The Eyewitness Accounts as Presented in the Bible


Introduction: The Prophets and the Apostles

Who wrote the Bible?  The authors were known by various names, most commonly as “Prophets.”  Other titles: “Man of God” (1 Kings 12:22), “Servant of the Lord” (1 Kings 14:18), “Messenger of the Lord” (Isaiah 42:19), “Seer” or “Beholder,” (Isaiah 30:9-10), “Man of the Spirit” (Hosea 9:7, Micah 3:8) and a “Watchman” (Ezekiel 3:17).  “Apostles” appeared in the New Testament, in addition to the Prophets, both titles authoritative as spokesmen for the Lord. [3]

The following is a list of the Biblical authors [4] who composed their works under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Details are provided for five of the gospel writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Peter, as presented by Simon Greenleaf in Testimony of the Evangelists.

1.      The Writer of Job.

Book of Job, regarded as the earliest written book of the Bible.


2.      Moses.  Shepherd.  Leader.

Writer of The Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), plus Psalm 90.


3.      Joshua.  Military general.

Joshua 1-24:27.


4.      Eleazar, son of Aaron.  High priest.

Joshua 24:28-33.


5.      Samuel.  Prophet.

Judges.  Possibly Ruth.


6.      Nathan.  Prophet.



7.      Gad.  Prophet.



8.      Ezra.

Ezra, Chronicles, Nehemiah.


9.      Nehemiah.  Cupbearer.

      Book of Nehemiah.


10.  Writer of Esther.  Prophet.

Book of Esther.


11.  David.  Shepherd.  Soldier.  Musician.  King.

Psalms 2-9, 11-32, 34-41, 51-65, 68-70, 86, 95, 101, 103, 108-110, 122, 124, 131, 133, 138-145.


12.  Solomon.  King.

Proverbs, Song of Solomon (Canticles), Psalms 72 and 127, Ecclesiastes.


13.  Zabud, son of Nathan the prophet.

1 Samuel, 2 Samuel.


14.  Sons of Korah.

Psalms 42-49, 84-85, 87; Numbers 26:9-11.


15.  Asaph.  Priest.

Psalms 50, 73-83; Ezra 2:41.


16.  Heman.  Wise Man.

Psalm 88; 1 Kings 4:31; 1 Chronicles 15:19


17.  Ethan the Ezrahite.

Psalm 89.


18.  Agur ben Jakeh.  Oracle.

Proverbs 30.


19.  Lemuel.  King.  Oracle.

Proverbs 31.


20.  Isaiah.  Prophet.  Poet.

Book of Isaiah.


21.  Jeremiah.  Prophet.  Son of Hilkiah the priest.

Book of Jeremiah.  Possibly Lamentations.  Possibly I and II Kings.


22.  Ezekiel.  Priest.  Prophet.  Son of Buzi.

Book of Ezekiel.


23.  Daniel.  Prime minister.

Book of Daniel.


24.  Hosea.  Prophet.  Son of Beeri.

Book of Hosea.


25.  Joel.  Prophet.  Son of Pethuel.

Book of Joel.


26.  Amos.  Herdsman.

Book of Amos.


27.  Obadiah.  Prophet.

Book of Obadiah.


28.  Jonah.  Prophet.  Son of Amittai.

Book of Jonah.


29.  Micah.  Prophet.

Book of Micah.


30.  Nahum.  Prophet.

Book of Nahum.


31.  Habakkuk.  Prophet.

Book of Habakkuk.


32.  Zephaniah.  Prophet of royal descent.

Book of Zephaniah.


33.  Haggai.  Prophet.

Book of Haggai.


34.  Zechariah.  Priest.  Son of Berechiah.  Grandson of Iddo.

Book of Zechariah.


35.  Malachi.  Prophet.

Book of Malachi.


