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satisfaction. Different parties, not Baptists, our heart discouraged because of the way.' have expressed to me their surprise that, in We are nevertheless not unobserved. The so short a time, and under all the circum- eye of the Eternal is upon us. The stances, I had succeeded in gathering around Elder Brother from the right hand of the me the little congregation that now wor. Majesty on high beholds us with affecships in our chapel.
tionate solicitude. Holy angels who saw "Here I must visit a good deal from house the agony, the bloody sweat, and the to house. But this is not labour that is death-dimmed eye upon the cross, atnew to me. And I have the pleasure to tend continually, as ministering spirits, state that, as in my sub-stations, 'the upon our footsteps. Thus the isolation we common people hear me gladly,' so my so often mourn is far from real. Ours is a labours from house to house, among the companionship of the most select and pripoor, are well received. But verily they vileged kind. And, further, our time is are poor-poor to an extent I never wit- now short. On some of our heads the nessed before. Those whom I formerly frost of years is rapidly increasing. Infirthought badly off would, in comparison mities multiply, and bid us set our houses with many here, be considered quite affluent. in order. But, precious thought, there is Among such I must give all the aid in my before us 'a land of pure delight.' A power. If you help not the body of those kingdom and a crown await the conquerors. who are sick or in want, you speak in vain It is the Father's house which opens to to the soul. But my means are small in receive his wayworn children home! Let comparison with the demands. Would that us, then, during the brief interval that yet those who can would help a little, espe- remains, be up and doing. Ear never cially now!
heard, eye never saw, imagination, with all “I have little, as you see, to begin with its witchery of description, never pictured, here ; but I am not easily daunted. Should reward like that our Master is about to beGod honour me here, as in former stations, stow upon us. Let us, then, gird up ourloins to build up and establish a centre of evan- anew, and enter the good fight with fresh gelistic effort, he shall verily have the glory: ardour. There is poetry, as well as prose, In his name I have set up the banner.' leven in our work." We stand, in a moral I am prepared for difficulty and conflict. sense, in the Thermopylæ of the British It is my desire to work while it is called empire. Like those of old, when the darts to-day. To me I feel the night is not far of their enemies darkened the sun, distant. Various remembrancers continu- fight in the shade.' But the bow of our ally admonish me to this effect. The ancient Leader returns not empty. Ireland shall artist, anticipating an eternity of fame, was yet be subjugated to His sway. Our careful in perfecting his work. May I and countrymen, having cast their idols to the my fellow-labourers in this much misunder. moles and to the bats, shall yet, in their stood but most important field, act ever right mind, and clothed in the snowy robe under the strong impulse of a kindred of his righteousness, bear their full part in feeling. Our work is with the Lord, and those high praises which all nations' our reward with our God. We have nothing shall address to Him who worthily wears to expect, and we ought to expect nothing the 'many crowns.' Then shall our names from men. We have no prestige on account be remembered. Then shall even we have of our country. It yields us little glory. a history. Let us not then be faithless, It is not Hungary, for whose liberty a but believing God's good purpose as to the Kossuth nobly battles ; it is not some of issue of our work, let us be strong in those justly remembered scenes of conflict, the Lord, and emulate the 'worthies,' in respect to which 'distance lends en whether of David or of more modern times. chantment to the view ;' it is only Ireland, May God give to us, in its highest sense, the synonym of whatever is unworthy and the spirit of the following lines :contemptible, the residuum of the nations, the hotbed of superstition, the footstool of
“ Deeds of great men all remind us
We may make our lives sublime, Rome. Yet, after all, every drawback only And, departing, leave behind us adds to the importance of the work. And
Footprints on the sands of time; there is yet a good time coming.' Even the Irish are included in the Saviour's love.
Footprints which, perhaps, another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main, Ireland shall yet stretch out her hands to Some forlorn and shipwreck'd brother God.' Happy they who by prayer, con
Seeing, shall take heart again. tributions, or personal efforts, promote, to Let us, then, be up and doing, any extent, an issue so near to the Father's
With a heart for any fate, heart! Oh, my partners in this holy enter
Still achieving, still pursuing, prise, we are few, and too often faint, and
Learn to labour and to wait.""
