Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

undergoing an incipient change in its organism, preparatory to the letting loose of a most fearful scourge upon mankind. Horstius, (de Peste, p. 253) enumerates frogs, toads, locusts, cankerworms, snails, and mice, as infallible signs of pestilence. The increase of these insects and reptiles will also be noticed under other examples.

In times nearer our own, we have had irruptions of mice. In May and June 1832, over a wide extent of country in Selkirkshire and Ross-shire, Scotland, prodigious damage was done by mice, who suddenly appeared in immense numbers, and as suddenly disappeared in the spring of 1833.* In July 1833, a similar irruption of mice occurred in Galway, Ireland; doing equal damage, and, as far as I have ascertained, as suddenly appearing and disappearing, The German journals also state, that in June, July, and August, 1834, immense multitudes of mice appeared in the duchy of Baden, committing dreadful ravages in the corn fields, and afterwards destroying the vines. In one small district 20,000 mice were killed. In the adjoining country a species of black rat is said to have multiplied in similar proportion.† Now in America, during the same months, there happened an incursion of the Cicada septendecim, or locust; and in Hungary, millions of beetles, destroying the vegetation; whilst in the West Indies, the cane fly (Delphax saccharivora) destroyed two-thirds of the crops. fly first appeared in Grenada, after a violent hurricane. I

The years 1832, 1833, and 1834, were celebrated also for the occurrence, all over the earth, of most extraordinary electrical and volcanic phenomena; eruptions of burning mountains; earthquakes of intense force; drought; burning of the earth spontaneously; tempests; showers of rain impregnated with sulphur; floods; irregular tides; storms of hail and wind; hurricanes ; and meteors and falling stars of peculiar interest and novelty, on 12th and 13th of November in each year. It may be sufficient to refer the inquirer, for references as to facts and dates, to the Magazine of Natural History, where I have collected them with a view to the use of them in illustration of the present series of papers. It is also to be borne in mind, that this period was the cholera epoch ; and in every respect paralleled the plague epoch, and the periods of preceding pestilences. The recent date of this epoch does not require further allusion; but it may be as well to notice, that in 1833 the Nile did not rise ; a remarkable phenomenon, which, as will be mentioned, has not escaped the notice of the ancients, and by whom it has been quoted in connexion with the increase and irruption of mice. It will also be borne in mind that 1827, the year of the

The cane

• W. L. ; Loudon's Mag. Nat. Hist. vii. p. 183.
+ Rev. W. B. Clarke, in Loudon's Mag. Nat. Hist, vii. p. 610.

* Ib. $ Vol. VI. VII. VIII. old series; and Vol. I. new series, p. 229—234, wliere the “ Natural Phenomena observed in 1833" are registered.

|| The year 1833 was also celebrated for the ravages of an unusual insect in Spain amongst the corn-fields; for the destruction of the grass and wheat in Canada by a black worm; by an inroad of bears in Canada, in September; by an irruption of wild bours at Finisterre in France; by the appearance of a tiger at Katmandhu, in Nepal, during the earthquake there. Similar facts occurred at Conchagna in 1835, during the eruption of Cosinguina, South America, when wild beasts entered the

The same thing happened in January 1838, during the earthquakes in Hungary and Turkey,

towns.

attack of the rats in Rarotonga, was also within the cholera epoch, which commenced in August 1817. But it has been asserted, that many of the phenomena which attended the cholera commenced so early as 1811: unquestionably the breaking up of the ice on the coast of Greenland, which preceded the cholera, (as the blocking up of that coast preceded the black death pestilence of 1348,) commenced in 1813 or 1814;* and other general phenomena serve to include those years when mice ravaged the forest of Dean, and the New Forest, in the period preparatory to the cholera; they, according to Horstius and others, being, as before noticed, an infallible sign of pestilence.

('To be continued)

DISSERTATION ON JOHN XX. 23, AND THE AUTHORITY OF

CHRISTIAN MINISTERS.

( Continued from page 614.) II. The Gospel barmony considered. Upon this short harmony, let it be observed :

1. That Christ ordained his apostles but once after his resurrection, or gave them but one single mission; otherwise he might reordain them every day of the forty that he conversed with them. But having once given them full power, by constituting them his apostles, no new addition or confirmation of power was needful. It seems incongruous that each particular function of the apostleship should require or admit of a separate mission. For instance, that they should be commissioned to preach at one time, baptize at another, bless the Eucharist at a third, and remit sins at a fourth.

