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gnos zonac yrys oop mory :

88

SERMON 8.
• If, without laying any claim to absolute perfedion, we take a
view of our establishment as compared with others, and appeal to
experience for its merits, we shall fee (I believe) abundant reason
to approve and to esteem it. We shall not easily find a church, whose
public worship is conducted with more decorum and propriety;
where the truths of the gospel are explained more ably, its duties
more faithfully inculcated; where religious knowledge has been
cultivated with more diligence, or pursued with less restraint; where
reason, in its most improved state, has been more successfully em-
ployed in defending and establishing christianity; and, finally,
where there remain to pofterity more illustrious monuments of the
learning, the wisdom, and the piety of its members.'
III. The Religious improvement of awful events.-Picached at Black-

ley, September 2ift. 1777 ; on occasion of a shock of ari Earth-
quake, which happened the preceding Lord's Day. To which
is prefixed, The Theory of Earthquakes, from Sir Isaac Newton,
and others. By John Pope. 4to. 15, 6d. Warrington Printed;
and Sold by Johnson in London.

In the discourse, introductory to the sermon, Mr. Pope has given,
a review of the different hypotheses, relative to the supposed natural
causes of earthquakes, which have been advanced by Sir Isaac New-
ton, the late Dr. Stukeley, and Dr. Priestley; to which he has added,
some judicious suggestions of his own : the whole tending to establish,
a theory of this most curious, though awful phenomenon.

With respect to the religious improvement of the subject, in the

fermon, it is equally pious and rational.--By an advertisement an-
I ! nexed, we are informed that the Author is preparing to give the

public, a translation of M. BAUME's Chymie Experimentale et Raiforne.
IV. Preached in the Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalen, in the

Bail of Lincoln, at the Vifitation of the Archdeacon of Lin.
coln, May, 28th. 1777. By John Disney, D. D. Rector of Pan-
ton, and Vicar of Swinderby, in Lincolnshire, and Chaplain to
the Bishop of Carlile. 4to. I s. Johnson.

This fermon, though upon a subject on which scarce any thing,
new can be expected, does honour to the preacher, as it shews a
fteady and confiftent attachment to the great and important prin-
ciple of christian liberty; however unfavourable a defence of them
may be thought at this juncture. It is the substance of a plea for a
farther reformation in our eftablished church, in those instances, more
especially, where refraints seem to be laid upon the exercise of our
common rights, as christians and protestants : reitraints, which, in the
preacher's opinion, are by no means consistent with the principles on
which the protestant reformation arose, and on which alone it can
be justified.

An account of Elays Moral and Literary will be given in our
next.
ttt The “ Pensylvanian's” Letter will be duly attended to,

ERRATA in the Review for December,
P. 437. 1. 12. from the bottom, dele internal.
P, 438. 1. 12. for Mr. A. read This friend,

abborrent, to abhorrenh

the bodom of that arlofor pooh, art. 38, l. 5.from

miedo, y 'Pogozhod

Sitlui morth,
mouth, p. 83, in the

83, in the title of
arh. 36, for thiopic, r. fheorie, urithos
the cente alleah over the last tetter.
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Art:1." A Harmony' of the EvangeliAs, in Greek; to which are pre-
fixed, Critical Dissertations in English. By Jofeph Priestley, LL.D.
F. R. S. 410. 14 s. Boards. Johnson. 1777.
OME of Dr. Priestley's writings on theological subjects

have been cenfured, as too hastily produced, and it hath been suggested, that by bestowing more time upon them, the author might have 'rendered them much more useful, Whether there be any just ground for this complaint, we cannot take upon ourselves to determine. It is fufficient for us, on the prefent occasion, to observe, that the book now before us is not a hafty production. Whatever, faith the ingenious Author, may be thought of the work which I now prefent to the Public, I can affare my Readers that there is hardly any subject on which I have bestowed more pains, or to which I have given more time.

From this account, and from the known abilities of the Author, the Reader will expect to find considerable light thrown upon the fubject, in this performance, and we will venture to declare our opinion, that he will not be disappointed.

