Christianity True: An Unanswerable Proof

The very title is staggering. The reader may well be incredulous, and wonder if this pamphlet, modest in size, can possibly justify its title. We believe that it can. The line of argument taken is novel and arresting. For it the writer, however, can claim no originality.

When a young man there came into his hands a pamphlet bearing the title, “Leslie’s Four Marks.” It struck him as an unanswerable proof of the truth of Christianity. The great help and blessing he received from it makes it incumbent upon him to pass it on for the help of others. The faith of multitudes has been shaken by the so-called “Higher Criticism.” Many are drawn aside by the lurid light of Spiritism and other devices of Satan. Any help on the right lines should not be withheld.

We believe many will be helped through the careful perusal of this pamphlet. For this we earnestly pray, and seek God’s blessing on the effort.

The Origin of the Proof

Many years ago the then Duke of Newcastle, who took the ground of being a believer in the truth of Christianity, said to his chaplain, the Rev. Mr. Leslie, that he was not satisfied with the ordinary methods of proving the truth of Christianity. He thought they were too lengthy and complicated, and that ordinary people had neither the leisure nor the patience to master them. Knowing Mr. Leslie’s abilities, he urged him to produce something plain and simple and yet conclusive on the subject.

In the extraordinarily short space of three days, Mr. Leslie presented the Duke with a rough draft of a remarkable treatise, entitled, “Short and Easy Method with the Deists.” This so appealed to the Duke that he declared, that, though he had hitherto believed himself to be a Christian, now he was sure of it,* and ever after spoke of Mr. Leslie’s treatise with great appreciation, and never met him without asking his blessing. This interesting anecdote comes from the late Captain Leslie, a son of the author of “Short and Easy Method with the Deists.”
{*It should be carefully guarded that the convincing of the intellect of the truth of Christianity does not suffice to make a Christian. To be a Christian is to receive Christ in simple faith as Saviour, the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer enabling him to live the Christian life. Apart from this no person can be a true Christian.}

Under the title, “Short and Easy Method with the Deists,” Mr. Leslie’s treatise was published. In course of time the pamphlet got out of print. Years after the late Sir Edward Denny Bart., an earnest Christian, was so struck by the unanswerable character of the proof that he got it republished under the title, “Leslie’s Four Marks,” adding remarks of his own. This again went out of print. The present writer then obtained permission to use Mr. Leslie’s argument on the condition that the title of his pamphlet should be different, and that the argument should be presented in his own language.

Leslie’s Four Marks

Mr. Leslie asserted that if an alleged fact had these four marks, it could not be false. Of course, multitudes of true facts have not these four marks, but if an alleged fact does possess these four marks, it will be seen that it must be true, and that it possesses these four marks because of its outstanding importance.

The four marks are as follows:
  (1) That the matter of fact be such as may be judged by men’s outward senses.
  (2) That there should be sufficient number of witnesses to put the matter of fact beyond the possibility of collusion or fraud.
  (3) That public memorials be kept up in celebration of it, not taking the form of monuments or buildings, but involving outward actions to be performed.
  (4) That such memorials and such actions be instituted and do commence from the time that the matter of fact occurred.

The reader should pause at this point and consider carefully the full import of these four marks, as they stand in relation to each other. It is the four marks in their entirety that carry conviction. Drop one mark out and there is no certain proof. But an event, which is
  (1) Public,
  (2) Well-attested,
  (3) Memorialized up to this present time by outward observance,
  (4) Memorialized from the time of the event, cannot possibly be false.
Note carefully the memorial is not to take the form of a monument or building or anything of that nature, but it must take the form of outward observance, involving actions to be performed.

What is at stake?

When this line of proof was applied to the great truths of the Bible it will be easily seen what a sensation it produced. A celebrated infidel writer of that day, Middleton by name, in his desire to discredit the Bible, sought for some false assertion bearing these four marks. He continued his search for TWENTY YEARS and UTTERLY FAILED in the search.

Indeed the more the proof is tested the more it will be seen to be unanswerable. Turn it round in whatever direction you like, and it only confirms the strength of the argument. It breaks down at no point.

Of all the things that men are most in earnest to know, the truth of the Bible is pre-eminent. Is it a revelation from God? Can we rely on it? To get a confirmation of the same, something that will enable us to go to it as authoritative, and to be relied upon, is worth more than all beside.

