Page images
PDF
EPUB

Satan would be thus divided against itself. It is the cause of God and of truth. Righteousness alone can have suggested, sanctioned, and esta- . blished the reign of Jesus Christ. - Him hath God exalted (Acts v. 31, 32) with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are his WITNESSES of these things, and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him.”

Having offered these preliminary remarks concerning the nature of testimony, upon which rests the entire gospel of Jesus CHRIST, I proceed to present you with a brief summary of the leading facts of the New Testament. And here I shall confine myself to the four Gospels, and to the Acts of the Apostles, as explanatory of these gospels. “ We have not (says the apostle Peter) followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of the LORD JESUS Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty." When this summary has been made, the unspeakable utility of Sunday Schools will be instantly seen, the prime object of which, being to teach the children of the lower classes to read the records of eternal life! Thus enlightened and reformed, they are preserved amidst the snares of vice and infidelity, and made eventually wise unto salvation. And our Saviour graciously declares, “ Inasmuch as ye did it unto these little ones, ye did it unto me. ''

These facts of the New Testament may be introduced by remarking, that at the period of our Saviour's appearance, an expectation of the event prevailed throughout the Jewish nation. This arose from that long series of prophecies delivered by divine messengers at various times and on various occasions. The august æra of prophecy commenced immediately after the fall of our first parents. When distracted by remorse and covered with shame, an assurance was given them, (Gen. jji. 15,) that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head! Then followed intimations of the person, character, death and sufferings of THE MESSIAH, in whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Hence the expectation of such a personage prevailed. In him all the luminous

prophecies of the Old Testament centred; and by his advent they met their consummation.*

* A correct version of the Sacred Writings would annihilate some of the strongest objections of infidelity. For a solution of the difficulties of the Old Testament, the reader is referred to the Anti-Deist, written by Mr. John Bellamy, author of the New Translation of the Sacred Writings. This version of the Bible is patronized by His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, by several of the dignitaries of the Established Church,

The Hebrew appellation Messiah, or anointed, alludes to a custom of the Jews, by which their kings, their high-priests, and sometimes their prophets, were anointed, and set apart to their several offices. The term is used twice respecting Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Both passages occur in the Gospel of John, and it is used also twice by Daniel in the Old Testament. They shall be here contrasted for the illustration of the subject. In Daniel ix. 25, 26, are these remarkable expressions : " Know, therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto THE MESSIAH the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall MESSIAH be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the Prince that shall come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war, desolations are determined.” And John i. 41: “ We have found the MESSIAS, which is, being interpreted, the Christ;" as well as John iv. 25, 26: * The woman (of Samaria) saith unto him, I know that MESSIAS cometh, which is called Christ; when he is come, he will tell us all things—Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he,”—are the corresponding passages of the New Testament.

and by most of the members of the Royal Family. Sir James Blaud Burgess, Bart., in an able tract on the subject, has recommended the work to the attention of the religious world.

Birth of Christ. The first fact of the New Testament is the birth of Jesus Christ, which is thus circumstantially detailed : “ And it came to pass in those days, (Luke ij. 1-13,) that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Beth. lehem, (because he was of the house and lineage of David,) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people ; for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you—ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men.”

Early History of Christ. A curious fact respecting his circumcision is added by Luke : “ And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon ; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel : and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant

« PreviousContinue »