a moment's reflection will
show that it is not conclusive; for exactly the same may be said in
regard to the whole of Natural Religion. Is it likely, for instance,
that God should create free and responsible men, and yet give them
such insufficient evidence about it, that while many are fully
convinced, others deny not only their own freedom and responsibility,
but even the existence of the God Who made them? Yet He has done so.
Therefore there is nothing improbable in the evidence for a revelation,
if one were given, being of a similar character.

Indeed, there is much to be said in favour of its being so, since in
most other matters man is left a free choice. He is often able to
find out how he ought to think and how he ought to act, but he is
not forced to do either. And God may have wished that the same rule
should be followed in regard to a revelation, and that man should be
left free to believe it or not, just as he is left free to act on it
or not, if he does believe it, and just as he is left free to choose
right or wrong in other cases. Therefore we cannot say that no
revelation can come from God unless the evidence for it is
overwhelming. It would doubtless be sufficient to convince a man if
he took the trouble to examine it carefully; only it need not be
such as to compel conviction. What kind of evidence we may expect
will be considered in the next chapter.

Neither of these difficulties, then, is at all serious; and we are
forced back to the conclusion that, provided man is immortal, a
revelation seems for several reasons to be somewhat probable. To put
it shortly, if God is good and really cares for man's welfare, it
seems unlikely that He should withhold from him that knowledge which
is the highest, the noblest, and the most longed for;--the knowledge
of Himself. While, if man is a free and immortal being, occupying a
unique position in the world, and intended to live for ever, it
seems unlikely that he should be told nothing, and therefore know
nothing, as to why he was created, or what is his future destiny.
Thus when we consider both God's character and man's character, it
seems on the whole to be somewhat _probable_, that God would make a
revelation to man; telling him how he ought to use his freedom in
this world, and possibly what future is in store for him hereafter.



A Divine messenger would probably have credentials.


     These include superhuman _knowledge_, afterwards verified
      (such as prophecy), and superhuman _coincidences_; and
      there is nothing incredible in either.

     (_B._) SUPERNATURAL SIGNS, or Miracles.

     These are 'marvels specially worked by God as signs to
      confirm a revelation.' This definition is threefold, referring
      to their outward appearance, cause, and purpose.

     (1.) _Miracles as marvels_: though they seem to be contrary
           to experience, they are not really so, for we have no
           experience of the proper kind to refer to.
     (2.) _Miracles as special works of God_: they only interfere
           with the uniformity of nature in the same way that
           human works interfere with it.
     (3.) _Miracles as signs_: there is nothing to show that they
           are inconsistent with God's Character.

We decided in the last chapter that it was somewhat probable for God
to make a revelation to man, that is to say, to certain men, for
them to make known to others. And if so, it is also probable that
these men would have some means of showing that the knowledge had
come from God and not from themselves. In other words, if God sends
a message to man, it is probable that the messenger would have
_credentials_. And this is especially so when we remember that men
have often appeared in the world's history who professed to have a
revelation from God, and have misled mankind in consequence. Is it
not probable, then, that if God really did give a revelation, He
would take care that His true messengers should have credentials
which would distinguish them from all the others?

These credentials, then, or _signs_, must plainly be such as could
not be imitated by man; and must therefore of necessity be
_superhuman_, if not _supernatural_. So we may divide them into
these two classes; and we have now to consider whether they are
_credible_. By this is meant something more than merely possible;
for the possibility of such signs follows at once from the existence
of God. But are they credible? is there, that is, at least a slight
chance that they would occur?


These include, to begin with, superhuman _knowledge_, which can be
afterwards verified, such as _prophecy_. And there is no difficulty
here, provided we admit a revelation at all. The only possible
objection refers to prophecies regarding human conduct; which it may
be said would interfere with man's freedom. But this is only part of
the more general objection that any foreknowledge on God's part
would interfere with man's freedom, which we have already considered
in Chapter II.; and there is no special difficulty in regard to
prophecies. In every case, as said before, God merely foreknows the
use man will make of his freedom. Therefore the event will not occur
_because_ it was foretold, but rather it was foretold because God
knew that it would occur.

Superhuman _coincidences_ form another, and very important class of
superhuman signs. In these a man's acts or sayings are confirmed by
natural events _coinciding_ with them in a remarkable manner. For
example, suppose a prophet claimed to have a revelation from God;
and, as a proof of this, invited the people to witness a sacrifice
on a cloudless day. He then killed an animal, and placed it on an
altar of stones, but put no fire under it, and even threw water over
it. Suddenly, however, a thunderstorm arose, and the sacrifice was
struck by lightning. Now the thunderstorm might have arisen and the
lightning might have struck on that particular spot, in strict
accordance with natural laws. Yet the _coincidence_ of this
occurring just when and where the prophet wanted it, would tend
strongly to show that God, Who must have foreknown and designed the
coincidence, meant to confirm what the prophet said.

Or, to put the argument in other words, the lightning would seem to
have struck the sacrifice _on purpose_; and therefore such events
have been popularly described as _natural forces acting rationally_.
Of course, as a rule, the forces of nature do not act rationally. A
falling meteorite, for instance, does not go a yard out of its way
to kill anyone, or to spare him. Man, on the other hand, does act
rationally. His acts are directed for a purpose, and thus show
design. And, in the events we are considering, the forces of nature
seem also to act with a purpose; and this makes it probable that
the Author of these forces was really acting with this purpose. In
short, the events seem to have been not only _superhuman_, but
_designed_ coincidences. And they present no difficulty whatever
from a scientific point of view, as they are part of the ordinary
course of nature.

Of course, the value of such coincidences varies greatly according
to whether the event is of a usual or unusual character. In the
latter case, more especially if the event is very unusual or the
coincidence very striking, they are popularly called miracles. And
they may have considerable value, though there is always a slight
chance of the agreement being, as we might say, accidental.


We pass on now to supernatural signs or _Miracles_ in the strict
sense; which we will define as _marvels specially worked by God as
signs to confirm a revelation_. This definition has, of course, been
chosen so as to suit the miracles recorded in the Bible, and it is
really threefold. In the first place, a miracle is described as to
its outward _appearance_. It is a marvel--that is to say, a strange
and unusual event, which we cannot account for, and which thus
attracts attention. Secondly, it is described as to its _cause_.
This marvel is said to have been specially worked by God--that is to
say, by some action on His part different from His usual action in
nature. While, lastly, it is described as to its _purpose_; it is a
marvel worked by God as a sign to confirm a revelation.

The first of these aspects is expressed in the Old Testament by the
word _wonder_, the second by such phrases as God's _mighty hand_ or
_outstretched arm_, and the third by the word _sign_; all these
terms being often used together. While in the New Testament the
words used are _wonders_, _mighty works_, and _signs_, which again
exactly correspond to these three aspects of the miracles. And it
should be noticed these aspects are not chosen merely to suit the
present argument, since other events can and ought to be looked at
in the same way, not as mere facts, but also with reference to their
alleged cause and purpose. And to show the great importance of this,
we will consider an event from modern history; and select the
well-known example of the Mont Cenis Tunnel.

Suppose, then, that anyone heard of this as a _marvel_ only, the
cause and purpose being left out of account. Suppose, that is, he
heard that a small straight cavity of uniform size, and several
miles long, had been formed under a range of mountains; and that it
had begun as two cavities, one from each end, which after years of
growth, had exactly met in the middle. He would at once pronounce
the event incredible, for the cavity is quite unlike all natural

But now suppose the next point, as to its _cause_, to be introduced.
It is said to be something more than a natural cavity, and to be the
work of man. All previous difficulties would now vanish, but fresh
ones would arise. For numbers of men must have worked together for
years to excavate such a cavity, and from what we know of human
nature, men will only do this for commercial or profitable ends, and
not for boring useless holes through mountains; so the event is
still practically incredible.

But now suppose the last point of _purpose_ to be introduced. It is
said that this is not a mere useless hole bored through a mountain;
but a hole bored for a particular purpose; it is, in fact, a railway
tunnel. Then all difficulties would disappear. Of course, whether we
believe the tunnel was actually made depends upon what evidence we
have; but it is clear that when we consider the _cause_ by which,
and the _purpose_ for which, it is said to have been made, there is
nothing incredible about it.

Now a similar method must be adopted in regard to miracles. They
must not be regarded simply as _marvels_, but as marvels said to
have been brought about by an adequate _cause_, and for a sufficient
_purpose_. And it is just these elements of cause and purpose which
may make the marvels credible. We will consider these points in

(1.) _Miracles as marvels._

The first aspect of miracles is that of marvels. As such, they are
events which seem to be _contrary to our experience_--contrary, that
is, to what our experience of apparently similar events would lead
us to expect. Suppose, for instance, it were stated that on one
occasion three men were thrown into a furnace, but instead of being
burnt to death they walked about, and in a few minutes came out
alive and unhurt.

Such a marvel would be contrary to our experience, and that it would
be therefore _very improbable_ is obvious. But is this improbability
sufficient in all cases to make the event incredible, no matter
what testimony there may be in its favour? Hume's argument that it
is sufficient is well known. He says we can only judge of the
probability of anything, whether it be the occurrence of an event,
or the truthfulness of the narrator, by _experience_. And as it is
contrary to experience for miracles to be true, but not contrary to
experience for testimony to be false, the balance of probability
must always be against the miracle.

But of course this reasoning, if true, must apply to all alleged
events which are contrary to experience; and yet such events have
occurred by the thousand. Let us take a single example. Everyone has
had some experience as to how far it is possible to hear the human
voice distinctly, and till the last half century, the limit has
always been fixed at a few hundred yards. Now, suppose anyone were
told for the first time that it was possible to speak right across
England, he would justly say that it was utterly contrary to
experience. No one, he would think, could possibly speak loud enough
to be heard even twenty miles away. But ought he to add that it was
therefore incredible?

From this it is clear that there must be some flaw in Hume's
argument; and it is easily discovered. For the argument regards the
event only as a marvel, and _without reference to its cause_. But we
have no right to leave this out of account, nor do we in ordinary
affairs. When anyone first hears of a marvel, he does not merely
compare it with his previous experience, and then come to a
decision; in which case, as Hume supposes, it might be always
against the marvel. But he first inquires how this strange event is
said to have been brought about. For if any cause is stated to have
been at work as to the influence of which he knows nothing, then he
has no experience of the proper kind to appeal to. There is the
testimony in favour of the event as before; and if he disbelieves
it, he does so, not because it is contrary to his experience, but
because he thinks the supposed cause either did not exist, or would
not have had the effect asserted.

A reference to the previous example will make this quite plain. When
the man first heard of persons talking across England, instead of at
once declaring it incredible, he would, if a reasonable man, inquire
as to the _cause_ of this. He would then be told that a wire was
stretched across England with an instrument called a telephone at
each end. Now, as to the possibility or adequacy of such a
contrivance he might doubt a good deal; but one thing would be quite
clear, that this was a case to which his experience, however large,
did not apply.

Here, then, is the explanation of Hume's argument. So long as a
marvel, contrary to experience, is regarded _only_ as a marvel, the
probability must be always against its truth. But if we inquire as
to how it was brought about, and find that some _cause_ is said to
have been at work, as to the influence of which we are ignorant,
then the argument is no longer applicable. We have simply no
experience of the proper kind to appeal to.

Now this is precisely the case with regard to miracles. As marvels
they seem contrary to experience; but they claim to have a special
_cause_, to be specially worked by God--that is to say, by some
action on His part different from His usual action in nature; and of
the influence of this cause we have no experience whatever. We may,
of course, deny its existence or doubt its adequacy; but the
argument, that the event is contrary to experience, vanishes.

It is clear then that the fact of miracles appearing to be contrary
to experience is no reason for disbelieving _them_, though it might
be a reason for disbelieving other alleged marvels, because they
claim to have a special cause, by which to account for this special
character. We have now to examine whether this special cause really
existed--that is to say, we pass on to the second aspect of the
miracles; our conclusion thus far being that they are credible as
_marvels_, if it be credible that they were _specially worked by

(2.) _Miracles as special works of God._

Now, any special action on God's part is often thought to present
great difficulties, as interfering with the uniformity of nature.
But, as we shall see, it would only interfere with it in the same
way that human action interferes with it. Neither of them violates
the laws of nature, though both are able to bring about results
which nature of itself could not have brought about.

In the case of human action this is quite obvious. Suppose, for
example, a clock with an iron pendulum is placed on a table and
keeps perfect time. Suddenly, without anyone touching it, it begins
to gain rapidly, and then, after a short time, goes on as before.
To anyone unacquainted with the cause, this would appear a _marvel_:
and might even be thought incredible, as (assuming the clock to be
properly constructed) it would seem to imply some alteration in the
laws of motion, or the force of gravity. Yet we know a man can
easily produce such a marvel by holding a magnet under the table.
The disturbing cause, it will be noticed, was not really the magnet,
which always acts according to law; nor the hand which held it; but
the action of the _human will_ on matter. This took place in the
man's brain, and enabled him to move first his hand, and then the
magnet. Thus we may say the marvel was produced by _natural means
supernaturally applied_; for the magnet was undoubtedly a natural
means, yet nature of itself would never have used it in the way
described. It required something _above_ nature (something
_super_-natural) and this was the free will of man.

Now, miracles claim to have been produced in a somewhat similar,
though to us unknown, manner by the action of God's Will on matter,
that is to say, by natural means supernaturally applied; and, if so,
they are certainly credible, under this head. For we know that God
has the power of acting on matter, and that He used it once in
creating the universe, so He might use it again if He thought fit.

Moreover, God's knowledge of the laws of nature is complete, while
man's is only partial. As, then, man, with his limited power over
nature and partial knowledge of its laws, can produce marvels so
unlike nature's ordinary course (a steam engine, for instance), yet
without violating any of its laws; still more can God, Who has
complete power over nature, and complete knowledge of its laws. For
to deny this would be to deny to God the power which we concede to
man; and which we must remember, God Himself has given to man. And
this would lead to the strange conclusion that God has enabled man
to do what He cannot do Himself. No doubt we cannot imagine _how_
God can exert His Will over matter, but neither can we imagine how
we can do it ourselves. The difficulty is as great in the one case
as in the other.

From this it is clear that miracles need not violate natural laws.
And though at first one might be inclined to dispute this with
regard to particular miracles; the statement is quite correct,
provided we make due allowance for our own ignorance. Take, for
example, the supposed case of the men in the furnace. We certainly
do not know how their bodies were kept cool, but we cannot say it
was impossible. For extreme heat, and even _extreme_ cold, may be
very close together, as is shown by the well-known experiment of
freezing mercury inside a red-hot crucible. As a mere marvel this is
quite as wonderful as the men in the furnace; and an ignorant man
would probably pronounce both to be equally incredible.

Or, to take another example, suppose it were said that on one
occasion a few loaves of bread were miraculously increased so as to
feed some thousands of persons: could we say that this must have
violated natural laws? Certainly not, for bread is composed of
carbon, and other elements, which were in abundance all round. And
though we only know one way of forming them into bread, which is by
means of a living plant, we cannot say that this is the only method.
Indeed, there is nothing incredible in substances like bread being
made artificially some day. Of course in all marvels produced by
_man_, we know the special cause at work, but this does not justify
us in saying that in a miracle, merely because we do not know it,
the laws of nature must be violated.

Moreover there is much to be said in favour of what is usually
called God's _immanence_ in nature, but which would perhaps be
better described as _nature's immanence in God_.[9] This means that
all natural forces are due to the present and immediate action of
God's Will; and if it is correct, it greatly lessens the difficulty
as to miracles. For then there would be no interference with nature
at all, leave alone violating its laws, God would be working there
all the time, only in a miracle He would not be working in exactly
the same way as in ordinary events.

[Footnote 9: Acts 17. 28; Col. 1. 17.]

But in any case there is, as we have shown, nothing incredible in
the way in which miracles are said to be _caused_, provided it is
credible that God should wish to use His power over nature in the
assumed manner; for natural forces are anyhow His servants, not His
masters. And this brings us to the third aspect of the miracles; for
whether God would wish to act in a certain way depends of course on
what _purpose_ He had in doing so.

(3.) _Miracles as signs._

Now the purpose for which miracles are said to be worked is as
_signs to confirm a revelation_. Therefore, since we have already
shown that it is somewhat probable that God would make a revelation,
we have now only to inquire whether miracles are suitable means for
confirming it. And they appear to be the most suitable means
possible; for they would both attract men's attention to the
revelation, and also convince them of its superhuman character;
which are precisely the two points required.

It may still be objected, however, that God's character, as shown by
nature, is _Unchangeable_; and therefore it is most improbable that
He would at times act in a special manner with regard to natural
events. And the more nature is studied the stronger does this
objection appear; since there are thousands of cases, such as storms
and earthquakes, when it seems to us that a slight interference with
nature would be most beneficial to man, yet it never occurs. Or the
objection may be otherwise expressed by saying that a miracle would
reflect on either the Wisdom or the Power of God; since, if
All-Wise, He would have foreseen the occasion, and if All-Powerful,
He would have provided for it; so any subsequent interference with
nature is something like having to remedy a fault.

This is no doubt the most serious objection to miracles, but it is
by no means insuperable. For, to begin with, God is a _Free Being_,
Who does not always act the same (Chapter I.). And when we turn to
the only other free being we know of, which is man himself, what do
we find? A man may, as a rule, act uniformly, yet on some special
occasion, and for some special reason, he may, and often does, act
differently; and why should not God do the same? Indeed the only
changelessness in a man which we could admire, would be that of
_moral character_, always and invariably acting right. And for all
we know the changelessness of God may be only of such a kind, and
this certainly would not prevent Him from acting in some special
manner, in order to obtain some special purpose.

Secondly, in the case before us, it is even probable that He would
do so, since the chief object of the miracles could not have been
obtained by the ordinary course of nature, though their immediate
effects might have been. For example, instead of healing men
miraculously, they might be healed naturally; but then there would
be no evidence that the healer was sent by God, and was speaking in
His name. In short, the messenger would be without _credentials_;
and, as we have already shown, this seems unlikely.

Thirdly, though miracles do not show God's changelessness in the
same manner as the unchanging course of nature, they are
not inconsistent with it. For no one supposes them to be
_after-thoughts_ with God, but to have been planned from the very
beginning. And if God always intended to make a revelation to man,
and always intended that when He did so, He would confirm it by
miracles, they would involve no inconsistency or change on His part.

Fourthly, there may be some _other_ attributes of God which miracles
show, and which the ordinary course of nature does not; such as His
superiority over nature itself on the one hand, and the interest He
takes in man on the other. One object of a revelation might be to
convince man that though God was the Ruler of the Universe, He yet
cared for man's happiness and valued his affections. And how could
such a revelation _as this_, be better confirmed than by an
(apparent) interference with nature for the benefit of man. For this
would show, as nothing else could show, both that there was a Being
_above_ nature, and that He cared for man _more_ than He cared for

And it entirely agrees with what we decided in the last chapter,
that the whole of nature seems to be only a means to an end, the end
being the moral training of man, enabling, that is, a free man to
become a _righteous_ man. And if so, it is out of the question to
think that _in order to further this end_--the very end for which
nature itself exists--God might not, if He thought fit, interfere
with the course of nature. We may therefore answer the objection in
one sentence, God is _All-Good_, as well as All-Wise, and
All-Powerful; and His Goodness might induce Him to use miracles,
though by His Wisdom and Power He might have dispensed with them.

We may now sum up the present argument. We showed that miracles are
credible both as _marvels_ and as _special works of God_, if it be
credible that they were brought about as _signs to confirm a
revelation_. And we have now shown that, supposing God to make a
revelation, which we have already admitted, there is nothing
inconsistent with His character as far as we know it, and therefore
nothing in the slightest degree incredible, in His using such signs,
as one of the means of confirming its truth. On the whole, then, we
conclude that a Miraculous Revelation is certainly _credible_.
Whether one has ever been made will be discussed in the following







     (1.) Its pure Monotheism; admittedly true.
     (2.) Its seven days need not be taken literally.
     (3.) Its gradual development; admittedly true.


     (1.) The earliest state of the earth.
     (2.) Light.
     (3.) The Firmament.
     (4.) Dry Land.
     (5.) Vegetation.
     (6.) The Sun and Moon.
     (7.) Fishes and Birds.
     (8.) Land Animals.
     (9.) Man.

     (_C._) CONCLUSION.

     The accuracy of the narrative points to its having been
      Divinely revealed.

Having decided in the previous chapters on the Existence of God, and
that it was credible that He might make a miraculous Revelation to
man; we pass on now to the _Jewish Religion_, which (as well as the
Christian) actually claims to be such a Revelation.

And the first argument we have to consider in its favour is that
afforded by the opening chapter of Genesis. It is urged that this
account of the Creation must have been _Divinely revealed_, since
it contains a substantially correct account of events which could
not have been otherwise known at the time. What then we have to
examine is, whether this narrative is nearer the truth, as we now
know it from geology and other sciences, than could have been the
case, if written by a man ignorant of these sciences. And the
ancient narratives of Babylonia, India, Persia, and elsewhere, show
how far from the truth mere human conjecture on such a subject is
likely to be.

While if we admit a revelation at all, there is nothing improbable
in some account of the creation of the world having been revealed to
man very early in his history, and being accurately preserved by the
Jews, while only distorted versions of it occur among other nations.
Indeed considering the common custom among ancient nations of
worshipping the heavenly bodies, animals, etc., no subject could
have been more suited for a first revelation than the statement in
simple language that all these were created by one supreme God. We
will now consider the _general principles_ of the narrative, and
then its _detailed order_.


The most important of these are its pure Monotheism, its seven days,
and its gradual development, each of which we will notice in turn.

(1.) _Its pure Monotheism._

This alone renders it almost, if not quite, unique among similar
narratives. According to the writer, the whole universe, including
sun, moon, and stars, was all due to _one_ God. And this is obvious
enough now, but it was not so when the narrative was written. For
other ancient accounts are either _Pantheistic_, and confuse God
with the universe; or _Dualistic_, and assume two eternal principles
of good and evil; or _Polytheistic_, and make the universe the work
of several gods. The Jewish writer, on the other hand, has kept
clear of all these theories; and he is admittedly right and all the
others wrong.

(2.) _Its seven days._

Next as to the seven days. Now it is generally assumed, doubtless
from their being referred to in the Fourth Commandment, that the
writer intended these _days_ to be ordinary days of twenty-four
hours each, but this is at least doubtful. For ordinary days depend
on the _sun_, and would therefore have been impossible before the
formation of the sun on the _fourth_ day; as the writer himself
implies, when he says that the division of time into days and years
was due to the sun.

Then there is the difficulty as to the _seventh_ day, when God
rested from all His work. This, it will be remembered had no close,
or _evening_, and it is implied that it has continued ever since.
For if God only rested for twenty-four hours, and then set to work
again it would not have been a rest from _all_ His work. But in this
case, the seventh day would represent a long period of time, and if
so the other days would probably do the same. Moreover the writer,
or compiler, of this very narrative, after describing the creation
in six days, says it all occurred in _one_ day,[10] so he could
scarcely have thought the days to be literal.

[Footnote 10: Gen. 2. 4.]

There are thus great difficulties from the narrative itself in
taking the word _day_ in its ordinary sense; and it seems better to
consider it (like so many terms in the Bible) as a human analogy
applied to God. Then God's _days_ must be understood in the same way
as God's _eyes_ or God's _hands_; and this removes all difficulties.

None of these terms are of course literally true, but they represent
the truth _to man_ in such a way that he can to some extent
understand it. For example, the phrase that God gained the victory
_by His own right hand_ clearly means that He gained it not with the
assistance of others, or with the help of weapons, but simply by His
own unaided inherent strength. It was such a victory as might _in a
man_ be described as gained by his own right hand. And the same may
be said of the passage, _The eyes of the Lord are over the
righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers_, and many
others which occur in the Bible. The terms hands, eyes, and ears,
when applied to God, are thus human analogies, which must not be
taken literally.

And in one passage at least the word _day_ is used in a similar
sense; for we read "Hast thou eyes of flesh or seest thou as man
seeth? Are thy days as the days of man, or thy years as man's
days?"[11] Here it will be noticed _days_ and _years_ are applied to
God in precisely the same manner as _eyes_ and _seeing_.

[Footnote 11: Job 10. 4, 5.]

Moreover similar terms occur all through the present narrative. Even
the simple words _God said_ cannot be taken literally, for there was
no one to speak to. They must be meant in the sense that God
_thought_, or that God _willed_. And we have no more right to
suppose the days to be literal days than to suppose that God
literally spoke. What we are to suppose in the one case is that
God--the Almighty One, for whom nothing is too hard--created all
things in such a way as might _to man_ be best represented by a
simple word of command. And what we are to suppose in the other
case, is that God--the Eternal One, to whom a thousand years are but
as yesterday--created all things in such periods of time as might
_to man_ be best represented by six days. Vast as the universe was,
man was to regard it as being to God no more than a week's work to
himself. In short, the time of creation, however long in itself, was
utterly insignificant in its relation to God; to _Him_ each stage
was a mere day.

And this it may be added, is not a purely modern theory, made to
reconcile the narrative with science; for the Greek Jew, Philo, born
about B.C. 20, who knew nothing of geology, ridicules the idea of
the days of Genesis being literal, or representing any definite
periods of time.[12]

[Footnote 12: Works of Philo Judæus, First book of Allegories of the
Sacred Laws, Yonge's translation, 1854, vol. i., p. 52.]

(3.) _Its gradual development._

Next, it must be noticed that, according to Genesis, God did not
create a perfect world all at once, but slowly built it up step by
step. At first the earth was waste and void, and only after it had
passed through several stages did it become fully inhabited.
Moreover, at every step (with two exceptions, the firmament and
man, noticed later on), God examined the work and pronounced it
_good_. He seems thus to have discerned a beauty and excellence in
each stage; though it was not till the close of the whole work that
He was completely satisfied, and pronounced it all _very_ good.

And the narrative appears to be quite correct. For geology shows
that the formation of the earth, with its various inhabitants, was a
_gradual_ process, not accomplished all at once, but slowly step by
step, through successive ages. And it also shows that these ages
were of such magnitude and importance that we cannot regard them as
mere preparations for man's coming, but as having a beauty and
excellence of their own, so that they well deserved to be called
_good_. But we may ask, how did the writer of Genesis know all this?

And then as to the way in which this development was brought about.
According to Genesis, each stage was due to what we may call a
_Special Divine force_, represented by a word of command from God.
And this also seems correct, for we cannot otherwise account for the
first appearance of the various groups, such as plants, animals, and
men. It is not disputed that these various stages may have been
evolved from the previous ones, _e.g._, the living from the
not-living, which the narrative itself suggests in the words, _Let
the earth put forth grass_; and also at its close, when it speaks of
_the generations_ of the heaven and of the earth; which implies some
kind of organic descent, or evolution. Indeed the common expression
that God _made_, is probably used in the sense of _evolved_; since
the same word is employed in ver. II of fruit-trees _making_ fruit
(translated _bearing_ or _yielding_ fruit); yet we know they do not
_make_ fruit suddenly out of nothing, but slowly produce it.

What is disputed is, that this evolution took place merely under the
influence of natural development, and without the additional
influence of a new Divine force. And considering that all attempts
to effect a similar transition _now_ have failed completely, it is
not unreasonable to suppose that there was some other and special
Cause at work _then_. Nor is it easy to see how some of the changes
could have been otherwise produced. Take, for instance, this very
subject of the origin of life. As far as we know, the only natural
mode in which life can begin is from a living parent, yet there was
a time when there were no living parents on this earth. How, then,
could it have originated, except by some process other than natural,
_i.e._, supernatural? Or, again, to take another instance, when the
first _free being_, whether animal or man, appeared on this planet,
a force totally different from all natural forces was introduced,
and one which could not have been derived from them alone.

And then there is another, and very interesting point, to notice. It
is that according to Genesis, these steps were not all of equal
importance. For while it describes most of them by the word _made_,
which, as just said, seems to mean here _evolved_; on three
occasions, and only three, it uses the word _create_. These refer to
the origin of the _universe_, of _animal life_ (fishes and birds),
and of _man_. And this is very significant, when we remember that
these correspond to the beginning of _matter_, _mind_, and
_spirit_; and are therefore (as said in Chapter IV.) just the three
places where something altogether _new_ was introduced; which could
not, as far as we can see, have been evolved from anything else. And
this double method of producing, partly by _creating_, and partly by
_making_ or evolving, is again referred to at the close of the
narrative, where we read that God rested from all His work, which He
had _created and made_. So much for the general _principles_ of the
narrative, we pass on now to its detailed _order_.


It will be remembered that in Genesis, after describing the earliest
state of the earth, there are eight stages in its development; two
of which occurred on the third, and two on the sixth, day. We have
thus altogether nine subjects to examine.

(1.) _The earliest state of the earth._

Now according to Genesis, the earth was at first _waste and void_
and in _darkness_, and apparently surrounded by _the waters_. And if
we adopt the usual nebula theory, and refer this to the first period
after it became a separate planet, and had cooled so as not to give
out any light itself, these statements seem quite correct. For we
know from geology that the earth was then waste and void as far as
any form of life was concerned, while it was probably surrounded by
a dense mass of clouds and vapours sufficient to produce darkness.
Genesis then starts from the right starting-point, but again we must
ask, how did the writer know this?

(2.) _Light._

The first step in the development of the earth was, we are told, the
introduction of _light_. That this is what Genesis means seems
plain, for the _light_ must refer to the _darkness_ of the previous
verse, and that referred to the _earth_. As to whether light
previously existed in other parts of the universe, Genesis says
nothing, it is only concerned with this earth. And in the
development of this earth, _light_ (which in nature always includes
_heat_) must obviously have come first. For on it depend the changes
in temperature, which lead to the formation of winds, clouds, and
rain; while it also supplies the physical power that is necessary
for the life of plants and animals; so in placing _light_ as the
first step, Genesis is certainly correct. Of course, the _source_ of
light at this early period was the remainder of the nebula from
which our planet was thrown off. It was thus spread over an immense
space, instead of being concentrated like that of our present sun;
and probably only reached the earth through a partial clearing of
the clouds just alluded to.

(3.) _The firmament._

The next step was separating the waters _above_ (_i.e._, these dense
clouds) from the waters _below_ which are stated to be the seas (v.
9-10) and forming between them a firmament or _expanse_ (see
margin), that is to say, the _air_. The idea that the writer thought
this expanse meant a solid plane holding up the waters above
(because it is perhaps derived from a word meaning firm or solid) is
scarcely tenable. For the firmament was called _heaven_, and the
upper waters, above this _heaven_, must mean the sources from which
the _rain_ usually comes, since it is called _rain from heaven_.[13]
And these sources are easily seen to be _clouds_; and no one could
have thought that a _solid_ firmament was between the clouds, and
the seas.

[Footnote 13: Deut. 11. 11.]

Moreover this same word _heaven_ (though used in various senses) is
translated _air_ later on in this very narrative when it speaks of
fowls of the _air_ (verses 26-28, 30). And it also occurs in other
passages, in some of which it cannot possibly mean anything but the
air, _e.g._, 'any winged fowl that flieth in the _heaven_,' and 'the
way of an eagle in the _air_,'[14] which is an additional reason for
thinking that it means the air here.

[Footnote 14: Deut. 4. 17; Prov. 30. 19.]

And the omission, before noticed, to say that God saw that the
firmament was _good_, is quite natural, if this means only the air,
_i.e._, the space between the clouds and the seas; just as an
artist, though he might examine his pictures to see that they were
_good_, would not examine the spaces between them. But it is
difficult to account for, if it means a _solid_ firmament, which
would seem to require God's approval like everything else.

On the other side, we have the expression about opening the
_windows_ of heaven when it rained at the time of the Flood,[15]
which is sometimes thought to imply openings in a solid firmament.
But it need not be taken literally, any more than that about the
_doors_ of the sea;[16] especially as in another place the _heavens
dropping water_ is explained as meaning that the clouds dropped
it.[17] And since God promised that in future when a _cloud_ was
seen it should not cause another _flood_,[18] it is clear that the
flood was thought to have come from the clouds, and not from any
openings in a solid reservoir in the sky.

[Footnote 15: Gen. 7. 11; 2 Kings 7. 2; Mal. 3. 10.]

[Footnote 16: Job 38. 8-11.]

[Footnote 17: Judges 5. 4 (R.V.).]

[Footnote 18: Gen. 9. 14.]

There is also the passage about the sun and moon being _set in the
firmament_. But the writer cannot have meant they were _fastened_ to
the firmament, since the moon keeps changing its position relatively
to the sun, just as a rainbow often does in regard to the cloud in
which it is also said to be _set_.[19] Of course their being in the
firmament at all, is not correct if this means only the air. But the
word may be used here in a wider sense, like the English word
_heaven_, to include both the air, and the space beyond. For we
speak of the clouds of heaven, and the stars of heaven, and in
neither case with any idea of their being _heaved up_, which is said
to be the literal meaning of the word. And in its primary sense, as
we have shown, the firmament or _expanse_ between the upper and
lower waters (the clouds and the seas) must mean the _air_. And the
order in which this is placed after light, and before plants and
animals is obviously correct.

[Footnote 19: Gen. 9. 13.]

(4.) _Dry land._

We now come to an important point, the appearance of _dry land_.
According to Genesis, there was not always dry land on the earth;
the whole of it was originally covered by the waters. And science
shows that this was probably the case; the earth being at first
surrounded by watery vapours, which gradually condensed and formed a
kind of universal ocean. And then, when the surface became
irregular, through its contracting and crumpling up, the water would
collect in the hollows, forming seas, and dry land would appear
elsewhere. But how was it possible for the writer of Genesis to know
all this? There is nothing in the present aspect of nature to
suggest that there was once a time when there was no _dry land_; and
if it was a guess on his part, it was, to say the least, a very
remarkable one.

(5.) _Vegetation._

We next come to vegetation; and it is placed in exactly its right
position. For it requires four things: _soil_, _air_, _water_, and
_light_ including heat; and these were the four things which then
existed. The narrative, it will be noticed, speaks of three groups,
_grass_, _herbs_, and _fruit-trees_; and it seems to imply that they
appeared at the same time. But since its general plan is that of a
series of events, the other view, that they appeared successively,
is at least tenable.

There is, however, this difficulty. None of these groups were
complete before the following periods. Some plants, for instance
(including both herbs and fruit-trees), appeared long after the
commencement of fishes and birds, and similarly some fishes and
birds after the commencement of land-animals. But the difficulty is
due to the fact that the classes _overlap_ to a large extent. And
the order given in Genesis is nearer the truth than any other would
be. Had the writer, for example, placed them plants, animals, birds,
fishes; he would have been quite wrong. As it is, by placing them
plants, fishes, birds, animals, he is as near the truth as he can
be, if classes which really overlap have to be arranged in a
consecutive narrative.

(6.) _The sun and moon._

We next come to the formation (that is the _making_, or evolving) of
the sun and moon. The stars are also mentioned, but it is not said
that they were made on the fourth day, and they are not alluded to
in the opening command. Now, this alleged formation of the sun
_after_ that of light is certainly the most striking point in the
narrative, and was long thought to be a difficulty. But science has
now shown that it is correct. However strange we may think it, light
did undoubtedly exist long before the sun. In other words, the
original nebula of our solar system was luminous, and lighted the
earth, long before it contracted into a body with a definite
outline, and producing such an intense and concentrated light, as
could be called a sun. And since the earth would cool much quicker
than the large nebula from which it was thrown off, vegetation might
commence here before the nebula had become a sun, though this latter
point is doubtful.

Two objections have now to be noticed. The first refers to the
_moon_, which must have been thrown off from the earth long before
the dry land and vegetation appeared; and being so small, would have
consolidated sooner. But when considered only as _lights_, as they
are in the narrative, it is quite correct to place the moon with
the sun; since moonlight is merely reflected sunlight, and must
obviously have commenced at the same time. The other objection is,
that according to Genesis, the earth seems to be the centre of
everything, and even the sun exists solely for the sake of lighting
the earth. But (as before pointed out) the narrative is only
concerned with this earth; and while we know that sunlight is of use
to the inhabitants of our planet, we do not know that it serves any
other useful purpose.

These, however, are but minor matters; the important point, as
before said, is that Genesis places the formation of the sun _after_
that of light. This must have appeared when it was written, and for
thousands of years afterwards, an obvious absurdity, since everyone
could see that the sun was the source of light. We now know that it
is correct. But how could the writer have known it, unless it had
been divinely revealed?

(7.) _Fishes and birds._

We next come to fishes and birds, which formed the commencement of
animal life, and thus involved the beginning of _mind_ in some form;
so Genesis (as before said) appropriately uses the word _create_ in
regard to them. It is not clear whether the narrative means that
they appeared at the same time, or successively, though here, as in
other cases, the latter is the more probable. And science entirely
agrees in thus placing fishes before birds and both of these after
plants. This latter point indeed must be obvious to every
naturalist, since the food of all animals is derived, either
directly or indirectly, from the vegetable world.

And Genesis is equally correct in emphasising the great abundance of
_marine_ life at this period--the waters were to _swarm with swarms
of living creatures_ (R.V. Margin), and also in specially alluding
to the great _sea-monsters_ (wrongly translated _whales_ in A.V.),
since these huge saurians were a striking feature of the time. The
Hebrew word is said to mean _elongated_ or stretched-out creatures,
and as several of them were over 50 feet long, no more suitable term
can be imagined. But again we must ask how did the writer know that
such creatures were ever plentiful enough, or important enough, to
deserve this special mention?

What are called _invertebrate_ animals, such as insects, and
shell-fish, do not seem to be included in the narrative. But it
never claims to describe everything that was created; and its
extreme brevity, combined with the insignificance of these
creatures, may well account for their being omitted.

(8.) _Land animals._

We next come to land animals, which we are told the earth was to
_bring forth_. As however it is said in the next verse that God
_made_ (or evolved) these creatures, this need not mean that they
were produced directly from the earth, as in the case of plants. And
the position in which they are placed, after fishes and birds and
before man, is again correct. It is true that a few animals such as
kangaroos, seem to have appeared as early as birds, but land animals
as a whole undoubtedly succeeded them. Three classes are mentioned,
_beasts of the earth_, _cattle_, and _creeping things_, probably
small animals, since another Hebrew word is used for them, later
on, which is said elsewhere to include weasels and mice.[20]

[Footnote 20: Gen. 7. 21; Lev. 11. 29.]

(9.) _Man._

Last of all we come to the creation of man. Four points have to be
noticed here. The first refers to the _time_ of man's appearance,
which everyone now admits was not till towards the close of the
Tertiary or most recent group of strata; so Genesis is quite correct
in placing him last of all. As to the actual date, it says nothing;
for its chronology only leads back to the creation of _Adam_ in
chapter 2, and not to that of the _human race_ (male and female) in
chapter 1. And it is implied in several places, that there were men
before Adam[21] and this was in consequence maintained by some
writers long before geology was thought of.[22] We need not
therefore discuss the difficulties connected with the story of Adam
and Eve, as to which the present writer has never seen a
satisfactory explanation.

[Footnote 21: Gen. 4. 13-17, 26; 6. 2-4.]

[Footnote 22: _E.g._, Peyreyrius, A.D. 1655, quoted in the Speaker's

Secondly, the creation of man is represented as of an altogether
_higher order_, than any of the previous ones, since God did not
say, "Let the earth bring forth a thinking animal" or anything of
that kind, but '_Let us make man_.' And this also is quite correct,
for man, as we know (Chapter IV.) has a _free will_, which makes him
a personal being, and therefore far above everything else on this

And when we consider the vast possibilities, involved in the
creation of such a being,--able to act right or wrong, and
therefore able, if he wishes, to act in opposition to the will of
his Maker, thus bringing sin into the world with all its consequent
miseries,--it seems only suitable that such a momentous step should
have been taken with apparent deliberation and in a manner different
from all the others.

And it explains why no such expression as _after its kind_, which is
so frequently used of plants and animals, is ever applied to man;
for he is not one of a kind in the same sense. Each man is _unique_,
a separate personal being, distinct from all else in the world, and
not (like a tree for instance) merely one example of a certain way
in which molecules may be grouped.

It also explains why man (unlike plants, animals, etc.) is not said
to have been created _good_. For goodness in a free being must
include moral goodness, or _righteousness_; and, as explained in
Chapter VI., man could not have been _created_ righteous. He might
have been created _perfect_, like a machine, or _innocent_, like a
child, but to be _righteous_ requires his own co-operation, his
freely choosing to act right, though he might act wrong. No doubt he
was made in a condition perfectly suited for the _exercise_ of his
free choice; but this seems included in God's final approval of the
whole creation that it was all _very good_.

Thirdly we are told that man (and man alone) was created _in the
image of God_. And once more the narrative is quite correct; for
that which distinguishes man from the rest of creation is his _free
will_, to which we have just alluded. And that which distinguishes
God's action from all natural forces is also His _freedom_,
(Chapter I.). So it is perfectly true to say that man was created
_in the image of God_, since the special attribute which separates
him from all else on this planet is precisely the attribute of God

And here we may notice in passing, that though God intended man to
be both in His image and _likeness_; He only created him in His
_image_ (vv. 26, 27). And the reason is probably that while image
means resemblance in _nature_ (possessing free will, etc.), likeness
means resemblance in _character_[23] (always acting right).
Therefore, of course, though God wished man to be both in His image
and likeness, He could only create him in His _image_; the other
point, that of _likeness_ in character, depending (as just said) on
the free will of the man himself.

[Footnote 23: The Hebrew word appears to be sometimes used in this
sense. _E.g._, Ps. 58. 4; Isa. 13. 4. In one brief reference in Gen.
5. 1-2, when speaking of Adam, _likeness_ is used where we should
have expected _image_; though even here it is not said that man was
_created_ in God's likeness, but merely that he was so _made_.]

The fourth, and last point is that though the writer assigns to man
this unique position, he does not give him, as we might have
expected, a _day_ to himself, but _connects him with land animals_,
as both appearing on the sixth day. And this also seems correct, for
in spite of his immense superiority, man, in his physical nature, is
closely connected with animals. Therefore the writer appropriately
uses both words, _made_ and _created_, in regard to him. The former
shows that in one respect (as to his body) he was evolved like the
rest of nature; the latter, that in another respect (as to his
spirit) he was essentially distinct.


We have now discussed the narrative at some length, and (omitting
details) it shows three great periods of life. Each of these has a
leading characteristic; that of the third day being vegetation; that
of the fifth day fishes and birds, special mention being made of
great sea-monsters; and that of the sixth day land animals, and at
its close man. And though these groups _overlap_ to a large extent,
yet speaking broadly, the three periods in Geology have much the
same characteristics. The Primary is distinguished by its vegetation
(_e.g._, the coal beds); the Secondary by its saurians, or great
sea-monsters; and the Tertiary by its land animals, and at its close
(now often called the Quaternary) by man. The harmony between the
two is, to say the least, remarkable.

And the theory of Evolution which like geology, was unknown when the
narrative was written, also supports it, as has been admitted by
some of its leading exponents. Thus Romanes once said, and as if the
fact was undisputed, 'The order in which the flora and fauna are
said, by the Mosaic account, to have appeared upon the earth
corresponds with that which the theory of Evolution requires, and
the evidence of geology proves.'[24] We decide, then, that the order
of creation, as given in Genesis, is in most cases certainly, and in
all cases probably, correct.

[Footnote 24: _Nature_, 11th August, 1881.]

And this is plainly of the utmost importance, for the points of
agreement between Genesis and science are far too many, and far too
unlikely to be due to accident. They are far too many; for the
chance against eight events being put down in their correct order by
guesswork is 40,319 to 1. And they are far too unlikely; for what
could have induced an ignorant man to say that light came before the
sun, or that the earth once existed without any dry land?

Moreover, the general principles of the narrative, especially its
pure Monotheism and its gradual development, are very strongly in
its favour. And so are some individual points, such as the idea of
creation, in its strict sense, being limited to matter, mind, and
spirit. While our admiration for it is still further increased by
its extreme conciseness and simplicity. Seldom, indeed, has such a
mass of information been condensed into as few lines; and seldom has
such a difficult subject been treated so accurately yet in such
simple and popular language.

Now what conclusion can be drawn from all this? There seem to be
only two alternatives: either the writer, whoever he was, knew as
much about science as we do, or else the knowledge was revealed to
him by God. And if we admit a revelation at all, the latter
certainly seems the less improbable. And this, it may be added, was
the opinion of the great geologist Dana, who said (after carefully
considering the subject) that the coincidences between the
narrative, and the history of the earth as derived from nature, were
such as to imply its Divine origin.[25] We therefore conclude that
this account of the creation was _Divinely revealed_.

[Footnote 25: Bibliotheca Sacra, April, 1885, p. 224.]



Importance of the Pentateuch, as the only record of the origin of
the Jewish Religion.


     These are very strongly in favour of its early date;

     (1.) In the history of Joseph.
     (2.) In the history of Moses.
     (3.) In the laws and addresses.

     (_B._) ITS LAWS.

     These are also in favour of its early date:

     (1.) The subjects dealt with.
     (2.) Their connection with the history.
     (3.) Their wording.


     There are four chief arguments in favour of this, but they
      are not at all convincing:

     (1.) The language of the Pentateuch.
     (2.) Its composite character.
     (3.) Its laws being unknown in later times.
     (4.) The finding of Deuteronomy.

     (_D._) CONCLUSION.

     The Pentateuch was probably written, as it claims to be,
      by Moses; and we must therefore admit the miracles
      of the Exodus.

We pass on now to the _origin_ of the Jewish Religion--that is to
say, the events connected with the Exodus from Egypt. And as the
only account we have of these is contained in the _Pentateuch_, we
must examine this book carefully. Is it a trustworthy, and, on the
whole, accurate account of the events which it records? And this
depends chiefly on its _date_. Is it a _contemporary_ document,
written by, or in the time of, Moses? And modern discoveries have at
least shown that it may be so. For Egypt was then in such a
civilised state, that it is practically certain that Moses, and the
other leaders of Israel, could have written had they chosen. And as
they somehow or other brought the people out of Egypt, it is
extremely probable that they would have recorded it. But did they,
and do we possess this record in the Pentateuch?

This is the question we have to decide; and we will first consider
the _Egyptian references_ in the Pentateuch, and then its _Laws_,
both of which are very strongly in favour of an early date. Then we
will see what can be said for the opposite theory, or that of a
_late-date_; and lastly, the _conclusion_ to be drawn from admitting
its genuineness.


Now a considerable part of the Pentateuch deals with Egyptian
matters, and it appears to be written with correct details
throughout. This would of course be only natural in a contemporary
writer living in Egypt, but would be most unlikely for a late writer
in Canaan. The question is therefore of great importance in deciding
on the date of the book; so we will first consider these _Egyptian
references_ (as they are called) in the history of Joseph, then in
that of Moses, and then in the laws and addresses. They cannot of
course be properly appreciated without some knowledge of ancient
Egypt, but they are far too important to be omitted. It is
disappointing to have to add that the evidence is almost entirely
indirect, but up to the present no reference to either Joseph, or
Moses, has been found on the Egyptian monuments, and none to the
Israelites themselves that are at all conclusive.

(1.) _In the history of Joseph._

To begin with, there are three cases where it is sometimes said that
the writer seems _not_ to have been a contemporary, since Egyptian
customs are there explained, as if unknown to the reader. These are
their eating at different tables from the Hebrews, their dislike of
shepherds, and their habit of embalming.[26] But the inference from
the first two is extremely doubtful; though that from the third is
rather in favour of a late date. There is not, however, a single
word here (or anywhere else) which is _incorrect_ for Egypt, or
which shows that the writer himself was unaware of its customs.

[Footnote 26: Gen. 43. 32; 46. 34; 50. 3.]

On the other hand, there is abundant evidence in favour of a
contemporary date. The Pharaoh is generally thought to be Apepi II.,
who belonged to a _foreign_ dynasty of Shepherd Kings, probably
Asiatic tribes like the Israelites themselves. And this will explain
the evident surprise felt by the writer that one of his chief
officers should be an _Egyptian_, which seems so puzzling to the
ordinary reader.[27] It will also account for Joseph and his
brethren being so well received, and for their telling him so
candidly That they were _shepherds_, though they knew that
shepherds were hated by the Egyptians. Had the Pharaoh himself been
an Egyptian, this was hardly the way to secure his favour.

[Footnote 27: Gen. 39. 1.]

We will now consider a single chapter in detail, and select Gen. 41;
nearly every incident in which shows a knowledge of ancient Egypt:

     Ver. 1. To begin with, the words _Pharaoh_ and _the river_
     (_i.e._, the Nile), though they are the proper Egyptian names,
     seem to have been adopted in Hebrew, and occur all through the
     Old Testament; so they afford no indication of date.

     2-4. The _dreams_, however, are peculiarly Egyptian. Cattle
     along the river bank, and feeding on the _reed-grass_ (an
     Egyptian word for an Egyptian plant), was a common sight in
     that country, but must have been almost unknown in Canaan. And
     their coming up _out of the river_ was specially suitable, as
     they represented the years of plenty and famine, which in Egypt
     depend entirely on the rise of the Nile.

     5-7. In the same way wheat with _several ears_ is known to have
     been produced in Egypt; but is nowhere mentioned as grown in

     8. Moreover, we know that the Pharaohs attached great
     importance to dreams, and used to consult their _magicians_ and
     _wise men_ when in doubt; both these classes being often
     mentioned--and mentioned together--on the monuments.

     9-12. We also know that there were officials corresponding to
     the _chief butler_ and the _chief baker_. And a reference has
     even been found to the curious custom of the former giving the
     King _fresh grape-juice_, squeezed into a cup (Gen. 40. 11),
     which is not likely to have been known to anyone out of Egypt.

     13. And hanging the chief baker evidently means, from Gen. 40.
     19, hanging up the dead body, after he had been _beheaded_;
     which latter was an Egyptian, and not a Jewish, punishment.

     14. Next we are told, that when Joseph was hurriedly sent for
     by Pharaoh, he yet stopped to _shave_. And this was only
     natural, as the upper class of Egyptians always shaved; but it
     would scarcely have occurred to anyone in Canaan, as the
     Israelites always wore beards.[28]

     [Footnote 28: 2 Sam. 10. 5.]

     35. So again the custom of laying up corn in storehouses, to
     provide against the frequent famines, and for taxation, was
     thoroughly Egyptian, the Superintendent of the Granaries being
     a well-known official. But as far as we know nothing of the
     kind existed in Canaan.

     39. We then come to the promotion of Joseph; and several
     instances are known of foreigners, and even slaves, being
     promoted to high offices in Egypt.

     40. And the monuments show that it was the regular Egyptian
     custom to have a Superintendent, who should _be over the

     42. Joseph is then given Pharaoh's _signet ring_, the use of
     which, at this early period, has been fully confirmed by the
     inscriptions. And he also receives _fine linen_ (an Egyptian
     word being used for this) and a _gold chain about his neck_.
     This latter was a peculiarly Egyptian decoration, being called
     _receiving gold_, and is continually alluded to on the
     monuments. And a specimen may be seen in the Cairo Museum,
     which happens to date from about the time of Joseph.

     43-44. And the apparently insignificant detail that Joseph rode
     _in a chariot_ (implying horses) is also interesting, since, as
     far as we know, horses had only recently been introduced into
     Egypt by the Shepherd Kings. And had they been mentioned
     earlier--as, for instance, among the presents given to
     Abraham[29]--it would have been incorrect. And the expression
     _Abrech_, translated _Bow the knee_, is probably an Egyptian
     word (Margin R.V.).

     [Footnote 29: Gen. 12. 16.]

     45. We also know that when foreigners rose to great importance
     in Egypt they were often given a new _name_. And Joseph's new
     name, Zaphenathpaneah, (probably meaning Head of the College
     of Magicians, a title he had just earned[30]) as well as
     Asenath, and Potiphera, are all genuine Egyptian names; though
     (with the exception of Asenath) they have not at present been
     found as early as the time of Joseph.

     [Footnote 30: H. E. Naville, Professor of Egyptology, at the
     University of Geneva, 'Archæology of the Old Testament,' 1913,
     p. 80.]

     49. Lastly, the usual Egyptian custom (as shown by the
     monuments) of having a scribe to _count_ the quantity of corn
     as it is stored, is incidentally implied in the statement that
     on this occasion, owing to its great abundance, Joseph had _to
     leave off numbering it_.

Thus everything in this chapter, _and the same may be said of many
others_, is perfectly correct for Egypt; though much of it would be
incorrect for Canaan, and is not likely to have been known to anyone
living there. Yet the writer not only knows it, but _takes for
granted that his readers know it too_, as he never explains
anything. So the narrative is not likely to have been written after
the time of Moses, when the Israelites left Egypt. And this, it may
be added, is the opinion of many who have made a special study of
ancient Egypt. Thus Prof. Naville declares 'I do not hesitate to say
that he (Moses) was the only author who could have written the
history of Joseph, such as we have it.'[31]

[Footnote 31: Transactions of Victoria Institute, vol. xlvii., 1915,
p. 355.]

There is also evidence of quite another kind that this latter part
of Genesis was written in Egypt. This is afforded by six passages,
where, after the name of a place, is added some such phrase as
_which is in Canaan_.[32] Yet there do not appear to be any other
places of the same name liable to be confused with these. When then
would it be necessary to explain to the Israelites that these
places, Shechem, etc., were in Canaan? Certainly not after the
conquest, when they were living there, and it was obvious to
everyone; so we must refer them to the time when they were in Egypt.

[Footnote 32: Gen. 23. 2, 19; 33. 18; 35. 6; 48. 3; 49. 30.]

And this is strongly confirmed by a little remark as to the _desert
of Shur_, which lies between Egypt and Canaan, and which is
described as being _before Egypt as thou goest towards Assyria_.[33]
Clearly then this also must have been written in Egypt, since only
to a person living there would Shur be on the way to Assyria.

[Footnote 33: Gen. 25. 18.]

And the same may be said of the curious custom of first asking after
a person's health, and then, if he is still alive.[34] This was
thoroughly Egyptian, as some exactly similar cases have been found
in a papyrus dated in the eighth year of Menephthah, generally
thought to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus.[35] But it is scarcely
likely to have been adopted by a writer in Canaan, as it makes the
narrative seem so ridiculous.

[Footnote 34: Gen. 43. 27-28.]

[Footnote 35: Chabas, Mélanges Égyptologiques, Third Series, vol.
ii., Paris, 1873, p. 152.]

(2.) _In the history of Moses._

Secondly, as to the history of _Moses_. The name itself is
Egyptian;[36] and his being placed in an ark of _papyrus_ smeared
with bitumen was quite suited to Egypt, where both materials were
commonly used, but would have been most unsuitable anywhere else.
And several of the words used here, as well as in other parts of
the Pentateuch, show that the writer was well acquainted with the
Egyptian _language_. In this single verse for instance, there are as
many as six Egyptian words, _ark_, _papyrus_, _pitch_, _flags_,
_brick_, and _river_; though some of these were also used in
Hebrew.[37] Then as to the Israelites making bricks with _straw_.
This is interesting, because we know from the monuments that straw
was often used for the purpose, the Nile mud not holding together
without it, and that its absence was looked upon as a hardship. So
here again the narrative suits Egypt, and not Canaan; where as far
as we know, bricks were never made with straw. And it so happens
that we have a little direct evidence here. For some excavations
were made at Tel-el-Muskhuta in 1883; which turns out to be
_Pithom_, one of the _store cities_ said to have been built by the
Israelites.[38] And nearly its whole extent is occupied by large
brick stores; some of the bricks being made with straw, some with
fragments of reed or stubble used instead, and some without any
straw at all. While, unlike the usual Egyptian custom, the walls are
built with mortar; all of which exactly agrees with the

[Footnote 36: Driver's Exodus, 1911, p. 11.]

[Footnote 37: Exod. 2. 3.]

[Footnote 38: Exod. 1. 11. Transactions of Victoria Institute, vol.
xviii., p. 85.]

[Footnote 39: Exod. 1. 14; 5. 12.]

Next, as to the _Ten Plagues_. There is much local colouring here,
and hardly one of them would have been suitable in Canaan. Moreover,
the order in which they come is very significant, as it makes them
agree with the natural calamities of Egypt.

(i.) The water being turned into blood cannot, of course, be taken
literally, any more than when Joel speaks of the moon being turned
into blood.[40] It refers to the reddish colour, which is often seen
in the Nile about the end of June; though it is not as a rule
sufficient to kill the fish, or render the water unfit to drink. And
the mention of _vessels of wood and stone_[41] is interesting, as it
was the custom in Egypt to _purify_ the Nile water by letting it
stand in such vessels; and the writer evidently knew this, and took
for granted that his readers knew it too, though it seems to have
been peculiar to that country.

[Footnote 40: Joel 2. 31.]

[Footnote 41: Exod. 7. 19.]

(ii.) Frogs are most troublesome in September.

(iii.) Lice, perhaps mosquitoes or gnats, and

(iv.) Flies, are usually worst in October.

(v.) Murrain among the cattle, and

(vi.) Boils cannot be identified for certain, but their coming on
just after the preceding plagues is most natural, considering what
we now know, as to the important part taken by mosquitoes and flies
in spreading disease.

(vii.) The hail must have occurred about the end of January, as the
barley was then in the ear, but the wheat not grown up; and severe
hailstorms have been known in Egypt at that time.

(viii.) Locusts are known to have visited Egypt terribly in March,
which seems the time intended, as the leaves were then young.

(ix.) The darkness _which might be felt_ was probably due to the
desert wind, which blows at intervals after the end of March, and
sometimes brings with it such clouds of sand as to darken the
atmosphere.[42] And curiously enough it often moves in a narrow
belt, so that the land may be dark in one place, and light in
another close by, as recorded in the narrative.

[Footnote 42: I have noticed the same in the Transvaal, in
particular a sandstorm at Christiana, on 20th October, 1900, which
so darkened the sky that for about a quarter of an hour I had to
light a candle.]

(x.) The death of the _firstborn_, which occurred in April (Abib),
was evidently not a natural calamity. But what is specially
interesting is the statement _against all the gods of Egypt I will
execute judgments_, without any explanation being given of what is
meant by this.[43] It refers to the Egyptian custom of worshipping
_living_ animals, the firstborn of which were also to die; but this
would only be familiar to a writer in Egypt, since, as far as we
know, such worship was never practised in Canaan. The agreement all
through is most remarkable, and strongly in favour of a contemporary

[Footnote 43: Exod. 12. 12; Num. 33. 4.]

(3.) _In the laws and addresses._

And the same familiarity with Egypt is shown in the subsequent laws
and addresses of the Pentateuch. Thus we read of laws being written
on the doorposts and gates of houses, and on great stones covered
with plaster, both of which were undoubtedly Egyptian customs; and
the latter was not, as far as we know, common elsewhere.[44]
Similarly the Egyptian habit of writing persons' names on sticks,
was evidently familiar to the writer.[45] And so was the curious
custom of placing food _for the dead_,[46] which was common in
Egypt, though it never prevailed among the Israelites.

[Footnote 44: Deut. 6. 9; 11. 20; 27. 2.]

[Footnote 45: Num. 17. 2.]

[Footnote 46: Deut. 26. 14.]

Again the ordinary _food_ of the people in Egypt is given as fish,
cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic, all of which were
commonly eaten there.[47] But as the Hebrew names of four out of the
five vegetables do not occur elsewhere in the Bible, they could
scarcely have been very common in Canaan; while none of the
characteristic productions of that land, such as honey, milk,
butter, figs, raisins, almonds, and olives, are mentioned. The list
is, as it ought to be, thoroughly Egyptian.

[Footnote 47: Num. 11. 5.]

It must next be noticed that a large part of the _religious worship_
prescribed in the Pentateuch was obviously borrowed from Egypt; the
most striking instance being that of the _ark_. A sacred ark is seen
on Egyptian monuments long before the Exodus, and is sometimes
surmounted by winged figures resembling the cherubim.[48] And the
_materials_ said to have been used for this worship are precisely
such as the Israelites might have then employed. The ark, for
instance, and also the tabernacle were not made of cedar, or of fir,
or of olive, as would probably have been the case in Canaan (for
these were the materials used in the Temple)[49] but of shittim,
_i.e._, acacia which is very common near Sinai, though scarcely ever
used in Canaan. And the other materials were goats' hair, rams'
skins, sealskins (or porpoise skins) from the Red Sea, and gold,
silver, brass, precious stones, and _fine linen_ from the Egyptian
spoils; the latter, as before said, being an Egyptian word.[50]
There is no mistake anywhere, such as a late writer might have made.

[Footnote 48: Comp. Exod. 25. 13-18.]

[Footnote 49: 1 Kings 6. 14-36.]

[Footnote 50: Exod. 25. 3-10.]

Moreover, in other places, the writer of the Pentateuch frequently
assumes that his readers know Egypt as well as himself. Thus the
people are twice reminded of the _diseases_ they had in Egypt--'_the
evil diseases of Egypt which thou knowest_' or '_which thou wast
afraid of_'--and they are warned that if they deserve it, God will
punish them with the same diseases again.[51] But such a warning
would have been quite useless many centuries later in Canaan; just
as it would be useless to warn an Englishman now of the diseases of
Normandy, _which thou wast afraid of_, if this referred to some
diseases our ancestors had before they left Normandy in the eleventh
century. Such words must clearly have been written soon afterwards.
Similarly the people are urged to be kind to strangers, and to love
them as themselves, because _they knew the heart of a stranger_,
having been strangers in the land of Egypt. And this again could
scarcely have been written centuries after they left Egypt.[52]

[Footnote 51: Deut. 7. 15; 28. 60.]

[Footnote 52: Exod. 23. 9; Lev. 19. 34.]

Elsewhere the writer describes the climate and productions of
Canaan; and with a view to their being better understood, he
contrasts them with those of _Egypt_.[53] Obviously, then, the
people are once more supposed to know Egypt, and not to know Canaan.
For instance, Canaan is described as a country of hills and
valleys, and consequently of running brooks; and not like Egypt
where they had to water the land with their _feet_. But no
explanation is given of this. It probably refers to the
_water-wheels_, which were necessary for raising water in a flat
country like Egypt, and which were worked by men's _feet_. But can
we imagine a late writer in Canaan using such a phrase without
explaining it? On the other hand, if the words were spoken by Moses,
all is clear; no explanation was given, because (for persons who had
just left Egypt) none was needed.

[Footnote 53: Deut. 8. 7-10; 11. 10-12.]

On the whole, then, it is plain that when Egyptian matters are
referred to in the Pentateuch, we find the most thorough familiarity
with native customs, seasons, etc., though these are often quite
different from those of Canaan. And we therefore seem forced to
conclude that the writer was a contemporary who lived in Egypt, and
knew the country intimately, and as we have shown, he evidently
wrote for persons who had only recently come from there.

(_B._) ITS LAWS.

We pass on now to the Laws of the Pentateuch, which are found in the
middle of Exodus, and occupy the greater part of the remaining
books. And as we shall see, they also (quite apart from their
references to Egypt) bear strong marks of a contemporary origin.

(1.) _The subjects dealt with._

In the first place several of the laws refer exclusively to the time
when the Israelites lived _in the desert_, and would have been of no
use whatever after they settled in Canaan. Among these are the laws
regarding the _camp_ and _order of march_.[54] Full particulars are
given as to the exact position of every tribe, and how the Levites
were to carry the Tabernacle. And what could have been the object of
inventing such laws in later times, when, as far as we know, the
people never encamped or marched in this manner?

[Footnote 54: Num. 1. 47--4. 49.]

Then there is the extraordinary law as to the _slaughter of
animals_. It is stated in Leviticus that every ox, lamb, or goat,
intended for food, was to be first brought to the Tabernacle, as a
kind of offering, and there killed. But plainly this could only have
been done, when the people were in the desert, living round the
Tabernacle. So when the law is again referred to in Deuteronomy,
just before they entered Canaan, it is modified by saying that those
living at a distance might kill their animals at home.[55]

[Footnote 55: Lev. 17. 3; Deut. 12. 21.]

Moreover, some of the other laws, though applicable to Canaan, are
of such a character as to be strongly in favour of an early date.
Take, for instance, the remarkable law about _land_, that every
person who bought an estate was to restore it to its original owner
in the year of Jubilee, the price decreasing according to the
nearness of this year.[56] How could anyone in later times have made
such a law, and yet assert that it had been issued by Moses
centuries before, though no one had ever heard of it?

[Footnote 56: Lev. 25. 13.]

Or take the law about the Levites.[57] They, it will be remembered,
had no separate territory like the other tribes, but were given some
special cities. And it is scarcely likely that such a curious
arrangement could have been made at any time except that of the
conquest of Canaan; still less that it could have been made
centuries afterwards, and yet ascribed to Moses, without everyone at
once declaring it to be spurious.

[Footnote 57: Num. 35. 1-8.]

(2.) _Their connection with the history._

It must next be noticed that the laws are not arranged in any
regular order, but are closely connected with the history; many of
them being _dated_, both as to time and place. For instance, 'The
Lord spake unto Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the first month
of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt,
saying,' etc.[58] And several others are associated with the events
which led to their being made; and these are often of such a trivial
nature, that it is hard to imagine their being invented.[59] Thus
the Pentateuch shows, not a complete code of laws, but one that was
formed _gradually_, and in close connection with the history.

[Footnote 58: Num. 9. 1; 1. 1; Deut. 1. 3; see also Lev. 7. 38; 16.
1; 25. 1; 26. 46; 27. 34; Num. 1. 1; 3. 14; 33. 50; 35. 1; Deut. 4.
46; 29. 1.]

[Footnote 59: Lev. 24. 15; Num. 9. 10; 15. 35; 27. 8; 36. 8.]

And this is confirmed by the fact that in some cases the same laws
are referred to both in Leviticus, (near the beginning) and in
Deuteronomy (at the end) of the forty years in the Desert, but with
slight differences between them. And these _exactly correspond_ to
such a difference in date. One instance, that referring to the
_slaughter of animals_, has been already alluded to. Another has to
do with the animals, which might, and might not, be _eaten_.
Leviticus includes among the former, several kinds of locusts, and
among the latter the mouse, weasel, and lizard; all of which
Deuteronomy omits.

Clearly then, when Leviticus was written, the people were in the
desert, and there was a lack of animal food, which might tempt them
to eat locusts or mice; but when Deuteronomy was written, animal
food was plentiful, and laws as to these were quite unnecessary.

In each of these cases, then, and there are others like them, the
differences must be due either to the various laws dating from the
times they profess to, when all is plain and consistent; or else to
the carefully planned work of some late writer, who was trying in
this way to pretend that they did.

Still more important is the fact that in several places stress is
laid on the people's _personal knowledge_ of the events referred to;
_e.g._, 'The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with
us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.'[60] And what is
more, this personal knowledge is often appealed to as a special
reason for obeying the laws.[61] For instance, 'I speak not with
your children which have not known, and which have not seen the
chastisement of the Lord, ... but your eyes have seen all the great
work of the Lord which He did. _Therefore_ shall ye keep all the
commandments,' etc. Plainly this would have had no force in later
times; indeed it would have provided an excuse for _not_ obeying the
laws, since the people of those days had no personal knowledge of
the events referred to. And we may ask, is it likely that a late
author, who falsely ascribed his laws to Moses, in order to get them
obeyed, should yet put into the mouth of Moses himself an excuse for
not obeying them?

[Footnote 60: Deut. 5. 3; 24. 9, 18, 22; 25. 17.]

[Footnote 61: Deut. 11. 2-8; 4. 3-15; 29. 2-9.]

Moreover, combined with this assumed personal knowledge on the part
of the people there is a clear indication of _personal authority_ on
the part of the writer. The later prophets always speak in God's
name, and such expressions as _Thus saith the Lord, Hear ye the word
of the Lord_, are extremely common, occurring altogether over 800
times. But in the laws of the Pentateuch nothing of the kind is
found. They are delivered by Moses in his own name, often with the
simple words, _I command thee_, which occur thirty times in
Deuteronomy. And, of course, if the laws are genuine, there is
nothing surprising in this, as Moses had been the great leader of
the people, for forty years; but a late author would scarcely have
adopted a style so different from that of all the other prophets.

(3.) _Their wording._

Lastly we must consider the _wording_ of the laws; and this also is
strongly in favour of a contemporary origin. Thus, as many as
sixteen of them, which have special reference to Canaan, begin with
some such phrase as _when ye be come into the land of Canaan_,[62]
which plainly supposes that the people were not there already. And
the same may be said of numerous other laws, which the people are
told to obey when they enter into Canaan; or are even urged to obey
in order that they may enter in, both of which again, imply that
they were not there already.[63] While several of the laws refer to
the _camp_, and sometimes to _tents_, in such a way as to show that
when they were written, the people were still living in a camp.[64]

[Footnote 62: Exod. 12. 25; 13. 11; Lev. 14. 34; 19. 23; 23. 10; 25.
2; Num. 15. 2, 18; 35. 10; Deut. 7. 1; 12. 1, 10, 29; 17. 14; 18. 9;
26. 1.]

[Footnote 63: _E.g._, Deut. 4. 1, 5, 14; 5. 31; 6. 1, 18; 8. 1.]

[Footnote 64: _E.g._, Exod. 29. 14; Lev. 4. 12; 6. 11; 13. 46; 14.
3; 16. 26; 17. 3; Num. 5. 2; 19. 3, 14.]

The wording, then, of all these laws bears unmistakable signs of
contemporary origin. Of course, these signs may have been inserted
in later laws to give them an air of genuineness, but they cannot be
explained in any other way. Therefore the laws must be either of
_contemporary date_, or else _deliberate frauds_. No innocent
mistake in ascribing old laws to Moses, can possibly explain such
language as this; either it was the natural result of the laws being
genuine, or else it was adopted on purpose to mislead.

Nor can the difficulty be got over by introducing a number of
compilers and editors. For each individual law, if it falsely
_claims_ to date from before the conquest of Canaan (and, as we have
seen, numbers and numbers of laws do so claim, _When ye be come into
the land of Canaan_, etc.), must have been made by _someone_. And
this someone, though he really wrote it after the conquest of
Canaan, must have inserted these words to make it appear that it was
written before.

Practically, then, as just said, there are but two
alternatives--that of genuine laws written in the time of Moses, and
that of deliberate frauds. And bearing this in mind, we must ask,
is it likely that men with such a passion for truth and
righteousness as the Jewish prophets--men who themselves so
denounced lying and deception in every form[65]--should have spent
their time in composing such forgeries? Could they, moreover, have
done it so _skillfully_, as the laws contain the strongest marks of
genuineness; and could they have done it so _successfully_ as never
to have been detected at the time? This is the great _moral_
difficulty in assigning these laws to a later age, and to many it
seems insuperable.