36.  Matthew.  Tax collector.  Son of Alphaeus.

Simon Greenleaf, Testimony of the Evangelists:

Matthew, called Levi, was a Jew of Galilee, but of what city is uncertain. He held the place of publican, or tax-gatherer, under the Roman government, and his office seems to have consisted in collecting the taxes within his district, as well as the duties and customs levied on goods and persons, passing in and out of his district and province, across the lake of Genesareth. While engaged in this business, at the office or usual place of collection, he was required by Jesus to follow him, as one of his disciples; a command which he immediately obeyed. Soon afterwards, he appears to have given a great entertainment to his fellow-publicans and friends, at which Jesus was present; intending probably both to celebrate his own change of profession, and to give them an opportunity to profit by the teaching of his new Master. He was constituted one of the twelve apostles, and constantly attended the person of Jesus as a faithful follower, until the crucifixion; and after the ascension of his Master he preached the gospel for some time, with other apostles, in Judea, and afterwards in Ethiopia, where he died.

He is generally allowed to have written first, of all the evangelists; but whether in the Hebrew or the Greek language, or in both, the learned are not agreed, nor is it material to our purpose to inquire; the genuineness of our present Greek gospel being sustained by satisfactory evidence. The precise time when he wrote is also uncertain, the several dates given to it among learned men, varying from A.D. 37 to A.D. 64. The earlier date, however, is argued with greater force, from the improbability that the Christians would be left for several years without a general and authentic history of our Savior’s ministry; from the evident allusions which it contains to a state of persecution in the church at the time it was written; from the titles of sanctity ascribed to Jerusalem, and a higher veneration testified for the temple than the comparative gentleness with which Herod’s character and conduct are dealt with, that bad prince probably being still in power; and from the frequent mention of Pilate, as still governor of Judea.

That Matthew was himself a native Jew, familiar with the opinions, ceremonies, and customs of his countrymen; that he was conversant with the Sacred Writings, and habituated to their idiom; a man of plain sense, but of little learning, except what he derived from the Scriptures of the Old Testament; that he wrote seriously and from conviction, and had, on most occasions, been present, and attended closely, to the transactions which he relates, and relates, too, without any view of applause to himself; are facts which we may consider established by internal evidence, as strong as the nature of the case will admit. It is deemed equally well proved, both by internal evidence and the aid of history,  that he wrote for the use of his countrymen the Jews. Every circumstance is noticed which might conciliate their belief, and every unnecessary expression is avoided which might obstruct it. They looked for the Messiah, of the lineage of David, and born in Bethlehem, in the circumstances of whose life the prophecies should find fulfillment, a matter, in their estimation, of peculiar value: and to all these this evangelist has directed their especial attention.

Allusion has been already made to his employment as a collector of taxes and customs: but the subject is too important to be passed over without further notice. The tribute imposed by the Romans upon countries conquered by their arms was enormous. In the time of Pompey, the sums annually exacted by their Asiatic provinces, of which Judea was one, amounted to about four millions and a a half of sterling, or about twenty-two millions of dollars. These exactions were made in the usual forms of direct and indirect taxation; the rate of the customs on merchandise varying from an eight to a fortieth part of the value of the commodity; and the tariff including all the principal articles of the commerce of the East, much of which, as is well known, still found its way to Italy through Palestine, as well as by the way of Damascus and of Egypt. The direct taxes consisted of a capitation-tax, and a land-tax, assessed upon a valuation or census, periodically taken under the oath of the individual, with heavy penal sanctions. It is natural to suppose that these taxes were not voluntarily paid, especially since they were imposed by the conqueror upon a conquered people, and by a heathen too, upon the people of the house of Israel. The increase of taxes has generally been found to multiply discontents, evasions and frauds on the one hand, and, on the other, to increase vigilance, suspicion, close scrutiny, and severity of exaction. The penal code, as revised by Theododius, will give us some notion of the difficulties must have been increased by the fact that, at this period, a considerable portion of the commerce of that part of the world was carried on by the Greeks, whose ingenuity and want of faith were proverbial. It was to such an employment and under such circumstances, that Matthew was educated; an employment which must have made him acquainted with the Greek language, and extensively conversant with the public affairs and the men of business of his time; thus entitling him to our confidence, as an experienced and intelligent observer of that day were, as in truth they appear to have been, as much disposed as those of the present time, to evade the payment of public taxes and duties, and to elude, by all possible means, the vigilance of the revenue officers, Matthew must have been familiar with a great variety of forms of fraud, imposture, cunning, and deception, and must have become habitually distrustful, scrutinizing, and cautious; and, of course, much less likely to have been deceived in regard to may of the facts in our Lord’s ministry, extraordinary as they were, which fell under his observation. This circumstance shows both the sincerity and the wisdom of Jesus, in selecting him for an eyewitness of his conduct, and adds great weight to the value of the testimony of this evangelist.

