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prising if there had not been any. Daisies would have been of any use. It was not growing on the river's brim suggest ques- evidence they wanted, it was disposition.” tions philosophers cannot answer. Jelly Not evidence, but disposition. So fish on the sea-shore, bees on the wing, that we get back to moral and spiritual birds in the air, have mysteries locked conditions again. I see.” up in their being to which the most skilled naturalists have no key. And

No. XII. the higher we ascend in nature, the more mystery confronts us, so that when we get

In the presence of Death." to man we have more in his condition and NEVER was siege laid to strong city with circumstances than anywhere else, and more skill and determination than George the higher we go in the examination of Mostyn laid siege for several months of man, the more numerous our unsolved 1863 to the heart and mind of Joseph problems, so that man, the highest work Bradley. Painfully realising in dim and of God, is the biggest puzzlein creation.” shadowy outlines what fearful havoc “And yet Revelation is to him and

would have been made amongst all his about him.”

bright prospects if he had not been res

cued from the whirling vortex of scepYes, and to the highest and noblest and most abiding elements in him—to

ticism, he set himself with all his might to

rescue the man who had been his snare his spiritual nature. So that Revelation is God, the supreme mystery in the uni

from the danger into which he had fallen. verse, making Himself and His purposes

He saw his difficulties. Bradley was known to man the supreme mystery on

several years his senior, had been in this earth. If this book had been with

sceptical circles for some time, seemed out difficulties it would have been an im

deeply versed in their literature, and measurably greater miracle than it is.”

was probably hard and unsusceptible to “But could such a miracle have been

the tenderness and pathos of the gospel. performed ?”

But he was full of hope and resolution. “Rather ask, was there any good rea

He read every book he could get hold of

that dealt with such difficulties as he exson for such a miracle ?" The gospel would have been easier of

pected him to raise. He conversed with acceptance, would it not pos

his more experienced friends on the best

methods of attack. Of course he took Perhaps so; and yet candid minds

his sister Maggie into his confidence, and have again and again confessed them

though George hesitated about telling selves amazed both at the force and the

all to Fred Williamson lest it should amount of the evidence in favour of Chris

shake his faith, Maggie, who knew Fred tianity. But God has not arranged life

better, told him all, and engaged his on the plan of making all things easy,

active sympathy in the same cause. has He? Virtue is not easy of attainment, is it? It is only gained by strug

It was no slight joy to Fred and Mag.

gie to be engaged in any good work, but gle; and it is in the struggle that strength and patience and all the graces

to work together at it, brought a pleasure

which single-handed they would not have are born. The world is framed on the

found. Their hearts seemed closer to principle that the difficulties in it will

one another for the common service; and lead men to virtuous deeds and to a vir

the undisclosed affection grew stronger tuous character; and the Bible is framed on the idea that faith will not always be

and stronger though it dare not speak.

George did not wait long for an opporeasy of attainment, but will be a victory

tunity. He had made up his mind which gained by enquiry, by wrestling with

was to be his first shot, and where to plant and mastering doubts.”

his first gun. He got ready and he fired. “But if the difficulties are so great as But either he missed his mark or the to make faith impossible to some minds, shot hit and produced no apparent effect. what then p”

He began with himself and the terrible « Then Revelation would be a delusion effect on his own life of three months of and a snare. If the suffering and trial contact with scepticism. With unlooked of life crushed and annihilated men it for directness and extra courage he told could not train them for virtue; so if him the damage he had suffered. men could not be persuaded' to believe Bradley laughed and jeered. in God and His gospel it would fail to George looked at him with a pained save them. But neither human life, nor and anguished look. the Bible, is arranged with this view. Bradley met that look with more They are meant for salvation and disci- laughter and contempt. pline. God would, you know, have sent Why that's the worst old woman's Dives back to his five brethren if it logic I ever heard. Be a man, Mostyn,

women.

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and use your reason. Don't be led by the nose by a parcel a' parsons and old

It's all very well to talk to children and idiots all that twaddle about bad hearts; but you are not going to be gammoned in that way. What's true is true, and what's false is false, heart or no heart."

Just so: but how am I to know what is true : and what better test can I have than utility ? Doesn't your favourite author John Stuart Mill (George knew he had him fast in his grip there) make utility the test for everything ?”