· The Harmony of the four Gospels, faith Dr. P. or the reducing the history of our Saviour, as delivered by the four Evangelifts, Marchew, Mark, Luke, and John, to the order of time in which the events really happened, has been a favourite object with critics, even from the very early ages of Christianity; and since the sevival of letters in Europe, the number of harmonists has been so great, that the enumeration of them would be redious. Nor Thall we 'wonder at the attention that has been given to this subject, when we confider how very important a history that of Christ is, infinitely inore so than that of any otber man chat ever lived on the face of the earth ; in comparison with whom kings, lawgivers, or philosophers appear, as nothing.'

He proceeds, in his preface, to account for the loss of the chronological order of events in the life of Christ, and for the VOL. LVIII.

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difference in the harmonies of the Evangelists; and on these
points he offers many curious and important observations. He
totally disapproves of the notion of an universal and infallible
inspiration of the scripture historians as writers; and he hath
offered, on this part of his subject, many considerations, which
seem to have great weight. But though he rejects the supposi-
tion, that these writers were incapable of relating the same
story with any inconsistency in the circumstances of it, yet he
admits that when the prophets or apostles worked miracles, or de-
livered prophecies, and other messages from God, they must
have been inspired:

Having thus attended to the Author's preface, which is of
considerable length, we proceed to his observations on the Has-
mony of the Evangelists. These observations are divided into
seventeen sections, containing a great variety of valuable re-
marks, which well deserve the attention of the learned, and
indeed of all who wish to obtain an accurate knowledge of the
life of Christ.

Dr. P. adopts the opinion proposed by Mr. Mann, in his Dissertations on the Times of the Birth and the Death of Chrift, with respect to the Duration of Christ's ministry; namely, that he preached no longer than one year, or one year and a few months. Several sections of the observations on the Harmony of the Evangelists are employed in ftating the evidence, and producing the arguments, which support this hypothesis, and in vindicating it against objections. This appears to us to be a very important point, and we could with pleasure transcribe the several arguments by which Mr. Mann and Dr. P. have endeavoured to estabilh it ; but as this cannot be done without extending the Article to an immoderate length, we will content ourselves with laying before our Readers the conclusion of the seventeenth section of the observations, which exhibits a computation of the time necessary for the purpose of Christ's ministry.

• It certainly appears, upon the whole,' saith Dr, P. that one year was abundantly fufficient for all the events recorded in the evangelical history. No person, reading Matthew, Mark, or Luke, could possibly have imagined that they took up more ; and every thing is perfectly easy in John, admitting the transposition of one chapter, the present connection of which evidently shows it to be out of its proper place; and the interpolation of the word paffover before feast of the Jews; a mistake so easy, in some early cranicriber (by taking into the text a marginal illustration of some person, who salhly supposed the pasover was the feast referred to) and so much like other mistakes, that are generally supposed to have been made, fince these books came from the hands of the original writers, that à much smaller advan'age, than is here proposed by it, would juttify us in admitting it. In fact, oiber critics have admitted it for dif.

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ferent, and less weighty reasons. There are persons, however, who would not alter the present copies of the New Testament, though they were obliged to suppose, that the public ministry of Christ lasted foriy years in tead of four, which is the general hypothesis.

• I fhall conclude this section with observing, that, according to the preceding disposition of our Lord's history, we have an easy plan of his public ministry, and observe a pretty equal distribution of his labours, to infruct and convert the people of the Jews. For almoft all the former half of the year was spent in Galilee, and the latter in Judea.

• Galilee is a country of about forty miles in length, lying East and West, and about fifteen, or in some places twenty miles in breadth. Cana is situated in the Western part of it, Nazareth about the center, and Capernaum in the East. This part of the country was, probably, the moft populous, being fituated upon the sea of Galilee, which employed a great number of thips.

• Our Lord spent all the early part of his life at Nazareth ; but probably was not confpicuous. He began to work miracles at Cana in the West, but presently, leaving that place, he spent the first part of his public preaching in the more populous country about Capernaum, in the East; after he had opened his commission, as we may say, in Judea, and especially in the parts near Jordan, where John had borne witness of him, and pointed him out to the people.