37.     Mark. (John-Mark.)

       Book of Mark.

Simon Greenleaf, Testimony of the Evangelists:

Mark was the son of a pious sister of Barnabas, named Mary, who dwelt at Jerusalem, and at whose house the early Christians often assembled. His Hebrew name was John; the surname of Mark having been adopted, as is supposed, when he left Judea to preach the gospel in foreign countries; a practice not unusual among the Jews of that age, who frequently, upon such occasions, assumed a name more familiar than their own to the people whom they visited. He is supposed to have been converted to the Christian faith by the ministry of Peter. He traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, and afterwards accompanied them elsewhere. When they landed at Perga in Pamphylia, he left them and returned to Jerusalem; for which reason, when he afterwards would have gone with them, Paul refused to take him. Upon this, a difference of opinion arose between the two apostles, and they separated, Barnabas taking Mark with him to Cyprus. Subsequently he accompanied Timothy to Rome, at the express desire of Paul. From this city he probably went into the Asia, where he found Peter, with whom he returned to Rome, in which city he is supposed to have written and published his Gospel. Such is the outline of his history, as it is furnished by the New Testament. the early historians add, that after this he went into Egypt and planted a church in Alexandria, where he died.

It is agreed that Mark wrote his Gospel for the use of Gentile converts; and opinion deriving great force from the explanations introduced into it, which would have been useless to a Jew, and that it was composed for those at Rome, is believed, not only from the numerous Latinisms it contains, but from the unanimous testimony of ancient writer, and from the internal evidence afforded by the Gospel itself.

Some have entertained the opinion that Mark compiled his account from that of Matthew, of this notion has been refuted by Knoppe, and others, and is now generally regarded as untenable. For Mark frequently deviates from Matthew in the order of time, in his arrangement of facts; and he adds many things not related by the other evangelists; neither of which a mere epitomizer would probably have done. He also omits several things related by Matthew, and imperfectly describes others, especially the transactions of Christ with the apostles after the resurrection; giving no account whatever of his appearance in Galilee; omissions irreconcilable with any previous knowledge of the Gospel according to Matthew. To these proofs we may add, that in several places there are discrepancies between the accounts of Matthew and Mark, not, indeed, irreconcilable, but sufficient to destroy the probability that the latter copied from the former. The striking coincidences between them, in style, words, and things, in other places, may be accounted for by considering Peter, who is supposed to have dictated this Gospel to Mark, was quite as intimately acquainted as Matthew with the miracles and discourses of our Lord; which, therefore, he would naturally recite in his preaching; and that the same things might very naturally be related in the same manner, by men who sought not after excellency of speech. Peter’s agency in the narrative of Mark is asserted by all ancient writers, and is confirmed by the fact, that his humility is conspicuous in every part of it, where anything is or might be related of him; his weaknesses and fall being fully exposed, while things which might redound to his honor, are either omitted or but slightly mentioned; that scarcely any transaction of Jesus is related, at which Peter was not present, and that all are related with that circumstantial minuteness which belongs to the testimony of an eye-witness. We may, therefore, regard the Gospel of Mark as an original composition, written at the dictation of Peter, and consequently as another original narrative of the life, miracles, and doctrine of our Lord.

38.     Luke.  Doctor.

        Luke, Acts.

