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tion in that course which may best comport with christian unity among ourselves, and be surest to lay the foundation of sound Christianity wherever our exertions for its propagation are made. I would entreat the Clergy to weigh well the importance and happy tendency of sermon preaching, and to use it as one of the principal methods of promoting the objects of our Church Societies.
As it is our duty and privilege to maintain and extend the cause of Christianity, so is it clearly our policy to effect our important purposes by the agency of those well-adapted institutions which enjoy the Church's confidence, and which she is willing to associate with herself in the great work of instructing the household of faith, and evangelizing the world.
Now it is not a reserved, a lifeless, or a formal union that we recommend, but such a zealous and hearty confederation of the affectionate sons of the Church of England, as whilst unassumingly repelling hostile attacks against her, gradually removing the excuses for schism, silently alluring wanderers to her fold, reviving the spirits, and stimulating the exertions of her sons, would be also directly promoting the ostensible objects of her societies, and exhibiting her a bright example of faith and charity to other Christian Churches, and a pattern of excellence to the whole world.
It is true that the Societies have done, and are doing, vast good; but the question for our consideration now is, not what amount of good they have effected, or are effecting, but how much more they might become instrumental in accomplishing were they in receipt of all that cordial and affectionate support which our very character of Churchmen binds upon us to render them, and which the circumstances of our times importune us to supply without the least hesitation or delay.
I would conclude with again urging the establishment of parochial and local associations of all three Societies in all places throughout the kingdom, and the seconding their efforts by the periodical preaching of charity sermons, of which I would recommend the publication, in a cheap form for general distribution. And I would repeat my former suggestion relative to the formation of auxiliary associations at our public schools, especially at the Universities, where the claims of the Societies can be urged with due effect, and the cooperation and goodwill of the youthful members and future ministers of the Church be in AFTER LIFE permanently secured for them. And I must remark, that in London, and the circumjacent parishes, very much remains to be done, and I hope that as the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge is taking measures for the advantageous introduction of itself into the metropolis, so also the other Societies will put forth their irresistible claims, and enlist the body of Churchmen in their support. We may all, bishops, pastors, and people, THUS DO MUCH FOR OUR CHURCH ; and what we can do is most certainly EXPECTED at our hands. Let, there. fore, the inquiry of each individual who peruses these lines be- What ean I do? In my situation, what does Providence expect of me? And however humble his condition in life, or exalted and influential his station, let him remember that he is a STEWARD of the spiritual and temporal blessings of Heaven, and that as a steward he MUST BE FOUND FAITHFUL.
Beseeching the Almighty to prosper our work, and dispose us to labour more and more abundantly to his own glory, the edification of his Church, and the increase of his kingdom, I remain, Mr. Editor, your very faithful servant,
DEFENCE OF THE FIRST AND SECOND CHAPTERS OF THE GOS
PELS OF ST. MATTHEW AND ST. LUKE. [The following analysis, containing the arguments in favour of the genuineness and authenticity of the first two chapters of the Gospel of Št. Matthew and St. Luke, has been forwarded by a correspondent for insertion in our miscellany, with whose request we have much pleasure in complying. The subject is one of deep importance; and we shall be happy if our publication of this analysis should induce our readers to study the work itself
, (entitled “A Vindication of the Authenticity of the Narratives of St. Matthew and St. Luke,” by a Layman ;) and published by Messrs. Rivington, St. Paul's Church-yard.]--Ed.
The genuineness and authenticity of the first two chapters of St. Matthew's and St. Luke's Gospels, with the exception of the genealogy of Christ, contained in the first sixteen verses of the first chapter of the former, and the introductory address to Theophilus in the latter, having been disputed, the following is a summary of the evidence in their favour, external and internal.
The external evidence is collected from the Greek MSS. from the ancient versions, and from the ancient Fathers.
1. The evidence of the MSS.
“ There have been,” observes the learned Bishop Marsh, “not less than three hundred and fifty-five Greek manuscripts of the Gospels collated, every one of which contains the first two chapters of St. Matthew's Gospel, with exception to the single Codex Ebnerianus. But even this manuscript contains the second chapter; and the more ancient manuscript contained probably the whole of the first."* It begins at the eighteenth verse of the first chapter, and consequently is evidence in favour of the present inquiry.
II. All the ancient versions have these chapters. These are, some of them, of very high antiquity. The old Syriac was made, it is supposed, soon after, if not during the Apostolic age.
Of equal weight is the evidence of the MSS. and versions in favour of the genuineness of the first two chapters of St. Luke's Gospel.