[Footnote 65: Jer. 8. 8; 14. 14; Ezek. 13. 7.]

We have thus two _very strong_ arguments in favour of an early date
for the Pentateuch: one derived from its _Egyptian references_, the
other from its _Laws_. The former shows that no Israelite in later
times could have written the book; and the latter that he would not
have done so, if he could.


We pass on now to the opposite theory, or that of a _late date_.
According to this the Pentateuch, though no doubt containing older
traditions, and fragments of older documents, was not written till
many centuries after the death of Moses. And the four chief
arguments in its favour are based on the _language_ of the
Pentateuch, its _composite character_, its laws being _unknown_ in
later times, and the _finding of Deuteronomy_ in the reign of
Josiah. We will examine each in turn.

(1.) _The language of the Pentateuch._

Now in general character the language of the Pentateuch undoubtedly
resembles that of some of the prophets, such as Jeremiah; so it is
assumed that it must date from about the same time. But
unfortunately critics who maintain this view do not admit that we
have _any_ Hebrew documents of a much earlier date, with which to
compare it. Therefore we have no means of knowing how much the
language altered, so this of itself proves little.

But it is further said that we have three actual _signs of late
date_. The first is that the word for _west_ in the Pentateuch
really means _the sea_, (_i.e._, the Mediterranean) and hence, it is
urged, the writer's standpoint must have been that of Canaan, and
the books must have been written after the settlement in that
country. But, very possibly the word was in use before the time of
Abraham, when the sea actually was to the west. And in later years a
Hebrew, writing in Egypt or anywhere else, would naturally use the
word, without thinking that it was inappropriate to that particular
place. The second expression is _beyond Jordan_, which is often used
to denote the _eastern_ bank; so here again, it is urged, the
writer's standpoint must have been that of Canaan. But this is also
untenable. For the same term is also used for the _western_ bank in
several places,[66] and sometimes for both banks in the same
chapter.[67] The third is Joseph's speaking of Canaan as the _land
of the Hebrews_, long before they settled there, which is difficult
to explain on any theory, but rather in favour of a late date.[68]

[Footnote 66: _E.g._, Deut. 11. 30; Josh. 12. 7.]

[Footnote 67: _E.g._, eastern in Deut. 3. 8; Josh. 9. 10; and
western in Deut. 3. 20, 25; Josh. 9. 1.]

[Footnote 68: Gen. 40. 15.]

On the other hand, the language contains several _signs of early
date_, though most of these can only be understood by a Hebrew
scholar, which the present writer does not profess to be. But a
couple of examples may be given which are plain to the ordinary
reader. Thus the pronoun for _he_ is used in the Pentateuch both for
male and female; while in the later writings it is confined to
males, the females being expressed by a derived form which is very
seldom used in the Pentateuch. Similarly, the word for _youth_ is
used in the Pentateuch for both sexes, though afterwards restricted
to males, the female being again expressed by a derived form. These
differences, though small, are very significant, and they clearly
show that the language was at a less developed, and therefore
earlier, stage in the Pentateuch than in the rest of the Old

(2.) _Its composite character._

The next argument is that the Pentateuch seems to have had _several
authors_; since the same words, or groups of words, occur in
different passages all through the book. And this, combined with
slight variations of style, and other peculiarities, have led some
critics to split up the book into a number of different writings,
which they assign to a number of unknown writers from the ninth
century B.C. onwards. For instance, to take a passage where only
three writers are supposed to be involved, Exod. 7. 14-25. These
twelve verses seem to the ordinary reader a straightforward
narrative, but they have been thus split up.[69] Verses 19, 22, and
parts of 20, 21, are assigned to P, the supposed writer of the
Priestly Code of Laws; v. 24 and parts of 17, 20, 21, to E; and the
remainder to J; the two latter writers being thus named from their
generally speaking of the Deity as _Elohim_ and _Jehovah_
(translated _God_, and _Lord_) respectively.

[Footnote 69: Driver's Introduction to Literature of Old Testament,
sixth edition, 1897, p. 24. A slightly different division is given
in his Exodus, 1911, p. 59.]

Fortunately, we need not discuss the minute and complicated
arguments on which all this rests, for the idea of any writings
being so hopelessly mixed together is most improbable. While it has
been shown in recent years to be very doubtful whether these names,
_Elohim_ and _Jehovah_, occurred in the original Hebrew, in the same
places as they do now.[70] And if they did _not_, the theory loses
one of its chief supports.

[Footnote 70: The Name of God in The Pentateuch by Troelstra;
translated by McClure, 1912]

And in any case there are at least four plain and simple arguments
against it. The first is that the _Egyptian references_, to which we
have already alluded extend to all the parts J, E, and P; as well as
to Deuteronomy, which these critics assign to yet another author D.
They are thus like an Egyptian _water-mark_ running all through the
Pentateuch. And while it is difficult enough to believe that even
one writer in Canaan should have possessed this intimate knowledge
of Egypt, it is far more difficult to believe that _four_ should
have done so.

The second is that all the writers must have been equally
_dishonest_, for they all contain passages, which they assert were
written by Moses (see further on). And here again it is hard to
believe, that even one writer (leave alone four) should have been
so utterly unscrupulous.

The third is that the curious custom of God speaking of Himself in
the _plural_ number, which would be strange in any case, and is
especially so considering the strong Monotheism of the Jews, is also
common to both J and P.[71] And so is the puzzling statement that it
was God Himself Who hardened Pharaoh's heart, which is also found in

[Footnote 71: Gen. 1. 26 (P): 3. 22 (J).]

[Footnote 72: Exod. 4. 21 (E): 7. 3 (P.): 10. 1 (J).]

The fourth is that parallel passages to the supposed two narratives
of the Flood, ascribed to J and P (and which are thought to occur
alternately _nineteen_ times in Gen. 7. 8.) have been found
_together_ in an old Babylonian story of the Flood, centuries before
the time of Moses; and also in layers corresponding to J and P.[73]
And this alone seems fatal to the idea that J and P were originally
separate narratives that were afterward combined in our Genesis.

[Footnote 73: Sayce's Monument Facts, 1904, p. 20; Driver's Book of
Genesis, 1905, pp. 89-95, 107.]

Of course those who maintain that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, quite
admit that he made use of previous documents, one of which, the book
of the _Wars of the Lord_, he actually quotes.[74] Nor is it denied
that some _additions_ have been made since his time, the most
important being the list of kings, who are said to have reigned in
Edom _before there reigned any king over the children of
Israel_.[75] And this brings the passage down to the time of Saul at
least who was Israel's first king. But it is probably a later
insertion, since these kings are referred to in a different way from
the dukes, who precede and follow them. And the same may be said of
a few other passages[76] such as that _the Canaanite was then in the
land_, which must clearly have been written after the Israelites
conquered the country. But they can all be omitted without breaking
the continuity of the narrative.

[Footnote 74: Num. 21. 14.]

[Footnote 75: Gen. 36. 31-39.]

[Footnote 76: Gen. 12. 6; 13. 7; Exod. 16. 36; Deut. 2. 10-12,
20-23; 3. 14.]

(3.) _Its laws being unknown in later times._

Passing on now to the third argument for a late date, it is urged
that the laws of the Pentateuch cannot really have been written by
Moses, since, judging from the other Old Testament Books, they seem
to have been _unknown_ for many centuries after his time. But this
is scarcely correct, for even the earliest books, Joshua and Judges
contain some references to a _written_ law of Moses;[77] while both
in Judges and 1 Samuel there are numerous agreements between what is
described there, and what is commanded in the Pentateuch.[78] And
similar evidence is afforded by the later books, David, for
instance, alluding to the _written_ law of Moses, as if it was well
known.[79] So in regard to the prophets. Two of the earliest of
these are Hosea and Amos; and they both contain frequent points of
agreement;[80] as well as one reference to a large number of
_written_ laws.[81]

[Footnote 77: Joshua 1. 7, 8; 8. 31, 32; 23. 6; 24, 26. Judges 3.

[Footnote 78: Judges 20. 27, 28; 21. 19; 1 Sam. 2. 12-30; 3. 3; 4.
4; 6. 15; 14. 3.]

[Footnote 79: 1 Kings 2. 3. 2 Kings 14. 6.]

[Footnote 80: Hos. 4. 4-6; 8. 1, 13; 9. 4; 12. 9; Amos 2. 4, 11; 4.
4, 5; 5. 21-25; 8. 5.]

[Footnote 81: Hos. 8. 12 (R.V.).]

On the other side, we have the statement in Jeremiah, that God did
not command the Israelites concerning burnt-offerings, and
sacrifices, when He brought them out of Egypt.[82] But the next
verse certainly implies that it was placing these before obedience
that God condemned. And Hosea in a similar passage declares this to
be the case, and that God's not desiring sacrifice means His not
caring so much about it, as about other things.[83] It is also urged
that there were practices which are _inconsistent_ with these laws;
the most important being that the sacrifices were not limited to one
place, or the offerers to priests. As to the former, the principle
of the law was that the place of sacrifice should be of Divine
appointment, _where God had chosen to record His name_, (_i.e._,
where the _ark_ was), and not selected by the worshippers
themselves.[84] In Exodus it is naturally implied that there should
be many such places, as the Israelites were then only beginning
their wanderings; and in Deuteronomy that there should be only one,
as they were then about to enter Canaan.

[Footnote 82: Jer. 7. 22.]

[Footnote 83: Hosea 6. 6; 1 Sam. 15. 22.]

[Footnote 84: Exod. 20. 24; Deut. 12. 5.]

But for many years, owing to the unsettled state of the country, and
the ark having been captured by the Philistines, the law could not
be obeyed. When however, the people had rest from their enemies
(which was the condition laid down in Deuteronomy) and the temple
was built at Jerusalem, the law was fully recognised. After this the
worship at _high places_ is spoken of as a _sin_, while Hezekiah is
commended for destroying these places, and for keeping the
commandments _which the Lord commanded Moses_.[85]

[Footnote 85: 1 Kings 3. 2; 22. 43; 2 Kings 18. 4-6.]

The discovery, however in 1907, that there was a Jewish Temple of
Jehovah at Elephantine, near Assouan in Egypt, with sacrifices, as
early as the sixth century B.C., and that it had apparently the
approval of the authorities at Jerusalem, makes it doubtful if the
law as to the one sanctuary was ever thought to be absolutely

As to the other point--the sacrifices not being offered only by
_priests_--there is an apparent discrepancy in the Pentateuch
itself; since Deuteronomy (unlike the other books) seems in one
passage to recognise that _Levites_ might perform priestly
duties.[86] Various explanations have been given of this, though I
do not know of one that is quite satisfactory. There are also a few
cases, where men who were neither priests, nor Levites, such as
Gideon, David, and Elijah, are said to have offered sacrifices.[87]
But these were all under special circumstances, and in some of them
the sacrifice was directly ordered by God. There is thus nothing
like sufficient evidence to show that the laws of the Pentateuch
were not known in later days, but merely that they were often not

[Footnote 86: Deut. 18. 6-8.]

[Footnote 87: _E.g._, Judges 6. 26; 2 Sam. 24. 18; 1 Kings 18. 32.]

(4.) _The finding of Deuteronomy._

Lastly we have the finding of the _Book of the Law_ (probably
Deuteronomy) when the temple was being repaired in the reign of
Josiah, about 621 B.C., which is regarded by some critics as its
first publication.[88] But this is a needless assumption, for there
is no hint that either the king or the people were surprised at
such a book being found, but merely at what it contained. And as
they proceeded at once to carry out its directions, it rather shows
that they knew there was such a book all the time, only they had
never before read it. And this is easily accounted for, as most
copies would have been destroyed by the previous wicked kings.[89]
On the other hand, an altogether new book is not likely to have
gained such immediate and ready obedience; not to mention the great
improbability of such an audacious fraud never being detected at the

[Footnote 88: 2 Kings 22.]

[Footnote 89: 2 Kings 21. 2, 21.]

Nor is it easy to see why, if Deuteronomy was written at a late
date, it should have contained so many obsolete and useless
instructions; such as the order to destroy the Canaanites, when
there were scarcely any Canaanites left to destroy.[90] Yet the
people are not only told to destroy them, but to do it _gradually_,
so that the wild beasts may not become too numerous;[91] which shows
that the passage was written centuries before the time of Josiah,
when there was no more danger from wild beasts than from Canaanites.
Nor is it likely, if Deuteronomy was written at that time, when
Jerusalem claimed to be the central sanctuary, that the city itself
should never once be named in the book, or even alluded to.

[Footnote 90: Deut. 7. 2; 20. 17.]

[Footnote 91: Deut. 7. 22.]

Moreover, discoveries in Egypt have shown that in early times
religious writings were sometimes buried in the foundations, or
lower walls of important temples; where they were found centuries
afterwards when the temples were being repaired; so the account, as
we have it in the Bible, is both natural and probable.[92]

[Footnote 92: E. Naville, Discovery of the Book of the Law, 1911,
pp. 4-10.]

On the whole, then, none of these arguments for a _late date_ are at
all conclusive, and we therefore decide that this theory is not only
very improbable in any case, but quite untenable in face of the
strong evidence on the other side.


Having thus shown that the Pentateuch appears to date from the time
of Moses, it only remains to consider its authorship, and the
witness it bears to the miracles of the Exodus.

Now that the greater part should have been written by Moses himself
is plainly the most probable view. And this is strongly confirmed by
the book itself; for a large part of it distinctly _claims_ to have
been written by Moses. It is not merely that this title is given in
a heading, or opening verse, which might easily have been added in
later times. But it is asserted, positively and repeatedly, all
through the book itself, both in Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy,
that many of the events, and laws referred to (often including
several chapters) were actually _written down_ by Moses.[93] This is
an important point, and it must be allowed great weight.

[Footnote 93: Exod. 17. 14; 24. 4; 34. 27; Num. 33. 2; 36. 13; Deut.
31. 9, 22, 24. The first two passages in Exod. are assigned to the
supposed E, the third to J, those in Num. to P, and those in Deut.
to D.]

And the first passage, that Moses was to write the threat against
Amalek _in a book_, is specially interesting; because we cannot
think that the book contained nothing but this single sentence. It
evidently means in _the_ book (see American R. V.), implying that a
regular journal was kept, in which important events were recorded.
And this is confirmed by another of the passages, which says that
Moses wrote down something that occurred _the same day_;[94] and by
another which gives a long and uninteresting list of journeys in the
Desert,[95] which certainly looks like an official record kept at
the time. While the concluding passage relates how Moses, when he
had finished writing the book, gave it to the Levites to keep beside
the ark, in order to preserve it, and anything more precise than
this can scarcely be imagined.[96]

[Footnote 94: Deut. 31. 22; comp. Exod. 24. 4.]

[Footnote 95: Num. 33.]

[Footnote 96: Deut. 31. 24-26.]

Moreover, the frequent references of Moses to his own exclusion from
Canaan, and his pathetic prayer on the subject, have a very genuine
tone about them.[97] And his bitter complaint that God had broken
His promise, and not delivered the people,[98] could scarcely have
been written by anyone but himself; especially after the conquest of
Canaan, when it was so obviously untrue.

[Footnote 97: _E.g._, Deut. 3. 23-26; 1. 37; 4. 21; 31. 2.]

[Footnote 98: Exod. 5. 23.]

And his authorship is further confirmed by the fact that so little
is said in his praise. His faults are indeed narrated quite
candidly, but nothing is said in admiration of the great leader's
courage, and ability, till the closing chapter of Deuteronomy. This
was evidently written by someone else, and shows what we might have
expected had the earlier part been the work of anyone but Moses
himself. Nor is there anything surprising in his writing in the
third person, as numbers of other men--Cæsar, for instance--have
done the same.

But now comes the important point. Fortunately it can be stated in a
few words. If the Pentateuch is a contemporary document, probably
written by Moses, can we reject the miracles which it records? Can
we imagine, for instance, a _contemporary_ writer describing the Ten
Plagues, or the Passage of the Red Sea, if nothing of the kind had
occurred? The events, if true, must have been well known at the
time; and if untrue, no contemporary would have thought of inventing
them. We therefore conclude, on reviewing the whole chapter, that
the _origin_ of the Jewish religion _was confirmed by miracles_.




     (1.) Undesigned agreements; the rebellion of Korah.
     (2.) Alleged mistakes; unimportant.
     (3.) Modern discoveries; these support their accuracy.


     (1.) Their credibility; this can scarcely be disputed, if
           miracles at all are credible; the silence of the sun
           and moon, two other difficulties.
     (2.) Their truthfulness; list of eight public miracles, two
           examples, Elijah's sacrifice on Mount Carmel, and
           the destruction of the Assyrian army, considered in
           detail; conclusion.

Having now examined the origin of the Jewish Religion, we have next
to consider its _history_; which also claims to have been confirmed
by miracles. So we will first notice (very briefly) the Old
Testament _Books_, from Joshua onwards; and then consider some of
the _Miracles_ which they record.


Now, the arguments for, and against the genuineness of these Books
need not be discussed at length, since we have already decided in
favour of that of the Pentateuch, and most critics who admit the
one, admit the other. But a few remarks may be made on three
subjects, those of _undesigned agreements_, the importance of which
is not obvious at first sight; the _alleged mistakes_ in the Old
Testament; and the effect of _modern discoveries_.

(1.) _Undesigned agreements._

Now, if we find two statements regarding an event, or series of
events, which, though not identical, are yet perfectly consistent,
this agreement must be either _accidental_ or _not accidental_. And
supposing it to be too minute in detail to be accidental it shows
that the statements are somehow connected together. Of course, if
the events are true, each writer may know them independently, and
their statements would thus be in perfect, though unintentional
agreement. But if the events are not true, then either one writer
must have made his account agree with the other, or else both must
have derived their information from a common source. In the former
case, there would be intentional agreement between the writers; in
the latter, between the various parts of the original account. In
any case, there would be designed agreement somewhere; for, to put
it shortly, the events, being imaginary, would not fit together of
necessity, nor by accident, which is excluded, and hence must do so
by design.

This has been otherwise expressed by saying that truth is
necessarily consistent, but falsehood is not so; therefore, while
consistency in truth may be undesigned, consistency in falsehood can
only result from design. And from this it follows that an
_undesigned agreement_ between two statements--provided of course it
is too minute to be accidental--is a sure sign of truthfulness. It
shows, moreover, that both writers had independent knowledge of the
event, and were both telling the truth. And of course the same
argument applies if the two statements are made by the same writer,
though in this case there is a greater probability that the
agreement is not undesigned.

We will now consider a single example in detail, and select that
referring to the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, as it is
connected with an important miracle. Korah, we are told,[99]
belonged to the family of Kohath and the other two to that of
Reuben; and from incidental notices _in another part of the book_,
we learn the position of the _tents_ of these men. The former was to
the south of the central Tabernacle, or Tent of Meeting, on an inner
line of tents, while the latter were also to the south, though on an
outer line of tents.

[Footnote 99: Num. 16; 2. 10, 17; 3. 29.]

This explains how, when Moses was talking to Korah, he had to _send
for_ Dathan and Abiram, and how next morning he left the central
Tabernacle, where the men had assembled to offer incense, (and where
they were afterwards destroyed, probably by lightning) and _went
unto_ Dathan and Abiram (vv. 8-25). It explains how, later on, the
_tents_ of Dathan and Abiram are twice mentioned, while that of the
leading conspirator, Korah, is strangely omitted. It explains how
the _families_ of these two were destroyed, though no mention is
made of that of Korah; since the destruction was probably limited to
the tents of Dathan and Abiram, who were brothers, and the small
tabernacle they had erected alongside, and from which alone the
people were told to _depart_ (vv. 26, 27). We may therefore
conclude that Korah's _family_ was not destroyed, since their tent
was at some distance. And this accounts for what some have thought
to be a discrepancy in another passage, where we read that the
_sons_ of Korah did not die; as well as for Dathan and Abiram, being
mentioned alone later on.[100] In fact, the position of these tents
is the key to the whole narrative, though we are left to discover it
for ourselves.

[Footnote 100: Num. 26. 11; Deut. 11. 6.]

Now if the account is true and written by a contemporary, all is
plain; for truth, as said before, is necessarily consistent. But if
the story is a late fiction, all this agreement in various places
is, to say the least, very remarkable. Can we imagine a writer of
fiction _accidentally_ arranging these details in different parts of
his book, which fit together so perfectly? Or can we imagine his
doing so _intentionally_, and yet never hinting at the agreement
himself, but leaving it so unapparent that not one reader in a
thousand ever discovers it? This single instance may be taken as a
sample of numerous others which have been noticed all through the
Old Testament; and they certainly tend to show its accuracy.

(2.) _Alleged mistakes._

We pass on now to the alleged mistakes in the Old Testament, and
considering the long period covered, and the variety of subjects
dealt with, and often the same subject by various writers, the
number of even apparent discrepancies is not very great. And it is
beyond dispute that many of these can be explained satisfactorily,
and doubtless many others could be so, if our knowledge were more
complete. Moreover, they are, as a rule, _numerical_ mistakes, such
as the incredibly large numbers in some places,[101] and the rather
discordant chronology in Kings and Chronicles. But the former may be
due to some error in copying, and the latter to the different ways
of counting a king's reign.

[Footnote 101: Num. 26. 11; Deut. 11. 6.]

The only mistake of any real importance refers to the large numbers
of the Israelites, who are said to have left Egypt,--some 600,000
men, besides children, or probably over two million altogether. For
on two subsequent occasions, when the census of the tribes is given,
it totals up to about the same number.[102] This is no doubt a
serious difficulty; as anyone can see, who will take the trouble to
calculate the space they would require on the march, or in camp. If
we assume, for instance, that they crossed the arm of the Red Sea
in, say, _forty_ parallel columns, these would still have to be of
enormous length to contain 50,000 persons each, with their flocks
and herds.

[Footnote 102: Exod. 12. 37. Num. 1. 26.]

Perhaps the best explanation is that suggested by Professor
Flinders Petrie, that the word translated _thousands_ should be
_families_,[103] so that the tribe of Reuben, for instance,[104]
instead of having forty-six _thousand_ five hundred men, would have
forty-six _families_, (making about) five hundred men. The chief
arguments in favour of this are, first, that the same word is used
in Judges 6. 15, where it so obviously means family and not
thousand, that it is so translated in both the Authorised and
Revised Versions.

[Footnote 103: Egypt and Israel, 1911, p. 43.]

[Footnote 104: Num. 1. 21.]

And secondly, it would account for the remarkable fact that though
there were twelve tribes, and they were each counted twice, yet the
number of the hundreds is never 0, 1, 8 or 9; but always one of the
other six digits. It is extremely unlikely (practically
incredible)[105] that this would occur in an ordinary census, but
the proposed theory explains it at once. For the hundreds could
scarcely be 0, or 1, as this would mean too few men in a family; or
8 or 9, which would mean too many; while the other digits always
work out to what (allowing for servants) is a reasonable proportion,
from 5 to 17. On this theory the number of men would be reduced to
5,600, which is much more intelligible. But some other passages
scarcely seem capable of this interpretation, so it must be admitted
that the number forms a difficulty, whatever view we adopt.

[Footnote 105: The chance of its occurring would be only (6/10)^24
or less than 1 in 200,000.]

(3.) _Modern discoveries._

Lastly, as to the effect of modern discoveries on the accuracy of
the Old Testament. In the case of the Pentateuch, as we have seen,
there is very little _direct_ evidence either way; but it is
different in regard to some of the later books.

In the first place, and this is very important, modern discoveries
have shown that the period of Jewish history from the time of Moses
onwards was distinctly _a literary age_. In Egypt, Babylonia, Syria,
and elsewhere, it was the custom, and had been for centuries, to
record all important events, at least all those that were creditable
to the people concerned; so it is almost certain that the Jews, like
the surrounding nations, had their historians. In every age
conquerors have loved to record their conquests, and why should the
Jews alone have been an exception?

Yet the historical books of the Old Testament have no competitors.
If, then, we deny that these are in the main a contemporary record,
we must either assume that the Jews, unlike the surrounding nations,
had no contemporary historians, which is most unlikely; as well as
being contrary to the Books themselves, where the _recorders_ are
frequently mentioned, even by name.[106] Or else we must assume that
their works were replaced in later days by other and less reliable
accounts, which were universally mistaken for the originals, and
this seems equally improbable.

[Footnote 106: _E.g._, 2 Sam. 8. 16; 2 Kings 18. 18; 2 Chron. 34.

Passing on now to the evidence in detail, it may be divided into two
classes, geographical and historical. In the first place the
_geography_ of Palestine has been shown to be minutely accurate. But
this does not prove the Old Testament Books to be genuine, but
merely that they were written by Jews who knew the country
intimately. It helps, however, in some cases to remove apparent
difficulties. Thus the discoveries at Jericho, in 1908, have shown
that the place was merely a small fortified hill, the length of the
surrounding wall being about half a mile, so there was no difficulty
in the Israelites walking round it seven times in the day.[107] And
much the same may be said of the _historical_ notices. The
monumental records of the Kings of Judah and Israel have not at
present been discovered, but we can often check the history by the
records of other countries. And these are as a rule in perfect
agreement, not only as to the actual facts, but as to the society,
customs, and state of civilisation, of the period. Indeed, in some
cases where this was formerly disputed, as in the importance
assigned to the _Hittites_, it has been fully justified by modern
discoveries.[108] But this again does not prove the genuineness of
the Books, though it certainly raises a probability in their favour.

[Footnote 107: Josh. 6. 15.]

[Footnote 108: 1 Kings 10. 29; 2 Kings 7. 6.]

Sometimes, however, the evidence is stronger than this, one of the
best known instances being Daniel's mention of _Belshazzar_.[109] He
states that the last king of Babylon was Nebuchadnezzar's son, or
grandson (margin, A.V.) called Belshazzar, who was slain at night
when the city was captured (about B.C. 538). But according to
Berosus, who wrote about the third century B.C., all this appears to
be wrong. The last king of Babylon was a usurper called Nabonidus,
and any such person as Belshazzar is quite unknown. And so matters
remained till some cuneiform inscriptions were discovered at Mugheir
in 1854.

[Footnote 109: Dan. 5. 1.]

From these it appears that Belshazzar was the eldest son of
Nabonidus, and was apparently associated with him in the government.
And an inscription recently found at Erech shows that this was the
case for several years.[110] There is no proof that he ever had the
title of _King_, unless he is the same as one _Mardukshazzar_,
about this time (not otherwise identified), which is not unlikely,
as we know Marduk was sometimes called _Bel_--_i.e._, Baal, or Lord.
And another inscription, somewhat mutilated, seems to show that he
was slain at Babylon in a night assault on the city (or some portion
of it) as described by Daniel, some months after Nabonidus had been
taken prisoner.[111] As to his relationship with Nebuchadnezzar
perhaps his mother (or grandmother) was a royal princess. And there
certainly seems to have been some connection between the families,
as we know from the inscriptions that he had a brother called

[Footnote 110: Expository Times, April, 1915. Comp. Dan. 8. 1.]

[Footnote 111: Transactions of Victoria Institute, vol. xxxviii.,
1906, p. 28; vol. xlvi., 1914, p. 14.]

Now, of course, if Daniel himself wrote the book, he would have
known all about Belshazzar, however soon afterwards it was
forgotten. But, if the book is a late fiction, written by a Jew in
Palestine about B.C. 160, which is the rationalistic theory, as the
wars between Egypt and Syria up to that date are clearly foretold,
how did he know the name of Belshazzar at all, or anything about
him, when such a person was unknown to previous historians? Plainly
then, this is a distinct argument in favour of the contemporary date
of the book.[112]

[Footnote 112: It is worth noting that this rationalistic theory,
which was generally accepted by the so-called Higher Critics, has
now become so difficult to maintain in the face of archæology that
Dr. Pinches, Lecturer in Assyriology at University College, London,
said recently 'I am glad to think with regard to the Book of Daniel
that the Higher Criticism is in fact buried.' Transactions of
Victoria Institute, vol. xlix., 1917, p. 135.]

And much the same may be said of Isaiah's mention of _Sargon_ of
Assyria, who is stated to have taken Ashdod. Yet the very existence
of such a king was unknown to secular history, till the last
century; when his palace was discovered at Khorsabad, with
inscriptions recording, among other things, his capture of

[Footnote 113: Isa. 20. 1. Orr's Problem of Old Test., 1906, p.

Two other cases are of special interest, because the monuments
seemed at first to show that the Bible was wrong. One of these
refers to a so-called _Pul_, King of Assyria;[114] but when the list
of Assyrian monarchs was discovered, no such king could be found. It
looked like a serious discrepancy, and was even spoken of as 'almost
the only important historical difficulty' between the Bible and the
monuments.[115] But it has now been discovered that _Pulu_ was the
original name of a usurper, who changed it to Tiglath Pileser III.
on ascending the throne; though he was still sometimes called
Pulu.[116] This not only removes the difficulty, but tends to show
the early date of the narrative; for a late writer would probably
have called him by his better-known name.

[Footnote 114: 2 Kings 15. 19.]

[Footnote 115: Rawlinson, Historical Illustrations of the Old
Testament, 1871, p. 121.]

[Footnote 116: Hastings, Dict. of the Bible, vol. iv., p. 761.]

The other instance refers to _Jehu_, who is stated in the Assyrian
inscriptions to be the son of Omri; though according to the Bible he
was no relation whatever. But it has now been shown that the words
translated _son of Omri_ may only mean _of the land or house of
Omri_, which is a common Assyrian name for the kingdom of

[Footnote 117: Driver, Schweich Lecture, 1908, p. 17.]

As a last example we will take the _dates_ given for the Fall of the
two capital cities, Samaria and Jerusalem. These were calculated
long ago (margin, A.V.) from a number of statements in the Bible,
giving the lengths of different reigns, etc., at B.C. 721 and 588
respectively.[118] And now the inscriptions from Assyria and
Babylonia fix the former at _B.C._ 722 and the latter at 586.[119]
Everyone must admit that these are remarkable agreements,
considering the way in which they have had to be calculated.

[Footnote 118: 2 Kings 17. 6; 25. 3.]

[Footnote 119: Hastings, Dict. of the Bible, vol. i., p. 401.]

We have now briefly considered the Books of the Old Testament, both
as to their _undesigned agreements_, which are very interesting;
their _alleged mistakes_, which are unimportant; and the effect of
_modern discoveries_, which has undoubtedly been to support their
accuracy. What, then, is the value of the evidence they afford as to
the history of the Jewish Religion having been confirmed by


We will include under this term superhuman coincidences as well as
miracles in the strict sense; and they occur all through the
historical books of the Old Testament. A few of them have been
already noticed in the last chapter, but we must now discuss them
more fully, first considering whether they are credible, and then
whether they are true.

(1.) _Their credibility._

Now this can scarcely be disputed, _provided miracles at all are
credible_, which we have already admitted, since scientific
difficulties affect all miracles equally; and of course the
Superhuman Coincidences have no difficulties of this kind whatever.
Among these may be mentioned most of the Ten Plagues, the
destruction of Korah, the falling of the walls of Jericho, probably
due to an earthquake; the lightning which struck Elijah's sacrifice;
and many others.

The _Passage of the Red Sea_, for instance, almost certainly belongs
to this class. The water, we are told, was driven back by a strong
east wind, lasting all night; and this was doubtless due to natural
forces, though, in common with other natural events (such as the
growth of grass[120]), it is in the Bible ascribed to God. And the
statement, _the waters were a wall unto them_, need not be pressed
literally, so as to mean that they stood upright. It may only mean
here, as it obviously does in some other cases, that the waters were
a defence on each side, and secured them from flank attacks.[121]
And as they must have advanced in several parallel columns, probably
half a mile wide, this certainly seems the more likely view.

[Footnote 120: Ps. 147. 8-9.]

[Footnote 121: Exod. 14. 21, 22; Nahum 3. 8; 1 Sam. 25. 16.]

And what makes it still more probable is that much the same thing
occurred in this very neighbourhood in recent times. For in January,
1882, a large expanse of water, about 5 feet deep, near the Suez
Canal, was exposed to such a strong gale (also from the east) that
next morning it had been entirely driven away, and men were walking
about on the mud, where the day before the fishing-boats had been
floating.[122] Moreover, on this theory, the miracle would not lose
any of its evidential value. For the fact of such a strip of dry
land being formed just when and where the Israelites so much wanted
it, and then being suddenly covered again, through the wind changing
round to the west (which it must have done for the dead Egyptians to
have been cast up on the _east_ side)[123], would be a coincidence
far too improbable to be accidental.

[Footnote 122: Transactions of Victoria Institute, vol. xxviii.,
1894, p. 268. It is vouched for by Major-General Tulloch, who was
there on duty at the time.]

[Footnote 123: Exod. 14. 30.]

Another well known miracle, which probably belongs to this class, is
the _'silence' (or standing still) of the sun and moon_.[124] This
is often thought to mean that the earth's rotation was stopped, so
that the sun and moon apparently stood still. But a miracle on so
vast a scale, was quite needless for the destruction of a few
Canaanites, and there is another, and far better explanation.

[Footnote 124: Josh. 10. 12-14.]

It is that the miracle, instead of being one of prolonged light, the
sun remaining visible after it should have set, was really one of
prolonged _darkness_. The sun, which had been hidden by thick
clouds, was just about to shine forth, when Joshua prayed to the
Lord that it might be _silent_, _i.e._, remain obscured behind the
clouds, which it did during the rest of the day. The Hebrew seems
capable of either meaning. For the important word translated _stand
still_ is literally _be silent_ (see margin), both in verses 12
and 13; and while this would be most suitable to the sun's remaining
obscured by clouds during the day, it could scarcely be used of its
continuing to shine at night.

On the other hand, the rest of the passage seems to favour the
ordinary view. But if we admit that this is what Joshua _prayed
for_, that the sun and moon should remain _silent_ or obscured, the
rest of the passage can only mean that this is what took place. And
it may be mentioned that, as early as the fourteenth century, a
Jewish writer Levi ben Gershon maintained that the words did not
mean that the sun and moon literally _stood still_, or in any way
altered their motion; though it is only fair to add that this was
not the general view.[125]

[Footnote 125: Numerous quotations are given in 'A Misunderstood
Miracle,' by Rev. A. S. Palmer, 1887, pp. 103-107.]

Moreover, even if the word did mean _stand still_, Joshua would only
be likely to have asked for the sun and moon to stand still, if they
were apparently _moving_. And they only move fast enough to be
apparent when they are just coming out from behind a dense bank of
clouds, due, of course, to the clouds really moving. And to _stand
still_ in such a case, would mean to stay behind the clouds, and
remain _obscured_, the same sense as before. And the words could
then have had an _immediate_ effect; visible at once to all the
people, which certainly seems implied in the narrative, and which
would not have been the case on the ordinary view.

Assuming, then, that either meaning is possible, a prolonged
darkness is much the more probable for three reasons. To begin with,
the miracle must have occurred in the early _morning_, Gibeon,
where the sun was, being to the south _east_ of Beth-horon, the
scene of the incident. And it is most unlikely that Joshua, with the
enemy already defeated, and nearly all the day before him, should
have wished to have it prolonged. Secondly, just _before_ the
miracle there had been a very heavy thunderstorm, involving (as here
required) thick clouds and a dark sky; and this is stated to have
been the chief cause of the enemy's defeat. So Joshua is more likely
to have asked for a continuance of this storm, _i.e._, for prolonged
darkness, than for light. Thirdly, the moon is mentioned as well as
the sun, and, if Joshua wanted darkness, both would have to be
_silent_; but if he wanted light, the mention of the moon was quite

On the whole, then, the miracle seems to have been a superhuman
coincidence between a prayer of Joshua and an extraordinary and
unique thunderstorm, which caused the sun to remain _silent_ or
invisible all day. And if the Canaanites were sun-worshippers (as
many think probable), it was most suitable that at the time of their
great battle with the Israelites, the sun should have been obscured
the whole day, and it naturally led to their utter confusion.

Before passing on, we may notice two objections of a more general
character, that are often made to the Jewish miracles. The first is
that some of them were very _trivial_, such as Elisha's purifying
the waters of Jericho, increasing the widow's oil, and making the
iron axe-head to float;[126] and hence it is urged they are most
improbable. And no doubt they would be so, if we regard them as mere
acts of kindness to individual persons. But if we regard them as so
many signs to the Israelites (and through them to the rest of the
world), that Elisha was God's prophet; and that God was not a
far-off God, but One Who knew about and cared about the every-day
troubles of His people, they were certainly not inappropriate.
Indeed, if this was the end in view, they were just the kind of
miracles most likely to attain it.

[Footnote 126: 2 Kings 2. 22; 4. 6; 6. 6.]

The second and more important objection would destroy, or at least
lessen, the value of all the miracles. They could not, it is urged,
have really confirmed a revelation from God, since the same writers
who describe them, also describe _other_ miracles, which, they say,
were worked in opposition to God's agents. But if we exclude some
doubtful cases, we have only one instance to judge by. It is that of
the _magicians of Egypt_, who imitated some of the earlier miracles
of Moses and Aaron; and here the inference is uncertain. For we are
told that this was due to their _enchantments_ (or _secret arts_,
margin R.V.), a term which might very possibly cover some feat of
jugglery; as they knew beforehand what was wanted, and had time to
prepare. While the fact that they tried and failed to imitate the
next plague, which they frankly confessed was a Divine miracle,
makes this a very probable solution.[127]

[Footnote 127: Exod. 7. 11, 22; 8. 7, 18, 19.]

We decide, then, that none of the Jewish miracles can be pronounced
_incredible_; though some of them no doubt seem, at first sight,
very improbable.

(2.) _Their truthfulness._

Now, of course, the miracles vary greatly in evidential value, the
following being eight of the most important:

     The destruction of Korah, Num. 16.

     The passage of the Jordan, Josh. 3. 14-17.

     The capture of Jericho, Josh. 6. 6-20.

     Elijah's sacrifice on Mount Carmel, 1 Kings 18. 17-40.

     The cure of Naaman's leprosy, 2 Kings 5. 10-27.

     The destruction of the Assyrian army, 2 Kings 19. 35.

     The shadow on the dial, 2 Kings 20. 8-11.

     The three men in the furnace, Dan. 3. 20-27.

We will examine a couple of instances in detail and select first
_Elijah's sacrifice on Mount Carmel_. This is said to have occurred
on the most public occasion possible, before the King of Israel and
thousands of spectators. And as a miracle, or rather _superhuman
coincidence_, it presents no difficulty whatever. The lightning
which struck the sacrifice was doubtless due to natural causes; yet,
as before explained (Chapter VII.), this would not interfere with
its evidential value.

Moreover, it was avowedly a test case to definitely settle whether
Jehovah was the true God or not. The nation, we learn, had long been
in an undecided state. Some were worshippers of Jehovah, others of
Baal; and these rival sacrifices were suggested for the express
purpose of settling the point. So, if miracles at all are credible,
there could not have been a more suitable occasion for one; while it
was, for the time at least, thoroughly successful. All present were
convinced that Jehovah was the true God, and, in accordance with
the national law, the false prophets of Baal were immediately put to

Now could any writer have described all this, even a century
afterwards, if nothing of the kind had occurred? The event, if true,
must have been well known, and remembered; and if untrue, no one
living near the time and place would have thought of inventing it.
And (what renders the argument still stronger) all this is stated to
have occurred, not among savages, but among a fairly civilised
nation and in a literary age.

Next as to _the destruction of the Assyrian army_. Here it will be
remembered that when Sennacherib came to attack Jerusalem, he
publicly, and in the most insulting manner, defied the God of Israel
to deliver the city out of his hand (probably about B.C. 701).[128]
We then read how Isaiah declared that God accepted the challenge,
and would defend Jerusalem, and would not allow it to be destroyed.
'_I will defend this city to save it, for mine own sake, and for my
servant David's sake._' And the sacredness of the city is very
strongly insisted on.

[Footnote 128: 2 Kings 18. 28-35; 19. 10, 34.]

Now it is inconceivable that this could have been written after
Jerusalem had been captured by Nebuchadnezzar in _B.C._ 598; though
there is no real inconsistency in God's preserving the city in the
one case, and not in the other. For Nebuchadnezzar is always
represented as being, though unconsciously, God's servant in
punishing the Jews; while Sennacherib openly defied Jehovah.

Then comes the sudden destruction of the Assyrian army, probably by
pestilence;[129] and the extreme fitness of this, after
Sennacherib's challenge, must be obvious to everyone. Moreover, such
a very public event, if untrue, could not have been recorded till
long afterwards; yet, as we have seen, the narrative could not have
been written long afterwards. Sennacherib does not of course allude
to it himself in his inscriptions, for kings never like to record
their own defeats; but this is no reason for doubting that it
occurred, especially as it is confirmed by the Babylonian historian
Berosus.[130] And even Sennacherib himself, though he mentions the
campaign, and says that he shut up Hezekiah in Jerusalem, never
claims to have taken the city.

[Footnote 129: Comp. 2 Kings 19. 35; 1 Chron. 21. 12.]

[Footnote 130: Quoted by Josephus, Antiq. x. 1.]

We need not examine the other miracles in detail, since the argument
is much the same in every case. They are all said to have occurred
on important and critical occasions when, if we admit miracles at
all, they would be most suitable. They are all said to have been
_public_ miracles, either actually worked before crowds of persons,
or else so affecting public men that their truth or otherwise must
have been well-known at the time. And they were all of such a kind
that any mistake or fraud as to their occurrence was out of the
question. It is, then, on the face of it, most unlikely that
miracles, _such as these_, should have been recorded unless they
were true. Indeed, if the Old Testament books were written by
contemporaries, or even within a century of the events they relate,
it is very difficult to deny their occurrence. We decide, therefore,
that the _history_ of the Jewish Religion was _confirmed by




     Three examples considered:

     (1.) The desolation of Assyria and Babylonia.
     (2.) The degradation of Egypt.
     (3.) The dispersion of the Jews, including the Roman siege
           of Jerusalem.


     List of eight important ones: a single example, the destruction
      of Jerusalem by the Babylonians considered in
      detail; some general remarks.

     (_C._) CONCLUSION.

     The cumulative nature of the evidence.

We pass on now to the Jewish Prophecies. It should be explained at
starting that the word _prophecy_ is used here in the sense of
_prediction_; and not as it often is, in the Bible, to include
various kinds of teaching. And the prophecies may be divided into
two classes, general and special.


We will consider the General Prophecies first, the most important of
which concern the Jews themselves, and their great neighbours
Assyria and Babylonia, on the one hand, and Egypt on the other. All
these nations had existed for centuries, and there was nothing to
indicate what was to be their future; yet the prophets foretold it,
and with remarkable accuracy.

(1.) _The desolation of Assyria and Babylonia._

And first as to Assyria and Babylonia. The future of these countries
was to be utter _desolation_. The kingdoms were to be destroyed, the
land was to become a wilderness, and the cities to be entirely
forsaken. We read repeatedly that they were to be desolate _for
ever_; and though this cannot be pressed as meaning literally for
all eternity, it certainly implies a long duration.[131] A single
passage referring to each may be quoted at length.

[Footnote 131: Isa. 13. 19-22; 14. 22, 23; Jer. 50. 13, 39, 40; 51.
26, 37, 43; Nahum 3. 7; Zeph. 2. 13-14.]

Thus Zephaniah says of Assyria, 'And he will stretch out his hand
against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a
desolation, and dry like the wilderness. And herds shall lie down in
the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations; both the pelican
and the porcupine shall lodge in the chapiters thereof [the capitals
of the fallen columns]: their voice shall sing in the windows;
desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he hath laid bare the
cedar work.'

And Isaiah says of Babylon, 'And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the
beauty of the Chaldean's pride, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom
and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt
in from generation to generation; neither shall the Arabian pitch
tent there; neither shall shepherds make their flocks to lie down
there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their
houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and ostriches shall dwell
there, and satyrs [or goats] shall dance there. And wolves shall cry
in their castles, and jackals in the pleasant palaces: and her time
is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.'

It seems needless to comment on prophecies so plain and
straightforward. Nor need we insist at any length on their exact
fulfilment; it is obvious to everyone. For two thousand years
history has verified them. The utter desolation of these countries
is without a parallel: the empires have vanished, the once populous
land is deserted, and the cities are heaps of ruins, often the dens
of wild beasts,--lions, hyænas, and jackals having all been seen
among the ruins of Babylon. In short, the prophecies have been
fulfilled in a manner which is, to say the least, very remarkable.

(2.) _The degradation of Egypt._

Next as to Egypt. The future foretold of this country was not
desolation but _degradation_. Ezekiel tells us it was to become a
_base kingdom_, and he adds, 'It shall be the basest of the
kingdoms; neither shall it any more lift itself up above the
nations: and I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over
the nations.'[132] And here also prophecy has been turned into
history. The permanent degradation of Egypt is a striking fact which
cannot be disputed. When the prophets wrote, Egypt had on the whole
been a powerful and independent kingdom for some thousands of years:
but it has never been so since. Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantine
Greeks, Saracens, Memlooks, Turks, and we may now add British, have
in turn been its masters; but it has been the master of no one. It
has never more _ruled over the nations_ as it used to do for so many
centuries. Its history in this respect has been unique--an
unparalleled period of prosperity followed by an unparalleled period
of degradation.

[Footnote 132: Ezek. 29. 15.]

With such an obvious fulfilment of the main prophecy, it seems
needless to insist on any of its details, though some of these are
sufficiently striking. Thus, we are told, _Her cities shall be in
the midst of the cities that are wasted_.[133] And though it is
doubtful to what period this refers, no more accurate description
can be given of the present cities of Egypt, such as Cairo, than
that they are in the midst of the cities that are wasted, such as
Memphis, Bubastis, and Tanis. While a few verses farther on we read,
_There shall be no more a prince out of the land of Egypt_; yet,
when this passage was written, there had been independent Egyptian
sovereigns, off and on, from the very dawn of history. But there
have been none since. Stress, however, is not laid on details like
these, some of which are admittedly obscure, such as the forty
years' desolation of the land with the scattering of its
inhabitants;[134] but rather on the broad fact that Egypt was not to
be destroyed like Assyria and Babylonia, but to be _degraded_, and
that this has actually been its history.

[Footnote 133: Ezek. 30. 7, 13.]

[Footnote 134: Ezek. 29. 11-13.]

(3.) _The dispersion of the Jews._

Lastly, as to the Jews. Their future was to be neither desolation,
nor degradation, but _dispersion_. This is asserted over and over
again. They were to be scattered among the nations, and dispersed
through the countries; to be wanderers among the nations; sifted
among all nations; tossed to and fro among all the kingdoms of the
earth; and scattered among all peoples from one end of the earth
even unto the other end of the earth.[135]

[Footnote 135: Ezek. 22. 15; Hos. 9. 17; Amos 9. 9; Deut. 28. 25,
64; see also Deut. 4. 27; Neh. 1. 8; Jer. 9. 16.]

Moreover, in their dispersion they were to be subjected to continual
_suffering_ and _persecution_. They were to become a proverb, and a
byword among all people. Their curses were to be upon them, for a
sign and for a wonder, and upon their seed for ever. They were to
have a yoke of iron upon their necks; and to have the sword drawn
out after them in all lands, etc. Yet, in spite of all this, they
were not to be absorbed into other nations, but to remain
_distinct_. They and their seed _for ever_ were to be a separate
people, a sign and a wonder at all times; and God would never make a
full end of _them_, as He would of the nations among whom they were
scattered. Indeed heaven and earth were to pass away, rather than
the Jews cease to be a distinct people.[136]

[Footnote 136: Deut. 28. 37, 46, 48; Lev. 26. 33; Jer. 24. 9; 29.
18; 30. 11; 31. 35-37.]

And here again history has exactly agreed with prophecy. The fate of
the Jews, since the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, has
actually been _dispersion_, and this to an extent which is quite
unique. It has been combined, moreover, with incessant suffering and
persecution, yet they have always remained a separate people. The
Jews are still everywhere, though the Jewish nation is nowhere. They
are present in all countries, but with a home in none, having been
literally _scattered among the nations_.

We will now examine a single passage in detail, and select the
latter part of Deut. 28. The whole chapter is indeed full of
prophecies as to the future condition of the Jews, some of which
seem to point to the Babylonian captivity, (_e.g._, v. 36); but
after this we come to another and final catastrophe in v. 49. This
evidently begins a fresh subject, which is continued without a break
till the end of the chapter. And it is specially interesting
because, not only is the world-wide dispersion of the Jews, and
their continual sufferings, clearly foretold; but also the _previous
war_ which led up to it. We have, as is well known, a full account
of this in the history of Josephus, and as he never alludes to the
prophecy himself (except in the most general terms), his evidence is
above suspicion.

     Ver. 49. First of all the conquerors themselves are described
     as a nation _from far, from the end of the earth, as the eagle
     flieth, a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand_, etc.
     And this is very applicable to the Romans, whose general,
     Vespasian, had come from Britain, and their troops from various
     countries, who had the eagle as their standard, and whose
     language, Latin, was unknown to most of the Jews.

     50. And the merciless way in which these fierce warriors were
     to spare neither old nor young was painfully true in their
     treatment of the Jews.

     51. And they also of course destroyed or confiscated their

     52. Then the war is foretold as one of _sieges_ (he shall
     _besiege_ thee in all thy gates), rather than of open battles.
     And this was certainly the case, since a large number of
     towns, including Jotapata, Gamala, Masada, and Jerusalem
     itself, suffered terrible sieges. And these were to be
     continued _till the high walls came down_, which is very
     appropriate to the Roman battering rams that were actually used
     at all these places.

     53. Then we have the dreadful famine, due to the severity (or
     _straitness_) of the siege, evidently the great siege, that of
     Jerusalem. This is strongly insisted on, being repeated three
     times, and it was to drive the wretched inhabitants to
     cannibalism of the most revolting kind, which it actually did.

     54. It was also to lead to considerable strife _within the
     city_; even between members of the same family. And this,
     though by no means common in all sieges, was abundantly
     fulfilled in the case of Jerusalem.

     55. And they were to grudge their nearest relatives a morsel of
     food; which again exactly agrees with Josephus, who says that
     parents would fight with their own children for pieces of food.

     56. And all this was to be the fate, not only of the poor; but,
     what is very remarkable, and perhaps unique in the world's
     history, of the _wealthy_ also. It was even to include one
     instance at least (perhaps several) of a lady of high position.
     She is described as not _setting her foot upon the ground_;
     which means that she was accustomed to be carried about in a
     chair, or ride on an ass; and was therefore rich enough to buy
     anything that could be bought.

     57. And she was to _eat her own children secretly_. Here was
     the climax of their sufferings. Yet this very detail, so
     unlikely to have occurred, and so unlikely to have been
     discovered if it did occur (as it was to be done secretly), is
     fully confirmed by Josephus. For he mentions one instance that
     actually was discovered, in which a lady _eminent for her
     family and wealth_ (Mary, the daughter of Eleazar) had secretly
     eaten half her own child.[137]

     [Footnote 137: Wars, vi. 3.]

     58. And these miseries were to come upon the Jews for their
     disobedience of God's laws; and again Josephus says that
     their wickedness at this time was so great that if the Romans
     had not destroyed their city, he thinks it would have been
     swallowed up by the earth.[138]

     [Footnote: 138: Wars, v. 13.]

     59. Moreover, the plagues of themselves, and of their seed,
     were to be _wonderful, even great plagues, and of long
     continuance_. And no one who has read the account of the siege,
     and the subsequent treatment of the Jews, will think the
     description at all exaggerated.

     60. And the people are specially threatened with _the diseases
     of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of_, and this, as said in
     Chapter IX., implies that the passage was written soon after
     the people left Egypt, and therefore centuries before any siege
     or dispersion.

     61. And it was to end, as it actually did end, in the
     destruction of the nation, _until thou be destroyed_.

     62. While the Jews that survived were to be left comparatively
     _few in number_; which was certainly the case, even allowing
     that the statement of Josephus that 600,000 perished in the
     siege may be an exaggeration.

     63. And these were to be forcibly expelled from the land of
     Canaan, which they were just about to conquer. And they
     actually were so expelled by the Romans, partly after this war,
     and still more so after their rebellion in A.D. 134, when for
     many centuries scarcely any Jews were allowed to live in their
     own country, an event probably unique in history.

     64. But instead of being taken away to a single nation, as at
     the Babylonian captivity, they were now to be scattered over
     the whole world, _among all peoples, from one end of the earth,
     even unto the other end of the earth_. And how marvellously
     this has been fulfilled is obvious to everyone. No mention is
     made of a _king_ here, as in ver. 36; so while that suits the
     Babylonian captivity, this suits the later dispersion, though
     in each case there is a reference to their serving other gods,
     for which it must be admitted there is very little evidence.

     65. Then we have the further _sufferings_ that the Jews were to
     undergo in their dispersion. Among these nations they were to
     find _no ease, nor rest for the sole of their foot_, but were
     to have _a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and pining of
     soul_. And here, again, the event is as strange as the
     prophecy. Nowhere else shall we find a parallel to it. For
     centuries the Jews were not only persecuted, but were often
     expelled from one country to another, so that they found _no
     rest_ anywhere, but were driven from city to city, and from
     kingdom to kingdom.

     66. And their life was to hang in doubt night and day;

     67. And they were to be in a continual state of fear and alarm;
     all of which was completely fulfilled.

     68. Lastly, we read, that some of the Jews, instead of being
     dispersed, were to be _brought to Egypt again with ships_, and
     to be in bondage there. And this also came true, after the
     siege, when many of the Jews were sold for slaves, and sent to
     the mines in Egypt, probably in slave ships.

Everyone must admit that the agreement all through is very
remarkable; in fact, the prophecies about the dispersion of the
Jews--and we have only examined a single instance in detail--are
even more striking than those about the desolation of Assyria and
Babylonia, or the degradation of Egypt. And to fully realise their
importance, let us suppose that anyone _now_ were to foretell the
future of three great nations, saying that one was to be utterly
destroyed, and the land desolated; another to sink to be a base
kingdom; and the third to be conquered and its inhabitants forcibly
expelled, and scattered over the whole world. What chance would
there be of any one of the prophecies (leave alone all three) coming
true, and _remaining true for two thousand years_? Yet this would be
but a similar case.

What conclusion, then, must be drawn from all these prophecies, so
clear in their general meaning, so distinctive in their character,
so minute in many of their details, so unlikely at the time they
were written, and yet one and all so exactly fulfilled? There appear
to be only three alternatives. Either they must have been random
_guesses_, which certainly seems incredible. Or else they must have
been due to deep _foresight_ on the part of the writers, which seems
equally so; for the writers had had no experience of the permanent
desolation of great empires like Assyria and Babylonia, while as to
the fate of Egypt and the Jews themselves, history afforded no
parallel. Or else, lastly, the writers must have had _revealed_ to
them what the future of these nations would be; in which case, and
in which case alone, all is plain.


We pass on now to the Special Prophecies. These are found all
through the Old Testament, the following being eight of the most

The fact that David's throne should always be held by his
descendants, _i.e._, till the captivity, about 450 years;[139] and
its fulfilment is specially remarkable when contrasted with the
rival kingdom of Samaria, where the dynasty changed eight or nine
times in 250 years.

[Footnote 139: 2 Sam. 7. 12-16; 1 Kings 9. 4, 5.]

The division of the kingdom into ten and two tribes, evidently
announced at the time, since Jeroboam had to go away in consequence,
and apparently the reason why the rebels were not attacked.[140]

[Footnote 140: 1 Kings 11. 31, 40; 12. 24.]

The destruction, rebuilding, and final destruction of the Temple;
the first of these prophecies being made so publicly that it caused
quite a commotion, and nearly cost the prophet his life.[141]

[Footnote 141: Jer. 26. 8-16; Isa. 44. 28; Dan. 9. 26.]

The destruction of the altar at Bethel, which was set up as a rival
to that at Jerusalem; publicly announced some centuries before,
including the name of the destroyer.[142]

[Footnote 142: 1 Kings 13. 2; 2 Kings 23. 15, 16.]

The destruction of Israel by the Assyrians.[143]

[Footnote 143: 1 Kings 14. 15; Isa. 8. 4.]

The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.[144]

[Footnote 144: 2 Kings 20. 17.]

The captivity of the Jews, including its duration of seventy years,
their most unlikely restoration, and the name of the restorer.[145]

[Footnote 145: Jer. 29. 10; Isa. 44. 28.]

The wars between Syria and Egypt.[146]

[Footnote 146: Dan. 11.]

We will examine a single instance in detail, and select that
referring to the _destruction of Jerusalem_ by the Babylonians, as
this is connected with one of the miracles mentioned in the last
chapter, _the shadow on the dial_. Now, it will be remembered that,
on one occasion, the Jewish King Hezekiah was seriously ill, and on
being told of his unexpected recovery, he naturally asked for a
_sign_. And then in accordance with his demand the shadow on his
dial went back ten _steps_.[147]

[Footnote 147: 2 Kings 20. 8-11 (margin, R.V.); Isa. 38. 8.]

This _dial_ was evidently a flight of steps, with some object on the
top, perhaps an obelisk, which threw a shadow on a gradually
increasing number of these as the sun set. And a sudden vibration
of the ground, due perhaps to an earthquake, and causing the obelisk
to slope to one side, would quite account for the shadow _going
backward_, and leaving some of the steps which it had covered. And
the narrative certainly implies that the effect was sudden, and
apparently limited to this one dial.

It seems, however, to have attracted considerable attention; since
messengers came from Babylon to _enquire about it_, and to
congratulate the King on his recovery.[148] And if the sloping
obelisk, and perhaps broken steps, were still visible, this would be
much more natural than if there was nothing left for them to see.
Though in any case, as they called it the wonder that was done _in
the land_, it evidently was not noticed elsewhere, and must have
been due to some local cause. And we may ask, how could any writer
have asserted all this, even a century afterwards, if no such sign
had occurred?

[Footnote 148: 2 Chron. 32. 24, 31.]

We are then told that Hezekiah showed these messengers all his
treasures, which leads up to the _prophecy_ that the treasures
should be carried away and Jerusalem destroyed by these very
Babylonians. This is introduced in the most natural way possible, as
a rebuke to the king for his proud display; and it is difficult to
consider it a later insertion. Yet the event could not have been
humanly foreseen. For Babylon was then but a comparatively small and
friendly nation, shortly to be absorbed into Assyria (in B.C. 689),
and only when it regained its independence nearly a century later
did it become strong enough to cause any fear to the Jews.

We need not discuss the other prophecies at length, since that they
all refer to the events in question is generally admitted. Indeed,
in some cases, owing to the mention of names and details, it can
scarcely be denied. Therefore those who disbelieve in prophecy have
no alternative but to say that they were all written _after the

At this lapse of time it is difficult to prove or disprove such a
statement. But it must be remembered that to say that any apparent
prophecies were written after the event is not merely to destroy
their superhuman character, and bring them down to the level of
ordinary writings, but far below it. For ordinary writings do not
contain wilful falsehoods, yet every pretended prophecy written
after the event cannot possibly be regarded in any other light. The
choice then lies between _real prophecies_ and _wilful forgeries_.
There is no other alternative. And bearing this in mind, we must
ask, is it likely that men of such high moral character as the
Jewish prophets would have been guilty of such gross imposture? Is
it likely that, if guilty of it, they would have been able to pass
it off successfully on the whole nation? And is it likely that they
would have had any sufficient motive to induce them to make the

Moreover, many of these prophecies are stated to have been made _in
public_, and to have been talked about, and well known long before
their fulfilment. And it is hard to see how this could have been
asserted unless it was the case, or how it could have been the case
unless they were superhuman.

It should also be noticed that in Deuteronomy the occurrence of some
definite and specified event is given as the _test_ of a prophet,
and one of the later prophets (Isaiah) appeals to this very test.
For he challenges the false prophets to foretell future events, and
repeatedly declares that this was the mark of a true prophet.[149]
And it is inconceivable that men should thus court defeat by
themselves proposing a test which would have shown that they were
nothing more than impostors. Yet this would have been the case if
all their so-called prophecies had been written after the events.

[Footnote 149: Deut. 18. 22; Isa. 41. 22; 44. 8; 48. 3-5; see also
Deut. 13. 1-3.]


In concluding this chapter, we must notice the _cumulative nature_
of the evidence. The prophecies we have referred to, like the
miracles in the last chapter, are but specimens, a few out of many
which might be given. This is very important, and its bearing on our
present argument is naturally twofold.

In the first place, it does not increase, and in some respects
rather decreases, the difficulty of believing them to be true, for
thirty miracles or prophecies, provided they occur on suitable
occasions, are scarcely more difficult to believe than three. And
the number recorded in the Old Testament shows that, instead of
being mere isolated marvels, they form a complete series. Their
object was to instruct the Jews, and through them the rest of the
world, in the great truths of Natural Religion, such as the
existence of One Supreme God, Who was shown to be _All-Powerful_ by
the miracles, _All-Wise_ by the prophecies, and _All-Good_ by His
rewarding and punishing men and nations alike for their deeds. And
when we thus regard them as confirming a Revelation, which was for
the benefit of the whole human race, they lose a good deal of their
improbability. Indeed many who now believe Natural Religion alone,
and reject all revelation, would probably never have believed even
this, but for the Bible.

On the other hand, the number and variety of these alleged events
greatly increases the difficulty of any _other_ explanation; for
thirty miracles or prophecies are far more difficult to _disbelieve_
than three. A successful fraud might take place once, but not often.
An imitation miracle might be practised once, but not often.
Spurious prophecies might be mistaken for genuine once, but not
often. Yet, if none of these events are true, such frauds and such
deceptions must have been practised, and practised successfully,
over and over again. In fact, the Old Testament must be a collection
of the most dishonest books ever written, for it is full of miracles
and prophecies from beginning to end; and it is hard to exaggerate
the immense _moral_ difficulty which this involves.

Many of the Jewish prophets, as before said, teach the highest moral
virtues; and the Jewish religion, especially in its later days, is
admittedly of high moral character. It seems, then, to be almost
incredible that its sacred writings should be merely a collection of
spurious prophecies uttered after the event, and false miracles
which never occurred. We therefore decide in this chapter that the
_history_ of the Jewish religion _was confirmed by prophecies_.



     Only two subjects remain to be discussed.


     No difficulty here, nor as to their influence.


     The Jewish idea of God often thought to be defective.

     (1.) Its partiality; but any revelation must be more or
           less partial.
     (2.) Its human element; we must, however, use analogies
           of some kind when speaking of God, and human
           analogies are the least inappropriate.
     (3.) Its moral defects; since God is shown as approving
           of wicked men, ordering wicked deeds, and sanctioning
           wicked customs; but these difficulties are not
           so great as they seem.
     (4.) Its general excellence. On the other hand, the Jews
           firmly believed in Monotheism, and had the highest
           mental and moral conception of God; so that their
           God was the true God, the God of Natural Religion.

     (_C._) CONCLUSION.

     Four further arguments; the Jewish Religion is probably

We have been considering in the previous chapters several strong
arguments in favour of the Jewish Religion; and before concluding we
must of course notice _any_ adverse arguments which we have not
already dealt with. The only two of any importance refer to the
Existence of Angels, and the Character ascribed to God; so we will
consider these first, and then conclude with some general remarks.


Now the Old Testament always takes for granted the existence and
influence of angels, yet at the present day this is often thought to
be a difficulty. But as to the mere _existence_ of angels, there is
no difficulty whatever. For the whole analogy of nature would teach
us that since there are numerous beings in the scale of life below
man, so there would be some beings above man--that is to say,
between him and the Supreme Being. And this is rendered still more
probable when we reflect on the small intervals there are in the
descending scale, and the immense interval there would be in the
ascending scale if man were the next highest being in the universe
to God.

And that these higher beings should be entirely _spiritual_, _i.e._,
without material bodies, and therefore beyond scientific discovery,
is not improbable. Indeed, considering that man's superiority to
lower beings lies in this very fact of his having a partly spiritual
nature, the idea that higher beings may be entirely spiritual is
even probable. And though it is difficult for us to imagine how
angels can see, or hear without a material body, it is really no
more difficult than imagining how we can do it with a body. Take for
instance the case of seeing. Neither the eye nor the brain sees,
they are mere collections of molecules of matter, and how can a
molecule see anything? It is the _man himself_, the _personal
being_, who in some mysterious way sees by means of both eyes and
brain; and for all we know he might see just as well without them.
And the same applies in other cases.

Then that angels should have as great, if not greater, intellectual
and moral faculties than man seems certain; otherwise they would not
be higher beings at all. And this necessitates their having _free
will_, with the option of choosing good or evil. And that, like men,
some should choose one, and some the other, seems equally probable.
Hence the _existence_ of both good and evil angels presents no
difficulty. And that the good angels should have a leader, or
captain (called in the Old Testament, Michael), and that the evil
angels should have one too (called Satan) is only what we should

Next, as to their _influence_. Now that good angels should wish to
influence men for good, and might occasionally be employed by God
for that purpose, scarcely seems improbable. While, on the other
hand, that evil angels should wish to act, as evil men act, in
tempting others to do wrong, is again only what we should expect.
And that God should allow them to do so is no harder to believe than
that He should allow evil men to do the same.

It may still be objected however that we have no actual _evidence_
as to the influence of angels at the present day. But this is at
least doubtful. For what evidence could we expect to have? We could
not expect to have any physical sensation, or anything capable of
scientific investigation, for angels, if they exist at all, are
spiritual beings. If, then, they were to influence man, say, by
tempting him to do evil, all we could know would be the sudden
presence of some evil thought in our minds, without, as far as we
could judge, any previous cause for it. And who will assert that
this is an unknown experience? Yet if it is known, does it not
constitute all the proof we could expect of the action of an evil
spirit? And of course the same applies to good spirits. There is
thus no difficulty as to the existence, and influence of angels.


We pass on now to the Character ascribed to God in the Old
Testament, first considering its difficulties, under the three heads
of its _partiality_, its _human element_, and its _moral defects_;
and then what can be said on the other side as to its _general

(1.) _Its partiality._

The objection here is that God is the just God of all mankind, and
it is therefore incredible that He should have selected a single
nation like the Jews to be His special favourites, more particularly
as His alleged attempt to make them a holy people proved such a
hopeless failure. While it is further urged that the very fact of
the Jews believing Jehovah to be their special God shows that they
regarded Him as a mere national God, bearing the same relation to
themselves as the gods of other nations did to them.

But, as said in Chapter VI., any revelation implies a certain
_partiality_ to the men or nation to whom it is given; though it is
not on that account incredible. And there is certainly no reason why
the Jews should not have been the nation chosen, and some slight
reason why they should; for their ancestor Abraham was not selected
without a cause. He did, partly at least, deserve it, since, judging
by the only accounts we have, he showed the most perfect obedience
to God in his willingness to sacrifice Isaac. It must also be
remembered that God's so-called partiality to the Jews did not imply
any indulgence to them in the sense of overlooking their faults. On
the contrary, He is represented all along as blaming and punishing
them, just as much as other nations, for their sins.

Next, as to God's purpose in regard to the Jews having been a
_failure_. This is only partly true. No doubt they were, on the
whole, a sinful nation; but they were not worse than, or even so bad
as, the nations around them; it was only the fact of their being the
chosen race that made their sins so serious. They had free will,
just as men have now; and if they chose to misuse their freedom and
act wrong, that was not God's fault.

Moreover, the Jewish nation was not selected merely for its own
sake, but for the sake of all mankind; as is expressly stated at the
very commencement, '_In thee shall all the families of the earth be
blessed_.'[150] Thus God did not select the Jews, and reject other
nations; but He selected the Jews in order that through them He
might bless other nations. The religious welfare of the whole world
was God's purpose from the beginning; and the Jews were merely the
means chosen for bringing it about. And to a great extent the
purpose has been fulfilled; for however sinful the nation may have
been, they preserved and handed on God's revelation, and the Old
Testament remains, and will always remain, as a permanent and
priceless treasure of religion.

[Footnote 150: Gen. 12. 3.]

The last part of the objection may be dismissed at once. For if the
Jews regarded Jehovah as their special God, it was merely because He
had specially _selected_ them to be His people. He must therefore
have had a power of choice, and might, if He pleased, have selected
some other nation, so He could not have been a mere national God,
but the God of all nations with power to select among them. And this
is distinctly asserted by many of the writers.[151]

[Footnote 151: _E.g._, Exod. 19. 5; Deut. 32. 8; 2 Chron. 20. 6;
Isa. 37. 16.]

We conclude, then, that God's so-called partiality to the Jews does
not, when carefully considered, form a great difficulty. To put it
shortly, if a revelation is given at all, some individuals must be
selected to receive it; if it is given gradually (and God's methods
in nature are always those of gradual development) these men would
probably belong to a single nation; and if one nation had to be
selected, there is no reason why the Jews should not have been the
one chosen. While, if they were selected for the purpose of handing
on God's revelation to the world at large, the purpose has been
completely successful.

(2.) _Its human element._

The next difficulty, is that the Jewish idea of God was thoroughly
_human_, the Deity being represented as a great _Man_, with human
form, feelings, attributes, and imperfections. Thus He has hands
and arms, eyes and ears; He is at times glad or sorry, angry or
jealous; He moves about from place to place; and sometimes repents
of what He has done, thus showing, it is urged, a want of foresight,
on His part. And all this is plainly inconsistent with the character
of the immaterial, omnipresent, omniscient God of Nature. The answer
to this objection is twofold.

In the first place, we must of necessity use analogies of some kind
when speaking of God, and _human_ analogies are not only the easiest
to understand, but are also the least inappropriate, since, as we
have shown, man resembles God in that he is a personal and moral
being. Therefore likening God to man is not so degrading as likening
Him to mere natural forces. Such expressions, then, must always be
considered as descriptions drawn from human analogies, which must
not be pressed literally.

While, secondly, it is plain that the Jewish writers themselves so
understood them, for they elsewhere describe the Deity in the most
exalted language, as will be shown later on. And this is strongly
confirmed by the remarkable fact that the Jews, unlike other ancient
nations, had no material idol or representation of their God. Inside
both the tabernacle and the temple there was the holy of holies with
the mercy seat, but no one sat on it. An empty throne was all that
the shrine contained. Their Jehovah was essentially an invisible
God, who could not be represented by any human or other form; and
this alone seems a sufficient answer to the present objection.

(3.) _Its moral defects._

Lastly as to the supposed moral defects in God's Character. The
three most important are that God is frequently represented as
approving of wicked men, as ordering wicked deeds, and even in His
own laws as sanctioning wicked customs. We will consider these
points in turn.

