Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

ledge in preparing for their sacred from dislike of its ministers, igno. office; and many, who were not cler. rance, rudeness, and contempt of the gymen, owed their education, and most necessary and useful knowledge, their love of learning and religion, to gradu:lly become the prevailing cba. those who were.

racter of the people." p. 86–88. “ From the history of the primitive The following extract is selected church, of the dark ages, of the re- from the sermon on the Unchangeableformation and revival of learning, and ness of Christ, and consists of the proof modern times, what I have said position that “the religion of Jesus might with ease be amply confirmed. is ever the same.

What it first was, I would however especially lead your it now is, and it shall be for ever. The attention to what immediately re- doctrines and laws, taught by Christ sults from teachers of Christianity and his inspired Apostles, have been, acting in that capacity, and publicly are, and ever shall be, the only rule of instructing others by their sermons faith and manners. Human arts and or expositions of scripture. To thou- sciences, from small beginnings, by sands, who have no leisure nor oppor. the aid of various experiments and tunity to form their taste, or cultivate observations, gradually improve; and their rational powers, by conversation in them, often, though not always with the wise and enlightened, or by what is newest is best. It is far otherreading their works, a school is thus wise with the Gospel. Jesus who was open,established indeed for higher pur in the bosom of the Father, hath reposes; where menof sound understand- vealed what eye hath not seen, nor ing, though low in rank, may, without ear heard, neither had it entered into expence, and almost without intend- the heart of inan to conceive. Hence, ing it, learn, from example, to distin. our ideas and representations of those guish or connect ideas, to infer one deep things of God are then most truth from another, to examine the perfect, when they most exactly cor. force of an argument, and so to ar- respond with his instructions. The range and express their sentiments, inventions of men may be bettered: as deeply to impress themselves and not so, the words or works of God. others. As, in a few years, the child Hence, the precept, 2 Jolin, ii. 24. gradually acquires the faculty of Let that, therefore, abide in you speaking his mother tongue with a • which ye have heard from the beconsiderable degree of ease, fluency; 'ginning. If that which ye heard and perfection, without any formal from the beginning, remain in you, lessons, merely by hearing it spoken: 'ye also shall continue in the son so there is a natural logic and rhe. and in the father.' la the sacred toric, which some acquire without oracles, Jesus is represented as the designing it, who go to church for foundation of all our hopes; and we nobler ends, by which they are hapo are assured that, without union with pily enabled to detect the cunning him by a true and lively faith, there craftiness, whereby enemies of reli- is no forgiveness of sin, no acceptgion, or of public tranquility, lie in ance with God, no holiness here, no wait to deceive. Indeed the culture happiness hereafter. But, in that of the talents, and the improvement which many writers would obtrude of the intellectual abilities of that upon us as rational Christianity, these respectable class of men, who earn are represented as doctrines, which, their bread by the sweat of their though pardonable in our weak and brow, generally rises or falls, in pro- well-meaning forefathers, suit not portion to the character and genius with this so liberal minded and peof their religious instructors. In those netrating age. The high character parts of Britain, Holland, Germany, which some of those writers have acSwitzerland, and the American State, quired, as philosophers or politicians, where a devout attendance on reli- has blinded many to adopt their gious instruction is most general, theology, though excluding articles, good sense, sound judgment, and a which make a most capital and es. discerning spirit are most conspicu- sential figure in the original records ous. But when the reverse takes of our holy faith." place, and churches are deserted, either from aversion to religion, or

(To be continued.).

ORIGINAL CRITICISM AND CORRESPONDENCE.

TO THE EDITOR.
Remarks on Marsh's Michaelis.