Simon Greenleaf, Testimony of the Evangelists:

Luke, according to Eusebius, was a native of Antioch, by profession a physician, and for a considerable period a companion of the apostle Paul. From the casual notices of him in the Scriptures, and from the early Christian writers, it has been collected, that his parents were Gentiles, but that he in his youth embraced Judaism, from which he was converted to Christianity. The first mention of him is that he was with Paul at Troas, whence he appears to have attended him to Jerusalem; continued with him in all his troubles in Judea; and sailed with him when he was sent a prisoner from Caesarea to Rome, where he remained with him during his two years confinement. As none of the ancient fathers have mentioned his having suffered martyrdom, it is generally supposed that he died a natural death.

That he wrote his Gospel for the benefit of the Gentile converts is affirmed by the unanimous voice of Christian antiquity; and it may also be inferred from its dedication to a Gentile. He is particularly careful to specify various circumstances conducive to the information of strangers, but not so to the Jews; he gives the lineage of Jesus upwards, after the manner of the Gentiles, instead of downwards, as Matthew had done; tracing it up to Adam, and thus showing that Jesus was the promised seed of the woman; and he marks the eras of his birth, and of the ministry of John, by the reigns of the Roman emperors. He also has introduced several things, not mentioned by the other evangelists, but highly encouraging to the gentiles to turn to God in the hope of pardon and acceptance; of which description are the parables of the publican and Pharisee, in the temple; the lost piece of silver; and the prodigal son; and the fact of Christ’s visit to Zaccheus the publican, and the pardon of the penitent thief.

That Luke was a physician, appears not only from the testimony of Paul, but from the internal marks in his Gospel, showing that he was both an acute observer, and had given particular and even professional attention to all our Savior’s miracles of healing. Thus, the man whom Matthew and Mark describe simply as a leper, Luke describes as full of leprosy; he, whom they mention as had having a withered hand, Luke says had his right hand withered; and of the maid, of whom the others say that Jesus took her spirit came to her again. He alone, with professional accuracy of observation, says that virtue went out of Jesus, and healed the sick; he alone states the fact that the sleep of the disciples in Gethsemane was induced by extreme sorrow; and mentions the blood- like sweat of Jesus, as occasioned by the intensity of his agony; and he alone relates the miraculous healing of Malchus’s ear. That he was also a man of a liberal education, the comparative elegance of his writings sufficiently shows.

The design of Luke’s Gospel was to supersede the defective and inaccurate narratives then in circulation, and to deliver to Theophilus, to whom it is addressed, a full and authentic account of the life, doctrines, miracles, death and resurrection of our Saviour. Who Theophilus was, the learned are not perfectly agreed; but the most probable opinion is that of Dr. Lardner, now generally adopted, that, as Luke wrote his Gospel in Greece, Theophilus was a man of rank in that country [See Lardner, Works 6.138-139; 3.203-204; and other authors, cited in Horne, Introduction to the Study of the Holy Scriptures 1.267]. Either the relations subsisting between him and Luke, or the dignity and power of his rank, or both, induced the evangelist, who himself also “had perfect understanding of all things from the first,” to devote the utmost care to the drawing up of a complete and authentic narrative of these great events. He does not affirm himself to have been an eye-witness; though his personal knowledge of some of the transactions may well be inferred from the “perfect understanding” which he says he possessed. Some of the learned seem to have drawn this inference as to them all, and to have placed him in the class of original witnesses; but this opinion, though maintained on strong and plausible grounds, is not generally adopted. If, then, he did not write from his own personal knowledge, the question is, what is the legal character of his testimony?

