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HAVE THE EPISTLES IN TIIE NEW TESTAMENT THE SAME AU
THORITY AS THE GOSPELS?
In the argument to be offered on this question, two things will be taken for granted. First, that the Epistles are authentic, or genuine; and Secondly, that the history in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, was written by divine inspiration.
The argument is briefly this. The history records a repeated promise of Christ to send the Holy Ghost, to teach the disciples all things, and to guide them forever. i. e. during their whole life, into all truth. (John xiv, 26: xvi, 13, 9, 14: xv, 26, 27.)
Now the question is, was this promise fulfilled? If it was not, vilio can vindicate the character of Christ? if it was not, it was only a solemn mockery to the dejected disciples. But it was fulfilled: and this fact affords the strongest assurance that the disciples were inspired.
But further the history records a fulfilment of this promise; and from an investigation of the promise and its fulfilment, it is evident the object of both was definite and simple; viz. the qualification of the disciples to establish Christianity. Here the first part of the argument closes, then, in full proof of the inspiration of the twelve apostles, and consequently of the divine authority of their Epistles.
The inspiration of the fourteen Epistles of St. Paul depends primarily on a different arguirent. To prove the divine authority of these, it is necessary to show, that St. Paul, as really as the other apostles, had a divine commission to publish the Gospel. The evidence of this is derived from two sources,--a further examination of the history; and, a letter of one of the other apostles, whose inspiration has just been proved, and whose testimony, therefore, is valid
1. The history further exumined. Here we first find (Acts vii, 58,) Paul in the character of a persecutor, and next in ihat of a commissioned (ix, 3—20,) apostle to the Gentiles. The Lord declares him to be a chosen vessel unto him, and to execute bis commission, we are expressly informed (v, 17) he was filled with the Holy Ghost as the other apostles were, when the promise was fulfilled to them. Besides this, the history still further presents several distinct considerations, which show that he was divinely authorized to teach Christianity.
1. He declared his conversion and commission at the hazard of bis life. (xxii, 1–21: xxvi, 12-18.) VL, XV.
2. God bore witness to his mission by miracles (xiv, 8–10: xvi, 18; xiii, 6-12: xix, 11) as he had done to that of the other apostles. (iv, 11: ix, 33, 34.)
3. He was set apart (xiii, 2): sent forth (ii, 4);-restrained (xvi, 6: xviii, 15) and directed (xvi, 9, 10) by the Holy Ghost, i, e. he was under the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
4. The history represents bim as speaking with divine authority. (xiii, 46: xv, 35: xvi, 6: xvii, 13, &c.)
5. The other apostles, though at first (ix, 26) suspicious of Paul, which shows their caution, after they had become acquainted with his conversion, &c. received him as one of their number, entitled to all the respect and authority due to them as the attested ambassadors of God. The conclusion from these facts, and especially the last, is irresistible:-Paul was inspired. For, if we reject this inference, we must deny the inspiration of the other apostles; and if we do this, we must acknowledge Christ was not faithful to bis promise, and, of course, was an impostor:-and if this be allowed, we must give up the evidence of miracles, and with it, that for all antiquity, and then we are landed in absolute scepticism.- But this we cannot do; for it would subvert every principle of common sense. St. Paul then was inspired;-was divinely authorized to publish the religion of Christ.
II. The other source of evidence for the inspiration of St. Paul is, one of the Epistles of St. Peter. The argument from it proceeds upon the same principle, as that derived from the apostles' approba. tion of St. Paul's character. It is this.-St. Peter (2 Epis. iii, 15, 16,) quotes St. Paul's epistles as containing sentiinents similar to his own, and as on a level with the other Scripturs. “Even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you i. e. Hebrews (see chap. iii, 1: 1 Pet. ii, 12: i, 18: i, 1–10: ii, 4—12: iii, 5, 6, 20; iv, 3, 4:) as also in all his Epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things bard to be understood, which they, that are unlearned and unstable, wrest, as they do the other Scriptures." Here an inspired apostle testifies to the Epistles of St. Paul, as baving been written by wisdom given unto him;-as being of a definite, known number, (“all his Epistles") and finally, as of the same authority as the other Scriptures. We are brought then to the same conclusion as before; viz. that St. Paul was inspired. --- His Epistles, therefore, as well as those of the other aposties, are of the same authority as the Gospels.
