Imágenes de páginas

circumstances in the story which wear an improbable and fabulous aspeet. As an authority for these bold assertions, they refer to Evanson's Dissonance of the Four Evangelists, a work of more cunning than acuteness, of more malignity than merit, and which is now fallen into contempt in the eyes, of the learned; but the Unitarian Editors find it a convepient ally, and they are compelled, in order to prop 'up the baseless fabric of their scheme, to borrow assistance from any source however impore. The Layman, therefore, in the eighth chapter examines the allegations of Evanson; and as a specimen of the triumphant refutation which they receive, we select his reply to the argument respecting the diversity of style between the two first chapters of Lake and the remainder of the Gospel.

“ Evanson says: For example, this interpolated fable begins with the same word, iyéveto, with which Luke begins most of his paragraphs; but in Luke it always means, it came to pass, or, he was made or became, and dever, there was, which is its only meaning here, and for which Luke always uses mv.' In Luke xxii. 24, Acts viii. 8, and xxiii. 9, iyéveto occurs in the same sense as in Luke i. 5, that sense in which Evanson says · Luke always uses in and never iyéreto. "If Evanson had said éyévito very seldom, in the writings of St. Luke, means there was, it would have approached nearer to the truth: but then it will equally apply to the first two chapters of Luke's Gospel ; for fyéveto occurs in these two chapters only twice in the sense of there was, and seven times in the sense of it came to pass; and in Luke ii. 25, 36, is used for there was.

“ Thus, the only example selected by Evanson, to support this charge of dissimilarity of style between the first two chapters of Luke's Gospel, and the rest of his writings, not only fails him, but is evidence against him. In Luke i. 9, and Acts sii. 7, occur the same phraseology, not to be found in any other sacred writer. Again, words occor in these two chapters, which are exclusively used by Luke: for example, sysuortów in Luke ii. 2, viii. 1 ; peyanice in Luke i. 9, and Acts ij. 11; ivaaßns in Luke ii. 25, Acts ii. 5, and viii. 2. See also Mr. Rennell's Animadversions on the Unitarian Version, pp. 11, 12. These specific coincidences in style authorize us to return upon the Editors their indefinite charge of difference of style between the first two chapters of Lukė with the other parts of his writings, as having been too hastily advanced, on the authority of Evanson, without sufficient examination.". P. 269.

The Editors state roundly in thetr note on Matt. i. 16. țliat the reasoning from the prophecies in support of the miracu. lous conception is, inconclusive. This, it is obvious, is a mere gratuitous assertion ; and it comes with a very bad

grace from those who are not ashamed to maintain that an Apostle,

if not Christ himself, may reason inconclusively, without any impeachment of his divine mission. But the Layman, who suffers none of their assertions to pass without examination, thoroughly sifts all the instances alleged of inconclusive reasoning from the prophecies by their great oracle, Mr. Evanson. With the courage befitting the sacred cause of truth, he marches to combat with the united forces of the Unitarians, and fairly drives them off the field.

There is one argument in our apprehension quite conclusive against the supposition that the introductory chapters of St. Matthew and St. Luke are spurious, namely, that so large and gross an interpolation could not have escaped detection long previous to the nineteenth century. The Editors were aware of this, as it appears to, us, insuperable objection to their hypothesis, and their attempt to rebut it is so glaringly inefficacious, that it can scarcely be thought deserving of a reply. How comes it that these portions of the Gospels, if forgeries, should be introduced into all existing unmutilated manuscripts? Whence has it arisen that they should be found in all the ancient translations as well Eastern as Occidental? How is it that they should be expressly cited òr alluded to by the ancient Fathers, from those denominated apostolical downwards to the period of the Reformation? How is it to be accounted for that none of these venerable men should give the least hint of their probable spuriousness, but that, during this long period, they should be received universally by the orthodox as genuine and authentic? Surely all this is absolutely impossible if the chapters in question were a fraudulent interpolation. Such a gross forgery must have been known, must have been detocted, must have been exposed. The veneration in which the Sacred Writings were held by the Primitive Christians precludes the supposition of any designed and extensive adulteration; and we have every reason to believe that they have come down to us with an almost miraculous exemption from error and corruption. Combining this with the positive evidence in favour of the histories of our Lord's superhuman conception and birth, we cannot reasonably doubt of their genuineness; and believing this with the full assurance of faith, we revere the gracious plan of redemption through the mediation of incarnate Deity, and adore the celestial Redeemer, who is God over all blessed for ever!

The Layman has added an Appendix of considerable length upon

the variations between the first and fourth editions of the Improved Version of the New Testament, so far as such variations bear upon the points under discussion. Immedi

Еe VOL, XX. OCT. 1823.

ately upon the appearance of the Improved Version, a phalanx of powerful adversaries stood up against it; but so little bave the Editors profited by the animadversions which it called forth, that they still continue to circulate their mass of error and perverted criticism. It is really surprising that any body of men should persevere in delusion after receiving a castigation so severe; yet the Unitarians persist in submitting to the public eye the same misstatements, and the same sophistry with as much pertinacity as if they had never been refuted. In all essential characters the fourth edition of the Improved Version remains the same, though it has undergone some trifling alterations, which our author notices and thoroughly sifts in his Appendix. Our limits prevent us from following him in detail, but the reader will find in this, as in the former part of the work, an equally able exposure of absurdity and self-contradiction. As a specimen we select the following:

In their fourth edition they have inserted the following additional paragraph, in their note on Lake i. 4.