If it were “the result of inquiries, made under competent public authority, concerning matters in which the public are concerned,” it would possess every legal attribute of an inquisition, and, as such, would be legally admissible in evidence, in a court of justice. To entitle such results, however, to our full confidence, it is not necessary that they should be obtained under a legal commission; it is sufficient if the inquiry is gravely undertaken and pursued, by a person of competent intelligence, sagacity and integrity. The request of a person in authority, or a desire to serve the public, are, to all moral intents, as sufficient a motive as a legal commission. Thus, we know that when complaint is made to the head of a department, of official misconduct or abuse, existing in some remote quarter, nothing is more common than to send some confidential person to the spot, to ascertain the facts and report them to the department; and this report is confidently adopted as the basis of its discretionary action, in the correction of that abuse, or the removal of the offender. Indeed, the result of any grave inquiry is equally certain to receive our confidence, though it may have been voluntarily undertaken, if the party making it had access to the means of complete and satisfactory information upon the subject. If, therefore, Luke’s Gospel were to be regarded only as the work of a contemporary historian, it would be entitled to our confidence. But it is more than this. It is the result of careful science, intelligence and education, concerning subjects which he was perfectly competent to peculiarly skilled, they being cases of the cure of maladies; subjects, too, of which he already had the perfect knowledge of a contemporary, and perhaps an eye-witness, but beyond doubt, familiar with the parties concerned in the transactions, and belonging to the community in which the events transpired, which were in the mouths of all; and the narrative, moreover, drawn up for the especial use, and probably at the request, of a man of distinction, whom it would not be for the interest nor safety of the writer to deceive or mislead. Such a document certainly possesses all the moral attributes of an inquest of office, or of any other official investigation of facts; and as such is entitled, in foro conscientiae, to be adduced of the matters it contains.

39.     John.  Fisherman.  Son of Zebedee.

        John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation.

Simon Greenleaf, Testimony of the Evangelists:

John, the last of the evangelists, was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman of the town of Bethsaida, on the sea of Galilee. His father appears to have been a respectable man in his calling, owning his vessel and having hired servants. His mother, too, was among those who followed Jesus, and “ministered unto him” and to John himself, Jesus when on the cross, confided the care and support of his own mother. This disciple also seems to have been favorably known to the high priest, and to have influence in his family; by means of which he had the privilege of being present in his palace at the examination of his Master, and of introducing also Peter, his friend. He was the youngest of the apostles; was eminently the object of the Lord’s regard and confidence; was on various occasions admitted to free and intimate intercourse with him; and is described as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Hence he was present at several scenes, to which most of the others were not admitted. He alone, in company with Peter and James, was present at the resurrection of Jairus’s daughter, at the transfiguration on the mount, and at the agony of our Savior in the garden of Gethsemane. He was the only apostle who followed Jesus to the cross, he was the first of them at the sepulchre, and he was present at the several appearances of our Lord after his resurrection. These circumstances, together with his intimate friendship with the mother of Jesus, especially qualify him to give a circumstantial and authentic account of the life of his Master. After the ascension of Christ, and the effusion of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, John became one of the chief apostles of the circumcision, exercising his ministry in and near Jerusalem. From ecclesiastical history we learn that, after the death of Mary the mother of Jesus, he proceeded to Asia Minor, where he founded and presided over seven churches, in as many cities, but resided chiefly at Ephesus. Thence he was banished, in Domitian’s reign, to the isle of Patmos, where he wrote his Revelation. On the ascension of Nerva he was freed from exile, and returned to Ephesus, where he wrote his Gospel and Epistles, and died at the age of one hundred years, about A.D. 100, in the third year of the emperor Trajan.

The learned are not agreed as to the time when the Gospel of John was written; some dating it as early as the year 68, others as late as the year 98; but it is generally conceded to have been written after all the others. That is could not have been the work of Some Platonic Christian of a subsequent age, as some have without evidence asserted, is manifest from references to it by some of the early fathers, and from the concurring testimony of many other writers of the ancient Christian church.

That is was written either with especial reference to the Gentiles, or at a period when very many of them had become converts to Christianity, is inferred from the various explanations it contains, beyond the other Gospels, which could have been necessary only to persons unacquainted with Jewish names and customs. And that it was written after all the others, and to supply their omissions, is concluded, not only from the uniform tradition and belief in the church, but from his studied omission of most of the transactions noticed by the others, and from his care to mention several incidents which were known to him, is too evident to admit of doubt; while his omission to repeat what they had already stated, or, where he does mention the same things, his relating them in a brief and cursory manner, affords incidental but strong testimony that he regarded their accounts as faithful and true.”

