« PreviousContinue »
SPEAKER. Now, that the Sacred Writings are thus inspired, we have abund- | sent man in a lapsed state, a rebellious and fallen being, alienated from God ant evidence of various kinds, amounting to a moral demonstration. For, and goodness, averse by nature to all that is good and amiable, and prone to L The sacred writers themselves expressly claim Divine inspiration; and every thing that is sinful and hateful, and consequently exposed to the eternhesitatingly and unequivocally assert that the Scriptures are the Word of nal wrath of God. The Scriptures, however, do not leave us in this wretched God. All the prophets, in the Old Testament, speak most decidedly of them-state; but they propose an adequate remedy for all our diseases, and an ample selves, and their predecessors, as declaring not their own words, but the supply for all our wants. They show us how to be delivered from the doword of God. (2 Sa. xxili. 1, 2. Ne. ix. 30. Ps. xix. 7..11. Is. viii. 20. Je. xx. minion and awful consequences of sin, and how human nature may be truly 7..9. xxv. 3, 4. xxvi. 12..19. Eze. i. 1..3. xxxviii. 16, 17. Da. ix. 12, 13. Mi. iii. improved and perfected, through the obedience, death, and mediation, of the 1.12 Zec. i. 5, 6.) They propose things, not as matters for consideration, only begotten Son of God, by receiving him as made of God un us wisdom, But for adoption: they do not leave us the alternative of receiving or reject-righteousness, sanctification, and redemption-as an effectual root and prining: they do not present us with their own thoughts, but exclaim, Thus ciple of holiness; and by walking in him by faith, denying ungodliness and sith the LORD, and on that ground claim our assent. The Apostles and worldly lusts, and living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present writers of the New Testament, also speak respecting the prophets of the Old world, setting our affections on things above, where Christ is, and mortifyfestament, as holy men of God, who spake as they were moved by the ing, through the Holy Spirit, every sinful and corrupt affection. We are Holy Ghost' ( Pe. i. 19..21. He. i. 1, 2.) These writings are expressly af taught to love the Lord our God with all our heart and all our soul; to love firmed to be the Oracles of God,' (Ro. iii. 2.); and it is declared that all our neighbours as ourselves; to fulfil perfectly the particular duties of every Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for relative station; to lay aside all malice, envy, hatred, revenge, and other reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God malevolent dispositions or passions; to love our enemies; to render good for may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.' Our Saviour evil, blessing for cursing; and to pray for them who despitefully use us. himself expressly recognizes them, on various occasions, as the infallible These laws of universal purity and benevolence are prescribed with an auWord of God, and of Divine authority. (Mat. iv. 4..11. xii. 1..5, 41, 42. thority proper only to God, and extended to such a compass and degree as XV. 1.14. xxii. 29..32, 41.46. Mar. vii. 1..9. Lu. iv. 23..27. xvi. 29.,31. Jn. v. God alone can demand; and those sins are forbidden which God alone 39.47.) The sacred writers of the New Testament also adopt language, could either observe or prohibit. The most powerful motives to duty and which, in its most obvious meaning, claims the attention of their readers to dissuasives from vice, are wisely proposed and powerfully urged; motives their own instructions as to the Word of God; and they also thus attest and drawn from the nature and perfections, the promises and threatenings, the sanction one another's writings in the most unequivocal manner. (1 Co. vii. mercies and judgments of God, particularly from his overflowing benevolence 39, 49. 1 Th. iv. 6.8. 2 Pe. iii. 1..4, 14.16.) Now, admitting the veracity of and mercy in the work of our redemption, and from advantages and disadthe writers, (which, we have seen, is absolutely unimpeachable,) we must vantages, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. And, while the most excellent admit that the Scriptures are the inspired and infallible word of God. If means of directing and exciting to the exercise of piety and virtue are they were wise men, (and every man must perceive that they were neither established in the most excellent forms and authoritative manner, the most ignorant nor void of sense,) they could not have been deluded into the perfect and engaging patterns of holiness and virtue are set before us in the imagination that hey, their predecessors and contemporaries, were inspired; example of our Redeemer, and of God as reconciled in Him, and reconciling and, if they were good men, (as they certainly must have been, for bad men, the world to himself. Now, all these things were written at a time when all if they could, would not have written a book which so awfully condemned the rest of the world, even the wisest, and most learned, and most celebrated themselves,) they would not have thus confidently asserted their own inspi- nations of the earth, were sunk in the grossest ignorance of God and religion; ration, and sanctioned that of each other, unless they had been inspired; were worshipping idols and brute beasts, indulging themselves in the most they would not have ascribed their own inventions to inspiration, especially abominable vices, living in envy, hatred, and strife, hateful, and hating one as such forgeries are so severely reprobated in every part of them. Con- another. It is a most singular circumstance, that a people in a remote, obsequently, the Bible must be the word of God, inspired by him, and thus scure corner of the world, far inferior to several heathen nations in learning, given to man. in philosophy, in genius, in science, and in all the polite arts, should yet be so infinitely their superiors in their ideas of a Supreme Being, and of every thing relative to morality and religion. This cannot be accounted for on any other supposition than that of their having been instructed in these things by God himself, or by persons commissioned and inspired by Him; that is, of their having been really favoured with those Divine revelations which are recorded in the sacred books of the Old and New Testaments. Indeed, both the doctrines and morality of the Sacred Scriptures infinitely transcend the abilities of the penman, if they were not inspired. Men of the best education, far less men of no education, could not of themselves form such exalted schemes of religion, piety, and virtue; and wicked men, as they must have been if they were impostors, would not publish and prosecute such a scheme of mystery, holiness, and morality.
2. A great many wise and good men, through many generations, of various nations, and in different countries, have agreed in receiving the Bible as a Divine revelation. The Jews have unquestionably in all ages acknowledged the Scriptures of the Old Testament as the word of God; and Christians, from the earliest ages to the present time, have not been less backward in testifying their belief in the inspiration of both the Old and New Testament. Many of them have been distinguished for piety, erudition, penetration, and impartiality in judging of men and things. With infinite labour and patient investigation, they detected the impostures by which their contemporaries were duped; but the same assiduous examination confirmed them in believing the Bible to be the word of God; and induced them, living and dying, to recommend it to all others, as the source of all true wisdom, hope, and consolation. Now, although this does not amount to a demonstration, yet it is a strong presumptive proof, of the inspiration of the Scriptures; and it must be allowed to be a consideration of vast importance, that the whole company of those who worshipped the living God in spirit and in trath,' including those who laid down their lives as a testimony of their unshaken belief, and who were the most pious, holy, and useful men in every age, have unanimously concurred in handing them down to us as a divine revelation, and have very little differed about the books which form that sacred deposit
3. The matter contained in the Scriptures requires a Divine inspiration. Setting aside, for a moment, the prediction of future events, and the excelbency of its doctrines and morality, and merely admitting the veracity of the wered writers, (which we have every reason to do,) we must admit that wach of the information contained in the Bible absolutely required a Divine revelation. The history of the creation, part of that of the flood, &c. as related in the Scriptures, could have been known to God alone. Mysteries relative to a Trinity of persons in the Godhead,-the nature and perfections of God,-the covenant of grace,-the incarnation of the Son of God,-his mediatorial offices, and redemption through his blood,-justification, adoption, sanctification, and eternal blessedness in him,-and the offices of the Holy Spirit the Comforter,-these, and many others of a like nature, God only could either comprehend or discover. Mysterics, therefore, in the Sriptures, rather confirm than invalidate their inspiration: for a book, claiming to be a revelation from God, and yet devoid of mystery, would, by this very circumstance, confute itself. Incomprehensibility is inseparable from God and his works, even in the most inconsiderable, such, for instance, as the growth of a blade of grass. The mysteries of the Scriptures are sublime, interesting, and useful: they display the Divine perfections; lay a foundation for our hope; and inculcate humility, reverence, holiness, love, and gratitude. What is incomprehensible must be mysterious; but it may be intelligible as far as it is revealed; and though it be connected with things above our reason, it may imply nothing contrary to it. Hence, it may be confidently inferred, from these matters contained in the Scriptures, that they were given by inspiration of God.
