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been saved, if he had been permitted to write down his account, and send it in. But no; every witness, where it is possible, must actually come into court, and present his evidence with his own voice. This remark it is. important to remember; as the principle will come to view, when we consider the other case.

The owner testified, that he owned a certain house; that he moved out of it, and locked it up, leaving some articles in an upper chamber; that one day he went in and found that the house had been entered, I believe by a window, and that the chamber-door had been broken open, and some of the articles taken away. He said that he then employed a watchman to sleep in the house, and to try to catch the thief.

Here he had to stop; for although he knew how the watchman succeeded, he was not permitted to tell, for he did not see it. No man testifies, except to what he has seen or heard.

The watchman was next called.-The lawyer for the Government asked him:

"Were you employed by the owner of this house to watch for a thief in it ?"

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"What did he tell you, when he engaged you?"

"He told me, that his house had been broken open; and he wished me to watch for the thief."

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"Well; relate to the jury what occurred that night.” "I watched several nights. For some nights, nothing occurred. All was quiet till morning."

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In what room did you stay?"

"In the room under the chamber from which the ar

ticles had been stolen."

66

'Well; go on with

your

account,"

"At last, on the 15th of June, as I was then watching, about three o'clock in the morning, I heard a noise. Some one was coming softly up stairs. He went up into the room over my head, and, after remaining a few minutes there, he began to come down. I immediately went out into the entry and seized him, and took him to the watchhouse. The next morning he was put in prison."

The lawyer then pointed to the prisoner at the bar, and asked if that was the man. The witness said it was.

The judge then asked the counsel for the prisoner whether he had any questions to ask: and he did ask one or two, but they were not material. The jury then consulted together, and all agreed that the prisoner was proved guilty; and the judge ordered him to be sent back to the prison, till he should determine what punishment must be assigned.

This is substantially the way in which all trials are conducted. Three or four points are considered very necessary: 1. That the witnesses should be of good character. 2. That they should have actually witnessed what they describe. And, 3. That the precise account, which they themselves give, should come into court. These points the judge or the lawyers secure. The latter they obtain, by having the witness himself always come, if it is possible; even if he has to leave most important business for this purpose. If, from sickness or any other similar cause, he cannot come, his testimony is taken down in writing, and signed by himself; and that paper, the very one which he signed, must be brought into court, and read there. This is called a deposition. The second point is secured by not allowing any man to go any further in his testimony than he himself saw or heard: so that sometimes, when the case is complicated, a very large number of witnesses are called, before the whole case is presented to the jury. The first they secure, by inquiring into the

character of the witnesses. If any man can be proved to be unworthy of credit, his testimony is set aside.

Now all these points must be looked at, in examining the evidence of the Christian Miracles.

1. We must ascertain that we have the exact account given by the witnesses themselves.

2. We must ascertain that they had distinct opportunities to witness what they describe.

3. We must have evidence that they are credible: that is, that they are honest men, and that their word can be relied upon.

These three points I shall examine in order, in reference to the Christian Miracles. The witnesses are the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John: and the first inquiry, according to the list above presented, is to determine whether we have exactly the account which they themselves give. Witnesses are commonly called into court, to tell their own story there; and then there can be no mistake. If that is impossible, as I remarked above, their deposition is taken, with certain forms; and the very paper they originally signed, is brought and read in court. But neither of these courses can be taken here. For, in the first place, the witnesses have been for a long time dead, so that they cannot come forward to give their testimony; and, though they did write a full account at the time, yet it was so many years ago, that no writing could remain to the present period: time has entirely destroyed all vestiges of the writings of those days.

I presume all my readers are aware, that, not long after the time of our Saviour, the Barbarians from the North, in innumerable hordes, began to pour down upon the Roman Empire, until at last they subverted and destroyed it. Very many of these Barbarians became nominal Christians, and preserved some copies of the Bible; and, in fact, they saved many extensive and valuable libra

ries of Manuscripts, in rolls (the art of printing not being then known); but they destroyed most of the institutions and the accumulated property of civilized life, and brought a long period of ignorance and semi-barbarism, called the dark ages, upon the world. After some time, however, there began to be, in various parts of Europe, a gradual improvement. The Monks in the various convents, having no other employment, began to explore the old libraries, and to study the books. They made themselves acquainted with the languages in which they were written; and when the art of printing was invented, they published them. In consequence, however, of the immense numbers of Manuscripts collected in some of the libraries, a long time elapsed before they were fully explored; and even now, the work is not absolutely completed. New writings are occasionally brought to light, and published. The work of deciphering such old, worn-out, faded, and almost illegible parchment-rolls is very great.

A great deal of interest was felt, at the very first, by these explorers, to find the oldest copies of the Bible, or of any parts of the Bible. They wished to have the most accurate and authentic copy possible; and the more ancient the copy, the more probable it was that it was taken directly from the original, and consequently the more it was to be depended upon. If they could have found a Manuscript which was evidently the very copy originally written by the author himself, it would have been considered invaluable.

The number of Manuscripts of the whole, or of parts of the Hebrew Bible, thus found, and now preserved in various libraries of Europe, is more than 400; and of the Greek Testament, not far from 150. They are scattered all over Europe, and are preserved in the libraries with great care. The oldest of them, however, was written several hundred years after the death of Christ; so that we now cannot even have the actual account written by the

original witnesses. The two methods usually relied on, therefore, in courts of justice, for being sure that the actual story of the witness himself is presented in court, fail in this case. We must resort, therefore, to another method; equally certain, but a little different in form.

The evidence relied upon, to prove that the books we have now, or rather the ancient Manuscripts in the libraries in Europe from which they are translated, are really the same with the accounts originally written by the witnesses themselves, is this. Immediately after they were written, a great many other Christian writers, very much interested in these accounts, began to quote them in their own letters and books. They quoted them much more copiously than it is customary to quote now; because the art of printing puts every important book within the reach of all who are interested in it. Then, the original accounts were only in manuscript, and consequently, could be seen and read only by a few. These few, therefore, in their writings, made frequent and copious extracts from them; and these extracts have come down to us separately; and each one proves that the passage it contains, which is in the account now, was in that account when the quotation was made.

An imaginary instance will make this plain. The Vatican Manuscript, as it is called, that is, a very ancient manuscript preserved in the library of the Vatican at Rome, is supposed to have been written about four hundred years after Christ. It contains, we will suppose, John's Gospel, just as we have it now in our Bibles. This proves, that if the real, original account, which John gave, was altered at all, after he wrote it, it was altered before that time. Now, suppose a Christian at Antioch, living two hundred years before the Vatican Manuscript was written, had been writing a book, and in it had mentioned John's Gospel, and had copied out a whole chapThis book he leaves at Antioch. It is copied there

ter.

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