And first as to God's _approving of wicked men_; that is, of men who
committed the greatest crimes, such as Jacob and David. This is
easily answered, since approving of a man does not mean approving of
_everything_ he does. The case of David affords a convincing example
of this; for though he is represented as a man after God's own
heart, yet we are told that God was so extremely displeased with one
of his acts that He punished him for it severely, in causing his
child to die. In the same way no one supposes that God approved of
Jacob because of his treachery, but in spite of it; and even in his
treachery, he was only carrying out (and with apparent reluctance)
the orders of his mother.[152] Moreover, in estimating a man's
character, his education and surroundings have always to be taken
into account. And if the conduct of one man living in an immoral age
is far better than that of his contemporaries, he may be worthy of
praise, though similar conduct at the present day might not deserve

[Footnote 152: Gen. 27. 8-13.]

And if it be asked what there was in the character of these men, and
many others, to counterbalance their obvious crimes, the answer is
plain; it was their intense belief in the spiritual world. The
existence of One Supreme God, and their personal responsibility to
Him, were realities to them all through life; so, in spite of many
faults, they still deserved to be praised.

Next as to God's _ordering wicked deeds_. In all cases of this kind
it is important to distinguish between a man's personal acts, and
his official ones. At the present day the judge who condemns a
criminal, and the executioner who hangs him are not looked upon as
murderers. And the same principle applies universally. Now in the
Old Testament the Jews are represented as living under the immediate
rule of God. Therefore when a man, or body of men, had to be
punished for their crimes, He commanded some prophet or king, or
perhaps the whole people, to carry out the sentence. And of course,
if they failed to do so they were blamed, just as we should blame a
hangman at the present day who failed to do his duty. Thus, in the
case of _destroying the Canaanites_, which is the instance most
often objected to, the people were told, in the plainest terms, that
they were only acting as God's ministers, and that if they became as
bad as the Canaanites, who were a horribly polluted race, God would
have them destroyed as well.[153]

[Footnote 153: _E.g._, Lev. 18. 21-28; Deut. 9. 5.]

A more serious objection is that God is occasionally represented as
if He Himself _caused_ men to do wrong, such as His _hardening
Pharaoh's heart_.[154] But, as we shall see later on, the Bible
often speaks of everything that occurs, whether good or evil, as
being, in a certain sense, God's doing. And since the writer
asserts more than once that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, there
can be little doubt that he intended the two expressions to mean the
same. Indeed the whole narrative represents Pharaoh as extremely
obstinate in the matter, refusing to listen even to his own

[Footnote 154: _E.g._, Exod. 14. 4.]

[Footnote 155: Exod. 8. 15, 32; 9. 34; 10. 3, 7.]

Thirdly, as to God's _sanctioning wicked customs_. The most
important is that of _human sacrifice_; but it is very doubtful
whether the passages relied on do sanction this custom;[156] since
it is clearly laid down elsewhere that the firstborn of _men_ are
never to be sacrificed, but are always to be redeemed.[157] Moreover
human sacrifices among other nations are strongly condemned, in one
passage Jehovah expressly saying that they were not to be offered
to Him.[158] It is, however, further urged that we have two
actual instances of such sacrifices in regard to _Isaac_ and
_Jephthah_.[159] But Jephthah had evidently no idea when he made his
vow that it would involve the sacrifice of his daughter; and there
is nothing to show that it was in any way acceptable to God.

[Footnote 156: Exod. 22. 29, 30; Lev. 27. 28, 29.]

[Footnote 157: Exod. 13. 13; 34. 20; Num. 18. 15.]

[Footnote 158: Deut. 12. 31.]

[Footnote 159: Gen. 22; Judg. 11. 39.]

In the case of _Isaac_ we have the one instance in which God did
order a human sacrifice; but then He specially intervened to prevent
the order from being carried out. And the whole affair, the command
and the counter-command, must of course be taken together. It was
required to test Abraham's faith to the utmost, therefore as he
most valued his son, he was told to offer him. And since children
were then universally regarded as property, and at the absolute
disposal of their parents, human sacrifices being by no means
uncommon, the command, however distressing to his heart, would have
formed no difficulty to his conscience. But when his faith was found
equal to the trial, God intervened, as He had of course intended
doing all along, to prevent Isaac from being actually slain.

With regard to the other practices, such as _slavery_, and
_polygamy_, it is undisputed that they were recognised by the Jewish
laws; but none of them were _instituted_ by these laws. The
Pentateuch neither commands them, nor commends them; it merely
mentions them, and, as a rule, to guard against their abuse. Take,
for instance, the case of slavery. The custom was, and had been for
ages, universal. All that the laws did was to recognise its
existence and to provide certain safeguards; making kidnapping, for
instance, a capital offence, and in some cases ordering the release
of slaves every seventh year.[160]

[Footnote 160: Exod. 21. 2, 16; Lev. 25. 41.]

On the other hand, many _worse customs_ existed at the time which
the Jewish laws did absolutely forbid;[161] and they also introduced
a code of morals, summed up in the Decalogue, of such permanent
value that it has been practically accepted by the civilised world.
While the highest of all virtues, that of doing good to one's
_enemies_, which was scarcely known among other nations, is
positively enjoined in the Pentateuch.[162]

[Footnote 161: _E.g._, Lev. 18-20.]

[Footnote 162: Exod. 23. 4-5.]

(4.) _Its general excellence._

Having now discussed at some length the alleged difficulties in
God's character, it is only fair to see what can be said on the
other side. And much indeed may be said; for the Jewish conception
of the Deity, when considered as a whole, and apart from these
special difficulties, was one of the noblest ever formed by man.

To begin with, the Jews firmly believed in _Monotheism_, or the
existence of One Supreme God. This was the essence of their
religion. It is stamped on the first page of Genesis; it is implied
in the Decalogue; it occurs all through the historical books; and it
is emphasised in the Psalms and Prophets; in fact they were never
without it. And in this respect the Jews stood alone among the
surrounding nations. Some others, it is true, believed in a god who
was more or less Supreme; but they always associated with him a
number of lesser deities which really turned their religion into
Polytheism. With the Jews it was not so. Their Jehovah had neither
rivals nor assistants. There were no inferior gods, still less
goddesses. He was the one and only God; and as for the so-called
gods of other nations, they either did not believe in their
existence, or thought them utterly contemptible, and even ridiculed
the idea of their having the slightest power.[163] And it may be
added, this is a subject on which the Jews have become the teachers
of the world, for both the great monotheistic Religions of the
present day, Christianity and Mohammedanism, have been derived from

[Footnote 163: Deut. 4. 39; 1 Kings 18. 27; 2 Kings 19. 15-18; Ps.
115. 4-8.]

Moreover, the great problem of the _Existence of Evil_ never led the
Jews, as it did some other nations, into Dualism, or the belief in
an independent Evil Power. Difficult as the problem was, the Jews
never hesitated in their belief that there was but One Supreme God,
and that everything that existed, whether good or evil, existed by
His permission, and was in a certain sense His doing.[164] And they
gave to Him the very highest attributes.

[Footnote 164: Isa. 45. 7; Prov. 16. 4; Amos 3. 6.]

They described Him as _Omnipotent_; the Creator, Preserver, and
Possessor of all things, the Cause of all nature, the Sustainer of
all life, Almighty in power, and for Whom nothing is too hard.[165]

[Footnote 165: Gen. 1. 1; Neh. 9. 6; Gen. 14. 22; Amos 5. 8; Job 12.
10; 1 Chron. 29. 11; Jer. 32. 17.]

They described Him as _Omniscient_; infinite in understanding,
wonderful in counsel, perfect in knowledge, declaring the end from
the beginning, knowing and foreknowing even the thoughts of

[Footnote 166: Ps. 147. 5; Isa. 28. 29; Job 37. 16; Isa. 46. 10;
Ezek. 11. 5. Ps. 139. 2.]

They described Him as _Omnipresent_; filling Heaven and earth,
though contained by neither, existing everywhere, and from Whom
escape is impossible.[167]

[Footnote 167: Jer. 23. 24; 1 Kings 8. 27; Prov. 15. 3; Ps. 139. 7.]

They described Him as _Eternal_; the Eternal God, the Everlasting
God, God from everlasting to everlasting, Whose years are
unsearchable, the First and the Last.[168]

[Footnote 168: Deut. 33. 27; Gen. 21. 33; Ps. 90. 2; Job 36. 26;
Isa. 48. 12.]

They described Him as _Unchangeable_; the same at all times, ruling
nature by fixed laws, and with Whom a change of purpose is

[Footnote 169: Mal. 3. 6; Ps. 148. 6; Num. 23. 19.]

And lastly, they described Him as in His true nature _Unknowable_; a
hidden God, far above human understanding.[170] This will be enough
to show the lofty _mental_ conception which the Jews formed of the

[Footnote 170: Isa. 45. 15; Job 11. 7.]

Now for their _moral_ conception. They believed their God to be not
only infinite in power and wisdom, but, what is more remarkable,
they ascribed to Him the highest moral character. He was not only a
_beneficent_ God, Whose blessings were unnumbered, but He was also a
_righteous_ God. His very Name was Holy, and His hatred of evil is
emphasised all through to such an extent that at times it forms a
difficulty, as in the case of the Canaanites. Thus the _goodness_
they ascribed to God was a combination of beneficence and
righteousness very similar to what we discussed in Chapter V.

Moreover, in this respect the God of the Jews was a striking
contrast to the gods of other nations. We have only to compare
Jehovah with Moloch and Baal, or with the Egyptian gods, Ptah and
Ra, or with the classical gods, Jupiter and Saturn, and the
superiority of the Jewish conception of the Deity is beyond dispute.
In particular it may be mentioned that among other nations, even the
god they worshipped as Supreme always had a _female companion_.
Thus we have Baal and Astaroth, Osiris and Isis, Jupiter and Juno,
and many others. It is needless to point out how easily such an idea
led to immorality being mixed up with religion, a vice from which
the Jews were absolutely free. Indeed, few things are more
remarkable, even with this remarkable people, than that in the
innermost shrine of their temple, in the ark just below the
mercy-seat, there was a code of _moral laws_, the _Ten Commandments_.
This was the very centre of their religion, theirgreatest treasure;
and they believed them to have been written by God Himself.

Nor can it be said that this high conception of the Deity was
confined to the later period of Jewish history. For the above texts
have been purposely selected from all through the Old Testament, and
even Abraham, the remote ancestor of the Jews, seems to have looked
upon it as self-evident that Jehovah, the _Judge of all the earth_,
should _do right_.[171] No wonder, then, believing in such a perfect
Being as this, the Jews, in contrast with most other nations,
thought that their first and great commandment was to _love_ God
rather than to _fear_ Him, that they were each individually
responsible to Him for their conduct, and that every sin was a sin
against God, Who was a Searcher of hearts, and the impartial Judge
of all men.[172] So much, then, for the Jewish conception of the
Deity when considered as a whole and apart from special

[Footnote 171: Gen. 18. 25.]

[Footnote 172: Deut. 6. 5; Eccles. 12. 14; Gen. 39. 9; 1 Chron. 28.
9; Job 34. 19.]

And from this it follows that the Jewish God, Jehovah, was the true
God, the God of Natural Religion, the Being Who is All-Powerful,
All-Wise, and All-Good. Yet strange to say the Jews were not a more
advanced nation than those around them. On the contrary, in the arts
both of peace and war they were vastly inferior to the great nations
of antiquity, but in their conception of the Deity they were vastly
superior; or, as it has been otherwise expressed, they were men in
religion, though children in everything else. And this appears to
many to be a strong argument in favour of their religion. For unless
it had been revealed to them, it is not likely that the Jews alone
among ancient nations would have had such a true conception of the
Deity. And unless they were in some special sense God's people, it
is not likely that they alone would have worshipped Him.


Before concluding this chapter, we must notice four arguments of a
more general character; all of which are undisputed, and all of
which are distinctly in favour of the Jewish Religion. The first is
that the Jews are all descended from _one man_, Abraham. They have
always maintained this themselves, and there seems no reason to
doubt it. Yet it is very remarkable. There are now about _sixteen
hundred_ million persons in the world, and if there were at the time
of Abraham (say) _one_ million men (_i.e._, males), each of these
would, on an average, have 1,600 descendants now.[173] But the Jews
now number, not 1,600, but over 12,000,000. This extraordinary
posterity would be strange in any case, but is doubly so,
considering that it was foretold. It was part of the great promise
made to Abraham, for his great faith, that his seed should be as
_the stars of heaven_, and as _the sand which is upon the sea-shore_
for multitude.[174]

[Footnote 173: _I.e._, descendants in the male line; descendants
through daughters are of course not counted.]

[Footnote 174: Gen. 22. 17.]

The second is that the Jews are anyhow _a unique nation_. For
centuries, though scattered throughout the world, they have been
held together by their religion. And according to the Bible, their
religion was given them for this very purpose, it was to make them a
_peculiar people_, unlike everyone else.[175] If then it was, as far
as it went, the true religion, revealed by God, the fact is
explicable; but if it was nothing better than other ancient and
false religions, it is hopelessly inexplicable.

[Footnote 175: Deut. 14. 2; 26. 18.]

The third is that the early history of the Jews, either real or
supposed, has exerted a greater and more beneficial influence on the
world for the last thousand years, than that of all the great
nations of antiquity put together. Millions of men have been helped
to resist sin by the Psalms of David, and the stories of Elijah,
Daniel, etc., over whom the histories of Egypt and Assyria, Greece,
and Rome, have had no influence whatever. And the _effect_ of the
Religion being thus unique, makes it probable that its _cause_ was
unique also; in other words, that it was Divinely revealed.

The fourth is that the Jews themselves always prophesied that their
God, Jehovah, would one day be universally acknowledged.[176] And
(however strange we may think it) this has actually been the case;
and the God of this small and insignificant tribe--_the God of
Israel_--is now worshipped by millions and millions of men
(Christians) of every race, language, and country, throughout the
civilised world. These are facts that need explanation, and the
Truth of the Jewish Religion seems alone able to explain them.

[Footnote 176: _E.g._, Ps. 22. 27; 86. 9; Isa. 11. 9; Zeph. 2. 11.]

In conclusion, we will just sum up the arguments in these chapters.
We have shown that there are strong reasons for thinking that the
account of the _Creation_ was Divinely revealed; that the _origin_
of the Jewish religion was confirmed by miracles; and that its
_history_ was confirmed both by miracles and prophecies. And it
should be noticed, each of these arguments is independent of the
others. So the evidence is all cumulative and far more than
sufficient to outweigh the improbability of the religion, due to its
apparent _partiality_, which is the most important argument on the
opposite side. Moreover, we know so little as to why man was
created, or what future, God intended for him, that it is not easy
to say whether the religion is really so improbable after all. On
the other hand, the evidence in its favour is plain, direct, and
unmistakable. And we therefore decide that the _Jewish Religion is
probably true_.






     By the Christian Religion is meant the Three Creeds, its four great

     (_A._) THE TRINITY.

     (1.) Its meaning; Three Persons in One Nature.
     (2.) Its credibility; this must be admitted.
     (3.) Its probability more likely than simple Theism.


     (1.) Its difficulties; not insuperable.
     (2.) Its motive; God, it is said, loves man, and wishes man
     to love Him, not improbable for several reasons.
     (3.) Its historical position.

     (_C._) THE ATONEMENT.

     The common objections do not apply because of the
     _willingness_ of the Victim.

     (1.) As to the Victim; it does away with the injustice.
     (2.) As to the Judge; it appeals to His mercy not justice.
     (3.) As to the sinner; it has no bad influence.


     (1.) Christ's Resurrection; not incredible, for we have no
           experience to judge by.
     (2.) Man's resurrection; not incredible, for the same body
           need not involve the same molecules.

     (_E._) CONCLUSION.

     Three considerations which show that the Christian
      Religion, though improbable, is certainly not incredible.

We pass on now to the Christian Religion, by which we mean the facts
and doctrines contained in the _Three Creeds_, commonly, though
perhaps incorrectly, called the Apostles', the Nicene, and the
Athanasian. And, as these doctrines are of such vast importance, and
of so wonderful a character, we must first consider whether they are
_credible_. Is it conceivable that such doctrines should be true, no
matter what evidence they may have in their favour? In this chapter,
therefore, we shall deal chiefly with the difficulties of
Christianity. Now its four great and characteristic doctrines are
those of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, and the
Resurrection. We will examine each in turn, and then conclude with a
few general remarks.


To begin with, the Christian religion differs from all others in its
idea of the nature of God. According to Christianity, the Deity
exists in some mysterious manner as a _Trinity of Persons_ in a
_Unity of Nature_; so we will first consider the meaning of this
doctrine, then its credibility, and lastly its probability. It is
not, as some people suppose, a kind of intellectual puzzle, but a
statement which, whether true or false, is fairly intelligible,
provided, of course, due attention is given to the meaning of the
words employed.

(1.) _Its meaning._

In the first place, we must carefully distinguish between _Person_
and _Substance_; this is the key to the whole question. The former
has been already considered in Chapters III. and IV., though it must
be remembered that this term, like all others, when applied to God,
cannot mean exactly the same as it does when applied to man. All we
can say is that, on the whole, it seems the least inappropriate
word. The latter is a little misleading, since it is not the modern
English word _substance_, but a Latin translation of a Greek word,
which would be better rendered by _nature_ or _essence_.

But though difficult to explain, its meaning is tolerably clear.
Take, for instance, though the analogy must not be pressed too far,
the case of three men; each is a distinct human _person_, but they
all have a common human _nature_. This human nature, which may also
be called human substance (in its old sense), humanity, or manhood,
has of course no existence apart from the men whose nature it is; it
is merely _that_ which they each possess in common, and the
possession of which makes each of them a man. And hence, any
attribute belonging to human nature would belong to each of the
three men, so that each would be mortal, each subject to growth,
etc. Each would in fact possess the complete human nature, yet
together there would not be three human natures, but only one.

Bearing this in mind, let us now turn to the doctrine of the
Trinity. This is expressed in vv. 3-6 of the Athanasian Creed as

           3. 'The Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one
          God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.

           4. 'Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing
          the Substance.

           5. 'For there is one Person of the Father, another
          of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.

          6. 'But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son,
          and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory equal, the
          Majesty co-eternal.'

Here, it will be noticed, vv. 5 and 6 give the _reasons_ for v. 4,
so that the Godhead in v. 6 is, as we should have expected, the same
as the Divine _Substance_ or Nature in v. 4. Thus the meaning is as

We must worship one God (as to Nature) in Trinity (of Persons) and
Trinity (of Persons) in Unity (of Nature); neither confusing the
Persons, for each is distinct; nor dividing the Nature, for it is
all one.

Thus far there is no intellectual difficulty in the statements of
the Creed. We do not mean that there is no difficulty in believing
them to be true, or in accurately defining the terms used; but that,
as statements, their meaning is quite intelligible.

We now pass on to the following verses which are deductions from
this, and show that as each of the three Persons possesses the
Divine Nature, all attributes of the Godhead (_i.e._, of this one
Divine Nature) are possessed by each of the three. Each is therefore
_eternal_, and yet there is only _one_ eternal Nature. But this is
expressed in a peculiarly short and abrupt manner. No one, of
course, supposes that God is Three _in the same sense_ in which He
is One, but the Creed does not sufficiently guard against this,
perhaps because it never occurred to its author that anyone would
think it meant such an obvious absurdity. Moreover, even
grammatically the verses are not very clear. For the various terms
_uncreate_, _incomprehensible_ (_i.e._, boundless, or omnipresent),
_eternal_, _almighty_, _God_, and _Lord_ are used as if they were
adjectives in the first part of each sentence, and nouns in the
latter part.

But we must remember these verses do not stand alone. If they did,
they might perhaps be thought unintelligible. But they do not. As
just said, they are deductions from the previous statement of the
doctrine of the Trinity; and, therefore, they must in all fairness
be interpreted so as to agree with that doctrine, not to contradict
it. And the previous verses (3-6) show clearly that where _three_
are spoken of, it refers to Persons; and where _one_ is spoken of,
it refers to Substance or Nature.

It must however be admitted that the _names_ of these Divine Persons
imply some closer union between them than that of merely possessing
in common one Divine Nature. For they are not independent names like
those of different men or of heathen gods, each of whom might exist
separately; but they are all _relative_ names, each implying the
others. Thus the Father implies the Son, for how can there be a
Father, unless there is a Son (or at least a child)? And of course
an Eternal Father implies an Eternal Son, so any idea that the
Father must have lived first, as in the case of a human father and
son, is out of the question. Similarly the Son implies the Father,
and the Spirit implies Him whose Spirit He is. And though these
names are no doubt very inadequate; they yet show that the three
Persons are of the same Nature, which is the important point.

We conclude then that the Doctrine of the Trinity means the
existence of three Divine Persons, each possessing in its
completeness the one Divine Nature; and closely united together;
though in a manner, which is to us unknown.

(2.) _Its credibility._

Having now discussed the meaning of the Christian doctrine, we have
next to consider whether it is credible. It must of course be
admitted that the doctrine is very mysterious, and though fairly
intelligible as a doctrine, is extremely hard to realise (indeed
some might say inconceivable) when we try to picture to ourselves
what the doctrine actually means. But we must remember that the
nature of God is anyhow almost inconceivable, even as simple Theism.
We cannot picture to ourselves a Being Who is omnipresent,--in this
room, for instance, as well as on distant stars. Nor can we imagine
a Being Who is grieved every time we commit sin, for if so,
considering the number of people in the world, He must be grieved
many thousands of times _every second_; as well as being glad
whenever anyone resists sin, also, let us hope, several thousand
times a second. All this may be true, just as the marvels of
science--the _ether_, for instance, which is also omnipresent, and
has millions of vibrations every second--may be true, but our minds
are quite unable to realise any of them.

Thus, as said in Chapter III., though we have ample means of knowing
what God is _in His relation to us_ as our Creator and Judge, yet as
to His real nature we know next to nothing. Nor is this surprising
when we remember that the only being who in any way resembles God
is _man_; and man's nature, notwithstanding all our opportunities of
studying it, still remains a mystery.

Now Christianity does attempt (in its doctrine of the Trinity) to
state what God is _in Himself_, and without any reference to
ourselves, or to nature; and that this should be to a great extent
inconceivable to our minds seems inevitable. For the nature of God
must be beyond human understanding, just as the nature of a man is
beyond the understanding of animals; though they may realise what he
is _to them_, in his power or his kindness. And for all we know,
Trinity in Unity, like omnipresence, may be one of the unique
attributes of God, which cannot be understood (because it cannot be
shared) by anyone else. Therefore the mysteriousness of the
Christian doctrine is no reason for thinking it incredible.

Nor is it inconsistent with Natural Religion, for though this shows
the _Unity_ of God, it is only a unity of _outward action_. It does
not, and cannot tell us what this one God is _in Himself_, whether,
for instance, He exists as one or more Persons. In the same way (if
we may without irreverence take a homely illustration) a number of
letters might be so extremely alike as to show that they were all
written by one man. But this would not tell us what the man was _in
himself_, whether, for instance, he had a free will, as well as a
body and mind; or how these were related to one another. Hence
Natural Religion can in no way conflict with Christianity.

(3.) _Its probability._

But we may go further than this, and say that the Christian doctrine
of _Three_ Divine Persons is (when carefully considered) _less_
difficult to believe than the Unitarian doctrine of only _One_. For
this latter leads to the conclusion, either that God must have been
a solitary God dwelling alone from all eternity, before the creation
of the world; or else that the world itself (or some part of it)
must have been eternal, and have formed a kind of companion. And
each of these theories has great difficulties. Take for instance the
attributes of _Power_ and _Wisdom_, both of which, as we have seen,
must of necessity belong to God. How could a solitary God dwelling
alone before the Creation of the world have been able to exercise
either His Power or His Wisdom? As far as we can judge, His Power
could have produced nothing, His Wisdom could have thought of
nothing. He would have been a _potential_ God only, with all His
capacities unrealised. And such a view seems quite incredible.

Yet the only alternative--that the world itself is eternal--though
it gets over this difficulty, is still inadequate. For as we have
seen God possesses _moral_ attributes as well, such as Goodness. And
all moral attributes--everything connected with right and wrong--can
only be thought of as existing between two _persons_. We cannot be
good to an atom of hydrogen, or unjust to a molecule of water. We
can it is true be kind to _animals_, but this is simply because they
resemble personal beings in having a capacity for pleasure and pain.
But moral attributes in their highest perfection can only exist
between two persons. Therefore as the eternal God possesses, and
must always have possessed, such attributes, it seems to require
some other eternal _Person_.

The argument is perhaps a difficult one to follow, but a single
example will make it plain. Take the attribute of _love_. This
requires at least two persons--one to love, the other to be loved.
Therefore if love has always been one of God's attributes, there
must always have been some _other_ person to be loved. And the idea
that God might have been eternally _creating_ persons, like men or
angels, as objects of His love, though perhaps attractive, is still
inadequate. For love in its perfection can only exist between two
beings _of the same nature_. A man cannot love his dog, in the same
way that he can love his son. In short, _personality_, involving as
it does moral attributes like love, implies _fellowship_, or the
existence of other and _similar_ persons.

Yet, when we think of the meaning of the term God, His omnipresence
and omnipotence, it seems impossible that there can be more than
one. We must then believe in at least two Eternal and Divine
Persons, yet in but one God; and the Christian doctrine of the
Trinity in Unity, with all its difficulties, still seems the _least_
difficult explanation.

But this is not all, for Natural Religion itself leads us to look
upon God in _three_ distinct ways, which correspond to the three
chief arguments for His existence. (Chaps. I., II., and V.) Thus we
may think of Him as the Eternal, Self-Existent One, altogether
independent of the world--the All-Powerful _First Cause_ required to
account for it. Or we may think of Him in His relation to the world,
as its Maker and Evolver, working everywhere, in everything and
through everything,--the All-Wise _Designer_ required by nature. Or
we may think of Him in His relation to ourselves as a Spirit holding
intercourse with our spirits, and telling us what is right--the
All-Good _Moral_ God required by conscience. And how well this
agrees with the Christian doctrine scarcely needs pointing out; the
Father the Source of all, the Son by Whom all things were made, and
the Spirit bearing witness with our spirits; and yet not three Gods,
but one God.

On the whole, then, we decide that the Doctrine of the Trinity is
certainly credible and perhaps even probable. For to put it shortly,
Nature forces us to believe in a personal God; yet, when we reflect
on the subject, the idea of a personal God, Who is only one Person,
seems scarcely tenable; since (as said above) personality implies


We next come to the doctrine of the Incarnation; which however is so
clearly stated in the Athanasian Creed, that its meaning is quite
plain. God the Son, we are told, the second Person of the Trinity,
was pleased to become Man and to be born of the Virgin Mary, so that
He is now both _God_ and _Man_. He is God (from all eternity) of the
Substance or Nature of His Divine Father, and Man (since the
Incarnation) of the Substance or Nature of His human Mother. He is
thus complete God and complete Man; equal to the Father in regard to
His Godhead, for He is of the same Nature; and inferior to the
Father, in regard to His Manhood, for human nature must be inferior
to the Divine. Moreover, though He possesses these two Natures, they
are not changed one into the other, or confused together; but each
remains distinct, though both are united in His One Person. This is
in brief the doctrine of the Incarnation; and we will first consider
its difficulties, then its motive, and lastly its historical

(1.) _Its difficulties._

The first of these is that the Incarnation would be a _change_ in
the existence of God, Who is the changeless One. He, it is urged, is
always the same, while an Incarnation would imply that at some
particular time and place a momentous change occurred, and for ever
afterwards God became different from what He had been for ever

This is no doubt a serious difficulty, but it must not be
exaggerated. For an Incarnation would not, strictly speaking,
involve any change in the Divine Nature itself. God the Son remained
completely and entirely God all the time, He was not (as just said)
in any way changed into a man, only He united to Himself a human
nature as well. And perhaps if we knew more about the nature of God,
and also about that of man (who we must remember was made to some
extent in God's image, and this perhaps with a view to the
Incarnation), we should see that it was just as natural for God to
become Man, as it was for God to create man. We have really nothing
to argue from. An Incarnation seems improbable, and that is all we
can say.

But if it took place at all, there is nothing surprising in this
planet being the one chosen for it. Indeed, as far as we know, it is
the only one that could be chosen, since it is the only one which
contains personal beings in whom God could become incarnate. Of
course other planets _may_ contain such beings; but as said before
(Chapter V.) this is only a conjecture, and in the light of recent
investigations not a very probable one. While if they do contain
such beings, these may not have sinned, in which case our little
world, with its erring inhabitants, would be like the lost sheep in
the parable, the only one which the Ruler of the Universe had come
to save.

The second difficulty is, that the Incarnation would lead to a
_compound Being_, who is both Divine and human at the same time, and
this is often thought to be incredible. But here the answer is
obvious, and is suggested by the Creed itself. Man himself is a
compound being; he is the union of a material body and an immaterial
spirit, in a single person. His spirit is in fact _incarnate_ in his
body. We cannot explain it, but so it is. And the Incarnation in
which Christians believe is the union of the Divine Nature and the
human nature in a single Person. Both appear equally improbable, and
equally inconceivable to our minds, if we try and think out all that
they involve; but as the one is actually true, the other is
certainly not incredible.

The third and last of these difficulties refers to the miraculous
_Virgin-birth_. But if we admit the possibility of an Incarnation,
no method of bringing it about can be pronounced incredible. The
event, if true, is necessarily unique, and cannot be supposed to
come under the ordinary laws of nature. For it was not the birth of
a _new_ being (as in the case of ordinary men), but an already
existing Being entering into new conditions. And we have no
experience of this whatever. Indeed, that a child born in the usual
way should be the Eternal God, is just as miraculous, and just as
far removed from our experience, as if He were born in any other
way. While considering that one object of the Incarnation was to
promote moral virtues in man, such as purity, the virgin-birth was
most suitable, and formed an appropriate beginning for a sinless

(2.) _Its motive._

But we now come to a more important point, for the Incarnation, if
true, must have been the most momentous event in the world's
history; and can we even imagine a sufficient reason for it? God we
may be sure does not act without motives, and what adequate motive
can be suggested for the Incarnation? Now the alleged motive, indeed
the very foundation of Christianity, is that God _loves_ man; and as
a natural consequence wishes man to love Him. Is this then
incredible, or even improbable? Certainly not, for several reasons.

To begin with, as we have already shown, God is a Personal and Moral
Being, Who cares for the welfare of His creatures, more especially
for man. And this, allowing for the imperfection of human language,
may be described as God's _loving_ man, since disinterested love for
another cannot be thought an unworthy attribute to ascribe to God.
On the other hand, man is also a personal and moral being, able to
some extent to love God in return. And to this must be added the
fact that man, at least some men, do not seem altogether unworthy of
God's love, while we certainly do not know of any other being who is
more worthy of it.

Moreover, considering the admitted resemblance between God and man,
the analogy of human parents loving their children is not
inappropriate. Indeed it is specially suitable, since here also we
have a relationship between two personal and moral beings, one of
whom is the producer (though not in this case the creator) of the
other. And human parents often love their children intensely, and
will sometimes even die for them; while, as a rule, the better the
parents are the more they love their children, and this in spite of
the children having many faults. Is it, then, unlikely that the
Creator may love His children also, and that human love may be only
a reflection of this--another instance of how man was made in the
image of God? The evidence we have may be slight, but it all points
the same way.

Now, if it be admitted that God loves man, we have plainly no means
of estimating the _extent_ of this love. But by comparing the other
attributes of God, such as His wisdom and His power, with the
similar attributes of man, we should expect God's love to be
infinitely greater than any human love; so great indeed that He
would be willing to make any sacrifice in order to gain what is the
object in all love, that it should be returned. Might not then God's
love induce Him to become man, so that He might the more easily win
man's love?

And we must remember that man's love, like his will, is _free_.
Compulsory love is in the nature of things impossible. A man can
only love, what he can if he chooses hate. Therefore God cannot
force man to love Him, He can only induce him; and how can He do
this better than by an Incarnation? For it would show, as nothing
else could show, that God's love is a self-sacrificing love; and
this is the highest form of love. Indeed, if it were not so, in
other words, if God's love cost Him nothing, it would be _inferior_
in this respect to that of many men. But if, on the other hand,
God's love involved self-sacrifice;--if it led to Calvary--then it
is the highest possible form of love. And then we see that God's
attributes are all, so to speak, on the same scale; and His Goodness
is as far above any human goodness, as the Power which rules the
universe is above any human power; or the Wisdom which designed all
nature is above any human wisdom. Hence, if the Incarnation still
seems inconceivable, may it not be simply because the love of God,
like His other attributes, is so inconceivably greater than anything
we can imagine?

Moreover a self-sacrificing love is the form, which is most likely
to lead to its being returned. And experience proves that this has
actually been the case. The condescending love of Christ in His
life, and still more in His death, forms an overpowering motive
which, when once realised, has always been irresistible.

But more than this. Not only does the Incarnation afford the
strongest possible motive for man to love God, but it _enables_ him
to do so in a way which nothing else could. Man, it is true, often
longs for some means of intercourse, or communion with his Maker,
yet this seems impossible. The gulf which separates the Creator from
the creature is infinite, and can never be bridged over by man, or
even by an angel, or other intermediate being. For a bridge must of
necessity touch _both sides_; so if the gulf is to be bridged at
all, it can only be by One Who is at the same time both God and Man.
Thus the Incarnation brings God, if we may use the expression,
within man's reach, so that the latter has no mere abstract and
invisible Being to love, but a definite Person, Whose Character he
can appreciate, and Whose conduct he can to some extent follow. In
short, the Incarnation provides man with a worthy Being for his love
and devotion, yet with a Being Whom he can partly at least
understand and partly imitate. And he is thus able to become in a
still truer sense a _child of God_; or, as it is commonly expressed,
God became Man in order that man might become as far as possible,
like God.

And this brings us to another aspect of the Incarnation. Christ's
life was meant to be an _example_ to man, and it is clear that a
_perfect_ example could only be given by a Being Who is both God and
Man. For God alone is above human imitation, and even the best of
men have many faults; so that from the nature of the case, Christ,
and Christ alone, can provide us with a perfect example, for being
Man He is capable of imitation, and being God He is worthy of it.

Now what follows from this? If Christ's life was meant to be an
example to man, it was essential that it should be one of
_suffering_, or the example would have lost more than half its
value. Man does not want to be shown how to live in prosperity, but
how to live in adversity, and how to suffer patiently. The desertion
of friends, the malice of enemies, and a cruel death are the
occasional lot of mankind. They are perhaps the hardest things a man
has to bear in this world, and they have often had to be borne by
the followers of Christ. Is it incredible, then, that He should have
given them an example of the perfect way of doing so; gently
rebuking His friends, praying for His murderers, and acting
throughout as only a perfect man could act? No doubt such a life and
death seem at first sight degrading to the Deity. But strictly
speaking, suffering, if borne voluntarily and for the benefit of
others, is not degrading; especially if the benefit could not be
obtained in any other way.

When we consider all this, it is plain that many reasons can be
given for the Incarnation. Of course it may be replied that they are
not adequate; but we have no means of knowing whether God would
consider them adequate or not. His ideas are not like ours; for what
adequate motive can we suggest for His creating man at all? Yet He
has done so. And having created him and given him free will, and
man having misused his freedom, all of which is admitted, then that
God should endeavour to restore man cannot be thought incredible.
Indeed it seems almost due to Himself that He should try and prevent
His noblest work from being a failure. And if in addition to this
God loves man still, in spite of his sins, then some intervention on
his account seems almost probable.

(3.) _Its historical position._

It may still be objected that if the above reasons are really
sufficient to account for the Incarnation, it ought to have taken
place near the commencement of man's history. And no doubt when we
contemplate the great antiquity of man, this often seems a
difficulty. But we have very little to judge by, and that little
does not support the objection. For in nature God seems always to
work by the slow and tedious process of evolution, not attaining
what He wanted all at once, but by gradual development. Therefore,
if He revealed Himself to man, we should expect it to be by the same
method. At first it would be indistinctly, as in _Natural Religion_;
which dates back to pre-historic times, since the burial customs
show a belief in a future life. Then it would be more clearly, as in
the _Jewish Religion_; and finally it might be by becoming Man
Himself, as in the _Christian Religion_.

According to Christianity, the whole previous history of the world
was a preparation for the Incarnation. But only when the preparation
was complete, _when the fullness of the time came_, as St. Paul
expresses it,[177] did it take place. And it has certainly proved,
as we should have expected, an epoch-making event. In all
probability the history of the world will always be considered
relatively to it in years B.C. and A.D. And very possibly it has a
significance far beyond man or even this planet. For we must
remember, man is not merely a link in a series of created beings
indefinitely improving, but, as shown in Chapter V., he is the _end_
of the series, the last stage in evolution, the highest organised
being that will ever appear on this planet, or, as far as we know,
on any planet.

[Footnote 177: Gal. 4. 4.]

Therefore, man's rank in the universe is not affected by the
insignificance of this earth. Where else shall we find a personal
being with attributes superior to those of man? Where else indeed
shall we find a personal being at all? The only answer Science can
give is _nowhere_. But if so, man's position in the universe is one
of unique pre-eminence. And it is this inherent greatness of man, as
it has been called, which justifies the Incarnation. _He is worthy
that Thou should'st do this for him._

Moreover when we consider God the Son as the Divine Person who is
specially _immanent_ in nature, and who has been evolving the
universe through countless ages from its original matter into higher
and higher forms of life, there seems a special fitness in its
leading up to such a climax as the Incarnation. For then by becoming
Man, He united Himself with matter in its highest and most perfect
form. Thus the Incarnation, like the Nebula theory in astronomy, or
the process of Evolution, if once accepted, throws a new light on
the entire universe; and it has thus a grandeur and impressiveness
about it, which to some minds is very attractive. On the whole,
then, we decide that the doctrine is certainly not incredible,
though it no doubt seems improbable.


We pass on now to the doctrine of the Atonement, which is that
Christ's death was in some sense a sacrifice for sin, and thus
reconciled (or made 'at-one') God the Father and sinful man. And
though not actually stated in the Creeds, it is implied in the
words, _Was crucified also for us_, and _Who suffered for our

The chief difficulty is of course on moral grounds. The idea of
atonement, it is said, or of one man being made to suffer as a
substitute for another, and thus appeasing the Deity, was well-nigh
universal in early times, and is so still among savage nations. Such
a sacrifice, however, is a great injustice to the _victim_; it
ascribes an unworthy character to God, as a _Judge_, Who can be
satisfied with the punishment of an innocent man in place of the
guilty one; and it has a bad influence on the _sinner_, allowing him
to sin on with impunity, provided he can find another substitute
when needed.

The answer to this difficulty is, that it takes no account of the
most important part of the Christian doctrine, which is the
_willingness_ of the Victim. According to Christianity, Christ was a
willing Sacrifice, Who freely laid down His life;[178] while the
human sacrifices just alluded to were not willing sacrifices, since
the victims had no option in the matter. And, as we shall see, this
alters the case completely both in regard to the victim himself, the
judge, and the sinner.

[Footnote 178: _E.g._, John 10. 18.]

(1.) _As to the Victim._

It is plain that his willingness does away with the injustice
altogether. There is no injustice in accepting a volunteer for any
painful office, provided he thoroughly knows what he is doing, for
he need not undertake it unless he likes. If, on the other hand, we
deny the voluntary and sacrificial character of Christ's death, and
regard Him as merely a good man, then there certainly was
injustice--and very great injustice too, that such a noble life
should have ended in such a shameful death.

(2.) _As to the Judge._

Next as to the Judge. It will be seen that a willing sacrifice,
though it does not satisfy his _justice_, makes a strong appeal to
his _mercy_; at least it would do so in human cases. Suppose for
instance a judge had before him a criminal who well deserved to be
punished, but a good man, perhaps the judge's own son, came forward,
and not only interceded for the prisoner, but was so devotedly
attached to him as to offer to bear his punishment (pay his fine,
for instance), this would certainly influence the judge in his
favour. It would show that he was not so hopelessly bad after all.
Mercy and justice are thus both facts of human nature; and it is
also a fact of human nature, that the voluntary suffering, or
willingness to suffer, of a good man for a criminal whom he deeply
loves, does incline man to mercy rather than justice.

Now, have we any reason for thinking that God also combines, in
their highest forms, these two attributes of mercy and justice?
Certainly we have; for, as shown in Chapter V., the goodness of God
includes both _beneficence_ and _righteousness_; and these general
terms, when applied to the case of judging sinners, closely
correspond to mercy and justice. God, as we have seen, combines
both, and both are required by the Christian doctrine. Mercy alone
would have forgiven men without any atonement; justice alone would
not have forgiven them at all. But God is both merciful and just,
and therefore the idea that voluntary atonement might incline Him to
mercy rather than justice does not seem incredible.

And this is precisely the Christian doctrine. The mercy of God the
Father is obtained for sinful man by Christ's generous sacrifice of
Himself on man's behalf; so that, to put it shortly, _God forgives
sins for Christ's sake_. And it should be noticed, the idea of sins
being _forgiven_ which occurs all through the New Testament, and is
alluded to in the Apostles' Creed, shows that Christ's Atonement was
not that of a mere substitute, for then no forgiveness would have
been necessary. If, for example, I owe a man a sum of money, and a
friend pays it for me, I do not ask the man to forgive me the debt;
I have no need of any forgiveness. But if, instead of paying it, he
merely intercedes for me, then the man may forgive me the debt for
my friend's sake.

And in this way, though Christ did not, strictly speaking, bear
man's _punishment_ (which would have been eternal separation from
God), His sufferings and death may yet have procured man's _pardon_;
He suffered on our behalf, though not in our stead. And some
Atonement was certainly necessary to show God's _hatred for sin_,
and to prevent His Character from being misunderstood in this
respect. And it probably would have been so, if men had been
forgiven without any Atonement, when they might have thought that
sin was not such a very serious affair after all.

(3.) _As to the sinner._

Lastly, the willingness of the victim affects the sinner also. For
if the changed attitude of the judge is due, not to his justice
being satisfied, but to his mercy being appealed to, this is plainly
conditional on a _moral change_ in the sinner himself. A good man
suffering for a criminal would not alter our feelings towards him,
if he still chose to remain a criminal. And this exactly agrees with
the Christian doctrine, which is that sinners cannot expect to avail
themselves of Christ's Atonement if they wilfully continue in sin;
so that _repentance_ is a necessary condition of forgiveness.
Therefore instead of having a bad influence on the sinners
themselves; it has precisely the opposite effect.

And what we should thus expect theoretically has been amply
confirmed by experience. No one will deny that Christians in all
ages have been devotedly attached to the doctrine of the Atonement.
They have asserted that it is the cause of all their joy in this
world, and all their hope for the next. Yet, so far from having
had a bad influence, it has led them to the most noble and
self-sacrificing lives. It has saved them from _sin_, and not only
the penalties of sin, and this is exactly what was required. The
greatness of man's sin, and the misery it causes in the world, are
but too evident, apart from Christianity. Man is indeed both the
glory and the scandal of the universe--the _glory_ in what he was
evidently intended to be, and the _scandal_ in what, through sin, he
actually became. And the Atonement was a 'vast remedy for this vast
evil.' And if we admit the _end_, that man had to be redeemed from
sin, impressed with the guilt of sin, and helped to resist sin; we
cannot deny the appropriateness of the _means_, which, as a matter
of fact, has so often brought it about.

This completes a brief examination of the moral difficulties
connected with the Atonement; and it is clear that the _willingness_
of the Victim makes the whole difference, whether we regard them as
referring to the Victim himself, the Judge, or the sinner.


The last great Christian doctrine is that of the Resurrection.
According to Christianity, all men are to rise again, with their
bodies partly changed and rendered incorruptible; and the
Resurrection of Christ's Body was both a pledge of this, and also to
some extent an example of what a risen body would be like. He was
thus, as the Bible says, the _firstborn_ from the dead.[179] Now
this word _firstborn_ implies, to begin with, that none had been so
born before, the cases of Lazarus, etc., being those of
_resuscitation_ and not _resurrection_; they lived again to die
again, and their bodies were unchanged. And it implies, secondly,
that others would be so born afterwards, so that our risen bodies
will resemble His. The Resurrection of Christ is thus represented
not as something altogether exceptional and unique, but rather as
the first instance of what will one day be the universal rule. It
shows us the last stage in man's long development, what he is
intended to become when he is at length perfected. We will therefore
consider first Christ's Resurrection, and then man's resurrection.

[Footnote 179: Col. 1. 18; Rev. 1. 5; 1 Cor. 15. 20; Acts. 26. 23.]

(1.) _Christ's Resurrection._

Now according to the Gospels, Christ's Risen Body combined material
and immaterial properties in a remarkable manner. Thus He could be
touched and eat food, and yet apparently pass through closed doors
and vanish at pleasure; and this is often thought to be incredible.
But strictly speaking it is not _incredible_; since no material
substance (a door or anything else) is _solid_. There are always
spaces between the molecules; so that for one such body to pass
through another is no more difficult to imagine, than for one
regiment to march through another on parade. And if a regiment
contained anything like as many men, as there are molecules in a
door, it would probably look just as solid.

Moreover Christ's risen Body, though possessing some material
properties, is represented to have been _spiritual_ as well. And the
nearest approach to a spiritual substance of which we have any
scientific knowledge is the _ether_, and this also seems to combine
material and immaterial properties, being in some respects more like
a solid than a gas. Yet it can pass through all material substances;
and this certainly prevents us from saying that it is incredible
that Christ's spiritual Body should pass through closed doors.

Indeed for all we know, it may be one of the properties of spiritual
beings, that they can pass through material substances (just as the
X-rays can) and be generally invisible; yet be able, if they wish,
to assume some of the properties of matter, such as becoming visible
or audible. In fact, unless they were able to do this, it is hard to
see how they could manifest themselves at all. And a slight
alteration in the waves of light coming from a body would make it
visible or not to the human eye. And it is out of the question to
say that God--the Omnipotent One--could not produce such a change in
a spiritual body. While for such a body to become tangible, or to
take food, is not really more wonderful (though it seems so) than
for it to become visible or audible; since when once we pass the
boundary between the natural and the supernatural everything is

It may of course be replied that though all this is not perhaps
incredible, it is still most improbable; and no doubt it is. But
what then? We have no adequate means of judging, for the fact, if
true, is, up to the present, unique. It implies a _new_ mode of
existence which is neither spiritual nor material, though possessing
some of the properties of each, and of which we have no experience
whatever. So we are naturally unable to understand it. But assuming
the Resurrection of Christ to be otherwise credible, as it certainly
is if we admit His Incarnation and Death, we cannot call it
incredible, merely because the properties of His risen Body are said
to be different from those of ordinary human bodies, and in some
respects to resemble those of spirits. It is in fact only what we
should expect.

(2.) _Man's Resurrection._

Next as to man's resurrection. The Christian doctrine of the
resurrection of the _body_ must not be confused with that of the
immortality of the _spirit_, discussed in Chapter VI., which is
common to many religions, and is certainly not improbable. But two
objections may be made to the resurrection of the body.

The first is that it is _impossible_, since the human body
decomposes after death, and its molecules may afterwards form a part
of other bodies; so, if all men were to rise again at the same time,
those molecules would have to be in two places at once. But the
fallacy here is obvious, for the molecules composing a man's body
are continually changing during life, and it is probable that every
one of them is changed in a few years; yet the identity of the body
is not destroyed. This identity depends not on the identity of the
molecules, but on their relative position and numbers so that a
man's body in this respect is like a whirlpool in a stream, the
water composing which is continually changing, though the whirlpool
itself remains. Therefore the resurrection need not be a
resurrection of _relics_, as it is sometimes called. No doubt in the
case of Christ it was so, and perhaps it will be so in the case of
some Christians, only it _need_ not be so; and this removes at once
the apparent impossibility of the doctrine.

Secondly, it may still be objected that the doctrine is extremely
_improbable_. And no doubt it seems so. But once more we have no
adequate means of judging. Apart from experience, how very unlikely
it would be that a seed when buried in the ground should develop
into a plant; or that plants and trees, after being apparently dead
all through the winter, should blossom again in the spring. Thus
everything connected with life is so mysterious that we can decide
nothing except by experience. And therefore we cannot say what may,
or may not happen in some future state, of which we have no
experience whatever. Indeed, if man's spirit is immortal, the fact
that it is associated with a body during its life on this earth
makes it not unlikely that it will be associated with a body of some
kind during its future life. And that this body should be partly
spiritual, and so resemble Christ's risen body, is again only what
we should expect. Thus, on the whole, the doctrine of the
Resurrection is certainly credible.


We have now examined the four great doctrines of Christianity, the
others either following directly from these, or not presenting any
difficulty. And though, as we have shown, not one of these doctrines
can be pronounced _incredible_, yet some of them, especially those
of the Incarnation and the Atonement, certainly seem _improbable_.
This must be fully and freely admitted. At the same time, it is only
fair to remember that this improbability is distinctly lessened by
the three following considerations.

First, in regard to all these doctrines we have no _adequate_ means
of deciding what is or is not probable. Reason cannot judge where it
has nothing to judge by; and apart from Christianity itself, we know
next to nothing as to what was God's object in creating man. If,
then, these doctrines are true, their truth depends not on reason,
but on revelation. All reason can do is to examine most carefully
the evidence in favour of the alleged revelation. Of this we should
expect it to be able to judge, but not of the doctrines themselves.
We are hence in a region where we cannot trust to our own sense of
the fitness of things; and therefore the Christian doctrines must
not be condemned merely because we think them contrary to our
reason. Moreover many thoughtful men (including Agnostics) do not
consider them so. Thus the late Professor Huxley once wrote, 'I have
not the slightest objection to offer _a priori_ to all the
propositions of the Three Creeds. The mysteries of the Church are
child's play compared with the mysteries of Nature.'[180]

[Footnote 180: Quoted with his permission in Bishop Gore's Bampton
Lectures, 1891, p. 247, 1898 edition.]

And this brings us to the next point, which is that many _other_
facts which are actually true appear equally improbable at first
sight; such, for instance, as the existence of the ether, or the
growth of plants. Apart from experience, what an overwhelming
argument could be made out against such facts as these. Yet they
concern subjects which are to a great extent within our
comprehension, while Christianity has to do with the nature and
character of a God Who is admittedly beyond our comprehension. May
not the difficulties in both cases, but especially in regard to the
latter, be due to our _ignorance_ only? The Christian doctrines, we
must remember, do not claim to have been revealed in all their
bearings, but only in so far as they concern ourselves.

Thirdly, it should be noticed that, though individually these
doctrines may seem improbable, yet, when considered as a whole, as
in all fairness they ought to be, there is a complete harmony
between them. Their improbability is not _cumulative_. On the
contrary, one often helps to explain the difficulties of another.
This has been recognised by most writers, including many who can
scarcely be called theologians. Thus the great Napoleon is reported
to have said, 'If once the Divine character of Christ is admitted,
Christian doctrine exhibits the precision and clearness of algebra;
so that we are struck with admiration at its scientific connection
and unity.'[181]

[Footnote 181: Beauterne, Sentiment de Napoleon 1^er sur le
Christianisme, new edition, Paris, 1864, p. 110.]

In conclusion, it must be again pointed out that we are only now
considering the _credibility_ of Christianity, and not trying to
make out that it appears a probable religion, at first sight, which
it plainly does not. Only its improbability is not so extremely
great as to make it useless to consider the evidence in its favour.
This is especially so when we remember that this improbability must
have seemed far greater when Christianity was first preached than it
does now, when we are so accustomed to the religion. Yet, as a
matter of fact, the evidence in its favour did outweigh every
difficulty, and finally convince the civilised world. What this
evidence is we proceed to inquire.




     End of second century; Irenæus, his evidence of great


     (1.) Justin Martyr, A.D. 150, refers to some Apostolic
         _Memoirs_, which were publicly read among Christians;
           and his quotations show that these were our
           Four Gospels.
     (2.) Tatian, Justin's disciple, A.D. 175, wrote the Diatessaron,
           or harmony of Four Gospels.
     (3.) Marcion, A.D. 140, wrote a Gospel based on St. Luke's.


     (1.) Papias, mentions the first two Gospels by name.
     (2.) Aristides, A.D. 125, alludes to some Gospel as well
     (3.) The Apostolic Fathers, Polycarp, Ignatius, Clement,
           Barnabas, and the Teaching of the Twelve, seem to
           contain references to our Gospels.

Having shown in the last chapter that the Christian Religion is
_credible_, we have next to consider what evidence there is in its
favour. Now that it was founded on the alleged miracles and teaching
of Christ, and chiefly on His Resurrection, is admitted by everyone.
So we must first examine whether we have any trustworthy testimony
as to these events; more especially whether the Four Gospels, which
appear to contain such testimony, are genuine. By the _Four
Gospels_, we of course mean those commonly ascribed to SS. Matthew,
Mark, Luke, and John; and by their being _genuine_, we mean that
they were written, or compiled by those persons. And we will first
consider the _external testimony_ borne by early Christian writers
to these Gospels, leaving _the internal evidence_ from the Books
themselves for the next chapter.

It may be mentioned at starting that we have no complete manuscripts
of the Gospels earlier than the beginning of the fourth century; but
there is nothing surprising in this, as for the first two centuries
books were generally written on _papyrus_, an extremely fragile
material. Therefore, with the exception of some fragments preserved
in Egypt, all documents of this period have entirely perished. A
much better material, _vellum_, began to take the place of papyrus
in the third century; but did not come into common use till the
fourth. Moreover, during the persecutions, which occurred at
intervals up to the fourth century, all Christian _writings_ were
specially sought for, and destroyed. So the absence of earlier
manuscripts though very unfortunate, is not perhaps unnatural; and
it is anyhow no worse than in the case of classical works. I have
seen it stated, for instance, that there are no manuscripts of
either Cicero, Cæsar, Tacitus, or Josephus, within 800 years of
their time.


Passing on now to the testimony of early writers; we need not begin
later than the end of the second century; since it is admitted by
everyone that our Four Gospels were then well known. They were
continually quoted by Christian writers; they were universally
ascribed to the authors we now ascribe them to; and they were always
considered to be in some sense divinely inspired.

As this is undisputed, we need not discuss the evidence; but one
writer deserves to be mentioned, which is _Irenæus_, Bishop of
Lyons. His works date from about A.D. 185; and he not only quotes
the Gospels frequently (about 500 times altogether), but shows there
were only _four_ of acknowledged authority. Since the fanciful
analogies he gives for this, likening the four Gospels to the four
rivers in Paradise, and the four quarters of the globe, render it
certain that the fact of there being four, neither more nor less,
must have been undisputed in his day.

Moreover he had excellent means of knowing the truth; for he was
born in Asia Minor, about A.D. 130, and brought up under Polycarp,
Bishop of Smyrna. And in later years he tells us how well he
remembered his teacher. 'I can even describe the place where the
blessed Polycarp used to sit and discourse--his going out, too, and
his coming in--his general mode of life and personal appearance,
together with the discourses which he delivered to the people; also
how he would speak of his familiar intercourse with John, and with
the rest of those who had seen the Lord; and how he would call their
words to remembrance.'[182]

[Footnote 182: Irenæus, Fragment of Epistle to Florinus. The
translations here and elsewhere are from the Ante-Nicene Christian

The importance of this passage, especially in regard to the Fourth
Gospel, can scarcely be exaggerated. For is it conceivable that
Irenæus would have ascribed it to St. John, unless his teacher
Polycarp had done the same? Or is it conceivable that Polycarp, who
personally knew St. John, could have been mistaken in the matter?
The difficulties of either alternative are very great; yet there is
no other, unless we admit that St. John was the author.

It should also be noticed that Irenæus, when discussing two readings
of Rev. 13. 18, supports one of them by saying that it is found _in
all the most approved and ancient copies_; and was also maintained
by men _who saw John face to face_.[183] He had thus some idea as to
the value of evidence; and he is not likely to have written as he
did about the Four Gospels, unless he had seen of them equally
_approved and ancient_ copies.

[Footnote 183: Irenæus, Bk. 5. 30.]


We next come to the testimony of some earlier writers, which was
formerly much disputed, but is now admitted by nearly all critics.

(1.) _Justin Martyr._

By far the most important of these is _Justin Martyr_; whose
works--two _Apologies_ (or books written in defence of Christianity)
and a _Dialogue_--date from about A.D. 145-50. He was no ordinary
convert, but a philosopher, and says that before he became a
Christian, he studied various philosophical systems and found them
unsatisfactory; so we may be sure that he did not accept
Christianity without making some inquiries as to the facts on which
it rested.[184] And as his father and grandfather were natives of
Palestine, where he was born, he had ample means of finding out the

[Footnote 184: Dial., 2.]

Now Justin does not allude to any of the Evangelists by name, but he
frequently quotes from the '_Memoirs of the Apostles_,' which he
says were sometimes called _Gospels_,[185] and were publicly read
and explained in the churches, together with the Old Testament
Prophets. And he gives no hint that this was a local or recent
practice, but implies that it was the universal and well-established
custom. These Memoirs, he tells us,[186] were written _by the
Apostles and their followers_, which exactly suits our present
Gospels, two of which are ascribed to Apostles (St. Matthew and St.
John), and the other two to their immediate followers (St. Mark and
St. Luke). And as Justin was writing for unbelievers, not
Christians, there is nothing strange in his not mentioning the names
of the individual writers.

[Footnote 185: Apol. 1. 66; Dial., 100.]

[Footnote 186: Dial., 103.]

He has altogether about sixty quotations from these Memoirs, and
they describe precisely those events in the life of Christ; which
are recorded in our Gospels, with scarcely any addition. Very few of
the quotations however are verbally accurate, and this used to be
thought a difficulty. But as Justin sometimes quotes the same
passage differently, it is clear that he was relying on his memory;
and had not looked up the reference, which in those days of
manuscripts, without concordances, must have been a tedious
process. Also when quoting the Old Testament, he is almost equally
inaccurate. Moreover later writers, such as Irenæus, who avowedly
quoted from our Gospels, are also inaccurate in small details. It is
hence practically certain that Justin was quoting from these

(2.) _Tatian._

And this is strongly confirmed by Justin's disciple, _Tatian_. He
wrote a book about A.D. 175, discovered last century, called the
_Diatessaron_, which, as its name implies, was a kind of harmony of
_Four_ Gospels. It was based chiefly on St. Matthew's, the events
peculiar to the others being introduced in various places. And its
containing nearly the whole of _St. John's_ Gospel is satisfactory;
because it so happens that Justin has fewer quotations from that
Gospel, than from the other three. We may say then with confidence,
that our four Gospels were well known to Christians, and highly
valued by them, in the middle of the second century.

(3.) _Marcion._

Another important witness is Marcion. He wrote (not later than A.D.
140), a kind of Gospel, so similar to St. Luke's that one was
evidently based on the other. And though his actual work is lost,
Tertullian (about A.D. 200) quotes it so fully that it is fairly
well-known; and that St. Luke's is the earlier is now admitted by
critics of all schools. Therefore as Matthew and Mark are generally
allowed to be earlier than Luke, this shows that all these Gospels
were in circulation before A.D. 140.


We pass on now to the testimony of still earlier writers, all of
which is more or less disputed by some critics.

(1.) _Papias._

And first as to Papias. He was bishop of Hierapolis in Asia Minor
(about a hundred miles from Ephesus) early in the second century;
and only a few fragments of his writings have been preserved by
Irenæus and Eusebius. We learn from the former that he was a
disciple of St. John and a companion of Polycarp; and considering
that Irenæus was himself Polycarp's pupil, there is no reason to
doubt this.[187] Now Papias tells us himself what were his sources
of information: 'If, then, anyone who had attended on the elders
came, I asked minutely after their sayings,--what Andrew or Peter
said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by
John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the Lord's disciples: which
things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord,
say. For I imagined that what was to be got from books was not so
profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice.'

[Footnote 187: Irenæus, Bk. 5. 33.]

He had thus very good means of knowing the truth, for though the
Apostles themselves were dead, two of Christ's disciples (Aristion
and the presbyter John) were still alive when he made his inquiries.
And he refers to the first two Gospels by name. He says, 'Matthew
put together the oracles in the Hebrew language, and each one
interpreted them as best he could.' And 'Mark, having become the
interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he
remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the
sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor
accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied

[Footnote 188: Eusebius, Hist., iii. 39.]

And his testimony in regard to _St. Matthew_ is specially important,
because in the passage just quoted he says that he had spoken to
those who had known St. Matthew personally; and had carefully
questioned them about what he had said. And this makes it difficult
to believe that he should have been mistaken as to his having
written the Gospel. Nor is it likely that the work of St. Matthew
known to Papias was different from the Gospel which we now have, and
which was so frequently quoted by Justin a few years later. Whether
Papias was acquainted with the Third and Fourth Gospels cannot be
decided for certain, unless his works should be recovered; but there
are slight indications that he knew them.

(2.) _Aristides._

Next as to Aristides. He was a philosopher at Athens, and addressed
an Apology to the Emperor, Hadrian, in A.D. 125, which was recovered
in 1889. He has no _quotation_ from the Gospels, but what is equally
important, he gives a summary of Christian doctrine, including the
Divinity, Incarnation, Virgin-Birth, Resurrection and Ascension of
Christ; and says that it is _taught in the Gospel_, where men can
_read_ it for themselves. And this shows that some Gospel,
containing this teaching, was then in existence, and easily

(3.) _The Apostolic Fathers._

The last group of writers to be examined are those who lived soon
after the Apostles. The chief of these are _Polycarp_ of Smyrna, the
disciple of St. John, martyred in A.D. 155, when he had been a
Christian 86 years; _Ignatius_ of Antioch, also martyred in his old
age, about A.D. 110; _Clement_ of Rome, perhaps the companion of St.
Paul;[189] and the writers of the so-called _Epistle of Barnabas_,
and _Teaching of the Twelve Apostles_. Their dates are not known for
certain, but it is now generally admitted by rationalists as well as
Christians that they all wrote before A.D. 120, and probably before
110. Thus the _Encyclopædia Biblica_ (article _Gospels_) dates their
works, Polycarp 110; Ignatius (7 Epistles) before 110; Barnabas,
probably before 100; Clement 95; Teaching 80-100.

[Footnote 189: Phil. 4. 3.]

Now none of these writers mention the Gospels by _name_; but this is
no argument to show that they were not quoting them, because the
same writers, when admittedly quoting St. Paul's Epistles, also do
it at times, without in any way referring to him. And later
Christian writers do precisely the same; the Gospels are often not
quoted by name, but their language is continually employed, much as
it is by preachers at the present day. If, then, we find in these
writers passages similar to those in our Gospels, the inference is
that they are quoting from them; and, as a matter of fact, we do
find such passages, though they are not numerous. A single example
may be given from each.

_Polycarp._ 'But being mindful of what the Lord said in His
teaching; Judge not, that ye be not judged; forgive, and it shall be
forgiven unto you; be merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; with what
measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again; and once more,
Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for
righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God.'[190]

[Footnote 190: Polycarp, ch. ii.; Luke 6. 36-38; Matt. 5. 3, 10.]

_Ignatius._ 'For I know that after His Resurrection also, He was
still possessed of flesh, and I believe that He is so now. When, for
instance, He came to those who were with Peter, He said to them,
"Lay hold, handle Me, and see that I am not an incorporeal

[Footnote 191: Ignatius to Smyrnæans, ch. iii.; Luke 24. 39.]

_Barnabas._ 'Let us beware lest we be found, as it is written, Many
are called, but few are chosen.'[192]

[Footnote 192: Barnabas, ch. iv.; Matt. 22. 14.]

_Clement._ 'Remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, how He
said, Woe to that man! It were better for him that he had never been
born, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my
elect. Yea, it were better for him that a millstone should be hung
about (his neck), and he should be sunk in the depths of the sea,
than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my little

[Footnote 193: Clement, ch. xlvi.; Luke 17. 1. 2.]

_Teaching._ 'Having said beforehand all these things, baptize ye in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost in
living water.'[194]

[Footnote 194: Teaching, ch. vii.; Matt. 28. 19.]

The passage from Barnabas deserves special mention, since here we
have words which only occur in our Gospels, introduced with the
phrase _as it is written_, which is only used of Scripture
quotations. And this shows conclusively that at the time of the
writer, some Gospel containing these words must have been well
known, and considered of high authority. And the attempts to explain
it away as being from the Book of Esdras,[195] where the words are,
'There be many created, but few shall be saved;' or else as an error
on the part of the writer, who thought they came somewhere in the
Old Testament, are quite inadmissible.

[Footnote 195: 2 Esdr. 8. 3.]

But it may be said, may not all these quotations be from some _Lost
Gospel_? Of course they may. It is always possible to refer
quotations not to the only book in which we know they do occur, but
to some imaginary book in which they might occur. There is, however,
no need to do so in this case, as all the evidence points the other
way. Though, even if we do, it does not materially affect the
argument; for while it weakens the evidence for our Gospels, it
increases that for the _facts_ which they record; and this is the
important point.

Suppose, for instance, the passage in Ignatius was not taken from
St. Luke's, but from some _Lost_ Gospel. It could not then be quoted
to show that St. Luke's Gospel was known to Ignatius. But it would
afford additional evidence that Christ really did rise from the
dead, that when He appeared to His Apostles, they at first thought
He was a spirit; and that He took the obvious means of convincing
them, by asking them to handle His Body. All this would then be
vouched for, not only by St. Luke's Gospel; but also by some _other_
early Christian writing, which as Ignatius quotes it in A.D. 110
must certainly have been written in the first century, and must have
been considered by him as conclusive evidence. For he is careful to
distinguish between what he thus _knows_ (that Christ had a Body
after His Resurrection) and what he merely _believes_ (that He has
one now). And the same applies in other cases.

And if it be further urged that these writers would have referred
more frequently to the Gospels, had they really known them, we must
remember that their writings are generally short; and while a single
quotation proves the previous existence of the document quoted, ten
pages without a quotation do not disprove it. Moreover when they
refer to the sayings of Christ, or the events of His life, they
always do so without the slightest hesitation; as if everyone
acknowledged them to be true. And as we have seen, their allusions
often begin with the words _remember_ or _be mindful of_, clearly
showing that they expected their readers to know them already. Hence
some books must then have existed which were well known, containing
a life of Christ; and the improbability of these having perished,
and a fresh set of Gospels having been published in a few years, is
very great.

And the evidence in regard to the _Third_ Gospel is particularly
strong, since it was addressed to Theophilus, who was clearly a
prominent convert; and he must have known from whom the book came,
even if for some reason this was not stated in the heading. And as
he is not likely to have kept it secret, the authorship of the book
must have been well known to Christians from the very beginning.
Therefore the testimony of early writers, like Irenæus, who always
ascribed it to St. Luke, becomes of exceptional value; and makes it
almost certain that he was the author.

We may now sum up the _external testimony_ to the Four Gospels. It
shows that at the _beginning_ of the second century they were well
known to Christian writers, and this alone would necessitate their
having been written in the first century, or at all events before
A.D. 110. And thanks to modern discoveries, especially that of the
_Diatessaron_, this is now generally admitted. It may indeed be
considered as one of the definite results of recent controversies.
But if so, it is, to say the least, distinctly probable that they
were written by the men to whom they have been universally ascribed.
We have thus strong external testimony in favour of the genuineness
of the Four Gospels.




     (1.) Their general accuracy; this is shown by secular
           history, where they can be tested.
     (2.) Their sources; the triple tradition; other early documents.
     (3.) Their probable date; before the destruction of Jerusalem,
     A.D. 70.


     (1.) Its authorship. The writer appears to have lived in
           the first century, and to have been an eye-witness
           of what he describes; so probably St. John.
     (2.) Its connection with the other Gospels. It was meant
           to supplement them; and it does not show a different
           Christ, either in language or character.
     (3.) Its connection with the Book of Revelation. This
           admitted to be by St. John, and the Gospel was
           probably by the same author.

Having decided in the last chapter that the Four Gospels are
probably genuine from _external testimony_, we pass on now to the
_internal evidence_, which, it will be seen, strongly supports this
conclusion. For convenience we will examine the first Three,
commonly called the _Synoptic_ Gospels, separately from the Fourth,
which is of a different character.


In dealing with these Gospels, we will first consider their general
accuracy, then their sources, and then their probable date.

(1.) _Their general accuracy._

It is now admitted by everyone that the writers show a thorough
acquaintance with Palestine both as to its geography, history, and
people, especially the political and social state of the country in
the half-century preceding the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70). The
Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote about A.D. 95, gives us a vivid
description of this; and everything we read in the Gospels is in
entire agreement with it.

In regard to the actual events recorded, we have, as a rule, no
other account, but where we have, with the doubtful exception of the
enrolment under _Quirinius_, their accuracy is fully confirmed.
According to St. Luke[196] this enrolment occurred while Herod was
king, and therefore not later than what we now call B.C. 4, when
Herod died; but, according to Josephus and other authorities,
Quirinius was Governor of Syria, and carried out his taxing in A.D.

[Footnote 196: Luke 2. 2 (R.V.).]

This used to be thought one of the most serious mistakes in the
Bible, but modern discoveries have shown that it is probably
correct. To begin with, an inscription was found at Tivoli in 1764,
which shows that Quirinius was _twice_ Governor of Syria, or at
least held some important office there. And this has been confirmed
quite recently by an inscription found at Antioch, which shows that
the former time was about B.C. 7.[197] There is thus very likely an
end of that difficulty, though it must be admitted that it would
place the birth of Christ a little earlier than the usually accepted
B.C. 4, which however some critics think probable for other reasons.

[Footnote 197: Ramsay, 'Bearing of Recent Discovery on New
Testament.' 1915, p. 285-292.]

Next it will be noticed that St. Luke says that this was the _first_
enrolment, implying that he knew of others; and discoveries in Egypt
have confirmed this in a remarkable manner. For they have shown that
it was the custom of the Romans to have a _periodical_ enrolment of
that country (and therefore presumably of the adjacent country of
Syria) every fourteen years. Some of the actual census papers have
been found for A.D. 20, 48, 62, 76, etc., and it is extremely
probable that the system started in B.C. 9-8, though the first
enrolment may have been delayed a few years in Palestine, which was
partly independent.

And St. Luke's statement that everyone had to go to _his own city_,
which was long thought to be a difficulty, has been partly confirmed
as well. For a decree has been discovered in Egypt, dated in the
seventh year of Trajan (A.D. 104), ordering all persons to return to
their own districts before the approaching census,[198] which is
worded as if it were the usual custom. The next census in A.D. 6,
which is the one referred to by Josephus, is also mentioned by St.
Luke;[199] but he knew, what his critics did not, that it was only
one of a series, and that the _first_ of the series took place at an
earlier date.

