Imatges de pÓgina
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actions and discourses. The very words of Luke imply, not önly that such memorials existed, but likewise that several persons had already undertaken to collect and arrange them. So far is he from censuring them for the undertaking, that he refers to it as a precedent for his own. This could not but intimate some deficiency in the manner in which their performances were executed: but, with the characteristic modesty of an Evangelist

, he alleges only his superior opportunities for information, as his motive for assuming that employment. That he was richly supplied with means for the discharge of it, is obvious; and, that he was not called to it by the apostles then in Judea, directed or assisted in it by Paul, or especially prompted to it by the Holy Spirit, is by no means to be inferred from his silence on those topics, equally as on all others that would have tended to his own praise. His ‘work, however, from being universally allowed to have been composed in the Greek language, was evidently adapted, in the first instance, to the use of Gentile, rather than Jewish Christians; and it was probably designed, more especially, for the benefit of the churches of Macedonia, which he had previously superintended for some years, and to which he appears to have returned, after accompanying Paul to Rome. Theophilus, to whom he inscribes his Gospel and the Acts, is, therefore, most likely to have been a Roman commander, who had been converted under his ininistry at Philippi.

To the Gospels of Matthew and of Mark, very ancient and credible tradition assigns nearly the same date with each other; several years later than that which the dates formerly deduced from the Acts of the Apostles, require to be assigned to Luke's : and it is asserted that Matthew wrote in Judea, in the language then spoken by the Jews, shortly before his final departure from that country. Nothing, probably, but a ne. cessity of supplying the Jews with a connected narrative of the life of Christ, would have transformed an apostle into a compiler. Such only Matthew could be of those parts of his narFative which either preceded his o:vn attendance on our Lord's ministry, or related io other events of it, at which he was not present. The care which he took to distinguish the latter froin transactions of which he was an eye-witness, has already been noticed; and the want of attention to this fact has occasioned the principal difficulties that Harmonists of the Gospels have encountered in arranging the order of events. The caution also which lic exercised in the insertion of transactions at which he was not present, is evident froin his entire silence respecting whatever intervened during the absence of all the apostles on their mission, though it must have comprised seve: ral months of our Lord's short ministry. Of various transactions, likewise, which are recorded either by Luke or John, Matthew cannot be supposed to have been uninformed or unmindful. His rule appears to have been that of passing unnoticed whatever he could not record from the verbal or written, testimony of the eye-witnesses. That Luke had adopted the same rule will be sufficiently evident to any one who accue rately compares the accounts which these two Evangelists have given of the first events of Christ's life. Neither of them could probably be unapprised of facts which the other has inserted ; but each admitted only what he had documents to prove. Luke plainly refers to the authority of the Virgin Mary in his narrative. Matthew apparently derived his statement from the same source : yet they seem to have used different records, and probably such as the brother apostles, James and Jude, the nearest kinsmen of Mary, had made from her per: sonal information. To this species of authority, the term similar, used in the close of the preceding paper, is to be referred (p. 93.)

The Gospel of Murk is said to have been composed at the request of the Roman Christians, and in their language: but if so, he probably soon after transferred it into the Greek language, for more extensive use; and he is most likely, also, to have rendered the original of Matthew's Gospel into Greek; for the idiom of these two Gospels is precisely similar, while it differs widely from those of Luke and John. Mark also evi, dently transcribed several of the same apostolic documents which were used by Luke and Matthew; some of which might originally be from Peter's hand, and others illustrated by information from him. In identical passages, any translator of Matthew's and Mark's Gospels into Greek, would naturally use the same Greek phrases in both; and where he found sucht paragraphs already translated from the original documents by Luke, would adopt his expressions.

From this transient view of the sources, the occasions, and dates of the four Gospels, it appears,

1. That their contents are almost wholly memorials from the hands of the apostles, whether collected and published by themselves or others. We may, therefore, in concerns of infinite importance, confidently rely on their truth.