III. The testimony of the ancient Fathers. Barnabas, the fellow traveller of the apostle Paul, Clemens Romanus, Ignatius, and Polycarp, being all contemporary with the apostles, are called the Apostolic Fathers. None of these, with the exception of Ignatius, have any quotations in their epistles from the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke. But “when they cite the Gospel of St. Matthew, they cite it in such a manner, as undeniably evidences not only that they made use of the same copies, but also the same with our present Greek ones. This I assert upon a strict examination of this matter on each of these
Marsh's Michaelis' Introduction to New Testament, Vol. III. Part ii. p. 138. VOL. XVII. NO. IX.
authors.”—Jones's Canon, Vol. III. pp. 146, 147. Similar to this is the remark made by Lardner, on the agreement between the quotations of the Apostolical Fathers," and our Greek Gospel, not only in sense, but also in the very words.” - Lardner's Cred. Part ii. Vol. I. p. 248. This coincidence is certainly of itself no evidence in favour of the disputed chapters ; but, when taken in conjunction with the evidence of the MSS. and versions, it is not without its weight.
1. Ignatius, who succeeded to the see of Antioch about A. D. 70, in his epistle to the church of Smyrna, speaks of them as “ being fully persuaded of those things which relate unto our Lord; who truly was of the race of David according to the flesh, but the Son of God according to the will and power of God: truly born of the Virgin, and baptized of John; that so all righteousness might be fulfilled by him." Wake's Epistles of the Apostolic Fathers, 4th Edit. p. 114.
In his epistle to the Trallians, he cautions them not to attend to those who “ speak contrary to Jesus Christ, who was of the race of David, of the Virgin Mary.”—Ib. p. 90.
Again : in the epistle to the Ephesians, Ignatius says, that Christ was “ conceived in the womb of Mary, of the seed of David, by the Holy Ghost.” And a little after, he says, our Saviour was manifested to the world by a star, which “ shone in heaven beyond all the other stars.”—Ib. p. 72.
These passages are taken from the smaller epistles of Ignatius, which are generally admitted to be genuine. Doubts have indeed been entertained by men of learning whether even this more correct edition has been received by us entirely free from interpolations. But these doubts are not justly applicable to the foregoing extracts from the epistles to the churches of Smyrna and Tralles. In them Ignatius is evidently not confuting any specific objections to the miraculous conception; he only asserts the reality of Christ's birth, sufferings, death, and resurrection, in opposition to the opinions of the earliest corrupters of Christianity, the Docetæ, who taught that Christ was a man in appearance only, and that he only appeared to suffer and die. Consequently, these passages bear internal marks of their genuineness.
2. After the Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr next claims our notice. During the lifetime of Polycarp, the disciple of the apostle John, Justin addressed an Apology for the Christians to the emperor and senate of Rome (about A. D. 140). In this, he illustrates Isaiah's prophecy of Christ, that he was to be born of a virgin, by adverting to the account given of the miraculous conception by the Evangelists : “At the same time an angel was sent to the same virgin, saying, · Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb by the Holy Ghost, and thou shalt bring forth a son, and he shall be called the Son of the Highest; and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins ;' as they have taught who have writ the history of all things concerning our Saviour Jesus Christ; and we believe them.” (Compare Matt. i. 20, 21, with Luke i. 31, 32.)-Lardner's Cred. Part ii. Vol. I. p. 266.
In his description of the nature of the christian worship, Justin has this remark, “ The memoirs of the apostles,” (which, as he elsewhere says, were called gospels,)“ or the writings of the prophets, are read according as the time allows; and when the reader has ended, the
president makes a discourse, exhorting to an imitation of so excellent things." This fact, of the general and public reading of the gospels as a part of divine worship, clearly proves that these gospels were well known, and allowed to be genuine and authentic records in the time of Justin. And if these genuine and authentic records did not contain an account of the miraculous conception, Justin, in his Apology for the Christians to the emperor, would not have publicly appealed to them for its truth.
In his dialogue with Trypho the Jew, Justin Martyr says, “ But Herod, when the Arabian wise men did not come back to him as he had desired them, but, according to a command given them, returned by another way into their own country; and when Joseph, together with Mary and the young child, were gone into Egypt, according to the directions given to them also by a divine revelation, not knowing the child whom the wise men had come to worship, commanded all the children in Bethlehem, without exception, to be killed. This was prophesied of by Jeremiah, the Spirit of God saying by him thus, ' A voice was heard in Rama.' (Matt. ï. 12–18.)— Lardner's Cred. Part i. Vol. II. p. 761.