[Footnote 198: Ramsay, p. 259.]

[Footnote 199: Acts. 5. 37.]

Curiously enough, there used to be a very similar error, charged
against St. Luke, in regard to Lysanias; whom he says was tetrarch
of Abilene, a district near Damascus, in the fifteenth year of
Tiberius, about A.D. 27.[200] Yet the only ruler of this name known
to history in those parts was a king, who was killed in B.C. 34. But
inscriptions found at Baalbec, and Abila (the latter dating
somewhere between A.D. 14-29) show that there was a second Lysanias,
hitherto unknown, who is expressly called the _tetrarch_ and who is
now admitted to be the one referred to by St. Luke.[201] On the
whole then, these Gospels, wherever we have any means of testing
them by secular history, appear to be substantially accurate.

[Footnote 200: Luke 3. 1.]

[Footnote 201: Boeckh's Corp. Ins. Gr., No. 4523; Ramsay, 'Bearing
of Recent Discovery on New Testament.' 1915, p. 298.]

But it may be said, do not the Gospels themselves contradict one
another in some places, and if so they cannot all be correct? Now
that there are some apparent contradictions, especially in the
narratives of the Resurrection (see Chapter XVII.), must of course
be admitted; but many of these can be explained satisfactorily, and
those which cannot are as a rule quite trivial. For example,[202]
St. Matthew relates that at Christ's Baptism the Voice from Heaven
said, '_This_ is my beloved Son in _whom_ I am well pleased;' and
the other Evangelists, '_Thou_ art my beloved Son, in _thee_ I am
well pleased.' There is a clear verbal discrepancy, whatever words
were used, or in whatever language they were spoken. Again, St.
Matthew records the passage about the Queen of the South as being
spoken just after, and St. Luke as just before, the similar passage
about the men of Nineveh, though both can hardly be correct. Such
mistakes as these, however, do not interfere with the substantial
accuracy of the narratives.

[Footnote 202: Matt. 3. 17; 12. 42; Mark 1. 11; Luke 3. 22; 11. 31.]

(2.) _Their sources._

Now the first three Gospels have, as is well known, a number of
identical passages, which must plainly be due to _copying_ in some
form, either two Evangelists copying the third, or all three some
earlier document. The portion they have in common (often called the
_Triple Tradition_) includes some of the parables of Christ, and
several of His miracles, such as calming the storm, feeding the five
thousand, curing the man at Gadara, and raising the daughter of
Jairus. If, as is probable, it represents the testimony of a single
witness, there is little difficulty in identifying him with St.

But it is _most unlikely_ for the _whole_ of this earlier document
to have been included in three separate Gospels; it is sure to have
contained something that was only copied by one or two. Therefore
most scholars are now of opinion that the so-called Triple Tradition
was merely our St. Mark's Gospel, practically all of which was
copied, either by St. Matthew or St. Luke, if not by both. And this
is certainly probable, for the many graphic details in this Gospel
show that it must date from an extremely early time; so it was most
likely known to the other Evangelists. It would also agree with the
statement of Papias (quoted in the last chapter) that St. Mark got
his information from St. Peter. And as some of it has to do with
events, such as the Transfiguration, when St. Peter was present, and
St. Matthew was not, there is nothing improbable in St. Matthew (as
well as St. Luke) including part of it in his Gospel.

This however is not all; for our first and third Gospels also
contain a good deal in common, which is not in Mark, and this looks
like another older document, often called 'Q' from the German
_Quelle_, meaning '_source_.' It consists chiefly of discourses and
parables, though including at least one miracle, that of healing the
centurion's servant, and is admitted by most critics to date from
before A.D. 50.

But here again, it is unlikely for the _whole_ of this earlier
document to have been included in two separate Gospels, it is sure
to have contained something else besides. Moreover, _as thus
restored_ (from Matthew and Luke) it is obviously incomplete. It
contains scarcely any narrative to explain how the discourses arose,
and of necessity it omits everything in Christ's life which is
recorded by St. Mark as well, for this has been already assigned to
the so-called Triple Tradition. Therefore when it was complete, it
must have contained a good deal more, which may well have been the
remainder of our St. Matthew's Gospel. St. Luke would then have only
included _a part_ of what St. Matthew wrote, just as they both only
included a part of what St. Mark wrote. And the supposed second
document would be our St. Matthew's Gospel, just as the supposed
Triple Tradition is now thought to be our St. Mark's Gospel. There
are difficulties on every theory, but on the whole this seems as
satisfactory as any other, and it accounts fairly well for the first
two Gospels.

But the third Gospel requires further explanation, for besides what
is copied from the other two, it contains a good deal of additional
matter, such as the parable of the Prodigal Son, which St. Luke must
have got from some other source. While he expressly says that _many_
had written before himself; so there were several such sources in
existence. And this was only natural, for the Christian religion
spread rapidly, and St. Luke himself shows us what its converts were
taught. For he says that he only wrote his Gospel to convince
Theophilus of the things about which he had already been
instructed.[203] Clearly then the course of instruction must have
included what the Gospel included; and this was the whole of
Christ's life, from His Virgin-Birth to His Ascension. It is hence
probable that from the very first Christian teachers had some
account of that life.

[Footnote 203: Luke 1. 1-4.]

And this probability becomes almost a certainty in the light of
modern discoveries. For quantities of old _papyri_ have been found
in Egypt, which show that at the time of Christ, writing was in
common use among all classes; soldiers, farmers, servants,
schoolboys, were all accustomed to write. Therefore, as it has been
well said, 'so far as antecedent probability goes, founded on the
general character of preceding and contemporary society, the first
Christian account of the circumstances connected with the death of
Jesus must be presumed to have been written in the year when Jesus
died.'[204] And since St. Luke, when he was at Jerusalem met several
of the _elders_ there, including Christ's brother, St. James,[205]
he probably had access to all existing documents.

[Footnote 204: Ramsay, Transactions of Victoria Institute, vol.
xxxix., 1907, p. 203.]

[Footnote 205: Acts 21. 18.]

There is thus no reason to doubt his own statement, that he had
ample means of knowing the truth, _from the beginning_. And this, he
says, was the very reason why he determined to write; so a more
trustworthy historian can scarcely be imagined.[206] Fortunately,
however, though dividing the Gospels into their original parts is an
interesting study, it is in no way essential to our present

[Footnote 206: Luke 1. 2-3.]

(3.) _Their probable date._

We now come to the _probable date_ of the first three Gospels; and
there are strong reasons for fixing this before the fall of
Jerusalem, in A.D. 70. In the first place several _subjects_ are
discussed, such as the lawfulness of the Jews paying tribute to
Cæsar,[207] which would have had no interest after that event. And
that conversations on such subjects should have been composed in
later days, or even thought worth recording, is most unlikely. Nor
are Christ's instructions as to what persons should do when they
bring their gifts to the altar, likely to have been recorded after
the altar, and everything connected with it, had been totally

[Footnote 207: Matt. 22. 17.]

[Footnote 208: Matt. 5. 24.]

Secondly, nearly all the _parables_ of Christ have very strong marks
of truthfulness, as they are thoroughly natural in character, and
suit the customs and scenery of Palestine. Moreover, they are unique
in Christian literature. However strange we may think it, the early
Christians never seem to have adopted Christ's method of teaching by
parables. Yet, if they had composed these parables, instead of
merely recording them, they would doubtless have composed others
like them. It is hence probable that these discourses are genuine;
and, if so, they must obviously have been written down very soon

Thirdly, there are a few passages which deserve special mention. Two
of these are Christ's saying that (apparently) there would not be
time to go through the cities of Israel before His Second Coming;
and that some of His hearers would not die till the end of the
world.[209] That such statements should have been composed in later
years is out of the question; so we can only conclude that they were
actually spoken by Christ. And they show that the Gospels must not
only have been written when some of Christ's hearers were still
alive, but that they could not have been revised afterwards; or the
passages would not have been allowed to remain as they are.

[Footnote 209: Matt. 10. 23; 16. 28; Mark 9. 1; Luke 9. 27; but some
other texts imply the contrary--_e.g._, Matt. 21. 43; Mark 13. 7,
10; 14. 9; Luke 21. 24.]

Another is the statement that the potter's field was called the
field of blood _unto this day_;[210] which could scarcely have been
written when the whole city was little more than a heap of ruins. Of
course, on the other hand, it could not have been written
immediately after the time of Christ, but twenty years would
probably be a sufficient interval.

[Footnote 210: Matt. 27. 8; see also 28. 15.]

Fourthly, there is the prophetic description of the _fall of
Jerusalem_ itself, which seems confused by the Evangelists with that
of the Day of Judgment, St. Matthew saying, and both the others
implying, that the one would immediately follow the other.[211] Had
the Gospels been written after the former event, it is almost
certain that the writers would have distinguished between the two;
indeed, their not doing so is scarcely intelligible, unless we
assume that when they wrote, both events were still future.

[Footnote 211: Matt. 24. 3, 29; Mark 13. 24; Luke 21. 27.]

And this is confirmed by the curious hint given to the readers both
in Matthew and Mark to _understand_, and act on Christ's advice, and
leave the city and go to the mountains, before the siege became too
severe.[212] Plainly such a warning could not have been written
_after_ the siege, when it would have been useless. It must have
been written _before_; so if it is a later insertion, as it seems to
be, it proves a still earlier date for the rest of the chapter.
Moreover, none of the Evangelists have altered the passage, as later
writers might have done, to make it agree with the event; since as
far as we know, the Christians did not go to _the mountains_, but
to Pella, a city in the Jordan valley.[213]

[Footnote 212: Matt. 24. 16; Mark 13. 14; Luke 21. 21.]

[Footnote 213: Eusebius, Hist., iii. 5.]

St. Luke, it will be noticed, omits the hint just referred to, and
as his account of Christ's prophecy of the siege is rather more
detailed than the others, it is sometimes thought to have been
written _after_ the event. But this is a needless assumption, for
the hint would have been quite useless to Theophilus, to whom the
Gospel was addressed; and the prophecy is anyhow no closer than that
in Deut. 28., which everyone admits was written centuries before
(Chapter XI.).

On the whole, then, everything points to our first three Gospels
having been written some years before the destruction of Jerusalem,
A.D. 70; and most likely by the Evangelists, to whom they have been
universally ascribed.

It may also be added, in regard to the Evangelists themselves, _St.
Matthew_ the Apostle was a publican or tax-collector, so just the
sort of person to keep records, in either Greek or Hebrew.[214] _St.
Mark_ came of a wealthy family, as his relative, Barnabas, had some
property; and his mother, Mary, had a large house at Jerusalem,
where Christians used to assemble, and where it has been thought the
Last Supper was held.[215] And the _young man_ who followed from
here to Gethsemane was probably St. Mark himself, or he would not
have recorded such a trivial incident.[216]

[Footnote 214: Matt. 9. 9.]

[Footnote 215: Acts 4. 37; 12. 12; 1. 13; Col. 4. 10.]

[Footnote 216: Mark 14. 51.]

And _St. Luke_, as we shall see in the next chapter, was a doctor,
who says he got his information from _eye-witnesses_. And if he was
the companion of Cleopas, as is perhaps probable (for such a graphic
narrative must have come from one who was present, yet the language
is thoroughly that of St. Luke), he would also have had some slight
knowledge of Christ himself.[217] And in similar cases where St.
John speaks of two disciples, but gives the name of only one, it is
practically certain that he himself was the other.[218] Moreover St.
Luke says that his Gospel, which only goes as far as the Ascension,
was about _those matters which have been fulfilled among us_[219]
(_i.e._, which have _occurred_ among us), and this implies that it
was written in Palestine at a very early date, and that St. Luke
himself was there during at least part of the time referred to.

[Footnote 217: Luke 24. 18; _Expositor_, Feb., 1904.]

[Footnote 218: John 1. 40; 18. 15.]

[Footnote 219: Luke 1. 1. (R.V.). A short paper on _Fulfilled among
us_, by the present writer, appeared in the _Churchman_, Aug. 1914.]

All three must thus have been well-educated men, and quite in a
position to write Gospels if they wanted to. While as none of them
seem to have taken a prominent part in the founding of Christianity,
there was no reason for ascribing the Gospels to them, rather than
to such great men as St. Peter and St. Paul, unless they actually
wrote them.


We pass on now to the Fourth Gospel, and will first examine the
internal arguments as to its authorship, which are strongly in
favour of its being the work of St. John; and then the two arguments
on the opposite side, said to be derived from its connection with
the other Gospels, and the Book of Revelation.

(1.) _Its authorship._

To begin with, the writer appears to have lived in the _first
century_. This is probable from his intimate acquaintance with
Jerusalem, and as before said that city was only a heap of ruins
after A.D. 70. Thus he speaks of Bethesda, the pool near the
sheep-gate, having five porches; of Solomon's porch; of the pool of
Siloam; and of the Temple, with its treasury; its oxen, sheep, and
doves for sacrifice; and its money-changers for changing foreign
money into Jewish, in which alone the Temple tax could be paid. And
his mention of Bethesda is specially interesting as he uses the
present tense, _There is in Jerusalem_, etc., implying that the gate
and porches were still standing (and therefore the city not yet
destroyed) when he wrote.[220]

[Footnote 220: John 5. 2.]

Secondly, the writer appears to have been an _eye-witness_ of what
he describes. He twice asserts this himself, as well as in an
Epistle which is generally admitted to be by the same writer, where
he declares that he had both seen, heard, and touched his
Master.[221] So, if this is not true, the work must be a deliberate
forgery; which is certainly improbable. Moreover, he frequently
identifies himself with the Twelve Apostles, recording their
feelings and reflections in a way which would be very unlikely for
any late writer to have thought of. Would a late writer, for
instance, have thought of inventing questions which the Apostles
wanted to ask their Master, but were afraid to do so? Or would he
have thought it worth repeating so often that they did not
understand at the time the real significance of the events they took
part in?[222]

[Footnote 221: John 1. 14; 19. 35; 1 John 1. 1.]

[Footnote 222: _E.g._, John 2. 17, 22; 4. 27; 13. 28; 16. 17.]

The author is also very particular as to times and places. Take, for
instance, the passage 1. 29-2. 12, with its expressions _On the
morrow_, _Again on the morrow_, _About the tenth hour_, _On the
morrow_, _And the third day_, _And there they abode not many days_.
It reads like extracts from an old diary, and why should all these
insignificant details be recorded? What did it matter half a century
later whether it was the same day, or on the morrow, or the third
day; or whether they stayed many days in Capernaum, or only a few;
as no hint is given as to why they went there, or what they did? The
only reasonable explanation is that the writer was present himself
(being of course the unnamed companion of St. Andrew); that this was
the turning-point in his life when he first saw his Lord; and that
therefore he loved to recall every detail.

And it may be noticed in passing that this passage explains an
apparent difficulty in the other Gospels, where it is stated that
these Apostles were called to follow Christ, after the death of St.
John the Baptist; though with a suddenness and ready obedience on
their part, which is hard to believe.[223] But we here learn that
they had already been with Christ some months before, in company
with the Baptist, so they were doubtless prepared for the call when
it came. And the passage, like many others, bears internal marks of
truthfulness. In particular may be mentioned the words of Nathanael,
_Thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel_, implying
that the latter title was at least as honourable as the former. No
Christian in later times, when Christ was obviously not the King of
Israel (except in a purely spiritual sense), and when the title _Son
of God_ had come to mean so much more than it ever did to the Jews,
would have arranged it thus.

[Footnote 223: _E.g._, Mark 1. 14-20.]

Lastly, if we admit that the writer was an eye-witness, it can
hardly be disputed that he was the Apostle _St. John_. Indeed, were
he anyone else, it is strange that an Apostle of such importance
should not be once mentioned throughout the Gospel. It is also
significant that the other John, who is described in the first three
Gospels as John the _Baptist_, to distinguish him from the Apostle,
is here called merely _John_. No confusion could arise if, and only
if, the writer himself were the Apostle John. While still more
important is the fact that at the close of the Gospel, we have a
solemn declaration made by the author's own friends that he was the
_disciple whom Jesus loved_ (admitted by nearly everyone to be St.
John), that he had witnessed the things he wrote about, and that
what he said was true. And testimony more ancient or more conclusive
can scarcely be imagined.

With regard to the _date_ of the book, we can say little for
certain. But the extreme care which is taken in these closing verses
to explain exactly what Christ did, and did not say, as to St.
John's dying, before His coming again, seems to imply that the
matter was still undecided, in other words that St. John was still
alive, though very old, when they were written. And if so the Gospel
must have been _published_ (probably in some Gentile city, like
Ephesus, from the way the Jews are spoken of)[224] towards the close
of the first century; though a large part of it may have been
_written_ in the shape of notes, etc., long before.

[Footnote 224: _E.g._, John 2. 13; 5. 1; 6. 4.]

(2.) _Its connection with the other Gospels._

But, as before said, there are two arguments against the genuineness
of this Gospel. The first is that the Christ of the Fourth Gospel is
almost a different person from the Christ of the other three. The
_events_ of His life are different, His _language_ is different, and
His _character_ is different; while, when the Gospels cover the same
ground, there are _discrepancies_ between them. But every part of
this objection admits of a satisfactory answer.

To begin with, the fact that the Fourth Gospel narrates different
_events_ in the life of Christ from what we find in the other three
must of course be admitted. But what then? Why should not one
biography of Christ narrate certain events in His life, which the
writer thought important, but which had been omitted in previous
accounts? This is what occurs frequently at the present day, and why
should it not have occurred then? The Fourth Gospel may have been
written on purpose to _supplement_ some other accounts.

And there is strong evidence from the book itself that this was
actually the case. For the writer refers to many events without
describing them, and in such a way as to show that he thought his
readers knew about them. He assumes, for instance, that they know
about St. John the Baptist being imprisoned, about Joseph being the
supposed father of Christ, and about the appointment of the
Twelve.[225] It is probable then that the Gospel was written for
well-instructed Christians, who possessed some other accounts of
Christ's life. And everything points to these being our first three

[Footnote 225: John 3. 24; 6. 42, 70.]

Then as to the _language_ ascribed to Christ in the Fourth Gospel
being different from that in the others. This is no doubt partly
true, especially in regard to His speaking of Himself as _the Son_,
in the same way in which God is _the Father_. But it so happens that
we have in these other Gospels at least three similar passages[226]
which show that Christ did occasionally speak in this way. And there
is no reason why St. John should not have preserved such discourses
because the other Evangelists had omitted to do so. On the other
hand, the title _Son of Man_ (applied to Christ) occurs repeatedly
in all the Gospels, though strange to say only in the mouth of
Christ Himself. This is a striking detail, in which St. John
entirely agrees with the other Evangelists.

[Footnote 226: Matt. 11. 25-27; 24. 36; 28. 19; Mark 13. 32; Luke
10. 21, 22.]

The next part of the objection is that the _Character_ assigned to
Christ in the Fourth Gospel is different from that in the other
three; since instead of teaching moral virtues as in the Sermon on
the Mount, He keeps asserting His own Divine nature. And this also
is partly true, for the Fourth Gospel shows the Divinity of Christ
more directly than the others, which only imply it (Chapter XXI.).
And very probably the writer did so on purpose, thinking that this
aspect of Christ's character had not been sufficiently emphasised in
the previous accounts. Indeed, he implies it himself, for he says
that he omitted much that he might have inserted, and merely
recorded what he did in order to convince his readers that Jesus was
the Christ, the Son of God.[227]

[Footnote 227: John 20. 31.]

But no argument for a late date can be drawn from this. Because four
of St. Paul's Epistles (_i.e._ Rom.; 1 Cor.; 2 Cor.; and Gal.) which
have been admitted to be genuine by critics of all schools, describe
exactly the same Christ as we find in the Fourth Gospel, speaking of
His Divinity, Pre-existence, and Incarnation (Chapter XXI.). And
from the way in which St. Paul alludes to these doctrines he
evidently considered them the common belief of all Christians when
he wrote, about A.D. 55. So the fact of the Fourth Gospel laying
stress on these doctrines is no reason whatever against either its
genuineness or its early date. Indeed, it seems to supply just those
discourses of Christ which are necessary to account for St. Paul's

Lastly, as to the _discrepancies_. The one most often alleged is
that according to the first three Gospels (in opposition to the
Fourth) Christ's ministry never reached Jerusalem till just before
His death. But this is a mistake, for though they do not relate His
attendance at the Jewish feasts, like St. John does, they imply by
the word _often_ ('How _often_ would I have gathered thy
children,'[228] etc.) that He had frequently visited the city, and
preached there. And one of them also refers to an earlier visit of
Christ, to Martha and Mary, which shows that He had been to Bethany
(close to Jerusalem) some time before.[229]

[Footnote 228: Matt. 23. 37; Luke 13. 34.]

[Footnote 229: Luke 10. 38.]

Another difficulty (it is scarcely a discrepancy) is the fact that
such a striking miracle as the raising of Lazarus, which is
described in the Fourth Gospel, should have been _omitted_ in the
other three. It is certainly strange, but these Evangelists
themselves tell us there were _other_ instances of raising the dead,
which they do not record,[230] and they probably knew of it, as it
alone explains the great enthusiasm with which Christ was received
at Jerusalem. This they all relate, and St. Luke's saying that it
was due to the _mighty works_, which the people had _seen_, implies
that there had been some striking miracles in the neighbourhood.[231]

[Footnote 230: Matt. 10. 8; 11. 5; Luke 7. 22.]

[Footnote 231: Luke 19. 37.]

On the other hand, there are several _undesigned agreements_ between
the Gospels, which are a strong argument in favour of their
accuracy. Take, for instance, the accusation brought against Christ
of destroying the Temple, and rebuilding it in three days. This is
alluded to both by St. Matthew and St. Mark; but St. John alone
records the words on which it was founded, though he does not
mention the charge, and quotes the words in quite a different

[Footnote 232: Matt. 26. 61; Mark 14. 58; John 2. 19.]

Or take the Feeding of the five thousand.[233] St. Mark says that
this occurred in a desert place, where Christ had gone for a short
rest, and to avoid the crowd of persons who were _coming and going_
at Capernaum. But he gives no hint as to why there was this crowd
just at that time. St. John says nothing about Christ's going to the
desert, nor of the crowd which occasioned it; but he happens to
mention, what fully explains both, that it was shortly before the
Passover. Now we know that at the time of the Passover numbers of
people came to Jerusalem from all parts; so Capernaum, which lay on
a main road from the north, would naturally be crowded with persons
_coming and going_. And this explains everything; even St. Mark's
little detail, as to the people sitting on the _green_ grass, for
grass is only green in Palestine in the spring, _i.e._, at the time
of the Passover. But can anyone think that the writer of the Fourth
Gospel purposely made his account to agree with the others, yet did
this in such a way that not one reader in a hundred ever discovers
it? The only reasonable explanation is that the event was true, and
that both writers had independent knowledge of it.

[Footnote 233: Matt. 14. 13; Mark 6. 31; Luke 9. 10; John 6. 4.]

The objection, then, as to the connection of the Fourth Gospel with
the other three must be put aside. It was plainly meant to
_supplement_ them; and it shows not a different Christ, either in
_language_ or _character_, but merely a different aspect of the
same Christ, while the slight _discrepancies_, especially when
combined with the undesigned coincidences, rather support its

(3.) _Its connection with the Book of Revelation._

We pass on now to the other argument. The Book of Revelation is
generally admitted to be the work of St. John, and it is ascribed to
him by Justin Martyr.[234] Its date is usually fixed at A.D. 68;
though many critics prefer A.D. 95, which is the date given by

[Footnote 234: Dial., 81.]

Yet it is said it cannot be by the same writer as the Fourth Gospel
because the _Greek_ is so different, that of the Revelation being
very abrupt, with numerous faults of grammar, while the Gospel is in
good Greek. Therefore it is urged that a Galilean fisherman like St.
John, though he might have been sufficiently educated to have
written the former, as his father was well off and kept servants,
and he himself was a friend of the High Priest,[235] could scarcely
have written the latter. Various explanations have been given of
this. Perhaps the best is that the Revelation was written by St.
John himself, since he is not likely to have had friends in Patmos;
and that when writing the Gospel he had the assistance of a Greek

[Footnote 235: Mark 1. 20; John 18. 15.]

On the other side, it must be remembered that though the two books
are different in language, they are the same in their _teaching_;
for the great doctrine of the Fourth Gospel, that of the Divinity of
Christ, is asserted almost as plainly in the Revelation. And even
the striking expression that Christ is the _Logos_, or _Word_,
occurs in both books, though it is not found elsewhere in the New
Testament, except in one of St. John's Epistles.[236] And the same
may be said of another striking expression, that Christ is the
_Lamb_, which also occurs in the Gospel and Revelation, though not
elsewhere in the New Testament.[237] This similarity in doctrine is
indeed so marked that it strongly suggests the same authorship; and
if so, it makes it practically certain that the Fourth Gospel was
written by St. John.

[Footnote 236: John 1. 1; 1 John 1. 1; Rev. 19. 13.]

[Footnote 237: John 1. 29, 36; Rev. 6. 1; 14. 1.]

On the whole, then, these objections are not serious; while, as
already shown, the Fourth Gospel has very strong internal marks of
genuineness. And when we combine these with the equally strong
external testimony, it forces us to conclude that St. John was the
author. This Gospel, then, like the other three, must be considered
_genuine_; indeed, the evidence in favour of them all is



Importance of the Acts, as it is by the writer of the Third Gospel.

     (_A._) ITS ACCURACY.

     Three examples of this:

     (1.) The titles of different rulers.
     (2.) The riot at Ephesus.
     (3.) The agreement with St. Paul's Epistles.


     The writer was a companion of St. Paul, and a medical
      man; so probably St. Luke.

     (_C._) ITS DATE.

     There are strong reasons for fixing this at the close of
      St. Paul's imprisonment at Rome, about A.D. 60; and
      this points to an earlier date for the first three Gospels.

We have next to consider an argument of great importance derived
from the Acts of the Apostles. This book is universally admitted to
be by the same writer as the Third Gospel, as is indeed obvious from
the manner in which both are addressed to Theophilus, from the
_former treatise_ being mentioned in the opening verse of the Acts,
and from the perfect agreement in style and language. Hence
arguments for or against the antiquity of the Acts affect the Third
Gospel also, and therefore, to some extent, the First and Second as
well. So we will consider first its _accuracy_, then its
_authorship_, and lastly its _date_.


Now, this book, unlike the Gospels, deals with a large number of
public men and places, many of which are well known from secular
history, while inscriptions referring to others have been recently
discovered. It is thus liable to be detected at every step if
inaccurate; yet, with the doubtful exception of the date of the
rebellion of Theudas, and some details as to the death of Herod
Agrippa, no error can be discovered. As this is practically
undisputed, we need not discuss the evidence in detail, but will
give three examples.

(1.) _The titles of different rulers._

We will commence with the _titles_ given to different rulers. As is
well known, the Roman provinces were of two kinds, some belonging to
the Emperor, and some to the Senate. The former were governed by
_proprætors_, or when less important by _procurators_, and the
latter by _proconsuls_, though they frequently changed hands.
Moreover, individual places had often special names for their
rulers; yet in every case the writer of the Acts uses the proper

For example, the ruler at Cyprus is rightly called _proconsul_.[238]
This used to be thought a mistake, but we now know that it is
correct; for though Cyprus had previously belonged to the Emperor,
it had been exchanged with the Senate for another province before
the time in question. And an inscription[239] found there at Soli
has the words in Greek, _Paulus proconsul_, probably the Sergius
Paulus of the Acts. Cyprus, it may be added, subsequently changed
hands again.

[Footnote 238: Acts. 13. 7.]

[Footnote 239: Cyprus, by Cesnola (London, 1877), p. 425.]

In the same way Gallio is correctly described as _proconsul_ of
Achaia.[240] For though this province belonged to the Emperor for
some years before A.D. 44, and was independent after A.D. 66, it
belonged to the Senate in the interval, when the writer referred to
it. And an inscription, recently found at Delphi, shows that Gallio
was proconsul in A.D. 52, which agrees well with the chronology of
the Acts.[241] Equally correct is the title of _governor_ or
_procurator_, applied to both Felix and Festus.[242] While it is
satisfactory to add that the title _lord_, addressed to the Emperor
Nero, which used to be thought rather a difficulty, as it was not
known to have been adopted till the time of Domitian (A.D. 81-96),
has now been found in papyri of the age of Nero.[243]

[Footnote 240: Acts 18. 12.]

[Footnote 241: Palestine Exploration Quarterly, July, 1913.]

[Footnote 242: Acts 19. 38; 23. 26; 26. 30.]

[Footnote 243: Acts 25. 26; Deissman, New Light on the New
Testament, 1907, p. 80.]

Again, Herod (_i.e._, Agrippa I.) shortly before his death, is
styled _king_.[244] Now we learn from other sources that he had this
title for the last three years of his government (A.D. 41-44),
though there had been no king in Judæa for the previous thirty
years, nor for many centuries afterwards.

[Footnote 244: Acts 12. 1; Josephus, Antiq., xviii. 6, xix. 5.]

Moreover, his son is also called _King_ Agrippa, though it is
implied that he was not king of Judæa, which was governed by Festus,
but of some other province. Yet, strange to say, he seems to have
held some official position in regard to the Jews, since Festus
_laid Paul's case before him_, as if he were in some way entitled to
hear it.[245] And all this is quite correct; for Agrippa, though
King of Chalcis, and not Judæa, was yet (being a Jew) entrusted by
the Emperor with the management of the Jewish Temple and Treasury,
and the choice of the High Priests, so he was a good deal mixed up
in Jewish affairs.[246] And this, though only a trifle, is
interesting; because a late writer, who had taken the trouble to
study the subject, and find out the position Agrippa occupied, is
not likely to have shown his knowledge in such a casual way.
Scarcely anyone notices it. And equally correct is the remarkable
fact that his sister _Bernice_ used to act with him on public

[Footnote 245: Acts 25. 13, 14.]

[Footnote 246: Josephus, Antiq., xx., 1, 8, 9.]

[Footnote 247: Acts 25. 23; Josephus, Wars, ii. 16; Life, xi.]

Again at Malta we read of the _chief-man_ Publius; the accuracy of
which title (for it is a _title_, and does not mean merely the most
important man) is also proved by inscriptions, though as far as we
know it was peculiar to that island.[248] At Thessalonica, on the
other hand, the magistrates have the curious title of _politarchs_,
translated 'rulers of the city.'[249] This name does not occur in
any classical author in this form, so the writer of the Acts used to
be accused of a blunder here. His critics were unaware that an old
arch was standing all the time at this very place, the modern
Salonica, with an inscription containing this very word, saying it
was built when certain men were the politarchs. The arch was
destroyed in 1876, but the stone containing the inscription was
preserved, and is now in the British Museum.[250] And since then
other inscriptions have been found, showing that the term was in use
all through the first century.

[Footnote 248: Acts 28. 7; Boeckh's Corp. Ins. Lat. X., No. 7495;
Corp. Ins. Gr., No. 5754.]

[Footnote 249: Acts 17. 6.]

[Footnote 250: In the Central Hall, near the Library.]

Nor is this accuracy confined to well-known places on the coast; it
extends wherever the narrative extends, even to the interior of Asia
Minor. For though the rulers there are not mentioned, the writer was
evidently well acquainted with the places he refers to. Take
_Lystra_, for instance.[251] According to the writer, it was a city
of Lycaonia, though the adjacent town of Iconium was not, and this
has been recently proved to be correct. And it is interesting,
because many classical authors wrongly assign Iconium to Lycaonia;
while Lystra, though belonging to that province in the first
century, was separated from it early in the second; so a late
writer, or one ignorant of the locality, might easily have made a
mistake in either case. And an inscription found near Lystra, in
1909, shows that the two gods, Jupiter and Mercury (_i.e._, Zeus and
Hermes) were commonly associated together by the inhabitants, as
they are represented to be in the Acts.

[Footnote 251: Acts 14. 1-12; Ramsay, Bearing of Recent Discovery on
New Testament, 1915, pp. 48-63.]

(2.) _The riot at Ephesus._

As a second example we will take the account of the _riot at
Ephesus_. All the allusions here to the worship of Diana, including
her image believed to have fallen from heaven (perhaps a meteorite
roughly cut into shape), her magnificent shrine, the small silver
models of this, her widespread worship, and the fanatical devotion
of her worshippers, are all in strict agreement with what we know
from other sources.

Moreover, inscriptions discovered there have confirmed the narrative
to a remarkable extent. They have shown that the _theatre_ was the
recognised place of public meeting; that there were certain officers
(who presided at the games, etc.) called _asiarchs_; that another
well-known Ephesian officer was called the _town-clerk_; that
Ephesus had the curious designation of _temple-keeper_ of Diana
(long thought to be a difficulty); that _temple-robbing_ and
_blasphemy_ were both crimes which were specially recognised by the
Ephesian laws; and that the term _regular assembly_ was a technical
one in use at Ephesus.[252] The reference to the _town-clerk_ is
particularly interesting, because what is recorded of him is said to
agree with the duties of the town-clerk at Ephesus, though not with
those of the same official elsewhere.[253] All this minute accuracy
is hard to explain unless the narrative came from one who was
present during the riot, and recorded what he actually saw and

[Footnote 252: _Comp._ Acts 19. 29-39; with inscriptions found in
the Great Theatre. Wood's Discoveries at Ephesus, 1877, pp. 43, 47,
53, 51, 15, 39.]

[Footnote 253: Harnack, The Acts of the Apostles, translated by
Wilkinson, 1909, p. 63.]

(3.) _The agreement with St. Paul's Epistles._

Our third example shall be of a different kind. It is that if we
compare the biography of St. Paul given in the Acts with the letters
of that Apostle, many of them written to the very Churches and
persons described there, we shall find numerous _undesigned
agreements_ between them. And these, as before explained (Chapter
X.) form a strong argument in favour of the accuracy of both. Take,
for instance, the Epistle to the Romans. Though not dated, it was
evidently written at the close of St. Paul's second visit to Greece;
and therefore, if mentioned in the Acts, it would come in at Chapter
20. 3. And the following are two, out of the numerous points of

The first is St. Paul's saying that he was going to Jerusalem, with
alms from Macedonia and Achaia for the poor in that city. Now in the
Acts it is stated that St. Paul had just passed through these
provinces, and was on his way to Jerusalem, though there is no
mention about the alms there. But it happens to be alluded to some
chapters later, without, however, mentioning then where the alms
came from.[254] The agreement is complete though it is certainly not

[Footnote 254: Rom. 15. 25, 26; Acts 19. 21; 24. 17.]

The other refers to St. Paul's travels, which he says extended from
Jerusalem as far as _Illyricum_. Now Illyricum is not once mentioned
in the Acts; so there can be no intentional agreement here. And yet
there is agreement. For we learn from various places that St. Paul
had gone from Jerusalem all through what we now call Asia Minor, and
just before the date of this Epistle had passed through Macedonia,
which was his limit in this direction. And as this was the next
province to Illyricum, it exactly agrees with the Epistle.[255]

[Footnote 255: Rom. 15. 19; Acts 20. 2.]

We may now sum up the evidence as to the accuracy of the Acts. The
above instances are only specimens of many which might be given. The
writer knew about Jerusalem and Athens just as well as about
Ephesus. While his account of St. Paul's voyage from Cæsarea to
Italy, including as it does, references to a number of places; to
the climate, and prevailing winds of the Mediterranean; and to the
phrases and customs of seamen, is so accurate, that critics of all
schools have admitted that he is describing a voyage he had actually
made. In short, the Book of the Acts is full of correct details
throughout, and it is hard to believe that anyone but a contemporary
could have written it.


Now if we admit the general accuracy of the book, there is little
difficulty in deciding on its _authorship_. As is well known,
certain portions of it (describing some of St. Paul's travels,
including his voyage to Italy) are written in the first person
plural, and are commonly called the "_We_" sections.[256] This shows
that the writer was a _companion_ of St. Paul at that time; and
then the great similarity in _language_, between these sections and
the rest of the book, shows that they had the same author. For they
are both written in the same style, and they both contain over forty
important words and expressions, which do not occur elsewhere in the
New Testament, except in the Third Gospel. This is indeed so
striking that it practically settles the point.[257]

[Footnote 256: Acts 16. 9-40; 20. 5-21. 18; 27. 1-28. 16.]

[Footnote 257: Harnack, Luke the Physician, translated by Wilkinson,
1907, p. 53.]

But there are also slight _historical_ connections between the two
portions. For example, in the earlier chapters some incidents are
recorded, in which a certain Philip (one of the _Seven_) was
concerned; and why should these have been selected? The writer was
not present himself, and many far more important events must have
occurred, of which he gives no account. But a casual verse in the
_We_ sections explains everything: the writer, we are told, stayed
_many days_ with Philip, and of course learnt these particulars
then. And as it seems to have been his rule only to record what he
knew for certain, he might well have left out other and more
important events, of which he had not such accurate knowledge.[258]
And the earlier reference, which ends with the apparently pointless
remark that _Philip came to Cæsarea_, without saying why or
wherefore, is also explained, since this was the place where the
writer afterwards met him. It is then practically certain that the
whole book was written by one man, and that he was a companion of
St. Paul in many of his travels.

[Footnote 258: Acts 6. 5; 8. 5, 26, 40; 21. 10.; Luke 1. 3.]

It is also practically certain that he was a _medical man_. The
evidence for this is overwhelming, but as the fact is generally
admitted, we need not discuss it at length. All we need say is that
201 places have been counted in the Acts, and 252 in the Third
Gospel, where words and expressions occur which are specially, and
many of them exclusively, used by Greek medical writers, and which,
with few exceptions, do not occur elsewhere, in the New
Testament.[259] For instance, we read of the many proofs of the
Resurrection; the word translated _proofs_ being frequently used by
medical writers to express the infallible symptoms of a disease, as
distinct from its mere signs, which may be doubtful, and they
expressly give it this meaning. And we read of the restoration of
all things; the word translated _restoration_ being the regular
medical term for a complete recovery of a man's body or limb.[260]

[Footnote 259: Hobart's Medical Language of St. Luke (1882); some of
his examples are rather doubtful.]

[Footnote 260: Acts 1. 3; 3. 21.]

We conclude then, from the book itself, that the writer was an
intimate friend of St. Paul and a medical man; and from one
of St. Paul's Epistles we learn his name, _Luke the beloved
physician_.[261] And this is confirmed by the fact that both this
Epistle and that to Philemon, where St. Paul also names Luke as his
companion, appear to have been written from Rome, when, as we know,
the writer of the Acts was with him. And he seems to have remained
with him to the last, _only Luke is with me_.[262] Yet this beloved
and ever-faithful friend of St. Paul is not once named in the Acts,
which would be most unlikely unless he were the author.

[Footnote 261: Col. 4. 14; Philemon 24.]

[Footnote 262: 2 Tim. 4. 11.]

(_C._) ITS DATE.

The _date_ of the book can also be fixed with tolerable certainty.
It is implied in its abrupt ending. The last thing it narrates is
St. Paul's living at Rome, two years before his expected trial (A.D.
58-60).[263] It says nothing about this trial, nor of St. Paul's
release, nor of his subsequent travels, nor of his second trial and
martyrdom (probably under Nero, A.D. 64); though had it been written
after these events, it could hardly have failed to record them. This
is especially the case as the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul,
which, according to early authorities, occurred together at Rome,
would have formed such a suitable conclusion for a work chiefly
concerned with their labours.

[Footnote 263: Rackham's Commentary on the Acts, 1901, p. lxvii;
many place it a year or two later, some a little earlier.]

On the other hand, the abrupt ending of the book is at once
accounted for if it was written at that time, about A.D. 60, by St.
Luke, who did not relate anything further, because nothing further
had then occurred. And it is obvious that these two years would not
only have formed a most suitable period for its compilation, but
that he is very likely to have sent it to his friend Theophilus just
before the trial, perhaps somewhat hurriedly, not knowing whether it
might not involve his own death, as well as that of St. Paul.

This would also account for the great prominence given to the
events of the immediately preceding years in Chapters 20. to 28.,
which is quite unintelligible, unless the book was written soon
afterwards. They were nothing like as important as the events of the
next few years, about which the writer says nothing. And why should
he go through the earlier stages of St. Paul's arrest and trial, so
carefully, step by step, from Lysias to Felix, from Felix to Festus,
and then to Agrippa, and on to Rome; and then when he comes to the
crisis, and the Apostle is about to appear before Cæsar, suddenly
break off, without giving a hint as to which way it was decided?
Everyone must feel how tantalising it is; and how unlikely he is to
have stopped here, if he could have gone on.

This abrupt ending, then, is the great argument for dating the book
about A.D. 60; but it is supported by several others. In the first
place, the journey to Rome itself, especially the shipwreck, is
described with such minute and graphic details, that it seems likely
to have been written down very soon afterwards, probably in that

Secondly, the Roman judges and officials are always represented as
treating the Christians with fairness, and even kindness; and the
writer leaves St. Paul appealing to Cæsar, with every hope of a
favourable verdict. There is no sign of bitterness or ill-feeling
anywhere. And all this would have been most unlikely after the great
persecution in A.D. 64; when Christians regarded Rome with the
utmost horror.[264] Compare the somewhat similar case of the Indian
Mutiny. Can we imagine an Englishman in India writing soon after the
Mutiny a history, say of Cawnpore, up to 1854, and then closing it,
without ever letting a hint fall that he was aware of the terrible
tragedy which happened in 1857, or showing the slightest ill-feeling
towards its perpetrators? The only reasonable conclusion would be
that such a history must have been written _before_ the Mutiny. In
the same way the Acts must have been written _before_ Nero's great

[Footnote 264: _E.g._, Rev. 17. 6.]

Thirdly, the same sort of argument is afforded by the destruction of
Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Had the book been written after this, it is
strange that the writer should seem to be entirely unaware of it;
more especially as it had so close a bearing on the events described
in the Acts, such as the Jewish law not being binding on Gentile
Christians. And it is the more significant, because he records the
prophecy of the event in his Gospel,[265] but nowhere hints that the
prophecy had been fulfilled.

[Footnote 265: Luke 19. 43.]

Lastly, an early date is implied by the passage, where St. Paul
tells his friends near Ephesus, that they would not see him again.
It was quite natural for him to have said so at the time, as his
feelings were very despondent; but no one, writing many years later,
would have recorded it _without comment_; since it is almost certain
that St. Paul, after his release from Rome, did revisit

[Footnote 266: Acts 20. 25, 38; 2 Tim. 4. 20.]

On the whole, then, there is very strong evidence in favour of the
Acts of the Apostles having been written by St. Luke about A.D. 60;
and this of course proves an earlier date for _St. Luke's Gospel_.
And this again proves a still earlier one for _St. Mark's Gospel_,
which is now generally admitted to have been written before St.
Luke's; and probably for _St. Matthew's_ as well. The evidence of
the Acts, then, while confirming our previous conclusion that the
first three Gospels were certainly written before A.D. 70, enables
us to add with some confidence that they were also written before
A.D. 60. And, it may be added, Prof. Harnack, who long maintained
the opposite view, has at last accepted this early date for all
these Gospels.[267] The book has of course no direct bearing on the
date of St. John's Gospel.

[Footnote 267: Date of Acts, and Synoptic Gospels, translated by
Wilkinson, 1911, pp. 99, 133, 134. Some writers would place them
still earlier. Thus Canon Birks, dates them all between A.D. 42-51,
and he gives strong reasons for thinking that St. Luke, and his
Gospel, are referred to in 2 Cor. 8. 18. (Horæ Evangelicæ, 1892,
edit., pp. 259, 281, 293); and Archdeacon Allen places the second
Gospel, about A.D. 44, and the first about A.D. 50. (Introduction to
the Books of the New Testament, 1913, p. 13.)]




     The third day, the empty tomb.


     The various accounts, table of Christ's appearances, the
      three groups, the double farewell.


     (1.) Discrepancies; often due to the appearances being
           placed together; the disciples going to Galilee.
     (2.) Omissions; the Gospels only record selected instances,
           and St. Paul refers to them in groups.


     (1.) Agreements; very important.
     (2.) Mutual explanations; very numerous.
     (3.) Signs of early date; very interesting.

     Conclusion, the narratives appear to be thoroughly trustworthy.

We decided in the previous chapters that the Four Gospels, and also
the Acts of the Apostles, were _genuine_; that is to say, they were
written by the persons to whom they are commonly ascribed. And to
these may be added the four great Epistles of St. Paul, and the
Revelation of St. John, which, as before said, are admitted to be
genuine by critics of all schools. We have thus direct testimony
as to the life of Christ, that is to say, the testimony of
contemporaries, some of whom must have known Him well. St. Matthew
and St. John were two of His Apostles; St. Mark and St. Luke had
exceptionally good means of knowing the truth, and may perhaps have
had some slight knowledge of Christ themselves, as had also St.
Paul.[268] We have now to examine the value of this testimony, more
especially as to the _Resurrection of Christ_. So in the present
chapter we will consider the _importance_ of the Resurrection, and
the _narratives_ we have of it; both as to their _difficulties_, and
their _truthfulness_; and in the next the various alternative

[Footnote 268: 2 Cor. 5. 16.]


In the first place, we cannot overestimate the importance of the
Resurrection, for this fact, either real or supposed, was the
foundation of Christianity. This is plain not only from the Gospels,
but still more from the Acts, where we have numerous short speeches
by the Apostles, given under various circumstances, and to various
audiences, including Jewish Councillors, Greek philosophers, and
Roman governors. And in nearly all of them the Resurrection of
Christ is not only positively asserted, but is emphasised as a fact
established by indisputable evidence and as being the foundation of
Christianity.[269] It is even said that it was the special duty of
an apostle to bear witness to it; and St. Paul seems to have been
aware of this, since, when claiming to be an apostle, he is careful
to show that he was thus qualified. And for himself he makes it the
basis of all his teaching, _if Christ hath not been raised, then is
our preaching vain_.[270] It is certain, then, that the first
preachers of Christianity preached the Resurrection of Christ.

[Footnote 269: Acts 2. 24; 4. 10; 5. 30; 10. 40; 13. 30; 17. 31; 26.

[Footnote 270: Acts 1. 22; 1 Cor. 9. 1; 15. 14-17.]

It is equally certain that they preached that it occurred on the
_third day_, counting from the Crucifixion.[271] This also is stated
not only in the Gospels, but by St. Paul; who in one place bases his
whole argument on the fact that the Body of Christ (unlike that of
David) _saw no corruption_, a point also alluded to by St. Peter,
and implying a Resurrection in a few days.[272] While if further
evidence is required, the fact that this third day (the first day of
the week) became _the Lord's Day_--the Christian Sunday--seems to
put the matter beyond dispute.

[Footnote 271: Sometimes described as _after three days_, but that
the two expressions are intended to mean the same is clear from
Matt. 27. 63-64, where Christ's saying that He would rise again
_after three days_ is given as the reason for guarding the sepulchre
_until the third day_. In the same way _after eight days_ evidently
means _on the eighth day_ (John 20. 26).]

[Footnote 272: 1 Cor. 15. 4; Acts 13. 35-37; 2. 31.]

Once more it is certain that the Christians believed that this
Resurrection was one of Christ's _Body_, not His _Spirit_. This
again is clear not only from the Gospels, which all speak of the
_empty tomb_; but also from St. Paul's Epistles. For when he says
that Christ _died_, and was _buried_, and was _raised on the third
day_, and _appeared_ to Cephas, etc., he must mean Christ's _Body_
(for a Spirit cannot be _buried_); and he must mean that it was the
_same_ Body that died and was buried, that was afterwards raised,
and appeared to them, including himself.[273] Christ's being
_raised_, it will be noticed, was distinct from, and previous to,
His _appearing_ to anyone, just as in the Gospels the empty tomb is
always mentioned _before_ any of the appearances.

[Footnote 273: 1 Cor. 15. 3-5.]

And even in the one case, where St. Paul alludes to what he saw as a
_heavenly vision_, he refers to it in order to prove that it is not
incredible that God should _raise the dead_;[274] which again shows
that he thought it was a _Body_, for a _Spirit_ cannot be raised
from the _dead_. And his specifying _the third day_ makes this (if
possible) still plainer, for the life of the spirit after death does
not commence on the third day; nor would it have prevented Christ's
Body from seeing corruption.

[Footnote 274: Acts 26. 19, 8.]

From all this it is abundantly clear that St. Paul, like the Four
Evangelists, and the other Apostles, believed in what is called the
_physical_ Resurrection, in the sense that Christ's Body was
restored to life, and left the tomb. Though like them, he also
believed that it was no longer a _natural_ body, bound by the
ordinary laws of nature, but that it had been partly changed as
well, so that it shared to some extent the properties of spirits.

Nor is his statement that _flesh and blood_ cannot inherit the
Kingdom of God, opposed to this.[275] For when he uses the same
expression elsewhere (_e.g._, _I conferred not with flesh and
blood_)[276] it is evidently not used in a literal sense. It does
_not_ mean flesh and blood, in the same way in which we might speak
of bones and muscles. It means _men_. So his meaning here is
probably that mere men--human beings as such--cannot inherit the
future life of glory. Their bodies will first have to be changed,
and made incorruptible; but they will still be _bodies_. And as just
said, St. Paul is quite definite as to its being the Body of Christ
that was _buried_, that was afterwards raised on the third day.

[Footnote 275: Cor. 15. 50.]

[Footnote 276: Gal. 1. 16; Eph. 6. 12; comp. Matt. 16. 17.]

We may say, then, with confidence, that wherever the Resurrection
was believed, the fact that it occurred on the third day, and the
fact that it was a physical Resurrection, involving the empty tomb,
was believed also. The three invariably went together. But was this
belief justified? This is the question we have to discuss.


Now we have five different accounts of the Resurrection; and these
are so thoroughly independent that not one of them can be regarded
as the source of any of the others. Little stress, however, can be
laid on the latter part of St. Mark's account, as the genuineness of
the last twelve verses is doubtful; but it anyhow represents a very
early Christian belief, Aristion being sometimes named as the
author. And even the earlier part is conclusive as to the empty
tomb, and the promised appearance in Galilee. On the other hand, St.
Paul's account, which is perhaps the strongest, is universally
allowed to have been written within thirty years of the event; the
most probable date for which is A.D. 29 or 30, and for the Epistle
A.D. 55. And it should be noticed that St. Paul reminds the
Corinthians that what he here says about the Resurrection is what he
preached to them on his first visit (about A.D. 50), and that as
they had _received_ it from him, so he had himself _received_ it
from others at a still earlier date.[277]

[Footnote 277: 1 Cor. 15. 1-3.]

And we can even fix this date approximately, for two of the
appearances he records were to St. Peter and St. James; and he
happens to mention elsewhere[278] that these were the two Apostles
he met at Jerusalem, three years after his conversion (A.D. 35, or
earlier); so he doubtless heard the whole account then, even if he
had not heard it before. And this was certainly within _ten
years_--probably within _seven_ years--of the Crucifixion. More
ancient testimony than this can scarcely be desired. And if anything
could add to its importance it would be St. Paul's own statement
that in this respect his teaching was the same as that of the
original Apostles: _Whether then it be I or they, so we preach and
so ye believed_.[279]

[Footnote 278: Gal. 1. 19.]

[Footnote 279: 1 Cor. 15. 11.]

We need not quote the various accounts here, but the accompanying
table gives them in a convenient form for reference. Altogether
Christ seems to have been seen on thirteen different occasions; and
there may have been others, which are not recorded, though they are
perhaps hinted at.[280]

[Footnote 280: Acts 1. 3; 13. 31; John 20. 30.]

It is doubtful however if the eighth appearance was separate from
the ninth, for St. Matthew says that when the Eleven saw Him, on the
mountain in Galilee, as He had appointed, _they_ worshipped Him,
but _some_ doubted. This _some_ can scarcely mean some of the
Eleven, who had just worshipped. It probably refers to some others
who were present (_i.e._, some of the five hundred) who doubted at
first if it was really He, as He was some way off, and it was before
He _came_ to them. And since the command to preach the Gospel to all
the world, which St. Matthew records, was probably addressed to the
Eleven only, it will account for his not mentioning that others were
present. In the same way St. Luke relates the Ascension, as if only
the Eleven were there, though it is clear _from his own narrative_
that he knew there were others with them; since he afterwards
records St. Peter as saying so.[281]

[Footnote 281: Acts 1. 1-13; 22-23.]

On the other hand, the appearance to the five hundred must have
been on a _mountain_, or some other open space, as a room would not
have been large enough. It must have been in _Galilee_, as there
were not so many disciples in Jerusalem.[282] It must have been _by
appointment_, as they could hardly have come together by accident;
and they are not likely to have come together at all unless the
_Eleven_ had collected them. And all this is an additional reason for
identifying it with that recorded by St. Matthew.

[Footnote 282: Acts 1. 15.]

It must next be noticed that the appearances form _three groups_.
First a group in or near Jerusalem, which was chiefly to the Twelve
Apostles, and extended over eight days. Secondly a group in Galilee,
the most important being that to the five hundred, which was a sort of
_farewell_ to His Galilean disciples. And thirdly to a group back again
at Jerusalem, chiefly to the Twelve, but including others, and ending
with the Ascension, or _farewell_ to His Judæan disciples.


 |                       |_1 Cor._|_Matt._| _Mark._| _Luke._ | _John._ |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |Empty tomb visited    }|        |       |       {|24. 1-11,|}        |
 |    by women          }|   ..   |28. 1-8|16. 1-8{|   22-23 |}20. 1-2 |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |  And by Apostles      |   ..   |  ..   |   ..   |  12, 24 |     3-10|
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |An appearance in      }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |  Galilee foretold    }|   ..   |      7|  16. 7 |   ..    |    ..   |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |Then Christ was seen   |        |       |        |         |         |
 |  _In or near          |        |       |        |         |         |
 |    Jerusalem, by_     |        |       |        |         |         |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |   (i.) Mary Magdalene |   ..   |  ..   |   9-11 |   ..    |    11-18|
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |  (ii.) The two Marys  |   ..   |   9-10|   ..   |   ..    |    ..   |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 | (iii.) St. Peter      |  15. 5 |  ..   |   ..   |      34 |    ..   |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 | ( iv.) Cleopas and   }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          another,    }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          perhaps St. }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          Luke, at    }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          Emmaus      }|   ..   |  ..   |  12-13 |   13-35 |    ..   |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |   (v.) The Apostles  }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          and others  }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          (without    }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          St. Thomas) }|      5 |  ..   |     14 |   36-43 |    19-25|
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |  (vi.) The Apostles  }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          (with St.   }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          Thomas)     }|   ..   |  ..   |   ..   |   ..    |    26-29|
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |_In Galilee, by_       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 | (vii.) Seven Apostles}|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          on the Lake }|   ..   |  ..   |   ..   |   ..    | 21. 1-23|
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |(viii.) The Apostles  }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          on the      }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          mountain    }|   ..   |  16-20|  15-18 |   ..    |   ..    |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |  (ix.) Over 500      }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          persons     }|      6 |  ..   |   ..   |   ..    |   ..    |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |   (x.) St. James      |      7 |  ..   |   ..   |   ..    |   ..    |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |_Back at Jerusalem, by_|        |       |        |         |         |
 |                       |        |       |        |         | _Acts._ |
 |  (xi.) The Apostles  }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          at Jerusalem}|   ..   |  ..   |   ..   |   44-49 | 1.   4-5|
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 | (xii.) The Apostles  }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          and others  }|        |       |        |         |         |
 |          at Bethany  }|      7 |  ..   |  19-20 |   50-53 | 6-11, 22|
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |
 |(xiii.) St. Paul       |      8 |  ..   |   ..   |   ..    | 9.   3-9|
 |                       |        |       |        |         |         |

And though this _double_ farewell is sometimes thought to be a
difficulty, yet as Christ's Resurrection was meant to be the proof
of His mission, it seems only natural that He should have appeared
again to _all_ His disciples, and have taken leave of them; both
those in Galilee, and those at Jerusalem, the Apostles themselves
being of course present on each occasion. And as the words _when
they were come together_ imply that the meeting in Jerusalem, like
that in Galilee, had been previously announced, all the Judæan
disciples may well have been there; and this we know was the case
with Matthias, Justus, and others.[283]

[Footnote 283: Acts 1. 6, 22.]


Passing on now to the difficulties in the narratives; they may be
conveniently placed under the two heads of _discrepancies_ and

(1.) _Discrepancies._

These seem to be chiefly due to two of the Evangelists, St. Mark and
St. Luke, recording separate appearances as if they were continuous.
But it so happens that they do much the same in the rest of their
Gospels, often recording separate sayings of Christ as if they were
one discourse; and even in closely-connected passages a break has
sometimes to be assumed.[284] While in these very narratives, St.
Luke describes an appearance at Jerusalem in Acts 1. 4, and
continues without any change of place till v. 12, when he says
_they returned to Jerusalem_. Plainly he is here grouping together
words spoken on different occasions.

[Footnote 284: _E.g._, in Luke 14. 21-22.]

Therefore he may have done the same at the end of his Gospel.
Indeed, it is almost certain that he did, otherwise we should have
to place the Ascension in the middle of the night, which is scarcely
probable. Moreover, in the Acts he expressly says that the
appearances lasted _forty days_; and he quotes St. Paul, as saying
that they lasted _many days_.[285] He seems to have thought it
unnecessary in his Gospel to explain that they were at different
times; and if St. Mark did the same, it would account for most,
though not all, of the discrepancies between them.

[Footnote 285: Acts 1. 3; 13. 31.]

These discrepancies, however, are often much exaggerated. Take for
instance the fifth appearance in the previous list. St. Luke and St.
John evidently refer to the same occasion, as it was on the evening
of Easter Day; yet one says the Apostles were _terrified_, and
thought they saw a spirit; while the other says they were _glad_.
Can both be true? Certainly they can, if we assume (as is most
natural) that the Apostles were _at first_ terrified, and thought
they saw a spirit; but were afterwards glad, when on Christ's
showing them His hands and side, they were convinced that it was
really Himself. And He may then have reproached them for their
unbelief as recorded by St. Mark.

Or take the case of the Angels at the Tomb. These are referred to by
every Evangelist, though some call them men (in white or dazzling
apparel) and others angels. But as St. Luke uses both words,[286]
and as angels are not likely to have appeared in any but a human
form, there is no real difficulty here. While if the second angel
was not always visible, it would account for some of the Evangelists
speaking of only one. And it may be mentioned in passing, that one
of the angels is said to have been seen by the Roman soldiers as
well, who went and told the Jews about it.[287] And this is not
likely to have been asserted within twenty years unless it had been
the case, as the Jews would have contradicted it. Yet if it was the
case, it affords an additional argument for the Resurrection, and
one derived from Christ's enemies, not His friends.

[Footnote 286: Luke 24. 4, 23. Similarly Gabriel is called a _man_
in Dan. 9. 21, and an _angel_ in Luke 1. 25.]

[Footnote 287: Matt. 28. 4, 11.]

A more important difficulty is caused by Christ's command to the
women, that they and the Apostles were to proceed to Galilee to meet
Him, when, as He knew, He was going to appear to them in Jerusalem
the same day. The most probable explanation is that the meeting in
Galilee was the one _intended_ all along, in fact we are definitely
told so.[288] But when the women, in consequence of the Angel's
message, and after they had recovered from their fright (which at
first made them run away and say nothing to anyone),[289] went and
told the Apostles to go there, they were _disbelieved_.[290] This
naturally made the women doubt too, so they returned to the grave to
make further inquiries, none of them having the slightest intention
of going to Galilee.

[Footnote 288: Mark 14. 28.]

[Footnote 289: Mark 16. 8.]

[Footnote 290: Luke 24. 11.]

Under these circumstances, something more was necessary, so Christ
appeared first to Mary Magdalene, and then to her with the other
Mary, when He told them Himself to warn the Apostles to proceed to
Galilee, which they again did, and were again _disbelieved_.[291]
Then He appeared to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, and when
they came back, and told the rest, they were also at first
_disbelieved_; the Apostles, though now admitting that Christ had
been seen by St. Peter, still denying such a bodily resurrection
(able to eat food, etc.) as they described.[292]

[Footnote 291: Mark 16. 11.]

[Footnote 292: Mark 16. 13; Luke 24. 34.]

After this there was nothing for it, but for Christ to appear to the
Apostles Himself, and convince them personally by eating food in
their presence, which He did, when most of them were assembled
together the same evening. And He may then have told them to remain
in Jerusalem till they were _all_ convinced, as they could scarcely
have been expected to collect the five hundred for the meeting in
Galilee, so long as they kept disputing among themselves as to
whether He had really risen. And it was thus another week before the
last sceptic (St. Thomas) was convinced, and they finally started
for Galilee. These discrepancies then are not nearly so serious as
is commonly supposed.

(2.) _Omissions._

With regard to the _omissions_, none of our lists are at all
complete, and this is often thought to be a difficulty. But as far
as the _Gospels_ are concerned, the writers nowhere profess to give
a complete list of Christ's appearances, any more than of His
parables, or His miracles; they only record (as one of them tells
us)[293] _selected instances_. And in the present case their choice
is quite intelligible. Thus St. Matthew closes his Gospel, which is
concerned chiefly with the Galilean ministry, with the farewell
meeting in Galilee; St. John, whose Gospel is concerned chiefly with
the Judæan ministry, ended his (before the last chapter was added,
which seems a sort of appendix) with some of the appearances in
Jerusalem. While St. Luke, who was more of an historian, and wrote
everything _in order_,[294] though he describes most in detail the
appearance to the two disciples at Emmaus (which is only natural if
he was one of them), is yet careful to carry his narrative right on
to the Ascension. Therefore, though they only record certain
appearances, they may well have known of the others; and there can
be little doubt that they did.

[Footnote 293: John 20. 30.]

[Footnote 294: Luke 1. 3.]

Thus, St. Matthew speaks of the Eleven meeting Christ by
_appointment_, so he must have known of some interview when this
appointment was made, (perhaps the one on the Lake), as the messages
to the women did not fix either the time or place.[295] In the same
way St. Mark must have known of a meeting in Galilee, as he refers
to it himself, and St. Luke of an appearance to St. Peter.[296]
While St. John, though he does not record the Ascension, must
certainly have known of it, as he refers to it twice in the words,
_if ye should behold the Son of Man ascending_, and _I ascend unto
My Father_, the former passage clearly showing that it was to be a
visible ascent, and that the Apostles were to see it.[297] Plainly,
then, the Evangelists did not relate every appearance they knew of,
and the objection as far as they are concerned, may be dismissed at

[Footnote 295: Matt. 28. 16, 7, 10.]

[Footnote 296: Mark 16. 7; Luke 24. 34.]

[Footnote 297: John 6. 62; 20. 17.]

On the other hand, _St. Paul's list_ certainly looks as if it were
meant to be complete; and this is no doubt a real difficulty.
Surely, it is said, if the other appearances had occurred, or were
even supposed to have occurred, when St. Paul wrote, he would have
heard of them; and if he had heard of them, he would have mentioned
them, as he was evidently trying to make out as strong a case as he
could. He might perhaps have omitted the appearances to _women_, as
their testimony was not considered of much value at the time; and
they were not witnesses of the Resurrection, in the sense he alludes
to--_i.e._, persons who went about preaching it;[298] but why should
he have omitted the rest?

[Footnote 298: 1 Cor. 15. 11.]

There is however a fairly good explanation. The appearances it will
be remembered form _three groups_. Now St. Paul mentions two
appearances to individual Apostles--St. Peter and St. James; and
this was doubtless because he had had such vivid accounts of them
from the men themselves, when he met them at Jerusalem. For we may
be sure that if they had not told him, he would not have accepted it
from anyone else. But he seems to refer to the others _in these
groups_, first to the Twelve (at Jerusalem), then to the five
hundred (in Galilee), and then to all the Apostles, evidently
meaning more than the Twelve (back again at Jerusalem). But by so
doing, he does not limit it to only one appearance in each group. In
the same way a man might say that on returning to England he saw
first his parents, then his brothers, then his cousins; though he
had seen his parents on two days a week apart, his brothers for only
a few hours, and his cousins for several successive days.

And the fact that St. Paul, in one of his speeches in the Acts,[299]
expressly says that Christ was seen for _many days_ at Jerusalem,
strongly confirms this view. We conclude, then, that in his Epistle
he is mentioning the appearances by groups, rather than every single
one; wishing to emphasise the number of men who had seen Christ,
rather than the number of times they had seen Him; and if so it does
away with the difficulty. None of these objections, then, are of
much importance.

[Footnote 299: Acts 13. 31.]


Turning now to the other side, the narratives bear abundant marks of
truthfulness. These we will consider under the three heads of
_agreements_, _mutual explanations_, and _signs of early date_.

(1.) _Agreements._

In the first place it is important to notice that in spite of the
discrepancies and omissions just alluded to, there is an
extraordinary amount of _agreement_ in the narratives. For all the
more important points--the third day, the empty tomb, the visit of
the women, the angelic message, the first appearance being in
Jerusalem, the incredulity of some of the disciples, and Christ's
not only appearing, but speaking as well, and this in the presence
of all the Apostles--are _all_ vouched for by _every_ Evangelist.

They also agree in saying that the Apostles _remained in Jerusalem_
after Christ's arrest, and did not as we might have expected return
at once to Galilee? For the last two Gospels expressly state that
they were in Jerusalem on Easter Day; and the first two imply it, or
how could the women have been told to take them a message to _go_ to

Further they all agree in _not_ giving (what imaginary accounts
might well have contained) any description of the Resurrection
itself, any appearance of Christ to His enemies; or any information
as to the other world, though this last would have been so eagerly
welcomed, and could have been so easily invented.

Moreover the _order_ in which the appearances are placed is also the
same in every account, that to Mary Magdalene for instance (wherever
it occurs) being, always placed first, that to St. Peter next, that
to Cleopas next, then that to the Twelve, etc. And this is the more
remarkable because the narratives are so obviously independent, and
the order is not at all a likely one. Writers of fiction, for
instance, would never have made Christ first appear to so little
known a person as Mary Magdalene, rather than to His Mother or His

Once more the narratives all agree in the extreme _calmness_ with
which they are written. One would have thought it almost impossible
for anyone after relating the story of the Cross, to have avoided
some word of triumph, or exultation, in regard to the Resurrection
and Ascension. But nothing of the kind is found. The writers record
them, like the rest of the history, as simple matters of fact,
apparently regarding them as the natural close for such a Life, and
calling for no comment. How unlikely this would be in legendary
accounts scarcely needs pointing out.

It may also be added (though it does not concern these actual
narratives) that the Evangelists all agree in saying that Christ had
_prophesied_ His own Resurrection.[300] And while this does not of
course prove it to have been true, it yet forms a difficulty on any
other theory.

[Footnote 300: _E.g._, Matt. 16. 21; Mark 9. 31; Luke 18. 33; John
2. 19-21.]

(2.) _Mutual explanations._

In the next place it is surprising to find how often a slight remark
in one of the narratives will help to explain some apparent
improbability, or difficulty in another. And since, as just said,
the narratives are quite independent, and were certainly not written
to explain one another; such indications of truthfulness are of
great value. We will therefore consider several examples.[301]

[Footnote 301: These and some others are discussed in a paper in the
_Expositor_, May, 1909, by the present writer.]

To begin with, St. John records Mary Magdalene as visiting the empty
Tomb, and then telling the disciples _we know not where they have
laid Him_. But to whom does the _we_ refer, as she was apparently
alone all the time? St. John does not explain matters; but the other
Evangelists do. For they say that though Mary Magdalene was the
leader of the party, and is always named first, yet as a matter of
fact there were other women with her; and this accounts for the
_we_. Later on no doubt she was alone; but then she uses the words
_I know not_.[302]

[Footnote 302: John 20. 2, 13.]

Secondly, St. Luke says that _Peter_ was the disciple who ran to the
tomb on hearing of the Angel's message, without however giving any
reason why he should have been the one to go. But St. Mark, though
he does not mention the visit of Peter, records that the message had
been specially addressed to him; and St. John says that Mary
Magdalene had specially informed him; and this of course explains
his going. St. Luke, it may be added, in the subsequent words,
_certain of them that were with us_,[303] implies that at least one
other disciple went with him, which agrees with St. John.

[Footnote 303: Luke 24. 24.]

St. Luke then says that when Peter arrived at the tomb, he saw the
linen cloths _by themselves_, and went home _wondering_. This seems
only a trifle, but what does it mean? St. Luke does not explain
matters, but St. John does; for he describes how the cloths were
arranged. This was in a way which showed that the Body could not
have been hurriedly stolen, but had apparently vanished without
disturbing them. It convinced St. John that the disappearance was
supernatural, and would quite account for St. Peter's wondering.[304]

[Footnote 304: Luke 24. 12; John 20. 6-8.]

Again, St. Matthew narrates that when Christ appeared to Mary
Magdalene, and the other Mary, He was at once recognised, held by
the feet, and worshipped. And they do not seem to have been at all
surprised at meeting Him near the tomb, in spite of the Angel's
message that they should go to Galilee to see Him. Evidently
something must have occurred between, making a break in the
narrative after v. 8, which is quite possible, for the words, _And
behold_ (Rev. Vers.) do not always imply a close connection.[305]
And from the other Evangelists we learn what this was. For St. John
describes an appearance to Mary Magdalene _alone_, when she was
rebuked for wishing to touch Him, apparently in the old familiar
way, and without any act of reverence; and St. Mark says this was
the _first_ appearance. If then a few minutes later, she, in company
with the other Mary, saw Christ again, it would quite account for
their not being surprised at meeting Him, and also for their altered
behaviour in prostrating themselves to the ground, and being in
consequence permitted to hold Him by the _feet_, and worship Him.

[Footnote 305: _E.g._, Matt. 2. 1.]

Once more St. Luke says that when Christ appeared to the Apostles in
the evening, He was mistaken for a _spirit_; but he gives no reason
for this, and it was apparently the only occasion on which it
occurred. St. John however, though he does not mention the incident,
fully explains it; for he says that _the doors were shut_ for fear
of the Jews; and obviously if Christ suddenly appeared within closed
doors, it would account for their thinking that He must be a
spirit. On the other hand, St. John speaks of Christ's showing them
His hands (and also His side) though without giving any reason for
this. But St. Luke's statement that they at first took Him for a
spirit, and that He did this to convince them of His identity, quite
accounts for it; so each of the narratives helps to explain the

But this is not all, for St. Luke then adds that as they still
disbelieved, Christ asked if they had anything to eat (_i.e._, if
they would give _Him_ something to eat) and they at once offered Him
a piece of broiled fish. But he gives no hint as to why they
happened to have any fish ready. St. Mark however, though he does
not mention either the request, nor its response, fully explains
both; for he says they were _sitting at meat_ at the time, probably
just concluding their evening meal. And all this still further
explains St. John's narrative, that Christ said to them _again_, the
second time, _Peace be unto you_; which would be much more natural
if something had occurred between, than if (as St. John implies) it
was just after the first time.