For it is quite clear that Christ and the Scriptures stand or fall together. If Christ is what He said He was, and did what He affirmed He did, then the Scriptures are true, for He put His imprimatur on the Holy Writings. If the Scriptures, their prophecies and types concerning Christ, were not fulfilled to the letter, then the Scriptures cannot be trusted. But, thank God, Christ and the Scriptures stand together.

  “The Word of the Lord endures for ever. And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:25).

Everything vital and eternal is at stake in our enquiry.

The False in Contrast to the True

It will help to clarify the matter if we show how the false fails in these four marks, before we show how alleged facts having these four marks must be true.

False religions are founded on deceit and fraud. For instance, Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, stated that the angel Moroni appeared to him three times, and told him that the book of Mormon—the Bible of the Latter Day Saints—was buried in a certain place. Four years later, Joseph Smith stated that he repaired to the spot and had delivered to him by the angel a stone box in which was a volume six inches thick, composed of thin gold plates and fastened by three gold rings. But we have only his own word for all this. There were no witnesses, and he was at best a man of questionable character.

Joseph Smith tried to get his assertion backed up by fraud. Three men—Oliver Cowdery, David Whitner and Martin Harris—swore that an angel of God showed them the book. This does not satisfy Mark No. 2. Collusion and fraud were quite possible. Even if the three men had not later denounced their testimony as false, no reasonable man would be satisfied with such evidence, concerning that which was asserted to be miraculous, and of such importance in matters of religious belief. When it was stated that the gold plates had suddenly and mysteriously disappeared, it looked like the confidence trick. The whole thing was a concoction without a word of truth in it.

In the same way Mahomet stated that in the month Ramadan, in Mount Hirá, the angel Gabriel came to him by night as he slept, held a silken scroll before him and compelled him to recite its contents, though he was unable to read or write. This and his pretended converse with the moon, his night-journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, and thence to heaven, were not performed in the presence of anyone, let alone before so many witnesses as to put the matter beyond possibility of collusion or fraud, and this lacks Mark No. 2 completely.

Similarly we have Madame Blavatsky’s assertions as to the Mahatmas, Mrs. White’s visions in connection with Seventh Day Adventism, Mrs. Eddy’s hallucinations in connection with Christian Science, the seances of the Spiritist—all lacking these four marks, and yet we have multitudes following their errors, whilst refusing Christianity, standing as it does on such an irrefutable basis.

The True in Contrast to the False

There are three great events, narrated in the Bible, which have these four marks, viz: the Passover in Egypt, the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies, through the intervention of Queen Esther, and celebrated to this day in the Feast of Purim, and the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We propose to confine our remarks to the first and last of these events, as being vital to our enquiry.

The Passover and its Four Marks

Did the children of Israel go over the Red Sea? Were they supported miraculously for forty years in the wilderness? Did they arrive at and possess the land of Canaan, as the Scriptures state?

These are miraculous things of the very first magnitude, Can we believe them? If they are true it proves so much that it is bound to determine our attitude to the Scriptures. The Scriptures are so bound up together, that one part stands in relation to other parts, and each part to the whole.

For instance the Passover is a type of the Lord Jesus in connection with His atoning work. So we read,

“Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us”

(1 Cor. 5:7). Thus the New Testament is linked up with the Old Testament. Christ in His sacrificial work on the cross is stated to be the fulfilment of the type. The blood of the lamb without blemish sheltered the children of Israel from the destroying angel on that memorable passover night in Egypt. Christ is “the Lamb of God,” and He suffered on the cross on the very anniversary of the Passover, as the One who fulfilled its typical meaning, for which the centuries had waited.

Let us examine the four marks in connection with the Passover.

Mark 1

That the matter of fact be such as may be judged by men’s outward senses.

There is no doubt about this mark. To slay the lamb, to sprinkle the blood, to eat of the lamb roast with fire, to journey to Pi-hahiroth, to cross the Red Sea—these were matters there could be no doubt about.

Mark 2

That there should be a sufficient number of witnesses to put the matter beyond the possibility of collusion or fraud.

A handful of people might agree to collusion or fraud, especially for monetary recompense or the realization of unprincipled ambition, and even then, in nearly every case some one of the number would let out the secret. And the larger the number involved, the greater the risk of discovery becomes, till discovery would be certain. A cynic has said that the only way to ensure that three persons should keep a secret is for one to shoot the other two, and even then it might leak out.