" It has, however, been alleged, that the narrative of Luke does not necessarily imply the miraculous conception, and consequently that the prefatory chapters of this gospel may stand, though those in Matthew were given up; and much ingenuity has been displayed in explaining Luke i. 26-38, consistently with this hypothesis. To which it seems sufficient to reply, that the words have hitherto been universally understood, as plainly asserting the miraculous conception of Jesus Christ, and that no other interpretation was heard of for seventeen hundred years. A sense so novel, therefore, is not likely to be the true meaning of the passage. At any rate the chronological difficulty remains the same; and the fabulous circumstances, such as a host of angels singing in the air, &c. &c. give a cast of improbability to the whole narrative. See Dr. Carpenter's Unitarianism the Doctrine of the Gospel, edit. 2,

p. 353.

“ Mark the argument of Dr. Carpenter; 1st. The premise that the narrative of Luke does not necessarily imply the miraculous conception; 2nd. the deduction; consequently, that the prefatory chapters to this gospel may stand." Could language more explicitly declare, that if the introductory chapters to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke would admit of an interpretation that did not imply a miraculous conception, the other objections, urged by the Unitarians against the authenticity of these chapters would sink into comparative insignificance.

“Unfortunately for the above-mentioned hypothesis, the objections which the Editors adduce against the first two chapters of Matthew, will, most of them, equally apply to the first two chapters of Luke. The Editors feel this difficulty, which would press upon them, if they adopted Dr. Carpenter's hypothesis ; they therefore reject it, and, with more consistency than reason, persist in expunging from the sacred records those chapters, which record a fact that is obnoxious to them." P. 371..

In conclusion, we recommend the work under consideration to the serious perusal of all who, building their faith upon the Holy Scriptures, are anxious to know that they are relying upon pure and uncorrupted records. Every objection to the first two chapters of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke, which has been advanced by Socinian subtilty, is solidly refuted, and the evidence in favour of their genuineness and authenticity is stated with the utmost clearness and force. It does not, indeed, display the deep erudition and critical acumen of a Marsh or a Magee, but it evinces a a mind fully informed upon the subject, a mind sound and unsophisticated, capable of perspicacious views and cogent reasoning. The work is written in a spirit of candour and fairness, always desirable, but too seldom found among controversialists; and we regard it as an ample and most convincing vindication of the disputed chapters. The author is said to be a Quaker, but whoever he may be, he has exhibited qualities which would do credit to any denomination of Christians; we cordially thank him for his able exposure of the Unitarian objections to the miraculous conception and birth of our Lord ; and we should sincerely rejoice, to find, that the abettors of Socinianism profit by his friendly admonitions. But alas !. we fear they will, with stubborn pertinacity, continue deaf to them; to refute his vindication, as it is impossible, they will probably make no laboured attempt; but we doubt not they will assail him in their usual manner, and harass with little missiles, the antagonist whom they cannot vanqnish in the field.

ART. VIII. Memorable Days in America: being a Journal

of a Tour to the United States, principally undertaken to ascertain, by positive Evidence, the Condition and probable Prospects of British Emigrants ; including Accounts of Mr. Birkbeck's Settlement in the Illinois: and intended to shew Men and Things as they are in America. By W. Faux, An English Farmer. 8vo. pp. 504. 14s. Simpkin and

Marshall. 1823. We cannot flatter Farmer Faux with an expectation that his Book will be as Memorable as his Days. But he is entitled to some commendation for his distrust of Mr. Birkbeck's

[ocr errors]

statements. To ascertain whether that gentleman wrote his. tory or romance, Mr. Faux politely travelled fifteen thousand miles, and if the ill-natured should accuse him of having set out on a fool's errad, the candid must admit that he journeyed with circumspection and pertinacity.

We cannot peroeive however that he has discovered anything that was not known before, or that he has placed old truths in a new light. His narration is singularly round about and tiresome; nine-tenths of it being composed of the examination in chief of the people with whom Mr. Faux conversed, and no opportunity being given to the reader to crossexamine the witnesses. We know not and canpot know whether they are tall or short, brown or fair, black-haired or red-haired. They may be wise or foolish, talkative or discreet, interested or disinterested, kpavish or sincere. But the author does pot stop to inform us respecting these trifles. All the Mr. Simpsons, and Thompsons and Johnsons, whom he happened to visit or overtake, play their respective parts in his common place-book ; and we are not even furnished with a list of their names to assist us in turning to the speeches of such as we are disposed to confide in. Five hundred pages under this most inflating process, bardly suffice to contain what might have been packed with a little contrivance into a twentieth part of the bulk.

“ Mr. Worsley thinks that the west is the best destination for poor industrious farmers, who will there live well on their own good land, and encrease its value, but capital is best employed near cities and towns, where there is a certain market. • But,' says Mr. Perry, in reply, ten acres near New York or Philadelphia, or in such states, are infinitely better for a poor man than hundreds of acres in the

I know of 60 acres at Feversham, in my native Kent, which average 2001. a year net profit, after immense taxes, tithes, and poor rates, are deducted. How much happier must a marrbe there than in the west, with 2000 unprofitable acres.

You talk of your wild turkeys and your game, but they are not there; game is more scarce than in England. No honest answer to inquiries can be had in the west, or elsewhere. All praise and lie, because all wish to sell, and think the inquirer wants to buy.' Commodore Barney admits the truth of Perry's statements respecting the country generally.” P. 135.

This is a specimen of the easy manner in which strangers are introduced to Mr. Faux's readers, and we are not sure that the information contained in the preceding page is less precise or less valuable than the sum total of our author's memorabilia.

We are favoured with sundry noticies of “two matrimonial


« AnteriorContinuar »