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The Jesus of the Evangelists

The Jesus of the Evangelists

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BY REV. 0. A. ROW, M.A.


BY REV. 0. A. ROW, M.A.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 29, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE JESUS OF THE EVAGELISTSOR A EXAMIATIO OF THE ITERAL EVIDECE FOR OUR LORD'S DIVIE MISSIO, BY REV. 0. A. ROW, M.A. PREFACE. It has been often objected to Christianity that the truth of our Lord's divine Mission rests on a miraculous attestation ; and that the weight of such an attestation to a divine revelation is diminished in force by the mere lapse of time. Even if we admit the possibility of miracles, tHey' cannot aflTord the same evidence to us, who are separated by an interval of upwards of eighteen centuries from the events, which they might have afforded . to those who witnessed them. It may be conceded, that few at the present day would hesitate to admit that a person who was able by a word to summon from the grave one who had beeii dead for several days, or to communicate the power of vision by ijbouch to one who was certainly known to have been bom blind, was entitled to aU credence if he asserted that he possessed a divine Mission. Amidst th(9 endless dis- cussions about the possibility of miracles, or the degree in which they can attest a divine commission, few persons would feel themselves able to resist evidence of this kind, if it were actually submitted to their senses. But, knowing as we do the tendency to invent fictitious miracles, we have to arrive at a belief in the reality of
those recorded in the Gospels through a long course of historical proof, and a minute inquiry into their cha- racter and evidence. This evidence, from its very IV PREFACE. nature, is probable and moral only, and does not admit of demonstration. It must be conceded, therefore, that the evidence of miracles is less convincing now, than it would have been if we had lived at the time of their actual performance. But there is another branch of the evidence of our Lord's divine Mission which is rather strengthened than weakened by the lapse of ages, viz., the superhuman glories of his divine character. As the Gospels present us with a distinct and palpable portraiture of this, we are as able to form a judgment respecting it as his contemporaries. According to the statements of the fourth Gospel our Lord frequently appealed to it in proof that his Mission was divine. The only difference of position which we stand in, compared with those who held familiar intercourse with him, is that we have a portraiture of his divine person, character, and work, which the latter beheld with their eyes. The only point needful for us to determinef, in order that we may occupy the same position as the witnesses of our Lord's life and actions, is whether the portraiture of the Jesus of the EvangeUsts be an historical one, or one which has been falsely attributed to him. Our means of arriving at a conclusion on this point do not diminish with the lapse of time. The progress of mental and historical science has enabled us to determine with certainty the law of the development of the human mind. Licreas- ing light has been thrown on the state of mind of the Jewish people when Christianity originated. The progress of science and of history alike enables us
to judge whether it is possible that the Jesus of the Evangelists can be a mythical or ideal creation. PREFACE. ? If he was an historical reality his divine Mission is established. It is the object of the following pages to set forth this portion of the evidences of the truth of our Lord's divine character in reference to the controversies of the present day. Believers and unbelievers are alike agreed that the divine origin of Christianity mast stand or fall with the historical reality of our Lord's person and action as they are exhibited in the Jesus of the EvangeUsts. However valuable are former works on the evidences, they were written with a view of answering objections to the truth of Christianity of a diflferent character from those of the present day. Modem unbelief attempts to evaporate the Gk)spels into a number of mythic stories which, however honestly intended, are essentially unhistorical. These views can hardly be said to have been in existence when the great works of Christian evidences were composed. They were designed for a diflferent order, and there- fore we need not be surprised if they fail to meet some of the requirements of the present time. The present work assumes nothing but two facts, the truth of which it is impossible to deny, viz., the existence of the four Gospels, and that they contain a portraiture of our Lord. This is not a matter of theory, but of in- controvertible fact, and is not* aflfected by any number of inaccuracies which criticism may suppose that it dis- covers in the Gospels themselves. Whether they are

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