Imágenes de páginas

hath disposed them. In the paraphrase and obfervations, the doctor has departed, where necessary, from the common transla. tion.

Where the different parts of a work are so closely interwo. ven with each other as in this, it is scarcely pollible to fix upon any detached passage that may give an adequate specimen : we therefore subjoin the conclusion.

• St. Paul mentions five appearances of Christ to his disciples, between his resurrection and afcenfion.

“ He was seen of Cephas : then of the twelve : after that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present; but some are fallen aleep: after that he was seen of James: then of all the apoftles.” 1 Cor. xv. 5—7.

• Of these appearances all but the fourth may be reduced to those that are recorded in the Gospels.

" 1. He was seen of Cephas ;” on the day of the resurrection; Luke xxiv. 34.

6 2. Then of the twelve ;" on the evening of that day and of the Sunday following; John xx. 19 and 26. upon which latter oca cafion the apostles by the presence of St. Matthias would be literally twelve.

“ 3. After that of above five hundred brethren at once;" on the mountain in Galilee, “ where Jesus had appointed them,” accorda ing to St. Matthew xxviii. 16. For it is generally thought that he and St. Paul here speak of the same appearance. It was about twenty-six years after the resurrection, as chronologers compute, when St. Paul said, “ Of whom the greater part remain unio this present.”

6 4. After that of James ;” of James the less, as it is reputed; so called to distinguish him from James the son of Zebedee and brother of John. The Gospels are silent concerning this appearance : St. Paul places it after that to the five hundred.

" 5. Then of all the apostles.”

. We may presume that after the return of the apostles out of Galilee to Jerusalem, our Lord showed himself not only to thein, at different times, but to others of his faithful followers; and that all there were witnelles of his ascension in particular. For St. Paul does not confine the name of apostles to the twelve, but extends it to others who were of note in the church. In this place it may comprehend all those, on whom the spirit defcended on the day of Pentecoft.

The Gospels give us no intimation that our Lord's continuance on earth after his resurrection was forty days. St. Joh!), who seems to extend it the furthest, relates only one appearance that did not fall within the first eight days. St. Matthew does not go beyond the appearance on the mountain in Galilee, which he feeins to place



early. And on reading St. Mark, nay even St. Luke, we should be apt to conclude, that the ascension quickly followed the resurrection. Yet St. Luke, and doubtless every one of the evangelifts, had an exact knowledge of the time when Christ " was parted from them and carried up into heaven." If they do not always observe the real order, or note the precise time, of certain faets which they mention, it is no proof that they were not perfectly acquainted with both,

• The variations, which are supposed to abound particularly in this part of their writings, are among the prooss that we have the history of our Lord's resurrection in its original state. Changes made in it would have been such as were imagined belt suited to reduce their narrations to a greater agreement with each other.

- We learn indeed from St. Jerom, that such things had been praétised in the Latin versions of the Gospels. Portions of these were read in the public service of the church ; and the collections of them were called evangeliaria; or, if they contained all that was read in every service, evangelia plenaria. In different places they might have been translated from the Greek verity, to use St. Terom's own expression, by different persons, and modeled as he relates. And one would be inclined to think that his tragical complaints of the consuîon introduced into the Latin Gospels, respected these books principally if not solely. For there was a Latin translation of the scriptures, received long before his time into the western and African churches, called the Italic ; to which St. Augustin gives the preference before other versions, as adhering more closely to the words of the original, and with greater clearness of diction : and on this he seems to have grounded his interpretations when he composed his treatise of the Consent of the Evangelists; where not only his references and quotations agree with our present Greek text, but his own remarks upon it suppose it to have been exactly as we now have it; except in one or two immaterial articles, in which he agrees more with the vulgate. I am here speaking particularly of the History of the Resurrection. Whatever seeming discordances of fact or expression, interpreters of the criginal, or expositors of translations from it, now labour to harmonize, the very fame had St. Au justin to contend with in the work just mentioned : so that the evangelical histories of the resurrection, deemed to contain greater difficulties to conciliate than any other part of the New Testament, continue precisely as he found and had received them from the church of elder cincs.

ó In this tract St. Augufiin observes, that “the evangelists teir witness mutually to each other, even in some things which they themselves do not rclate, by showing that they know them to have been spoken." Kemay add, that they bear the like witness to each ot':er. ir olier things which they themselves do not record, by show. 11 tulet they let them to have been done. The parts of their


writings which we have been considering are not without proofs of the truth of the observation.

St. Matthew, who mentions no appearance of Christ to his disciples, prior to that on the mountain of Galilee, yet teltines that this was not the first. He says, " Then the eleven difciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them,” xxviii. 16. When had he made this appointment with them? Not in his prom fe before his passion, Matth. xxvi. 32. Not in his meslages to them after his resurreftion, Matth. xxviii. 7. and 10. The ailurance given them in all these places, as far as appears, is only that they should see him in Galilee. He namies no particular fpot of it in any. Yet such a place had been apppointed by him, as St. Matthew informs us. Thus he fignifies, that our Lord had Thowed himself to his disciples before they left Jerusalem ; and had there directed them to the precise spot in Galilee, to which they should repair that they might see him again.

• St. Mark, who describes Mary Magdalene as going with two others to the sepulchre, and then relates the appearance of the angel to the women, says soon after, that “ Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene;" that is, to her singly. Although, therefore, he has taken no notice that the left her two friends at the sepulchre while the ran to Peter and John, by this he shows plainly, that he knew of the separation that had taken place for a while between her and them.