4. The scheme of doctrine and morality contained in the Bible is so exalt-posed, related, or prepared for; the same doctrines of a gracious redemption ed, pare, and benevolent, that God alone could either devise or appoint it. through Jesus Christ exhibited or supposed to be true; the same rules or exIn the Scriptures alone, and in such books as make them their basis, is the emplifications of piety and virtue; the same motives and inducements to the infinite God introduced as speaking in a manner worthy of himself, with performance of duty; the same promises of mercy, and threatenings of just simplicity, majesty, and authority. His character, as there delineated, com- misery to persons, societies, or nations, without a single contradiction. prises all possible excellence, without any intermixture; his laws and ordi- Apparent inconsistencies may indeed perplex the superficial reader; but they nances accord with his perfections; his works and dispensations exhibit vanish before an accurate and persevering investigation; nor could any them; and all his dealings with his creatures bear the stamp of infinite charge of disagreement among the sacred writers ever be substantiated; for Wisdom, power, justice, purity, truth, goodness, and mercy, harmoniously it could only be said that they related the same facts with different circumdisplayed. While the Supreme Being is thus described as possessed of every stances, which are perfectly reconcileable, and that they gave instructions perfection, unbounded and incomprehensible in his essence and nature, and as suited to the persons they addressed, according to various circumstances of the Creator, Governor, and Benefactor of his creatures, the Scriptures repre- time, place, and manner, without systematically showing their harmony w
5. The harmony of the sacred writers fully demonstrates that they wrote by the inspiration of the Spirit of God. Other historians continually differ from each other: the errors of the former writers are constantly criticised and corrected by the latter; and it even frequently happens that contemporary writers contradict each other in relating a fact that happened in their own time, and within the sphere of their own knowledge. Should an equal number of contemporaries, of the same country, education, habits, profession, natural disposition, and rank in life, associating together as a distinct company, concur in writing a book on religious subjects, of even less extent than that of the Bible, each furnishing his proportion without comparing notes, the attentive reader would easily discover among them considerable diversity of opinion. But the writers of the Scriptures succeeded each other during a period of nearly sixteen hundred years; some of them were princes or priests, others shepherds or fishermen; their natural abilities, education, habits, and occupations, were exceedingly dissimilar; they wrote laws, history, prophecy, odes, devotional exercises, proverbs, parables, doctrines, and controversy, and each had his distinct department; yet they all exactly agree in the exhibition of the perfections, works, truths, and will of God; of the nature, situation, and obligations of man; of sin and salvation; of this world and the next; and, in short, in all things connected with our duty, safety, interest, and comfort, and in the whole of the religion which they have promulged: they all were evidently of the same judgment, aimed to establish the same principles, and applied them to the same practical purposes. One part of Scripture is so intimately connected with, and tends so powerfully to the establishment of another, that one part cannot be reasonably received without receiving the whole; and the more carefully it is examined, and the more diligently it is compared, the more evident will it appear, that every part, like the stones in an arch, supports, and receives support from the rest, and that they unitedly constitute one grand and glorious whole. In both the Old and New Testaments, the subsequent books, or succeeding parts of the same book, are connected with the preceding, as the narrative either of the execution of a plan, or of the fulfilment of a prediction. If we receive the history, we must also receive the prediction; if we admit the prediction, we must also admit the history. Every where the same facts are sup
other parts of divine truth. They did not write in concert, and they bestowed no pains to avoid the appearance of inconsistency; yet the exact coincidences plainly perceptible among them,-not only in their grand, primary, and general objects, which are written as with the beams of the sun, but in particular subjects comprehended in their plan, and even in particular worda and expressions, (though they evidently borrowed nothing from one another,)—is truly astonishing, and cannot be accounted for on any rational principles, without admitting that they all wrote 'as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,'-that all their writings were indited under the influence of the same Spirit, and flowed from the same infallible Source.