Further discussion on Gospel authorship, dating and authenticity can be found here:


40.  Paul.  Rabbi.  Tent-maker.

       Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon.

Paul, in his own words, before the witness of King Herod Agrippa II, his wife Bernice, Governor Festus, and Luke:

Acts 26:4-26

4”My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. 5They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 7To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. 8Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?
9”Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

12 “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 14And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15So I said, “Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. 17I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now [NU-Text and M-Text omit now] send you, 18to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. 21For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come-- 23that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

24 Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”
25But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. 26For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.

See also Acts 9:1-19; 22:6-16.

      Peter.  Fisherman.

        1 Peter, 2 Peter.

Simon Greenleaf, Testimony of the Evangelists::

There is also a striking naturalness in the characters exhibited in the sacred historians, rarely if ever found in works of fiction, and probably nowhere else to be collected in a similar manner from fragmentary and incidental allusions and expressions, in the writings of different persons.  Take for example, that of Peter, as it may be gathered from the evangelists, and it will be hardly possible to conceive that four persons, writing at different times, could have concurred in the delineation of such a character, if it were not real; a character too, we must observe, which is nowhere expressly drawn, but is shown only here and there, casually, in the subordinate parts of the main narrative.  Thus and zealous man; sudden and impulsive, yet humble and ready to retract; honest and direct in his purposes; ardently loving his master, yet deficient in fortitude and firmness in his cause. When Jesus put any question to the apostles, it was Peter who was foremost to reply, and if they would inquire of Jesus, it was Peter who was readiest to speak.  He had the impetuous courage to cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant, who came to arrest his master; and the weakness to dissemble before the Jews, in the matter of eating with Gentile converts.  It was he who ran with John to the sepulchre, on the first intelligence of the resurrection of Jesus, and with characteristic zeal rushed in, while John paused without the door.  He had the ardor to desire and the faith to attempt to walk on the water, at the command of his Lord; but as soon as he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid.   He was the first to propose the election of another apostle in the place of Judas, and he it was who courageously defended them all, on the day of Pentecost, when the multitude charged them with being filled with new wine.  He was forward to acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah; yet having afterwards endangered his own life by wounding the servant of the Most High Priest, he suddenly consulted his own safety by denying the same Master, for whom, but a few hours before, he had declared himself ready to die.  We may safely affirm that the annals of fiction afford no example of a similar but no uncommon character, thus incidentally delineated.

     James.  Brother of Jesus.

        Book of James.


43.   Jude.  Brother of James and Judas.

        Book of Jude.


44.  Writer of Hebrews (Paul or Apollos).

       Book of Hebrews.

Simon Greenleaf, Testimony of the Evangelists:

“Such are the brief histories of men, whose narratives we are to examine and compare; conducting the examination and weighing the testimony by the same rules and principles which govern our tribunals of justice in similar cases. These tribunals are in such cases governed by the following fundamental rule;--

In trials of fact, by oral testimony, the proper inquiry is not whether is it possible that the testimony may be false, but whether there is sufficient probability that it is true.

It should be observed that the subject of inquiry is a matter of fact, and not of abstract mathematical truth. the latter alone is susceptible of that high degree of proof, usually termed demonstration, which excludes the possibility of error, and which therefore may reasonably be required in support of every mathematical deduction. But the proof of matters of fact rests upon moral evidence alone; by which is meant not merely that species of evidence which we do not obtain either from our own senses, from intuition, or from demonstration. In the ordinary affairs of life we do not require nor expect demonstrative evidence, because it is inconsistent with the nature of matters of fact, and to insist on its production would be unreasonable and absurd. And it makes no difference, whether the facts to be proved related to this life or to the next, the nature of the evidence required being in both cases the same. The error of the skeptic consists in pretending or supposing that there is a difference in the nature of the things to be proved; and in demanding demonstrative evidence concerning things which are not susceptible of any other than moral evidence alone, and of which the utmost that can be said is, that there is no reasonable doubt about their truth.”


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