2. That St. John speaks of but one, and that a very solemn mission, of the apostles. The words are extremely strong : “As my Father sent me, so send I you." He gives them a title to the Holy Ghost for the discharge of the duties of their mission. He gives them a general authority in that of remitting sins, or preaching the gospel of remission.

3. That St. Mark and St. Luke speak of but one mission, which they seem to fix on the same day, or join with the same appearance that St. John does. “On the same day, at evening, being the first day of the week,” says St. John. On the same day, which was that of Christ's resurrection, that the two disciples went to Emmaus, says St. Luke; which must be late, because it was towards evening, and the day far spent, when they arrived at the village, from whence it was two hours' and a half journey back to Jerusalem.

Afterwards [after that he had appeared to Mary Magdalen, in the morning, (St. Mark xvi. 9; St. John xx. 14) and to two as they walked into the country in the evening, (St. Mark xvi. 12,) of

Arago. Scoresby (Arctic Regions, Vol. I. p. 284) says, in 1818 the Northern Sea was more open than ever known.

which St. Luke speaks xxiv. 13, 15, 31,] he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat; saith St. Mark, avaksepévous, in the posture of those that eat, or had eaten, for the Jewish hour of supper was over.

As these three evangelists agree in time, so they do in other circumstances. The same form of salutation is in St. Luke as in St. John“ Peace be unto you.” He blamed their slowness of belief, both in St. Luke and St. Mark, and therefore gave them the same evidence for their conviction, of the wounds in his hands and side, according to St. Luke and St. John, who both agree also in their joy to see the Lord. St. Luke, indeed, and St. Mark, say, Christ appeared unto the eleven; whereas it appears by the sequel of St. John's narration, that Thomas, one of them, was absent. But this does no more infer a separate appearance in St. John, than that was of which St. Paul writes, i Cor. xv. 5, because it is said Christ was seen of the twelve, Judas being now no more, and Matthias not yet chosen.

It was the same appearance in all four, which St. Paul calls, being seen of the twelve, that being the original number of the apostles; and the Evangelists call eleven, though one was away, because it was their present fixed number. Thus also in another case St. John calls Thomas one of the twelve, (xx. 24,) though Judas had then ceased to exist.

To proceed then with the circumstances of this appearance. St. Luke tells us, that Christ proved to them the necessity that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in bis name amongst all nations. He does not express their mission as he does the end and design of it; but he implies it by adding Christ's assurance of sending the promise of his Father upon them, or the Holy Ghost, which should endue thein with power from on high after his ascension.

But St. Mark records the commission in full: “Go you," saith he, “ into all the world, and preach the gospel,” thon KTÍVEL, “ to every [rational] creature.” Well, what are the contents of this gospel ? “ He that believeth and is baptized," and repenteth, for St. Mark joins both in the history of Christ's preaching, “ shall be saved.In St. Luke's words,“ preach repentance and remission of sins in his name, and he that repents shall be remitted."

St. Mark goes on, “but he that believeth not shall be damned ;" or, as St. Luke intimates, “his sin shall not be remitted," but he shall be sealed over to eternal punishment. We may here observe, that Christ authorizes them, at the same time, to baptize, according to St. Mark. Although in the words of mission he is more concise, and says nothing of baptism, yet in the terms of commission he joins baptism and faith.

St. John differs from neither but in the phrases, when he gives us Christ's discourse. “ As my Father sent me, even so send I you." This corresponds precisely with the language of St. Mark. And " he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,” to which St. Mark adds," and preach the gospel to every creature, [St. Luke, "preach in his name to all nations ;"] “ he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved," [St. Luke, “shall have remission of sins upon repentance ;"] “ but he that believeth not shall be damned;" (St. Luke implies, “shall have no remission of sins,” (which is the sense of retaining sins), if he does not repent.)

every creature"

Are we not justified then in thinking, that this was the sum of St. John's meaning, when he says,

“ Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted,” (or as some ancient versions have it in the future, you shall remit, they shall be remitted, which is, however, the same thing, the present for the future being a common enallage in scriptural writers ;) " and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.” For first, whosesoever sins, answers to “all nations" in St. Luke, and " in St. Mark. It is carefully said, whose, and not what sins, that we may be sure to understand him of persons and nations, as it is afterwards said, “in every nation he that feareth God, &c. shall be accepted with him.' And, secondly, in preaching the gospel on the terms of belief, and baptism, and of repentance, in St. Mark, and remission of sins in St. Luke ; upon the promise of salvation in St. Mark, and of remission in St. Luke; they did not remit sins, which is the privilege of their commission under St. John, and under the denunciation of damnation in St. Mark, or of no remission in St. Luke; they did retain sins, which is all St. John affirms; the manner of doing one or both, he leaves to be collected from the genius of his language, and the light in the other gospels. St. John might have written thus had he intended no more, by remission and retention, than the preaching of the gospel, and hence we may fairly conclude that this was his paramount intention.