Again, St. Mark records Christ as saying, after His command to
preach the Gospel to all the world, 'He that believeth _and is
baptised_ shall be saved,' though without any previous reference to
baptism. But St. Matthew says the command was not only to make
disciples of all nations, but to _baptise_ them as well, and this of
course explains the other passage, though curiously enough St.
Matthew himself does not refer to it.

And then as to the appearance to the five hundred recorded by St.
Paul. None of the Evangelists mention this, but it explains a good
deal that they do mention. Thus St. John alludes to the Apostles
being in _Galilee_, (instead of staying in Jerusalem) after the
Resurrection, but he gives no hint as to why they went there. Nor do
St. Matthew and St. Mark, who say Christ told them to go there, give
any hint as to why He told them; but this appearance to the five
hundred, who had to be collected in Galilee, explains everything. It
also accounts for St. Matthew's curious remark (before noticed) that
when the Eleven saw Christ in Galilee, _they worshipped Him, but
some doubted_. And it probably explains St. Luke's omission of
Galilee among the places where the Apostles themselves had to preach
the Resurrection; as there were so many witnesses there

[Footnote 306: Acts 1. 8.]

Now of course too much stress must not be laid on small details like
these, but still the fact that such short and independent accounts
should explain one another in so many ways is a distinct evidence of
truthfulness. Legendary accounts of fictitious events would not be
likely to do so.

(3.) _Signs of early date._

In conclusion, it is interesting to note that these accounts,
especially those in the first three Gospels, show signs of an
extremely early, if not a _contemporary_ date. Thus St. Peter is
still called by his old name of _Simon_,[307] and it is the last
occasion when that name is used, without explaining to whom it
refers; St. Paul, some years later, though alluding to this same
appearance, calling him by what was then his usual name of Cephas or
Peter. Whilst St. John, writing many years afterwards, though he is
equally accurate as to Simon being the name in use at the time,
thinks it necessary to explain who was meant by it ('Jesus saith to
Simon _Peter_, Simon son of John, lovest thou Me?').[308]

[Footnote 307: Luke 24. 34.]

[Footnote 308: John 21. 15; comp. Acts. 15. 7, 14.]

Similarly the Apostles are still spoken of as _the Eleven_, though
they could only have had this title for _just these few weeks_.[309]
And the fact of their having had it seems to have been soon
forgotten. For St. Paul even when alluding to this very time prefers
to call them by the familiar title of _the Twelve_, which was
equally correct, as we are specially told that St. Matthias, who was
afterwards chosen as the twelfth, had been with them all along.[310]

[Footnote 309: Mark 16. 14; Luke 24. 9, 33.]

[Footnote 310: Acts 1. 22; 1 Cor. 15. 5.]

There are also some incidental remarks in the narratives, which seem
so natural, and yet so unlikely to have been invented. Thus we read
that on one occasion after Christ appeared to the Apostles, they
still disbelieved _for joy_; and on another, that though they knew
it was the Lord, they yet wanted to ask Him _Who art Thou?_[311]
Such bewildered feelings are quite intelligible at the time, but are
not likely to have been thought of afterwards.

[Footnote 311: Luke 24. 41; John 21. 12.]

Moreover the _kind_ of Resurrection asserted (though no doubt
presenting great difficulties) is strongly in favour of a
contemporary date. For it was not (as said in Chapter XIII.) a mere
resuscitation of Christ's natural body, but His rising again in a
body which combined material and spiritual properties in a
remarkable manner. And there was nothing in the Old Testament, or
anywhere else, to suggest such a Resurrection as this; it was quite
unique. Indeed the _combination_ of these properties--and they occur
in the same Gospel--is so extremely puzzling, that it is hard to see
how anything but actual experience (or what they believed to be
such) could ever have induced men to record it. And much the same
may be said of their ascribing an _altered appearance_ to Christ's
Body, so that He was often not recognised at first. Late writers are
not likely to have imagined this.

Lastly, the utter absence of any attempt at harmonising the
narratives, or avoiding the apparent discrepancies between them,
also points to their extreme antiquity. The writers in fact seem to
narrate just what they believed to have happened, often mentioning
the most trivial circumstances, and without ever attempting to meet
difficulties or objections. And while such disconnected accounts
might well have been written by the actual witnesses of a wonderful
miracle, they are not such as would have been deliberately invented;
nor are they like subsequent legends and myths.

These narratives then appear throughout to be thoroughly
trustworthy; and we therefore decide that the _Resurrection of
Christ is probably true_. In the next chapter we will consider the
various alternative theories.



     The first witnesses of the Resurrection. The value of all testimony
      depends on four questions about the witnesses, and here the denial
      of each corresponds to the four chief alternative theories.


     This would be to deny their _veracity_, and say that they
      did not speak the truth, as far as they knew it. But
      it is disproved by their motives, their conduct, and their


     This would be to deny their _knowledge_, and say that they
      had not the means of knowing the truth. But amply
      sufficient means were within their reach, and they were
      quite competent to use them.


     This would be to deny their _investigation_, and say that
      they were too excited to avail themselves of these
      means. But this theory has immense difficulties.

     (1.) Arguments in its favour.
     (2.) Arguments against it.
     (3.) Its failure to account for the facts.
     (4.) The theory of real visions.


     This would be to deny their _reasoning_, and say that they
      did not draw the right conclusion, since Christ's appearances
      were due to His not having died. But this theory
      also has immense difficulties.

     (_E._) CONCLUSION.

     The alleged difficulties of the Christian Theory, extremely
      strong argument in favour of the Resurrection.

We decided in the last chapter that the Resurrection of Christ was
_probably true_; that is to say, we carefully examined the various
narratives, and came to the conclusion that they had every
appearance of being candidly and truthfully written. We have now to
consider, more in detail, _the testimony of its first witnesses_.
And, as we shall see, this affords strong additional evidence in its
favour; since all attempts to account for this testimony, without
admitting its truth, fail hopelessly.

By the _first witnesses_, we mean those persons who saw, or said
they saw, Christ alive after His Crucifixion. This will include the
twelve Apostles, and over 500 other Christians, most of whom St.
Paul says were still alive when he wrote. It will also include two
persons, who at the time were _not_ Christians,--St. Paul himself,
an avowed enemy, and St. James who, though he was Christ's brother,
does not seem to have believed in Him.[312]

[Footnote 312: John 7. 5.]

And before discussing the value of their testimony, it may be well
to glance at some general rules in regard to all testimony. If,
then, a person plainly asserts that a certain event took place,
before we believe that it did take place, we must inquire first as
to his _Veracity_: did he speak the truth as far as he knew it? Next
as to his _Knowledge_: had he the means of knowing the truth? Next
as to his _Investigation_: did he avail himself of those means? And
lastly, as to his _Reasoning_: did he draw the right conclusion? And
all possible ways of denying the truth of a man's statement can be
brought under one or other of these heads. For if it is not true, it
must be either:--

 Intentionally false                            = want of Veracity.
                  { had not the   }
                  {  means of     }
       or         {  knowing the  }             = want of Knowledge.
                  {  truth        }
 Unintentionally  {
  false, in which {  or           { did not   } = want of Investigation.
  case he either  {               {  use them }
                  { had the means,{   or
                  {  and either   { used them }
                  {               {  wrongly  } = want of Reasoning.

From this it is clear that for anyone to deny a man's statement,
without disputing either his veracity, knowledge, investigation, or
reasoning, is very like denying that one angle is greater than
another, without disputing that it is neither equal to it, nor less
than it. We have now to apply these general rules to the testimony
in favour of the Resurrection of Christ. And, as we shall see, the
denial of these four points corresponds to the four chief
alternative theories, which, may be called the _Falsehood_, the
_Legend_, the _Vision_, and the _Swoon_ Theory.


We will begin with the Falsehood Theory. This would be to deny the
_veracity_ of the witnesses, and say that though they asserted that
Christ rose from the dead, and appeared to them, they did not really
believe it. In other words they were deliberate impostors, who,
knowing that their Master did not rise from the dead, yet spent
their whole lives in trying to persuade people that He did. And, as
we shall see, their _motives_, their _conduct_, and their
_sufferings_, are all strongly opposed to such a theory.

And first as to their _motives_, had they any interest in asserting
that Christ rose from the dead unless they really believed it?
Clearly they had _not_, for they were so few or so faint-hearted
that they could not prevent their Master being crucified. What
chance was there then of persuading the world that He had risen from
the dead, and why should they have embarked on such a hopeless
scheme? Nothing indeed but the most firm conviction of their Lord's
Resurrection, and therefore of supernatural assistance, would ever
have induced men to have ventured on it. If they believed the
Resurrection to be true, then, and only then, would they have had
any motive whatever for preaching it.

Next as to their _conduct_, did this show that they really believed
what they preached? And here also the evidence is overwhelming. When
their Master was crucified His followers were naturally filled with
gloom and despair; but in a few days this was changed to intense joy
and confidence. They preached the Resurrection in the very place
where He was crucified, and boldly went forth to convert the world
in His name. It is clear that before such a marvellous change could
take place they must at least have thought they had, what St. Luke
asserts they actually did have, _many proofs_ of the Resurrection.[313]
To them, at all events, the evidence must haveseemed conclusive, or
Christianity would have perished on Calvary.

[Footnote 313: Acts 1. 3.]

Lastly as to their _sufferings_. This is the most important point,
since voluntary suffering in any form, but especially in its extreme
form of martyrdom, seems conclusive as to a man's veracity. Persons
do not suffer for what they believe to be false; they must have
believed it to be true, though this does not of course prove that it
actually was true. And here is the answer to the common objection,
that since all religions have had their martyrs, this kind of
evidence proves nothing. On the contrary, it does prove something,
though it does not prove everything. It does not prove that what the
man died for was true, but it does prove that he believed it to be
true. It is therefore a conclusive test as to his _veracity_.

What evidence have we, then, that the first witnesses suffered for
the truth of what they preached? And once more the evidence is
complete and overwhelming, both from the Acts and St. Paul's
Epistles. We need only refer to these latter, as their genuineness
is undisputed. St. Paul then, in one place, gives a list of the
actual sufferings he had undergone; he alludes to them in numerous
other places, and often as if they were the common experience of all
Christians at the time; and in one passage he expressly includes the
other Apostles with himself in the long list of sufferings he
describes. While he elsewhere declares that at a still earlier time,
before his conversion, he himself persecuted the Christians _beyond

[Footnote 314: 2 Cor. 11. 24-27; Rom. 8. 35; 1 Cor. 4. 9-13; Gal. 1.

There can thus be no doubt as to the continual sufferings of the
first witnesses, and, as just said, it is a decisive proof of their
veracity. We conclude therefore that when they asserted that Christ
rose from the dead, they were asserting what they honestly believed
whether rightly or wrongly, to be true. And as this belief was due,
simply to the witnesses believing that they saw Christ alive after
His death; we must further conclude that they honestly believed in
the appearances of Christ as recorded by themselves, and their
friends, in the New Testament. In other words, these accounts are
not _intentionally_ false.

So much for the _veracity_ of the witnesses. It is not, as a rule,
denied by modern opponents of the Resurrection; but in early times,
when men ought to have known best, it was evidently thought to be
the only alternative. St. Paul declares emphatically that unless
Christ had risen, he and the other Apostles were _false witnesses_,
in plain words _liars_.[315] That was the only choice. They were
either saying what they knew to be true, or what they knew to be
false. And the idea of there being some _mistake_ about it, due to
visions, or swoons, or anything else, never seems to have occurred
to anyone.

[Footnote 315: 1 Cor. 15. 15.]


We pass on now to the Legend Theory. This would be to deny the
_knowledge_ of the witnesses: and say that our Gospels are not
genuine, but merely record subsequent legends; so we cannot tell
whether the first witnesses had, or had not, the means of knowing
the truth. But if we admit the genuineness of our Gospels, and the
veracity of their writers (both of which have been admitted), the
Legend Theory is out of the question.

They asserted, it will be remembered, that Christ's _Body_, not His
Spirit, appeared to them, after the crucifixion; and from their own
accounts it is clear that they had ample means of finding out if
this was true. Whether they used these means, and actually did find
out, is, of course, another question; but as to sufficient means
being available, and their being quite competent to use them if they
liked, there can be no doubt whatever. As has been well said, it was
not one person who saw Him, but many; they saw Him not only
separately, but together; not only for a moment, but for a long
time; not only by night, but by day; not only at a distance, but
near; not only once, but several times. And they not only saw Him,
but they touched Him, walked with Him, conversed with Him, ate with
Him, and examined His Body to satisfy their doubts. In fact,
according to their own accounts, Christ seems to have convinced them
in every way in which conviction was possible that He had really
risen from the dead.

And even apart from our Gospels, the Legend Theory is still
untenable. For St. Paul mentions several of the appearances, and as
this was within a few years of the events, there was no time for the
growth of legends. Moreover he heard of them direct from those who
saw them, St. Peter, St. James, etc., so he must have known the
circumstances under which they occurred, and, being an educated man,
is not likely to have been taken in by any imposture. While his
saying that some of the five hundred had died, though most of them
were still alive when he wrote, implies that he had also made some
enquiries about that appearance. His testimony is thus very valuable
from every point of view, and absolutely fatal to the Legend


We now come to the Vision Theory. This would be to deny the
_investigation_ of the witnesses; and say that they were so excited,
or so enthusiastic, or perhaps so stupid, that they did not avail
themselves of the ample means they had of finding out the truth. In
other words they so expected their Lord to appear to them after His
death, and kept so dwelling on the thought of Him, as though unseen,
yet perhaps very near to them, that after a time they fancied they
actually saw Him, and that He had risen from the dead. The wish was,
in fact, father to the thought; so that when a supposed appearance
took place, they were so filled with joy at their Master's presence,
that they neglected to ascertain whether the appearance they saw was
real, or only due to their own fancy.

Such is the theory; though it is often modified in regard to
particular appearances, by ascribing them to dreams, or to someone
being mistaken for Christ. And as it is at present the favourite one
with those who reject the Resurrection, we must examine it
carefully; first considering the arguments in its favour, then those
against it, then its failure to account for the facts recorded, and
lastly what is known as the theory of real visions.

(1.) _Arguments in its favour._

Now we must at once admit that it is possible for an honest man to
mistake a phantom of his own brain, arising from some diseased state
of the mind or body, for a reality in the outer world. Such
_subjective_ visions, as they are called, are by no means unheard
of, though they are not common. And of course the great, if not the
only argument in its favour is that it professes to account for the
alleged Resurrection, without on the one hand admitting its truth,
or on the other that the witnesses were deliberate impostors. Here,
it is urged, is a way of avoiding both difficulties, by allowing
that the witnesses honestly believed all they said, only they were
_mistaken_ in supposing the appearances to be real, when they were
merely due to their own imagination. And undoubtedly the fact that
men have often thought they saw ghosts, visions, etc., when there
was really nothing to see, gives it some support.

(2.) _Arguments against it._

Let us now consider how this Vision Theory would suit the accounts
of the Resurrection written by the witnesses themselves, and their
friends. As will be seen, we might almost imagine that they had been
written on purpose to contradict it.

To begin with, the writers were not unacquainted with visions, and
occasionally record them as happening to themselves or others. But
then they always use suitable expressions, such as falling into a
trance.[316] No such language is used in the Gospels to describe
the appearances of Christ, which are always recorded as if they were
actual matters of fact. While as to St. Paul, he never confuses the
revelations and visions, which he sometimes had, with the one great
appearance of Christ to him near Damascus, which qualified him to be
an Apostle.[317]

[Footnote 316: _E.g._, Acts 10. 10; 9. 10; 16. 9.]

[Footnote 317: 1 Cor. 9. 1; 15. 8; Gal. 1. 16-17.]

Secondly, the appearances did not take place (as visions might have
been expected to do, and generally did)[318] when the disciples were
engaged in prayer, or in worship. But it was during their ordinary
everyday occupations; when for instance they were going for a walk,
or sitting at supper, or out fishing. And they were often simple,
plain, and almost trivial in their character, very different from
what enthusiasts would have imagined.

[Footnote 318: _E.g._, Acts 10. 30; 11. 5; 22. 17.]

Thirdly, subjective visions due to enthusiasm, would not have
started so soon after the Crucifixion as the _third_ day. It would
have required a much longer time for the disciples to have got over
their utter confusion, and to have realised (perhaps by studying the
old prophecies) that this humiliation was, after all, part of God's
scheme, and was to be followed by a Resurrection. Nor again would
such visions have only lasted for a short time; yet with the single
exception of that to St. Paul, they were all over in a few weeks,
though the enthusiasm of the witnesses lasted through life.

Fourthly, it is plain from all the accounts that the Apostles did
not _expect_ the Resurrection, and were much surprised at it,
though they afterwards remembered that Christ had foretold it. This
is shown, not only by the Christians bringing spices, to embalm the
Body, and persons do not embalm a body unless they expect it to
remain in the grave; but also by the account of the appearances
themselves. For with the exception of the two farewell meetings (and
possibly that to the two Marys), Christ's appearance was wholly
unexpected. No one was looking for it, no one was anticipating it.
When for instance Mary Magdalene found the tomb empty, it never even
occurred to her that He had come to life again, she merely thought
the Body had been removed.

Fifthly, and this is very remarkable, when Christ did appear, He was
often _not recognised_. This was the case with Mary Magdalene, with
Cleopas and his companion, and with the disciples at Tiberias. But
it is plain that, if they so hoped to see their risen Master, that
they eventually fancied they did see Him, they would at once have
recognised Him; and their not doing so is quite inconsistent with
the Vision Theory.

Sixthly, we are repeatedly told that at first some of the disciples
_disbelieved_ or _doubted_ the Resurrection.[319] This is an
important point, since it shows that opinions were divided on the
subject, and therefore makes it almost certain that they would have
used what means they had of finding out the truth. And a visit to
the grave would have shown them at once whether the Body was there,
or not: and they are not likely to have preached the Resurrection,
without first ascertaining the point. Moreover, some of them
remained doubtful even after the others were persuaded, St. Thomas
in particular requiring the most convincing proof. His state of mind
was certainly not that of an enthusiast, since, instead of being so
convinced of the Resurrection as to have imagined it, he could with
great difficulty be got to believe it. Indeed, according to these
accounts, scarcely one of the witnesses believed the Resurrection
till the belief was almost forced on him.

[Footnote 319: Matt. 28. 17; Mark 16. 11-14; Luke 24. 11, 37; John
20. 25.]

Seventhly, subjective visions do not occur to different persons
_simultaneously_. A man's private illusions (like his dreams) are
his own. A number of men do not simultaneously dream the same dream,
still less do they simultaneously see the same subjective vision--at
least a vision like that here referred to, of a person moving about
among them, and speaking to them. This is quite different from
Constantine's army thinking that they saw a luminous cross in the
sky, or a body of Spanish troops that they saw their patron (St.
James) riding at their head, or anything of that kind; several
instances of which are known. But a subjective vision, at all
resembling what is described in the Gospels, is extremely rare. It
may perhaps happen to one person in ten thousand once in his life.
It is difficult to believe that even two persons should have such an
experience at the same time, while the idea that a dozen or more men
should simultaneously see such a subjective vision is out of the
question. And the Gospels, it may be added, always imply that
Christ was visible _to all present_ (though some of them doubted as
to His identity), which was not, as a rule, the case in other
alleged visions.

Eighthly, how are we to account for visionary _conversations_? Yet
these occurred on _every_ occasion. Christ never merely appeared,
and then vanished. He always spoke, and often for a considerable
time, giving detailed instructions; and can we imagine anyone
believing a mere vision to have done all this? Is it possible, for
instance, for St. Thomas to have believed that Christ conversed with
him, and for the other Apostles, _who were all present_, to have
believed it too, if the whole affair was only a vision? Indeed,
conversations _in the presence of others_ seem peculiarly hard to
explain as visions, yet they are mentioned more than once.

For all these reasons then--because the appearances are not
described in suitable language, did not occur on suitable occasions,
began and ended too soon, were not expected, were not recognised,
were not believed, occurred simultaneously, and always included
conversations as well--the Vision Theory is to say the least
extremely improbable.

(3.) _Its failure to account for the facts._

But this is not all; the Theory is not only improbable, it does not
account for the actual _facts_ recorded--facts concerning which,
unless the writings are intentionally false, there could be no doubt
whatever. A vision, for instance, could not have rolled away the
stone from the door of the tomb, yet this is vouched for by _every_
Evangelist. Again, persons could not have honestly believed that
they went to the tomb, and found it empty, if the Body was there all
the time. And this also is vouched for by _every_ Evangelist. Nor
could they have thought that they _touched_ their Master, _i.e._,
took hold of His feet, if He existed only in their imagination; for
the attempt to touch Him would at once have shown them their
mistake.[320] Nor could they have seen Him _eat food_, for a vision,
like a dream, would not explain the disappearance of the food. Nor
again could a mere vision take bread, and on another occasion bread
and fish, and give it them to eat.[321] In regard to all these
particulars, then, the Vision Theory is hopelessly untenable.

[Footnote 320: Matt. 28. 9.]

[Footnote 321: Luke 24. 30, 43; John 21. 13; Acts 10. 41.]

There is also the great difficulty as to what became of the _dead
Body_ of Christ. For if it was still in the grave, the Jews would
have produced it, rather than invent the story about its being
stolen; and if it was not in the grave, its removal could not have
been due to visions. With regard to this story it may be noticed
that St. Matthew says it was _spread abroad_ among the Jews; and
Justin Martyr, himself a native of Palestine, also alludes to it.
For he says that the Jews sent men all over the world to proclaim
that the disciples _stole_ the Body at _night_;[322] so there can be
no doubt that some such story existed.

[Footnote 322: Matt. 28. 15; Justin, Dial., 108.]

But its weakness is self-evident. For if the soldiers (who were
probably posted on the Saturday evening, and thus not known to the
women) were, as they said, _asleep_ at the time, how could they
tell whether the disciples had stolen the Body, or whether Christ
had come forth of His own accord? Moreover that Roman soldiers, with
their strict discipline, who were put there on purpose to keep the
Body, should really have gone to sleep, and allowed it to be stolen,
is _most improbable_. And though it seems unlikely that they could
have been bribed to say they were asleep, if they were not, as it
was a capital offence; we must remember that they were _already_
liable to death; since they had left the tomb, and the Body was
gone. So whether they were asleep, or awake, at the time mattered
little. And in any case, the fact of their having left it (which is
plain from all the accounts) shows that something very extraordinary
must have happened.

All, then, that the story proves is this (but this it does prove
unquestionably), that though the Body was guarded, yet when it was
wanted it was gone, and could not be found. And this is a strong
argument not only against the Vision Theory, but against every
theory except the Christian one. For when the Resurrection was first
announced, the most obvious and decisive answer would have been for
the Jews to have produced the dead Body; and their not doing this
strongly supports the Christian account. Indeed, the _empty tomb_,
together with the failure of all attempts to account for it, was
doubtless one of the reasons why the Apostles gained so many
converts the first day they preached the Resurrection.[323]

[Footnote 323: Acts 2. 41.]

Lastly, we must remember that this gaining of converts, _i.e._, the
_founding of Christianity_, is, after all, the great fact that has
to be explained. And even if the Vision Theory could account for the
Apostles themselves believing that they had seen Christ, it would
not account for their being able to convince others of this belief,
especially if the Body was still in the tomb. For a mere vision,
like a ghost story, would begin and end in nothing; and if the
Resurrection also began in nothing, how are we to account for its
ending in so much?

Summing up these arguments, then, we conclude that the Vision Theory
is most improbable in any case; and can only be accepted at all by
admitting that nearly the whole of our accounts are not only untrue,
but intentionally so. But then it is quite needless. Its object was
to explain the alleged Resurrection without disputing the _veracity_
of the writers, and this it is quite unable to do. In short, if the
writers honestly believed the accounts as we have them, or indeed
any other accounts at all resembling them, the Vision Theory is out
of the question.

It does not even account satisfactorily for the one appearance, that
to St. Paul, which it might be thought capable of explaining. For
his _companions_ as well as himself saw the Light and (apparently)
heard the Voice, though not the actual words.[324] And how could a
subjective vision of St. Paul have thus affected all his companions?
Moreover physical blindness does not result from such a vision, and
to say that in his case the wish was father to the thought, and
that his expectation and hope of seeing Christ eventually made him
think that he did see Him, is absurd. For even when he did see Him,
he did not recognise Him; but had to ask _Who art Thou, Lord?_ Here
then was the case of an avowed enemy, and a man of great
intellectual power, who was converted, and that against his will,
solely by the appearance of Christ. And as he had access to all
existing evidence on both sides, and had everything to lose and
nothing to gain from the change, his conversion alone is a strong
argument in favour of the Resurrection, more especially as the fact
itself is beyond dispute.

[Footnote 324: Acts 9. 7; 22. 9; 26. 13, 14.]

(4.) _The Theory of real visions._

Before passing on, we must just glance at a modification of the
Vision Theory, that has been suggested in recent years; which is
that the Apostles saw _real_ visions, miraculously sent by God, to
persuade them to go on preaching the Gospel. And no doubt this
theory avoids many of the difficulties of the ordinary Vision
Theory, especially in regard to the appearances beginning so soon as
the third day, their not being expected, and their occurring
simultaneously. But it has even greater difficulties of its own. For
it admits the supernatural, and yet these divinely sent visions were
such as to _mislead_ the Apostles, and to make them think that
Christ's Body had risen from the grave, and saw no corruption, when
in reality it was still decaying in the tomb.

And this alone is fatal to the theory. For if God gave a
supernatural vision, it would certainly be to convince men of what
was true, not of what was false. And even a real miracle is easier
to believe, than that God should found His Church on a false one.
Moreover supernatural visions are just as unable as natural ones to
account for the facts recorded, such as the rolling away of the
stone, the empty tomb, the holding of Christ by His feet, or the
disappearance of the food. While the great difficulty as to what
became of the dead Body, applies to this as much as to the ordinary
Vision Theory.


Lastly we come to the Swoon Theory. This would be to deny the
_reasoning_ of the witnesses; and say that though they saw Christ
alive after His Crucifixion, they did not draw the right conclusion
in thinking that He had risen from the dead, since as a matter of
fact He had never died, but had only fainted on the Cross.

And in support of this, it is urged that death after crucifixion did
not generally occur so quickly, since Pilate _marvelled if He were
already dead_; and that He might easily have been mistaken for dead,
as no accurate tests were known in those days. While the blood
coming out of His side is also appealed to, because blood does not
flow from a dead body. Moreover, as He was then placed in a cool
rock cave, with aromatic spices, He would probably recover
consciousness; when He would come forth and visit His friends, and
ask for something to _eat_: which is what He did according to St.
Luke. And they, superstitious men, looking upon their Master as in
some sense Divine, and perhaps half expecting the Resurrection,
would at once conclude that He had risen from the dead; especially
if they had already heard that the tomb was empty.

And the chief argument in favour of the theory is, of course, the
same as that in favour of the Vision Theory. It professes to account
for the recorded appearances, without admitting either the truth of
the Resurrection, or deliberate falsehood on the part of the
witnesses; who, according to this theory, were themselves mistaken
in thinking that Christ had risen from the dead, when in reality He
had never died. They could not therefore have helped in restoring
Him; He must have recovered by Himself. This is essential to the
theory; so it is quite unlike a case recorded by Josephus, where a
man who had been crucified, and taken down alive, was gradually
restored by a doctor.[325]

[Footnote 325: Josephus, Life, 75.]

How then would this theory suit the facts of the case? While
admitting its possibility, it is hard to find words to express its
great _improbability_. It has immense difficulties, many of them
peculiarly its own. And first as to Christ Himself. He must have
been extremely exhausted after all the ill-treatment He had
received, yet He is supposed not only to have recovered
consciousness, but to have come out of the tomb by Himself, rolling
away the large stone. And then, instead of creeping about weak and
ill, and requiring nursing and medical treatment, He must have
walked over twelve miles--and this with pierced feet[326]--to
Emmaus and back. And the same evening He must have appeared to His
disciples so completely recovered that they, instead of looking upon
Him as still half-dead, thought that He had conquered death, and was
indeed the Prince of Life. All this implies such a rapid recovery as
is quite incredible.

[Footnote 326: The feet being pierced is often disputed, but St.
Luke (who probably knew more about crucifixion than we do) evidently
thought they were; for he records Christ as saying, _See my hands
and my feet that it is I myself_, which implies that His hands and
feet would identify Him.]

Next as to the piercing of His side with a spear.[327] This is
recorded by an eye-witness, and would doubtless of itself have
caused death, though St. John's statement that He was dead already
seems the more probable. Nor did the blood coming out, in any way,
disprove this. For blood (as long as it remains liquid) will of
course flow out _downwards_ from any body, just as other liquids
would do. Only when a person is alive, the action of the heart will
make it flow out upwards as well.

[Footnote 327: John 19. 34.]

Again, it is most unlikely that so many persons, both friends and
foes, should have mistaken Christ for dead. Yet according to this
theory the _soldiers_ entrusted with the execution, who must have
had a good deal of experience in such matters; the _centurion_, who
was sent for by Pilate on purpose to ascertain this very point; the
_Christians_, who took down the Body and wrapped it in linen cloths;
and the _Jews_, who are not likely to have left their Victim without
making sure of the fact, must all have honestly believed that
Christ was dead when He was not. Moreover, the tomb was carefully
guarded by His enemies for the express purpose of securing the Body.
How then did they let it escape? If they were not asleep at the
time, they must either have done this _willingly_, because they were
bribed; or _unwillingly_, because they could not help it, being
overcome by some supernatural Power; and either alternative is fatal
to the Swoon Theory.

This theory also requires not only that the Apostles should have
been mistaken in thinking that Christ had risen from the dead, but
that Christ Himself should have countenanced the mistake; or He
would have explained the truth to His disciples. He is thus made to
be a deceiver instead of His Apostles, which all will admit to be
most improbable.

And then, what became of Him afterwards? If He died again within a
few weeks, His disciples could scarcely have thought Him the Prince
of Life, who had the keys of Death and of Hades;[328] and if He
continued to live, where did He go to? Moreover He must have died
again at some time, and His real tomb is sure to have been much
venerated by His followers; and it would have prevented any belief
in the Ascension. Yet as said before (Chapter XV.), this seems to
have formed a part of Christian instruction from the very first.

[Footnote 328: Acts 3. 15; Rev. 1. 18.]

But perhaps the chief argument against this theory is that it does
not account for many of the actual _facts_ recorded; such as Christ
passing through closed doors, His vanishing at pleasure, and His
Ascension. These details present no difficulty on the Vision Theory,
nor on that of deliberate falsehood; but they are inconsistent with
the present one. And though it accounts to some extent for the empty
tomb; it does not account for the _angels_ being there, announcing
the Resurrection.

Nor does it account for the _grave-clothes_ being so carefully left
behind. For if Christ had come out of the tomb by Himself, He could
scarcely have left His clothes behind; not to mention the difficulty
of taking them off, caused by the adhesive myrrh, which would have
stuck them together, and to the Body. These grave-clothes are thus
fatal to this, as to every other theory, except the Christian one;
yet it was a simple matter of fact, as to which there could be no
possible _mistake_. Either the clothes were there, or else the
persons who said they saw them were telling a falsehood. Moreover,
in any case Christ could not have walked to Emmaus and back, or
appeared to the Apostles, or to anyone else, in His _grave-clothes_,
so He must have obtained some others, and how did He get them? His
enemies are not likely to have supplied them, and if His friends
did, they must have been aware of the fraud.

On the whole then, we decide that the _Swoon Theory_, like the
Vision Theory, is very improbable in any case, and only tenable at
all by supposing a large part of our narratives to be intentionally
false. But then it is quite needless.


Before concluding this chapter a few remarks may be made on the
alleged difficulties of the _Christian_ theory. There are only two
of any importance. The first is that the Resurrection would be a
_miracle_, and probably nine out of ten men who disbelieve it, do so
for this reason. It is not that the evidence for it is insufficient
(they have perhaps never examined it) but that no conceivable
evidence would be sufficient to establish such an event. Miracles,
they say, are incredible, _they cannot happen_, and that settles the
point; for it is of course easier to believe _any_ explanation,
visions, swoons, or anything else, than the occurrence of that which
cannot happen.

But we have already admitted, in Chapter VII., that miracles
are _not_ incredible. And though no doubt, _under ordinary
circumstances_, a dead man coming to life again would be so
_extremely_ improbable as to be practically incredible; yet these
were not ordinary circumstances, and Christ was not an ordinary man.
On the contrary, as we shall see, He was an absolutely unique Man,
claiming moreover to be Divine, and having a mass of powerful
evidence both from His own Character, from previous Prophecies, and
from subsequent History, to support His claims. Therefore that He
should rise from the dead, as a proof that these claims were
well-founded, does not seem so very improbable after all.

The other difficulty refers to Christ's not appearing _publicly_ to
the Jews. Why, it is asked, did He only appear to His own disciples?
Surely this is very suspicious. If He really did rise from the
dead, and wished the world to believe it, why did He not settle the
point by going publicly into Jerusalem?

But we cannot feel sure that this would have _settled the point_. No
doubt the Jews who saw Him would have been convinced, but the nation
as a whole might, or might not, have accepted Christianity. If they
did _not_, saying for instance it was due to a pretender, it would
have been worse than useless. While if they did, the Romans would
very likely have looked upon it as a national insurrection, and its
progress would have been more than ever difficult. It would also
have greatly weakened the force of _Prophecy_; since, in the absence
of ancient manuscripts, people might think that the old Jewish
prophecies had been tampered with, to make them suit their Christian
interpretation. But now these prophecies, having been preserved by
men who are opposed to Christianity, are above suspicion.

Moreover, to get the world to believe in the Resurrection required
not only evidence, but _missionaries_, that is to say, men who were
so absolutely convinced of its truth, as to be willing to spend
their whole lives in witnessing for it, in all lands and at all
costs. And the chief object of the appearances may have been to
produce such men; and it is obvious that (apart from a miraculous
conversion like St. Paul's) there could not have been more than a
few of them.

For only a _few_ could have conversed with Christ, and eaten with
Him after His death, so as to be quite certain that He was then
alive; only a _few_ could have known Him so intimately before, as
to be quite certain that it was really He, and only a _few_ had
loved Him so dearly as to be willing to give up everything for His
sake. In short, there were only a few _suitable_ witnesses
available. And Christ's frequently appearing to these few--the
_chosen witnesses_ as they are called[329]--in the private and
intimate manner recorded in the Gospels, was evidently more likely
to turn them into ardent missionaries (which it actually did) than
any public appearance. Indeed it so often happens that what
everybody should do, nobody does; that it may be doubted whether
Christ's publicly appearing to a number of persons in Jerusalem
would have induced even one of them to have faced a life of
suffering, and a death of martyrdom, in spreading the news. This
objection, then, cannot be maintained.

[Footnote 329: Acts 10. 41.]

In conclusion, it seems scarcely necessary to sum up the arguments
in this chapter. We have discussed at some length the veracity,
knowledge, investigation, and reasoning of the _first witnesses_ of
the Resurrection; and as we have seen, not one of these points can
be fairly doubted. In fact the evidence in favour of each is
overwhelming. Therefore the alternative theories--the Falsehood, the
Legend, the Vision, and the Swoon Theory--which are founded on
denying these points, are all untenable. And this greatly supports
the conclusion we arrived at in the last chapter; so that combining
the two; we have an _extremely strong_ argument in favour of the
Resurrection of Christ.




     They present few difficulties; the casting out of evil spirits.


     (1.) General marks of truthfulness.
     (2.) Special marks of truthfulness.


     (1.) They occurred in public.
     (2.) They were publicly appealed to.
     (3.) They were never disputed.
     (4.) The silence of classical writers.

     (_D._) CONCLUSION.

     Futile attempts to explain them away, the subject of
      modern miracles.

Having discussed in the last two chapters the Resurrection of
Christ, we pass on now to the other New Testament miracles, and will
consider in turn their _credibility_, their _truthfulness_, and
their _publicity_.


Now with one exception, the casting out of evil spirits, the
miracles present scarcely any difficulty provided miracles at all
are credible, which we have already admitted. Most of them,
especially those of healing, were very suitable from a moral point
of view, while that they were meant to confirm Christ's teaching and
claims is beyond dispute. Not only do all the Evangelists declare
this, but Christ Himself though He refused to work a miracle when
challenged to do so--He would not work one _to order_, as we might
say--yet appealed to His _public_ miracles in the most emphatic

Thus, when St. John the Baptist sent messengers to inquire whether
He was the Messiah, His only answer was, 'Go your way, and tell John
the things which ye do hear and see; the blind receive their sight,
and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and
the dead are raised up,'[330] etc. And this is specially important
because Christians would not have _invented_ an incident which shows
that Christ's own messenger had (apparently) lost faith in Him. Yet
it is not easy to separate his question from the reply which it
received; while if we admit that Christ gave this reply, it seems to
settle the question as to His working miracles.

[Footnote 330: Matt. 11. 4; Luke 7. 22; see also Mark 2. 10; John 5.

And He afterwards condemned Chorazin, and other cities, in the
strongest terms, because, although He had done so many miracles
there, they had not repented; which again shows both the publicity
of the miracles, and their intended evidential value.[331] And this
passage also is very important, since its genuineness is confirmed
by the fact that not a single miracle is recorded as having been
worked at Chorazin. Yet, if the Evangelists (or anyone else) had
invented the saying, they would surely have invented some miracles
there to justify it. If on the other hand, they did not invent it,
and the words were actually spoken by Christ, is it conceivable that
He should have blamed these cities for not believing on Him in spite
of His miracles, if He had done no miracles?

[Footnote 331: Matt. 11. 21-24; Luke 10. 13-15. Both this passage,
and the last, belong to Q, the supposed earliest source of our

We pass on now to the _casting out of evil spirits_, which implies
that persons may sometimes be _possessed_ by such spirits, and this
is often thought to be a difficulty. But though our ignorance on the
subject is undoubtedly great, there is nothing incredible here. For
we have already admitted the _influence_ of such spirits (Chapter
XII.), and what is called _possession_ is merely an extreme form of
influence. Indeed, the accounts of mesmerism at the present day,
though they cannot always be trusted, seem to show that even one man
may so entirely _possess_ the mind and will of another as to make
him do whatever he wishes. And it is certainly no more difficult to
believe that this power may in some cases be exercised by an evil
spirit. With regard to the outward symptoms mentioned in the
Gospels, they seem to have resembled certain forms of madness;
though, as the patients are now kept under restraint in civilised
countries, they have not the same notoriety.

But it may be said, why ascribe this madness to an evil spirit? But
why not? Madness often follows the frequent yielding to certain
temptations, such as drunkenness or impurity; and that it may really
be due to the action of an evil spirit (an _unclean_ spirit is the
significant term used in the Gospels) and be the appropriate
punishment for yielding to _his_ temptation, is certainty not
incredible. And if so, considering the immoral state of the world at
the time of Christ, we cannot be surprised at such cases being far
more common then than now. And the writers, it may be added, do not
(like some early nations) attribute _all_ maladies to evil spirits,
for we read of men having fever and palsy, as well as being blind,
lame, deaf, and dumb, without any hint of its being due to an evil
spirit; so they were quite able to distinguish between the two.

There is, however, one instance--the swine at Gadara--of _animals_
being thus afflicted,[332] which undoubtedly forms a difficulty, and
I have never seen a satisfactory explanation of it. But still our
ignorance about animals, combined with the fact that they resemble
man in so many respects, prevents us from saying that it is
absolutely incredible. And as to the alleged _injustice_ of the
miracle (which is often objected to) we must remember that if Christ
were the Divine Being He claimed to be, the world and all it
contained belonged to Him; so His allowing the swine to be destroyed
by evil spirits was no more unjust to their owners, than if He had
allowed them to die by disease.

[Footnote 332: Matt. 8. 30-32; Mark 5. 11-13; Luke 8. 32-33.]

Lastly, all the Christian miracles lose a great deal of their
improbability when we consider the _unique position of Christ_. And
what would be incredible, if told of another man who had done
nothing to alter the history of the world, may easily be credible of
_Him_. We decide, then, that all the New Testament miracles are
_credible_: we have next to consider whether they are _true_.


Now the testimony in favour of these miracles is very similar to
that in favour of the Resurrection of Christ. They are recorded by
the same writers and in the same books, and everything points to
these accounts being trustworthy. To put it shortly, the writers had
no motive for recording the miracles unless they believed them to be
true, and they had ample means of finding out whether they were true
or not; while many of them are such as cannot possibly be explained
by want of investigation, or an error in reasoning. Moreover, as we
shall see, they contain numerous marks of truthfulness. These may be
divided into two classes, _general_, or those which concern the
miracles as a whole; and _special_, or those which concern
individual miracles, or sayings about them; and we will consider
each in turn.

(1.) _General marks of truthfulness._

Among these we may notice first the extremely _simple and graphic_
way in which many of the miracles are described, such as the curing
of the man who was born blind, with the repeated questioning of the
man himself.[333] Then there is the raising of the daughter of
Jairus, and the curing of the man who was deaf and had a difficulty
in speaking, both of which are described with the most minute
details, including the actual Aramaic words spoken by Christ.[334]
It is difficult to think that they do not come from eye-witnesses.
And the same may be said of a large number of the miracles.

[Footnote 333: John 9. 8-34.]

[Footnote 334: Mark 5. 41; 7. 34.]

Secondly, the _kind_ of miracles ascribed to Christ seem (as far as
we can judge) to be worthy of Him. They were not for His own
benefit, but for that of other people, and they are a great contrast
to the imaginary miracles ascribed to Him in the Apocryphal Gospels,
most of which are extremely childish. When for instance Christ was a
boy, we read of His making clay birds fly; of His turning children
into kids for refusing to play with Him; and of His cursing another
boy who had run against Him, and who in consequence fell down
dead.[335] How different such miracles are from those in our Gospels
scarcely needs pointing out. Nor is the case of the _barren
fig-tree_, so often objected to, an exception. For the tree itself
could have felt no injury, and as far as we know, its destruction
injured no one else.

[Footnote 335: Gospel of the Infancy, chapters xv., xvii., xix.]

Thirdly, the miracles are closely connected with the _moral
teaching_ of Christ, and it is difficult either to separate the two,
or to believe the whole account to be fictitious. His wonderful
works, and His wonderful words involve each other, and form together
an harmonious whole, which is too life-like to be imaginary. Indeed,
a life of Christ without His miracles would be as unintelligible as
a life of Napoleon without his campaigns. And it is interesting to
note in this connection that our earliest Gospel, St. Mark's,
contains (in proportion to its length) the most miracles. As we
should expect, it was Christ's miracles, rather than His moral
teaching, which first attracted attention.

Fourthly, the miracles were as a rule miracles of _healing_: that is
to say, of restoring something to its natural state, such as making
blind eyes see; and not doing something unnatural, such as giving a
man a third eye. Miracles of either kind would of course show
superhuman power; but the former are obviously the more suited to
the God of Nature. And this _naturalness_ of the miracles, as we may
call it, seems to many a strong argument in their favour.

Fifthly, there were an immense _number_ of miracles, the ones
recorded being mere _examples_ of those that were actually worked.
Thus in St. Mark's Gospel we are told that on one occasion, Christ
healed _many_ who were sick with _divers_ diseases; on another that
He had healed so _many_, that those with plagues pressed upon Him to
touch Him; and on another that everywhere He went, into the
villages, cities, or country, the sick were laid out, so that they
might touch His garment, and _as many as touched Him were made

[Footnote 336: Mark 1. 34; 3. 10; 6. 56]

Sixthly, there was a great _variety_ in the miracles. They were of
various kinds, worked in various places, before various witnesses,
and with various details and characteristics. They occurred in
public as well as in private; in the towns as well as in the
country; at sea as well as on land; in groups as well as singly; at
a distance as well as near; after due notice as well as suddenly;
when watched by enemies as well as among friends; unsolicited as
well as when asked for; in times of joy, and in times of sorrow.
They were worked on the blind as well as the deaf; the lame as well
as the dumb; the leprous as well as the palsied; the dead as well as
the living. They concerned men as well as women; the rich as well as
the poor; the educated as well as the ignorant; the young as well as
the old; multitudes as well as individuals; Gentiles as well as
Jews; nature as well as man--in fact, according to our accounts, it
is difficult to imagine any miracles that could have been more
absolutely convincing.

Seventhly, the miracles of Christ were (with trifling exceptions)
worked _suddenly_. They were not like gradual cures, or slow
recoveries, but they were done in a moment. The blind man
_immediately_ received his sight; the palsied _immediately_ took up
his couch: the leper was _straightway_ cleansed; the infirm was
_straightway_ made whole; the dead _immediately_ rose up, etc.[337]
This was evidently a striking feature in the miracles, and the
Evangelists seem to have been much impressed by it.

[Footnote 337: Luke 18. 43; 5. 25; Mark 1. 42; Matt. 8. 3; John 5.
9; Luke 8. 55.]

Eighthly, many of the miracles were of a _permanent_ character, and
such as could be examined again and again. When, for instance, a man
who had long been lame, or deaf, or blind, was restored to health,
the villagers, as well as the man himself, could certify to the
cure for years to come. And miracles such as these are obviously of
much greater value than what we may call _momentary_ miracles (such
as Christ's calming the storm) where the only possible evidence is
that of the actual spectators.

Lastly, and this is very remarkable, the Evangelists nearly always
relate that Christ worked His miracles _by His own authority_: while
the Old Testament prophets, with scarcely an exception, worked
theirs by calling upon God. Take for instance the similar cases of
raising a widow's son.[338] Elijah prays earnestly that God would
restore the child to life; Christ merely gives the command, _I say
unto thee, Arise_. The difference between the two is very striking,
and is of itself a strong argument in favour of Christ's miracles;
for had the Evangelists invented them, they would certainly have
made them resemble those of the Old Testament. But instead of this,
they describe them as worked in a new and unprecedented manner, and
one which must at the time have seemed most presumptuous.

[Footnote 338: 1 Kings 17. 21; Luke 7. 14.]

The Gospel miracles then, from the simple and graphic way in which
they are described; their not containing anything childish or
unworthy; their close connection with the moral teaching of Christ;
their naturalness; their number; their variety; their suddenness;
their permanence; and above all from the authoritative way in which
they are said to have been worked; have every appearance of being
truth fully recorded.

(2.) _Special marks of truthfulness._

Moreover several individual miracles, and sayings about them, are of
such a kind as could scarcely have been invented. Take, for
instance, the raising of the daughter of Jairus.[339] Now of course
anyone, wishing to magnify the power of Christ, might have invented
this or any other miracle. But if so, he is not likely to have put
into the mouth of Christ Himself the words, _The child is not dead
but sleepeth_. These words seem to imply that Christ did not
consider it a miracle; and though we may be able to explain them, by
the similar words used in regard to Lazarus,[340] they certainly
bear the marks of genuineness.

[Footnote 339: Mark 5. 39.]

[Footnote 340: John 11. 11.]

We are also told, more than once, that Christ's power of working
miracles was _conditional_ on the faith of the person to be healed,
so that in one place He could do scarcely any miracles _because of
their unbelief_.[341] This is not the sort of legend that would have
grown up round a glorified Hero; it bears unmistakably the mark of
truthfulness. But then if the writer had good means of knowing that
Christ could do no miracles in one place, because of their unbelief;
had he not equally good means of knowing that Christ could, and did,
do miracles in other places?

[Footnote 341: Matt. 13. 58; Mark 6. 5-6; Luke 18. 42.]

And what shall we say of Christ's frequent commands to keep His
miracles _secret_?[342] There were doubtless reasons for this in
every case; but Christ's followers, who presumably recorded the
miracles in order to get them known, are not likely to have
invented, and put into His mouth the command to keep them secret.
Nor is Christ likely to have given it, had there been no miracles to
keep secret. Nor again is anyone likely to have added, unless it was
the case, that the command was generally _disobeyed_. This seems
surprising, yet it is very true to human nature that a man who had
been suddenly cured of a long complaint, should insist on talking
about it.

[Footnote 342: _E.g._, Mark 3. 12; 5. 43; 7. 36.]

In the same way the discussions about working miracles _on the
Sabbath Day_ have a very genuine tone about them and it is difficult
to imagine them to be inventions.[343] Yet such discussions could
not have arisen, if there had been no miracles on the Sabbath, or
any other day.

[Footnote 343: Mark 3. 1-5; Luke 13. 10-17; John 5. 9-16; 9. 14-16.]

Then there is the striking passage where Christ warned His hearers
that even working miracles in His name, without a good life, would
not ensure their salvation.[344] This occurs in one of His most
characteristic discourses, the Sermon on the Mount, and it is hard
to doubt its genuineness. But even if we do, it is not likely that
Christ's followers would have invented such a warning, if as a
matter of fact no one ever did work miracles in His name.

[Footnote 344: Matt. 7. 22.]

And much the same may be said of another passage where Christ is
recorded as saying that _all_ believers would be able to work
miracles.[345] If He said so, He must surely have been able to work
them Himself; and if He did not say so, His followers must have
been able to work them, or their inventing such a promise would
merely have shown that they were not believers. On the whole, then,
as said before, the accounts of the New Testament miracles have
every appearance of being thoroughly truthful.

[Footnote 345: Mark 16. 17.]


But the most important point has still to be noticed, which is the
alleged _publicity_ of these miracles; and as this renders the
testimony in their favour peculiarly strong, we must examine it at
some length.

(1.) _They occurred in public._

To begin with, according to our Gospels, all the miracles of Christ
occurred during His _public ministry_, when He was well known, that
at Cana being definitely called the first.[346] And as they were
meant to confirm His teaching and claims, it was only natural for
them to begin when His teaching began. But if they had been
invented, or had grown up as legends, some at least would have been
ascribed to His earlier years (as they are in the Apocryphal
Gospels) when there was less chance of their being disputed.

[Footnote 346: John 2. 11.]

Moreover, many of them are stated to have been worked openly, and
before crowds of people, including Scribes, Pharisees, and
lawyers.[347] And the _names_ of the places where they occurred, and
even of the persons concerned, are given in some cases. Among these
were _Jairus_, a ruler of the synagogue; _Lazarus_, a well known man
at Bethany; _Malchus_, a servant of the High Priest; and the
_centurion_ at Capernaum, who, though his name is not given, must
have been well known to the Jews, as he had built them a synagogue.
While the miracles recorded in the Acts concern such prominent
persons as the _proconsul_, Sergius Paulus, at Cyprus, and the
_chief man_, Publius, at Malta. And it is hard to overestimate the
immense difficulty of thus asserting _public_ miracles, with the
names of persons, and places, if none occurred; yet the early
Christians asserted such miracles from the very first.

[Footnote 347: _E.g._, Luke 5. 17-21.]

Take for instance the feeding of the five thousand, near the Lake of
Galilee. This is recorded in the earliest Gospel, St. Mark's, and
must therefore have been written down very soon after the event,
when a large number of the five thousand were still alive. Now is it
conceivable that anyone would have ventured to make up such an
account, even twenty years afterwards, if nothing of the kind had
occurred? And if he had done so, would not his story have been
instantly refuted? Or take the case of healing the centurion's
servant at Capernaum. This, as before said, belongs to Q, the
supposed source common to Matthew and Luke, and admitted by most
critics to date from before A.D. 50. And how could such a story have
been current within twenty years of the event, if nothing of the
kind had occurred?

It is also declared that the miracles were much talked about at the
time, and caused widespread astonishment. The people _marvelled_ at
them, they _wondered_, they were _amazed_, they were _beyond measure
astonished_, there had been nothing like them _since the world
began_.[348] The miracles were in fact the talk of the whole
neighbourhood. And we are told that in consequence several of those
which occurred at Jerusalem were at once officially investigated by
the Jewish rulers, who made the most searching inquiries about
them;[349] and in two instances, at least, publicly admitted them to
be true.[350] And this also is not likely to have been asserted,
unless it was the case; and not likely to have been the case, if
there had been no miracles.

[Footnote 348: Matt. 9. 33; 15. 31; Mark 5. 42; 7. 37; John 9. 32.]

[Footnote 349: _E.g._, John 9. 13-34; Acts 4. 5-22.]

[Footnote 350: John 11. 47; Acts 4. 16.]

(2.) _They were publicly appealed to._

Moreover, these public miracles were _publicly appealed to_ by the
early Christians. According to the _Acts_, this was done in the very
first public address, that at Pentecost, by St. Peter, who reminds
his hearers that they had themselves seen the miracles (_even as ye
yourselves know_), as well as in one other speech at least.[351] And
this is important, because even those critics, who deny the
genuineness of the Acts, yet admit that these speeches date from a
very early time. And if so, it shows conclusively that some of
Christ's immediate followers not only believed themselves that He
had worked miracles, but spoke as if their opponents believed it

[Footnote 351: Acts 2. 22; 10. 38.]

That they are not more frequently alluded to in the Acts is not
surprising, when we remember that, according to the writer,--and he
was an _eye-witness_ in some cases, as they occur in the _We_
sections,[352]--the Apostles themselves worked miracles. There was
thus no occasion for them to appeal to those of Christ as proving
the truth of what they preached; their own miracles being quite
sufficient to convince anyone who was open to this kind of proof.
But still the important fact remains that in the first recorded
Christian address the public miracles of Christ were publicly
appealed to. And this was within a few months of their occurrence;
and at Jerusalem, where the statement, if untrue, could have been
more easily refuted than anywhere else.

[Footnote 352: Acts 16. 18, 26; 28. 6, 8-9.]

Passing on to _St. Paul's Epistles_; it is true that they do not
contain any reference to Christ's miracles, except of course the
Resurrection. But as they were not written to convert heathens, but
to instruct those who were already Christians, there is nothing
surprising in this; and they do not mention any of His parables
either. On the other hand, they do contain direct reference to
_Apostolic_ miracles. St. Paul in two of his undisputed Epistles
positively asserts that he had worked miracles himself; and he uses
the same three words, _signs_, _wonders_, and _mighty works_, which
are used in the Gospels to describe the miracles of Christ.[353]

[Footnote 353: Rom. 15. 18, 19; 2 Cor. 12. 12.]

The second passage is extremely important, since he speaks of them
as the _signs of an apostle_; and calls upon his opponents at
Corinth to admit that he was an apostle _because_ he had worked
these miracles. And this implies not only that the miracles were
done in public, but that his readers as well as himself believed
that the power of working miracles belonged to all the Apostles. And
it will be noticed that he is addressing the very persons among
whom he declares he had worked the miracles; which makes it almost
inconceivable that his claim was unfounded, quite apart from the
difficulty of believing that such a man as St. Paul would wilfully
make a false statement.

From all this it follows that the first preachers of Christianity
not only appealed to Christ's miracles; but also to their own, in
support of their claims. And, as just said, how they could have done
so, if they worked no miracles, is not easy to understand.

We next come to a class of writings where we should expect to find
Christ's miracles alluded to, and these are the first Christian
_Apologies_. Nor are we disappointed. The three earliest, of which
we have any knowledge, were by Quadratus, Aristides, and Justin; the
first two being presented to the Emperor Hadrian, when he visited
Athens, A.D. 125.

_Quadratus_, in a passage preserved by Eusebius, lays stress on what
we have called the _permanent_ character of Christ's miracles. He
says: 'The works of our Saviour were always conspicuous, for they
were real; both they that were healed and they that were raised from
the dead were seen, not only when they were healed or raised, but
for a long time afterwards; not only whilst He dwelt on this earth,
but also after His departure, and for a good while after it,
insomuch that some of them have reached to our times.'[354]

[Footnote 354: Eusebius, Hist., iv. 3.]

_Aristides_ bases his defence of Christianity on its moral
character, and does not appeal to any public miracles, though as
before said (Chapter XIV.) he asserts the Divinity, Incarnation,
Virgin-birth, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ.

Lastly, _Justin_, about A.D. 150, not only specifies many of
Christ's miracles; but also says in general terms that He 'healed
those who were maimed, and deaf, and lame in body from their birth,
causing them to leap, to hear, and to see by His word. And having
raised the dead, and causing them to live, by His deeds He compelled
the men who lived at that time to recognise Him. But though they saw
such works, they asserted it was magical art.'[355] Justin, however,
does not base his argument on miracles, but on prophecy, because, as
he tells us again, the former might be ascribed to magic.

[Footnote 355: Dial., 69; Apol. 1. 30.]

But still, the actual occurrence of the miracles, he evidently
thought to be indisputable. He even says that the Emperor and Senate
can learn for themselves that Christ worked miracles (healing the
lame, dumb, and blind, cleansing the lepers, and raising the dead)
by consulting the _Acts of Pilate_.[356] And this certainly implies
that such a document, whether genuine or not, then existed in Rome;
and that it contained an account of the miracles. Thus two out of
the three earliest writers in defence of Christianity appealed to
Christ's miracles, in the most public manner possible, when
addressing the Emperor.

[Footnote 356: Apol. 1. 48, 35.]

(3.) _They were never disputed._

But now comes another important point. Though these public miracles
were publicly appealed to by the early Christians, and though
written accounts of them were in circulation very soon after they
are stated to have occurred; yet, as far as we know, they were
_never disputed_. And this is the more remarkable, since they are
said to have been worked among enemies as well as friends. They were
thus peculiarly open to hostile criticism; and we may be sure that
the bitter opponents of Christ, who had brought about His death,
would have exposed them if they could. Yet, as just said, they were
never disputed, either by Jews or Gentiles; though, of course, they
both denied their evidential value.

The _Jews_--that is to say the Scribes and Pharisees--did this, by
ascribing them to the Evil One. And though this was a very strange
expedient, as their effect was obviously good, and not evil, they
had really no alternative. The common people were much impressed by
the miracles, and were anxious to welcome Christ as their
Messiah;[357] yet the Pharisees decided that such a man as this--so
unlike what they expected--could not possibly be their Messiah. They
had then to explain away the miracles somehow. And since they denied
that they were worked by God, they were bound to ascribe them to the
Devil, for these were the only supernatural powers they believed in;
though of course both of these had subordinate angels under them.
But we may ask, would the Jews have adopted such an expedient had
there been any possibility of denying that the miracles occurred?
Yet that they did adopt it can scarcely be disputed. It is
positively asserted in each of the first three Gospels;[358] and
Christians are not likely to have reported such a horrible
suggestion as that their Master was an agent of the Evil One, unless
it had been made.

[Footnote 357: John 6. 15; Mark 11. 10.]

[Footnote 358: Matt. 9. 34; 12. 24; Mark 3. 22; Luke 11. 15.]

The _Gentiles_ on the other hand, believed in a variety of gods,
many of whom were favourable to mankind, and could be invoked by
_magic_; so they could consistently ascribe the miracles to some of
these lesser deities; or, in popular language, to magic. And we have
abundant evidence that they did so. As we have seen, it is expressly
asserted by Justin, who in consequence preferred the argument from
prophecy; and Irenæus did the same, and for avowedly the same

[Footnote 359: Bk. ii. 32.]

Moreover, _Celsus_, the most important opponent of Christianity in
the second century, also adopted this view. His works are now lost,
but Origen in answering him frequently and positively asserts it;
saying that he often spoke of the miracles as _works of
sorcery_.[360] And though Celsus lived some years after the time in
question, it is most unlikely, if the early opponents of
Christianity had denied that the miracles occurred, that its later
opponents should have given up this strong line of defence, and have
adopted the far weaker one that they did occur, but were due to
magic. We are quite justified, then, in saying that Christ's
miracles were not disputed at the time, and considering their
alleged publicity, this is a strong additional argument in their

[Footnote 360: Origen cont. Cels., i. 38; ii. 48.]

(4.) _The silence of classical writers._

All that can be said on the other side is from the _silence_ of
classical writers. Had the miracles really occurred, it is said,
especially in such a well-known place as Palestine, the writers of
the day would have been full of them. Yet, with the single exception
of Tacitus, they do not even allude to Christianity; and he
dismisses it with contempt as a _pernicious superstition_.[361]

[Footnote 361: Tacitus Annals. Bk. xv., ch. 44.]

Now these words of Tacitus show that he had never studied the
subject, for whatever may be said against the religion, it certainly
was not pernicious; so he must have rejected Christianity _without
examination_. And if the other classical writers did the same, there
is nothing remarkable in their not alluding to it. Alleged marvels
were common enough in those days, and they probably did not think
the Christian miracles worth inquiring about. But we do not know of
any writer who did inquire about them, and was not convinced of
their truth.

It may, of course, be replied that some of the events ought anyhow
to be alluded to, such as the _darkness over all the land_ at the
time of the Crucifixion. And if this extended over the whole of
Palestine, it is certainly strange that it should not be noticed.
But it may only refer to the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Compare the
expression _all the country of Judæa_[362] (when referring to the
people being baptized) which is evidently not meant to be taken
literally. And if the darkness was limited to the neighbourhood of
Jerusalem, there is nothing surprising in its not being recorded by
any except Christians, for whom of course it had a special

[Footnote 362: Mark 1. 5.]

It should also be noticed that in some respects the testimony of
Christian writers is _more_ valuable than that of either Jews or
Gentiles: since none of the writers of that country were brought up
as Christians. They were all unbelievers before they were believers;
and if such testimony from unbelievers would be valuable, it is
still more so from those who showed how thoroughly convinced they
were of its truth by becoming believers. Indeed, the best Jewish or
Gentile evidence conceivable is that of well-educated men, like St.
Paul and St. Luke, who, on the strength of it, became Christians.

Lastly, it must be remembered that the argument from silence is
proverbially unsound. We have, for instance, over two hundred
letters of the younger Pliny, and in only one of these does he
mention Christianity. Suppose this one had been lost, what a strong
argument could have been formed against the spread of Christianity
from the silence of Pliny, yet this one shows its marvellous
progress (see Chapter XXII.). This objection, then, is quite
insufficient to outweigh the positive testimony in favour of the
miracles, to which we have already alluded.


In conclusion we must notice certain rationalistic explanations
which have been given of the miracles. It was hardly to be expected
that, with such strong evidence in their favour, the modern
opponents of Christianity would merely assert that the accounts
were pure fiction from beginning to end. Attempts have of course
been made to explain the miracles in such a way that, while
depriving them of any supernatural character, it may yet be admitted
that some such events occurred, which gave rise to the Christian

The miracles of _healing_ are perhaps the easiest to explain in this
way, as some wonderful instances of sudden, though natural, cures
have been known. But it is doubtful whether any of Christ's miracles
were of such a kind, for St. Paul is careful to distinguish between
_gifts of healing_ and _working of miracles_.[363] Both were
evidently known to the early Church, and known to be different.

[Footnote 363: 1 Cor. 12. 9-10, 28.]

And of course no such explanations will apply to most of the
miracles, which have to be got rid of in various other ways. Thus
Christ's walking on the sea is explained as His walking on a ridge
of sand or rock running out just under the water; the raising of
Lazarus as his having had himself buried alive, so that when Christ
came, there might be a pretended miracle;[364] and feeding the five
thousand as nothing more than the example of Christ and His friends,
who so freely shared their small supply with those around them, that
others did the same, and thus everyone had a little. It seems
scarcely necessary to discuss these theories in detail, as they are
all most improbable.

[Footnote 364: This extraordinary theory was maintained by Rénan in
the earlier editions of his _Life of Jesus_, though he afterwards
abandoned it.]

Moreover, their difficulties are all _cumulative_. The Christian
explanation has but _one_ difficulty for all the miracles, which is
that they _are_ miracles, and involve the supernatural. Once admit
this, and twenty miracles (provided they occur on suitable
occasions) are no more difficult to believe than two. But the
difficulties of these explanations are all cumulative. If for
instance, the raising of Lazarus is explained by his having been
buried alive, it does not account for Christ's walking on the sea.
If this is explained by the supposed ridge of sand, it does not
account for feeding the five thousand, etc. Thus each difficulty has
to be added to all the others, so taken together they are quite

One other point has still to be considered, which is the subject of
modern miracles. Why, it is said, are there no miracles _now_, when
they could be properly tested? If they were really employed by God
as helps to the spread of His religion, why should they not have
accompanied it at intervals all along, as it is said they did the
Jewish religion? They are surely wanted for the support of
Christianity at the present day; and if God were, _after due
warning_, to work a public and indisputable miracle every
half-century, all the other evidences of Christianity might be
dispensed with.

The answer to this objection is that the Christian revelation does
not claim to be a gradual one, like the Jewish; but a final and
complete revelation, made once for all through Christ and His
Apostles. Therefore, as there is to be no fresh revelation, there
can be no fresh miracles to confirm it. The question of _other_
miracles, such as those which are said to have been worked by
Christians at various periods, need not be considered here. If
_true_, they would of course tend to prove the New Testament ones;
while, if _untrue_, they would not disprove them, any more than
imitation diamonds would disprove the existence of real diamonds.

Of course, it may be replied that God might still work a miracle now
by a man, who stated that it was not to confirm anything that he
said himself, but merely what the Founder of Christianity had said;
and this is no doubt possible. But it would be a different method
from that recorded in the Bible, where a messenger from God always
brings his own credentials, even though, as in the case of a
prophecy, they may not be verified till afterwards. And what reason
have we for thinking that God would change His method now? It is
also very doubtful whether a public miracle at the present day,
would convince everybody.

This objection, then, must be put aside, and we therefore conclude,
on reviewing the whole subject, that the New Testament miracles are
not only _credible_, but that there is extremely strong evidence in
their favour. Indeed their marks of _truthfulness_, combined with
their alleged _publicity_, form together a very powerful argument.
And it is rendered all the stronger by their having been so
thoroughly successful. Their object was to establish the truth of
Christianity, and this is precisely what they did. The evidence they
afforded was so decisive, that a hostile world found it

Moreover it is doubtful whether any other religion, except, of
course, the Jewish, has ever claimed to have been confirmed by
public miracles. Christianity thus rests upon a unique foundation.
Unlike other religions, it appealed at first not to abstract
reasoning, or moral consciousness, or physical force, but to
miraculous events, of the truth or falsehood of which others could
judge. They did judge, and they were convinced. We decide, then,
that the New Testament miracles are probably true.




     (1.) The historical agreement, very striking.
     (2.) The doctrinal agreement, equally so.
     (3.) The modern Jewish interpretation, quite untenable.


     (1.) Its close agreement, all through.
     (2.) Two objections, unimportant.


     At least three prophecies of this; it is also involved in some
      hints as to the Doctrine of the Trinity.

     (_D._) CONCLUSION.

     Why are not the prophecies plainer? Cumulative nature
      of the evidence.

We propose to consider in this chapter what is called the argument
from _Prophecy_, using the word, as we did in Chapter XI., in the
sense of _prediction_. Now it is a remarkable and undisputed fact
that for many centuries before the time of Christ, it was foretold
that a member of the Jewish nation--small and insignificant though
it was--should be a blessing _to all mankind_. This promise is
recorded as having been made both to Abraham, to Isaac, and to
Jacob;[365] and as a matter of fact, Christianity was founded by a
Jew, and has undoubtedly been a blessing to the human race. This is
at least a remarkable coincidence. And as we proceed in the Old
Testament, the statements about this future Messiah become clearer
and fuller, till at last, in the Prophets, we find whole chapters
referring to Him, which Christians assert were fulfilled in Christ.

[Footnote 365: Gen. 22. 18; 26. 4; 28.14.]

This argument is plainly of the utmost importance. Fortunately it is
much simplified by the question of _dates_ being altogether
excluded. As a rule, the most important point in an alleged prophecy
is to show that it was written before its fulfilment. But here this
is undisputed, since everyone admits that the whole of the Old
Testament, except some of the apocryphal books, was written before
the time of Christ. And as the writings have been preserved by the
Jews themselves, who are opposed to the claims of Christianity, we
may be sure that not a single alteration in its favour has been made

We will now examine a few of the strongest prophecies, avoiding all
those that were only fulfilled in a figurative, or spiritual sense;
and selecting whole passages rather than single texts. For though
many of these latter are very applicable to Christ, they might also
be applicable to someone else. So we will first discuss somewhat
fully Isaiah's prophecy of the Lord's Servant, and the Psalm of the
Crucifixion; and then examine more briefly a group of prophecies
referring to the Divinity of the Messiah.


It may be pointed out at starting that no one denies the antiquity
of the passage, even if it was not written by Isaiah. And it forms a
complete whole, closely connected together and not mixed up with any
other subject. So in regard to its fulfilment, most of the details
mentioned occurred within a few hours. We will consider first the
historical, and then the doctrinal agreement.

(1.) _The Historical Agreement._

With regard to this, the following is the translation from the
Revised Version, together with the corresponding events. It will be
observed that the sufferings of the Servant are usually expressed in
the past tense, and his triumph in the future, the prophet placing
himself, as it were, between the two. But the Hebrew tenses are
rather uncertain, and what is translated as _past_ in the Revised
Version is translated as _future_ in the Authorised (_e.g._, 53. 2).

          52. 13. 'Behold, my servant shall
          deal wisely, he shall be exalted
          and lifted up, and shall be
          very high.

               The excellence of Christ's
               teaching and conduct is now
               generally admitted; while as to
               His exalted position, He is worshipped
               by millions of men.

          14. 'Like as many were astonied
          at thee (his visage was so
          marred more than any man, and
          his form more than the sons of
          men) so shall he sprinkle many

               Yet at the time of His death,
               which was public so that _many_
               saw Him, the cruel treatment He
               had received must have terribly
               disfigured His face and body.

          15. 'Kings shall shut their
          mouths at him: for that which
          had not been told them shall
          they see; and that which they had
          not heard shall they understand.

               But now even Kings are silent
               with reverence,[366] when contemplating
               such a wonderful life.

          [Footnote 366: _Comp._ Job 29. 9.]

          53. 1. 'Who hath believed our

          'and to whom hath the arm
          of the Lord been revealed?

               Indeed what the prophet is
               about to declare, is so marvellous
               that it can scarcely be believed.

               The Arm of the Lord evidently
               means some instrument,
               or Person, which God uses for
               His work, as a man might use
               his arm.[367] And here it must be
               a _Person_, from the following
               words, 'For _he_ grew up,' etc. It
               is thus a most suitable term for
               the Messiah, who was to be
               recognised by hardly anyone.