But who would suggest that six hundred thousand people, besides children, could agree to practice a deception upon themselves, and pass on that deception to their posterity, and cover it up so carefully that it would be impossible to discover the deception. Such a thing is absolutely impossible. Did ever deception attempt to insinuate itself by such methods?

Our argument is immeasurably strengthened by two things:
(1) The vast number of witnesses, a whole nation of men, women and children:
(2) the varied events happening, such as the crossing of the Red Sea, the sojourn in the Sinaitic desert over a number of years, and all the observances of their tabernacle ritual.
If the matter had been fraudulent, there never was chosen a surer way of courting the inevitable discovery of the fraud than by introducing these two conditions.

Mark 3

That public memorials be kept up in celebration of it, involving outward actions to be performed.

There is certainly no lack of these.

  (1) The annual celebration of the Passover.
  (2) The whole system of ordinances flowing out of it, as ordained by God through the mediatorship of Moses in the tabernacle, its sacrifices and its constantly recurring feast days.
  (3) The five books of Moses in which instructions for all this are recorded.

Again, we say, if the matter had been fraudulent, the very elaborate proof under this head would have rendered the deception impossible.

Mark 4

That such memorials and such actions be instituted and do commence from the time that the matter of fact occurred.

We have full testimony in Scripture that this was the case. We must remember the Bible is not one book but sixty-six books, written by various authors, whose united and cumulative testimony is conclusive.

In Numbers 9:5, we find that the children of Israel kept the Passover. This was the first celebration of the feast, and Moses testifies to this.

The Book of Joshua states that when the children of Israel got into the land, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth of the first month (Joshua 5:10).

The good King Hezekiah caused a Passover to be celebrated, the like of which had not been known since the days of Solomon, thus witnessing to the fact, that the Passover was acknowledged as an institution since that day (2 Chr. 30).

King Josiah, great grandson to Hezekiah, kept a Passover of which it was said that there was no Passover like it, since the days of Samuel, the prophet (2 Chr. 35), thus tracing its celebration still further back.

Ezra, the priest, caused a Passover to be celebrated by the children of the captivity on the occasion of the dedication of the newly re-erected temple (Ezra 6:19).

The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews referred to Moses keeping the Passover and the sprinkling of blood on that never-to-be-forgotten night in Egypt (chap. 11:28), as to an event without question among the Jews.

The four gospels contain many allusions to the Passover, and above all bring out clearly the fact that the Lord celebrated the keeping of the Passover with His disciples, and then died as being the fulfilment of the Scripture.

When we come to the New Testament some fifteen long centuries since the Passover night in Egypt, we read,
  “Now His parents [Christ’s] went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover” (Luke 2:41).
  “And the Jew’s Passover was at Hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem” (John 2:13).
  “Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed” (Luke 22:7).

Thus we come to the celebration of the last real Passover by the Lord and His disciples on the night of His betrayal. What were His feelings as He partook of that memorial, which for ages had looked for its fulfilment in HIM, and that in connection with all the terrible ordeal of His sacrificial death on the cross of shame?

As the Passover looked forward to the death of Christ, its rightful celebration ceased when our Lord died. Alas, the Jews have refused their Messiah, and to this day in unbelief celebrate the Passover, as still looking forward to its fulfilment. Israel will yet learn that it has been fulfilled by Christ when He died on the cross.

Here then we have the four marks that incontestably prove the truthfulness of the sacred narrative. If all these adduced facts were false, then Christ was false, for a Christ who could make a mistake or a blunder is no Christ at all. The whole fabric of Christianity falls to the ground, if the children of Israel were not sheltered by the blood in Egypt, did not cross the Red Sea, were not sustained in the wilderness, and were not given the land of Canaan for a possession.

The Testimony of the Tabernacle Service

The same ground could be gone over in connection with all the ritual ordained by Moses as accompanying the tabernacle service. The setting apart of the priests and Levites; their jealously recorded genealogies, proving the Scripture account of the position of Aaron and his sons, and that of the tribe of Levi as first set apart for their appointed service; the numerous illusions to the various feasts and offerings, woven into the very web and woof of Scripture; much of the doctrinal teaching of the New Testament, of the epistle to the Galatians, and the Hebrews in particular, depending on an unquestioned acknowledgment of the service of Moses as its Mediator, and Aaron as its High Priest, all this is a vast volume of evidence fulfilling Mark No. 4. In addition to this, we have the beautiful and wonderful unfolding of the types, as fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ. The late Sir Robert Anderson has put on record how much he was indebted to typology for the proof to him of the truth of Christianity.