• Having told us that our Lord appeared first to Mary Magdalene, he says, “ After that he appeared in another form unto two of them as they walked and went into the country." How in another form ? He has not intimated that there was any change from our Lord's usual appearance, either when Mary Magdalene or these two disciples first faw him. He alludes therefore to circumstances, which he does not stay to relate, but leaves to be explained by succeeding evangelists; of whom St. John tells us, that our Lord seemed to Mary Magdalene the gardener when he first spoke to her; St. Luke, that when he joined the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, they took him for a stranger going from Jerusalem.

• St. Luke fays of St. Peter at the sepulchre, - Stooping down he beheld only the linen clothes (the Othonia) lying.” He had told us before, that Joseph of Arimathea having taken down the body of Christ from the cross, wrapped it in a sindon: in which only, for any thing that he says about the interment, it might have been deposited in the fepulchre. Yet now he speaks of the othonia, and shows that he was acquainted with a circumstance long after related by St. John, that Joseph and Nicodemus wound the body with the spices in these othonia.

• He says of the women, “ They found the stone rolled away from the fepulchre :" nire manner St. John of Mary Magdalene, " She see.h the itone ak:n away from the fepulchre.“ Neither of

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these these evangelists had informed us in what manner the sepulchre had been closed. They suppose the fact related by St. Matthew and St. Mark, that Joseph of Arimathea had secured the sepulchre by rolling a great stone to the door of it; and thus attests its reality.'

• St. John represents Mary Magdalene, when the ran to St. Peter and himself, as faying to them, “ They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him ;”? but as replying to the question of the two angels, “ Woman, why weepest thou,” by saying, “ Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him." To the apostles Ine expressed the concern of her two friends as well as her own, and there faid, “we” know not; to the angels whose question was personal to her, me was to account for her own tears, and here said, I” know not. In this instance we find St. John describing her as alone ; in the other bearing witness that she had gone with company to the sepulchre.

If we took a larger view of this subject, we should perceive it opening upon us, and a variety of examples justifying the remark, that “the evangelists bear witness mutually to each other, even in some things which they do not relate by showing that they knew them."

These and such like documents as these, interwoven with the sacred text, must help to convince a careful and candid inquirer, that we have the history of Christ juft as the evangelists wrote it, and to fatisfy him, on what grounds and with what qualifications they compored their gospels. . ." They allude, as we have seen, to things which they do not mention, sometimes to such as had been written, frequently to those which had not been recorded. In both cases it is done, as perfect masters of a subject glance at circumstances of it, which they do not stop to explain. ." On some occasions they see fit to adopt much of the language and recital bne of another. But on comparing them it will be found, that he who succeeds, relates things as a well-instructed independent witness of the same facts, not as a copyer of the other.

Each of them has a peculiarity of method and design in treating the fame arguinent; contracting or enlarging, omitting or adding, and setting the same object in a different point of light, as his own proposed metliod and design led him.

• Yet a spirit of accurate consistency runs through their works thus diversified: so that fitly framed together by a skilful hand they uhite into a body of history that is harmonious in all its constituent parts. And to what can this be ascribed but to the energy of the original before them?

• But there is no original or pattern to the first authors of historical relation to being and keep theni to this perpetual consent under

different different views, and in the finall and less observable, as well as strik. ing features of that which is delineated by them, except the real existence of it.

• Such, therefore, that is, faets really existent in time, place, and manner, as they are described, were, with the other parts of this holy history, the resurrection, the appearances, and tae ascension, of our Lord Jesus Christ.

• To him be praise and glory and adoration, in all the churches of the saints. Amen.'

The biographical account of the author, is drawn up, as an act of gratitude for his patronage, by Mr. Churton of Brasen Nofe; and, would our limits allow, many citations might be advantageously presented from it : a few, however, we cannot omit.

.There is an epigram of Martial, which, as critics in general allow, relates to the Christians. It alludes to the perfecution in which the humanity of Nero, to speak of him in Mr. Gibbon's words, caused them to be wrapt in pitched tunics or fhirts, and burnt by way of torches. The epigram is this :

• In matutina nuper spectatus arena

Mucius, imposuit qui sua membra focis;
Si patiens fortifque tibi durusque videtur,

Abderitanæ pectora plebis habes.
Nam cum dicatur, tunica præsente molesta,

Ure manum; plus est dicere, non facio.' . Having read this epigram more than once without being able to conftrue the last two lines, though the drift of them is intelligible, I consulted Dr. Lardner's Collection of Testimonies, where I found it thus translated, vol. i. p. 355: You have, perhaps, lately seen acted in the theatre Mucius, who thrust his hand into the fire. If you think such an one patient, valiant, stout, you are a mere fenseless dotard. For it is a much greater thing, when threatened with the troublesome coat, to say, I do not sacrifice, than to obey the command, burn the hand.'

« The doctor, not quite satisfied with his version of the conclusion, which indeed is rather a paraphrase, gives another: • For it is a much greater thing, when threatened with the troublesome coat, you are commanded to burn your hand, to say, I will not.' This is more literal, but does not remove the difficulty; for the alternative proposed to the Christian, was not, either burn your hand, or burn in this Mirt; but, either burn fome incense, to the statue of the emperor perhaps, or burn in this fhirt.

• In spite, therefore, of all the editions of Martial that I have feen, I have no doubt that he wrote, instead of “ure manum,' as We now read, ure manu,' ure aliquid thuris manu, and escape this

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