          2. 'For he grew up before him
          as a tender plant, and as a root
          out of a dry ground:

          he hath no form nor comeliness;
          and when we see him, there is no
          beauty that we should desire

               This was because He lived at a
               place (Nazareth) which was always
               regarded as _dry ground_ so
               far as anything good was concerned.[368]

               Moreover, His appearance was
               humble, and when at His trial,
               Pilate presented Him to the
               people, they did not desire Him.

          3. 'He was despised, and rejected
          of men; a man of sorrows,
          and acquainted with grief: and
          as one from whom men hide their
          face he was despised, and we
          esteemed him not.

               But they at once rejected Him
               as they had done often before.

          4. 'Surely he hath borne our
          griefs, and carried our sorrows:
          yet we did esteem him stricken,
          smitten of God, and afflicted.

               While His life was not only one
               of grief and sorrow, but such a
               death seemed to show that He
               was accursed of God, for the
               Jews so regarded anyone who
               was crucified.[369]

          5. 'But he was wounded for
          our transgressions, he was bruised
          for our iniquities: the chastisement
          of our peace was upon him;
          and with his stripes we are healed.

               The scourging and other ill-treatment
               is here referred to;
               including probably the nails,
               and spear, for the word translated
             _wounded_ is literally _pierced_.

          [Footnote 367: _Comp._ Isa. 40. 10; 51. 9.]

          [Footnote 368: John 1. 46.]

          [Footnote 369: Deut. 21. 23; Gal. 3. 13.]

          6. 'All we like sheep have
          gone astray; we have turned
          every one to his own way; and
          the Lord hath laid on him the
          iniquity of us all.

          7. 'He was oppressed, yet he
          humbled himself and opened not
          his mouth; as a lamb that is
          led to the slaughter, and as a
          sheep that before her shearers is
          dumb; yea, he opened not his

               Christ, who is sometimes called
               the Lamb of God, not only bore
               His ill-treatment patiently, but
               refused to plead at either of His
               trials (the verse repeats twice _He
               opened not His mouth_) to the
               utter astonishment of His judges.[370]

          8. 'By oppression and judgment
          he was taken away; and as
          for his generation, who among
          them considered that he was cut
          off out of the land of the living?
          for the transgression of my
          people was he stricken.

               He was not killed accidentally,
               or by the mob, but had a
               judicial trial; and was most
               unjustly condemned. While
               few, if any, of His contemporaries
               understood the real meaning
               of His death.

          9. 'And they made his grave
          with the wicked, and with the
          rich in his death (i.e., _when he
          was dead_. Comp. Ps. 6. 8);

          although he had done no violence,
          neither was any deceit in
          his mouth.

               He was appointed to die between
               two robbers, and would
               doubtless have been buried with
               them, had not Joseph of Arimathea
               intervened; when, in
               strange contrast with His ignominious
               death, He was honourably
               buried, with costly spices,
               and in a rich man's tomb.

               Although His judge repeatedly
               declared that He was innocent.

          10. 'Yet it pleased the Lord
          to bruise him; he hath put him
          to grief: when thou shalt make
          his soul an offering for sin, he
          shall see his seed, he shall prolong
          his days, and the pleasure
          of the Lord shall prosper in his

               Yet after His death He was to
               see His seed, and _prolong His
               days_, _i.e._, rise again from the
               dead. The word _seed_ cannot
               mean here, actual children,[371] since
               He was to obtain them by His
               death. But it may well refer to
               the disciples, whom Christ saw
               after His Resurrection, and called
               His _children_.[372]

          [Footnote 370: Matt. 26. 62; 27. 14.]

          [Footnote 371: _Comp._ Isa. 1. 4.]

          [Footnote 372: Mark 10. 24; John 21. 5.]

          11. 'He shall see of the travail
          of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
          by his knowledge shall my righteous
          servant justify many: and
          he shall bear their iniquities.

               And this is confirmed by their
               being spoken of as _the travail of
               His soul_, not body. While the
               latter expression also implies
               that He had had some intense
               mental struggle comparable to
               the bodily pains of childbirth;
               which is very suitable to His
               mental agony in the Garden and
               on the Cross.

          12. 'Therefore will I divide
          him a portion with the great,
          and he shall divide the spoil with
          the strong;

          because he poured out his soul
          unto death,

          and was numbered with the
          transgressors: yet he bare the
          sin of many, and made intercession
          for the transgressors.'

               His subsequent triumph in
               the Christian Church is here alluded

               This implies that His sufferings
               were of some duration; and is thus
               very appropriate to a lingering
               death like crucifixion.

               While the closing words exactly
               agree with His dying a
               shameful death between two robbers;
               yet praying for His murderers,
               'Father, forgive them.'

It seems hardly necessary to insist on the agreement shown above; it
is indisputable. The sufferings and the triumph of the Lord's
Servant are foretold with equal confidence and with equal clearness,
though they might well have seemed incompatible.

(2.) _The Doctrinal Agreement._

But the significance of the passage does not depend on these
prophecies alone, though they are sufficiently remarkable, but on
the _meaning_ which the writer assigns to the great tragedy. It is
the Christian doctrine concerning Christ's death, and not merely the
events attending it, which is here insisted on. This will be best
shown by adopting the previous method of parallel columns, showing
in the first the six chief points in the Christian doctrine, and in
the other the prophet's words corresponding to them.

     All mankind are sinners.

          'All we like sheep have gone

     Christ alone was sinless.

          'My righteous servant.'

          'He had done no violence,
          neither was any deceit in his

     He suffered not for His own
     sins, but for those of others.
     Nor was this the mere accidental
     suffering of an innocent man for
     a guilty one; it was a great
     work of _atonement_, an offering
     for sin. This is the central
     feature of the Christian doctrine,
     and it is asserted over and over
     again in the prophecy, which is
     above all that of a _Saviour_.

          'Surely he hath borne our
          griefs, and carried our sorrows.'

          'He was wounded for our
          transgressions, he was bruised
          for our iniquities; the chastisement
          of (_i.e._, which procured)
          our peace was upon him; and
          with his stripes we are healed.'

          'The Lord hath laid on him
          the iniquity of us all.'

          'For the transgression of my
          people was he stricken.'

          'Thou shalt make his soul an
          offering for sin.'

          'He shall bear their iniquities.'

          'He bare the sin of many.'

     And this Atonement was the
     fulfilment of the old Jewish
     sacrifices; especially that of the
     Paschal Lamb; so there was a
     special fitness in Christ's being
     put to death at the time of the

          This is shown by the language
          employed, the _offering for sin_
          being the same word as that used
          for the old _guilt-offering_.[373] And
          the curious expression _So shall he
          sprinkle many nations_ evidently
          refers to the sprinkling of the
          blood in the Jewish sacrifices, as
          the same word is used, and
          means cleansing them from sin.[374]

     Yet it availed not only for
     the Jews, but for all mankind.

          The _many nations_ must include
          Gentiles as well as Jews.

     Lastly, Christ's sacrifice was
     _voluntary_; He freely laid down

          'He poured out his soul unto
          death,' implies that the act was

     [Footnote 373: _E.g._, Lev. 7. 1.]

     [Footnote 374: _E.g._, Lev. 16. 19.]

     His life, no one took it from Him
     (John 10. 18).

        _voluntary_, and this is rendered
          still clearer from the context;
          for it was _because_ He did this that
          He was to divide the spoil, etc.
          And the words _He humbled Himself_,
          also imply that the humiliation
          was voluntary.

All this, it is plain, exactly suits the Christ in whom Christians
believe; and it does not and cannot suit anyone else, since several
of the Christian doctrines are quite unique, and do not occur in the
Jewish or any other religion. This is indeed so striking, that if
anyone acquainted with Christianity, but unacquainted with Isaiah,
came across the passage for the first time, he would probably refer
it to one of St. Paul's Epistles. And every word of it might be
found there with perfect fitness.

(3.) _The modern Jewish interpretation._

Now, what can be said on the other side? Many of the ancient Jews
interpreted the passage as referring to their future Messiah;[375]
but the modern Jews (and most critics who disbelieve in prophecy)
refer it to the Jewish nation, or to the religious part of it, which
they say is here personified as a single man, the Servant of the
Lord. And it must of course be admitted that Isaiah does frequently
speak of the Jews as God's _servant_ (_e.g._, 'But thou Israel, my
servant, and Jacob whom I have chosen,')[376] though he nowhere else
uses the term 'my _righteous_ servant,' which he does here, and
which would have been inapplicable to the nation.

[Footnote 375: References are given in Edersheim's 'Life and Times
of Jesus the Messiah,' 1901, vol. ii., p. 727.]

[Footnote 376: Isa. 41. 8.]

But it is important to remember that this prophecy does not stand
alone, and a little before, we read in a similar passage, 'It is too
light a thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the
tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also
give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my
salvation unto the end of the earth. Thus saith the Lord, the
Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to
him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers: Kings shall
see and arise; princes, and they shall worship.'[377]

[Footnote 377: Isa. 49. 6-7; comp. 42. 1-6.]

Here it will be noticed the Lord's _servant_ is clearly
distinguished from both Jacob and Israel, and evidently means the
Messiah. While His bringing salvation to the Gentiles, as well as to
the Jews; His humiliation in being despised by men and hated by the
Jewish nation; and His subsequent triumph, even Kings submitting
themselves to Him; are all alluded to, much as they are in the
present passage.

No doubt there is a difficulty in the prophet thus passing from one
meaning of the word _servant_ to another (especially, in a closely
connected passage),[378] and various attempts have been made to
explain it; but it does not alter the fact that he does so. Perhaps
the best explanation is that Israel was _intended_ to be God's
Servant, but owing to their sins became unfitted; when God promised
in the future to raise up a _righteous_ servant, who should do all
His pleasure and atone for Israel's failure. And, it may be added,
the term _Servant_ is applied to the Messiah both by Ezekiel and
Zechariah, as well as in the New Testament.[379]

[Footnote 378: Isa. 49. 3, 5.]

[Footnote 379: Ezek. 34. 23; Zech. 3. 8; Acts 3. 13 (R.V.).]

Moreover, the Jewish interpretation not only leaves all the details
of the prophecy unexplained and inexplicable, but ignores its very
essence, which, as before said, is the atoning character of the
sufferings. No one can say that the sufferings of the Jews were
voluntary, or that they were not for their own sins, but for those
of other people, which were in consequence atoned for. Or, to put
the argument in other words, if the _He_ refers to the Jewish
nation, to whom does the _our_ refer in such sentences as _He was
wounded for our transgressions_? While v. 8 expressly says that the
Jews (God's people) were not the sufferers, but those for whom He
suffered. (For the transgression of _my people_ was _he_ stricken.)
This interpretation then is hopelessly untenable, and the passage
either means what Christians assert, or it means nothing.

In conclusion, it must be again pointed out that all these minute
historical details attending Christ's death, and all these
remarkable Christian doctrines concerning it, are all found within
fifteen verses of a writing many centuries older than the time of
Christ. It would be hard to over-estimate the great improbability of
all this being due to chance; indeed, such a conclusion seems


[Footnote 380: This is discussed more fully in an article in the
_Churchman_, April, 1912, by the present writer.]

We pass on now to another most remarkable prophecy; for this
well-known Psalm describes what can only be regarded as a
_crucifixion_. The decisive verse is of course, _They pierced my
hands and my feet_; but even apart from this, the various sufferings
described cannot all be endured in any other form of death, such as
stoning or beheading. And the Psalm agrees with the Death of Christ,
both in its numerous details, and in its whole scope and meaning. We
will therefore consider this close agreement first, and then some of
the objections.

(1.) _Its close agreement._

We need not quote the Psalm, as it is so well known; but will point
out the agreement verse by verse.

     Ver. 1. His feeling forsaken by God, and using these actual
     words: 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'

     2. as well as praying for deliverance during the previous

     3. though in spite of His sufferings, He casts no reproach upon

     4. His belonging to God's chosen people, the Jews, so that He
     could speak of _our_ fathers;

     5. who had so often been helped by God before.

     6. His pitiable condition in being exposed to the scorn and
     reproach of men, and despised by the people.

     7. His being lifted up to die in public, so that those who
     passed by could see Him; and the way in which they mocked Him,
     shaking their heads, etc.

     8. The exact words they used: _He trusted on the Lord that He
     would deliver him, let Him deliver him seeing He delighteth in
     him_ (margin). These words show that the speakers themselves
     were Jews, and that He was thus put to death among His own
     nation. And the last clause can only be meant ironically in the
     sense that the Sufferer _claimed_ that God delighted in him,
     claimed, that is, in some special sense to be beloved by God.

     9. And, as a matter of fact, God had always watched over Him,
     and had saved Him in His infancy from being slain by Herod.

     10. And in return His whole life had been dedicated to God; so
     that He could say that God had been _His_ God, even from His

     11. His being abandoned by His disciples, and left without a

     12. though surrounded by His enemies, described as _bulls of
     Bashan_. This curious term is used elsewhere for the unjust
     rulers of the people,[381] and was therefore very applicable to
     the chief priests and rulers, who had so unjustly condemned
     Him, and now stood round the Cross reviling Him.

     [Footnote 381: Amos. 4. 1.]

     13. And they continually insulted Him, _gaping with the mouth_
     being a common expression of contempt;[382] _ravening_
     appropriate to the way in which they had thirsted for His blood
     before Pilate; and _roaring_ to the great noise and tumult made
     at the time.

     [Footnote 382: _E.g._, Job 16. 10.]

     14. His side being pierced, so that there poured out a quantity
     of watery fluid (mixed with clots of blood), the probable cause
     of this--the rupture of the heart[383]--being also hinted at;
     while His bones were nearly out of joint, through the weight of
     the suspended Body.

     [Footnote 383: See 'The Physical Cause of the Death of Christ,'
     by Dr. Symes Thompson, 1904.]

     15. His suffering extreme weakness, and extreme thirst,
     immediately before His death.[384]

     [Footnote 384: Lam. 4. 4; John 19. 28-30.]

     16. His being crucified (_i.e._, His hands and feet being
     pierced), the men who did this being here called _dogs_. They
     seem to have been a special set of men, different from the Jews
     who had before been mocking Him. And as this was the very term
     used by Christ Himself for the Gentiles, in distinction to the
     Jews,[385] it was peculiarly appropriate to the Gentile (Roman)
     soldiers who crucified Him.

     [Footnote 385: Matt. 15. 26.]

     17. And they also exposed and stretched out His Body, so that
     the bones stood out in relief. And they then stood watching

     18. and divided His garments among them, casting lots for one
     of them.

     19. Then follows a short prayer.

     20. The term _sword_, like the _dog_, the _lion's mouth_, and
     the _wild oxen_, need not be pressed literally; but may be used
     here (as in other places)[386] for any violent death. And in
     the New Testament it seems employed for all punishments,
     including probably a death by crucifixion (St. Peter's).[387]

     [Footnote 386: _Comp._ 2 Sam. 11. 24; 12. 9.]

     [Footnote 387: Rom. 13. 4; Matt. 26. 52.]

     21. Yet in spite of His troubles, and even death, He feels sure
     of deliverance.

     22. And now the strain suddenly changes, the Sufferer is
     restored to life and freedom and at once declares God's name
     unto His brethren. And this exactly agrees with Christ's now
     declaring for the first time God's complete _Name_ of, Father,
     Son, and Holy Ghost, unto His _brethren_, as He calls them, the
     Apostles.[388] While if we identify this appearance with that
     to the five hundred, it was literally _in the midst of the
     congregation_--in the presence, that is, of the first large
     Christian assembly.

     [Footnote 388: Matt. 28. 10, 19.]

     23. Moreover, His deliverance is of world-wide significance,
     and great blessings are to follow from it. These commence with
     the Jews, who were to _praise_ and glorify God; though with a
     strange feeling of _awe_ and fear; all of which was exactly

     [Footnote 389: Acts 2. 43-47.]

     24. And the blessings are somehow connected with God's not
     having despised, but having accepted, His sufferings.

     25. And they include a reference to some _vows_ (meaning

     26. and to a wonderful feast generally thought to refer to the
     Holy Communion.

     27. And the blessings then extend to the Gentile nations also,
     even to the most distant parts of the world, who are now to
     become worshippers of the true God, Jehovah. And, as a matter
     of fact, Christians exist in all known countries, and wherever
     there are Christians, Jehovah is worshipped.

     28. To Whom the whole earth, both the Jewish kingdom and the
     Gentile nations, really belongs.

     29. And to Whom everyone will eventually bow down.

     30. After this we read of a _seed_ serving Him, probably used
     here, as in Isaiah, for disciples, each generation of whom is
     to tell of this wonderful deliverance to the next. And this
     they have been doing for eighteen centuries.

     31. And so they will continue doing to generations that are yet
     unborn. While the closing words, _He hath done it_ (R.V.) are
     often taken as referring to the whole Psalm, meaning that the
     work of suffering and atonement was now complete, _It is
     done_;[390] and they would thus correspond to Christ's closing
     words on the Cross, _It it finished_.

     [Footnote 390: Hengstenberg, Commentary on Psalms, 1867, vol.
     i., 396.]

Everyone must admit that the agreement all through is very
remarkable; though there are two slight objections.

(2.) _Two objections._

The first is that there is nothing to show that the writer meant the
Psalm to refer to the Messiah at all, though, strange to say, some
of the Jews so interpreted it;[391] therefore if there is an
agreement, it is at most only a chance coincidence. But the idea of
_all_ these coincidences being due to chance is most improbable. And
there certainly is some indication that it refers to the Messiah,
since, as we have seen, it leads up to the conversion of the
Gentiles, which the other Jewish prophets always associate with the
times of the Messiah.

[Footnote 391: Edersheim, 1901, vol. ii., 713.]

Moreover, if the Psalm does not refer to Christ, it is difficult to
see to whom it does refer, since it is quite inapplicable to David,
or Hezekiah, or anyone else at that time; as crucifixion was not a
Jewish punishment, though dead bodies were sometimes hung on trees.
Yet, as just said, verses 7-8 show that the Sufferer was put to
death among his own nation. This strange anomaly of a Jew being put
to death among Jews, though not in the Jewish manner by stoning, but
by crucifixion, exactly suits the time of Christ, when Judæa was a
Roman province, and crucifixion a Roman punishment.

Many of the _details_ also are quite inapplicable. David, for
instance, never had his garments divided among his enemies; yet
(even apart from our Gospels) there can be little doubt that the
garments of Christ were so divided, as the clothes of a prisoner
were usually taken by the guard who executed him.

And any such reference (to David, etc.) is rendered still more
improbable, because the sufferer appears to have no sense of _sin_,
and never laments his own wickedness, as the writers so frequently
do when speaking about themselves. And here also the Psalm is
entirely applicable to Christ, since (as we shall see in the next
chapter) His sinlessness was a striking feature in His character.
Nor again did the deliverance of David in any way lead to the
_conversion of the Gentiles_, which, as just said, is the grand
climax of the Psalm, and excludes all other interpretations.

But in any case this objection (which is also made to other Old
Testament prophecies) cannot be maintained; for _who_, we must ask,
was their real author? Was it the human prophet, or was it God Who
inspired the prophet to write as he did? And the prophets themselves
emphatically declared that it was the latter. The word of the Lord
came unto them, or a vision was granted unto them, and they had to
proclaim it, whether they liked it or not. In fact, as St. Matthew
says, it was not really the prophet who spoke, but God, who spoke
_through the prophet_.[392] There is thus no reason for thinking
that they either knew, or thought they knew, the whole meaning of
their prophecies; and the objection may be dismissed at once.

[Footnote 392: _E.g._, Matt. 1. 22.]

The second objection is, that some of the events fulfilling this,
and other Old Testament prophecies, never occurred, but were
purposely invented. This, however, destroys altogether the moral
character of the Evangelists, who are supposed to tell deliberate
falsehoods, in order to get a pretended fulfilment of an old
prophecy. And the difficulty of admitting this is very great.
Moreover, such explanations can only apply to a very few cases;
since, as a rule, the events occurred in _public_, and must
therefore have been well known at the time.

And even in those cases where the event was so trivial, that it
might possibly have been invented, such an explanation is often
untenable. Take, for example, the manner in which Christ on the
cross was mocked by His enemies, who said, 'He trusted in God, let
him deliver him now if he desireth him.'[393] A more probable
incident under the circumstances can scarcely be imagined, the chief
priests quoting the familiar language (just as men sometimes quote
the Bible now) without thinking of its real significance. But,
supposing the words were never uttered, is it conceivable that the
Evangelist (or anyone else) would have invented them in order to get
a pretended fulfilment of this Psalm, where the Crucified One is
mocked with almost identical words; yet have never pointed out the
fulfilment himself, but have trusted to the chance of his readers
discovering it?

[Footnote 393: Matt. 27. 43.]

Neither of these objections, then, is of much importance; while the
agreement of the Psalm with the events attending the death and
Resurrection of Christ, seems, as in the previous case, to be far
too exact to be accidental.


Our last example shall be of a different kind from the others. It is
that the Old Testament contains several passages which show that the
future Messiah was to be not only Superhuman, but Divine. And
considering the strong Monotheism of the Jews this is very
remarkable. The following are three of the most important:--

'For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the
government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of
Peace.'[394] Here we have a plain statement of the Divinity of One
Who should be born a child. The two words translated _Mighty God_
are incapable of any other translation, and no other is suggested
for them in the margin of either the Authorised or Revised Version;
while the same two words occur in the next chapter, where they
plainly mean _Mighty God_ and nothing else. Moreover, the term
_Everlasting Father_ is literally _Father of Eternity_ (see margin)
and means the Eternal One. This is another divine title, and does
not conflict with the Christian doctrine that it was the Son, and
not the Father, Who became Incarnate. While the following words,
that of the increase of His government _there shall be no end_, and
that it should be established _for ever_, also point to a Divine
Ruler, in spite of the reference to David's throne. And it is
significant that a few verses before it is implied that the Ministry
of this future Messiah should commence in the land of Zebulon, and
Naphtali, by the Sea of Galilee; where, as a matter of fact,
Christ's Ministry did commence.

[Footnote 394: Isa. 9. 6; 10. 21; 9. 1-2.]

'But thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the
thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is
to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from
everlasting.'[395] Here we have a prophecy of the birth of One who
had existed _from everlasting_; thus showing the Pre-existence and
apparent Divinity of the Messiah, who was to be born at Bethlehem,
where, again, as a matter of fact, Christ actually was born.

[Footnote 395: Mic. 5. 2.]

'Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is
my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts.'[396] The word translated
_fellow_ is only found elsewhere in Leviticus, where it is usually
translated _neighbour_, and always implies an equality between the
two persons.[397] Thus God speaks of the Shepherd who was to be
slain with the sword (a term, as before said, used for any violent
death), as equal with Himself, and yet at the same time Man; so no
one but a Messiah who is both God and Man--_Fellow-God_ as well as
_fellow-man_--can satisfy the language.

[Footnote 396: Zech. 13. 7.]

[Footnote 397: Lev. 6. 2; 18. 20; 19. 11, 15, 17; 24. 19; 25. 14,
15, 17.]

And here again the reference to Christ is confirmed by the fact that
several incidents in His Passion are alluded to, in some of which
His Divinity is likewise asserted. The most important are the way in
which He (the Just Saviour) rode into Jerusalem on an ass; and the
rejoicing with which He was received, when the people welcomed Him
as their _King_. And the fact that He (the Lord Jehovah) should be
sold for thirty pieces of silver, the money being cast down in the
House of the Lord, and afterwards given to the potter; and also that
He (again the Lord Jehovah) should be pierced.[398] These are, it is
true, expressed in figurative language, and often mixed up with
other subjects; so no instance by itself, affords a strong argument.
But still their all occurring so close together, and all leading up
to the violent death of a _man_, who was yet the _fellow_, or
_equal_, with God, can scarcely be accidental. While the prophecy,
like so many others, ends with the conversion of the Gentiles, the
Lord Jehovah being recognised as King over all the earth; which
seems to place the Messianic character beyond dispute.

[Footnote 398: Zech. 9. 9; 11. 12-13; 12. 10; 14. 9; Luke 19.

The Divinity of the Messiah is also involved in some hints which
occur in the Old Testament as to the doctrine of the _Trinity_. For
instance, the Hebrew word for God, _Elohim_, is a plural word,
though, strange to say, it generally takes a singular adjective, and
verb. Thus if we tried to represent it in English, the first verse
of the Bible would read, 'In the beginning the Gods, He created the
heaven and the earth.' Attempts have of course been made to reduce
the significance of this by pointing out that a few other Hebrew
words, such as _lord_ and _master_, sometimes do the same; or by
regarding it as a survival from some previous polytheistic religion;
or else as being what is called the plural of Majesty, a sort of
royal _We_. This, however, does not seem to have been in use in
early times, and never occurs in the Bible, where kings always speak
of themselves in the singular.[399] Anyhow it is very remarkable
that the Jews should have used a plural word for God with a singular
verb; especially as the same word, when used of false gods, takes a
plural verb.

[Footnote 399: _E.g._, Gen. 41. 41; Ezra 6. 12; 7. 21; Dan. 4. 6.]

Moreover, God is at times represented as speaking in the
plural,[400] saying, for instance, _Let us make man in our image_,
as if consulting with other Divine Persons; since it is obvious that
the expression cannot refer to angels, who are themselves created,
and not fellow Creators. Yet just afterwards we read, 'God created
man in _his_ own image,' thus implying that there is still but one
God. Another and even more remarkable expression is, _Behold, the
man is become as one of us_. This cannot possibly be the plural of
Majesty; for though a king might speak of himself as _We_ or _Us_,
no king ever spoke of himself as _one of Us_. Such an expression can
only be used when there are other persons of similar rank with the
speaker; therefore when used by God, it shows conclusively that
there are other Divine Persons. So again when God says, 'Whom shall
_I_ send, and who will go for _us_?' it implies that He is both one,
and more than one; which the previous _thrice_ Holy, points to as
being a Trinity.[401] The existence of such passages seems to
require some explanation, and Christianity alone can explain them.

[Footnote 400: Gen. 1. 26; 3. 22; 11. 7.]

[Footnote 401: Isa. 6. 8.]


Before concluding this chapter there is still one objection to be
considered. Why, it is said, if these prophecies really refer to
Christ, are they not plainer? Surely if God wished to foretell the
future, He would have done it better than this: and a few words
added here and there would have made the reference to Christ
indisputable. No doubt they would; but possibly God did not wish to
make the reference indisputable. Moreover, if the prophecies had
been plainer, they might have prevented their own fulfilment. Had
the Jews known for certain that Christ was their Messiah, they
could scarcely have crucified Him; and it seems to many that the
prophecies are already about as plain as they could be without doing
this. The important point, however, is not whether the prophecies
might not have been plainer, but whether they are not already too
plain to be accidental.

Lastly, we must notice the cumulative nature of the evidence. We
have only examined a few instances, but, as said before, Messianic
prophecies of some kind more or less distinct, occur at intervals
all through the Old Testament. And though some of those commonly
brought forward seem weak and fanciful, there are numbers of others
which are not. And here, as elsewhere, this has a double bearing on
the argument.

In the first place, it does not at all increase the difficulty of
the _Christian_ interpretation; for twenty prophecies are
practically no more difficult to admit than two. Indeed, the fact
that instead of being a few isolated examples, they form a complete
series, rather lessens the difficulty than otherwise.

On the other hand, it greatly increases the difficulty of _any
other_ interpretation; for twenty prophecies are far more difficult
to deny than two. If one is explained as a lucky coincidence, it
will not account for the next; if that is got rid of by some
unnatural interpretation of the words, it will not account for the
third, and so on indefinitely. The difficulties are thus not only
great in themselves, but are all cumulative; and hence together they
seem insuperable. Anyhow, it is clear that these Prophecies form
another strong argument in favour of Christianity.



     The character of Christ can only be deduced from the New Testament,
      any other Christ being purely imaginary.


     (1.) Its admitted excellence.
     (2.) Two objections.
     (3.) His sinlessness.


     (1.) His claim to be Superhuman--declaring that He was
           the Ruler, Redeemer, and final Judge of the world.
     (2.) His claim to be Divine--declaring His Equality, Unity,
           and Pre-existence with God.
     (3.) How these claims were understood at the time, both
           by friends and foes.


     Christ cannot, therefore, have been merely a good man;
      He was either _God_, as He claimed to be, or else a _bad_
      man, for making such claims. But the latter view is
      disproved by His Moral Character.

In this chapter we propose to consider the Character of Christ, and
its bearing on the truth of Christianity. Now our knowledge of
Christ's character can only be derived from the four Gospels;
indeed, a Christ with any other character assigned to Him is a
purely imaginary being, and might as well be called by some other
name. Taking, then, the Gospels as our guide, what is the character
of Christ? Clearly this can be best deduced from His own _teaching_
and _claims_, both of which are fortunately given at some length; so
we will consider these first, and then the _great alternative_ which
they force upon us.


Under this head, we will first notice the admitted excellence of
Christ's teaching, then some objections which are often made, and
lastly His sinlessness.

(1.) _Its admitted excellence._

To begin with, the excellence of Christ's moral teaching hardly
needs to be insisted on at the present day, and rationalists as well
as Christians have proclaimed its merits. For instance, to quote a
few examples:--

'Religion cannot be said to have made a bad choice in pitching on
this man as the ideal representative and guide of humanity; nor even
now would it be easy, even for an unbeliever, to find a better
translation of the rule of virtue from the abstract into the
concrete, than to endeavour so to live that Christ should approve
our life.'--_J. S. Mill_.[402]

[Footnote 402: Nature, the Utility of Religion and Theism, 2nd
edit., 1874, p. 255.]

'Jesus remains to humanity an inexhaustible source of moral
regenerations.' And again, 'In Him is condensed all that is good and
lofty in our nature.'--_E. Renan_.[403]

[Footnote 403: Life of Jesus, translated by Wilbour, New York, 1864,
pp. 370, 375.]

'It was reserved for Christianity to present to the world an ideal
character, which, through all the changes of eighteen centuries,
has inspired the hearts of men with an impassioned love; has shown
itself capable of acting on all ages, nations, temperaments, and
conditions; has been not only the highest pattern of virtue, but the
strongest incentive to its practice; and has exercised so deep an
influence that it may be truly said that the simple record of three
short years of active life has done more to regenerate and to soften
mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers, and all the
exhortations of moralists.'--_W. E. H. Lecky_.[404]

[Footnote 404: History of European Morals, 3rd edit., 1877, vol.
ii., p. 8.]

These quotations are only examples of many which might be given; but
it is practically undisputed that the morality taught by Christ is
the best the world has ever seen. It is also undisputed that His
life was in entire harmony with His teaching. He lived, as far as we
can judge, a holy and blameless life, and His character has never
been surpassed either in history or fiction.

(2.) _Two objections._

There are, however, two slight objections. The first is that
Christ's teaching was not _original_; and, strictly speaking, this
is perhaps true. Something similar to all He taught has been
discovered in more ancient times, either in Egypt, India, China, or
elsewhere. But this hardly affects the argument. An unlearned Jew
living at Nazareth cannot be supposed to have derived his teaching
from these sources; and it is a great improvement on all of them put
together. The important point is, that there was nothing among the
Jews of His own time which could have produced, or even have
invented, such a character. He was immeasurably better than His
contemporaries, and all of them put together have not exerted an
influence on the world a thousandth part that of Christ.

The second objection refers to _certain portions_ of Christ's
teaching. For example, He urges men not to resist evil, and seems to
place virginity above marriage to an exaggerated extent.[405] I have
never seen a satisfactory explanation of the latter passage; but it
is obvious on the face of it that it cannot be meant for universal
application, or it would lead to the extinction of the human race.

[Footnote 405: Matt. 5. 39; 19. 12.]

Again, several of the _parables_ are said to be unjust such as that
of the workmen in the vineyard, the unrighteous steward, and the
wedding garment. But parables must not be pressed literally, and
very different interpretations have been put on these. However, we
will consider the two last, which are those most often objected to.

With regard to the _Unrighteous Steward_, though apparently he had
been guilty of dishonesty, we are told that his lord _commended_
him, because he had done wisely.[406] But no one can think that his
lord commended him, because he had just cheated him. So if his
conduct was really dishonest (about which scholars are by no means
agreed) we can only suppose that _in spite of this_, his lord
commended him, because of his wisdom. In the same way, if an
ingenious robbery were committed at the present day, even the man
robbed, might say that he could not help admiring the scoundrel for
his cleverness. The meaning then appears to be that _wisdom_ is so
desirable that it is to be commended even in worldly matters, and
even in a bad cause; and therefore of course still more to be aimed
at in religious matters, and in a good cause.

[Footnote 406: Luke 16. 8.]

Next as to the _Wedding Garment_. It is distinctly implied that
there was only _one_ man without it,[407] so obviously the first
point to determine is how the other men got their garments. They
could not have had them out in the roads, and there was no time to
go home and get them, even if they possessed any. It follows then
that they must each have been provided with a suitable garment
(probably a cloak, worn over their other clothes) when they reached
the palace. This appears to have been an eastern custom,[408] and if
one of them refused to put it on, he would certainly deserve to be
excluded from the feast. Thus the object of the parable seems to be
to show that God's blessings can only be obtained on God's terms
(_e.g._ _forgiveness_ on _repentance_), though there is no hardship
in this, as He has Himself given us grace to comply with these
terms, if we like. Neither of these objections, then, is of much

[Footnote 407: Matt. 22. 11.]

[Footnote 408: Archb. Trench, Notes on the Parables, 1870, p. 234.]

(3.) _His sinlessness._

A most remarkable point has now to be noticed. It is that,
notwithstanding His perfect moral teaching, there is not in the
character of Christ the slightest consciousness of _sin_. In all His
numerous discourses, and even in His prayers, there is not a single
word which implies that He thought He ever had done, or ever could
do, anything wrong Himself. He is indeed most careful to avoid
implying this, even incidentally. Thus He does not tell His
disciples, 'If _we_ forgive men their trespasses,' etc., but 'If
_ye_,' as the former might imply that He, as well as they, had need
of the Father's forgiveness.[409] Nor did He ever regret anything
that He had done, or ever wish that He had acted otherwise. And
though He blamed self-righteousness in others, and urged them to
repentance, He never hinted that He had any need of it Himself; in
fact, He expressly denied it, for He said that He _always_ did those
things that were pleasing to God.[410]

[Footnote 409: Matt. 6. 14.]

[Footnote 410: John 8. 29.]

And this is the more striking when we reflect that good men are, as
a rule, most conscious of their faults. Yet here was One who carried
moral goodness to its utmost limit, whose precepts are admittedly
perfect, but who never for a moment thought that He was not
fulfilling them Himself. Such a character is absolutely unique in
the world's history. It can only be explained by saying that Christ
was not merely a good man, but a _perfect_ man, since goodness
without perfection would only have made Him more conscious of the
faults He had. Yet if we admit this, we must admit more; for
perfection is not a human attribute, and a _sinless life_ needs a
good deal to account for it.


We pass on now to the _claims_ of Christ; and His high moral
character would plainly lead us to place the utmost confidence in
what He said about Himself. And as we shall see He claimed to be
both _Superhuman_ and _Divine_; and this is how all His
contemporaries, both friends and foes, understood Him. And though it
is impossible to add to the marvel of such claims, yet the fact that
nothing in any way resembling them is to be found among the Jewish
Prophets helps us, at least, to realise their uniqueness. Many of
them are spoken concerning the _Son of Man_; but there can be no
doubt whatever that by this title Christ means Himself.[411]

[Footnote 411: _E.g._, Matt. 16. 13, 16.]

(1.) _His Claim to be Superhuman._

This is shown by three main arguments, for Christ declared that He
was the Ruler, Redeemer, and final Judge of the world. In the first
place, He claimed to be the _Ruler_ of the world, saying in so many
words that all things had been delivered unto Him, and that He
possessed all authority, both in heaven and on earth.[412] Moreover,
His dominion was to be not only universal, but it was to last for
ever; since after this world had come to an end, the future Kingdom
of Heaven was still to be _His_ Kingdom, its angels were to be _His_
angels, and its citizens _His_ elect.[413]

[Footnote 412: Matt. 11. 27; 28. 18; Luke 10. 22.]

[Footnote 413: Matt. 13. 41; 24. 31.]

Secondly, Christ claimed to be the _Redeemer_ of the world. He
distinctly asserted that He came to give His life a ransom for many,
and that His blood was shed for the remission of sins. And the
importance He attached to this is shown by the fact that He
instituted a special rite (the Holy Communion) on purpose to
commemorate it.[414]

[Footnote 414: Matt. 20. 28; 26. 28; Mark 10. 45; 14. 24; Luke 22.

Thirdly, Christ claimed to be the final _Judge_ of the world. This
tremendous claim alone shows that He considered Himself quite above
and distinct from the rest of mankind. While they were all to be
judged according to their works, He was to be the Judge Himself,
coming in the clouds of heaven with thousands of angels. And His
decision was to be final and without appeal. Moreover, this
astonishing claim does not depend on single texts or passages, but
occurs all through the first three Gospels.[415] During the whole of
His Ministry--from His Sermon on the Mount to His trial before
Caiaphas--He persistently asserted that He was to be the final Judge
of the world. It is hardly credible that a mere man, however
presumptuous, should ever have made such a claim as this. Can we
imagine anyone doing so at the present day? and what should we think
of him if he did?

[Footnote 415: Matt. 7. 22; 10. 32; 13. 41; 16. 27; 19. 28; 24. 30;
25. 31-46; 26. 64; and similar passages in the other Gospels.]

(2.) _His Claim to be Divine._

Like the preceding, this is shown by three main arguments; for
Christ declared His Equality, Unity, and Pre-existence with God. In
the first place, Christ claimed _Equality_ with God. He said that
the same honour should be given to Himself as to God the Father;
that men should believe in Him as well as in God; that He and the
Father would together dwell in the souls of men; and that He, like
the Father, had the power of sending the Holy Spirit of God.[416] He
also commanded men to be baptized into His Name as well as into
that of the Father; and promised that whenever and wherever His
disciples were gathered together, He would be in the midst of them,
even unto the end of the world, which, cannot be true of anyone but

[Footnote 416: John 5. 23; 14. 1, 23; 16. 7.]

[Footnote 417: Matt. 18. 20; 28. 19, 20.]

Secondly, Christ claimed _Unity_ with God. He did not say that He
was another God, but that He and the Father were _One_; that He was
in the Father, and the Father in Him; that whoever beheld Him beheld
the Father; that whoever had seen Him had seen the Father.[418]
These latter texts cannot, of course, be pressed literally, as few
would maintain that Christ was really God _the Father_. But just as
if a human father and son were _extremely_ alike, we might say that
if you had seen the son, you had seen the father; so if Christ was
truly God--God the Son--the _very image_ of His Father,[419] the
same language might be used. It would at least be intelligible. But
it would be quite unintelligible, if Christ had been merely a _good
man_. Can we imagine the best man that ever lived saying, If you
have seen me, you have seen God?

[Footnote 418: John 10. 30; 17. 21; 12. 45; 14. 9.]

[Footnote 419: Heb. 1. 3.]

Thirdly, Christ claimed _Pre-existence_ with God. He said that He
had descended out of heaven; that He had come down from heaven; that
He came out from the Father and was come into the world; and that
even before its creation He had shared God's glory.[420] While in
another passage, '_Before Abraham was, I am_,'[421] He not only said
that He existed before Abraham, but by using the words _I am_
instead of _I was_, He seemed to identify Himself with Jehovah, the
great _I am_, of the Old Testament.[422]

[Footnote 420: John 3. 13; 6. 38; 16. 28; 17. 5.]

[Footnote 421: John 8. 58.]

[Footnote 422: Exod. 3. 14.]

Turning now to the other side, there are four passages in which
Christ seems to _disclaim_ being Divine. The most important is where
He says that the Son (_i.e._ Himself) does not know the time of the
future Judgment;[423] and the present writer has never seen a really
satisfactory explanation of this. But it may be pointed out that if
we admit that Christ was both Divine and human, it is only fair to
refer any particular statement to that nature, to which it is
applicable; even though the wording seems to suggest the opposite.
In the same way, the passage, that the _Lord of Glory_ was
crucified[424] can only refer to Christ in His _human_ nature, and
not in His Divine nature, as the Lord of Glory. And in His human
nature Christ may have been ignorant of the time of the future
Judgment, just as in His human nature He increased in wisdom and

[Footnote 423: Mark 13. 32.]

[Footnote 424: 1 Cor. 2. 8.]

[Footnote 425: Luke 2. 52.]

Then we have the passage where a ruler addresses Christ as '_Good_
Master,' and Christ demurs to this, saying that the word was only
applicable to God.[426] And how, it is asked, could He have done so,
if He had been both good and God? The best explanation seems to be
that among the Jews, it was the custom never to address a Teacher
(or Rabbi) as _Good_. They said God was 'the _Good One_ of the
world'; it was one of _His_ titles.[427] Therefore as the ruler had
no means of knowing that Christ was God, he was not justified in
thus addressing Him as _Good_.

[Footnote 426: Mark 10. 18.]

[Footnote 427: Edersheim's Life and Times of the Messiah, vol. ii.,
p. 339.]

The remaining two passages, 'I go unto the Father; for the Father is
greater than I'; and 'I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and
my God and your God,'[428] are easier to explain, since here it is
obvious that they refer to Christ's _human_ nature alone, as it was
in His human nature alone that He was ever absent from the Father.
And even here He carefully distinguishes His own relationship to God
from that of His disciples. For though He teaches them to say _our
Father_, yet when including Himself with them, He does not here or
anywhere else say _our_ Father, or _our_ God; but always emphasises
His own peculiar position. While we may ask in regard to the first
passage, would anyone but God have thought it necessary to explain
that God the Father was greater than Himself? Anyhow, these passages
do not alter the fact that Christ did repeatedly claim to be both
superhuman and Divine.

[Footnote 428: John 14. 28; 20. 17.]

(3.) _How these Claims were understood at the time._

We have now to consider how these claims were understood at the
time. And first, as to _Christ's friends_. We have overwhelming
evidence that after His Resurrection all the disciples and early
Christians believed their Master to be both superhuman and Divine.
And to realise the full significance of this, we must remember that
they were not polytheists, who did not mind how many gods they
believed in, and were willing to worship Roman Emperors or anyone
else; but they were strict monotheists. They firmly believed that
there was only one God, yet they firmly believed that Christ was
Divine. This is shown throughout the New Testament.

Thus the writers of the _first three Gospels_, though they usually
record the events of Christ's life without comment, yet in one
passage identify Him with the God of the Old Testament, referring
the prophecy about the messenger of the _Lord our God_ to the
messenger of _Christ_.[429] And as to the _Fourth Gospel_, it begins
with asserting Christ's Divinity in the plainest terms, saying that
_the Word_, who afterwards became flesh, _was God_. And it
appropriately ended, before the last chapter was added, with St.
Thomas declaring this same belief, when he addressed Christ as _my
Lord and my God_, which titles He fully accepted.[430] Yet
immediately afterwards, the author says he wrote his Gospel to
convince men that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. Evidently
then this expression, _the Son of God_, meant to him, and therefore
presumably to other New Testament writers, who use it frequently,
that Christ was truly God--God the Son--_my Lord and my God_--in the
fullest and most complete sense.

[Footnote 429: Isa. 40. 3; Matt. 3. 3; Mark 1. 3; Luke 3. 4.]

[Footnote 430: John 1. 1; 20. 28.]

With regard to the _Acts_ an argument on the other side is sometimes
drawn from St. Peter's speaking of Christ as 'a _man_ approved of
God unto you by mighty works,' thus implying, it is urged, that St.
Peter did not know Him to be more than man.[431] But since he says
he was only appealing to what his _hearers_ knew to be true (_even
as ye yourselves know_), how else could he have put it? His hearers
did not know that Christ was God; they did know that He was _a man
approved of God_ by many wonderful miracles, because they had seen
them. Moreover, in other places the Acts bear strong witness to the
Divinity of Christ, as for instance when St. Paul speaks _of the
Church of God which He purchased with His own blood_, or St. Stephen
says _Lord Jesus receive my spirit_; or when the Apostles are
represented as working their miracles, not in the name of God the
Father, but in that of Christ.[432]

[Footnote 431: Acts 2. 22.]

[Footnote 432: Acts 20. 28; 7. 59; 3. 6; 4. 10.]

Next, as to the Book of _Revelation_. The evidence this affords is
important, because nearly all critics admit that it was written by
St. John. And if so, it shows conclusively that one at least of
Christ's intimate followers firmly believed in His Divinity. For he
not only speaks of Him as being universally worshipped both in
heaven and on earth, but describes Him as _the First and the Last_,
which is a title used by God in the Old Testament, and is plainly
inapplicable to anyone else.[433] And we may ask, is it conceivable
that an intimate friend of Christ should have believed Him to be the
Everlasting God, unless He had claimed to be so Himself, and had
supported His claim by working miracles, and rising from the dead?
Is it not, rather, certain that nothing but the most _overwhelming_
proof would ever have convinced a Jew (of all persons) that a fellow
Man, with whom he had lived for years, and whom he had then seen put
to death as a malefactor, was Himself the Lord Jehovah, _the First
and the Last_?

[Footnote 433: Rev. 5. 11-14; 1. 17, 18; 2. 8; 22. 13; Isa. 44. 6.]

But it is urged on the other side, that the writer also calls Him
_the beginning of the Creation of God_, as if He had been merely the
first Being created.[434] But the previous passages clearly show
that this was not his meaning. It was rather that Christ was the
_beginning_ of creation, because He was its Source and Agent; He by
whom, as the same writer declares, _all things were made_. And
elsewhere a similar title is given Him for this identical reason, as
He is called _the first-born of all creation_, because _all things
have been created through Him_.[435]

[Footnote 434: Rev. 3. 14;]

[Footnote 435: John 1. 3; Col. 1. 15, 16.]

Equally important evidence is afforded by _St. Paul's Epistles_. For
though he is not likely to have known Christ intimately, he must
have been acquainted with numbers who did, including, as he says,
_James the Lord's brother_.[436] And his early conversion, before
A.D. 35, together with the fact that he had previously persecuted
the Church at Jerusalem, and afterwards visited some of the Apostles
there, must have made him well acquainted with the Christian
doctrines from the very first. Moreover he tells us himself that the
faith which he taught was the same as that which he had previously
persecuted; and that when he visited the Apostles he _laid before
them_ the Gospel he preached, evidently to make sure that it agreed
with what they preached.[437]

[Footnote 436: Gal. 1. 19.]

[Footnote 437: Gal. 1. 23; 2. 2.]

There can thus be no doubt that the Christianity of St. Paul was
the same as that of the Twelve. And all through his Epistles he
bears witness to the _superhuman_ character of Christ; declaring,
among other things, His sinlessness, and that He is the Ruler,
Redeemer, and final Judge of the world.[438]

[Footnote 438: 2 Cor. 5. 21; Rom. 14. 9; 1 Cor. 15. 3; 2 Cor. 5.

He also bears witness to His _Divine_ character, saying in so many
words that He is over all, God blessed for ever; that we shall all
stand before the Judgment-seat of God, which elsewhere he calls the
Judgment-seat of Christ; that He was originally in the form of God
(_i.e._, in a state of Deity), and on an equality with God, before
He became incarnate, and took the form of Man; that in Him dwells
all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; that He is our great God and
Saviour Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us; and that the Psalmist
prophesied of Him when he said, 'Thy throne, O God, is for ever and
ever.'[439] This last passage, from the _Hebrews_, was perhaps not
written by St. Paul, but this makes it all the more valuable, as the
Epistle is generally dated, from internal evidence, before the
destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70; and we have thus _another_ early
witness to the Divinity of Christ.

[Footnote 439: Rom. 9. 5; 14. 10; 2 Cor. 5. 10; Phil. 2. 6; Col. 2.
9; Titus 2. 13; Heb. 1. 8.]

The most important text on the other side is where St. Paul says
there is _one God the Father_, and _one Lord Jesus Christ_,[440]
which is quoted in the Nicene Creed. But though the statement is a
difficult one, it cannot be pressed as implying that Christ is not
_God_; for if so it would equally imply that the Father was not
_Lord_, which few would contend was St. Paul's meaning.

[Footnote 440: 1 Cor. 8. 6; _Comp._ Eph. 4. 4-6.]

With regard to the above passages, it is important to notice that
the allusions are all incidental. St. Paul does not attempt to prove
the superhuman and Divine character of Christ, but refers to it as
if it were undisputed. He evidently believed it himself, and took
for granted that his readers did so too. And his readers included
not only his own converts at Corinth and elsewhere, but the converts
of other Apostles at Rome, which was a place he had not then
visited, and a strong party of opponents in Galatia, with whom he
was arguing. It is clear, then, that these doctrines were not
peculiar to St. Paul, but were the common property of all Christians
from the earliest times. And when combined with the previous
evidence, this leaves no doubt as to how Christ's _friends_
understood His claims. Whatever they may have thought of them before
the Resurrection, that event convinced them that they were true, and
they never hesitated in this belief.

Next as to _Christ's foes_. The evidence here is equally convincing.
In St. John's Gospel we read that on several occasions during His
life, when Christ asserted His superhuman and Divine character, the
Jews wanted to kill Him in consequence; often avowing their reason
for doing so with the utmost frankness. 'For a good work we stone
thee not, but for blasphemy and because that thou, being a man,
makest thyself God.'[441] And in thus doing they were only acting
in accordance with their law, which commanded a blasphemer to be

[Footnote 441: John 10. 33; 5. 18; 8. 59; 11. 8.]

[Footnote 442: Lev. 24. 16.]

In none of these instances did Christ repudiate the claims
attributed to Him, or say He had been misunderstood. In fact, only
once did He offer any explanation at all. He then appealed to the
passage in the Old Testament, 'I said, Ye are gods,'[443] and
asserted that He was much better entitled to the term, since He was
sent into the world by the Father, and did the works of the Father.
After which He again asserted His unity with the Father, which was
the very point objected to by the Jews.

[Footnote 443: Ps. 82. 6.]

Moreover, not only during His life did Christ make these claims to
be Divine, but He persevered with them even when it brought about
His death. It is undisputed that the Jews condemned Him for
_blasphemy_, and for nothing else. This is the teaching not of one
Gospel alone, but of each of the four.[444] Every biography of
Christ that we possess represents this as the real charge against
Him; though, of course, when tried before the Roman governor that of
disloyalty to Cæsar was brought forward as well.

[Footnote 444: Matt. 26. 65; Mark 14. 64; Luke 22. 71; John 19. 7.]

There is only one conclusion to be drawn from all this. It is that
Christ did really claim to be both superhuman and Divine; that He
deliberately and repeatedly asserted these claims during His life;
that this provoked the hostility of the Jews, who frequently wanted
to kill Him; that He never repudiated these claims, but persevered
with them to the end; and was finally put to death in consequence.


We pass on now to the _great alternative_, which is forced upon us
by combining the teaching and the claims of Christ. Before pointing
out its importance we must notice a favourite method of trying to
get out of the difficulty, which is by saying that the teaching of
Christ occurs in the _first three Gospels_, and the claims in the
_Fourth_; so if we deny the accuracy of this single Gospel the
difficulty is removed. But unfortunately for this objection, though
the Divine claims occur chiefly in the Fourth Gospel, the superhuman
ones are most prominent in the other three; and we have purposely
chosen all the passages illustrating them from these Gospels
_alone_. And what is more, they occur in all the supposed _sources_
of these Gospels--the so-called Triple Tradition, the source common
to Matthew and Luke, etc. Everywhere from the earliest record to the
latest, Christ is represented as claiming to be superhuman. And such
claims are equally fatal to His moral character if He were only a
man. For no good man, and indeed very few bad ones, could be so
fearfully presumptuous as to claim to be the absolute Ruler of the
world, still less to be its Redeemer, and, least of all, to be its
one and only Judge hereafter.

This objection, then, cannot be maintained, and we are forced to
conclude that the perfect moral teaching of Christ was accompanied
by continual assertions of His own superhuman and Divine character.
And as this was a point about which He must have known, it is clear
that the statements must have been either true or intentionally
false. He must, therefore, have been Divine, or else a deliberate
impostor. In other words, the Christ of the Gospels--and history
knows of no other--could not have been merely a good man. He was
either _God_ as He claimed to be, or else a _bad man_ for making
such claims. This is the _Great Alternative_.

Moreover, it is absolutely unique in the world's history. Nowhere
else shall we find a parallel to it. In Christ--and in Christ
alone--we have a Man Whose moral character and teaching have
fascinated the world for centuries; and yet Who, unless His own
claims were true, must have been guilty of the greatest falsehood,
and blasphemy. This is the only logical conclusion to be drawn from
the facts we have been considering, and all attempts to avoid it
fail hopelessly.

Now what effect has this on our present inquiry as to the truth of
Christianity? Plainly it forms another strong argument in its
favour. For the moral teaching of its Founder is shown to be not
only the most perfect the world has ever seen, but it is combined
with a sense of entire sinlessness which is absolutely unique among
men. Both of these, however, are also combined with claims to a
superhuman and Divine character, which, if they are not correct, can
only be described as impious, and profane. Therefore, unless
Christianity is true, its Founder must have been not only the very
_best_ of men; but also one of the very _worst_; and this is a
dilemma from which there is no escape.




     (1.) Its immense difficulties.
     (2.) Its marvellous success.
     (3.) The so-called _natural_ causes of success: they all imply
           the truth of the Religion.
     (4.) Contrast with Mohammedanism.


     (1.) Its vitality in the past; very remarkable.
     (2.) Its effect at the present; very beneficial.
     (3.) Its prospects in the future; very hopeful.
     (4.) The spread of _Rationalism_; but this is no new difficulty,
           while it shows the strength of Christianity, and being
           only destructive, can never take its place.

     (_C._) CONCLUSION.

     The history of Christianity, which seems to have been
      foreknown to its Founder, forms another strong argument
      in its favour.

The argument we have next to consider is that derived from the
_History of Christianity_. This religion, it must be remembered,
originated, spread over, and finally conquered the civilised world
in an historical age. And since the fact of this conquest can
neither be disputed nor ignored, it must be accounted for. How is it
that an obscure Jewish Peasant, who was crucified as a malefactor,
some nineteen centuries ago, should now be worshipped, by over five
hundred million persons, including all the most civilised nations of
the world? As a mere historical problem, this requires some
solution, for an effect in history, as elsewhere, must have an
adequate cause. And it is scarcely too much to say that this is the
most remarkable effect in the history of mankind. Here, then, is the
subject we have to discuss; and we will first consider the _early
triumphs_ of Christianity, and then its _later history_.


Now it seems hard to exaggerate either the immense difficulties the
religion had to overcome, or its marvellous success in overcoming

(1.) _Its immense difficulties._

In the first place, we must consider the immense difficulties of
founding such a religion as Christianity. Our familiarity with the
subject prevents us from fully realising this, so perhaps an analogy
will help to make it clear. Suppose, then, that missionaries _now_
appeared in the cities of Europe, in London and Edinburgh, for
example, and preached that an obscure peasant, who had been put to
death somewhere in Persia as a malefactor, had risen from the dead,
and was the God of heaven and earth. What chance would they have of
making a single convert? Yet the first preaching of Christianity at
Rome or Athens must have been very similar to this, only far more
dangerous. Indeed, it is hard to over-estimate the difficulties of
founding a religion, the principal doctrine of which,--and one that
the Christians so boldly proclaimed,--was that of a crucified

[Footnote 445: 1 Cor. 1. 23.]

And all this took place among civilised nations, and in a literary,
one might almost say a rationalistic, age; when the old pagan
religions were being abandoned, because men could no longer believe
in them. What, then, must have been the difficulty of introducing a
new religion, which was (apparently) more absurd than any of them,
and which worshipped One Who had been crucified? Christianity had,
of course, many other difficulties to contend with especially in
regard to its absolute claims; for it was a religion which could
stand no rival, and its success meant the destruction of every
heathen altar. But these sink into insignificance, compared with the
great difficulty of the Cross.

(2.) _Its marvellous success._

Yet, in spite of every difficulty, Christianity prevailed. The new
religion spread with great rapidity. This we learn not only from
Christian writers, who might be thought to exaggerate; but from
impartial men such as _Suetonius_ and _Tacitus_. The former says
that in the reign of Claudius (A.D. 41-54) the Jews in Rome,
_stirred up by one Chrestus_ (_i.e._, Christian Jews), were so
numerous that the Emperor thought it expedient to banish them; and
the latter that at the time of the great fire (A.D. 64) _large
numbers_ of Christians were discovered at Rome. While some years
later _Pliny_, one of the Roman governors in Asia Minor, complained
to the Emperor Trajan that the Christians were so numerous that the
temples had long been deserted, though at the time he wrote (A.D.
112) they were being frequented again. He also bears witness to the
exemplary lives of the Christians, their steadfastness in their
religion, and the divine worship they paid to Christ. And as the
religion did not originate in either Rome or Asia Minor, Christians
were presumably as numerous elsewhere.

Nor can it be said that they were only to be found among the poor
and ignorant. For Pliny himself admits that they included men of
_every rank_ in life; and the undisputed Epistles of St. Paul, such
as that to the Romans (about A.D. 55), show that he thought his
readers well educated, and quite able to follow a difficult
argument. Moreover, according to the Acts, the people were by no
means willing to accept Christianity without inquiry; and St. Paul
was obliged in consequence to have long discussions on the subject.
This was especially the case at Ephesus, where he _reasoned daily_
in one of the schools, for about _two years_,[446] which does not
look as if his followers were only among the poor and ignorant.
While elsewhere we have the names of some eminent converts.

[Footnote 446: Acts 19. 9-10; 17. 17.]

Among these may be mentioned _Erastus_ the treasurer of the city at
Corinth; and _Crispus_, the ruler of the Synagogue there;
_Dionysius_, the Areopagite at Athens; _Manaen_, the foster-brother
of Herod the tetrarch; _Apollos_, a learned Jew of Alexandria, who
had made a special study of the Scriptures; and _Theophilus_, a man
of high rank (as is shown by the title _Most excellent_), none of
whom are likely to have accepted the religion of the Crucified,
without very strong evidence.[447] And recent discoveries in the
catacombs have made it probable that a distinguished Roman lady,
Pomponia Græcina (wife of the General Aulus Plautius) who Tacitus
says was accused in A.D. 57 of having adopted a _foreign
superstition_, was also a Christian.[448]

[Footnote 447: Rom. 16. 23; Acts 18. 8; 17. 34; 13. 1; 18. 24; 1. 1;
_comp._ 23. 26; 24. 3.]

[Footnote 448: J. Orr, Hist. and Lit. of early Church, 1913, p. 43.
Tacitus, Annals, Bk. xiii., ch. 32.]

Now what was the cause of this wonderful progress? It is easy to say
what was _not_ its cause. Physical force and the authority of the
Government had nothing to do with it. Its missionaries did not
preach with sword in hand, nor were they backed up by the civil
power. All they did, all they could do, was to appeal to man's
reason and conscience, and this appeal was successful. And we learn
from the Christians' themselves, _e.g._, in the Acts, that there
were two main reasons for this. The first was the confident appeal
to the facts of Christianity, such as the Resurrection of Christ, as
undisputed and indisputable; and the second was the occasional aid
of miracles. And the more we reflect on the subject, the more
difficult it is to account for it, without at least one of these
causes. For the spread of Christianity was not like that of a mere
philosophy, or system of morals. It depended entirely on certain
alleged _matters of fact_, which facts were quite recent at the time
of its origin, occurred at the very place where it was first
preached, and were open to the hostile criticism of an entire
nation. This, it is needless to say, is without a parallel in

But it may be said, notwithstanding this rapid progress at first,
Christianity took nearly three centuries to conquer the civilised
world. Undoubtedly it did, but the significance of the conquest is
not diminished by this. It is rather increased when we remember that
at intervals all through this period the Religion suffered the
fiercest persecution. That it should have survived such a fearfully
prolonged struggle, and have finally conquered, does but show its
inherent strength. We may look in vain for anything like this in the
rest of history. No other religion has ever withstood such
persistent attacks; no other religion has ever obtained such a
complete and almost incredible triumph, the Emperor of the civilised
world being brought to worship One Who had been put to death as a
malefactor. In short, the progress of Christianity was as unique as
its origin, and can only be satisfactorily accounted for by its

(3.) _The so-called natural causes of success._

We must next glance at some natural causes which have been alleged
as accounting for the wonderful spread of Christianity. Those
brought forward by Gibbon in his _Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire_ (Chapter XV.) are five in number. The first is the _intense
zeal_ of the early Christians. And doubtless this was a most
important element in spreading their religion. But what gave them
this intense zeal? What was it that made them so fearfully in
earnest about their new religion, that they faced a life of
suffering, and a death of martyrdom in preaching it? There can be
but one answer. It was because they were so absolutely convinced of
its truth. It was vouched for by what they considered overwhelming
evidence, so they willingly risked everything for it. Their zeal,
then, is but evidence for their conviction, and their conviction is
but evidence for the truth of what they were convinced of; and
valuable evidence too, for they plainly had much better means of
knowing about it, than any that we can have.

Secondly, there is the doctrine of a _future life_; and doubtless
this also had much to do with the success of Christianity. A longing
for immortality seems inherent in man, and the vague guesses of
philosophers were quite unable to satisfy this. It _might_ be true
that men should live again, but that was all they could say.
Christianity alone, resting on the actual fact of Christ's
Resurrection, said it _was_ true; so here men found the assurance
they wanted. But is it likely that Christianity should have so
thoroughly satisfied them in this respect, had there been any real
doubt as to Christ's Resurrection?

Thirdly, we have the _miracles_ ascribed to the early Christians.
Gibbon's argument here is more difficult to follow. Of course if
these miracles were true, they would have greatly assisted the new
religion; but then they would have been, not a natural but a
supernatural cause of success. If on the other hand, the miracles
were false, it is hard to see how the early Christians could have
helped their religion by claiming miraculous powers which they did
not possess, and which their contemporaries must have known that
they did not possess.

Fourthly, we have the _pure morality_ taught and practised by the
early Christians. And no doubt this had something to do with helping
their religion. But again we must ask, what was it that enabled the
Christians alone in that age of vice and wickedness to lead pure
lives? They ascribed it themselves to the example and power of their
Founder, and nothing else can account for it. Christian morality
cannot be a stream without a source, and no other source can be
assigned to it. But could a mere human Teacher have had this more
than human influence over thousands of converts, most of whom had
never seen him?

Lastly, comes the _union_ and _discipline_ of the early Church. This
may have helped Christianity in the later stages of the struggle,
but could obviously have been of little use at the commencement.
Moreover, why should Christians of various nations and classes have
been so thoroughly united on this one subject, unless they were
convinced of its overwhelming importance? On the whole, then, these
so-called natural causes of success are at most only _secondary_
causes; the truth of the religion is what they all imply, and this
is the real cause which alone can account for its success.

A better way of explaining the spread of Christianity, which is now
often adopted, is by saying that it arose _at a favourable crisis_.
The dispersion of the Jews throughout the known world would, it is
urged, have facilitated the spread of a religion founded by Jews.
The speculations of the Greeks as to a Divine Word, or _Logos_,
would have prevented the doctrines of the Trinity, and the
Incarnation, from forming any great difficulty to the learned
classes. While the mass of the people were disgusted with the old
mythologies of Greece and Rome. These were dying out, because they
failed to satisfy human nature, and men were longing for something
better. They wanted, as men always will want, a religion; but they
wanted it free from the absurdities and immoralities of Pagan
worship. Christianity then appeared, and as it was found by many to
meet the demand, it naturally succeeded.

In answer to this it must be remembered that Christianity was not a
religion founded at Rome or Athens, in which case it might perhaps
be said that the demand caused the supply; but it arose as a small
Jewish sect in Palestine. While the fierce persecutions it had to
endure show that it did not obviously meet the requirements of the
day, even apart from the tremendous difficulties involved in the
worship of the Crucified. But now suppose, for the sake of argument,
that this had been otherwise, and that the world was so suited to
receive Christianity as to account for its rapid spread; would the
inference be against its Divine origin? Certainly not; for the
agreement in this case would be far too close to be accidental. It
must have been _designed_. And it would thus show that the God Who
rules in history, is also the God Who introduced Christianity. So
here again the proposed explanation, even if admitted, does but
imply the truth of the religion.

(4.) _Contrast with Mohammedanism._

And this conclusion is rendered still stronger when we contrast the
progress of Christianity with that of Mohammedanism. For here we
have the one example that history affords of the spread of a
religion which can be compared with that of Christianity. Yet the
contrast between the two is very marked, whether we consider the
means by which they were spread, or their alleged evidence of
truthfulness. For Mohammed did not appeal to reason, but to _force_,
and all we have to account for is that he should be able to collect
an army, that this army should conquer, and that the conquered
should adopt the religion of their conquerors, about which they were
often given no option. In the spread of Christianity, on the other
hand, no force whatever was employed, and it had immense
difficulties to contend with. In fact it carried a cross instead of
a sword. Thus the contrast between the two is just what we should
expect between the natural and the supernatural spread of a
religion, the one advancing by worldly power, the other in spite of

But an even greater contrast has still to be noticed, which is that
Mohammed did not appeal to any _miracles_ in support of his
claims--that is, to outward matters of fact which could be judged of
by other people. And this is the more remarkable since he refers to
the miracles of previous prophets, including those of Christ, as
authentic,[449] but never claims to have worked any himself. The
obvious conclusion is that he felt, as all men must feel, the
overwhelming difficulty of asserting public miracles if none
occurred, and he therefore appealed to force, because he had nothing
better to appeal to. Yet, as we have seen, the early Christians
asserted such miracles from the first. They were not advocates of a
creed, but witnesses for certain facts, such as the Resurrection and
other miracles which they believed they actually saw; and there is
nothing corresponding to this in regard to Mohammedanism, or any
other religion. It may of course be said that Mohammedanism shows
that a religion can make rapid progress without miracles. No doubt
it does; and so does Buddhism, which also spread rapidly. But it
does not show that a religion which, like Christianity, claims to
rest on miracles, can make its way if those miracles are false.

[Footnote 449: Koran, Sura v.]


We pass on now from the early triumphs of Christianity to its later
history, and will consider in turn its past vitality, its present
effect, and its future prospects.

(1.) _Its vitality in the past._

To begin with, a strong argument in favour of Christianity is its
vitality. It has survived in spite of external assaults and internal
divisions; and its spread and continuity can only be satisfactorily
accounted for by its truth. This is an argument the force of which
increases as times goes on, and fresh difficulties are encountered
and overcome. Moreover, the social state of the world has changed
immensely, yet Christianity has always kept in touch with it. It has
shown itself suitable for different ages, countries, and social
conditions; and, unlike other religions, is still in sympathy with
the highest forms of civilisation. In short, Christianity has kept
possession of the civilised world for sixteen centuries, and is as
vigorous in its age as in its youth.

Its long reign is indeed so familiar to us that there is a danger of
not noticing its importance. Can we imagine a man _now_ who should
found a religion, which nearly two thousand years hence should be
still flourishing, still spreading, and still recognising him not
only as its founder but its God? Yet this would be but a similar
case to that of Christianity. Amid all the changes in history it
alone has remained unchanged. Its doctrines, at least the essential
ones, contained in the Creeds, have been the same, century after
century, and its Founder is still worshipped by millions.

(2.) _Its effect at the present._

In close connection with the history of Christianity comes its
effect on the world. A religion which has reigned so long, and over
the most civilised nations, must of necessity have had some
influence for good or evil. And with regard to Christianity there
can be little doubt as to the answer. The present state of the
civilised world is a standing witness to its benefits, since nearly
all our moral superiority to the nations of old is due to this

For example, it has entirely altered the position of _women_, who
are no longer looked down upon as they used to be. It has also
altered the position of _children_, who were formerly considered as
property, and at the disposal of their parents, infanticide being of
course common. Again, it has changed our ideas as to the _sick_, a
hospital being almost entirely a Christian institution. It has also
changed our ideas about _work_. In all the nations of antiquity, and
in heathen countries at the present day, a workman is looked down
upon. But to Christians, who believe that God Himself worked in a
carpenter's shop, all work is ennobled. Once more, it has created a
respect for _human life_ as such, and apart from the position of the
individual person, which was unknown in ancient times. In short, our
acknowledgement of what are called the _rights of man_ is almost
entirely due to Christianity. Nor is there anything surprising in
this; for the common Fatherhood of God and the common love of Christ
naturally afford the strongest argument for the common rights of
man. In Christ, as St. Paul expresses it, there can be _neither
bond, nor free_; _male nor female_; for all are equal.[450] The good
which Christianity has done is thus indisputable.

[Footnote 450: Gal. 3. 28.]

But it may be said, has it not also done some _harm_? What about the
religious wars and persecutions in the Middle Ages? With regard to
the wars, however, religion was, as a rule, the excuse rather than
the cause; for had Christianity never been heard of, there would
doubtless have been wars in the Middle Ages, as in all other ages.
With regard to the persecutions, they must be both admitted and
deplored; but we may ask, what religion except Christianity could
have been mixed up with such persecutions, and yet have escaped the
odium of mankind? Christianity has done so, because men have seen
that it was not the religion itself, but its false friends who were
responsible for the persecutions. The important point is that the
New Testament, unlike the Koran,[451] does not authorise, still less
command, the employment of force in gaining converts.

[Footnote 451: Koran, Sura viii. 12; ix. 5; xlvii. 4.]

We now turn to another aspect of the subject. Not only has
Christianity done much good in the past, but it is doing much good
at the present. This also is beyond dispute; anyone can verify the
fact for himself. Thousands of men and women spend their lives in
self-sacrifice among the poor and sick solely for the sake of
Christ. Of course, it may be said that all this is folly and that we
ought to try and benefit our fellow-men for their own sake or for
the sake of the State. But, whether folly or not, the fact remains.
The vast majority of those who visit the poor and sick (Sisters of
Mercy for instance) do not do so for the sake of the State, or even
mainly for the sake of the poor themselves, but from avowedly
Christian motives. They believe that Christ loves these poor, and
therefore they love them too, and willingly spend their lives in
trying to help them.

It is also a fact that this strange _attraction_ which Christ
exercises, over the hearts of men is unique in history. Can we
imagine anyone spending his life in visiting the sick in some large
town, and saying that he is doing it for the love of David, or of
Plato, or of Mohammed? Yet all through the civilised world thousands
are doing it for the love of Christ. And this influence, be it
observed, is not like that of other great men, local and temporary,
but world-wide and permanent. Christ is thus not only, as we saw in
the last chapter, the _holiest_ of men, but the _mightiest_ of men
also; the Man in short who has most influenced mankind. And, with
trifling exceptions, few will dispute that this influence has been
wholly for good. So judged by its fruits, Christianity is a religion
which might very reasonably have had a Divine origin.