Again, as St. Luke writes, that Christ assured them of the promise of the Father, and that they should be endued with power from on high, which (Acts i. 8) he explains as referring to the coming of the Holy Ghost upon them; as St. Mark plainly intimates such a promise, by bidding them expect that such and such signs should follow them that believe, which we know were effected solely by the power of the Holy Ghost: so, St. John relates, that Christ breathed on them, and said, “ Receive ye the Holy Ghost." The main objection is, that Christ, in St. John, bids them receive the Holy Ghost, and then actually conferred it; whereas, in St. Mark and St Luke, he does not give, but promises it. But we would ask such critics, have not imperatives commonly the force of futures* shortly to be accomplished in the sacred dialect? Could the apostles believe they then received the Holy Ghost, when in the same conversation, according to St. Luke's Gospel, and yet more fully in his Acts (i. 4), they were told to expect him? Besides, dues not our Evangelist introduce John the Baptist thus speaking of Christ, “ This is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost," (o Bantiswv), although Christ did not in reality give the Holy Ghost in baptism till the day of Pentecost ?

We would, therefore, and we think on fair and tenable grounds, thus paraphrase this verse of St. John I am leaving you, but during my absence I will impart to you my Spirit, of whom you heard me speak just previous to my passion, that the Paraclete that “ dwelleth in you, and shall be in you,” (xiv. 17,) he shall enable you to discharge your office, he shall confirm your mission in the sight of the world by direct miracles and gifts according to his will.

To give you fuller assurance of this promise, I breathe on you,

* Thus also Virgil, “ Si fæiura gregem suppleverit aureus eslo."

signifying by this sign that the Holy Ghost goes at my command, as breath is under the direction and proceeds from the head ; and so you may place implicit confidence in me when I say, I will send him to you from the Father, and that he does receive of mine. By this sensible sign, you will conceive that the very same spirit (trevua, or breath,) by which I preached and wrought miracles, shall reside with you, and inspire you with knowledge of the doctrines you are to preach, calling all to your remembrance that I have spoken, and, though he be not seen, be most efficacious in his operation. For it is highly probable that Christ did also further intend, by the sensible sign of breathing, to denote the particular quality of the Holy Spirit, which we designate inspiration, which was a gentle afflatus, or breathing upon the understanding, by which “ their understandings were opened to understand the Scriptures;" by which they were taught all things relating to the dispensation of the gospel, and reminded of all things which Christ, while upon earth, said unto them. This was the time to which Christ referred (John xvi. 25):-" These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs; but the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs; but I shall show you plainly of the Father.” This Christ accomplished when he spake to them by the inspiration of his Spirit, which he breathed on them. And in this respect the holy Scripture is called 0£ÓT VEVOTOS, of divine inspiration, or breathed by God (2 Tim. iii. 16); because, as St. Peter says, it was spoken or written by holy men as moved by the Holy Ghost. Such was the operation of God's Spirit on the minds of the apostles ; for, to use St. Paul's words, (1 Cor. ii. 6, 10, 13,) they spoke or delivered the mysterious wisdom of God, which God revealed unto them by his Spirit, (that Spirit which searcheth all things, even the depths and profound councils of God,) which things they spoke, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual,” or the prophecies of the Old Testament with their fulfilment in the New.

It is certain Christ did afterwards externally represent another gift of his Spirit -- that of speaking and interpreting divers unknown languages, under the symbol of cloven tongues, like as of fire, sitting upon each of them (Acts ii. 3); of which gift such gross misrepresentations and blasphemous exhibitions have lately been seen amongst us. And as, therefore, upon beholding this symbol, all must recollect how John the Baptist had foretold that they should be " baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire,” (Matt. iii. 11,) descending upon them in the shape or appearance of fire ; as Christ had particularly repeated this prediction, and, in his last discourse with them, enjoined them to wait for “ the promise of the Father," in this wise to come and baptize them “not many days hence,” (Acts i. 5,) so when they saw this descent of the Spirit, ushered in also with the “sound as of a rushing mighty wind from heaven that filled the house,” they could not but reflect on Christ's action, in the same discourse before he parted from them, of breathing on them, and saying, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost," they must conclude that what Christ then did or signified was now fulfilled, and in consequence of this sign (this wind or breath from Christ in heaven) they were now filled with the Holy Ghost, as in

« ПредишнаНапред »