(b) The moral elevation of their writings, and their manifest reverence for truth and constant inculcation of it, show that they were not willful deceivers, but good men.
(c) There are minor indications of the honesty of these writers in the circumstantiality of their story, in the absence of any expectation that their narratives would be questioned, in their freedom from all disposition to screen themselves or the apostles from censure.
Lessing says that Homer never calls Helen beautiful, but he gives the reader an impression of her surpassing loveliness by portraying the effect produced by her presence. So the evangelists do not describe Jesus? appearance or character, but lead us to conceive the cause that could produce such effects. Gore, Incarnation, 77 ? ?Pilate, Caiaphas, Herod, Judas, are not abused, ? they are photographed. The sin of a Judas and a Peter is told with equal simplicity. Such fairness, wherever you find it, belongs to a trustworthy witness.?
3. The writings of the evangelists mutually support each other. We argue their credibility upon the ground of their number and of the consistency of their testimony. While there is enough of discrepancy to show that there has been no collusion between them, there are concurrences enough to make the falsehood of them all infinitely improbable. Four points under this head deserve mention:
(a) The evangelists are independent witnesses. This is sufficiently shown by the futility of the attempts to prove that any one of them has abridged or transcribed another.
(b) The discrepancies between them are none of them irreconcilable with the truth of the recorded facts, but only present those facts in new lights or with additional detail.
(c) That these witnesses were friends of Christ does not lessen the value of their united testimony, since they followed Christ only because they were convinced that these facts were true.
(d) While one witness to the facts of Christianity might establish its truth, the combined evidence of four witnesses gives us a warrant for faith in the facts of the gospel such as we possess for no other facts in ancient history whatsoever. The same rule, which would refuse belief in the events, recorded in the gospels ?would throw doubt on any event in history.?
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