On the other hand, it must be admitted that though Christianity has
done so much good, it has not entirely reformed the world,--it has
not even stopped wars among Christian nations--and its failure to do
this, after trying for so many centuries, is thought by some to be
adverse to its claims. But others think that its partial success and
partial failure are just what we should expect if it were true. And
what is more to the point, this seems to have been expected by its
Founder, for He always implied that the good and the evil--the wheat
and the tares--were to be mixed together until the end of the world.
Moreover, its failure has been due almost entirely to the
_inconsistency_ of its adherents. If all men were Christians, and
all Christians lived up to the religion they professed, there would
be little to complain of, even in this imperfect world.

On the whole, then, the _effect_ of Christianity is distinctly in
its favour. It has done much good, and will probably do more as time
goes on; though it has not entirely reformed the world, and probably
never will. But the good it has done is an actual fact which cannot
be disputed, while the argument that it ought to have done more good
is at least open to doubt.

(3.) _Its prospects in the future._

Lastly, the spread of Christianity seems likely to continue, and
some day we may expect to see it universally professed in the world,
as it is in Western Europe at the present time, though, of course,
there will always be individuals who dissent from it. The reasons
for this confident hope are, that, speaking broadly, Christian
nations alone are extending their influence. Japan may, of course,
be quoted as an exception, but strange to say Japan seems to be
becoming Christian.

And to this must be added the fact that Christian _missions_ are now
being revived to a large extent; and, though they are not always
successful, yet, taken together, they secure a good many converts.
Moreover, there is no other side to this argument. It is not that
Christianity is being adopted in some countries but renounced in
others. The gains, whether great or small, are all _net profits_.
With one exception, there is not a single instance for many
centuries of a nation or tribe which once adopted Christianity
changing its religion to anything else. And the exception, that of
France at the time of the Revolution, strikingly proves the rule;
for the change could not be maintained, and in a few years
Christianity again asserted itself throughout the country.

(4.) _The spread of Rationalism._

But an important objection has now to be examined. It is said that
even in Christian countries an increasingly large number of men
either openly reject Christianity, or give it at most a mere nominal
approval. This may be called the objection from the spread of
_Rationalism_, and it is an important one, because it is an attempt
to meet Christianity with its own weapons, by appealing to reason.
Of course it must be remembered that a great deal of the infidelity
of the present day is not due to reasoning at all, but to the want
of it; and it is hopeless to argue against this. For how can men be
convinced of Christianity, or anything else, if they will not take
the trouble to examine its claims?

But putting aside this class, there are still many men who may
fairly be called Rationalists--men, that is, who have studied _both_
sides of the subject, and whose reasoning leads them to reject
Christianity. They admit that there is evidence in its favour, but
they say that it is far from convincing. And it is believed by many
that Rationalism is spreading at the present day, and will
eventually become common among thoughtful men. Now, of course, the
whole of this _Essay_ is really an attempt to meet this objection,
and to show that, when carefully considered, the arguments in favour
of Christianity far outweigh those against it. But three additional
remarks may be made here.

The first is, that this is no _new_ difficulty. Rationalism has
existed ever since the Middle Ages, and was most aggressive and most
confident in the eighteenth century, as a single quotation will
show. Bishop Butler in the preface to his _Analogy of Religion_,
1736, says, 'It has come, I know not how, to be taken for granted,
by many persons, that Christianity is not so much as a subject of
inquiry, but that it is now at length discovered to be fictitious.
And accordingly they treat it as if, in the present age, this were
an agreed point among all people of discernment; and nothing
remained but to set it up as a principal subject of mirth and
ridicule, as it were by way of reprisals for its having so long
interrupted the pleasures of the world.' It is now nearly two
centuries since these words were written, and Christianity is still
flourishing! Therefore, as all previous attacks have proved futile,
there is no reason to believe that the present one will be more

Secondly, these continued assaults on Christianity afford in one
respect additional evidence in its favour; since they show, as
nothing but repeated attacks could show, its _indestructibility_.
Had Christianity never been assailed, its strength would never have
been apparent; but now we know that, try as men will for centuries,
they cannot get rid of this religion.

Thirdly, it must be remembered that Rationalism is all destructive
and not constructive. It can show many reasons for _not_ believing
in Christianity, but it can give the world nothing which can in any
way take its place. It has no satisfactory solution for the great
problems of life. Why does man exist at all? Why has he got free
will? What is the meaning of sin? Is there any forgiveness for sin?
What is the meaning of death? Is there any life beyond death? Is
there a judgment? Can we dare to face it? Shall we recognise those
whom we have loved on earth? In short, what is man's destiny here
and hereafter? These are the questions which always have interested,
and always will interest, mankind. Rationalists may say that the
Christian answer to them is incorrect; but they can offer no other
which is worth a moment's consideration.


Before concluding this chapter one other point of some importance
has to be noticed. It is that the early history of Christianity with
its continual triumph amidst continual persecution, seems to have
been foreknown to its Founder; as well as His own marvellous
influence in the world.

These _prophecies_ of Christ concerning His own religion are
certainly very striking. We find, on the one hand, a most absolute
conviction as to the triumph of His Church. It was to spread far and
wide; its missionaries were to go into _all the world_ and make
disciples _of all the nations_, and its enemies would never _prevail
against it_.[452] And on the other, there is an equally certain
conviction as to the constant sufferings of its members, who were to
expect life-long persecution and the universal hatred of

[Footnote 452: Mark 16. 15; Matt. 28. 19; 16. 18.]

[Footnote 453: _E.g._, Matt. 10. 17, 22.]

Yet these strange prophecies of continual success amidst continual
suffering were for three centuries as strangely fulfilled, including
even the little detail that Christ's followers were to be hated for
His _name's_ sake.[454] Since as a matter of fact they were often
persecuted for the mere _name_, and it was this that made them so
indignant. Thus Justin says, 'You receive the _name_ as proof
against us.... If any deny the _name_ you acquit him as having no
evidence against him.'[455] As Christ foretold, it was literally for
His _name's_ sake.

[Footnote 454: Mark 13. 13.]

[Footnote 455: Justin, Apol. 1. 4; 1 Peter 4. 14.]

Moreover, Christ's assertions regarding His own influence in the
world are equally remarkable. We will give but two examples.[456] He
said, _And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men
unto Myself_. He was lifted up on the cross, and, however strange we
may think it, millions of men have in consequence been drawn to Him
with passionate devotion. Again, He said, _I am the light of the
world_. And now, after nearly nineteen centuries, both friends and
foes admit that His is the teaching which has enlightened and
purified mankind. Had He been a mere Jewish peasant, His making such
prophecies as these seems almost as incredible as their fulfilment.
But what shall we say when they were both made _and_ fulfilled? Have
we not here a powerful argument in favour of Christianity? Nor can
we get out of the difficulty by denying the genuineness of the
passages; for they would be quite as remarkable if invented by an
evangelist, as if spoken by Christ Himself.

[Footnote 456: John 12. 32; 8. 12.]

We may now sum up this chapter on the _History of Christianity_. We
have considered in turn, both its early triumphs, and its later
history; and each of these is, strictly speaking, unique, and each
is inexplicable on purely natural grounds. But undoubtedly the more
important is the marvellous success of Christianity at first, in
spite of the immense difficulties it had to encounter; and, as we
have seen, all natural explanations of _this_ fail hopelessly.

The historical argument, then, leads us back to _miracles_; for
every other explanation of the first triumph of Christianity is
found to be inadequate. While, on the other hand, the establishment
of the Christian religion is just what we should expect if the
miracles were true. And of course true miracles, not false ones, are
required to account for it. The most holy and the most powerful
religion the world has ever seen cannot have been founded on
falsehood or fable. In other words, if we deny that the Christian
miracles occurred, and take from Christ all that is superhuman, we
cannot imagine Him as the Founder of Christianity. There would be an
obvious want of proportion between cause and effect. And, as a
matter of fact, it was not a natural Christ, but a supernatural
Christ--_the Christ of the Gospels_--who won the heart of mankind,
and conquered the world. We seem thus forced to the conclusion that
the only thing which can account for the history of Christianity is
its _truth_. Anyhow, it is plain that its _History_ forms another
strong argument in its favour.



     Additional arguments for and against Christianity.


     Its universality. There are, however, three difficulties:

     (1.) Scientific difficulty; said to be incredible, as interfering
           with the course of nature.
     (2.) Moral difficulty; said to be wrong, as inconsistent with
           the power, wisdom, and goodness of God.
     (3.) Practical difficulty; said to be useless, as shown by
            observation; but none of these can be maintained.


     It is adapted to human nature; for it meets to a great
      extent the inherent cravings of mankind, especially in
      regard to sorrow and sin, death and eternity. The
      objection as to selfishness.


     Their comparative study; the Krishna myth; the Horus
      myth. Conclusion.

We propose in this chapter to consider some of the remaining
arguments for and against Christianity. Fortunately, there are only
three of anything like sufficient importance to affect the general
conclusion. These arise from the relation of Christianity to prayer,
to human nature, and to other religions; and we will examine each in

We need not discuss mere _Bible difficulties_, as they are called;
for though some of these are fatal to the theory of Verbal
Inspiration, or that every word of the Bible is true; this is now
held by scarcely anyone. And if the Book is as trustworthy a record
of the facts it relates, as an ordinary History of England, that is
amply sufficient to prove Christianity.

Nor, on the other hand, need we discuss further evidence in favour
of the Bible. But as we considered what it says about the creation
of the world, we may just notice in passing what it says about its
end. There will be a _great noise_, the elements will be _dissolved
with fervent heat_, and the earth, and all it contains will be
_burned up_.[457] Everyone now admits that this is true, for our
planet will, sooner or later, fall into the sun, when all these
results will follow. But (apart from Revelation) how could the
writer have known it? There is nothing in the present aspect of the
earth to suggest that it will one day be _burned up_, and
considering the amount of water it contains, the idea might well
seem incredible. We pass on now to the subject of Prayer.

[Footnote 457: 2 Peter 3. 10.]


Now the Christian, in common with most other religions, asserts the
value of prayer not only for obtaining what are called spiritual
blessings, but also as a means of influencing natural events. Yet
prayer with such an object is said by many to be scientifically
_incredible_, morally _wrong_, and practically _useless_. So we will
first glance at the universality of the custom, and then consider
these difficulties.

Now, prayer of some kind is, and always has been, the universal rule
in almost every religion. It is found wherever mankind is found. No
one can point to its inventor, no one can point to a time when men
did not pray. Missionaries have not to teach their converts to pray,
but merely to _Whom_ to pray. In short, prayer of some kind seems
universal, just as man's sense of right and wrong is universal,
though each is capable of being trained and perfected. Nor is it in
any way like an animal's cry of pain when hurt, which, though
universal, means nothing; for this of course resembles a man's cry
of pain, and has no connection with prayer whatever.

If, then, prayer is a delusion, it is to say the least a very
remarkable one, especially as in most ancient religions prayer was
made to false gods who could not answer it; yet in spite of every
failure, the belief in prayer has always remained. Men have always
preferred to think that the failure was due to their own
unworthiness, rather than give up the belief in a God Who answers
prayer. And this _universality_ of the custom is a strong argument
in its favour; for it seems most unlikely that God should have
implanted in mankind a universal habit of asking if He never
intended to answer. We pass on now to the difficulties.

(1.) _Scientific difficulty._

In the first place, it is said that answers to prayer are
scientifically _incredible_, since they would involve God's
interfering with the course of nature, or, in popular language,
working miracles. The most probable explanation is, that they are
only a particular class of _superhuman coincidences_ (Chapter VII.).
According to this theory, God, knowing beforehand that the prayer
would be offered, arranged beforehand to answer it. Thus the prayer
was not a direct cause of the event which fulfilled it, but it may
still have been an indirect cause. For had the man not prayed, God,
foreknowing this, might not have arranged for the event to have

And the same is true even when the prayer is made _after_ the event.
Suppose, for instance, a man heard of the loss of a ship in which
his son was travelling, and prayed for his safety. That safety, as
far as the shipwreck was concerned, must have been decided before
the father prayed. Yet, as everything was foreknown to God, his
subsequent prayer might not have been useless; since, if God had not
known that the father would have prayed, He might not have brought
about the son's safety.

Of course, it may be said that this is making the cause come after
the effect, and is therefore absurd. No doubt it would be so if
merely physical forces were involved; but when we are dealing with
personal beings, able to foresee and act accordingly, there is
nothing impossible in a cause happening after what was in a certain
sense its effect. For instance, my going for a holiday next week may
be the cause of my working hard this; though, strictly speaking, it
is my _foreknowledge_ of the intended holiday, that leads to my
working hard. So in the case before us. It is God's _foreknowledge_
that the prayer will be offered, that leads Him to answer it; but
for all practical purposes this is the same as if the prayer itself
did so.

Therefore this theory does not detract from the value and importance
of prayer any more than God's foreknowledge in other respects makes
human conduct of no importance. In every case God foreknows the
result, not in spite of, but because He also foreknows, the man's
conduct on which it depends. While if we admit what is called God's
_Immanence_ in nature, and that everything that occurs is due to the
present and immediate action of His Will (Chapter VII.), it greatly
lessens any remaining difficulty there may be in regard to prayer.

From this it is plain that answers to prayer may, without losing
their value, be regarded as superhuman coincidences; and, if so,
they do not involve any interference with the ordinary course of
nature, and all scientific difficulties are at an end.

(2.) _Moral difficulty_.

In the next place, prayer is said to be morally _wrong_, since it is
inconsistent with each of the three great attributes of God. It is
inconsistent with His _Power_, by implying that He is partly under
the control of men; with His _Wisdom_, by implying that He has to be
informed of what we want; and with His _Goodness_, by implying that
He cannot be trusted to act for the best, without our interference.

But with regard to God's _Power_, no one who prays supposes that God
is under the control of his prayers, but merely that He may freely
choose to be influenced by them. Insignificant as man is in
comparison with his Maker, we have already shown that God takes an
interest in his welfare. And admitting this, there is nothing
improbable in His being influenced by a man's prayer. Nor is this in
any way trying to persuade Him to change His Will, since as
everything was foreknown to God, the prayer with all it involved,
may have been part of His Will from all eternity. Nor does it
reflect on His _Wisdom_, for no one who prays supposes that prayer
is for the information of God, but merely that it is the way in
which He wishes us to show our trust in Him.

And then, as to God's _Goodness_. As a matter of fact, God does not
wait for us to pray before sending most of His blessings; but a few
of them are said to be conditional on our praying. And this is quite
consistent with perfect goodness. Human analogy seems decisive on
the point. A father may know what his child wants, may be quite
willing to supply that want, and may yet choose to wait till the
child asks him. And why? Simply because supplying his wants is not
the whole object the father has in view. He also wishes to train the
child's character; to teach him to rely upon and trust his father,
and to develop his confidence and gratitude. And all this would be
unattainable if the father supplied his wants as a machine would do;
in which case the child might perhaps forget that his father was not
a machine.

Now, for all we know, precisely the same may be the case with regard
to prayer. God may wish not only to supply man's wants, but also to
train and develop his character. Indeed, as shown in Chapter V.,
the existence of evil seems to force us to this very conclusion. And
if so, it is out of the question to say that His not giving some
blessings till they are asked for is inconsistent with perfect
goodness. It may be a very proof of that goodness. For, as already
said, God's goodness does not consist of simple beneficence, but
also of righteousness. And, as a general rule, it certainly seems
right that those who believe in God, and take the trouble to ask for
His blessings, should be the ones to receive them.

And here we may notice another moral difficulty, which is sometimes
felt in regard to prayers _for others_. They are said to be
_unjust_, since one man's success would often mean another's
failure. Suppose, for instance, a man is going in for a competitive
examination, say a scholarship or a clerkship; and a friend of his
prays that he may get it. Of course in most cases this will not
affect the issue; but all who believe in the power of prayer must
admit that in _some_ cases it will. Yet is not this hard on the next
competitor, who loses the scholarship in consequence?

It certainly seems so. But it is only part of a more general
difficulty. For suppose the man's friend instead of praying for him,
sent him some money to enable him to have a tutor. Is not this
equally hard on the other man? Yet no one will say that his having
the tutor could not affect the result; or that his friend acted
unfairly in sending him the money. So in regard to prayer. Indeed of
all ways of helping a friend, praying for him seems the fairest;
since it is appealing to a Being, Who we know will always act
fairly; and will not grant the petition, unless it is just and right
to do so. The objection, then, that prayer is morally wrong cannot
be maintained from any point of view.

It is, however, only fair to add that a certain class of prayers
would be wrong. We have no right to pray for _miracles_, _e.g._, for
water to run uphill, or for a dead man to come to life again; though
we have a right to pray for any ordinary event, such as rain or
recovery from sickness. The reason for this distinction is obvious.
A miracle is, in popular language, something contrary to the order
of nature; and as the order of nature is merely the Will of Him who
ordered nature, it would be contrary to God's Will. And we must not
ask God to act contrary to what we believe to be His Will.

Of course it may be said that to pray for rain, when otherwise it
would not have rained, really involves a miracle. But here
everything depends on the words _when otherwise it would not have
rained_. If we knew this for certain, it would be wrong to pray for
rain (just as it would be wrong for the father to pray for his son's
safety after hearing that he had been drowned) not knowing it for
certain, it is not wrong. Therefore as we do know for certain that
water will not run uphill without a miracle, it is always wrong to
pray for that. In the same way we may pray for fruitful crops,
because it is plainly God's Will that mankind should be nourished;
but we may not pray to be able to live without food, since this is
plainly not God's Will. No doubt, in the Bible, miracles were
sometimes prayed for, but only by persons who acted under special
Divine Guidance; and this affords no argument for our doing so.

(3.) _Practical difficulty._

Lastly, it is said, even admitting that prayers might be answered,
yet we have abundant evidence that they never are; so that prayer at
the present day is _useless_. But several points have to be noticed
here; for no one asserts that _all_ prayers are answered. Various
conditions have to be fulfilled. A person, for instance, must not
only believe in God, and in His power and willingness to answer
prayers; but the answer must be of such a kind that it would be
right to pray for it. Moreover, he must be trying to lead such a
life as God wishes him to lead; and also be honestly exerting
himself to gain the required end, for prayer cannot be looked upon
as a substitute for work.

And this prevents our deciding the question by _experiment_, as is
sometimes urged. Why not, it is said, settle the question once for
all by a test case? But this is impossible, since in the vast
majority of cases we cannot say whether the above conditions are
fulfilled or not; and even if we could, it would still be
impracticable. For prayer is the earnest entreaty that God would
grant something we earnestly desire; and if used as an experiment,
it ceases to be genuine prayer altogether.

But it is further urged that though we cannot decide by experiment
we can by _observation_. The facts, however, can be explained on
either theory. Suppose, for instance, an epidemic breaks out, and
prayer is at once made that it may cease; but instead of ceasing, it
continues for a week, and kills a hundred persons. How do we know
that but for the prayers it might not have continued for a month and
killed a thousand? And the same argument applies in other cases.

Against these various objections we must remember that an immense
number of men of many ages and countries, and of undoubted honesty
and intelligence have asserted that their prayers have been
answered; and the cumulative value of this evidence is very great.
While, to those who possess it, the conviction that certain events
happened, not accidentally, as we might say, but in answer to some
prayer, is absolutely convincing.

None of these difficulties, then, can be maintained. There is
nothing _incredible_ in prayers being answered, they are not
_wrong_, and many of those who ought to know best (_i.e._, those who
pray) assert that they are not _useless_.


The next subject we have to consider is a very important one, the
_adaptation_ of Christianity to human nature. To begin with, it is
undeniable that Christianity appeals very strongly to some, at
least, among every class of men. The poor value it as much as the
rich, the ignorant as much as the learned; children can partly
understand it, and philosophers can do no more. And this is not only
the case at the present time, but it has been so among all the
changing conditions of society for eighteen centuries.

Now, when we inquire into the reason of this powerful hold which
Christianity has on so many men, we find it is because it meets
certain inherent cravings of human nature. Some of these, such as
man's belief in prayer, and his sense of responsibility, are of
course satisfied by any form of Theism. So also is his idea of
justice, which requires virtue and vice to be suitably rewarded
hereafter, since they are not here. But man's nature has many other
cravings besides these; yet Christianity seems to satisfy it

We will consider four points in detail and select _Sorrow_ and
_Sin_, _Death_ and _Eternity_. The first three, and possibly the
fourth, all have to be faced; they are the common heritage of all
mankind. And while Rationalism does not help us to face any of them,
and Natural Religion leaves much in uncertainty, Christianity meets
the needs of mankind throughout, or at all events far better than
any other religion.

And first, as to _Sorrow_. It is indisputable that in this life man
has to bear a great deal of sorrow and suffering; and it is also
indisputable that when in sorrow he longs for someone who can both
sympathise with him, and help him. An impersonal God can, of course,
do neither; indeed, we might as well go for comfort to the force of
gravity. And though a personal God can help us, we do not feel sure
that He can sympathise with us. On the other hand, fellow-men can
sympathise, but they cannot always help. In Christ alone we have a
Being Who entirely satisfies human nature; for being Man, He can
sympathise with human sorrow, and being God, He can alleviate it.
So here Christianity supplies a universal want Of course, the
doctrine of the _Incarnation_ also satisfies mankind in other
respects, especially in presenting him with a worthy Being for his
affections, and with a perfect Example; but these points have been
already noticed in Chapter XIII.

Next, as to _Sin_. Here again the facts are practically undisputed.
Man's sense of sin is universal, so also is his belief in the
justice of God; and therefore in all ages man has longed for some
means of appeasing the Deity. The widespread custom of sacrifice is
a conclusive proof of this. Yet, wherever Christianity has been
accepted, such sacrifices have been abandoned. It is scarcely
necessary to point out the reason for this. The Christian doctrine
of the _Atonement_ entirely satisfies these cravings of mankind. It
admits the fact of sin; it provides a sufficient Sacrifice for sin,
which man could never provide for himself, and it thus assures him
of complete forgiveness. Yet, as shown in Chapter XIII., it does all
this without in any way lessening the guilt of sin, or allowing man
to sin on with impunity; for it makes _repentance_ an essential
condition of forgiveness.

Moreover, Christianity proves that sin is not a necessity in human
nature; for it alone of all religions can point to One Who, though
tempted as we are, was yet without sin. And Christ's temptations
were probably greater than any that we can have. For it is only when
a man _resists_ a temptation that he feels its full force, just as
only those trees that were _not_ blown down, felt the full force of
the gale. Therefore Christ alone, because He was sinless, can have
felt the full force of every temptation. And Christians assert, and
they surely ought to know best, that this example of Christ is a
strong help in enabling them to resist temptation.

Next, as to _Death_. Here again the facts are undisputed. Few
persons like to contemplate their own death, yet it is the one event
to which we may look forward with certainty. But is there a life
after death? Most men long for it, and most religions have tried to
satisfy this longing in one way or another, but only with partial
success. The higher nature of man revolts against any mere material
or sensual heaven, while a purely spiritual heaven does not satisfy
him either; for a man longs to know that he will be able to
recognise again those whom he has loved on earth. This is indeed one
of our deepest, strongest, and most universal longings (who is there
that has not felt it?), yet there must always be some doubt as to
recognising a spirit.

And here again the Christian doctrine of the _Resurrection of the
Body_ alone satisfies the cravings of mankind; for all doubt is now
at an end. The risen body will define and localise man's spirit
then, just as the natural body does now; and though there will be a
great change, it will not prevent recognition. Even the Apostles,
though unprepared for it, and though themselves unaware of what a
risen body was like, were soon able to recognise Christ after His

There is, of course, the well-known difficulty as to the _period of
life_ of the risen body. A man, it is said, would only be recognised
by his grandfather, if he remained a child; and by his grandson, if
he were an old man. But the difficulty is not so great as it seems;
for in this life a man who has not seen his son, since he was a
child, may not be able to recognise him in later years, in the sense
of knowing him by sight. But he may be immensely pleased to meet him
again, and live near him, especially if in the meanwhile the son had
done well, and been a credit to his father. Moreover, the risen body
will show us, for the first time, what a man really is, when his
accidental surroundings, such as wealth or poverty, have been
removed; and his character is at length perfected. And perhaps we
shall then see that all that is best in the various states in which
he has lived here--the affection of childhood, the activity of
boyhood, and the mature judgment of manhood--will be combined in the
risen body.

And though it is somewhat tantalising not to know more about this
future life, very possibly we are not told more, because we should
not be able to understand it if we were. Even in this world it is
doubtful if a savage or a young child could understand the
intellectual life of a civilised man, however carefully it might be
explained to him; and practically certain that an ape could not. And
for all we know our own future life may be as far beyond our present
understanding. It is the _Great Surprise_ in store for us all. But
however much we may be changed, our personal identity will still
remain, _I shall be I, and you will be you_, with much the same
characters as we have at present. This is the important point, and
of this we may be quite sure.

Lastly, as to _Eternity_. Christianity, it is true, can say little
here, but that little is full of hope. It opens up boundless
possibilities, far more than any other religion. For by the
Incarnation human nature has been united to the Divine, and thus
raised to a position second only to that of God Himself. No destiny,
then, that can be imagined is too great for man. Created in the
image of the Triune God, with a supernatural freedom of choice; his
nature united to God's by the Incarnation; his sins forgiven through
the Atonement; his body purified and spiritualised at its
Resurrection--surely the end of all this cannot be any mere
monotonous existence, but rather one of ceaseless joy and activity.
Heaven has been called the _last act_ in God's drama of the
universe. And considering the magnitude of the previous acts--the
formation of the solar system, the development of organic life,
etc.--we should expect this last act to be on a scale equally vast
and magnificent, and as far above anything we can imagine as the
life of a butterfly is above the imagination of a chrysalis.

Now the conclusion to be drawn from all this is quite plain.
Christianity is so adapted to man's nature that it probably came
from the Author of man's nature; just as if a complicated key fits a
complicated lock, it was probably made by the same locksmith. And
since Christianity is meant for all mankind, and the vast majority
of men have neither time nor ability to examine its proofs, the
fact of its thus appealing direct to human nature is certainly a
strong argument in its favour.

But we must now consider an objection. It is, that Christianity is
really a _selfish_ religion, looking only for future rewards, and
teaching men to follow virtue, not for virtue's sake, but solely
with a view to their own advantage. But this is an entire mistake,
though a very common one. The Christian's motive, in trying to lead
such a life as God wishes him to lead, is simply _love_. He has, as
already said, an overwhelming sense of God's love to him. And
though, doubtless, leading a good life will bring with it some
future reward, yet this is not the true motive for leading it.
Compare the case of a young child trying to please his parents
simply because he loves them. It would be unjust to call this
selfishness, though it may be quite true that the parents will do
much for the child later on in life, which they would not have done
had the child never shown them any affection.

Nor, to take another example, is it selfishness for a young man to
put aside a certain amount of his earnings for his old age, when he
will be unable to work, though it will certainly be to his own
advantage. Selfishness is having regard to one's self, _at the
expense of other people_. But this does not apply to a Christian
striving after his own salvation. The _Great Ambition_, as it is
called, is one which all may entertain, all may work for, and all
may realise.

Still, it may be asked, is not the hope of future reward meant to
influence men at all? No doubt it is to some extent. But what then?
Hope is undoubtedly a powerful motive in human nature, and therefore
Christianity, by partly appealing to this motive, does but show how
fully adapted it is to human nature. It provides the highest motive
of _love_ for those able to appreciate it; the lower motive of
_hope_ of future reward for the many who would not be reached by the
former; and we may add, the still lower motive of _fear_ of future
punishment for those who could not be otherwise influenced. This
objection, then, as to selfishness is quite untenable.


We have lastly to consider the relation in which Christianity stands
to other religions; since an argument against Christianity is often
drawn from their _comparative study_. In far more ancient religions,
it is alleged, we find similar doctrines to those of the Trinity,
the Incarnation, the Atonement, and the Resurrection; and this is
fatal to the claim of Christianity to be the one and only true

But as to the doctrine of the _Trinity_, it is really unique. Some
other religions, it is true, had a group of three gods; but this was
merely a form of Polytheism. And though these gods were often
addressed by the same titles, there does not appear to have been
anything resembling the Christian idea of the Triune God.

Next, as to the _Incarnation_. This is said to resemble similar
doctrines of other ancient religions, more especially the
incarnation of _Krishna_. For though he was not (as is sometimes
asserted) born of a virgin, being the eighth son of his
parents;[458] he is yet believed to have been in some sense an
incarnation of the supreme god Vishnu. And he is recorded to have
worked various miracles similar to those of Christ, and to have
claimed an equally absolute devotion from his followers. Most
scholars, however, now place these legends some centuries later
than the Christian era; and considering the early spread of
Christianity in India, and the similarity in name between Krishna
and Christ, they may be only distorted versions of the Gospel story.

[Footnote 458: Tisdall, Christianity and Other Faiths, 1912, p. 89.]

But even were they earlier than Christianity, it seems impossible
for them to have influenced it. For not only is India many hundreds
of miles from Palestine, but there is also a great moral difficulty.
Since the miracles and occasional lofty teaching of Krishna are
associated all along with a most immoral character. In the Gospels,
on the other hand, they occur among suitable surroundings, and form
perfect parts of a perfect whole. A single example will illustrate
this difference. On one occasion, Krishna is related to have healed
a deformed woman, very similar to the story in Luke 13. But it is
added he made her beautiful as well as whole, and subsequently spent
the night with her in immorality. Few will contend that this was the
origin of the Gospel story; and it is but one instance out of

[Footnote 459: Transactions of Victoria Institute, vol. xxi., p.

Any resemblance, then, there may be between the Incarnation of
Krishna and that of Christ cannot be due to Christianity having
borrowed from the other religion. A far better explanation is to be
found in the fact that man has almost always believed that God takes
an interest in his welfare. And this inherent belief has naturally
led him to imagine an incarnation, since this was the most fitting
method by which God could make Himself known to man. And then this
supposed incarnation was of course attended by various miracles of
healing, somewhat similar to those of Christ, though often mixed up
with immoral ideas, from which the Christian doctrine is entirely

Next, as to the _Atonement_, especially the position of Christ, as
the _Mediator_ between God and man. This also is said to resemble
far older legends, such as the _Horus_ myth of ancient Egypt. The
leading idea here seems to have been that Horus was the only son of
the supreme God Osiris, and came on earth long ago, before the time
of man. He was always looked upon as the champion of right against
wrong, and nothing but lofty and noble actions are ascribed to him.
With regard to mankind, he became their deliverer and justifier. The
soul after death was supposed to pass through a sort of Purgatory;
where various dangers were overcome by the help of Horus; and
finally, when judged before Osiris, he interceded for the faithful
soul and ensured its salvation. And what makes the resemblance to
Christianity all the more striking are the titles ascribed to Horus;
such as _the Only Begotten Son of the Father_, _the Word of the
Father_, _the Justifier of the Righteous_, and _the Eternal_
_King_. But the titles of Horus are very numerous, and very
contradictory; therefore, while some of them bear such a striking
resemblance to those of Christ, others do not; and many of them are
also applied to the other gods.[460]

[Footnote 460: Transactions of Victoria Institute, vol. xii., p.

But still the position of Horus, as a mediator between God and man,
undoubtedly resembles that of Christ. But what is the cause of this
similarity? Not surely that the Christian doctrine was founded on
that of Horus. As in the previous case, there is another and far
better solution. For what was the origin of the Egyptian doctrine
itself? It was simply this. The ancient Egyptians firmly
believed in the _justice_ of God; the _immortality_ of man; his
_responsibility_, involving a future judgment; and his _sinfulness,_
which naturally made him long for some mediator with the just Judge
he would have to face hereafter. Given these four ideas--and they
all belong to Natural Religion--and Horus was merely an imaginary
being, who was thought to satisfy them. Hence, if these ideas are
true, and if Christianity is the true religion, which really does
satisfy them, that Horus should to some extent resemble Christ seems
inevitable. Thus the Horus myth only proves how deeply rooted in the
human mind is the idea of a _mediator_ between God and man.

Lastly, as to the doctrine of the _Resurrection_, more especially
that of Christ. Numerous analogies have been suggested for this, but
none of them are at all satisfactory. Thus the Egyptian god Osiris
is recorded as doing a great deal after his death; but he is only
supposed to have done this by living on in the _spirit_, and there
is no hint that his _body_ was restored to life, in the sense in
which Christ's was; and the same may be said in other cases.[461]
While the way in which the educated Athenians (who must have known a
good deal about heathen religions) treated St. Paul, when he
proclaimed the Resurrection of Christ, shows how absolutely novel
they considered the doctrine.[462]

[Footnote 461: Tisdall, Christianity and Other Faiths, 1912, p.

[Footnote 462: Acts 17. 19, 32; 26.8.]

We must also remember that the Christian doctrines of the
Incarnation, the Atonement, and the Resurrection, were not slowly
evolved, but were essential features in Christianity from the very
first. They are all strongly insisted on by St. Paul. And this alone
seems fatal to the idea of their having been derived from the myths
of India, Egypt, and elsewhere.

On the whole, then, it is evident that the _comparative study_ of
religions, instead of being against Christianity, is distinctly in
its favour; for it shows, as nothing but a comparative study could
show, its striking superiority. Human nature is always the same, and
in so far as other religions have satisfied human nature, they have
resembled Christianity. On the other hand, Christianity differs
from them in being free from their various absurdities and
contradictions, as well as from their tendency to degenerate; and
having instead a moral character of admitted excellence, and
powerful evidence by which to establish its actual truth. In short,
other religions are _human_; and therefore, as man is a mixture of
good and evil, they contain some good (what we now call Natural
Religion) and some evil. But Christianity is _superhuman_; and
therefore contains all the good they do, with much more besides, and
with none of their evil. This completes a brief examination of the
more important additional arguments for and against Christianity.



     Only three Doctrines can be disputed.


     In addition to belief in God the Father, the New Testament

     (1.) The Divinity of Christ.
     (2.) The Divinity of the Holy Spirit; so there are
     (3.) Three Divine Persons and yet but One God.


     The only alternatives are:

     (1.) Their endless misery: very strong texts in favour of
           this; its difficulties considered.
     (2.) Their endless happiness: most improbable.
     (3.) Their destruction: more likely than the last, but still
           improbable. On the whole the statement of the
           Creed seems fully justified.


     This is strongly insisted on in the warning clauses of the
      Athanasian Creed.

     (1.) Their meaning.
     (2.) Their truthfulness: they merely repeat similar warnings
           in the New Testament.
     (3.) The objection as to dogmatism.

We have now reached the last stage in our inquiry. We have shown in
the previous chapters that there is very strong evidence in favour
of what may be called in a general sense, Christianity or the
Christian Religion--_i.e.,_ the Religion founded by Christ and
taught in the New Testament. We have, lastly, to inquire, is this
Religion correctly summarised in the doctrines and statements of the
_Three Creeds_? And the only doctrines that can be disputed, are
found in the Athanasian Creed, and refer to the _Trinity_; the
_Final State of the Wicked;_ and the importance of a _True Belief_:
each of which we will examine in turn.


Now, although there are no statements in the New Testament identical
with those in the Creed, yet the latter are merely logical
deductions from the former. For the New Testament asserts that,
besides God the Father, there are two other Divine Persons, Christ
and the Holy Spirit, and yet but one God.

(1.) _The Divinity of Christ_.

This has already been discussed in Chapter XXI., where we showed
that Christ claimed to be not only Superhuman, but Divine; and that
this is how His contemporaries, both friends and foes, understood
Him. The doctrine is also asserted by St. Paul, as well as by St.
John, who in the opening verse of his Gospel, states it very
concisely, saying that the Word (_i.e._, Christ) _was with God_,
implying a distinction of Persons, and _was_ God, implying a unity
of Nature; which is the exact doctrine of the Creed.

(2.) _The Divinity of the Holy Spirit._

This also follows at once from the New Testament. For the Holy
Spirit is called by Divine names, such as God and Lord; He is given
Divine attributes, such as Eternity and Omniscience; and He is
identified with Jehovah, the Lord of Hosts, of the Old Testament.[463]

[Footnote 463: Acts 5. 3, 4; 2 Cor. 3.17; Heb. 9. 14; 1 Cor. 2. 10; Acts
28. 25; Isa. 6. 5-10.]

And yet, He is a distinct _Person_: for, to quote a decisive
text,[464] Christ prays the Father to send His disciples _another_
Comforter when He goes away; thus showing that the Holy Spirit is a
different Person, both from the Father and the Son. And elsewhere we
are told that the Spirit _makes intercession for us_, which again
shows that He must be a different Person from the Father, with Whom
He intercedes.[465] While in another passage blasphemy against the
Holy Ghost is said to be the worst of all sins;[466] which shows
both that He is a _Person_, or He could not be blasphemed; and that
He is _God_, or blasphemy against God would be a greater sin.

[Footnote 464: John 14. 16, 26; 15. 26.]

[Footnote 465: Rom. 8. 26.]

[Footnote 466: Matt. 12. 31, 32; Mark 3. 28, 29.]

No doubt the actual word _Person_ is not applied to the Holy Spirit
in the New Testament, just as it is not applied to either the Father
or the Son, but it cannot be thought inappropriate, provided it is
not taken in a literal, or human sense. For the relations between
Them closely _resemble_ those between human persons, as They love
one another, speak to one another, and use the personal pronouns I,
Thou, He, and We.

(3.) _Three Divine Persons and yet but One God._

It is clear, then, from the New Testament, that the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit are all Persons, and all Divine; and yet the
fact of there being but one God is at times plainly asserted.[467]
Now the only means of reconciling all this is by the doctrine of
the Trinity in Unity. And this is plainly hinted at in the New
Testament itself, for the Three Persons are often closely associated
together, as for instance in the text just alluded to, where
_Christ_ prays _the Father_ to give His disciples _another

[Footnote 467: Mark 12. 29; 1 Cor. 8. 4.]

Quite naturally, then, just before His Ascension, Christ completed
this earlier teaching by finally, and for ever, joining the Three
Persons together, when He commanded Christians to be baptized _into
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost_.[468]
And this alone is sufficient to prove the doctrine, for it shows
that there are _Three_ distinct Persons, and that each is _Divine_,
for who but God could be thus associated with God? While the
expression into the _name_ and not _names_, implies a unity in this

[Footnote 468: Matt. 28. 19.]

And we happen to have indirect evidence from the _Acts_, that
baptism was administered in this way. For when St. Paul found some
disciples, who said they knew nothing about the Holy Ghost; he at
once asked, 'Into what then were ye _baptized_?'[469] Obviously,
then, the baptism to which St. Paul was accustomed must have been
into the name of the Holy Ghost, as well as into that of Christ; and
the Father's name could scarcely have been omitted. Yet immediately
afterwards we are told that they were baptized _into the Name of the
Lord Jesus_. In the same way the 'Teaching of the Twelve' once
speaks of baptism as _into the Name of the Lord_; and twice as _into
the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost_.[470] The former seems to have been only a short way of
describing Christian baptism, (in distinction from that of the Jews,
or of St. John the Baptist), while the latter represented the actual
words used.[471]

[Footnote 469: Acts 19. 3.]

[Footnote 470: Teaching, chaps. vii. and ix.]

[Footnote 471: _Comp._ Acts 2. 38; 8. 16; 18. 25; I Cor. 10. 2.]

Similarly St. Paul sometimes closes his Epistles with the shorter
form of blessing. _The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you_;
once with an intermediate form, naming the Father and Christ; and
once with the longer form, _The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and
the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you
all_.[472] This latter passage, the genuineness of which is
undisputed, is of course extremely important, in fact like the
preceding one it is practically conclusive; for again we must ask,
who but God could be thus associated with God? If Christ were a mere
human prophet, like Isaiah for instance; and the Holy Spirit a mere
influence for good; what strange language it would be. Can we
imagine anyone blessing his converts with, The grace of Isaiah, the
love of God, and the fellowship of a holy influence--God, it will be
noticed, being placed _between_ the other two, so there can be no
ascending or descending scale, they must all be equal?

[Footnote 472: 1 Cor. 16. 23; Gal. 6. 18; Eph. 6. 23; 2 Cor. 13.

And as St. Paul takes for granted that his readers would understand
his meaning, it implies that they had had some previous teaching on
the subject, which must clearly have been given them by St. Paul
himself on his first visit. And at that early date (about A.D. 50)
such teaching could scarcely have originated except from what Christ
Himself had taught. This passage, then, implies more than it says,
and needs explanation; and as far as we know the former one alone
can explain it.

And of course the same is true, though to a lesser degree, of
numerous other Trinitarian passages which occur all through the
Epistles, including the earliest (1 Thess., about A.D. 50).[473]
Nowhere do the writers seem to be explaining anything new to their
converts; but merely to be touching on a truth, with which all
Christians were of course familiar. Indeed, the very fact of their
never attempting to explain or defend the doctrine, shows
conclusively that it did not originate with _them_. Persons do not
preach a new doctrine without a word of explanation or comment, as
if every one already believed it.

[Footnote 473: _E.g._, Rom. 15. 30; Eph. 4. 4-6; 1 Thess. 1. 3-5; 1
Peter 1. 2; Jude 20-21.]

Thus, to put it shortly, according to the New Testament, there are
_Three_ distinct Persons; each is God, each is Lord, each is
Eternal, each is Omniscient, into the Name of each converts are
baptized, each is referred to in Blessing; and yet there is but
_One_ God. This is what the Bible says, and the Creed says the same,
though it says it in more logical language.


We pass on now to what is perhaps the most difficult of all
subjects, the final state of the wicked. The Creed asserts that all
men are to rise again with their bodies, and be judged according to
their _works_; and that then, _they that have done good shall go
into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into everlasting
fire_. This latter expression can scarcely be taken literally, since
it is associated in the Bible with another--_the worm that dieth
not_--which cannot be literal, as worms do not live for ever, and
cannot live at all in fire. While it is said to have been prepared
for evil spirits who have no material bodies. Moreover, the joys of
heaven are also represented by terms which are clearly not literal;
such as attending a wedding, feasting with Abraham, and wearing
crowns. Probably we are not at present able to understand the
realities in either case, so figures of some kind have to be used;
and those associated with gladness and happiness are of course
chosen for the one, and those with pain and woe for the other.

But the language certainly implies some form of _endless misery_;
and as there are obvious difficulties in accepting such a view, we
must discuss the subject carefully. It may be pointed out at
starting that we have only three theories to choose from; for unless
the wicked are to be in a continual state of change, which seems
almost incredible (for a state of change cannot go on for ever,
unless it is recurring) they must finally either exist for ever in
_misery_, or exist for ever in _happiness_, or be _destroyed_, and
not exist for ever.

(1.) _Their endless misery._

It would be difficult to exaggerate the strength of the texts in
favour of this. We are told that the wicked, or at all events some
of them, are to awake to shame and everlasting contempt; that they
are to be cast into the eternal fire; that they are to depart into
the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; that they
are to go away into _eternal punishment_; that they are guilty of an
eternal sin; that their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched;
and that they are to be cast into the lake of fire, there to be
tormented day and night for ever and ever.[474] The fourth of these
texts is perhaps the most important, since Christ uses the same word
for _eternal_ punishment as for _eternal_ life; therefore, though
the Greek word does not necessarily mean _endless_, it certainly
seems to do so here. Similarly in Daniel the same Hebrew word is
used for the _everlasting_ life of the righteous, as for the
_everlasting_ contempt of the wicked. Moreover the doctrine is
_implied_ in numerous other passages;[475] so altogether the New
Testament teaching on the subject seems about as plain as it can be.

[Footnote 474: Dan. 12. 2; Matt. 18. 8; 25. 41, 46; Mark 3. 29; 9.
48; Rev. 14. 11; 20. 15.]

[Footnote 475: _E.g._, Matt. 7. 13, 23; 8. 12; 10. 33; 12. 32; 13.
42, 50, etc.]

Yet everyone must admit that there are great difficulties in
accepting it. For the _endless misery_ of the wicked appears to be
inconsistent with the great attributes of God, especially His power,
His justice, and His mercy; as well as with the endless happiness of
the righteous. We will consider these points in turn.

And first as to God's _power_. The eternal existence of sinners
against God means, it is said, a never-ending conflict between good
and evil; and this is most improbable. No doubt it seems so, but
then the existence of evil at all is a difficulty; yet as shown in
Chapter V. it is essential for free will. And the final state of the
wicked is but one out of many difficulties connected with human
freedom. That God could create a free man at all; that He could
foresee how he would use his freedom; that He should allow him to
use it wrongly, thus involving himself and others in misery; and
that this misery should last for ever; are all to a great extent
beyond our comprehension. But as the first three must be admitted,
the last is certainly not incredible.

The second and commonest objection refers to God's _justice_. The
suffering, it is said, would be out of all proportion to the
offence. Man's life is brief at the most, and every sin in this
world cannot deserve countless years of misery in the next. In
short, a man's sin here must anyhow be finite, while endless misery,
however slight, would be infinite. But very possibly, being sinners
ourselves, we do not realise the magnitude of sin, more especially
its far-reaching and _permanent_ effect on the character of others,
who in their turn may influence others also, and so on indefinitely.
In this way the consequences of even a single sin may be _endless_,
and therefore infinite, and if so its guilt may be infinite too. And
this also agrees with the analogy of nature. For in nature nothing
is forgotten, and even a small act, like planting a flower has
(almost) endless consequences, since the ground will _never_ be
exactly the same as if it had not been planted.

Moreover, we need not assume that endless misery is for a man's sins
here only. Why may not the wicked go on sinning for ever? They must
certainly have the power of doing so, for the option of acting, or
at all events of thinking right or wrong, is essential to free will;
and if we deny them their free will, they are no longer men but mere
machines. And it even seems probable that they would do so; for all
our experience of human character is that it tends to a final
permanence, of good or bad, which nothing can alter. By doing good,
men become good--evil gradually loses its influence over them. And
then, when their character is fixed, they will cease to be
_attracted_ by evil; and they will in consequence remain (and this
without any effort or struggle on their part) for ever good, and
therefore for ever happy. Similarly with regard to the wicked. By
committing sin men become sinful, and then, when their character is
fixed, they may remain for ever sinful, and therefore for ever
miserable. In each case the man's conduct will be always _free_; but
his character, and therefore the use which he makes of his freedom,
will have become fixed. And perhaps one of the strongest motives for
leading a good life here, and thus forming a good character, is the
knowledge that, whether good or bad, it will be _our_ character for
all eternity.

No doubt it is an overwhelming thought that a man's endless
happiness, or misery should depend on his short probation in this
world; yet as he is given free will with the option of choosing one
or the other, there is nothing _unjust_ in the results being so
permanent. And it entirely agrees with God's methods in nature,
where, for instance, the shape of a tree for centuries is fixed
during the short time it is growing.

Nor does the fact of God's _foreknowledge_ as to how each man will
act alter the case or cause any injustice, since, as said in Chapter
II., it does not interfere with man's freedom. God merely foreknows
the use man will make of his freedom. Therefore His knowing
beforehand that a man will commit a murder does not make it unjust
to punish him for doing so. And the same rule applies universally;
so that although God foreknows that the wicked will be lost, they
will not be lost _because_ God foreknows it. They will be lost
because of their own wilful abuse of their own free will; and God
foreknows both this, and its consequences.

The third objection refers to God's _mercy_. Surely, it is said, God
would never punish men unless there were a chance of improving them;
so it is incredible that He should go on punishing them for ever.
But perhaps the future misery of the wicked may not be a punishment
at all, in the sense of being inflicted by God; it may be the
necessary result of their own acts,--the _consequence_ rather than
the punishment of sin. Or if we still use the word punishment, we
may say that they will be punished, not so much for doing what they
have done, as by being what they have become. It will be _according
to_ their works rather than _because_ of them.[476]

[Footnote 476: Matt. 16. 27; Rom. 2. 6.]

And there is much to be said in favour of this view, since it is the
way in which God punishes men in this world. Suppose, for instance,
a man repeatedly gives way to drink, he will have the natural
punishment (which is really God's punishment, Who is the Author of
Nature) of being what he has become, an habitual drunkard, and very
possibly miserable for the rest of his life. It is the necessary
consequence of his sin; and the extent of his misery will, as a
rule, be in exact proportion to the extent of his sin. Therefore, if
a man is to suffer hereafter for other sins, we should expect this
suffering to come in the same way; and to be the natural, and
perhaps unavoidable, consequence of the sin itself.

Nor is it difficult to suggest how this may be. For the endless
misery of the wicked may be to a great extent mental, rather than
bodily--_shame and everlasting contempt_, as Daniel calls it. They
may be tormented by remorse and regret at having made themselves
unfit to share in the joys of heaven. And until we know the
greatness of those joys, we cannot know the greatness of this
suffering. But if the joys of heaven are endless, and if the
existence of the wicked outside heaven is also endless, it must
plainly be an _endless_ source of misery. While, in conclusion, the
fact that it is the same Christ who has taught us (more than anyone
else) the mercy and love of God, who has also taught us the endless
misery of the wicked, is an additional reason for thinking that the
two cannot really be inconsistent.

The fourth and last objection refers to _man_ rather than God. It is
that the endless misery of the wicked would destroy the happiness of
the righteous; for how could a man enjoy heaven if he knew that his
own father and mother were in endless and hopeless misery elsewhere?
Of course, if we deny him his memory, and say he does not remember
them, it destroys his identity, and for all practical purposes, he
is a different man. I have not met with any satisfactory answer to
this difficulty. But it may be pointed out that if he knows his
parents' fate, he will certainly know their character too, and that
their fate was deserved. And this may alter his feelings in regard
to them, as it often does now, if we find that one of our friends
has behaved in a mean, and disgraceful manner.

Reviewing all these objections, it must be admitted that the endless
misery of the wicked seems improbable, but it is certainly not
_incredible_. For, to put it shortly, our knowledge of human nature
convinces us that, out of a large number of wicked men, some at all
events will continue to be wicked, _i.e._ to commit sin as long as
they live. Hence, if they live for ever, they will sin for ever. And
if they sin for ever, it is not only just, but perhaps inevitable,
that they should be miserable for ever. And if so, the endless
misery of the wicked does not reflect on either the power, justice,
or mercy of God, and, as said above, is certainly not incredible.

(2.) _Their endless happiness._

We pass on now to the next theory, that of their _endless
happiness_. According to this, all the wicked (after some suitable
punishment) will at last be reconciled to God, and in popular
language, go to heaven. And there are several texts which are more
or less in favour of this view.[477] But how are we to reconcile
these with the far stronger ones before alluded to? The most
probable explanation is that they are merely general statements,
indicating the final destiny of the vast majority of mankind, but
that there are exceptions to this as to most other rules. And the
Creed nowhere implies that most men will be lost; it may be only a
few obstinate sinners.

[Footnote 477: _E.g._, Col. 1. 20; 1 Tim. 4. 10; 1 John 2. 2; Rev.
5. 13.]

Moreover, we cannot think that the wicked will be allowed to go on
sinning in heaven, so if they go there, they must finally cease to
commit sin. Many may do this voluntarily, but what about the
remainder? If they _must_ finally forsake sin, whether they like it
or not, it destroys their free will, and leads to _compulsory
goodness_, which is very like a contradiction in terms. For goodness
cannot be ascribed to mere machines without free will, which only
act under compulsion; yet on this theory the men would be nothing
more. In fact, the wicked _men_ would in reality have been
destroyed, and a good piece of mechanism created instead; which
scarcely seems a probable theory.

Then there is this further difficulty: what is to become of the evil
angels? If we have to admit endless misery for these, why not for
man? Yet the Bible gives no hint that the Devil will in the end be
reconciled to God, and go to heaven.

(3.) _Their destruction._

Lastly, as to the other and only possible alternative, the
_destruction_ of the wicked. This may be better described as their
failure to obtain everlasting life; which is here regarded not as
the attribute of all men, but as being _conditional_ on a man's
fulfilling certain duties and developing a certain character in this
life. And the wicked, not having done this, will eventually be
destroyed and cease to exist. Numerous texts can be quoted in favour
of this theory.[478] And it is also supported by the analogy of
nature: for if an organism or a species is a failure, it eventually
_ceases to exist_; it is not kept alive for ever as a disfigurement
to the world.

[Footnote 478: _E.g._, John 6. 51; Rom. 6. 23; Matt. 10. 28.]

This theory, no doubt, presents less moral difficulties than either
of the others, but it is not free from them. For are the wicked to
be _punished_ after death previous to their destruction? If they are
not, justice is not satisfied; and while excessive punishment seems
a reflection on God's character, no punishment at all for sinners
who have been successful in this world, seems equally so. Yet, on
the other hand, any punishment which precedes destruction seems
merely vindictive, and of no possible use.

Each of these theories, then, appears improbable, but the _endless
misery_ of the wicked is scarcely more so than the others, and
therefore, as it is the one most strongly supported by the Bible, we
seem bound to accept it.

One remark may however be made in conclusion, and it brings a little
comfort into this saddest of all truths. It is that whatever doubt
may exist as to the future state of the wicked, of one thing we may
be quite sure--that their punishment will not be in excess of what
they deserve. They will be treated fairly; and every merciful
allowance will be made for circumstances, including the inherent
weakness of human nature. Christianity indeed seems to emphasise
this more than any other religion, since men are to be judged not by
the Father, but by the Son; apparently for this very reason that,
being Man, He can sympathise with human weakness.[479] And after the
judgment, persons will enjoy heaven just in proportion as their
lives on earth have rendered them capable of doing so, while the
misery of the lost will also be in exact proportion to what they

[Footnote 479: John 5. 27.]


The last doctrine to be considered is the importance of a True
Belief, that is of believing the _truth_ in regard to matters of
religion. This is strongly insisted on in the _warning clauses_ of
the Athanasian Creed; so we will first consider their meaning, then
their truthfulness, and lastly, the objection as to dogmatism.

(1.) _Their meaning._

Before discussing this, it may be pointed out that they are often
called the _damnatory_ or _uncharitable_ clauses; but both these
terms are somewhat misleading. For the Creed does not condemn anyone
by these clauses, it merely declares that certain persons will be
condemned by God, which is a very different thing. No one desires
their condemnation, but the contrary; therefore, believing the
danger to be a fact, it is stated in the hope that persons will in
consequence avoid it.

An analogy may help to illustrate this distinction. Suppose a
despotic ruler in some island were to put up a notice that anyone
walking along a certain part of the coast would be arrested and
shot; this might well be called uncharitable. But now, suppose the
notice was that, owing to their being quicksands along that part of
the coast, anyone walking there would be drowned; this might be
untrue, but it could scarcely be called uncharitable. So in regard
to the Creed. Its warnings (whether true or false) are in no sense
uncharitable; and it no more _consigns men to perdition_ (as it is
sometimes called) for denying the faith, than a doctor consigns men
to die of fever for drinking bad water. In each case they merely
state what they believe will (unfortunately) be the result.

Its warnings are also quite different from the _Let him be anathema_
of St. Paul, as well as from some of the Psalms, where the writer
does not merely state that the wicked will be miserable, but prays
that they may be so.[480] This no doubt seems uncharitable, but
there is nothing like it in the Creed.

[Footnote 480: _E.g._, Gal. 1. 8-9; Ps. 69.]

What the Creed says is that holding, or _holding fast_,[481] the
Catholic Faith, especially the doctrines of the Trinity and the
Incarnation, is necessary to salvation (vv. 1, 28, 29, 42); and that
those who do _not_ keep (or hold fast) this Faith will _perish_
everlastingly (v. 2). The word _keep_, it should be noticed,
implies previous possession, since a man cannot keep what he never
had; so these verses are inapplicable to heathens, infidels, or even
nominal Christians who have never really held the Faith. They refer
only to apostates--to those who, having once held the Faith, do not
_keep_ it.

[Footnote 481: It is so translated in the revised version, issued in
November, 1909, by a Committee, under the Archbishop of Canterbury.]

Moreover, there can be little doubt that the apostasy here referred
to was not that due to intellectual doubt, but to giving way, _under
persecution_. For the Gothic conquerors of Southern Europe, where
the Creed was composed about the fifth century, were _Arians_, and
they much persecuted the Catholics. So a statement of what the
Catholic Faith really was (in opposition to Arianism) might well
contain warnings as to the great danger of abandoning it under trial
and persecution. In the same way Christ warned His followers that if
they denied Him before men, He would also deny them before His

And a time of persecution is distinctly implied in the Creed itself.
For in ver. 30 we are told that it is not enough to believe the
faith, it must be publicly _confessed_; and even in ver. 1, the
_holding_ or _holding fast_, suggests a temptation to surrender.
Compare the passage: _Thou holdest fast my name, and didst not deny
my faith_:[482] where in the Latin translation (the Vulgate) the
same word is used for _hold fast_, as occurs in the Creed.

[Footnote 482: Rev. 2. 13, 25; 3. 11; 2 Tim. 1. 13.]

Next as to the meaning of to _perish_. This is no doubt much
disputed, both here, and in the similar passage in the Gospel,
where Christ says that all who believe on Him shall _not perish, but
have eternal (or everlasting) life_; which certainly implies that
those who disbelieve, or cease to believe, _shall_ perish,
and shall _not_ have everlasting life, _i.e._, shall perish
everlastingly.[483] But whatever Christ meant by these words, the
Creed means too, neither more nor less. Taken by themselves, they
seem to point to the destruction of the wicked; or perhaps only to
their failure to obtain the joys of heaven, without actually ceasing
to exist.

[Footnote 483: John 3. 16.]

But however this may be, one thing is plain; that, according to the
Creed, those who have been taught the truth about God, (_i.e._, the
Catholic Faith), must both _lead a good life_, (fighting against
sin, etc.), and also _hold fast_, or _keep this faith_, if they wish
to be saved. And St. Paul evidently regarded these as the two
essentials; for at the close of his life, he rejoiced because he had
_fought the good fight_, and _kept the faith_.[484]

[Footnote 484: 2 Tim. 4. 7.]

(2.) _Their truthfulness._

Having thus shown what the warning clauses actually mean, we have
next to consider whether they are true. Now, it is plain from the
nature of the case that we can know nothing on such a subject,
except what is revealed by God. Is then, this doctrine stated or
implied in the New Testament? Certainly it is, since belief in
Christ is everywhere laid down as _necessary_ to salvation. He is
not one Saviour among many, nor is Christianity one means among many
of getting to heaven. But Christianity is always represented as the
_only_ means, and Christ as the _only_ Saviour.

We have already alluded to one text on this subject, that about the
_perishing_; and we will now quote five others, each from a
different writer, thus showing that the doctrine was not peculiar to
any one Apostle or Evangelist. We are told then, that while he that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that disbelieveth shall
be condemned; that unless men believe in Christ they shall die in
their sins; that His is the only Name under heaven wherein men can
be saved; that public confession of Him as Lord, together with
belief in His Resurrection, leads to salvation; and that His Blood
alone can redeem us from our sins.[485]

[Footnote 485: Mark 16. 16; John 8. 24; Acts 4. 12; Rom. 10. 9; 1
Pet. 1. 19.]

And the early Christians acted in entire accordance with this. When,
for instance, the gaoler at Philippi asked St. Paul, _What must I do
to be saved?_ the answer was, _Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou
shalt be saved_.[486] Repentance, baptism, and amendment of life,
would of course follow in due time; but first of all, before all
other things, it was necessary that he should _believe in Christ_.
This was the great essential.

[Footnote 486: Acts 16. 31.]

Now it is obvious that the belief in Christ, which is thus
everywhere insisted on, must mean believing the truth about Christ,
and not a false belief. If, then, the statements in the Creed
represent the truth about Christ, as we have shown they do, then
belief in these is necessary to salvation. And the Bible, like the
Creed, expressly says that the great and fundamental truth about
Christ, which we must both believe and _confess_, is His
Incarnation, that He _is come in the flesh_.[487] And this involves
His relationship to God the Father, and the doctrine of the Trinity.
Thus the warning clauses as to the importance of a true belief,
especially in regard to these two great doctrines, seem fully

[Footnote 487: 1 John 4. 2-3.]

Three further remarks may be made before leaving this subject. The
first is that the Creed is addressed to _Christians_ only. This is
clear from its opening sentence, _Quicunque vult salvus esse_, which
means literally, 'Whoever _wishes_ to be saved'; and this takes for
granted that the persons addressed have heard of salvation. And, as
we have shown, the following words, that they must _hold fast_ or
_keep_ the Faith, also imply that they have been already taught it.
The Creed cannot therefore be held to refer to any but Christians,
no matter how general the language may be.

Secondly, among Christians the Creed is meant chiefly for
_theologians_. This is plain from its technical language, which is
so worded as to prevent a recurrence of several old errors. And it
seems only fair to assume that children and unlearned persons
belonging to a Church holding these doctrines would be considered as
believing them. But though a child's belief,[488] which is merely
trust and love, may be sufficient _for a child_, something more may
reasonably be expected from well-instructed Christians. And this is
that they should believe these doctrines _rightly_ (v. 29), though
this is a most unfortunate translation of the Latin word
_fideliter_, as it seems to connect it with the _right_ faith
(_fides recta_) of the following verse. It would be better rendered
by _faithfully_, as it is in v. 24, or _heartily_. Thus a _heartfelt
belief_ in the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation--a
belief which leads at once to _worship_, for 'the Catholic Faith is
that we _worship_ one God':--is what the Creed says is so essential.

[Footnote 488: Matt. 18. 6.]

Lastly, all these statements, like so many passages in the
Bible,[489] are only _general rules_; to which there are often some
exceptions. And in the present case, we may feel sure (from other
passages)[490] that God will make exceptions, wherever unbelief or
misbelief has not been due to a person's own fault. Our conclusion,
then, as to the _warning clauses_ is this; that if the other
statements of the Creed are _true_ (as we have shown they are),
these clauses do not present any great difficulty.

[Footnote 489: _E.g._, 1 Cor. 6. 12.]

[Footnote 490: _E.g._, 1 Tim. 1. 13.]

(3.) _The objection as to dogmatism._

An important objection has still to be considered. It is that the
Athanasian Creed _dogmatises_ too much. Granting, it is said, that
all its doctrines are contained in the New Testament, yet why not be
content with the _simpler_ statements in the Apostles' and Nicene
Creeds? These were _sufficient_ for the Church for several
centuries, so why not leave other matters open for discussion,
instead of treating them as _closed questions_? We will consider
these points in turn.

And first as to _dogmatism_; by which is meant the exact statement
of any truth. Now on all other subjects which influence our
conduct, such as diseases or science, it is admitted to be of great
importance that we should know the truth, and act accordingly. Why,
then, should it be thought that in Religion alone this is
immaterial, and that a false Creed is as good as the true one, if a
man honestly believes it?

Moreover, a certain amount of dogmatism in matters of Religion seems
essential. No one can intelligently serve or pray to a God of Whose
Nature he has formed no idea, and the moment he begins to form such
an idea he is involved in difficulties. Take for example what some
will consider a very simple prayer, _May God forgive my sins for
Christ's sake_. Who, we may ask, is God; who is Christ; what is the
relation between them; why should One be asked to forgive for the
sake of the Other; and what would happen if the sins were not
forgiven? Such difficulties cannot be avoided; and if the statements
in the Athanasian Creed are their true explanation, the more clearly
this is stated the better.

In the next place, it is very doubtful whether the earlier Creeds
are _simpler_ and more easy to believe than the Athanasian. To a
thoughtful reader it may well seem otherwise. For example, referring
to the Trinity, the Apostles' Creed teaches us to believe in God the
Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost, but it does
not attempt to answer the simplest questions concerning Them. Are
They, for instance, all three Persons? if so, are They all three
Divine? and if so, are They three Gods? And the Nicene Creed is even
more puzzling, for it first says that there is one God the Father,
and soon afterwards that the Son is also God. So in regard to the
Holy Spirit, He is called the Lord, yet it has been already stated
that there is only one Lord Jesus Christ. How can all this be
reconciled? And much the same applies to the future state of the
wicked. The two earlier Creeds speak of the life everlasting (for
the good), but what is to become of the bad? These and many other
questions are suggested by the earlier Creeds, and answered by the
Athanasian. And to many it seems easier to believe the Creed which
answers difficulties, than those which merely suggest them.

And it was for this very purpose of answering difficulties, not
making them, that the Athanasian Creed was composed. Its object was
not to assert any new doctrines, or to suggest that those previously
received were not _sufficient_, but merely to explain them, and to
prevent them from being misunderstood. All the doctrines, as we have
seen, are contained in the New Testament, and they were in
consequence always believed by Christians. But it was not till after
much controversy that men learnt to express this belief with
clearness and precision.

Lastly, as to these doctrines being _closed questions_. They are
closed questions in much the same way as the fact that the earth
goes round the sun, and not the sun round the earth, is a closed
question in astronomy. That is to say, they have been thoroughly
discussed, and (to those who believe the New Testament) the evidence
in their favour is overwhelming. Of course anyone may go over the
proofs again for himself, and if he wants to have an intelligent
belief he should do so; but as a rule of conduct the subject cannot
be re-opened.

And it should be noticed that the Church, in thus treating certain
questions as closed for its members, is only acting as other
societies would do. Would a society of engineers, for instance,
allow one of its members to construct an iron bridge on the
supposition that the expansion of iron by heat was an open question;
which he might, or might not, think worth allowing for? Or would a
society of doctors allow one of its members to attend patients if he
asserted that whether scarlet fever was infectious or not was an
open question; which each patient might decide for himself? In
short, well-ascertained truth, or what is believed to be such, in
every department of knowledge is looked upon as a closed question;
and it must remain so, unless some important fresh evidence is
produced. But with regard to the Creeds, no fresh evidence can be
produced, unless God were to give a fresh Revelation; so, from the
nature of the case, they are closed questions in an even stricter
sense than ascertained truths on other subjects.

This concludes a brief examination of the doctrines of the Three
Creeds, and, as we have seen, they are all either contained in, or
logically deducible from, the New Testament.




     One remaining objection, why are there so many difficulties,
      and no more obvious proof? considered in detail.


We have now examined all the more important arguments for and
against the Truth of Christianity. Many of them, as we have seen,
involve a good deal of study, and we have often been obliged to
consider a few examples only of various classes of facts; but it is
hoped that no important argument on either side has been entirely
overlooked. One remaining objection has still to be considered.


Does not, it is urged, this very fact of itself form a difficulty?
Can an ordinary man be expected to ponder over arguments,
objections, and counter-arguments by the dozen, even supposing the
balance of probability to be in favour of the Religion? Surely, if
Christianity were true, and God wished men to believe it, there
would not be so many difficulties. He would have provided an easier
way of proving it than this; or, at all events, if this elaborate
argument were examined, the inference in its favour would be simply
overwhelming. This is a difficulty felt perhaps by some who have
read the present _Essay_; fortunately it can be answered

And first, as to there being so many difficulties. Several of these
are simply due to the evidence in favour of Christianity being so
strong. If, for instance, we had only one Gospel instead of four,
the difficulties caused by the discrepancies between them would
disappear, but the argument in favour of Christianity would not be
strengthened in consequence. Still putting aside these, it must be
admitted that there are many difficulties connected with the

But what is the cause of this? It is the very magnitude of the
Christian Religion which opens the way for so many attacks. A
religion which claims to be the only true one in the world; to have
been founded by God Himself; to have been prepared for by prophecies
and introduced by miracles; to be the centre of the world's history,
all previous history leading up to it, and all subsequent history
being influenced by it; to be suitable for all ages and countries;
to hold the key to all mental and moral problems; to be man's guide
and comfort in this life, and his only hope for the next;--such a
religion _must_ be assailable at a great many points. But
provided all these assaults can be repelled, provided this long
_frontier-line_, so to speak, can be properly defended, it does not
show the weakness of the religion; on the contrary, it shows its
enormous strength. A religion which made less claims would, no
doubt, have less difficulties; but it would be less likely to be the
true one. If God became Incarnate, no claims can be too vast for the
Religion He founded. And to many, this unspeakable grandeur of
Christianity, so far from being a difficulty, constitutes one of its
greatest charms.

Next, as to there being no _easier_ means of proof. It is a simple
matter of fact that the vast majority of men, both educated and
uneducated, who believe in Christianity, have not arrived at this
belief by a long line of reasoning, such as we have examined. They
assert that there is an easier way. They say that God has given them
a faculty of _Faith_, which, though it may be hard to explain, just
as man's free will is hard to explain, yet gives them the most
certain conviction of the truth of Christianity. And starting with
this inward conviction, they say it is confirmed by their daily
experience, just as a man's belief in his free will is confirmed by
his daily experience. Of course, this appeal to faith is no argument
to those who do not possess it. On the other hand, to those who do
possess it, no arguments can really weaken or strengthen it. It is a
thing by itself, and absolutely convincing.

It may be pointed out, however, that if man is a partly spiritual as
well as a partly material being, which we have already admitted;
then the existence of some spiritual sense, or faculty, by which to
perceive spiritual truths, just as the body has material senses by
which to perceive material objects, cannot be thought incredible.
And this is what faith claims to be; it is a means to spiritual
discernment, and may be compared to eyesight. It does not enable us
to believe what we might otherwise think to be untrue; but it
enables us to know for certain, what we might otherwise think to be
only probable (_e.g._, the existence of God). In the same way a
blind man might, by feeling, think it probable that there were a
certain number of pictures in a room, but if he could _see_, he
would know for certain. And, just as a man, who had always been
blind, ought not to reject the testimony of those who see, so a man
who has no faith ought not to reject the testimony of those who
have. And the existence of such a faculty will account for the very
different views taken of Christianity by men of apparently equal
intelligence and candour.

Still, it may be asked, why should some persons be given this
faculty of faith, while others are not? The subject is no doubt a
difficult one. But very possibly the faculty is _latent_ in every
one, only it needs (like other faculties) to be exercised and
developed. And the man himself may be responsible for whether he
takes suitable means (prayer, etc.) for doing this. However, we need
not pursue this subject, since, as said above, no arguments can
prove, or disprove Christianity to those who believe by faith.

But now comes the most important part of the objection. Granting, it
is said, that the subject is a difficult one, and demands a long
investigation, yet when we do go through the arguments on both sides
the conclusion is not irresistible. In short, why are not the
evidences in favour of Christianity _stronger_? Of course they might
be so, but we have no reason for thinking that they would be. In
our ordinary daily life we have never absolute certainty to guide
us, but only various degrees of probability. And even, in Natural
Religion, the reasons for believing in a Personal God and the
freedom and responsibility of man, though to most people quite
convincing, are certainly not irresistible; since, as a matter of
fact, some men resist them.