“A WORD IN SEASON." The attention of Christian ladies is respectfully called to the following correspondence. The first letter, addressed to the Secretary,.is from one of the most constant supporters of the Baptist Irish Society
“DEAR SIR,—I inclose a copy of a letter lished ? It would surely excite the symfrom. . relative to the box of pathy of some good people. clothing ; and as the cold weather is “ I will tell you how we raise the fund approaching it occurred to me whether you for the clothing, which is entirely in our might not, through the columns of the own family, as it may be useful to you in magazine, make an appeal for our poor suggesting it to others. My little folks Irish friends ; for surely there are few have each a box for different societies, one families in the denomination who could not of which is for our Irish friends; and these give some one or two articles of clothing; are always brought forward on the ' first and I believe many ladies would gladly give day of the week,' before they leave the their own cast-off wardrobes were they at dinner table, when all are expected to conall aware of the value they would be to our tribute something ; and by this means a poor Irish friends.
fund is raised very easily ; and it is sur“Would it not be well to name some prising how soon pence get to shillings in persons who would be willing to receive this simple manner. I mention this small contributions of this kind, in certain because I think if some of our Christian districts, as many might send two or three families were to adopt some such course, articles who could not make up a parcel ? I their children would not only be interested, hope to send a package before very long for but the funds of our societies very easily Mr. —'s other stations, although I fear and very much increased. I must beg you not so large as the last, as it will consist to excuse me trespassing so much on your chiefly of new clothing this season, which I time: but I really feel much more ought to will forward to you in due time for him. be done than is done, and especially for poor Might not some part of the inclosed be pub- Ireland.”
Copy of a letter received from
“ MY DEAR MADAM,–Our kind and dear child is still in danger ; so that you good Secretary has sent to me your valuable see, dear friend, how acceptable was your parcel of clothing, for which I am indeed parcel; and did English friends know the very grateful. It was a most opportune value of such gifts to us they would feel and valuable gift, to myself as well as to thankful to the Lord for putting it into other poor friends of Jesus.
their hearts to send. Many a poor person
stays at home from preaching for want of "In your letter you allowed an appro-raiment; and many a poor person will be priation of part to the agent; and, indeed, warmed by the flannels sent. You will be the Secretary knows I need such kind of glad to know that the Lord is blessing me aid. "Tis only by the goodness of the Lord in my work, and that he gives me health in raising up friends that I am able to sup- and strength to preach and visit very much port a large family; and this whole winter and very extensively." we have had influenza and fever; and our
CONTRIBUTIONS. The list is necessarily deferred in consequence of the Secretary's absence from London.
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND DONATIONS will be thankfully received by the Treasurer, THOMAS PEWTRESS, Esq., or the Secretary, the Rev. CHARLES JAMES MIDDLEDITCH, at the Mission House, 33, Moorgate Street; or the London Collector, Mr. W. F. CAREY, 1, Vernon Terrace, Portobello Road, Kensington Park; and by the Baptist Ministers in any of our principal towns.
THE OMISSIONS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, In our last number we adduced a variety of instances in illustration of the statement that many facts which we might naturally expect to find recorded in the Bible are omitted there, and we argued that these omissions cannot have resulted either from accident or from ignorance on the part of the writers. Our present object is to show that their very
be instructive—that what they omit, as well as what they teach, may have its lessons for us.