6. The multitude of miracles, which only the infinite power of God could effect, wrought in confirmation of the divine mission of the writers of the Sacred Scriptures, afford us a most convincing proof of their inspiration. It has been already seen, that the narrations of these miracles were published very soon after the time, and at the places, in which they were said to have been wrought; that they were performed in the most conspicuous manner, before very great multitudes, enemies as well as friends; that they were of such a nature,-appealing to the very senses of men,-as totally precluded the possibility of deception; that public ceremonies were instituted in memory of several of them, which have been observed in all ages; that the reality of them, as facts, was admitted even by the most determined enemies of Divine revelation; that the witnesses, from whom we have received the accounts of them, were many in number, unanimous in their evidence, of unquestionable good sense, undoubted integrity, and unimpeachable veracity, who showed the sincerity of their own conviction by acting under the uniform influence of the extraordinary works to which they bore witness, in opposition to all their former notions and prejudices, and in contradiction of every worldly honour, profit, or advantage, either for themselves or friends, and at last by laying down their lives in confirmation of the facts which they attested; and that vast multitudes of their contemporaries, men of almost all ages, tempers, and professions, were persuaded by them that they really were performed in the manuer related, and gave the strongest testimony which was in their power of the firmness of their belief, by foregoing every worldly advantage, and suffering every temporal evil which was endured by the original witnesses. To this it may be added, that the number of the miracles is almost incalculable; that they were all calculated to answer some great and benevolent end, every way worthy of the infinitely wise and beneficent Creator; that they were wrought in attestation of nothing but what was agreeable to reason, so far as reason could apprehend it, and in confirmation of a religion the most holy, pure, and benevolent; and performed by persons of the greatest moral worth, and the most eminent patterus of every virtue. Now, admitting the reality of the miracles related in the Sacred Writings, (as every unprejudiced mind must be constrained to do,) and rationally believing, that the Supreme Being, the God of truth, wisdom, and goodness, can never give his testimony to falsehood, it irresistibly follows that the Scriptures are, as they unequivocally claim to be, the Word of God, written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
7. The astonishing and miraculous preservation of the Scriptures from being either lost or corrupted, is an overwhelming instance of God's providential care, and a constant sanction and confirmation of their truth and Divine authority, continued by Him in all ages of the church. While the histories of mighty empires, and innumerable volumes of philosophy and literature, in the preservation of which the admiration and care of all mankind seemed to conspire, have been lost and forgotten in the lapse of time, the Sacred Scriptures, though far more ancient, and though hated and opposed by Satan and his agents in all ages, who sought with the deadliest hatred to cause their very memory to perish from among men, have come down to our own time entire and genuine, free from every material error, and nearly in their original purity. With great wisdom, God, for their preservation, ordered an original copy to be deposited in the holy of holies, (Deut. xxxi. 26); appointed the careful and frequent reading of them, both in public and private; and that every Hebrew monarch should write out a copy for his own use, (Deut. xvii. 18.) With astonishing kindness and wisdom has he made the various contending parties who had access to the Scriptures,-such as the Jews and Israelites, the Jews and Samaritans, the Pharisees and Sadducees, the Jews and Christians, and the various sects and parties of Christians,-mutual checks upon each other for almost three thousand years, that they might not be able either to extirpate or corrupt any part of them; and by quickly multiplying the copies both of the original and translations, as well as the readers of the Scriptures, he rendered it absolutely impossible to falsify them in any thing important, without causing the corruption to start up in every copy dispersed through the world, and in the minds of almost every reader than which supposition nothing can be more absurd and monstrous. By what tremendous judgments did he restrain and punish Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syro-grecian king, Dioclesian, the Roman emperor, and others, who attempted to destroy the Sacred Scriptures, in order to extirpate the Jewish or Christian religion! And he has bestowed amazing support and consolation on such as have risked or parted with their lives rather than deny the dictates of Scripture, or in the least contribute to their destruction or misinterpretation. During the profanation of Antiochus, whoever was found with the book of the law was put to death, and every copy that could be found, burned with fire; and Dioclesian, after the most bar barous havoc of the Christians, issued an edict, commanding them, on pain of death under the most cruel forms, to deliver up their Bibles; though many complied with this sanguinary edict, yet the greater part disregarded it; and notwithstanding these, and numberless other calamities, the Sacred Volumes have survived pure and uncorrupted to the present day, and doubt less will exist as long as there is a church in the world-till the end of time and the consummation of all things-a monument of God's unceasing and providential care, and an unquestionable attestation of their inspiration and Divine authority.
the latest of which was delivered 1700 years ago, and some of them 8000 years ago, the descendants of Shem and Japheth are 'ruling' and 'enlarged, and the wretched descendants of Ham are still 'the servants of servants,' (Ge. ix. 25..27.);-the posterity of Ishmael have multiplied exceedingly,' and become ‘a great nation' in the Arabians; yet living like 'wild men,' and shifting from place to place in the wilderness,' their hand against every man, and every man's hand against them,' and still 'dwelling,' an independent and free people, in the presence of all their brethren,' and in the pre sence of all their enemies, (Ge. xvi. 10..12. xvii. 20.);—the family of Esau has become extinct, cut off for ever,' so that there is none' remaining of the house of Esau,' (Je. xlix. 17, &c. Eze. xxv. 12, &c. Joel iii. 19. Am. i. 11, &c. Ob. 10, 18, &c.) ;- the sceptre has departed from Judah,' (Ge. xlix. 10.), though the Jews still dwell alone, and are not reckoned among the nations,' while the remembrance of Amalek is utterly put out from under heaven,' (Nu. xxiii. 9. xxiv. 20.);-Nineveh is so completely destroyed, that the place thereof cannot be known, (Na. L.III);-Babylon has been swept with the besom of destruction, and is made ‘a desolation for ever, a possession for the bittern and pools of water,'' a dwelling place for dragons, an astonishment and hissing, without an inhabitant,' (Isa. XIII. XIV.) ;—Tyre has become like the top of a rock, a place for fishers to spread their nets upon,' (Eze. xxvi. 4, 5.) ;-Egypt, a base kingdom, the basest of the kingdoms,' still tributary and subject to strangers, so that it has never been able to 'exalt itself above the nations,' (Eze. xxix. 14, 15);-the fourth and last of the four great empires, which was greater and more powerful than any of the former, has been divided into ten lesser kingdoms; and among them has arisen a power with a triple crown diverse from the first,' with a mouth speaking very great things,' and with 'a look more stout than his fellows, speaking great things against the Most High, wearing out the saints of the Most High, and changing times and laws,' which did 'cast down the truth to the ground, and prosper, and practice, and destroy the holy people, not regarding the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god,' but 'honouring the god of forces,' or Mauzzim, gods-protectors, and causing the priests of Mauzzim to rule over many, and divide the land for gain,' (Da. xi. 37..39.) Jerusalem has been destroyed, with all the circumstances related in the Evangelists, and the Jews have been 'led away into all nations, and Jerusalem trodden down by the Gentiles,' through a long series of ages, (Lu. xxi. 24.) ;-for their infidelity and disobedience to their great Prophet like unto Moses, they have been plucked from off their own land, and removed into all the kingdoms of the earth, and scattered among the heathen, among the nations, among all people, from one end of the earth even to the other,' sifted among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve,' having been left few in number among the heathen,' have 'pined away in their iniquity in their enemies' lands,' have become an astonishment, a proverb, and a by-word among all nations,' 'a reproach, a taunt, and a curse,' have found among these nations no case, and the sole of their foot has had no rest; but the Lord has given them a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind, and sent a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies, so that the sound of a shaken leaf has chased them,' and they have been many days without a king, and without a prince. and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without a teraphim,' (Le. xxvi. 