For the Panopliste
FALSE APPEARANCES OF LIFE.
“This life's a dreain"In the clevated flights of imagination indulged by poets, the precision of mathematical science is not expected; yet there is occasionally, in their far-fetched allusions and boldest metaphors, a nearer resem. blance to truth than would have been looked for in their allowed latitude of description, and the ancontrolled licence of their fancy. The above definition of human life is of this kind. While man gazes at the objects around him only with the eye of sense.—while facts are selected and judgment pronounced on them at the dictation and under
the dominion of passion. -he disregards, or entirely overlooks, their relation to an hereafier; he would blot out the principal portion of biş own existence; in short, the only portion wbich confers a dignity and a grandeur on all the rest,
In such a state of gind man may well enough be said to dream. He looks at the world through a deceptive medium, and of course obtains a distorted view of its possessions—a view which completely strips them of their real character, and, to his bewildered vision, clothes them in a dress, which in truth they never wear. Let those who doubt the correctness of this sentiment, only take the trouble to examine the state of their affections, the objects on which those affections are supremely fixed, and let them if they can, explain the palpable contradiction in their conduct, while they love with all their heart a world which they are forbidden to love, while they fix their hopes on shadow, and neglect the solid support offered in the Rock of ages.
For the present, passing by those enormities of guilt wirich none attempt to defend, when I look towards the decent and the respectable portion of society, at every glance the testimonies of the deathJike sleep into which we are fallen, multiply around me. As the physe ical repose of the body steals insensibly upon us, and those who sleep are unconscious of the condition of others, so in the slumbers of the moral being neither his own danger nor duty can arouse him from the dreadful lethargy, in which the soul is confined, it is not aware of the suspension of its powers, but if acting at all, its actions are those of wild deliriumi, in which the subject proceeds upon its irrational idea as if it were a reality.
If men's eyes were not sealed to the prospect of the approaching world, how could they be dazzled with the follies and attracted by the sickening transitions of this? The child who grasps the falling snow drip, pleased with its curious varieties of hue and sbape, and eagerly endeavors to retain it while he may examine its forms, sees it dis. solie at his touch; and the beauties, which drew attention and prompted his effort, vanish forever. Equally fruitless are the toils of the restless sinner, when he reaches after earthly objects for satisfaction, and hopes by them to supply that
-aching void, the world can never fill." Were not our ears closed against the voice of the Almighty, how could we exclude the admonitions of his providence, which, in every corner of this poor dissolving abode, proclaims its perishable naturel Had men a persuasion of their daily advance towards the tribunal of their Judge, were they conscious of being near the hour of sentence, did the evidence of their senses inform them that the hand of the executioner had already reached their dwelling, how could they sport like the insects of a summer's morning?
As our ordinary slumbers are broken by an unusual occurrence, so the sleep of a whole life receives occasional interruptions by some alarming providence, which compels us to open our eyes. In such instances, we dismiss our dreams for a moment-look anxiously and fearfully around us, and the astonishment at our long stupidity produces a few resolutions never to sleep in like manner again. But these resolves avail us little; the determinations to reform are presently fort's
gotten, we revolt from the contemplation of eternity as readily as ever, and lose ourselves in the stupifying din of the multitude, as blind and as thoughtless as ourselves.
A thousand resemblances to dreaming might be found in the conduct of almost any man, whose history could be perfectly known. Little as we can learn of the sentiments of the heart from the lips, the ordinary actions speak a less equivocal language. Look at that man: notice his high professions of honesty while niaking a bargain, at the same time bis utmost efforts are employed to extort a price for his commodity beyond its value. His sacrifices of truth, his violation of the rules of justice, are great; nevertheless these sacrifices are readily made. You well know what he expects to obtain by bis fraud and falsehood. It is money. To bis darkened imagination this appears a full equivalent for any thing which can be bartered for it. You say the man has no conscience, or if he bave, it is asleep. Indeed his labors seem to be prompted by a delirium; and when impartially examined by other beings exempt from human passions, can furnish but slender claims to the character of rational. He proceeds on the visionary notion, that wealth constitutes happiness.