1. We think that the omissions of the New Testament furnish a slight, but not altogether worthless, argument in proof of the fact that the evangelists wrote under Divine superintendence. We find four historians : composing four distinct and separate narratives of the same series of events. The Person whose life they were about to commemorate passed thirty-three years on earth; yet, strange to say, they confine their history to the last three years, and pass over the first thirty. They omit just those details which natural curiosity makes us wish to know, and which all other biographers have been eager to communicate. Manifold as are the differences between the gospel histories and all others in respect of what they communicate, yet more strikingly do they differ from them in respect of what they withhold. And this applies not to one but to all. By a sort of tacit understanding they record and omit the same things. Though they occupied such different points of view; though the special aim of each differed from that of the rest; though they each contemplated a side of our Lord's character, person, and work unlike that of the others ;* forming, in the words of Origen, a "four-sided gospel ;" yet we find that they all work within exactly the same limits, and pass over without mention exactly the same things. How is this to be accounted for? It could not result from accident. It might have been deemed accidental if our remarks had applied to one only. But that four should have done so cannot be explained upon the supposition of a casual coincidence. It cannot result from ignorance, for John at least, who wrote his gospel long
* Thus it is that the gospel stands "four square" with a side fronting each side of the spiritual world. Matthew, addressing the Jews, reveals the Messianic king; Luke, the Greek, reveals the man; Mark, showing the power and vital force of truth; and John, its attractive and subduing love. Matthew exhibits the Jewish and subordinate ; John, the spiritual and divine in our Redeemer; Mark, his authority over nature and devils; Luke, his personal history as man. In all combined, Jesus is represented as the Messiah, the Teacher, the Father, the Brother, and the God.-Bible Hand-Book. By Dr. Angus. VOL. II.- NEW SERIES.
after the others, was undoubtedly in a position to have supplemented their narratives, had he seen fit to do so. Why, then, should they have withheld those particulars which their natural feelings would prompt them to record, and which all their readers are most desirous to learn ? We think the only adequate answer to this question is that in these matters they were withheld by a Divine influence, controlling and restrain. ing them. Their silence may furnish us with what has been well styled, “negative internal evidence" to the fact of their inspiration. If left to follow the impulse of their own minds, they could scarcely have failed to write the history of these things; but as in the missionary labours of Paul and his companions," the Holy Ghost suffered them not.'
The argument thus derived from the silence of Scripture will not be materially affected even though we should find ourselves unable to assign adequate reasons for it. We
may infer the fact of design in the reserve imposed upon the New Testament writers, even though we should fail to discover what that design was ; just as a barbarian who should pick up a chronometer, or other complicated piece of mechanism, would be quite sure that it was put together for some purpose, though he should be ignorant what it was. Nay, in a certain sense, it is true that the more recondite and obscure the reason for the reserve, the stronger the evidence of a Divine influence acting upon them from without, because the less likely that purpose
is to have occurred to their own minds. We think, however, that sufficient reasons can be discovered, why the record has been restricted within the prescribed limits.
2. Let it be remembered that the gospel is intended to set Christ before us in a certain specific character. It does not furnish us with a biography in the ordinary sense. Its subject is one “whose goings forth have been of old even from everlasting ;" and it only relates to us such portions of his heavenly and his earthly history as may suffice to convince us that he is our Saviour and King. No more is told us than is necessary to establish this. An infinity of things might have been recorded as to his existence before time began, or respecting his actions in our world's history prior to his incarnation, or concerning the transactions of his earthly life subsequently to it. A merely human historian possessing knowledge of the facts would infallibly have recorded them. But there is a Divine economy in the revelation of God. We saw, in our last paper, how the imagination of man ran riot in an extravagance of miraculous feats when they began to compose apocryphal gospels. The same applies to the legendary histories of saints in the Papal Church, which abound in a purposeless and wasteful prodigality of thaumaturgic wonders. Contrasted most strikingly with this natural tendency to excess stand the divine reserve and economy, we had almost said parsimony, of miracles as recorded in Scripture, where we find at once a manifestation and "a hiding of his power." Each miracle is wrought with some ethical or spiritual purpose, and has a profound ulterior meaning. Precisely so is it as respects the histories of the gospels. Those facts, and those only, are recorded which illustrate his work as our Saviour and Lord. An anonymous writer in one of the earlier numbers of Kitto's “ Journal of Sacred Literature" thus sums up the facts of the gospel record. As his object was somewhat different from that we have in view, we abridge and slightly modify his summary so as to bring it into more distinct harmony with our point of view :