“Well, what then?”

“Why this, I've tested your scepticism

“My scepticism-don't call it mine. It doesn't belong to me more than to others.”

“Well, scepticism. I have tested scepticism and it has made a worse workman of me, a worse citizen, a worse son, and worse altogether, and on that showing even Mill would say its a bad thing and ought to be given up.”

It was no use talking : all he could get in answer was scorn and ridicule. The next day, however, George renewed the attack from a different quarter, and surprised him by “flooring,” as Bradley called it, seven of his chief “historical falsehoods,” one after another, and from authors avowedly above suspicion. This signal triumph was followed by other victories of the same sort until he who had been compelled to admire his friend's moral worth, manly bearing and deeply fixed love of the true and just and good, was now reluctantly forced to defer to his intellect and confess the clearness and force of his reasoning. In his heart he could not deny, on the first day of George's onslaught, the weight of the argument from the demoralising effect of scepticism; for conscience and experience told him, when he had ears to hear, it had been so with himself, and this conviction secretly and slowly opened his mind with greater readiness to the statements and influence of his young shop-mate. Without confessing any shaking of the pillars of his disbelief, he forced the conversation again and again on to those subjects, borrowed Taylor's Restoration of Belief and other books of similar character, and attended a course of lectures on Christianity given by a converted sceptic of long experience and large ability. The tares were being ploughed up. It might be that on that cumbered ground the good seed planted years ago at Wexborough would yet bear fruit.

At Wexborough there had been bitter

grief for years, and now there was a crushing sorrow. Long and anxiously morning after morning the mother had watched the postman, hoping he carried a letter from her boy. Old Joseph Bradley had written again and again, and could get no answer; nor could a mother's tender appeal touch his hardened heart. He had sold the Bible they gave him, neglected all their advice, and had taken to flinging their letters in the fire. Still they did not cast him off. They prayed for him as before, but with deeper fervour and more tears, for his fall into the snare of the unbelievers made their love stronger, and gave him an overwhelming influence over their hearts.

“My dear boy," wrote his sorrowful mother, “if you want to see your father again in this world you must come soon. Do come, your dear father says he cannot die without seeing you.” He had just come from one of the above lectures when he took up this letter, saw the Wexborough post-mark, recognised his mother's hand and was about to destroy it. But he mastered this first impulse and opened the letter. He read it. Again he read it. He was alone, and his thoughts came quick, and now his tears began to flow. He went to bed but could get no sleep. He felt he must go, and yet he shrunk from it with a feeling of inconceivable shame and loathing. Early next morning he left Euston station and travelled by way of Rugby and Leicester to his home.

In that home the old man lay dying. Moaning in his restlessness he said, “ , Absalom my son, Absalom, would God I had died for thee." O that I had buried him when he was an innocent child with his brother and sister in the chapel yard.” Then he rested awhile, but broke out again—"Do save my boy, O God, do save him. Let not my darling be destroyed by the infidels. Save! save!” And then looking into his wife's eyes, he said with the earnestness of despair, “ Polly, Polly, send for the boy, Tell him to come to me, I must see him. God took away John and Jane, and this my only child is lost. O God, I can't let him go to ," and the old man sobbed and shook with his agony-until nature overpowered, he fell asleep again and slept till nearly morning.

By and bye when the sun was up he woke, calm and tranquil, as if his sorrow had been assuaged, and said, “Did you say he was come, Polly, or was it a dream po

“I hope he is coming. I wrote for him the day before yesterday; he'll come to-day, I dare say.'

The train hardly seemed to go fast over him in her thoughts. But now she enough for Joseph Bradley, so anxious was really to see him again. She would was he to see his father once more and look out of the window. She would go ask his forgiveness. The delay at Rugby down the garden to meet him. She was was very wearisome. At Leicester one restless. In the distance she saw him, of his old playmates got into the same with bent head and quick step hasting compartment, and recognising him he along. It was her boy, her only boy. asked him many questions about the old He came in, She fell on his neck and place, and the people he had known eight they wept sore. or nine years ago.

