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which the gospel rests. It was with John much as with Matthew in regard to those characteristics which excited doubt of its genuineness. It was correctly remarked that John gives a different representation of our Lord from that presented by the first three evangelists. In his gospel Christ's actions and discourses appear as it were transfigured and spiritualized, while in the other evangelists they appear in a costume more or less Jewish and national. Now, as it is not conceivable, it is said, that the same person should be so differently represented, and John, the beloved disciple of our Lord, would certainly not have portrayed his Master as other than he really was, while the description of the actions of Jesus, (who appeared as a Jew, among Jews, and in behalf of Jews) given in the accounts of the first three evangelists, is much more conformable to truth, the gospel which bears John's name must be of later origin. But here, as in regard to Matthew, it may be observed that from a perfectly correct remark false conclusions have been deduced. It is indeed true that John exhibits the Saviour in a far more spiritual and glorified character than the first three evangelists. But this shows nothing except that John was the most spiritual of the evangelists. The same person may be regarded and described very differently by different persons. Of this truth we have a remarkable example in a great character of Grecian antiquity. Socrates is presented to our view in his actions and discourses by two of his confidential pupils, Xenophon and Plato. And how entirely different is the description given of him by these two writers ! In fact, these biographers may be said to sustain very much such a mutual relation as that of John and the first evangelists. While Xenophon paid attention principally to the external acts of Socrates, Plato describes his spiritual characteristics. Now, if it was possible to represent even a human being of eminence, in two very different lights, without doing violence to truth, how much rather might it be so in regard to one who was greater than Solomon, or than Socrates and his biographers. He who lived a purely heavenly life on earth, and spake words of eternal life, could not but be very variously described, according to the characteristics of the human soul, which received the rays of light proceeding from him. Each soul reflected his image
ven the excellent example of publicly acknowledging that he has become convinced of the genuineness of this jewel of the church, and retracts his doubts. May this example find numerous imitators!
Vol. IX. No. 25.
according to its own profundity and compass, and
yet each might be right. It was for this reason that more than one gospel was included in the collection of the sacred writings, since only the presentation of different portraitures together, could prevent a partial view of our Saviour's character. As it is only from connection of the accounts of Xenophon and Plato, that we can obtain a complete picture of Socrates, so we cannot comprehend the life of our Lord, which affords so many different aspects, without uniting the peculiar traits scattered in all the four gospels, into one general portraiture. With all the difference of representation observable in the evangelists, there are still resemblances and affinities enough to make it evident that they all had the same great personage in view. As John relates narratives of cures exactly like those in Matthew, Mark and Luke, so the gospels of the latter contain passages which in elevation, depth, and richness of thought, are not inferior to our Lord's discourses in John, and indeed resemble them in phraseology. Among these is the lofty and astonishingly beautiful passage, Matt. 11: 25–30. “ I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye
shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." "He, from whose mouth such language proceeded, might certainly be represented in such an aspect as John has given to Jesus, if the description were undertaken by one in some measure capable of appreciating such a character; and that John was such an one, is sufficiently clear from his epistles.
If, therefore, we look at the gospels as a collection, or consider each separately, we cannot but say that they are more strongly accredited and sustained by external and internal proofs, than any other work of antiquity. Few writings have such ancient testimony in their favor, reaching back to the time of the authors ; none have so many, so totally distinct, so corroborative of each other. While, then, the chief argument in behalf of the Scriptures generally, and the gospels in particular, is the
witness of the Holy Spirit, perceived in his heart by every believer
, as he peruses the Scriptures, (a point on which we shall enlarge at the close of our treatise), still the possibility of proving on historical grounds, the genuineness and primitive character of the gospels, is a great additional cause of gratitude, inasmuch as it removes occasions of distrust, particularly from weak and doubting minds, and affords motives for the confirmation of their faith.
CRITICAL NOTICE S.
1.-Report from Select Committee on the Observance of the
Sabbath-Day; with the Minutes of Evidence and Appendix.