“But let us examine the revealed incidents in the biography that appear like isolated rocks piercing the dark waves of silence. First we have our Lord's birth, then his circumcision at the eighth day, the presentation in the Temple at the fortieth, the adoration of the Magi, the flight into Egypt and return to Nazareth, then an interval of eleven years, the visit to Jerusalem, another interval of eighteen years ; from which time the narrative is comparatively full and consecutive. To these notices of our Lord's personal history we may add the genealogies. Now, all these points taken up by the inspired historians (except the adoration of the Magi) may be shown to have the closest connection with the Levitical types and ordinances. The infant of the early chapters of St. Luke is the future priest, the member of the house of Israel. How accurately is his parentage recorded! What careful proofs of the purity of his virgin mother! The genealogies prove his royal ancestry, and thus, in connection with the priestly office to be hereafter assumed, supply the conditions essential to 'the priest after the order of Melchizedec.' The future priest must be circumcised on the eighth day: he must be presented in the Temple on the fortieth, and the offerings made as prescribed by the
law of Moses—' for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. The descent into Egypt perfected the typical connection of our Lord with the Jewish nation, so as to make the prophecy equally applicable to both: Out of Egypt have I called my Son.'* Our Lord's first appearanee at a paschal feast is the next break in the silence. This, also, has a distinct connection with his keeping of the whole law; for he had now reached the age at which every male Israelite was brought up to the Temple, "to appear before the Lord.' Then, when entering upon his thirtieth year, the period at which the priest commenced his functions, he came up and demanded baptism, as the consecration to the work upon which he was about to enter as King and Priest to his Church."
To render the foregoing enumeration exhaustive and complete it is only necessary to add the appearance of the angels to the shepherds, and the adoration of the Magi. The spiritual import of these two incidents is obvious. The first shows that the babe of Bethlehem is the Lord of angels. His incarnation was not an event of merely local, provincial, or mundane interest; but one of universal concernment in which all heaven sympathised and rejoiced. The adoration of the Magi, again, has been universally regarded as symbolical of the call of the Gentiles, and their admittance to the blessings of salvation. If space permitted, it would be easy to carry out this train of remark to a much greater length, and apply it to the events of our Lord's public life, showing that the more detailed narratives of the last three years preserve the same jealous silence and reserve as to all that does not bear upon his mediatorial work. The gospels, we repeat, do not pretend to give a detailed biography of the “ man Christ Jesus." They simply select those events which connect him with the types and promises of the older dispensations, and set him forth as our King, Prophet, Priest, and Sacrifice. Everything essential to this manifestation is recorded. Everything else is omitted.
Here it may be objected that these remarks only define the limits of the silence and the omissions of Scripture ; that we have simply pointed out the rule according to which certain things were omitted and certain others recorded; but that we have not explained the reason of the omissions, nor shown why these limits were imposed. This we cannot do fully, but the following suggestions may be taken as contributions towards an answer.
3. The omission of less important details gives increased prominence and effect to what is revealed. If the gospel histories had resembled the ponderous biographies of modern times, in which every trivial particular is recorded, the special work of Christ as our Saviour would have been less distinctly and vividly presented. The silence and reserve of the narrative concentrates our attention upon just those points which it is absolutely essential for us to be familiar with. If Switzerland rose by a gradual ascent from the level plains of Germany and France up to an altitude of fifteen thousand feet above the sea, that sublimity and majesty which concentrates the interest of the visitor upon Mont Blanc would be lost.
* Greswell shows with much probability, that our Lord was a year old when he left Egypt; that after a residence of 215 days in that country, corresponding to the years of the Israelitish bondage, he set out for the land of his birth on the feast of the Passover, thus accurately maintaining the parallel. In whatever degree this calculation may be depended on, it confirms the reason alleged for a break in the silence observed by the Evangelist.