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nothing can speak more for the truth and honest intentions of the whole of the apostles than their plain and unadorned manner in relating what they themselves saw and heard. Concerning the important fact of the resurrection, we
are not told it with any display of ostentation to fix our belief, but simply that it did take place and that they they themselves were eye witnesses of it; and we do not read in any stronger language than barely sufficient to announce the various miracles our Saviour wrought—the descent of the Holy Ghost upon him, with the voice declaring him to be the Son of God—the glories of his resurrection and the triumph of his ascension, with other truths equally important for us to learn, such as the nature of his office as mediator, with the rewards and punishments of another life. for the sake of the truth lay open even their own faults and failings, it is a strong evidence in their favour: but indeed we have only to examine the contents of the four Gospels to be satisfied with them, and reading such simplicity as well as majesty in the several narrations as plainly denote
them to be a divine revelation, certainly not the scheme of poor illiterate men, who were no more able to invent what the four Gospels contain than to create a world.
In respect to the further spreading of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we have every reason to believe that all nations will feel more and more its happy effects. Are not translations of the “Holy Scriptures" multiplying without number in almost all languages ?—and are not preachers gone and going forth into every region, “to make the ways of God known upon earth, his saving health among all nations ? ”
It seems, therefore, that not only a nation or a country, but the whole habitable globe shall become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ; and who is there that has ever known the excellency of this system, who is there that has ever experienced its happy efficacy, who is there that has ever been convinced of its divine origin, its delightful nature, and peaceful tendency, but what must join the benevolent and loyal poet in saying, “Let the whole earth be filled with His glory,
Amen and Amen.” In one word, by the completion of all the prophecies of former ages; —by the miracles which he performed in proof of his divine powers-above fifty of which are particularly described in the New Testament though many
are mentioned in general terms—by the purity and excellence of his instructions which were allowed to be superior to all that mankind had received, and which were backed by authorities, and supported by promises of future rewards, till then unknown and untaught; by the completion of many prophecies which our Saviour himself delivered, concerning events which have since happened exactly as he foretold, is the truth of Christ's Religion established.
It may now be well to observe, for further elucidation, what each Evangelist states concerning the glorious salvation which Christ came to obtain for us, and also to notice, separately, the other books of the New Testament. As has been already stated St. Matthew wrote his Gospel (dating from our Saviour's birth till about five years after his ascen. sion) in the year 38. The manner of his being chosen a disciple is mentioned in the 9th chapter. He was a publican, or tax gatherer, an office in great disrepute among the Jews, and the choice of such a person fully shows our blessed Saviour's purpose of giving no worldly advantages to those whom he appointed to teach his religion. This book was written in Hebrew, but afterwards translated into Greek, which had become the general language of the country after the conquest of Alexander; the other Gospels being all composed in that tongue. St. Matthew's Gospel was drawn up for the immediate information of the Jews : he is therefore more particular than the other Evangelists in referring to the prophecies of the Old Testament respecting our Saviour's coming, and makes frequent mention of the customs and ceremonies of the Jews; which were to them naturally familiar. With great judgment he begins his account, by showing that Christ was descended from Abraham, tracing up his family to that patriarch, to whom God (as Moses inform us) had promised this great distinction. This was an argument most likely to convince the Jews that Christ indeed was their promised Messiah. St. Matthew seems to have attended his divine Master constantly through his ministry. He therefore speaks as an eye-witness of those events which he records. The full account of our Saviour's beautiful Sermon on the Mount, in the 5th, 6th, and 7th chapters, is peculiarly valuable, as containing in itself a complete body of instruction for our general conduct.
St. Mark was not one of the twelve apostles; nor does he relate the events he describes as having been a witness of them himself. But his authority is not the less certain ; for we formed that the disciples were accustomed to meet at his house; and in their society, therefore, he lived in familiar intercourse. We know also, he was the faithful companion of St. Peter, whom he accompanied to Rome; during which time, about the year 65, he composed his Gospel, under the direct authority and assistance of that eminent apostle; for this reason, in the early times of Christianity, this was often called the Gospel of St. Peter.
It was expressly written for the instruction of the Romans, who had received the