We thus see how these memorials and actions commenced at the very time that the matter of fact occurred. A little reflection will prove to us that, taking into account the nature of the things we are considering, this must be so. The number and character of the memorial and actions, the miraculous and extraordinary events they witness to, are of such a nature, that if they had never occurred these memorials would never have been instituted.

And further, if a nation adopted a false history, their true history would have to be tracelessly wiped out, and this would be an impossible thing to do.

Two Sources of Exposure

There would be two sources whereby the deception would leak out.

(1) Out of a whole nation there would be some who would bitterly resent the wiping out of every trace of true history and to substitute for it a tissue of blasphemous lies, which would degrade the whole nation. Men with pride of race and ancestry particularly strongly developed, and men too honest to stoop to such bare-faced deception would be found, who would put on record the truth of matters.

(2) The histories of the surrounding nations would have references to the children of Israel, in relation to wars, alliances, marriages, intercourse in trade and learning, and these could not be tracelessly wiped out. If it were possible for a nation to practice such a piece of colossal deception upon itself, it certainly could not persuade the surrounding nations to alter their histories in order to hide a deception in which they could have no interest.

And the further you get away from the time of these events, the more difficult and impossible would it be to persuade the people to embrace deception, and the more difficult to cover up every trace of their true history.

The Irrationalism of Infidelity

Thus, in whatever way we look at it, we shall find it really takes more credulity to believe that these miraculous events never happened than faith to believe that they did. Infidelity is indeed a matter of the heart and not of the head. “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God” (Ps. 14:1).

Where the heart is right there is no strain put upon faith. It is eminently reasonable. Infidelity, on the other hand, in its attitude to the Bible, bids its votaries to believe that mighty effects of undeniably elevating and purifying power spring out of totally inadequate causes of falsehood and wickedness, putting such a strain on credulity, that it takes all the bias of poor fallen nature and its hatred of God to carry it through.

The Testimony of the Pentateuch

Lastly, we have the witness of the five books of Moses, a most convincing proof. The third month after leaving Egypt God laid the foundation of four books out of the five in the giving of the moral law and its accompanying ceremonial law. Aaron and his Sons were set apart for the priesthood; the tribe of Levi for the service of the sanctuary. How important became the genealogies of the Bible and how carefully they were extended generation by generation. Step by step we go back on firm and solid ground.

Suppose the five books of Moses had not been written by Moses and that he never gave the law nor did any of the wonderful things attributed to him, we are faced with a greater difficulty. Who is this great man, this genius, who did write them, and, beyond this monumental work of genius of the highest order, has left no other trace of himself, so that we do not even know his name? And further, if he were a man of genius, and wrote the Pentateuch, and the whole work were a tissue of lies, how is it that he has put upon record such a code of laws of moral excellence, as has never been equalled? It is infinitely easier to believe that Moses is the author of the Pentateuch than to attribute its authorship to any other person.

Our Lord’s Testimony to Moses

Our Lord testified to the authorship of Moses. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures, the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). And again He testified belief in Moses to be of such vital importance, that no one can be a Christian, who does not receive his testimony. He said, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me, but if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words” (John 5:47). Again, he referred to Moses as an author, whose authority was undisputed by them. And this appeal to Moses is carried on in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the Epistles. Indeed, the argument of the whole Hebrew Epistle hangs upon the existence and acts of the great law-giver.

There is no such history in the world as the books of Moses. Any description of the creation of the world given by heathen writers, or handed down by tradition, is childish and puerile in the extreme. Whence the majesty and sublimity of the account Moses gave of creation and its subsequent details, if it were not inspired?

But if Moses did not write the books that bear his name, never were books, we repeat, more honeycombed with lies. His name is woven into Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy hundred’s of times. “And the Lord spake unto Moses,” with its variations, is a formula repeated dozens of times, and it were blasphemy to write it down again and again if it were not true. As we have said, our Lord attributed these books to the authorship of Moses. The testimony of the Jews, their jealous guardianship of the sacred volume, the way it is woven into the history of the children of Israel, all bear irresistible testimony to the authorship of Moses, and hence to this memorial, beginning at the time, of the alleged fact, thus meeting the requirements of Mark No. 4.