SIR,

A

FTER being a little stumbled at to wliat has been already said, there

the new and strange hypothesis are passages liable to this rule; those of Mr. Marsh, inserted in his new edi- which are dependent upon others in tion of Michaelis, I read with much the process of the gradual revelation pleasure the observations of your ought to be capable of having a subcorre-pondent DIEREUSETES: 'still, sequent place allotted to them; but however, I was not perfectly satis- there are others, of which it is perfied, and wishing for more light on a fectly inaitterent at what time and subject, which Mr. M. with all his place they were said: and we may learning appears to me to have per- suppose each Evangelist to have plexed beyond almost any former wri- placed them as there occurred a fit ter, I was glad to see in your Monthly opportunity in his own particular List of Publications, “ Remarks on work, or with reference to his own Michaelis's Introduction, &c. trans- particular view in writing. Whatever lated by the Rev. H Marsh.” Im• degree of inspiration we suppose, unmediately procuring them, I read with less we extend it beyond its proper avidity, and with so much pleasure, (end, each writer may be conceived that I'am tempted to offer you some

to have been at liberty to transpose extracts, especially as I suspect, from such matters ad libitum; or at least the smallness of the tract, it may be within certain limits. À disagreethought too inconsiderable for your ment in such matters is no material analysis. The importance of the ob- disagreement. Shew me the dependject, however, especially after the ex- ence of one thing upon another, and tracts you have given, will, 1 persuade I am solicitous to find the proper ormyself

, atone for my intrusion, and der of each : if there is no such con. the propriety of the remarks make nexion, I am contented with any your readers desirous of a farther convenient order. acquaintance with this modest and “ Michaelis, indeed, allows that the sensible writer.

Evangelists did not write in chronoloThe introduction to these remarks gical order; which position his Comspeaks in general terms of the import- mentator controverts. The former ance of free epquiry, and strongly says, that the difference between an commends the learning and industry annalist and an historian arises out both of Michaelis and his commen- of this circumstance, and that the tator ; in some instances, however, very excellence of the historian des be modestly censures the boldness of pends upon it. The latter argues that his hypothesis, and offers some cau- the arrangement of facts is the true tions, especially to students who may criterion of their succession, and that be in danger of giving implicit credit the reader is liable to make false into so great authorities.

ferences if it is violated : which may On the subject of HARMONIES of be true in great measure ; but still, the Gospel, their use is stated, with the in fact, the best historians have not abuse to which they are liable, and confined themselves to this, especially on the characters of the Evangelists when they have been intent upon we have the following observations. what the annalist regards not, the

"Now the authors before us, both causes and connexion of events, and Michaelis and his Commentator, with a clear representation of such to the many others, consider the Evange- reader; insomuch that it often is not lists as mere historians, and therefore easy for the chronologer to find the subject to the law by which historians exact date of every event, even as are bound, of relating every thing in

related by the best historians. None, exact order of time, or in such man- I believe it may salely be affirmed, ber that others inay find no contra

have tied themselves down to so strict rieties, or in consistencies, in endea- an order, as the harmonists wish to

digest the things which find in the Gospels. Michaelis farthey relate in that order. According ther argues, which comes nearer to

'vouring to

VOL.I.

[ocr errors]

our subject, that biographers are apt determine the duration of our Lord's to take this liberty ; which is also de- ministry. And St. John, whose me. nied by his commentator ; except so thod is more strict, has not even left far as they divide their bistory into this question clear of doubt. In subjects or classes, relating each in short, the whole difficulty arises from in order of time. Yet I believe he giving to the Gospels' a character will find few biographers so strict in which their authors never intended their chronology: "I am sure the great they should bear, that of being purely biographer of classical antiquity is historical. If they are to be compared not. It is true that he does not con- to any work of classical antiquity, I found one end of his hero's life with know of none which bears so near a the other; he observes a general me- resemblance to them as Xenophon's thod, but is very little attentive to Memorabilia. That author also be. the particular arrangement, and often gins from a certain point, and ends digresses as the subject, or his fancy, with an historical detail of the death leads him away ; insomuch that, with- of Socrates. The intermediate parts out other assistance, a chronologer consist of several examples of the diswould be puzzled to make out a very courses of Socrates, selected and put exact arrangement of the facts. Now together not without method, but I should deny that the Evangelists by no means in exact order of time. are either to be considered as histo- And they have not for that reason rians or biographers. I mean that the less weight. In neither case bas they are not such simply. It is true the author made himself subject, that they have made history, the ve- equally with the historian or biogra. hicle of all the instruction which they pher, to the laws of chronology: convey, and that some parts of the “ But our harinonists are again em. Gospels are purely historical; as their barrassed with some differences in account of the birth and infancy, of the minute circumstances attending the sufferings and resurrection, of upon the facts: to which a similar Christ. They set out each of them answer may suffice. As long as these with the former of these, and the lat. affected not the substance, the all. ter are the common conclusion of all. thors were not very solicitous to avoid But of what does the intermediate them. And I believe none can be part consist? Not certainly of a re- assigned which fairly invalidate any gular life of Christ pursued in strict material fact or doctrine. The Evanorder from one end of it to the other; gelists, therefore, were left in such but of his ministry, consisting of two to their own recollection, and to things, miracles performed, and doc- the common variations of memory trines delivered. Scarcely any other amongst men.