And if God intends us to act on such evidence in common life, and
also with regard to the great truths of Natural Religion, why should
He not do the same with regard to Christianity? He seems, if we may
use the word, to _respect_ man's momentous attribute of free will
even in matters of Religion; therefore in His sight a right belief,
like right conduct, may be of no value unless it is more or less
voluntary. It is to be a virtue, rather than a necessity. And this
fully accounts for the evidences of Christianity not being
overwhelming. They are amply sufficient to justify anyone in
believing it; but they are not, and were probably never meant to be,
sufficient to compel him to do so.

If, however,--and this is a matter of practical importance--they are
strong enough to show that the Religion is _probably_ true, a man
who admits this is obviously bound to accept it. He cannot adopt a
neutral attitude, because the evidence is not conclusive; since, as
just said, in every other subject we have only probability, not
certainty, to guide us; and why should religion alone be different?
Then, if he accepts it, he is obviously bound to try and live
accordingly, no matter what the sacrifice may be; for Christianity,
if it is worth anything, is worth everything. Such tremendous truths
cannot be half acted on if believed, any more than they can be half
believed; it must be a case of all for all. And then, if he tries to
live accordingly, he may find (as Christians in all ages have found)
that for himself the probability becomes a certainty.

Lastly, it may be pointed out that though perhaps the evidences of
Christianity are not so strong as we should expect, they are
precisely of such a _kind_ as we should expect; for they exhibit
each of the three great attributes of God. His Omnipotence is shown
in the miracles, His Omniscience in the prophecies, and His perfect
Goodness in the Character of Christ; so that, judged by its
evidences, Christianity is a Religion which might very reasonably
have come from the God Who is All-Powerful, All-Wise, and All-Good.


It now only remains to give a summary of the previous chapters, and
then point out the final choice of difficulties.

In Chapter XIII. we considered the _credibility_ of the Christian
Religion, and decided that some of its leading doctrines, especially
those of the Incarnation and the Atonement, seemed very improbable.
All that can be said on the other side is practically this, that we
have no adequate means of judging; and that when we apply similar
reasoning to subjects about which we do know, such as the freedom of
man or the existence of evil, it generally leads us wrong. But
still the fact remains that the Religion appears, at first sight,
very improbable.

In Chapter XIV. we considered the _external testimony_ to the _Four
Gospels_, and decided that this was very strongly in their favour.
At the close of the second century they held the same position among
Christians as they do at present; during the middle of that century
Justin shows that they were publicly read, together with the Old
Testament Prophets; while the few earlier writers whose works have
come down to us also seem to have known them.

In Chapter XV. we considered their _internal evidence_, and found
that it strongly supported the above conclusion; so combining the
two, we have an almost overwhelming argument in favour of their

In Chapter XVI. we considered an additional argument of great
importance, derived from the _Acts of the Apostles_. There are
strong reasons for dating this book about A.D. 60; and if so it
proves a still earlier date for the first three Gospels.

In Chapter XVII. we considered the _Resurrection of Christ_, and the
accounts we have of it in the Four Gospels. And we decided that
these Narratives, in spite of some obvious discrepancies and
omissions had every appearance of being thoroughly trustworthy.
Indeed their complete agreement in important points, their mutual
explanations, and their signs of early date are all strongly in
their favour.

In Chapter XVIII. we considered the testimony of the First
Witnesses, and examined in detail their veracity, knowledge,
investigation, and reasoning; and each seemed to be supported by
irresistible evidence. Therefore the opposite theories, which are
based on denying these points, and are called respectively the
_Falsehood_, the _Legend_, the _Vision_, and the _Swoon_ Theory, are
quite untenable. So we must either accept the Resurrection of
Christ; or deny it, in spite of all the evidence, and solely because
of the miraculous nature of the event.

In Chapter XIX. we considered the other New Testament _Miracles_,
and came to the conclusion that they also occurred. Indeed their
marks of truthfulness, and their publicity together with the fact
that they were never disputed at the time, make the evidence in
their favour extremely strong.

In Chapter XX. we considered the argument from _Prophecy_; and
discussed in detail Isaiah's Prophecy of the Lord's Servant, and the
Psalm of the Crucifixion, and then glanced at several others. And we
pointed out how completely these prophecies were fulfilled in
Christ, and how utterly hopeless it was to find any other fulfilment
of them. So here again the choice lies between either accepting
these prophecies, or disputing them simply because they are
prophecies, and imply superhuman knowledge. In other words, we must
either admit the marvel of a Divine Revelation, or else we must face
the _mental_ difficulty of believing that all these coincidences
were due to chance, the improbability of which can scarcely be

In Chapter XXI. we considered the _Character of Christ_; and the
admitted excellence of His moral teaching seems quite inconsistent
with deliberate falsehood on His part. Yet He kept asserting His
superhuman and Divine Nature, and was finally put to death in
consequence. So here once more we have a similar choice before us.
We must either accept the Divinity of Christ, with all the wonders
it involves; or else we must face the _moral_ difficulty of
believing that the best moral teaching the world has ever had, was
given by One, whose own life was full of falsehood and presumption.

In Chapter XXII. we considered the _History of Christianity_, and
found that its marvellous progress at first, in spite of its immense
difficulties, and without the use of any force, could only be
accounted for by its truth. So here for the last time we have the
same alternatives to choose from. We must either admit the
supernatural origin and spread of Christianity; or else we must face
the _historical_ difficulty of believing that its first preachers
were able to convince men without evidence, conquer them without
force, and found the greatest religion the world has ever seen on
claims which at the time everyone must have known to be untrue.

In Chapter XXIII. we considered the _other evidence_ on the subject,
and briefly examined various arguments for and against Christianity,
such as its connection with prayer; its adaptation to human nature,
and its relation to other religions; but all of comparative

Lastly, in Chapter XXIV. we decided that the _Three Creeds_ were
deducible from the New Testament; so the religion which has all this
evidence in its favour is the _Christian Religion_, as we have used
the term.

From the above summary it will be seen that the arguments against
Christianity are all what may be called _antecedent_ (or _a priori_)
ones. The Religion itself, its doctrines, its claims, its miraculous
origin, all seem most improbable. Thus the objections to
Christianity all lie on the surface. They are obvious and palpable
to everyone.

On the other hand, the arguments in its favour have often to be
sought for; but when found they are seen to be stronger and stronger
the more they are examined. There are four main arguments. These are
of a widely different character, and each appeals most strongly to a
certain class of minds, so each is often said to be the chief
argument for Christianity, but they are probably of equal value.
They may be conveniently called the argument from _Miracles_,
including of course the Resurrection of Christ; from _Prophecy_;
from _Christ's Character_; and from _History_. And it should be
noticed in passing, that they mutually support one another.
Miracles, for instance, are less difficult to believe when it is
seen that they were to establish a religion which has for centuries
exercised a greater influence on mankind than anything else; and
prophecies become stronger when it is seen that the Life foretold
was one that had such supreme and far-reaching effects.

Now, it is important to remember that the actual facts on which
these arguments rest are in each case absolutely _unique_. Once,
and only once in the history of the world, have men appeared who
asserted that they were actual witnesses of miracles, and who faced
all forms of suffering and death solely in consequence of this.
Again, once, and only once in the history of the world, has a long
series of prophecies, uttered many centuries apart, united in a
single Person, in whom they one and all find a complete fulfilment.
Yet again, once, and only once in the history of the world, has a
Man appeared of faultless moral character, who asserted that He was
also God, and who boldly claimed all that this tremendous assertion
involved, and submitted to the consequences. While, lastly, once,
and only once in the history of the world, has a Religion, most
improbable in itself, and without using any force, succeeded in
conquering nation after nation.

These, then, are the four chief arguments on the subject, and in
every case we have the same choice before us. We must either face
the antecedent (or _a priori_) difficulties in accepting
Christianity, or the mental, moral and historical difficulties in
rejecting it. There is no neutral ground, no possibility of avoiding
both sets of difficulties. But the difficulties on the one side
concern what we do _not_ know--God's purpose in creating man--and
may be due to our ignorance only. The difficulties on the other side
concern what we _do_ know. They are practical, they are derived from
experience. We do know that men will not lay down their lives for
what they believe to be false, and that the first preachers of
Christianity must have known whether it was false or not. We do
know that prophecies uttered at random through centuries would not
all unite in a single Person. We do know that even moderately good
men do not make extravagant claims. And we do know that no natural
causes can account for such a religion as Christianity obtaining
such a triumph as it did.

The choice, then, seems to lie between what we may call _unknown_
difficulties and _known_ ones. The unknown difficulty of believing
that the Eternal God could so love man as to humble Himself even to
death to win man's love; and the known difficulty of believing that
evidence so vast and so various, so cumulative and so apparently
irresistible, could all unite in making a monstrous falsehood appear
to be a momentous truth. Between these two sets of difficulties we
have to make our choice. But to those who agree with the previous
chapters, the choice cannot be doubtful; for however hard it is to
believe Christianity, it is, as we have shown, harder still to
disbelieve it. This, then, is our final conclusion, that the truth
of the Christian religion is _extremely probable_, because, to put
it shortly, though the difficulties of accepting Christianity are
great, the difficulties of rejecting it are far greater.




            1.                 117
            "     1            213
            "     26           159, 393
            2.                 132
            "     4            119
            3.    22           159, 393
            4.    13-17, 26    132
            5.    1-2          134
            6.    2-4          132
            7.    11           126
            "     21           132
          7-8.                 159
            9.    13-14        127
           11.    7            393
           12.    3            205
            "     6            160
            "     16           141
           13.    7            160
           14.    22           213
           18.    25           215
           21.    33           213
           22.                 210
            "     17           217
            "     18           374
           23.    2, 19        142
           25.    18           143
           26.    4            374
           27.    8-13         208
           33.    18           142
           35.    6            142
           36.    31-39        159
           39.    1            139
            "     9            215
           40.    11, 19       140
            "     15           156
           41.                 140
            "     41           393
           43.    27-28        143
            "     32           139
           46.    34           139
           48.    3            142
           49.    30           142
           50.    3            139


            1.    11           144
            "     14           144
            2.    3            144
            3.    14           405
            4.    21           159
            5.    12           144
            "     23           165
            7.    3            159
            "     11, 22       182
            "     14-25        157
            "     19           145
            8.    7, 18, 19    182
            "     15, 32       210
            9.    34           210
           10.    1            159
            "     3, 7         210
           12.    12           146
            "     25           153
            "     37           171
           13.    11           153
            "     13           210
           14.    4            209
            "     21, 22       178
            "     30           179
           16.    36           160
           17.    14           164
           19.    5            206
           20.    24           161
           21.    2, 16        211
           22.    29, 30       210
           23.    4-5          211
           23.    9            148
           24.    4            164, 165
           25.    3-10         148
            "     13-18        147
           29.    14           154
           34.    20           210
            "     27           164


            4.    12           154
            6.    2            392
            "     11           154
            7.    1            380
            "     38           151
           11.    29           132
           13.    46           154
           14.    3            154
            "     34           153
           16.    1            151
            "     19           380
            "     26           154
           17.    3            150, 154
        18-20.                 211
           18.    20           392
            "     21-28        209
           19.    11, 15, 17   392
            "     23           151
            "     34           412
           23.    10           153
           24.    15           151
            "     16           412
           24.    19           392
           25.    1            151
            "     2            153
            "     13           150
            "     14, 15, 17   392
            "     41           211
           26.    33           190
           26.   46            151
           27.   28, 29        210
            "    34            151


            1.                 171
            "    1             151
            "    21            171
            "    47-4, 49      150
            2.   10, 17        169
            3.   14            151
            "    29            169
            5.   2             154
            9.   1             151
            "    10            151
           11.   5             147
           15.   2, 18         153
            "    35            151
           16.                 169, 183
           17.   2             147
           18.   15            210
           19.   3, 14         154
           21.   14            159
           23.   19            214
           26.                 171
            "    11            170
           27.   8             151
           33.                 165
            "    2             164
            "    4             146
            "    50            151
           35.   1             151
            "    1-8           150
            "    10            153
           36.   8             151
            "    13            164


            1.   3             151
            "    37            165
            2.   10-12         160
            "    20-23         160
            3.   8, 20, 25     156
            "    14            160
            "    23-26         165
            4.   1, 5, 14      154
            "    3-15          152
            "    17            126
            "    21            165
            "    27            190
            "    39            212
            4.   46            151
            5.   3             152
            "    31            154
            6.   1, 18         154
            "    5             215
            "    9             146
            7.   1             153
            "    2             163
            "    15            148
            "    22            163
            8.   1             154
            "    7-10          148
            9.   5             209
           11.   2-8           152
            "    6             170
            "    10-12         148
            "    11            126
            "    20            146
            "    30            156
           12.   1, 10, 29     153
            "    5             161
            "    21            150
            "    31            210
           13.   1-3           199
           14.   2             216
           17.   14            153
           18.   6-8           162
            "    9             153
            "    22            199
           20.   17            163
           21.   23            377
           24.   9, 18, 22     152
           25.   17            152
           26.   1             153
            "    14            147
            "    18            216
           27.   2             146
           28.                 191
            "    25, 64        190
            "    37, 46, 48    190
            "    60            148
           29.   1             151
            "    2-9           152
           31.   2, 22, 24-26  165
            "    9, 22, 24     164
           32.   8             206
           33.   27            123


            1.   7, 8          160
            3.   14-17         183
            6.   6-20          183
            6.   15            173
            8.   31, 32        160
            9.   1, 10         156
           10.   12-14         179
           12.   7             156
           23.   26            160
           24.   26            160


            3.   4             160
            5.   4             127
            6.   15            171
            "    26            162
           11.   39            210
           20.   27, 28        160
           21.   19            160

           I. SAMUEL.

            2.   12-30        160
            3.   3            160
            4.   4            160
            6.   15           160
            "    19           171
           14.   3            160
           15.   22           161
           25.   16           178

           II. SAMUEL.

            7.   12-16        195
            8.   16           173
           10.   5            141
           11.   24           386
           12.   9            386
           24.   18           162

           I. KINGS.

            2.   3            160
            3.   2            161
            6.   14-36        147
            8.   27           213
            9.   4, 5         195
           10.   29           174
           11.   31, 40       195
           12.   24           195
           13.   2            196
           14.   15           196
           17.   21           357
           18.   27-40        183
            "    27           212
            "    32           162
           20.   30           171
           22.   43           161

           II. KINGS.

            2.   22          181
            4.   6           181
            5.   10-27       183
            6.   6           181
            7.   2           126
            "    6           174
           14.   6           160
           15.   19          176
           17.   6           177
           18.   4-6         161
            "    28-35       184
            "    18          173
           19.   10, 34      184
            "    15-18       212
            "    35          183, 184
           20.   8-11        183, 196
            "    17          196
           21.   2, 21       163
           22.               162
           23.   15, 16      196
           25.   3           177

           I. CHRONICLES.

           21.   12          184
           28.   9           215
           29.   11          213

           II. CHRONICLES.

           14.   8, 9        171
           20.   6           206
           32.   24, 31      197
           34.   8           173


            6.   12          393
            7.   21          393


            1.   8           190
            9.   6           213


           10.   4, 5        120
           11.   7           214
           12.   10          213
           16.   10          385
           29.   9           376
           34.   19          215
           36.   26          213
           37.   16          213
           33.   8-11        127


            8.   3, 4        60
           22.               384
           22.   27          218
           58.   4           134
           69.               474
           82.   6           412
           86.   9           218
           90.   2           213
          115.   4-8         212
          139.   2           213
            "    7           213
          147.   5           213
            "    8-9         178
          148.   6           214


           15.   3           213
           16.   4           213
           30.   19          126


           12.   14          215


            1.   4           378
            6.   5-10        460
            "    8           394
            8.   4           196
            9.   1-2         390
            "    6           390
           10.   21          390
           11.   9           218
           13.   4           134
            "    19-22       187
           14.   22, 23      187
           28.   29          213
           37.   16          206
           38.   8           196
           40.   3           407
            "    10          377
           41.   8           381
            "    22          199
           42.   1-6         382
           44.   6           408
            "    8           199
            "    28          196
           45.   7           213
            "    15          214
           46.   10          213
           48.   3-5         199
            "    12          213
           49.   3-5         382
            "    6-7         382
           51.   9           377
           52.   13-53, 12   376


            7.   22          161
            8.   8           155
            9.   16          190
           14.   14          155
           23.   24          213
           24.   9           190
           26.   8-16        196
           29.   10          196
            "    18          190
           30.   11          190
           31.   35-37       190
           32.   17          213
           50.   13, 39, 40  187


            4.   4           385


           11.   5           213
           13.   7           155
           22.   15          190
           29.   11-13       189
            "    15          188
           30.   7, 13       189
           34.   23          383


            3.   20-27       183
            4.   6           393
            5.   1           174
            8.   1           174
            9.   21          311
            9.   26          196
           11.               196
           12.   2           465


            4.   4-6         160
            6.   6           161
            8.   1, 12, 13   160
            9.   4           160
            "    17          190
           12.   9           160


            2.   31          145


            2.   4, 11       160
            3.   6           213
            4.   1           385
            "    4, 5        160
            5.   8           213
            "    21-25       160
            8.   5           160
            9.   9           190


            5.   2           391


            3.   7           187
            "    8           178


            2.   11          218
            2.   13-14       187


            3.   8           383
            9.   9           392
           11.   12-13       392
           12.   10          392
           13.   7           392
           14.   9           392


            3.   6           214
            "    10          126

           II. ESDRAS.

            8.   3           262


            1.   22          389
            2.   1           318
            3.   3           407
            "    17          268
            5.   3, 10       261
            "    24          273
            "    39          398
            6.   14          401
            7.   13, 23      465
            7.   22          359, 403
            8.   3           356
            "    12          465
            "    30-32       352
            9.   9           275
            "    33          361
            "    34          367
           10.   8           283
            "    17, 22      433
            "    28          472
            "    32          403
            "    33          465
           11.   21-24       350
            "    4           350
            "    5           283
            "    25-27       281
            "    27          402
           12.   24          367
            "    31, 32      460
            "    32          465
            "    42          268
           13.   41          402, 403
            "    42, 50      465
            "    58          358
           14.   13          284
           15.   26          386
           16.   13-16       402
            "    17          304
            "    18          433
            "    21          317
            "    27          403, 468
            "    28          273
           18.   6           478
            "    8           465
            "    20          404
           19.   12          399
            "    26          32
            "    28          403
           20.   28          402
           21.   43          273
           22.   11          400
            "    14          261
            "    17          272
           23.   37          283
           24.   3, 29       274
            "    16          274
            "    30          403
            "    31          402
            "    36          281
           25.   31-46       403
            "    41, 46      465
           26.   28          402
            "    39          32
            "    52          386
            "    61          284
            "    62          378
            "    64          403
            "    65          412
           27.   8           274
            "    14          378
           27.   43          390
            "    63-64       303
           28.   4, 11       311
            "    16, 7, 10   313
            "    9           337
            "    10, 19      386
            "    15          274, 337
            "    17          334
            "    18          402
            "    19, 20      404
            "    19          262, 281, 433, 461


            1.   3           407
            "    5           368
            "    11          268
            "    14-20       278
            "    20          285
            "    34          355
            "    42          356
            2.   10          350
            3.   1-5         359
            "    10          355
            "    12          358
            "    22          367
            "    28, 29      460
            "    29          465
            5.   11-13       352
            "    39          358
            "    41          354
            "    42          361
            "    43          358
            6.   5-6         358
            "    31          284
            "    56          355
            7.   34          354
            "    36          358
            "    37          361
            9.   1           273
            "    31          317
            "    48          465
           10.   18          405
           10.   24          378
            "    45          402
           11.   10          366
           12.   29          460
           13.   7, 10       273
            "    13          433
            "    14          274
            "    24          274
            "    32          281, 405
           14.   9           273
            "    24          402
            "    28          311
            "    51          275
            "    58          284
            "    64          412
           16.   7           313
            "    8           311
            "    11          312
            "    11-14       334
            "    13          312
            "    14          322
            "    15          433
            "    16          477
            "    17          359


            1.   1           276
            "    1-4         271
            "    2-3         272
            "    3           295,313
            "    25          311
            2.   2           266
            "    52          405
            3.   1           268
            "    4           407
            "    22          268
            5.   17-21       360
            "    25          356
            6.   36-38       261
            7.   14          357
            "    22          283, 350
            8.   32-33       352
            "    55          356
            9.   10          284
            "    27          273
           10.   13-15       350
            "    21, 22      281
            "    22          402
            "    38          283
           11.   15          367
            "    31          268
           13.               453
            "    10-17       359
            "    34          283
           14.   21-22       309
           16.   8           399
           17.   1-2         261
           18.   33          317
            "    42          358
            "    43          356
           19.   37          283
            "    37-38       392
            "    43          299
           21.   21          274
            "    24          273
            "    27          274
           22.   19          402
            "    71          412
           24.   4, 23       311
            "    9, 33       322
            "    11          311
            "    11, 37      334
            "    12          318
            "    18          276
            "    24          318
            "    30, 43      337
            "    34          312, 313, 321
            "    41          322
            "    39          261


            1.   1           286, 407
            "    3           409
            "    14          277
            "    29-2, 12    278
            "    29, 36      286
            "    40          276
            "    46          377
            2.   11          360
            "    13          280
            "    17, 22      278
            "    19          284
            "    19-21       317
            3.   13          404
            "    16          476
            "    24          281
            4.   27          278
            5.   1           280
            "    2           277
            "    9           356
            "    9-16        359
            "    18          411
            5.   23          403
            "    27          473
            "    36          350
            6.   4           280, 284
            "    15          366
            "    38          404
            "    42, 70      281
            "    51          472
            "    62          314
            7.   5           325
            8.   12          434
            "    24          477
            "    29          401
            "    58          404
            "    59          411
            9.   8-34        353
            "    13-34       362
            "    14-16       359
            "    32          361
           10.   18          241, 381
            "    30          404
            "    33          411
           11.   8           411
            "    11          358
            "    47          362
           12.   32          434
            "    45          404
           13.   28          278
           14.   1, 23       403
            "    9           404
            "    16, 26      460
            "    28          406
           15.   26          460
           16.   7           403
            "    17          278
            "    28          404
           17.   5           404
            "    21          404
           18.   15          276, 285
           19.   7           412
            "    28-30       385
            "    34          343
            "    35          277
           20.   2, 13       318
            "    6-8         318
            "    17          314, 406
            "    25          334
            "    26          303
            "    28          407
            "    30          306, 313
            "    31          282
           21.   5           378
           21.   12          322
            "    13          337
            "    15          322


            1.   1           419
            "    1-13        307
            "    3           296, 306, 310, 327
            "    6           309
            "    8           321
            "    13          275
            "    15          307
            "    22          303, 309, 322
            "    22-23       307
            2.   22          362, 407
            "    24          302
            "    31          303
            "    38          462
            "    41          338
            "    43-47       386
            3.   6           408
            "    13          383
            "    15          379, 344
            "    21          296
            4.   5-22        362
            "    10          302, 408
            "    12          477
            "    16          362
            "    37          275
            5.   3, 4        460
            "    30          302
            "    37          267
            6.   5           295
            7.   59          408
            8.   5, 26, 40   295
            "    16          462
            9.   7           339
            "    10          332
           10.   10          332
            "    30          333
            "    38          362
            "    40          302
            "    41          337, 348
           11.   5           333
           12.   1           289
            "    12          275
           13.   1           419
            "    7           288
            "    30          302
            "    31          306, 310, 315
            "    35-37       303
           14.   1-12        291
           15.   7, 14       322
           16.   9           332
            "    9-40        294
            "    18, 26      362
            "    31          477
           17.   6           290
            "    17          418
            "    19, 32      456
            "    28          109
            "    31          302
            "    34          419
           18.   8, 24       419
            "    12          289
            "    25          462
           19.   3           461
            "    9-10        418
            "    21          293
            "    29-39       292
            "    38          289
           20.   2           294
            "    5-21, 18    294
            "    25, 38      299
            "    28          408
           21.   10          295
            "    18          272
           22.   9           339
            "    17          333
           23.   26          289, 419
           24.   3           419
            "    17          293
           25.   13, 14, 23  290
            "    26          289
           26.   23          302
            "    8           456
            "    19, 8       304
            "    13, 14      339
            "    23          245
            "    30          289
           27.   1-28, 16    294
           28.   6, 8, 9     362
            "    7           290
            "    25          460


            2.   6           468
            6.   23          472
            8.   26          460
            "    8, 29       78
            "    35          328
            9.   5           410
           10.   9           477
           13.   4           386
           14.   9           410
            "    10          410
           15.   18, 19      363
            "    19          294
            "    25, 26      293
            "    30          463
           16.   23          419

           I. CORINTHIANS.

            1.   23          417
            2.   8           405
            "    10          460
            4.   9-13        328
            6.   12          479
            8.   4           460
            8.   6           410
            9.   1           303, 333
           10.   2           462
           12.   9-10, 28    370
           15.   1-3         306
            "    3           410
            "    4           303
            "    3-5         304
            "    5           322
            "    8           333
            "    11          306, 314
            "    14-17       303
            "    15          329
            "    20          245
            "    50          304
           16.   23          462

           II. CORINTHIANS.

            3.   17          460
            5.   10          410
            "    16          302
            "    21          410
            8.   18          300
           11.   24-27       328
           12.   12          363
           13.   14          462


            1.   8-9         474
            "    13          328
            "    16          304
            "    16-17       333
            "    19          306, 409
            "    23          409
            2.   2           409
            3.   13          377
            "    28          427
            4.   4           239
            6.   18          462


            4.   4-6         410, 463
            6.   12          304
            "    23          462


            2.   6           410
            4.   3           260


            1.   15-16       409
            "    17          109
            "    18          245
            "    20          471
            2.   9           410
            4.   10          275
            "    14          296


            1.   3-5         463

           I TIMOTHY.

            1.   13          479
            4.   10          471

           II TIMOTHY.

            1.   13          475
            4.   7           476
            "    11          296
            "    20          299


            2.   13          410


                 24          296


            1.   3           404
            "    8           410
            9.   14          460

           I PETER.

            1.   2           463
            "    19          477
            4.   14          434

           II PETER.

            3.   10          437

           I JOHN.

            1.   1           277, 286
            2.   2           471
            4.   2-3         478


                 20-21       463


            1.   5           245
            "    17, 18      408
            "    18          344
            2.   8           408
            "    13, 25      475
            3.   11          475
            "    14          409
            5.   11-14       408
            "    13          471
            6.   1           286
           13.   18          255
           14.   1           286
            "    11          465
           17.   6           298
           19.   13          286
           20.   15          465
           22.   13          408



    Abila, inscription at, 268
    Abraham, trust in God, 205, 210
      ---- promises to, 374
    Account of creation, 117
    Acts of Apostles, 287
      ---- accuracy, 288
      ---- authorship, 294
      ---- medical language, 296
      ---- date, 297
      ---- and Christ's Divinity, 407
      ---- of Pilate, 365
    Adam and Eve, 132
    Additions to Pentateuch, 159
    Agreements, undesigned, 168
      ---- in Gospels, 315
    Agrippa, called King, 289
    Amalek, threat against, 164
    Ambition, the great, 451
    Amos, 160
    Analogies and illustrations:
      ---- watch showing design, 12
      ---- mass of machinery, 22
      ---- house and tenant, 31
      ---- ship in distress, 36
      ---- king and child, 67
      ---- bird in egg, 89
      ---- telegraph clerk, 91
      ---- Mont Cenis tunnel, 102
      ---- telephone, 105
      ---- clock and magnet, 107
      ---- artist and pictures, 126
      ---- diseases of Normandy, 148
      ---- similar letters, 227
      ---- man's nature, 232
      ---- parents and children, 234
      ---- paying a debt, 242
      ---- regiments crossing, 245
      ---- whirlpool, 248
      ---- Indian Mutiny, 299
      ---- ingenious robbery, 399
      ---- founding a religion, 416
      ---- going for a holiday, 439
      ---- prayer to a father, 441
      ---- trees and storm, 447
      ---- key fitting lock, 450
      ---- planting a flower, 466
      ---- quicksands, 474
      ---- doctor and fever, 474
      ---- scarlet fever, 482
      ---- long frontier line, 484
    Angels, their existence, 202
      ---- their influence, 203
      ---- at tomb, 310, 345
      ---- seen by the women, 310
      ---- and by soldiers, 311
      ---- not fellow-creators, 394
      ---- seeing and hearing, 202
      ---- are Christ's angels, 402
      ---- casting out evil, 351
    Animals, their creation, 131
      ---- difference from man, 51
      ---- cannot know man, 227
      ---- not immortal, 91
      ---- their sufferings, 69
    Antioch, inscription at, 267
    Antiquity of man, 132
    Apocryphal Gospels, 354
    Apollos of Alexandria, 418
    Apostasy, under trial, 475
    Apostolic Fathers, 260
    Aramaic words of Christ, 354
    Archæology and O. Test, 172
    Arianism, 475
    Aristides, 259, 364
    Aristion, 258, 305
    Ark, 147
    Arm of the Lord, 377
    Artist and pictures, 126
    Ascension, the, 314
      ---- and early converts, 344
    Ashdod, taken by Sargon, 176
    Assyria, prophecies as to, 187
      ---- army destroyed, 184
    Athanasian Creed, warnings, 473
    Athanasian Creed, implies persecution, 475
      ---- dogmatism, 479
    Atonement, doctrine of, 240
      ---- prophecies as to, 379
      ---- and human nature, 447
      ---- and other religions, 454

    Baal and Jehovah, 183
    Baalbec, inscription at, 268
    Babylonia, prophecies, 187
      ---- messengers from, 197
    Baker, the chief, 140
    Baptismal formula, 461
      ---- witness of St. Paul, 461
      ---- of Teaching, 262, 461
    Baptist (see John), 279
    Barnabas, epistle of, 261
    Bashan, bulls of, 385
    Battering-rams, 192
    Beauterne as to Napoleon, 251
    Bees, cells of, 52
      ---- not due to heredity, 53
    Belief, importance of true, 473
      ---- virtue not necessity, 487
    Belshazzar, 174
    Beneficence in nature, 59
      ---- and righteousness, 80
      ---- in Jewish Religion, 214
      ---- and in Christian, 242
    Bernice, 290
    Berosus, as to Nabonidus, 174
      ---- as to Sennacherib, 185
    Bethany, 283
    Bethel, altar at, 196
    Bethesda, pool at, 277
    Bethlehem, Birth at, 391
    'Beyond Jordan', 156
    Bible, mistakes in O. Test., 170
      ---- in N. Test., 268
      ---- inspiration, 437
    Bible and Nat. Religion, 200
    Blasphemy against Spirit, 460
      ---- Christ charged with, 412
    Blood and water, 343, 385
    Book of the Law, 162
    Books buried in temples, 163
    Bread, miracle as to, 108
    Bricks with straw, 144
    Brotherhood of man, 48
    Butler, 431
    By-product, pain is a, 60

    Cæsar, no early MSS., 253
    Cæsarea, Philip at, 295
    Calmness of Evangelists, 317
    Canaan, its peculiarities, 148
    Canaanites destroyed, 209
      ---- but done gradually, 163
    Cannibalism at Jerusalem, 192
    Capernaum, centurion at, 360
    Cats and mice, 70
    Cause, must be free, 33
    Cells of bees, 52
      ---- built by workers, 53
    Celsus, Christ's miracles, 367
    Cenis, tunnel in Mont, 102
    Census of Israelites, 171
      ---- at Christ's birth, 266
    Centurion at Capernaum, 360
    Certainty not necessity, 27
    Chabas, 143
    Chance, really impossible, 21
    Change of place in Acts I, 310
    Changelessness, moral, 111
    Character of God, 58
      ---- of man, 39
      ---- its permanence, 88
    Chiefman of Malta, 290, 361
    Child of God, man is a, 236
    Child's belief, 478
      ---- temptations, 87
    Chorazin, its significance, 350
    Christ, His character, 396
      ---- teaching, 397
      ---- sinlessness, 400
      ---- in Old Test, 380, 388
      ---- always pleasing God, 401
      ---- claims, 401
      ---- sufferings unmerited, 241
      ---- His temptations, 447
      ---- foretold Resurrection, 317
      ---- beginning of creation, 409
      ---- seeing Him seeing God, 404
      ---- influence in world, 434
      ---- prophecies as to, 374
      ---- the perfect Example, 236
      ---- the Jewish Messiah, 375
      ---- the Paschal Lamb, 380
      ---- the One Mediator, 454
      ---- the only Saviour, 476
      ---- (see Divinity), 403, 459
    Christiana, sand storm, 146
    Christianity, meaning of, 3, 221
      ---- its leading doctrines, 222
      ---- its improbability, 249, 488
    Christianity, preparation for, 422
      ---- based on miracles, 435
      ---- and the Resurrection, 302
      ---- its early triumphs, 416
      ---- its later history, 425
      ---- effect on world, 426
      ---- future prospects, 430
      ---- its indestructibility, 432
      ---- and prayer, 437
      ---- and human nature, 445
      ---- and other religions, 452
      ---- its evidences, 483
      ---- unspeakable grandeur, 485
      ---- no half measures, 488
    Classical writers, miracles, 368
      ---- no early MSS., 253
    Clement of Rome, Gospels, 261
    Cleopas, 276
    Clock and magnet, 107
    Closed questions, 481
    Coincidences, superhuman, 100
    Communion, Holy, 386, 402
    Conscience, man has a, 50
      ---- the Voice of God, 50
    Conservation of energy, 46
    Constantine's vision, 335
    Conversion, St. Paul's, 306
      ---- effect on companions, 339
      ---- Christ unrecognised, 340
    Converts, early, 418
    Crabs, and sense of pain, 70
    Creation, 4
      ---- account of, in Genesis, 117
      ---- days of, 119
      ---- on three occasions, 123, 136
      ---- and evolution, 24
    Creator, meaning of term, 8
    Credentials, of messenger, 98
    Credible, meaning of, 99
    Creeping things, 131
    Crispus of Corinth, 418
    Crucifixion, Psalm of the, 384
      ---- no Jewish punishment, 388
    Cyprus, proconsul at, 288
    Cyrenius (see Quirinius), 266

    Damnatory clauses, 473
    Dana on Genesis I, 136
    Daniel, Book of, 174
    Darkness over land, 368
    Darwin, 71
    David, his character, 208
      ---- not subject of Ps. 22, 388
    Days of creation, 119
    Dead body of Christ, 337
      ---- offerings for, 147
    Death, 448
    Decalogue, its excellence, 211
      ---- preserved in temple, 215
    Definitions, credible, 99
      ---- design, 10
      ---- dogmatism, 479
      ---- evolution, 20
      ---- free force, 4
      ---- instinct, 52
      ---- law of nature, 19
      ---- material universe, 4
      ---- miracles, 101
      ---- natural force, 20
      ---- omnipotence, 32
      ---- omniscience, 32
      ---- origin, 4
      ---- personal being, 30
      ---- revelation, 82
      ---- supernatural force, 9
    Degradation of energy, 7
    Delphi, inscription at, 289
    Demoniacal possession, 351
    Desert, of Shur, 143
      ---- laws suitable for, 149
      ---- journeys in, 165
      ---- wind, 145
    Design, meaning of, 10
      ---- evidence in a watch, 12
      ---- in an eye, 14
      ---- throughout nature, 18
      ---- beneficent, 59
      ---- need not be desire, 74
      ---- man can, 47
      ---- animals cannot, 52
      ---- and instinct, 52
    Destruction of Canaanites, 209
      ---- done gradually, 163
      ---- of wicked, 471
    Determinism, 43
    Deuteronomy, finding of, 162
    Dial, shadow on, 196
    Diana of Ephesus, 292
    Diatessaron of Tatian, 257
    Diet in Egypt, 147
    Difficulties not explained
      ---- as to Adam and Eve, 132
      ---- number of Israelites, 171
      ---- swine at Gadara, 352
      ---- vows in Ps. 22, 386
      ---- virginity, 399
    Difficulties, endless misery, 470
      ---- known and unknown, 494
    Dionysius the Areopagite, 418
    Discoveries, modern, 172
    Discrepancies in Gospels, 268
      ---- in Fourth Gospel, 282
      ---- as to Resurrection, 309
      ---- essential agreement, 315
    Diseases of Egypt, 148, 193
    Dishonesty in E, J, P, and D, 158
    Dispersion of Jews, 189, 217
    Divinity of Christ, 403, 459
      ---- witness of Synoptists, 407
      ---- of St. John, 407
      ---- of Acts, 407
      ---- of Revelation, 408
      ---- of St. Paul's Epistles, 409
      ---- of Hebrews, 410
      ---- of Aristides, 365
      ---- of Christ's foes, 411
      ---- of Pliny, 418
      ---- of Jewish prophecies, 390
      ---- of Holy Spirit, 459
    Dogmatism, objection to, 479
    Dogs, term for Gentiles, 385
    Doors of the sea, 126
    Doubts of Resurrection, 334
    Dreams, 92
      ---- of Pharaoh, 140
    Driver, 157, 159
    Dry land, appearance of, 127
    Dualism in old religions, 119
      ---- unknown to Jews, 213
      ---- and endless misery, 466

    Eagle, Roman ensign, 191
    Earth likened to machine, 22
    Earthquakes, 74
    Edersheim and Isaiah, 53, 381
      ---- and Psalm 22, 387
    Edomite kings, list of,     159
    Effect, the world is an, 37
    Egypt, prophecies as to, 188
      ---- magicians of, 182
      ---- diseases of, 148, 193
      ---- gods of, 146
      ---- religion of, 454
      ---- and the Pentateuch, 138
      ---- return of Jews to, 194
      ---- periodical census, 267
    Elephantine, temple at, 162
    Eleven, the, ancient term, 322
    Elijah's sacrifice, 100, 183
    Elisha, trivial miracles of, 181
    Elohim, plural word, 393
    Embalming Christ's body, 334
    Emperor called lord, 289
    Encyclopædia Britannica, 15, 53
    End of the world, 437
    Endless happiness, 470
      ---- misery, 464
    Enemies, doing good to, 211
    Energy, degradation of, 7
      ---- conservation of, 46
    Ephesus, riot at, 292
      ---- St. Paul's discussions, 418
      ---- farewell to friends, 299
    Epistles of St. Paul, four admittedly genuine, 282
      ---- accuracy of Acts, 293
      ---- the Resurrection, 303
      ---- St. Paul's sufferings, 328
      ---- Christian miracles, 363
      ---- Divinity of Christ, 410
      ---- doctrine of Trinity, 462
      ---- spread of Christianity, 418
    Erastus of Corinth, 418
    Erech, inscription at, 174
    Erect position, man's, 65
    Eternal punishment, 464
    Eternity, 450
    Ether, 226, 246
    Euclid, 40
    Eusebius, as to Papias, 259
      ---- Quadratus, 364
      ---- Jews going to Pella, 275
    Evangelists educated, 275
      ---- had known Christ, 302
    Everlasting Father and Son, 225
      ---- in Isaiah, 391
    Everyone's work no one's, 348
    Evidences, Christian, 483
    Evil, existence of, 69
      ---- physical, 69, 72
      ---- moral, 75
      ---- Jewish idea of, 213
      ---- men, 77
      ---- spirits, 351
    Evolution, meaning of, 20
      ---- requires a Cause, 7
      ---- requires a Designer, 23
      ---- requires a motive, 84
      ---- implies involution, 23
    Evolution and mind, 65
      ---- and immortality, 85
      ---- a form of creation, 24
      ---- leads up to man, 65
      ---- and the Incarnation, 239
      ---- in revelation, 93, 206
      ---- in prophecies, 375
      ---- in account of Creation, 122
    Experience and miracles, 103
    Eye, its marks of design, 14
      ---- shows beneficence, 59
    Ezekiel, prophecy of Egypt, 188

    Faith, faculty of, 485
      ---- and miracles, 358
    Falsehood Theory, the, 326
      ---- not now adopted, 329
    Famines in Egypt, 141
      ---- at Jerusalem, 192
    Farewell, Christ's double, 309
    Feeding the 5,000 credible, 108
      ---- in triple tradition, 269
      ---- undesigned coincidence, 284
      ---- public miracle, 361
      ---- rationalistic view, 370
    Feet pierced, 343
    Felix and Festus, 289
    'Fellow,' meaning of, 392
    Fellowship and personality, 229
    Fig-tree, the barren, 354
    Final state of wicked, 463
    Firmament, or expanse, 125
    Firstborn from dead, 245
      ---- of Creation, 409
      ---- death of the, 146
    First Cause single, 8
      ---- supernatural, 9
      ---- needed no cause, 8
    First Witnesses, the, 325
    Fishes and birds, 130
    Five hundred, appearance, 307
      ---- explains Gospels, 321
    Flesh and blood, 304
    Flood, parallel passages, 159
    Forces and causes, 33
    Foreknowledge, free will, 26
      ---- and omniscience, 32
      ---- and prophecies, 99
      ---- and prayer, 439
      ---- and endless misery, 468
      ---- differs from foresight, 11
      ---- from foreordaining, 78
      ---- in man, foreguessing, 26
    Forgiveness of sins, 242
    Fourth Gospel, authorship, 277
      ---- and other three, 280
      ---- and Revelation, 285
    Free force, meaning of a, 4
    Free will, foreknowledge, 26
      ---- of man, 43
      ---- of animals, 52
      ---- of angels, 203
      ---- source of all force, 46
      ---- its introduction, 123
      ---- makes evil possible, 76
      ---- difficulties as to, 466
      ---- in religious belief, 487
    Fruit-trees making fruit, 122
    Fulfilled among us, 276
    Future life (_see_ Immortality and Resurrection).

    Gabriel, man and angel, 311
    Gadara, miracle at, 269, 352
    Galilee, appearance in, 307
    Gallio, proconsul, 289
    Generations, meaning, 122
    Genesis, the Creation in, 117
      ---- refers to Egypt, 138
      ---- partly written there, 142
    Gentiles, conversion, 380, 388, 393
      ---- called dogs, 385
    Geography of Palestine, 173
    Gibbon and Christianity, 420
    Gifts brought to the altar, 272
    God, meaning of term, 30
      ---- argument from causation, 4
      ---- from design, 10
      ---- moral argument, 58
      ---- three combined, 81, 229
      ---- no physical proof, 31
      ---- a Personal Being, 30
      ---- who loves man, 234
      ---- Power, 32, 213, 228, 440, 465
      ---- Wisdom 32, 213, 228, 441
      ---- Goodness, 79, 214, 228, 242, 441
      ---- bearing on miracles, 112
      ---- and on the Trinity, 229
      ---- emphasized by Christianity, 235
      ---- three attributes combined, 80, 112, 199, 235, 488
      ---- Justice, 204, 466
    God, and Mercy, 468
      ---- bearing on Atonement, 241
      ---- Love, 229
      ---- bearing on Trinity, 229
      ---- Greatness, 61
      ---- Omnipresence, 33, 213
      ---- Unknowable, 33, 214, 226
      ---- bearing on revelation, 94
      ---- Unchangeable, 110, 214
      ---- bearing on miracles, 110
      ---- and the Incarnation, 231
      ---- Omnipotent, 32
      ---- Eternal, 213
      ---- Creator of Universe, 8
      ---- and its Preserver, 33
      ---- Jewish idea of, 204
      ---- faith in, 486
      ---- (_see_ Immanence)
      ---- (_see_ Trinity)
    Goodness, God's, 80, 214, 228
      ---- not below man's, 80, 235
      ---- man's, 48
      ---- depends on free will, 76
      ---- its infinite value, 76
    Gospels, the Four, 252
      ---- external testimony, 252
      ---- internal evidence, 265
      ---- evidence of Acts, 287
      ---- probable date, 300
      ---- (_see_ Synoptics, Fourth)
    Governor, title of, 289
    Grape-juice in Egypt, 140
    Grave-clothes at tomb, 345
      ---- by themselves, 318
    Gravity, force, universal, 8
      ---- known by effects, 35
      ---- an assumption, 46
    Great ambition, 451
      ---- alternative, 413
      ---- surprise, 449
    Greek philosophy, 423
    Green grass, mentioned, 284
    Guard at the tomb, 337

    Harnack, unity of Acts, 295
      ---- date of Gospels, 300
      ---- as to Town Clerk, 292
    Healing, gifts of, 370
    Hebrews, Christ's Divinity, 410
      ---- land of the, 156
    Hengstenberg, 387
    Herod, Agrippa, death of, 288
    Herod, called king, 289
    Hezekiah, his sickness, 196
      ---- not subject of Ps. 22, 388
    Hittites, 174
    Holy Communion, 386, 402
    Holy Spirit, the, 230
      ---- Divinity of, 459
    Horses, time of Joseph, 141
    Horus myth, and Christ, 454
    Human sacrifices in O.T., 210
      ---- and Atonement, 240
    Hume on experience, 104
    Hurtful organs in nature, 59
    Huxley on the Creeds, 249

    Iconium, 291
    Ignatius, 261
      ---- knowing, believing, 263
    Illusions, not simultaneous, 335
    Illyricum, 293
    Image and likeness, 134
    Immanence, God's, 109
      ---- and Evolution, 23
      ---- and secondary forces, 33
      ---- and miracles, 109
      ---- and the Incarnation, 239
      ---- and prayer, 440
    Immortality, man's, 83
      ---- from unique position, 84
      ---- unjust treatment, 87
      ---- vast capabilities, 88
      ---- inherent belief, 90
      ---- counter-arguments, 91
      ---- and human nature, 448
      ---- in Egyptian religion, 455
    Incarnation, doctrine of, 230
      ---- its difficulties, 231
      ---- its motive, 233
      ---- historical position, 238
      ---- and evolution, 239
      ---- and human nature, 447
      ---- and other religions, 452
    Indian Mutiny, 299
    Infinitely little, 64
    Inhabitants, other planets, 67
    Inherent convictions, man's, 39
      ---- as to mind, 41
      ---- free will, 44
      ---- responsibility, 47
      ---- sin, 48
      ---- immortality, 90
      ---- prayer, 438
    Inscriptions at Erech, 174
    Inscriptions, at Mugheir, 174
      ----Khorsabad, 176
      ---- Tivoli, 266
      ---- Antioch, 267
      ---- Baalbec, 268
      ---- Abila, 268
      ---- Soli, Cyprus, 289
      ---- Delphi, 289
      ---- Malta, 290
      ---- Thessalonica, 290
      ---- Lystra, 291
      ---- Ephesus, 292
    Insignificance of man, 60
      ---- counter-arguments, 61
      ---- real importance, 64
    Instincts of animals, 52
    Invertebrates, in Genesis, 131
    Involution and evolution, 23
    Irenæus and Gospels, 254
      ---- Polycarp, 254
      ---- Papias, 258
      ---- date of Revelation, 285
      ---- value of prophecy, 367
    Isaac, sacrifice of, 210
    Isaiah, mentions Sargon, 176
      ---- test of a prophet, 199
      ---- prophecy of Babylon, 187
      ---- of Jerusalem, 196
      ---- of the Messiah, 377
      ---- of His Divinity, 391
      ---- implies the Trinity, 394
    Israel, God's selection of, 204
      ---- going through cities of, 273
    Israelites, great number, 171

    Jacob's character, 208
    Jairus' daughter, 353, 358, 360
    James, St., Christ's brother, 272
      ---- unbeliever, 325
    Japan, becoming Christian, 430
    Jehovah adored by millions, 218
      ---- identified with Christ, 407
      ---- and with Holy Spirit, 460
    Jehu not son of Omri, 176
    Jephthah's daughter, 210
    Jericho, discoveries at, 173
    Jeroboam's rebellion, 195
    Jerusalem, first destruction foretold, 196
      ---- accuracy of date, 177
      ---- and second, 191, 274
      ---- later than Gospels, 275
    Jerusalem, later than Acts, 299
      ---- hint to leave, 274
    Jewish Prophecies, Egypt, 188
      ---- Assyria, 187
      ---- Babylonia, 187
      ---- dispersion of Jews, 189
      ---- the Messiah, 374
    Jewish Religion, its origin, 137
      ---- its partiality, 204
      ---- its miracles, 177
      ---- its prophecies, 186
      ---- influence in world, 217
      ---- and Natural Religion, 216
    Jews, dispersion of, 189
      ---- a peculiar people, 217
      ---- all from one man, 216
      ---- use of term, 280
    John, St., his call, 278
      ---- author of Gospel, 279
      ---- the Baptist, 279
      ---- and Christ's miracles, 350
    Jordan, beyond, 156
    Joseph in Egypt, 139
    Josephus, witness to Acts, 289
      ---- as to Sennacherib, 185
      ---- as to crucifixion, 342
      ---- siege of Jerusalem, 191
      ---- date of the taxing, 266
    Josiah and Deuteronomy, 162
    Journeys in Desert, 165
    Jubilee, year of, 150
    Judges and Pentateuch, 160
    Justice, God's, 204, 466
    Justin, witness to Gospels, 255
      ---- Book of Revelation, 285
      ---- guard at tomb, 337
      ---- Christ's miracles, 365
      ---- prefers prophecy, 365
      ---- the Name, persecuted, 434
      ---- Acts of Pilate, 365

    King of the Jews, 392
    Kings did not use plural, 393
    Korah, rebellion of, 169
    Koran, Christ's miracles, 424
      ---- authorises force, 428
    Krishna myth, and Christ, 452

    Lamb of God, 286
      ---- Paschal, 380
    Land animals, 131
    Laws, of nature, 19
      ---- in Pentateuch, 149
    Laymen offering sacrifice, 162
    Lazarus, raising of, 370
      ---- only in one Gospel, 283
      ---- well-known man, 360
      ---- case of resuscitation, 245
    Lecky, on Christ's teaching, 398
    Legend Theory, the, 329
      ---- disproved by Gospels, 329
      ---- and St. Paul's Epistles, 330
    Legislation, Jewish, 149
    Levi ben Gershon, 180
    Levites, 150, 162
    Life, origin of, in Genesis, 128
      ---- science and, 122
      ---- forms three groups, 55
    Light before the sun, 129
    Logos in Revelation, 286
      ---- among Greeks, 423
    Lord, and God, 407
      ---- title or emperor, 289
    Lord's Day, 303
      ---- Servant, the, 376
    Lost Gospel, 262
    Love, of God, 229
      ---- must be free, 235
      ---- motive of Religion, 451
    Luke, St., a doctor, 296
      ---- wrote Gospel, 275
      ---- wrote Acts, 294
      ---- perhaps at Emmaus, 276
      ---- witnessed miracles, 362
    Lycaonia, the cities of, 291
    Lysanias, 268
    Lystra, inscriptions at, 291

    Magicians of Egypt, 182
    Magnet and clock, 107
    Mohammedanism, 213
      ---- unlike Christianity, 424
      ---- and Christ's miracles, 424
      ---- authorises force, 428
    Malchus, 360
    Malta, title 'chiefman', 290
    Man, mental attributes, 39
      ---- moral attributes, 41
      ---- memory, 41
      ---- free will, 43
      ---- responsibility, 47
      ---- moral sense, 48
      ---- conscience, 50
      ---- personal being, 47
    Man, moral being, 49
      ---- bearing on Christianity, 239
      ---- his Unique position, 45, 65
      ---- due to mind, and spirit, 66
      ---- greater than stars, 66
      ---- bearing on revelation, 94
      ---- each man unique, 62, 133
      ---- and irreplaceable, 63
      ---- character, permanent, 88
      ---- tripartite nature, 55
      ---- end of creation, 65, 84
      ---- also its first thought, 66
      ---- his probation, 85
      ---- scandal of universe, 244
      ---- seems insignificant, 60
      ---- real importance, 64
      ---- bearing on Incarnation, 239
      ---- immortality of spirit, 83
      ---- resurrection of body, 247
      ---- creation in Genesis, 132
      ---- not created good, 86, 133
      ---- antiquity, 132
      ---- differs from animals, 51
      ---- his erect position, 65
      ---- resembles God, 56, 133, 234
      ---- child of God, 236
      ---- bearing on Incarnation, 232
      ---- his ignorance, 6, 17, 34
      ---- bearing on miracles, 108
      ---- and on Christianity, 249
    Manaen, 418
    Marcion, Luke's Gospel, 257
    Mardukshazzar, 175
    Mark, St., wrote Gospel, 275
      ---- interpreter of Peter, 259
      ---- earliest of Four, 269
      ---- at Gethsemane, 275
      ---- witness to miracles, 355
      ---- their sitting at meat, 320
    Martha, 283
    Mary Magd. first witness, 316
      ---- not expecting it, 334
    Material universe, meaning, 4
    Materialism, 40
    Materials, same everywhere, 68
    Matter, perhaps eternal, 6
      ---- certainly a mystery, 34
      ---- indestructible, 83
      ---- not solid, 245
    Matthew, St., wrote Gospel, 275
    Mediator, Christ the, 454
    Medical language in Acts, 296
    Memory, and materialism, 41
      ---- in heaven, 470
    Menephthah, 143
    Mercy, God's, 468
    Mesmerism, 351
    Messiah, Jewish, 374
    Meteorite, 100, 292
    Micah, prophecy of, 391
    Michael, 203
    Microscope, 64
    Mill, on Christ's teaching, 397
    Mind of man, 39
      ---- shows his importance, 66
    Miracles, 101
      ---- as marvels, 103
      ---- and experience, 103
      ---- as special works, 106
      ---- as signs, 110
      ---- not mere wonders, 101, 103
      ---- natural means supernaturally applied, 107
      ---- in Jewish religion, 177
      ---- to benefit mankind, 200
      ---- their publicity, 185
      ---- some seem trivial, 181
      ---- in Christian religion, 349
      ---- their credibility, 349
      ---- not worked to order, 350
      ---- their truthfulness, 353
      ---- their naturalness, 355
      ---- their number, 355
      ---- their variety, 355
      ---- their suddenness, 356
      ---- their permanence, 356
      ---- order to keep secret, 358
      ---- on the Sabbath, 359
      ---- their publicity, 360
      ---- names often given, 360
      ---- caused astonishment, 361
      ---- peculiarity of Christ's, 357
      ---- conditional on faith, 358
      ---- publicly admitted, 362
      ---- St. Peter's appeal to, 362
      ---- and Acts of Pilate, 365
      ---- how explained away, 369
      ---- Apostolic, St. Paul's, 363
      ---- witnessed by St. Luke, 362
      ---- in Christ's name, 408
      ---- helped Christianity, 421
      ---- Mohammed did none, 424
    Miracles, not to be prayed for, 443
      ---- later Christian, 371
    Missionaries and prayer, 438
      ---- of the Resurrection, 347
    Missions, 430
    Mistakes in O. Test., 170
      ---- in N. Test., 268
    Monkey and evolution, 23
    Monotheism, of Jews, 212
      ---- in account of creation, 118
    Moral sense, 48
      ---- perfection, 67
      ---- difficulties in O. Test., 208
      ---- in N. Testament, 399
    Morality, Christian, 422
    Moses wrote Pentateuch, 164
      ---- an Egyptian name, 143
    Mugheir, inscription at, 174
    Mutiny, Indian, 299
    Mutual explanations, 317
    Myrrh, 345

    Nabonidus, 174
    Name of Christ persecuted, 434
    Names, Egyptian, 142
      ---- of God in O. Test., 158
      ---- in N. Test. miracles, 360
      ---- of eminent converts, 418
      ---- and titles in Acts, 288
    Napoleon, on Christianity, 251
    Nathaniel, 279
    Natural means, supernaturally applied, 107
    Natural forces, 20
      ---- Selection, 20
      ---- Rejection, 21
      ---- Religion, depends on, probability, 36, 96, 487
      ---- only partly known, 35
      ---- in Jewish religion, 216
      ---- in Egyptian religion, 455
      ---- in other religions, 457
      ---- in prehistoric times, 238
      ---- moral difficulties, 69
      ---- and the Bible, 200
      ---- and unity of God, 227
      ---- leads to Revelation, 39
    Nature, its unity, 8, 18
      ---- its laws, 19
      ---- its forces, 20
      ---- acting rationally, 100
      ---- its uniformity, 106
    Nature, its mysteries, 250
      ---- its perfection, 61
      ---- care of individuals, 62
      ---- a means to an end, 85
      ---- bearing on miracles, 112
      ---- immanence in God, 109
      ---- forgets nothing, 466
      ---- analogy, as to angels, 202
      ---- man's future life, 89
      ---- man's resurrection, 247
      ---- short probation, 468
      ---- his destruction, 472
    Naville, 164
      ---- unity of Genesis, 142
    Nazareth, dry ground, 377
    Nebuchadnezzar, 174, 184
    Nebula theory, 124
    Necessity, doctrine of, 43
      ---- and certainty, 27
    Nero addressed as Lord, 289
      ---- his persecution, 298
    Nineveh, men of, 269
    Numbers in O. Test., 171

    Obedience and sacrifice, 161
    Old Testament, genuine, 167
      ---- alleged mistakes, 170
      ---- miracles, 177
      ---- prophecies, 186
      ---- moral defects, 208
    Omnipotence, 32, 213
    Omnipresence, 33, 213
    Omniscience, 32, 213
    Origen and Celsus, 367
    Origin of universe, 4
      ---- in Genesis, 118
      ---- of life, 123
      ---- of Jewish religion, 137
      ---- of Christian religion, 301
    Osiris, 454

    Pain, 69, 71
      ---- not always an evil, 72
    Paley, watch argument, 11
    Pantheism, 119
    Papias as to Gospels, 258
    Papyri, Egyptian, 271, 289
    Papyrus used for writing, 253
    Parables, teaching by, 273
      ---- some objected to, 399
      ---- Unrighteous Steward, 399
      ---- Wedding Garment, 400
    Partiality in revelation, 95
    Partiality to Jews, 204
    Paul, St., conversion, 305, 339
      ---- teaching not new, 409
      ---- the two essentials, 476
      ---- (_see_ Epistles)
    Peace be unto you, twice, 320
    Peculiar people, Jews a, 217
    Pella, Christians go to, 275
    Pentateuch, importance, 138
      ---- claims to be Mosaic, 164
      ---- language, 155
      ---- Egyptian references, 138
      ---- laws, 149
      ---- date and author, 164
      ---- excellent morality, 211
      ---- theory of late date, 155
    Perish, its meaning, 475
    Persecution for Name, 434
    Persecutions, religious, 427
      ---- of Jews, 190
      ---- of Christians, 328
      ---- implied in Creed, 475
    Person, not in N. Test, 460
    Personal Being, meaning, 30
      ---- God is a, 30
      ---- man is a, 47
      ---- animals are not, 54
      ---- implies fellowship, 229
    Persons and things, 67
    Peter, St., called Simon, 321
      ---- connection with Mark, 259
      ---- appeal to miracles, 362, 408
    Petrie, as to Exodus, 171
    Peyreyrius, 132
    Pharaoh's dreams, 140
      ---- heart hardened, 209
    Philip, one of the Seven, 295
    Philippi, gaoler at, 477
    Philo, days of Genesis, 121
    Pilate, Acts of, 365
    Pinches, Book of Daniel, 175
    Pithom, discoveries at, 144
    Plagues, the ten, 144
      ---- superhuman coincidences, 178
      ---- and magicians, 182
    Planets, inhabited (?), 67
      ---- not by sinners (?), 232
    Pliny, numerous letters, 369
      ---- spread of Christianity, 418
      ---- Christ's Divinity, 418
    Plural of majesty, 393
      ---- in P and J, 159
    Politarchs, 290
    Polycarp of Smyrna, 254
      ---- witness to Gospels, 261
    Polytheism, 119, 212
    Pomponia Græcina, 419
    Prayer, subject of, 437
      ---- and experiment, 444
      ---- and observation, 444
      ---- a simple, 480
      ---- after the event, 439
      ---- for others, 442
    Pre-existence of Christ, 404
      ---- in O. Test., 391
    Prehistoric men, future life, 90, 238
    Priests and Levites, 162
    Probability, guide of life, 487
    Proconsul and other terms, 288
    Prophecy, credible, 99
      ---- in Old Testament, 186
      ---- word of Jehovah, 389
      ---- as to Christ, 374
      ---- His Resurrection, 317
      ---- why not plainer, 394
      ---- His own influence, 434
    Prospective organs, 16
    Psalm of the Crucifixion, 384
    Publius, chief man, 290, 361
    Pul of Assyria, 176

    'Q' (Quelle) and Gospels, 270, 350, 361
    Quadratus, as to miracles, 364
    Quirinius, his census, 266
    Quotations, Barnabas, 261
      ---- Butler, 431
      ---- Clement, 261
      ---- Dana, 136
      ---- Darwin, 71
      ---- Eusebius, 259, 364
      ---- Huxley, 249
      ---- Ignatius, 261
      ---- Irenæus, 254
      ---- Justin, 365
      ---- Lecky, 398
      ---- Mill, 397
      ---- Napoleon, 250
      ---- Naville, 142
      ---- Papias, 258
      ---- Pinches, 175
      ---- Polycarp, 261
      ---- Quadratus, 364
      ---- Ramsay, 272
      ---- Renan, 397
      ---- Romanes, 87, 135
      ---- Teaching of Twelve, 261
      ---- Wallace, 71

    Radium, 7
    Ramsey, as to the census, 267
      ---- Lysanias, 268
      ---- early Gospels, 272
      ---- Lycaonia, 291
    Rationalism, spread of, 430
      ---- and miracles, 369
    Rawlinson, 176
    Reason cannot judge of Christian doctrines, 249
    Recognition, hereafter, 448
    Recorders in O. Test., 173
    Recurring series of events, 5
    Red Sea, passage of, 178
    Relics, resurrection of, 248
    Remorse, 51
    Renan, raising of Lazarus, 370
      ---- Christ's character, 397
    Repentance, 243
    Responsibility of man, 47
    Resurrection, doctrine of, 244
      ---- applies to a body, 303
      ---- not resuscitation, 245, 323
      ---- Christ's, 301
      ---- falsehood theory, 326
      ---- legend theory, 329
      ---- vision theory, 331
      ---- swoon theory, 341
      ---- wanted missionaries, 347
      ---- a physical fact, 304
      ---- not really unique, 245
      ---- table of appearances, 308
      ---- three groups, 307
      ---- the narratives, 305
      ---- their discrepancies, 309
      ---- their agreements, 315
      ---- omissions, 312
      ---- signs of early date, 321
      ---- the real difficulty, 346
      ---- in other religions, 455
      ---- man's, 247
      ---- need not be of relics, 248
      ---- the period of life, 449
      ---- the great surprise, 449
      ---- and human nature, 448
      ---- terms not literal, 464
    Resuscitation, 245, 323
    Revelation, meaning of, 82
      ---- possible, 83
      ---- probable, 92
      ---- progressive, 93
      ---- after writing, 93
      ---- must be partial, 95, 204
      ---- evidence inconclusive, 95
      ---- miraculous, 98
      ---- Book of, and Gospel, 285
      ---- Divinity of Christ, 408
    Risen Body difficulties, 245
      ---- record of eyewitnesses, 323
    Roman provinces, 288
      ---- siege of Jerusalem, 191
      ---- State and Christians, 298
    Romanes, man's probation, 87
      ---- accuracy of Genesis, 135

    Sabbath, miracles on, 359
    Sacrifices, heathen, 447
      ---- human, in O. Test., 210
    Salvation, not selfishness, 451
    Samaria, date of fall, 177
    Samuel and Pentateuch, 160
    Sanctuary, the one, 161
    Sand-storms and darkness, 146
    Sargon, named in Isaiah, 176
    Satan, 203
    Saurians, 131
    Secondary forces, 33
    Secrecy in Christ's miracles, 358
    Seed, may be disciples, 378, 387
    Selfishness, objection as to, 451
    Sennacherib, 184
    Sentry, pain a kind of, 72
    Sergius Paulus, 289, 361
    Servant, the Lord's, 376
    Seventh day, the, 119
    Shadow on dial, 196
    Shaving in Egypt, 141
    Shepherd, the Lord's, 391
      ---- kings, foreign, 139
    Shur, desert of, 143
    Siege of Jerusalem foretold by Moses, 191
      ---- and by Christ, 274
    Signet ring, in Egypt, 141
    Signs, superhuman, 99
      ---- supernatural, 101
    Silence, argument from, 368
      ---- of sun and moon, 179
    Simon, shows early date, 321
    Simultaneous visions, 335
    Sin, its meaning, 48
      ---- reason for it, 76
      ---- necessary for some virtues, 78
      ---- its universality, 447
      ---- its remedy, 244
      ---- eternal, 467
    Sinai, 147
    Sinlessness of Christ, 400
      ---- foretold by Isaiah, 380
      ---- implied in Ps. 22, 388
    Slaughter of animals, 150
    Slavery in early times, 211
    Soli, inscription at, 289
    Son of God, means God the Son, 407
      ---- of Man in Gospels, 281
    Sorrow, human, 446
    Sources of Gospels, 269, 413
    South, Queen of the, 269
    Spectroscopes, 64
    Spirit, man's, 55, 66
      ---- master of body, 91
    Spiritual beings, 202, 351
    Standing still of sun, 179
    Steward, the Unrighteous, 399
    Stone at Tomb, 336
    Straw in brick making, 144
    Struggle for life, 71
    Substance, meaning of, 222
    Suetonius, 417
    Sufferings of animals, 69
      ---- of men, 72
      ---- and future happiness, 88
      ---- of Jews, 190
      ---- of Christians, 328
    Sun and moon formation, 129
      ---- silence of, 179
    Sunday, 303
    Superhuman signs, 99
      ---- coincidences, 100
      ---- passage of Red Sea, 178
      ---- destruction of Korah, 169
      ---- of Assyrian army, 184
      ---- silence of sun, 179
      ---- Elijah's sacrifice, 183
      ---- shadow on dial, 196
      ---- and prayer, 439
    Supernatural, force, 9
      ---- man partly, 45
      ---- signs, 101
    Surprise, the great, 449
    Survival of fittest, 20
    Swine at Gadara, 269, 352
    Swoon Theory, the, 341
    Sword, any violent death, 386
    Synoptic Gospels, accuracy, 266
      ---- discrepancies, 266
      ---- sources, 269
      ---- ministry in Judæa, 282
      ---- probable date, 272, 300
      ---- authors, 275
      ---- and Fourth, 280

    Table of Appearances, 308
    Tacitus, and Christianity, 417
      ---- his contempt for it, 368
    Tatian, the Diatessaron, 257
    Teaching of Twelve, 261
      ---- and the Trinity, 461
    Tel-el-Muskhuta, ruins, 144
    Telepathy, 40
    Telephone, 105
    Telescope and eye, 14
      ---- discoveries of, 64
    Ten, Commandments, 211
      ---- Plagues, 144
      ---- superhuman coincidences, 178
      ---- and the magicians, 182
    Tertullian, 257
    Testimony and experience, 104
      ---- its value, 325
    Theophilus and Gospel, 275
      ---- and Acts, 297
      ---- things taught to, 271
      ---- prominent convert, 418
    Thessalonica, politarchs, 290
    Theudas, date of, 288
    Third Day, importance, 303
    Thomas, St., Resurrection, 336
      ---- Christ's Divinity, 407
    Thousands or families, 171
    Three, Creeds, 458
      ---- men in furnace, 103
    Tisdall, 453, 456
    Titles of various rulers, 288
    Tomb, the empty, 338
      ---- visit of disciples, 318
      ---- guard at, 337
      ---- angels at, 310, 345
    Town Clerk of Ephesus, 292
    Trajan, decree of, 267
    Transfiguration, 270
    Trials here, future reward, 88
    Trinity, doctrine of the, 222
      ---- its probability, 228
      ---- peculiarly Christian, 452
      ---- hinted at in Old Test., 393
      ---- contained in N. Test., 459
      ---- implied by Teaching, 461
    Triple tradition in Gospels, 269
    Troelstra, 158
    True belief, importance, 473
      ---- a virtue, 487

    Undesigned agreements, 168
      ---- examples, Korah, 169
      ---- call of St. John, 278
      ---- destroying temple, 283
      ---- feeding the 5,000, 284
      ---- Acts and Epistles, 293
      ---- mocking the Crucified, 390
      ---- baptismal formula, 461
    Uniformity of nature, 106
      ---- and prayer, 438
    Uniqueness of man, 65
      ---- of each man, 62
      ---- of the Incarnation, 233
    Unitarianism, 228
    Unity of nature, 8
    Universalism, 470
    Universe, its origin, 4, 118
      ---- its magnitude, 64
      ---- bearing on man, 60
      ---- an effect, 37
    Unknowable, everything is, 34
    Unrighteous Steward, 399

    Vellum used for writing, 253
    Veracity of the witnesses, 326
    Verbal inspiration, 437
    Vessels of wood, 145
    Vesuvius, eruption of, 74
    'Victoria Institute,' pain, 70
      ---- Pithom, 144
      ---- Belshazzar, 175
      ---- Red Sea, 179
      ---- earliest Gospel, 272
      ---- Horus myth, 455
      ---- Krishna myth, 453
    Virgin Birth, unique, 233
      ---- and Aristides, 365
      ---- not said of Krishna, 452
    Virtue, the highest, 78, 211
    Vision Theory, the, 331
      ---- arguments in favour, 332
      ---- arguments against, 332
      ---- does not explain facts, 336
      ---- real visions, 340
    Voice from heaven, 268
    Voyage, St. Paul's, 294

    Walking on sea, Christ's, 370
    Wallace, 71
    Warnings of the Creed, 473
    Wars of the Lord, quoted, 159
    Waste and void, in Gen., 124
    Waste in nature, 68
    Watch showing design, 12
    Water-wheels, Egyptian, 149
    'We' sections of Acts, 294
    Wedding Garment, the, 400
    West, use of term, 156
    Wheat, several ears, 140
    Whirlpool, 248
    Wicked men, their use, 77
      ---- not machines, 48
      ---- final state, 463
    Will, man's, its action, 42, 45
      ---- its freedom, 43
    Windows of heaven, 126
    Wisdom, God's, 32, 213, 441
    Word or Logos in Revelation, 286
      ---- among Greeks, 423
    World, creation of the, 4, 117
      ---- end of the, 437
    Wounded means pierced, 377
    Writing, early use of, 138, 172
      ---- wanted for revelation, 93

    X-rays, 246

    Zeal of early Christians, 420
    Zebulon, prophecy as to, 391
    Zechariah, prophecies of, 392
    Zeus and Hermes, 291


Transcriber's Notes

Some punctuation has been inserted to maintain consistency.

The reference in the index to page 541 was corrected to 441.

Spelling and hyphenation match the original text and may vary within
the book.

The caret symbol (^) has been used to represent superscripts.

OE ligatures have been changed to simple OE in this text version.

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