The Conclusion of our Argument

The conclusion of our argument is that the miraculous events of the Passover period were absolutely true, and happened as stated. Why anyone should on principle disbelieve in miracles is incredible when everything around us is miraculous. That God, who could decree what we call fixed laws of nature, can certainly decree their suspension at His pleasure. When my hand lifts my pen it practically suspends the operation of the law of gravitation in that particular. Could not God suspend the operation of a law of His own making, when He cleft a path through the Red Sea for the deliverance of His oppressed people, when He sustained them miraculously in the desert for forty years, and gave them their entrance into the land of Canaan? Our four marks have proved it.

An Impossible Alternative

Let us suppose these events had never occurred. Suppose the children of Israel had never been in bondage in Egypt, had never crossed the Red Sea, had never wandered in the Sinaitic desert for forty years. We are then faced with the alternative, viz., that they were somewhere else. Suppose they were, as would be most natural, in Palestine, the country which for many centuries was their home. Is it possible that any person could arise, able to persuade a whole nation to adopt a history of such a miraculous nature, a history that did not belong to them, and to start a number of memorials of the nature we have been considering? No reasonable man but would admit this were an absolutely impossible feat.

The Death and Resurrection of Christ

Let us see if our marks apply here. The subject is important beyond words. If Christ be raised as Scripture asserts the truth of Christianity is proved, and woe betide the man who fails to embrace it!

Mark 1

That the matter of fact be such as may be judged by men’s outward senses.

Death and resurrection are plainly this. The pallor, the heart stilled, the coldness of death, the struggle of dying over—these and a thousand things testify to sight and touch that death is present. In the same way our senses can testify of the return of life to one who has been dead, as witness the case of Lazarus.

Mark 2

That there should be a sufficient number of witnesses to put the matter of fact beyond the possibility of collusion or fraud.

First as to Christ’s death. We have the witness in the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And here just a word. It is noticeable how infidel and higher critical writers will often accept the testimony of a profane writer, as if it must be true, whilst casting doubt on the veracity of a sacred writer. If they think Josephus contradicts Matthew, they will bow to Josephus as correct, and act as if Matthew were proved incorrect. Such conduct only proves bias. At the least one is as reliable as the other.

These four writers either witnessed the death of Christ or testified to it as common knowledge. In the case of John he witnessed the plunge of the spear into the side of the dead Christ, and saw the blood and the water flow therefrom, and bears special and solemn witness to the truth of his testimony.

All four evangelists testify that Joseph of Arimathæa buried the body of Jesus, John adding the information that Nicodemus assisted Joseph in this last act of loving service and devotion to his Lord, whilst Mark supplements the story by telling how Pilate sought and obtained the testimony of the centurion, who was in charge of the crucifixion, to Christ’s death before acceding to Joseph’s request.

Then Matthew testifies that “many women” including Mary Magdalene, the Mother of our Lord and the mother of James and John, beheld afar the tragic circumstances attending the Lord’s death.

The three hours’ darkness, the earthquake, the rending of the rocks, the opening of the graves, many saints arising after the resurrection, above all, the rending of the veil of the temple, were the divine attestation to the Lord’s death and witnessed by these many witnesses.

The New Testament was written, with the exception of John’s writings, in the lifetime of the apostles, and if perfectly false statements had been made, if the death of Christ had not occurred as stated, if Joseph had never begged the body of Jesus, if the miraculous events connected with His death had never occurred, the sacred writings would never have been accepted as God’s revelation, but on the contrary, vehement denials of such falsehoods would have been raised. But not one denial is heard, not one suspicion of falsehood is raised. The Christians received the sacred writings as perfectly true.

The death of Christ is an attested fact and cannot admit of successful denial. The numerous miraculous events attending it, the large number of witnesses brought forward would have led infallibly to the discovery of any deceit or fraud, whilst on the contrary they form the greatest safeguard to the truthfulness of the sacred narrative.

Let us now consider the witness to the resurrection of Christ. The four evangelists testify to this as historians, and certainly in the cases of Matthew and John as eye-witnesses.