38, 39. Deut. xxix. 62..67. Eze. v. 10..15. Ho. iii. 4.); and yet, while their mighty conquerors are every where destroyed, they are miraculously preserved a distinct people, and neither swallowed up nor lost among the various nations amidst whom they are dispersed, but are reserved until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled,' when they shall 'seek the Lord their God, and David their king: and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days ;'-in the mean time, the Gentiles have been advanced in their room, and God has given to the Messiah the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession,' (Ps. ii. 8.), and the gradual, but progressive, and steadily advancing conversion of heathen nations in our own days, prepares us to expect the speedy arrival of the time when Jehovah shall be worshipped from the rising of the sun even to the going down of the same,' and when his name shall be great among the Gentiles,' (Mal. i. 11.) ;--the grand apostacy from the Christian faith has already taken place, which consists 'in giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, (or demons, worshipping angels and departed saints, and is promoted through) speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their consciences seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding te abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanks. giving of them which believe and know the truth,' (1 Ti. iv. 1..3.) The seven churches of Asia lie in the same desolate state that the angel signified to St. John, (Re. II. III.) their candlestick removed out of its place,' their churches turned into mosques, and their worship into superstition;-and the characters of the beast and false prophet,'-to whom was given to make war with the saints, and to overcome them,' and power 'over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations,' so that 'all that dwell upon the earth worshipped him,'-have been exemplified in every particular, and also those of the whore of Babylon,'' mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication,' while she herself has been drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus,' and she is that great city (seated upon seven mountains) which reigneth over the kings of the earth,' (Re. XIII..XVII.) These, and many other events, fulfilling ancient predictions, very many ages after they were delivered, can never be accounted for, except by allowing, that He who sees and 'declares the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done,' (Isa. xlv. 21.), thus revealed his secret purposes, that their accomplishment might prove the Scriptures to be His word. The prophecies also, though written by different men, in different ages, have yet a visible connexion and dependency, an entire harmony and agreement with one another; forming
8. The prophecies contained in the Sacred Scriptures, and fulfilling to this altogether a prophetical history of the world, as to the grand outlines, from day, which form a species of perpetual miracles, challenging the investiga-the beginning of time to the consummation of all things; and accompanied tion of men of every age, fully demonstrate that they are divinely inspired. with such a distinct notation of order, place, and time, as has been justly Almost every historical passage of the Bible is a narrative of something an- termed the geography and chronology of prophecy. As one prediction retecedently foretold; and the New Testament is little else than a relation of ceived its accomplishment, others were given, connecting prophecy with the fulfilment of the predictions and types of the Old Testament, relative to history, till the Revelation of St. John concluded the whole; and events Jesus Christ and his church. According to the prophecies in these books, have hitherto, in every age and nation, exactly corresponded with these
predictions. So many extraordinary and improbable events, which have oc- | Christians are not at all qualified to dispute with infidels, yet they are enacarred through so many ages, and in so many nations, as foretold in the bled, through this inward testimony, to obey the Gospel, and to suffer in its Scriptures, could only have been made known by the Omniscient God him- cause; and they can no more be convinced by reasonings and objections, that self; and must convince every rational mind, that the prophecy came not uninspired men wrote or invented the Bible, than they can be persuaded that of old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were man created the sun, whose light they behold, and by whose beams they are moved by the Holy Ghost.' 2 Pet. i. 20, 21. warmed and cheered.
9. The extraordinary success which has attended Christianity, which is founded on the Sacred Scriptures, while it proves the truth of the facts which they detail, and demonstrates the fulfilment of the prophecies they contain, is a continued miraculous proof of their divine origin. Other religions have owed their extension and prevalence to the celebrity of their The venerable Bede seems to have been the first person who attempted the founders, to the learning of their advocates, to their conformity to the pre-translation of the Scriptures into Anglo-Saxon. He translated the Psalter, judices and passions of men, to the energy of the secular arm, or even to the and afterwards the Gospel of John. This was in A. D. 734. In the latter power of the sword; but Christianity was totally destitute of all these ad- part of the next century, Alfred the Great ordered the whole Bible to be vantages. (if such they may be termed,) either to recommend or enforce its translated into Anglo-Saxon, and himself undertook to translate the Book of reception in the world. Its founder was put to an ignominious death by the Psalms, but died in A. D. 900, before it was completed. Little or nothing common consent of his countrymen; its original promulgators were twelve was done in the next 400 years, till the time of Wickliffe, who, in 1380, comCliterate men, wholly devoid of every kind of worldly influence; its doc-pleted the whole Bible. In the fifteenth century printing was invented, and trines were opposed to the principles and practices of the whole world, immediately employed for multiplying copies of the Scriptures. In 1526, deeply rooted by inclination, and firmly established by extensive custom, by William Tyndal (a Welshman) printed his first New Testament at Antwerp, long confirmed laws, and by the high and universal authority of nations. and was soon after burned for heresy in Flanders. He expired praying, Yet by the simple preaching of the Gospel, Christianity triumphed over the "Lord, open the King of England's eyes!" craft, rage, and power of the infuriated Jews,-over the haughtiness, policy, and power of the Roman empire,-over the pride of learning, and the obstinacy of ignorance, hatred, prejudice, and lust,-over the hardened inclinations, deep-rooted customs, and long-established laws of both Jews and Pagans, so that, notwithstanding every conceivable form of opposition, within a few years after Christ's ascension, it prevailed, in a greater or less degree, in almost every corner of the Roman empire, and in the countries adjacent; and multitudes, at the hazard of every temporal loss or punishment, readily believed, constantly adhered to, and cheerfully and strictly practised its pure and holy precepts. Nor has the success of Christianity been conEned to the early ages only; for, during the period of eighteen centuries, notwithstanding innumerable persecutions, together with the wickedness of professors, and the inconceivable villanies and base indifference of the clergy, it has been more or less successful in reforming the hearts and lives of multitudes in almost every nation under heaven; and we may assert, that even at present, there are many thousands, who have been reclaimed from a profane and inimoral course of conduct, to sobriety, equity, truth, purity, and piety, and to an exemplary behaviour in the relative duties of life. Having been made free from sin, and become the servants of God, they have their fruit unto holiness;' and, after patiently continuing in well-doing,' and cheerfully bearing various afflictions, they joyfully meet death, being supported by the hope of eternal life, as the gift of God through Jesus Christ: whule they who are best acquainted with them, are most convinced, that they have been rendered more wise, holy, and happy, by believing the Bible; and that there is a reality in religion, though various interests and passions may keep them from duly embracing it. This would, indeed, be far more apparent were the Gospel more generally, or fully believed and obeyed. Among the Westminster divines were Drs. (afterwards Bishops) Andrews Did all men believe and obey the Bible, as a divine revelation; were repent and Overall. The former said to be acquainted with fifteen languages, and a ance, and renunciation of all vice and immorality, universal or even general, most excellent divine; the other, unquestionably a man of learning, and combined with the spiritual worship of God, faith in his truth and mercy, Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. Dr. Seravia, who had been Prothrough the mediation of his Son, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit, as visifessor of Divinity at Leyden, and, after coming to England, Prebend of Westble in every true believer,-they would form the bulk of mankind into such minster. He was the bosom friend of the immortal Hooker, who actually characters, and would produce such effects, as the world has never yet wit- died in his arms. And Mr Bedwell, a great Arabic