2. That the Gospels were composed independently of each other, by persons best qualified for the undertaking, for iminediate purposes of importance, and on the most suitable occasions. It was therefore worthy of God to provide and preserve these four Gospels.

3. That to us they are all of invaluable use; both for confirming and illustrating what they contain in common, and for supplying all that was needful for our instruction and satisfaction respecting the history of our Lord. It is, therefore, both our dury and our privilege, not only to acquaint ourselves familiarly with all the Gospels, but moreover carefully to compare together their corresponding parts, in order to reap the fullest benefit from them.

4. That we ought to imitate the general conduct of the four Evangelists, both in labouring for the instruction of others, and in doing this to aim simply at the glory of God. They looked not on their own concerns only, but on those of others also; and sought not their own, but the things of Christ.

RABKASHEB.

ORIGINAL LETTER

OF THE LATE REV. MR. ROMAINE. My good Friend,

I RECEIVED your letter some time ago; and have been waiting to give you a more particular answer than I can at present. I expected my church would have been shut

up

for the summer; but, as nothing is yet done, I could not longer delay to acknowledge the receipt of yours, and to inform you, that if I have timely notice of the opening of the chapel, I shall, God willing, come down and consecrate it.

Indeed, Mrs. I--, you have mercies of the upper and nether springs ! Mercies wonderful, free, many! Mercies personal Family mercies! - I trust you may add to the long, long catalogue, everlasting mercies ! - 0! that you may be kept humble, or otherwise you cannot be thankful! May an abiding sense of your utter unworthiuess be upon your heart, - that your best Friend, - the Giver of all your mercies, dear, dear, ever dear Jesus, may have all the glory. Thank him, give him his due, and you will experience his character. - He giveth more gruce. -- Nothing stops the current of his favours but our stopping the tribute of thanks; for then we are not fit to receive his favours. O remember this! And may you delight to live in the valley - which is always well watered and fruitful. I commend you and yours, our dear Society, and Oat-Hall hearers, to the Keeper of Israel. You will be all safe, you will be all. happy, if he keeps you, and keep you humble. Pray all of you for W. ROMAINE.

Blackfriars, May 17, 1774.

THE RAKE.

Eugenio, possessed of a splendid inheritance, surrounded and caressed by flatterers, gave himself up entirely to whatever his desires snggested, or his fancy wished. Unthinking of the future, subject to no control, he hurried on in the mazes of pleasure and dissipation, till he became so hardened, ihat for self-gratification he would scarcely hesitate to sacrifice any obstacle which stood before him. Time saw hím increase in evil; and Sickness, that sure attendant on dissoluteness, soon seized him :- brought to a bed of suffering, he meditates, for the first time, on his hopeless, hapless state; promises to reform, till renovated health and spirits return, he thinks on his Creator, and trembles at the numerous vices he has committed. See him recovered, and, for a short time, performing the duties of a Christian, helping the weak, and distributing much of his superfluity among the former objects, of his oppression ; — but, alas! how attractive are the blandishments of evil! trusting to himself, and thinking he was proof against it, he visits, without intending to join, his former haunts; his treacherous heart whispers, Fear not, thou art now another man; thy repentance has been accepted, thou mayst safely venture here; it will shew thee in stronger colours the effects of sin, and cause thee to stand firmer than ever. Oh, misguided mortal, never trust to thyself, but ask aid and grace of him who alone is able to be thy Guide. – No sooner is he perceived by his old companions, than they flock around him, and, with seeming kindness, welcome him again to the joys of life. He, in a solemn manner, paints to them his sufferings and thoughts of eternity, and begs them to turn into the sight way: he is about to leave them; but they wink at each other, and .assail bin on all sides with soft entreaties and superficial arguinents, till at length he is overcome by their sophistry, and yields Behold the weakness of presuming man! when left to himself, his best and firmnest resolutions fly like sand before a hurricane, and vanish as the inorning mists before the sun. At length the joke goes round: heated with wine, he relapses into his former blasphemies, swears there is nothing but priestcraft in religion, derides his former good actions, and promises to attend their meetings. Now we behold him worse than before, an Atheist, a man of this world only, one who has expelled from his mind all ideas of religion and inorality; – but finally, the awful vengeance of an offended God strikes his callous heart! like one awoke from a terrifying dream, he looks round, recovers recollection, is staggered and horror-struck, finds his fortune gone, himself nearly reduced to beggary, deserted and scorned by his former comrades, afraid to pray, unable to endure the cutting refiections of his consciences, and stung to the soul with guilt, he sinks, shrieking, into the arms of death, a victim of profiigacy, a sufferer for ever: -' God commandeth all men everywhere to repent*'