Neither are these facts are mentioned unless inciden- differences without their use ; inase tally, and for the sake of these. Now much as they shew that the authors these are not to be confounded toge- wrote independently of each other, ther, so as that the last shall be first, and are separate witnesses. Not that and the first last ; something of order the case is parallel to historical paint. and method must be observed, because ers, to which Mr. Marsh compares it; a former miracle or doctrine may be they invent the attendant circumintroductory to a latter : but there is stances according to their own fancy: no necessity for a very exact chrono- the historian (being an eye-witness

) logical rule. The miracles are indeed relates them according to ibe view he historical facts, and, therefore, it is had of them at the time, and his renecessary that they be strictly true, collection of them at the time of writ. with the material circumstances at- ing. Michaelis thinks that such diftendant upon them: but it is often ferences affect the inspiration of the immaterial which happened first, and Evangelists, but not their credibility which second; and so of the doctrines, as historians, or the genuineness of the which were delivered first, and which Gospels

. If we suppose the Spirit of afterwards."

God to be the immediate author of " That the Evangelists were re- every tittle, (I will not say here of gardless of the exact order of time, as every word, but of every the minutes unnecessary to their purpose, is, I part as to its sense and meaning) his think, sufficiently intimated, by their position must be granted. But, if we having given few dates : the three suppose the Apostles in relating such first having not even given enough to facts to have been left to the powers

of their own understanding, and to them he often observes that they the habits of wisdom and knowledge agree in singular expressious, or in with which they had been inspired, expressions unusual to themselves in with no farther particular direction other parallel instances, or in such as or superintendence of the Spirit than may be accounted for by supposing to secure them from material error, them derived from the Hebrew. and to suggest every thing necessary With regard to all these circumfor the instruction of a Christian, stances of agreement, I would observe there is no occasion for his distinction. that it is now very difficult for us to

And on this hypothesis we may still pronounce what expressions were sini have full assurance in the Scriptures gular, and what common in that time

as the word of God; so as that, fairly and country; having so few authors understood and rightly used, they exactly of the same, with which to cao "vislead no man : which, as I coinpare them. That they should conceive, is the proper end of inspi-' vary their expressions at different ration, and therefore the proper rule times is common to all authors, espeof the extent and degree of it. We cially to those who are not very cuhare in this case all the benefit which rious and choice in their expressions : ke can reasonably expect, from that and that there should be hebraisms in Spirit which should teach them all their writings was unavoidable, their things, and bring all things to their sacred books being in Hebrew, and remembrance.' It disturbs not my the vernacular language of the country faith, if the sacred historians have a dialect derived from the Hebrew, been sutered to recollect, with some and nearly related to it. little variation, the attendant circum- “ But the verbal agreement itself he stances of each fact, or to fall into a holds to be inexplicable, except upon diferent manner of telling one and some such supposition as his own. the same story. We should recollect I would observe here, that all, or that the testimony of the Apostles as almost all, the instances of verbal eye-witnesses is the first step towards agreement which he alledges, are establishing the inspiration of the taken from the speeches or discourses New Testament ; and, therefore, of our Lord : scarcely any belong to there may have been reason for leavó those parts which are purely narraing it independent. I say nothing tive. This circumstance seems to me bere of the differences being perhaps to offer a much more reasonable solucapable of being reconciled, even tion of the difficulty. We are no though the solution be not seen and longer concerned with the case of known to us; or of their depending eye-witnessses, who do not relate upon various readings : because my • facts in the same manner, and still objection is to the principle ; viz. that « less in the same words :' much less of demanding an entire agreement in with the instance of painters (a case matters of inferior consequence, where not parallel to that of eye-witnesses), it is not necessary."