scholar. The University Bessed. Men would then habitually and uniformly do justice, speak truth, lists included the Professors of Greek and Hebrew, Archbishop Abbot, and Low merey, exercise mutual forgiveness, follow after peace, bridle their Dr. Rainolds, with whom the work originated, and other divines, of eminent appetites and passions, and lead sober, righteous, and godly lives. Murders, learning and great respectability. When the work was gone through, three wars, slavery, cruel oppressions, rapine, fraud, and unrestrained licentious-copies were sent to Stationers' Hall, London, and revised by two divines nees, would no more desolate the earth, nor fill it with misery, nor would from each University, and two from Westminster. The whole was again rebitter contentions ever more destroy domestic comfort; but righteousness, viewed by Bilson, Bishop of Winchester, and Dr. Myles Smith; these pregoodness, and truth, would bless the world with a felicity far exceeding all fixed arguments to the several books, and the latter wrote the preface to the our present conceptions. Such has been the extraordinary success and happy whole. In 1611, the work was published, dedicated to the King, and ordered Tects of the religion of the Bible; and such is doubtless the direct and legitimate tendency of its doctrines, precepts, motives, and promises. To Messrs. Thompson and Orme, from whom many of these particulars are what cause, then, can we attribute the success which has attended Chris- taken, give it the following character:-"Like every thing human, it is no tianity in the absence of every thing else to recommend or enforce it, but to doubt imperfect; but, as a translation of the Bible, it has few rivals, and no ar Almighty influence accompanying the preaching of the Gospel-to its superior. It is in general faithful, simple, and perspicuous. It has seized the being 'preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven?' And is not spirit, and copied the manner of the divine originals; it seldom descends to this one of the strongest possible attestations made by the God of truth meanness or vulgarity, but often rises to elegance and sublimity; it is level hirawlf, to the truth and Divine inspiration of the Sacred Volume? And, to the understanding of the cottager, and fit to meet the eye of the critic, the whide its extraordinary success and effects thus constrain us to admit the poet, and the philosopher. Its phraseology is now familiar to us from our Divine authority of the Scriptures, the holy and happy tendency of its doc-infancy; it has had the most extensive influence on the style of religious trines proves, that they could not have originated either with bad angels or works of every description, and has contributed much to fix the standard of mes, are they are so diametrically opposite to their vicious inclinations, the English language itself. No work has ever been more generally read, or interests, and honour; nor yet with uninspired good men, who would not more universally admired; and such is its complete possession of the public have dared thus to personate God, and to ascribe their own inventions to in mind, that no translation differing materially from it can ever become spiration. It remains, therefore, that God must be their author; and that popular." 'holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,' 'not in the words which men's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.' . Co. u. 13.
to be read in churches.
TESTIMONY TO THE CORRECTNESS OF THE AUTHORIZED
Henry VIII. was long averse to having the Scriptures in English; but as soon as Cranmer could get permission, he divided the New Testament into nine parts, and sent it to as many learned divines for a new translation, who all performed their parts except Toustall, Bishop of London, who sent word to the Archbishop, he would have no hand in it. The work was, however, finished; and, after much difficulty, printed and published. In 1539, Lord Cromwell procured from Henry VIII. license for the people to read the Word of God! and the permission was most joyfully received. The first Bible thus tolerated was called Coverdale's, because he superintended the publication. During the next reign, that of Edward VI., Bibles were placed in all the churches; but were again displaced at the accession of the crue! Queen Mary, and every person endangered his life who was found reading it.* Great numbers of the clergy, and other friends to the Reformation, now fled to Geneva, where the edition called the Geneva Bible was printed, in 1560. Eight years afterwards, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, was printed the Bishops' Bible; so called being prepared and published under the care of Archbishop Parker, with the aid of seven other Bishops.
At the Hampton Court Conference, in 1603, Dr. Rainolds suggested the propriety of a new translation, which being approved by the King, fifty-four learned divines, of Westminster and the two English Universities, were appointed to the task, though forty-seven only appear to have engaged in it. The divines of Westminster translated the historical books of the Old Testament, from Genesis to Chronicles, and also the Apostolical Epistles; those at Cambridge took the rest of the Old Testament to the end of Ecclesiastes, and the Apocrypha; and the divines of Oxford, the Prophets, the Gospels, the Acts, and the Apocalypse.
Selden, a very learned lay member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, in his "Table Talk," says, "The English translation of the Bible is the best translation in the world; taking in for the English translation the Bishops' Bible, as well as King James'."
in. Lastly, Though these arguments are abundantly sufficient to silence objectors, and to produce a rational conviction of the Divine origin and authority of the Scriptures, yet it is only the effectual application of them to the mind, consci nce, and heart, in their self-evidencing light and power, which can produce a cordial and saving persuasion that they are indeed THE WORD OF GOD. But when thus applied, then He that believeth hath the witness in himself,' (I Jn. v. 10.) The discoveries which he has made by the Divine light of the Scriptures; the sanctifying and abiding effects princed on his judgment, dispositions, and affections; the comfortable expenience which he has had, that God fulfils the promises of His word to then who trust in them; and the earnests of heaven enjoyed by him in The late Dr. Franklin relates of his pious great-grandfather, in the reign of this communion with God, put the matter beyond all doubt; so that there is no Queen, that, having an English Bible, which was then a mark of heresy, they were thatting the eyes, nor hardening the heart against them,-no possibility of obliged to conceal it under the lid of a night-stool. When he read it, one of the family continuing stupid and unconcerned under them; but the whole faculties of was set to watch, lest an officer of the Spiritual Court should be on the listen; and when the soul are necessarily affected with them, as indeed stamped with divine he had done, he restored it to its hiding place, till another opportunity occurred of read evidence, and attended with almighty power. And, though many realing it.-Þanklin's Life.
Bp. Walton, author of the Polyglot Bible, says, "The last English translation, made by diverse learned men at the command of King James, may justly contend with any now extant, in any language of Europe."
L. Capellus, Professor of Divinity and the Oriental languages at Saumur, and author of the " Critica Sacra," bears witness to our translation as "both true and agreeable, as well to the original words as to the analogy of faith." Dr. Durell, a celebrated Hebrew critic, was of opinion, that "the chief excellency of the version now in use, consists in its being a closer translation than any that had preceded; in using the properest language for popular use."
Dr. Gray says, "The present translation is, indeed, highly excellent, being in its doctrines uncorrupt, and in its general construction faithful to the original." Dr. Doddridge observes, "On a diligent comparison of our translation with the original, we find that of the New Testament, and I might also add that of the Old, in the main, faithful and judicious."
Dr. John Taylor, author of the Hebrew Concordance, though an Arian in sentiment, assures his readers-" You may rest fully satisfied, that, as our translation is in itself by far the most excellent book in our language, so it is a pure and plentiful fountain of divine knowledge, giving a true, clear, and full account of the divine dispensations, and of the gospel of our salvation; insomuch that whoever studies the English Bible, is sure of gaining that knowledge and faith, which, if duly applied to the heart and conversation, will infallibly guide him to eternal life."
2. The night among the Hebrews was anciently divided into three parts or watches, (Ps. Ixiii. 6. xc. 4.) though the division of it into twelve hours, like those of the day, also afterwards obtained. The first was called the beginning of the watches, (La. ii. 19.); the second, the middle watch, (Ju. vii. 19.); and the third, the morning watch, (Ex. xiv. 24.) Subsequently, in the time of our Saviour, the night was divided into four watches; a fourth having been introduced by the Romans, who derived it from the Greeks. The first watch commenced about six and continued till nine; the second (Lu. xii. 38.) began at nine and ended at twelve; the third lasted from twelve to three; and the fourth (Mat. xiv. 25.) began at three and closed at six. All these are distinctly mentioned in Ma. xiii. 35.