J. F. T--D.

* Acts xvii. 30.

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To the Editor.

Kettering SIR,--The following case is so manifest a display of the sovereignty and power of the grace of God, in the conversion of sinners, that I canpot but hope that the perusal of it will be acceptable and edifying to 'a large proportion of your numerous readers. Yours, T. N. TOLLER.

A few days since died, at the age of fifty-six, Thos. Law, an inhabitant of this town, who, though in comparatively inferior circumstances, has been long highly respected, on account of his eminence in the Christian spirit and character ; which appeared the more conspicuous as a striking contrast to the former part of life.

Whether or not he had ever received any thing wbich deserved the pame of a religious education, one thing is certain, viz. that nothing he had ever learnt or heard had any salutary effect upon his mind for the first twenty-five or thirty years of his life; on the contrary, as he grew in years, he advanced in vice, until he might be said to have sold himself to work iniquity in the sight of the Lord. Possibly, his early intercourse with the temptations of a military life, might contribute to the deeper contamination of his heart and character, as it appears that he was guilty of several criines during his residence in the army, which would have subjected him to the punishment of martial-law, but for the personal attachment of his coinmanding officer. However that may be, both in the army and after he left it, he went on walking according to the course of this world, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and

gave dreadful proofs that he was a child of wrath.' Amongst other vices, he was particularly addicted to intemperance, profane cursing and swearing, and the most ungoverned passions of anger and fury; and not only neglected public worship on the Sabbath, but at length had walked so often in the counsel of the ungodly, stood so long in the way of sinners, that he took his seat in the chair of the scornful: In all human probability, his usual step from thence to perdition would soon have been his lot, but for the interfering voice which said, Destroy him not, for a blessing is in him;" he is a chosen vessel unto me.'

We have instances recorded in Scripture of extraordinary conversions, and also in more modern history; but, for the most part, they have been effected by means (though not strictly speaking) adequate to the great end, yet adapted to produce it. Thus Manasseh's conversion was preceded by an heavily correcting providence ;-the conversion of Peter's bearers on the day of Pentecost was instrumentally, caused by a pungent appropriate address to them ;---the jailer, so far as means went, by the alarm of an earthquake ;---Saul, hy the miraculous appearance of Jesus Christ; and, in later days, Col. Gardiner, by either a supernatural vision, or a vivid dream which had all the appearance to him of reality :-but the singularity of the present case is, that one of the most satisfactory and eminent conversions one shall ever hear of, originated in a cause that had nothing extraordinary in it; at least did not seem at all adapted to answer the great end which followed, but was a mere casual thought, which might have passed through his mind, and probably, in substance, has passed througli ten thousand minds without any effect at all. The case was briefly this, as I had it from hiniself years ago :-While at work in his house, bis wife went on some common errard into the town; but being out longer than he expecied, his passion rose to a dreadful height; and, on her return; he poured out a most tremendous volley of profane and abusive oaths. On some occasion or other, she went from home again soon after; and from the same cause he found his resentment again rising, and preparing hinn almost literally to • breathe out slaughter and threateniugs' against her on her' second return; -- but just at that juncture, no person being present, no voice heard, no visible quarter to which it can be traced (at a time too when every religious idea

may be supposed to be as distant from his mind as the east is from the west) the thought crossed him, 'Ah, you had better fall upon your

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