Again : “And the Virgin Mary having been filled with faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel brought her good tidings, that the Spirit of the Lord should come upon her, and the power of the Highest overshadow her, and therefore, that holy thing born of her should be the Son of God, answered, “Be it unto me according to thy word.'” (Luke i. 35-38.)—Ib. Part ii. Vol. I. pp. 267, 268.
3. Contemporary with Justin Martyr was Hegesippus, a Hebrew Christian. He composed a history of the Church to his own time, in five books, in the reign, it is supposed, of Marcus Aurelius. Some fragments of the work, which is lost, are preserved by Eusebius, in his Ecclesiastical History. The following extract relates to Domitian's inquiry after the descendants of David :
“ At that time there were yet remaining of the kindred of Christ the grandsons of Jude, who was called his brother according to the flesh. These some accused as being of the race of David; and Evocatus brought them before Domitianus Cæsar; for he, too, was afraid of the coming of Christ, as well as Herod.”
“This passage,” to use the words of Lardner, “ deserves to be remarked: it contains a reference to the history in the second chapter of St. Matthew, and shews plainly that this part of St. Matthew's Gospel was owned by this Hebrew Christian. So that he used our Greek Gospel; or if he used only the Hebrew edition of St. Matthew's Gospel, this history must have been in it in his time.”—Ib. pp. 318, 319.
This testimony of Hegesippus, proves that in his time the introductory chapters of Matthew were considered genuine by Jewish as well as Gentile converts to the christian faith.
4. In an epistle sent by the churches of Lyons and Vienna, in the seventeenth year of Marcus Aurelius, A. D. 177, to the churches of Asia and Phrygia, relating the sufferings of some of their martyrs, it is said of one of them, named Vettius Epagathus, that “ though young, he equalled the character of old Zacharias, for he walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”- 1b. p. 336..
The incidental allusion here made to the history contained in the first chapter of St. Luke, shews that the narrative was well known and generally received as authentic.
5. Irenæus, the disciple of Polycarp, and Bishop of Lyons, (probably at the time the above letter was written,) was author of several works. The only one now remaining is his five books against heresies. In them are the following passages :
“ But the Holy Spirit, foreseeing there would be deceivers, and guarding against their deceit, says by Matthew, Now the birth of Christ was in this wise.”—Lardner's Cred. Part ii. Vol. I. p. 385.
Again : “ But if any one rejects Luke, as if he did not know the truth, he will be convicted of throwing away the gospel of which he professeth to be a disciple. For there are many, and those very necessary, parts of the gospel, which we know by his means; as the birth of John, the history of Zacharias, the visit of the angel to Mary, and the descent of the angels to the shepherds, and the things said by them, and the testimony of Anna and Simeon to Christ,” &c.- 1b. p. 357.
6 Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, the most ancient Latin writer extant of the Christian Fathers, was born at Carthage about A. D. 160.
In his work against Marcion, Tertullian has the following: “ Among the apostles, John and Matthew first teach us the faith. Among apostolical men, Luke and Mark refresh it, going upon the same principles, as concerning the one God the Creator, and his Christ, born of a virgin, the accomplishment of the law and the prophets.”—Ib. Part ü. Vol. II. pp. 574, 575.
In his treatise De carne Christi, is this observation, “And especially Matthew, the most faithful historian of the Gospel, as being a companion of the Lord, for no other reason than that we might be informed of the origin of Christ, according to the flesh, began in this manner. The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." - Ib. pp. 584, 585.
7. Origen, in his answer to Celsus in the third century, says, “ Herod put to death all the little children in Bethlehem and its borders, with a design to destroy the King of the Jews, who had been born there.”— Ib. Part i. Vol. II. p. 762.
Such is the evidence of the ancient Fathers in favour of the first two chapters of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke. And here let it be remembered, that it is the integrity only of these Fathers on which any reliance is placed; their judgment is not consulted.
The internal evidence in favour of the first two chapters of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke is derived from the coincidence between the narratives—from their simplicity-ard from their agreement with the histories of the times.
I. The coincidence between the narratives of the two Evangelists.
If we compare the two introductory chapters of St. Matthew with those of St. Luke, there will appear a difference and yet a consistency; a circumstantial variety in the several incidents they relate, and a substantial agreement in the important particulars. St. Matthew says that Jesus was born at Bethlehem, but does not mention the previous residence of Joseph and Mary. St. Luke tells us it was at Nazareth,