Dr. Geddes, a Socinian Catholic priest, though the author of a new translation and commentary, bears this testimony to our authorized Protestant version:-"If accuracy, fidelity, and the strictest attention to the letter of the text, be supposed to constitute the qualities of an excellent version, this, of all versions, must in general be accounted the most excellent."
3. Seven natural days constituted a week. This division of time appears to have been observed by all nations, probably from the beginning of the world; and, it originated with God himself, who, after he had created the world in six days, ' rested on the seventh,' or Sabbath, and blessed and sanctified it. It does not appear that the Hebrews had any names for the days of the week; but they numbered them in their order, the first, the second, &c., the seventh, or last day of the week, being the Sabbath.
Dr. Middleton, late Bishop of Calcutta, and author of a celebrated work on the Greek Article, thus commends the same version:-"Its general fidelity has never been questioned; its style is incomparably superior to any thing that might be expected from the finical and perverted taste of our own age. It is simple; it is harmonious; it is energetic; and, which is of no small inportance, use has made it familiar, and time has rendered it sacred."
4. The months of the Hebrews, which were lunar ones, took their name from the moon, because their months began with the new moon. As the synodical lunar month is about 29 1-2 days, they made their month consist alternately of 29 and 30 days, according as the new moon appeared sooner or later; and by this mean their months were made to keep pace nearly with the lunations. In this manner the Jewish calendar was regulated by the law The Rev. Professor Stewart, of the Theological Seminary of Andover, of Moses, which appointed the day of the new moon, or rather the first day Massachusetts, gives the following decided testimony:-" Out of some eight of its appearance, to be a solemn festival, and the beginning of the month. hundred thousand various readings, about seven hundred and ninety-nine But it appears that in the time of Noah, the year consisted of twelve months, thousand are of just about as much importance to the sense of the Hebrew each of thirty days; for in the account of the deluge, 150 days are mentionScriptures, as the question in English orthography is, whether the worded as equivalent to five months. (Ge. vii. 11, 24. viii. 3, 4, 13, 15.) From honour shall be spelled with the u or without it. Of the remainder, some these passages it appears the months originally had no particular names, change the sense of particular passages or expressions, or omit particular but were called the first, second, third, &c. Afterwards, however, they words and phrases, or insert them; but not one doctrine of religion is acquired distinct names; as Abib, (Ex. xiii. 4.); Zif, (1 K1. vi. 1, 37.); changed; not one precept is taken away; not one important fact is altered, Ethanim, (1 Ki. viii. 2.); and Bul, (1 Ki. vi. 38.) These names, after the by the whole of the various readings collectively taken. There is no ground, Babylonian captivity, were exchanged for others of Chaldean, Syrian, or then, to fear for the safety of the Scriptures, on account of any legitimate Persian origin: thus Abib was termed Nisan; Zif, lyar, &c. criticism to which the text may be subjected."
5. The Jewish gear consisted of twelve lunar months, amounting to 354 days; but, as this falls eleven days short of the solar year of 365 days, it would have produced an entire change in the seasons, and with it a total derangement of the fasts and festivals. In order to remedy this inconvenience, they added a whole month to the year, as often as it was necessary; commonly once in three years, and sometimes once in two years. The intercalary month was added at the end of the ecclesiastical year, after the month Adar, and was therefore called Veadar, and Adar,' or a second Adar. At first the Jews began the year with the autumnal equinox, or the month Tisri, because it was believed the world was created at that time; and from it they continued to compute their jubilees, and to date contracts and other common occurrences, whence it was termed the civil year. But after their departure from Egypt, which happened in the month Abib or Nisan, in commemoration of this deliverance, they afterward began their year from the beginning of that month, which usually happened about the time of the vernal equinox; and according to this form, which was termed the sacred or ecclesiastical year, they celebrated the fasts and festivals, and other ecclesiastical matters.
DIVISIONS AND MARKS OF DISTINCTION IN THE SCRIPTURES.
1. THE SCRIPTURES are so termed as being the most important of all Writings; and are also called Holy or Sacred, because composed by holy or inspired men; and Canonical, either because they are the rule of faith and practice, or because they were received into the ecclesiastical canons or catalogues, and thus distinguished from those which were apocryphal, or of uncertain authority.
2. The most common and general division of these Sacred Books, is that of the OLD and NEW TESTAMENT, an appellation derived from 2 Co. iii. 6, 14. where the Greek words are rendered by the Latin translators, Antiquium testamentum, and Novum testamentum, and from them by our translators, The Old Testament, and The New Testament, would be more correctly rendered, The Old Covenant, and The New Covenant. The divisions of the Old Testament which now generally obtain are, 1. The Pentateuch, or the five books of Moses. 2. The Historical Books, comprising Joshua to Esther, inclusive. 3. The Poetical, or Doctrinal Books, from Job to the Song of Solomon, inclusive. 4. The Prophetical Books, from Isaiah to Malachi. The New Tes tament is usually divided into, 1. The Historical Books, containing the four Gospels and the Acts. 2. The Doctrinal Books, comprising all the Epistles written by the Apostles, from Romans to Jude. 3. The Prophetical, being the Book of the Revelation of St. John.
3. The Jews, at an early period, for the sake of convenience, divided the five books of Moses into sections, equal to the number of Sabbaths in their year. The division of chapters and verses was first attempted A. D. 1240, by Cardinal Hugo, for the purpose of forming a concordance to the Vulgate version. Rabbi Nathan, in 1438, adopted a similar plan in arranging a concordance of the Hebrew Bible. The division of the New Testament into verses was made by Robert Stephens, 1551.
MODES OF COMPUTING TIME.
1. The Hebrews, in common with other nations, distinguished their days into natural, containing day and night; and artificial, from sunrise to sunset. They reckoned their natural days from sunset to sunset, according to the original arrangement, the evening and the morning were the first day,' (Ge. i. 5.) The artificial day, which began at sunrise and ended at sunset, consequently varied in its length according to the season of the year, though Canaan being situated much nearer the Equator, the difference was not so great as in our country; the longest day being only fourteen hours and tweive minutes of our time, and the shortest, nine hours and forty-eight seconds.
2. The day was divided into twelve hours, which were equal with respect to each other, but consequently unequal with respect to the different seasons of the year. These hours were computed from about six in the morning to six in the evening; the first hour corresponding to our seven o'clock, the second to our eigh, the third to our nine, &c.