This committee of the British House of Commons were thirty in number, - among whom were Messrs. Agnew, Morpeth, Peel, Inglis, Buxton, Baring, Goulburn, Stanley and J. E. Gordon. About eighty witnesses were examined during the seventeen days in which the committee were in session. As the general subject is attracting an unusual degree of attention, in this country; at the present time, we have thought that a few brief quotations from the testimony of two or three of the witnesses would be gratifying to our readers.
The bishop of London testified, that with respect to the mid-
twice or even three times in the day, and that by the higher classes, than they were even once in the day twenty years ago. There is not sufficient accommodation in the churches of the metropolis, however, for more than one tenth of the present population. - If sufficient accommodation were provided in churches, and care were taken to place able and faithful clergymen in those churches, it would be by far the most promising method of remedying the evils of sabbath-breaking. His lordship's observation led him to conclude that persons who absent themselves from public worship are not exemplary in the discharge of any part of their duty. — “No good will be done by punishing people for not going to church, but a great amount of good may be done by preventing persons from spreading out those temptations which prevent the people from going to church. The positive enforcement of religious duties by penalties is a mistake in the principles of legislation ; but looking on religion as the basis of all sound principles and social order, we must be careful to remove those temptations which check the growth of religion, and encourage the growth of irreligion.” “ I cannot state in a manner which would do justice to my own feelings, my opinion as to the importance of the Lord's day, both as an institution of mercy and of spiritual improvement; and I am quite sure that those persons who are brought to consider that day as given, not only for a day of rest, but of religious improvement, soon come to take a pleasure in its right employment, which is a much more effectual, as well as a much purer recreation than any thing which is commonly termed amusement."
John Richard Farre, M. D., an eminent physician, who had been in the study and practice of medicine for forty years, testified: "The use of the Sabbath, medically speaking, is that of a day of rest. It is a day of compensation for the inadequate restorative power of the body under continued labor and excilement. A plıysician always has respect to the preservation of the restorative power; because, il once this be lost, his healing office is at an end. The ordinary exertions of man run down the circulation every day of his life; and the first general law of nature by which God prevents man from destroying himself, is the alternating of day with night, that repose may succeed action. But though night apparently equalizes the circulation well, yet it does not sufliciently restore its balance for the attainment of a long life. Hence one day in seven, by the
bounty of Providence, is thrown in as a day of compensation, to perfect by its repose the animal system. The Sabbatical institution is not simply a precept partaking of the nature of a political institution, but it is to be numbered among the natural duties
, if the preservation of life be admitted to be a duty, and the
premature destruction of it a suicidal act. This is said simply as a physician, and without respect at all to the theological question. I have found it essential to my own well-being, as a medical man, to abridge my labor on the Sabbath to what is actually necessary
I have frequently observed the premature death of physicians from continued exertion. In warm climates, and in active service, this is painfully apparent.
I have advised the clergyman, in lieu of his Sabbath, to rest one day in the week ; it forms a continual prescription of mine. I have seen many destroyed by their duties on that day. I would say further, that quitting the grosser evils of mere animal living from over-stimulation and undue exercise of body, the working of the mind in one continued train of thought is the destruction of life in the most distinguished classes of society, and that senators themselves need reform in that particular. I have seen many of them destroyed by neglecting this economy of life.”
John Poynder, Esq., a solicitor of London, exhibited to the committee a list of the Sunday newspapers published in London, which was obtained at the stamp office. The number was twenty-four. The number of stamps for these papers was about seven millions. The amount of advertisement duty, exclusive of stamp duty on the several papers, was about £11,000.
Rev. David Ruell, who had been for twenty-eight years chaplain of prisons in London, and who had had, on a low calculation, 100,000 prisoners under his care, stated: “I do not recollect a single case of capital offence where the party has not been a Sabbath-breaker, and, in many cases, they have assured me that Sabbath-breaking was the first step in the course of crime. Indeed, I may say in reference to prisoners of all classes, that in nineteen cases out of twenty, they are persons who have not only neglected the Sabbath, but all other ordinances
The following statement of James Bridges, Esq., a lawyer of Edinburgh, deserves the attention of the multitudes who are annoyed, in the vicinity of the large American cities, by the extensive Sabbath-profanation connected with the Monday markets. «The cattle and corn-markets, which are the great mar