Observe another amusing and comforting himself in the expectation of an endless enjoyinent of heaven with an unholy and unsanctified heart. He imagines either that the dispositions of a world of perfect holiness are much like those now cherished in bis own bosom; or, that after passing every moment of this life in flagrant rebellion against God, and wishing if possible to continue in the same state, he shall, notwithstanding his hatred of the divine character, be somehow miraculously changed at bis exit from this world, and become, at once, a suitable inhabitant for a region of spotless purity, dwelling directly under the eye of the Searcher of hearts. Of him it may safely be said, that his notions were not received from the Bible, that they are totally unlike its representations on these subjects. Yet the dreamer who entertains them fully believes them to be true, and proceeds on the assumption of their reality. He may deceive and abjure a thousand opinions on other subjects, but clings fast to his errors in religion; nor will be probably ever open his eyes on his danger, till the touch of death shall dissoive the spell, and he awakes in the terror's of despair. N. P.
CXXXIII. The American Universal Geography; or a view of the present state of all the kingdoms, states, and colonies in the known world.
In two volumes. Comfirehending a Complete System of Modern Geography. Accompanied by a general Atlas of the World, containing sirty three mans, principally by Aircwsmith. By JEDIDIAH MORSE, D. D. Minister of ine Congregational Church in Charlestown. Seventh Edition, Vol. 1, tip. 900. Vol. 2 pp. 859. Boston, 1819.
Of a work which has been before the public more than thirty years, a notice at this period inay appear rather ill timed. The principal reasons which bave given it a place in our pages at this time, are, the very essential alterations it has received in the two last editions, which render it in some sense almost a new work, and the intention of offering a few remarks ou a subject deserving much greater attentiva than it has hitherto received in our country.
For one who has a considerable share of curiosity, the natural features of a country possess a commanding interest. He can foave no strong desire for a knowledge of its arts, commerce, and government, without wishing to learn also its local position in the great cominunity of nations, and the grand impressions on its surface received from the land of the Creator. Many adventitious circumstances in the affairs of the different generations of men, successively inhabiting a territory, stimulate the same curiosity when once awakened, and impart an alınost inextinguishable ardor and energy to its operations. Anxiety increases to obtain some account of the laws, the customs, and manners of the people who subdued a soil or destroyed its ancient tenants, and are promiscuously mouldering beneath its surface.
The difference between the knowledge of the ancients and the moderns on this subject would scarcely be credited, by one who never considered the narrow limits assigned to the earth by Roman Geographers. Of a great part of Asia they knew nothing: the northern parts of Europe they never visited, and had but confused notions respecting its inhabitants, or their country. More than two thirds of Africa was equally beyond the circle of their observation. The existence of all the western continent was perfectly unknown. Concerning the oceans and the islands distributed among them, over so large'a portion of the globe, they had no intelligence, nor were the extent or boundaries of continents included in the subjects of which they had any positive knowledge.
But the moderns will have little occasion for boasting of their superiority, after looking at the causes which have extended their acquaintance with every part of the globe. The discovery of America, and the doubling of the Cape of Good Hope, opened a wide field for discovery, and gave wings to commerce. Every voyage to the cast or the west for a long series of years, defined more accurately the boundaries of the old continent, or the new. Next to the discoveries of voyagers and travellers, modern geography owes its enlargement greatly to the extent and activity of commerce. The cupidity which faces all dangers, and leads men through almost incredible sufferings, has occasionally unfolded new districts, and given more precise descriptions of those already known.
it is obvious, that this constant increase of materials greatly multiplies the labor of the Geographer. Notwithstanding the supposed accuracy of his knowledge at one period, lie who does not follow closely the advances made by discovery, and watch the political changes of territory, the incorporation and dismemberment of states, will, in any age, be far beliind the movements of the eastern continent. Much more will his accounts be left immeasurably in the rear of all the new settlements of the west. In evidence of this, let any man look at the growing population of the western states. On the very places where twenty years ago the forest waved over the soil in the same silent grandeur as in centuries past, are now flourisbing towns, containing many thousands of people, and warehouses stored with the manufactories of Europe, and Asia,' the streets resounding with the busy bum of industry from a thousand workshops. This rapid change in any country must give much trouble to a geographer wlo aims at correctness. Some, indeed, seem to concern themselves very little