Matthew gives us the testimony of the angel to the resurrection of the Lord as rendered to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, apparently the mother of our Lord, and of this being confirmed by His meeting them and their falling at His feet and worshipping Him. He also tells us how the eleven disciples saw Him by appointment in Galilee and worshipped Him, Matthew honestly noting, “But some doubted.”

Mark, too, tells of the Lord’s appearing to Mary Magdalene, afterwards to the eleven, who had hitherto stoutly refused to believe the testimony of those who had said He was risen, so that we have not to deal with the credulity of men who would believe anything, but with men who required to be really convinced of a fact on which so much depended.

Luke adds that there were “other women” that accompanied the two Marys to the sepulchre and who saw the risen Lord, but whose testimony seemed as “idle tales” to the apostles, so little did they understand the statements of the Lord before He died that on the third day He would rise. This further proves that the testimony of His resurrection was not accepted till it could no longer be disbelieved.

Next we have Luke’s testimony of the two disciples going to Emmaus, meeting with the risen Saviour on the road, His turning in with them to their home, His becoming known to them in the breaking of the bread; their return to Jerusalem under the powerful impulse of their discovery; their finding the eleven, and, “them that were with them,” convinced by the fact that the Lord had appeared to Peter. They found the wondering and now convinced company of disciples, and added their testimony, when the Lord Himself appeared to them. This put them into a state of terror and fright, supposing they had seen a spirit, but the Lord reassured them, bade them handle* Him and see that He was indeed their risen Lord. Flesh and bones were His still, the marks of His crucifixion were displayed in His hands and feet.
{*How different from the darkened room of the spiritist séance, the visionary materialization of the spirits, their dislike to being handled or of getting into too close quarters.}

John gives us the further information that he himself accompanied Peter to the Lord’s sepulchre—Luke only mentioning Peter—and proceeds to give in much greater detail the interview the weeping Mary Magdalene had with her risen Lord, and also records His appearance to His own, in the upper chamber, on the first day of the week at even. A week later this was repeated, doubting Thomas absent on the first occasion being present this time. Convinced that He was indeed risen, he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God.”

John also testifies to the Lord greeting His disciples on the shore after a night of fruitless fishing, and states:“This is now the third time that Jesus showed Himself to His disciples, after that He was risen from the dead” (chap. 21:14).

In 1 Corinthians 15 the great resurrection chapter, in addition to the foregoing witnesses, we have the special witness of James; then, as if to put the matter beyond all possible chance of deception or collusion, we are informed that the Lord was “seen of about five hundred brethren at once,” and as if to fling down the challenge of this testimony the apostle Paul adds, “of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep” (v. 6).

Again we repeat, if deceit and fraud were at work, could the four evangelists have gone further out of their way to render the deception impossible, by introducing such detailed accounts of the resurrection? They narrated too many details, and adduced too many witnesses to leave any hope of a successful deception. No witness, thus cited, came forward to state the evangelists’ or the apostle Paul’s statements were false, and there were at least the greater part of five hundred witnesses, a very considerable number, who could have come forward to expose the deception, if such had existed.

To all this, Paul gives his own weighty testimony, that he had seen the risen Lord. If this had been deception, how and when would surely have been stated, but Paul is content just to state the amazing fact. How often Scripture astonishes one by what it does not say, as well as by what it does. Here we have a restraint not known in man’s writings. Such a wonderful experience as Paul’s would have been described in great detail were he left to his own wisdom in stating it.

Never was a fact more indubitably proved than the resurrection of Christ.

The writer got into conversation in the train with an avowed atheist. He felt led to press the testimony to the resurrection of Christ. As he did so, the atheist said with a kind of shudder, “Well, if you can prove to me the resurrection of Christ, I am bound to be some kind of a Christian.” He saw what was involved. If Jesus rose from the dead as the Scriptures state, and testimony supports, then He was indeed the Son of God; His death on the cross, a work which God accepted as satisfying His righteous claims the Gospel, a true message.

Mark 3

That public memorials be kept up in celebration of it, involving outward actions to be performed.

Baptism and the Lord’s supper are the two ordinances connected with the Christian religion, and they both witness to the death of Christ. Indeed, the whole working arrangement of Christianity, as set up by Scripture, and practised by those who bow to it, affords testimony under this head.

Every baptism is a fulfilment of Mark No. 3 “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into [literally unto] Jesus Christ were baptized into [literally unto] His death” (Rom. 6:26).