The thirteenth month, Veadar, answered mostly to the end of March, it being only intercalated when the beginning of Nisan would otherwise be carried back into the end of February. In the above table, we have given the corresponding months of the Julian calendar as usually reckoned; but it is highly probable, if not certain, that the Jewish calendar has been cor rupted, at some period subsequent to the dispersion, and that every month originally commenced one month later: thus Nisan instead of March shoule begin in April; lyar instead of April should begin in May, &c. For evidence in support of this opinion, see MICHAELIS on the Hebrew months.
INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT.
"WHOEVER Would attain to a true knowledge of the Christian Religion, in the fah and past extent of it," says Locke," let him study the Holy Scriptures, emily the Neto Testament, wherein are contained the words of eternal * It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any asure of error, for its matter." failing the latter part of our Scriptures the New Testament, reference was webtedly had to Heb. ix. 16, 17, wherein the death of Christ is represented as sea me to believers all the blessings of the Gospel: and yet the original term (D cevke) is so much oftener rendered Covenant than it is Testament, that we es:uot but aree with Doddridge, Campbell, and most modern commentators, taal our Scriptures would be more accurately defined, The Old and New Curements," as containing the history and doctrine of the Two Covenants, legal and evangelical: the former ratified by the Mosaical sacrifices; the latter, by the statnett of Jesus Christ.
The first part of the New Testament contains the history of Jesus Christ, as recorded by the four Evangelists, whose memoirs are therefore usually called the four Gospels,” as containing the good tidings of our salvation. These we nurseter as distinct and independent narratives, compiled partly perhaps from personction, but reduced to their present form under the influence of the same Spa by which the authors preached the gospel, and wrought miracles in its deince It is questioned whether either of these Evangelists had seen the wngs of the other. Its natural to suppose, that four persons, writing contemporary narratives, mit relate different incidents relative to the same facts; one being more impassed by one circumstance, and another by a different one. It must also be ollected, that the apostles were not always together, being sent forth on dif SI missions; (Mark vi. 7. ;) consequently they did not all witness the same miracles, nor all hear the same discourses. Our Lord might work many similar miracles, and deliver the same parables, with some variety of imagery or expression, on different occasions. Matthew or Mark might record the one, and Lake or John the other; and this would account for discrepancies which have, without reason, been magnified into contradictions. There is also a great lati toe aad vanety in the Greek, as well as English particles of time and place; these differently rendered, may occasion seeming inconsistencies, where real ce have not existed.
The Old and New Dispensations (or Testaments) compared.
I. But there is another point of view in which the harmony of the New Testament may be considered, namely, as it corresponds with the Old Testament in several interesting points of view, two or three of which we shall just mention. 1. Considered historically, we may observe, that the Mosaic revelation is not enly a united but confirmed by that of Christ. The former may lead a dispaskaste to purer to embrace the latter; but the latter so necessarily supposes the Emmer that we find it difficult to conceive of any man as a believer in Christ, wan rejects Moses and the Prophets. Indeed our Saviour himself places this in to forest pint of view, when he says, "If men hear not Moses and the Pro wts, either will they be persuaded, though one rise from the dead." (Luke
"the knowledge and the glory of God shall cover the earth as the waters do the bottom of the sea."
The revival of zeal and energy in the propagation of the Christian religion among almost all denominations of Christians, promises a speedy accomplishmit of the divine predictions. Christianity is planted in every quarter of the globe and is spreading on every hand. Savages of Africa, and in every part of the Paribe Ocean, hitherto considered as the most untameable, are stretching out their hands to welcome it; Hindoos have began to throw away their caste; and the bigoted Chinese are studying in their own language, the printed word of God. There is "a shaking" even among the dry bones" of the house of Ismel; and Scripture and facts equally assure us, that the time is coming, when The Greek term euangelion (gospel) signifles "good news" in general; in the New Testament, it is confined to the "good news of salvation by Jesus Christ." The word gospel la derived from the Anglo-Saxon god, good, and spell, message, or news.
The Evidences of Christianity.
II. In our Introduction to the Old Testament, we touched upon several points relative to the authenticity and inspiration of the Old Testament Scriptures; but whatever argument may be named in defence of the Jewish Scriptures, applies with two-fold, yea, with seven fold, force in favour of the Christian revelation, while there are others peculiar to itself, one only of which we can here mention, referring our readers, who wish to examine for themselves, to Mr. Horne and other able writers.
The argument here presented to our readers, is from one who boldly assumed the character of " a free-thinker," and scorned the shackles of a creed: we refer to ROUSSEAU.
I will confess to you, that the majesty of the Scriptures strikes me with admiration, as the purity of the gospel hath its influence on my heart. Peruse the works of our Philosophers with all their pomp of diction: how mean, how contemptible are they, compared with the Scriptures! Is it possible that a book, at once so simple and sublime, should be merely the work of man? Is it possible that the sacred personage, whose history it contains, should be himself a mere man? Do we find that he assumed the tone of an enthusiast, or an ambitious sectary? What sweetness, what purity in his manners! What an aflecting gracefulness in his delivery! What sublimity in his maxime! What profound wisdom in his discourses! What presence of mind, what subtlety, what truth in his replies! How great the command over his passions! Where is the man, where the philosopher, who could so live, and so die, without weakness, and without ostentation? When Plato described his imaginary good man, loaded with all the shame of guilt, yet meriting the highest rewards of virtue, he described exactly the character of Jesus Christ: the resemblance was so striking, that all the Fathers perceived it.
What prepossession, what blindness must it be, to compare the son of Sophroniscus (Socrates) to the son of Mary! What an infinite disproportion there is between them! Socrates, dying without pain or ignominy, easily supported his character to the last; and if his death, however easy, had not crowned his life, it might have been doubted whether Socrates, with all his wisdom, was any thing more than a vain sophist. He invented, it is said, the theory of morals. Others, however, had put them in practice; he had only to say, therefore, what they had done, and to reduce their examples to precepts. Aristides had been just before Socrates defined justice; Leonidas had given up his life for his country before Socrates declared patriotism to be a duty; the Spartans were a sober people before Socrates recommended sobriety; before he had even defined virtue, Greece abounded in virtuous men. But where could Jesus learn, among his competitors, that pure and sublime morality, of which he only hath given us both precept and example? The greatest wisdom was made known amidst the most bigotted fanaticism, and the simplicity of the most heroic virtues did honour to the vilest people upon earth. The death of Socrates, peaceably philosophi zing with his friends, appears the most agreeable that could be wished for; that of Jesus, expiring in the midst of agonizing pains; abused, insulted, and accused by a whole nation; is the most horrible that could be feared. Socrates, on receiving the cup of poison, blessed indeed the weeping executioner who administered it; but Jesus, in the midst of excruciating tortures, prayed for his merciless tormentors. Yes, if the life and death of Socrates were those of a sage, the life and death of Jesus are those of a God. Shall we suppose the Evangelical History a mere fiction? Indeed, my friend, it bears not the marks of fiction; on the contrary, the history of Socrates, which nobody presumes to doubt, is not so well attested as that of Jesus Christ. Such a supposition, in fact, only shifts the difficulty, without obviating it: it is more inconceivable that a nimiber of persons should agree to write such a history, than that one only should furnish the subject of it. The Jewish authors were incapable of the diction, and strangers to the morality contained in the gospel, the marks of whose truth are so striking and inimitable, that the inventor would be a more astonishing character than the hero." (Letter to the Archbishop of Paris.)