. During the first weeks of his preaching in Capernaum and the neighbourhood, he was closely attended by his disciples, who may be Tupposed not to be yet qualified to preach themselves. But bea fore he left Galilee for that time, he removed to Nazareth, and its neighbourhood, where the people must have been in some measure prepared to receive him ; and not having much time to spend there, he sent out the twelve apostles, two and two, to afft him in going over that

part of the country, which seems to have been but thinly inhabited.

• After Pentecost our Lord made a progress through Trachonitis, and to the utmost northern boundary of the land of Canaan, cowards Tyre and Sydon. During this part of his stay in Galilee, it is not improbable but that his disciples mighe affift him in preaching the gospel, though it be not particularly mentioned.

Taking his final leave of Galilee, Jesos sent out seventy difci. ples, to preach in the larger country of Judea. He also several times visited the coantry beyond Jordan; nor was Samaria by any means neglected by him.

Upon the whole, all the country that was formerly poffeffed by the twelve tribes, may be supposed to have been pretty equally enlightened by the preaching of the gospel, and to have enjoyed nearly equal advantages, during the course of our Lord's public preaching.

Some good observations are made by Dr. P. on the circumstances attending the resurrection of Jesus, which we will here insert as another specimen of the Author's manner of writing on this occafion:

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• Much, faith, he, has been written by several modern divines, on the harmony of the different accounts which are given by the four evangelists, of the circumstances attending the resurrection of Jesus ; and I believe it may be posible to draw up a narrative, which thall comprize all the different accounts, and be consistent with it. self; but to me it is evident, that if the different writers had had exactly the same ideas of the circumsances attending that event, they would not have written as they have done concerning it.

• Matthew says (xxviil. i, &c.) That Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went, at the break of day, to see the fepulchre, but an angel had rolled away the stone, and fat upon it. The angel bade them tell the disciples that Jesus was risen from the dead : and as they were making halte to deliver that message, Jesus himself appeared to them, and they fell down and held him by the feet, but he bade them go and tell his disciples to meet him in Galilee. "Mark says (xvi. 1, &c.) That, at sun-rise, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, going to anoint the body of Jesus, found the fepulchre open; and going in, saw a young man sitting on the right hand, who told them that Jesus was risen, and bade them tell his disciples to meet him in Galilee. Afterwards chis Evangelift in forms us that Jesus, having risen early in the morning, appeared brit 10 Mary Magdalene, who went and informed the disciples, but was not believed by them.

Luke fays (xxiv. 1, &c.) That many women who had followed Jesus from Galilee, and others with them, going with spices, foand the stone rolled away; and going into the fepulchre found not the bady of Jesus; and that while they were in doubt, two men stood by them, who said that he was risen; and that they went and told the disciples, who did not believe them; but that Peter ran to the repulchre, and seeing the grave cloaths, wondered very much,

John, who is the most circumftantial in his relation, says, (xx. 1; &c.) That while it was yet dark, Mary Magdalene went to the fepulchre ; and upon seeing the stone taken away, ran to inform Peter and John. Upon this, these two disciples ran to the place, and finding the cloaths only, returned ; but that Mary, who fiood without, and wept, on looking into the fepulchre, faw two angels, fiating one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body had lain ; and while she was asking them concerning the body, Jesus himself appeared to her, and bade her go and cell his disciples chac. he was risen.

To me it appears not very easy.to fuppose that these different accounts were written by persons who had precisely the same ideas of the events, and of the order of them, but the variations are such, that it is not worth the while of any friend of Christianity to take pains to reconcile them. After considering and comparing all these accounts, my own ideas of the affair are as follow.

The ftone was rolled away from the sepulchre, Jesus rose, and the guard were dispersed, some time before day-break. Presently after, the women came with their spices, intending to embalm the body; but recolle&ting that the tone was too large for them to remove, they were at a loss what to do; when they were surprized to

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