Every time the Lord’s supper is partaken there is a fulfilment of Mark No. 3. “As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come” (1 Cor. 11:26).

They both certainly involve outward actions to be performed.

It is not like the erecting of a stone monument, which could be done by one or two persons being responsible for it, which might be erected to the alleged memory of something, which had never occurred. Such a happening is not likely, but possible. But in these cases adduced outward actions have to be performed, and shut out the possibility of fraud.

Mark 4

That such memorials and such actions be instituted and do commence from the time that the matter of fact occurred.

Under this head we have the testimony of Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, both as to baptism and the Lord’s supper. Were three thousand converts baptized on the day of Pentecost, and did they steadfastly continue in the apostles’ doctrine and in fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers? If this did not occur there were multitudes to contradict it. Would Luke have hazarded such a statement if it had not been true? The very number implied as witnesses would have discovered the fraud if such had existed. Then again, would Luke have dared to describe Peter’s baptizing of Cornelius and his Gentile friends, if such had never occurred? We know the measures God took to remove prejudice from Peter’s mind, and Peter’s difficulty in meeting the bigotry of his brethren in the matter, so that if the statement had not been true it certainly would not have been put on record. We have the record of the baptism of Lydia and her household, of the jailer and his household, of Stephanas and his household and of the twelve men at Ephesus; who would dare to record these actions if they had never occurred?

Paul, too, in his epistles, unfolds the doctrine of baptism in Romans and in Galatians, and tells of the Lord having delivered to him personally the instructions as to the Lord’s supper in 1 Corinthians.

Leaving Scripture we have the testimony of the Fathers as to the practice of the two rites of Christianity, and which were handed on and practised century after century to this present time.

We have, on the one hand, the spectacle of the Jew celebrating the Passover centuries before Babylon became a mighty empire. We find the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman empires have passed away into remote history, but the amazing Jew, spite of being dispossessed of his land, spite of being oppressed and persecuted for centuries, is still present with us, and celebrates his Passover to this present time.

On the other hand, we have the testimony of the Christian church to this hour in the practice of the rite of baptism and in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

Step by step the death and resurrection of our Lord are proved to be indisputable facts on which we may safely build.

The Testimony of the Bible

Lastly, we have the memorial of the Bible and the stupendous miracle it presents.

The late H.L.Hastings wrote:
  “We have better proof of the antiquity, the authenticity, the integrity, and the veracity of the New Testament, than of any other ancient book in the world; and we have better proof of the life, ministry, and mission of Moses, and Jesus, and Paul, and Peter, and John, than we have of the existence of Alexander, or Caesar, or Socrates, or Plato. We have hundreds more of ancient manuscripts of the New Testament books than of any other ancient writings; and they have been translated into more languages, and brought down through more independent channels than any other books.

  “We can tell an ancient book by the style of writing. The cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii were buried by an eruption of Vesuvius A.D. 79, and forgotten for over 1,000 years. In 1684 men dug through and discovered Herculaneum, and found there an old library of some 2,000 rolls and volumes, about 500 of which have been unrolled and deciphered, and some have been printed.

  “These books were curiously written,—all in uncial or CAPITAL letters, with no spacing between the words, and little or no punctuation. Men have not written that way for 1,000 years, but they wrote so before A.D. 79, for there are the books they wrote. Now we have copies of the New Testament books written in that very style, and we know they must be very old.

  “Then we have the Syriac translation, so old that no one knows its age. Eusebius, in his history (b. iii. c. 39), tells us that Mark wrote his Gospel from the instruction of Peter, who was probably put to death about the tenth year of Nero, A.D. 65. But Peter mentions Paul’s Epistles, classing them with the “other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15-16). Paul wrote fourteen epistles before he was put to death by Nero, who killed himself, A.D. 68. Luke wrote the Acts while Paul was living, for he leaves Paul “in his own hired house” (Acts 28:30-31). But Luke had written his Gospel before he wrote the Acts (Acts 1:1; Luke 1:1-5). And Paul quotes Luke’s Gospel (Luke 10:7) as “Scripture” along with Deuteronomy 25:4, in 1 Timothy 5:17-18. And Luke tells us that others had written of the life of Christ before he did (Luke 1:1-4).