How lamentable is it to add, that a man who saw thus clearly the beauty of the gospel, was prevented, by the depravity of his own heart, from embracing it. He at once admired and hated it.
2 The New Testament corresponds with the Old as it contains the fulfilment of many of ita prophecies; those particularly which relate to the Messiah. To HT gave all the Prophets witness." From the first promise, that the seed of nan should bruise the serpent's head, we have a long series of predictions, fing to the character and works, the life and death, resurrection and future monchs of the Messiah, the fulfilment of which is distinctly pointed out in vores parts of the New Testament, and particularly in the Gospels. Some Pusams of the Old Testament may be cited only by way of accommodation. strative; but others, quoted by way of argument, have stood the test of stuburous examination. Tutural institutions are a species of prophecy, by means of emblems and figumtvliverica, which, though not so well understood in our western world, were in the Fist epidly intelligible and satisfactory with the clearest verbal propheTravellers into these countries are surprised to find the frequency of figuritive action, and the ease with which it is understood. Among the Old Testatunt types, the sacrifices are the most interesting and important. The scapeget the paschal lamb, and the whole burnt-offering, all, though in different kouts of view, direct us to the one offering of Messiah. But the New Testaforst, while it clears away the obscurity of former prophecies, presents us with &row senes, extending no less distance into futurity than those of Abraham and Jacob, and terminating only with the church and with the world. Our Lord lenavn?" furctold the past calamities and present dispersion of the Jews. St. Purl has drawn the character of the Man of Sin, and marked his progress and final overthrow but St. John, in his Revelations, presents us with the most extrosive prophecies ever exhibited. They are indeed enveloped in the same ob K=1ty as those of former ages; but Time has already partially withdrawn the wi and, as he passes on, will still roll back the remaining clouds.
3. Another point of view in which these dispensations may be compared. rezands their peculiar temper and spirit. That of the Old Testament was partial ཇི །སfa It was contined to the children of circumcision; yea, with some exceptions, to a single nation, and that one of the smallest, and which, as their own Scriptures assure us, bad as little to boast in respect of merit as of numb ́s. (Dent, vii 7, 8 Dan. ix. 8, 16.) But the gospel has in it nothing peculiar to any nation, or country. We have the clearest proofs in matter of fact, that snits emaily with the climates of England, of India, and of Labrador. It is calculated, therefore, for universal use, and its universal spread is promised. If we advert also to the miracles with which each dispensation was introduced, wy End those of Moses were miracles of judgment, inflicting punishment upon sinners (not, indeed, undeserved.) but of a very different character from those by which our Redeemer introduced the gospel: these were, almost without exejdion, miracles of mercy.
4. Another point of view in which we may advantageously compare the Old and New Testaments, relates to the gradual development of divine truth, which is ke that of light, shining more and more unto the perfect day." The gos; pel dispensation dawned on Adam, and gradually opened during the Patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations: the Sun of righteousness arose under the clearer fevelationa of David and Solomon; but attained not its zenith until the day of Pentest, when the shadows of the Old Testament types were all withdrawn, and the whole scheme of redemption by Jesus Christ exhibited. During the middle ages, indeed, darkness, even "such as might be felt," again cow red Christendom, but the Reformation in a great measure cleared away the hom; and that mighty engine, Printing, has diffused its truths more extensively than ten thousand Missionaries could have done. Nor has it rested there. By the invention of stereotype and steam printing, a new impulso has been given to this vast machine. Steam navigation is another important discovery, which will facilitate the rapid dispersion both of Bibles and of Missiona-real ries throughout the world.
The Authenticity of the four Gospels.
III. Of the authority of the four Gospels already named, we shall quote only the concluding remarks of Dr. Lardner.
In the first part of this work (his Credibility') it was shown," says the Doctor," that there is not any thing in the books of the New Testament, however strictly canvassed, inconsistent with their supposed time and authors. In this second part we have had express and positive evidence, that these books were written by those whose names they bear, even the Apostles of Jesus Christ, who was crucified at Jerusalem in the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, when Pontius Pilate was governor in Judea; and their well known companions and fellowlabourers. It is the concurring testimony of early and later ages, and of writers in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and of men of different sentiments in divers respects. For we have had before us the testimony of those called heretics.... as well as Catholics. These books were received from the beginning with the greatest respect, and have been publicly and solemnly read in the assemblies of Christians throughout the world, in every age from that time to this. They were carly translated into the languages of divers countries and people. They were quoted by way of proof in all arguments of a religious nature: and were appealed to, on both sides, in all points of controversy that arose among Christians themselves. They were likewise recommended to the perusal of others as containing the authentic account of the Christian doctrine. And many commentaries have been writ to explain and illustrate them. All which afford full assurance of their genuineness and integrity. If these books had not been writ by those to whom they are ascribed, and if the things related in them had not been true, they could not have been received from the beginning. If they contain a true account of things, the Christian religion is from God, and cannot but be embraced by serious and attentive men, who impartially examine, and are willing to be determined by evidence."
Of these four Gospels, the first and last (Matthew and John) were written by two of our Lord's Apostles; the other two by the travelling companions of Apostles, Mark with Peter, and Luke with Paul: so that, independent of their own inspiration, the writers had the best possible means of correct information.
† A Judiciona writer has remarked, that few Deists have ventured to attack the moral cha racter of Christ. Even Thomas Paine, in the midst of his virulence against Christianity, observes, "Nothing that is here said can apply, even with the most distant disrespect, to the He was a virtuous and amiable man. The morality that he character of Jesus Christ. preached and practised was of the most benevolent kind." Nothing, however, is too daring for some writers A French infidel of the name of Volney undertook to prove, in spite of all history, sacred and profane, that Christ (or Chrestus, as he calls him) was an allegorical personage the Sun. In answer to which ridiculous notion we need only refer to Grotius' work On the Truth of the Christian Religion,"
Grotius says, "That Jesus of Nazareth formerly lived in Juden, in the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor, is constantly acknowledged, not only by Christians dispersed all over the world, but alan by all the Jews which now are, or have ever wrote since that time; the same is also testified by heathens, that is, such as did not write either on the Jewish or Christian religion; Suetonius, Tacitus, Pliny the younger, and many after these." Appeal may also be made, not only to the received, but the apocryphal gospels; not only to Josephus, but to Trypho and Celsus, the great Jewish and Pagan antagonists of Chris tianity. In short, there is no great character of equal antiquity-neither Julis nor Augustas Casar; neither Cato nor Cicero; neither Virgil nor Horace-whose existe and character is better attested.