who making use of the greater facts Our author next vindicates St. only, represent the rest from fancy. Luke as an inspired writer, both by Our historians are of another descripargument and authority, and then tion; they are those who are labourenquires into the supposed original ing to report accurately the speeches documents of the Gospels, and charges and discourses of another; in which Mr. M. with some misrepresentations case even common historians would from which I should be glad to see endeavour to preserve the exact sense, him vindicated : but we are all liable or, as far as their memory would to be misled by attachment to hypo- serve them, the same words. In thesis.

seeking to do this, it is not to be wonMr. M. finds inexplicable difficul- dered at that two or three writers ties in the common hypothesis, which should often fall upon a verbal agreearise as much from their coincidence ment; nor, on the contrary, if they as their disagreement.

write independently, that they should "Our Author has with great pains often miss of it; because their mecollected and exhibited tables of the mory would often fail them. With passages in which there is in part, or regard to the sacred writers, it is in the whole, a verbal agreement of natural to suppose them studious of the three, or of any two [of the this very circumstance; and we have Evangelists :) and in his notes upon also reason to think that they had assistance from above to the same seems of far more importance than its effect: and yet it is not necessary to size imports. I allude to a short suppose that either their natural fa- “ Address to the Inhabitants of Great culty, or the extraordinary assistance Missenden, Bucks. By a Magistrate." vouchsafed them, or both, should have This address has been printed and brought them to a perfect identity distributed gratis in that part of the throughout: because it was not ne- county, I understand with good efcessary for the purposes of Provi- fect; and I mention it with a view to dence, and because it would have excite other magistrates and men of atfected their character of original property, to similar exertions in dif. independent witnesses. Let me add, ferent parts of the country, persuaded that these discourses, before they that such addresses might be listened were committed to writing by the too, even where the clergy are disreEvangelists, must have been often garded ; especially if, as in the above repeated amongst the Apostles in instance, the advice be followed by teaching others, and in calling them the legal authority of the magistrate. to remembrance amongst themselves. It would be absurd to encroach upon St. Matthew had probably often your pages with quotations from so heard, and known, how his other tel- small a tract, but I would just observe, low-labourers recollected the same that the writer has two principal ob. discourses which he selected for his jects in view—to promote the use of own preaching and writing. We just weights and measures, and the know not how much intercourse they observation of the sabbath day. For had with each other, but probably a these ends he states the heinous nagreat deal before they finally dis. ture of the contrary vices in the sight persed themselves. St. Mark and St. of God, and adds (what with some Luke had the same opportunities, may have more weight) the penalties even if they were not original eye. they incur by act of Parliament, and witnesses. I admit, then, of a com- which penalties, this worthy magismon document; but that document trate promises to enforce; adding, that was no other than the preaching of he had, at his own expence, procured our blessed Lord himself. He was a set of standard weights and meathe great Prototype. In looking up sures duly sealed at the exchequerto him, the author of their faith and an example that I sincerely hope will mission; and to the very words in have many imitators. which he was wont to dictate to them,

Yours, &c. (which not only yet sounded in their

E.D. ears, but were also recalled by tbe aid of his holy Spirit promised for that purpose), they have given us three Gospels, oiten agreeing in words, though not without much diversifi. cation, and always in sense."

MR. EDITOR, In his conclusion the remarker THEN in your second number

1 Revelation of St. John, but as I have some virulent publications of the prealready trespassed too far on your sent day, and amongst the rest, on patience, I must refer to the pam- the “ Hints to Ileads of Families," phlet itself, which I hope will be I little thought the author would have equally extended with the learned had the temerity to own his brat, and work on which it animadverts. glory in his shame. This, however,

he has done in a second production, if possible more virulent than the former, entitled “ METHODISM UN. MASKED : or, the Progress of Puri

tanism from the 16th to the 1911) CenSIR,

tury :' by the Rev. T. E. Owen, RecBEG leave to name to you a little

tor of Llandytrydog. I tract, which may well have es

Of such parts as relate to theolocaped youļ notice, as I believe it has gical tenets I shall not suppose mybeen never published* ; but which self qualified to judge: but I shall

beg leave to offer a few remarks on * Printed by Rousseau, Spa Fields. the great object of the work, which

TO THE EDITOR.

MICROS.

TO THE EDITOR.

« PoprzedniaDalej »