  “Hence the New Testament was mostly written before Nero’s death, A.D. 68, or within thirty-five years of the crucifixion of Christ; and Paul, when writing to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:6), asserted that there were then living more than 250 Christian men who had seen Jesus Christ after He arose from the dead. It will pay you to read the New Testament and believe it and obey it.”

Translated in whole or in part into over 1,000 languages and dialects, the Bible carries its transforming message into the hearts and lives of multitudes of men and women of every race and of every social position from the monarch on his throne to the most degraded and depraved.

The miraculous power of Christianity is seen in its amazing moral results in this world. It exists in spite of all the inconsistency and poverty of conduct of its professed followers.

Boccaccio tells the story of a Parisian Jew long ago, who became exercised as to the truth of Christianity. The best thing he thought was to go to Rome and study the truth at headquarters. When he got there he was immeasurably shocked when he saw the open profligacy of the Pope and Cardinals, and how the surest way of obtaining preferments and favours was to gain the ear of one of their mistresses. On reflection, the seeker after light decided to be a Christian, for he said, if a religion could exist in spite of all the shameless lives of those who took the place of being its chief shepherds it must have the support of God’s Holy Spirit. The false coin proves (1) the existence of the real, and (2) its value.

The late Dr. Joseph Parker was lecturing on the comparative religions of the world—Mahomedanism, Buddhism, Theosophy, etc. etc. when he paused and said impressively, “Remember, gentlemen, that Christianity is not one of them.”

Every comparative religion is based on the doctrine of man being his own saviour, and therefore contains an appeal to the natural heart of man; Christianity bears witness to the utter ruin of the sinner. In this it stands alone. It cannot be compared. It directs attention to the blessed risen Christ of God as the only Saviour, and that in virtue of His atoning death on the cross, to which the Passover pointed forward, whilst the Lord’s Supper points back to it.

There are two marks the Christian religion has which are not possessed by any comparative religion.
  (1) It contains many mere professors.
  (2) Its true followers are naturally (not spiritually) ashamed of it.

It contains many mere professors, and these professors are never ashamed of their profession, for their profession is mechanical and lifeless, vitiated by worldly aims and schemes, so that it becomes a worldly religion, carrying with it no cross.

Mere profession only proves the real thing, just as a counterfeit coin proves the real article. The more numerous the imitations, the more they prove the worth of that which is imitated.

Satan does not need to discredit Mahomedanism, for it is a worldly religion and emanates from himself, but Christianity is of God and displaces Satan, hence the devil’s ceaseless attacks upon it. And one of his master-strategies is to produce mere professors, who, often actuated by the best of human desires, will leaven Christianity with worldly ways and schemes, thus destroying all they touch in the end.

True believers in the Lord Jesus often experience shame when they are called upon to confess their Lord. They recognize that Christianity is not a flower growing upon the stem of poor fallen nature, but that it is diametrically opposed to it, hence evoking the world’s scorn and opposition, even as it crucified its Founder.

The Mahomedan is not ashamed of his religion, for it is a phase of this world. He will kneel down on his mat anywhere in public when the time for public prayer arrives, and with no feeling of shame will go through his devotions. Would any Christian be equally free to kneel down in the streets, or in a railway carriage to pray?

It is just these considerations, that prove to the enquiring mind, the reality of Christianity. There are many things we cannot explain; such as the fall of Satan, and the origin of evil. We are surrounded with mysteries on every hand, both in the physical world and the spiritual. Why should I be a man? Why should I be on this earth? Why should Christ have died for me, and God want to set His love upon me? There is only one answer: Because God chose that it should be so. We are in the hands of an Almighty Being, and He has seen fit to reveal His love to us in the Scriptures, and how that love can express itself righteously in the forgiveness of sins, and the blessings of the Gospel, even through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

A Personal Appeal

Before we part, reader, may I ask you in all earnestness, Are you saved? Are your sins forgiven? Are you ready to leave this world? Are you a true Christian?

Remember the door of blessing swings open on two hinges:
  (1) “Repentance toward God, and
  (2) “Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).
  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
  “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9).
  “These things I have written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may KNOW that ye HAVE eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

There is enough in these two or three Scriptures to show any really anxious man or woman the way of salvation. See that you do not miss this blessing.

May God graciously be pleased to bless this effort to place the truth of these great divine facts before the reader, for His Name’s sake.