“ Is he dead too ? “Is father alive p” he said in tremu. dear me, what changes ! The old school. lous tones. master gone, and my Sunday school “ Yes, my lad, he is, and he wants to teacher, and Farmer Grange and Squire

see you much." Wilson, all gone," and to himself he “Let's go up then," and mother and added, “really everybody is dying or son quietly went but with different feel. dead or changed." Life's brevity and ings into the old man's room. The eternity's swift approach had never broken-hearted man turned himself toseemed such solemn realities to Joseph wards his son, looked fully into his face, Bradley as now.

gasped out, “ Thank God," and wept, Well did his mother know the time the and the son taking his father's hand in train arrived at the nearest station to his said with sobs, “ Do forgive me, forWexborough, and how long it would take give me all, dear father, as I hope God her son to walk home. But all the morn. has." ing her hungry heart and loving eyes It was enough, the old man's heart were at the window looking down the was glad. He felt his boy was not lost. street for his approach. Often, indeed, He could die in peace. she had seen him, embraced him, wept

JOHN CLIFFORD,

THE GOSPELS.

No. X.The Gospel of John, THERE yet remains for notice the fourth

of his “hired servants.”* It is probable gospel, that of the apostle John. A

that he died soon after the cal of his reader of this gospel, who had never

sons to follow Jesus; for we learn no heard of the controversies about its more of him after that; and his wife origin, would probably think that it Salome seems, as well as her sons, to contained the clearest indications of its

have followed our Lord in his journeys, authorship of all the four; yet, strange

to have waited on him in his life, and to to say, it is the one whose authorship

have paid the last offices to his body after has been most vehemently assailed of death; which may be taken as an indi. late by critics of what I may, without

cation that she was free from all claims offence, term the negative school. TO of duty at home. From the priority of me, the assaults upon it seem utterly in

mention almost always given to James, I sufficient to displace it from the high

it is reasonable to infer that he was the position which it has long held, not only elder, and perhaps the more energetic, in the judgment but in the affection of of the two brothers;so that John read. the Christian church ; and I shall en

ily conceded to him the more forward deavour to show, without attempting to

place, as we find he afterwards did to go into the whole question of its genuine

Peter.|| Be that as it may, he was one ness, how it coincides with what we can of the three apostles--his brother James learn, from other sources, of the charac- and Peter being the others—that were ter and position of the holy apostle to

admitted to the closer intimacy of the whom we ascribe it, and how some fea- Saviour;s who, we may conclude, found tures of it, which seem to present a dif- * Mark i. 20. + Mat. xxvii. 55, 56; Mark xv, ficulty, may be accounted for.

40, 41. It is from a comparison of these two

passages that we learn her name. John and his brother James were the I Luke ix. 28, is the only passage in which sons of Zebedee, a fisherman who pur- John's name occurs first.

§ Possibly his early martyrdom is an indicasued his calling on the Lake of Galilee.

tion of this. We do not read of more than one boat Comp. Acts iii. 4, &c.; iv. 8, &c.; viii. 20. that he had ; but it appears to have been They alone were admitted to be present at large enough to give employment to

the raising of Jairus's daughter, at the transfigu.

ration, and at the agony in the garden of Gethmore than his own family, for we read

semane.

in them a greater congeniality of disposition with Himself, and a greater readi. ness to sympathise with His own spiritual affections and purposes, than in His other disciples.

This may be thought, however, hardly consistent with some of the incidents recorded in the gospels, especially with the ambitious request of the brothers to sit on the Saviour's right hand and on his left hand, when he should come in his glory as the anointed King. But when we learn from Matthew (who, contrary to his wont, is in this instance more exact and circumstantial than Mark) that the request was made by their mother on their behalf, it is reason. able to infer that it was prompted by her natural motherly desire for the advancement of her sons, rather than that it arose from any very urgent desire of the young men themselves, or any great effort of theirs to obtain its fulfilment.* Two other recorded incidents, the desire to call down fire from heaven on the Samaritans who refused to receive Christ, and the forbidding of the man to cast out demons in Christ's name, because he was not one of his personal followers, & are evidences of the apostle's vehemence of temper arising from the strength of his affection for his Divine Master. It was perhaps from some manifestation of this vehemence that the brothers received from Christ the designation of “Boanerges," "the sons of Thunder.'S

As my object is to show the accordance ance of the contents of the fourth gospel with what we learn of the apostle from other sources, I have not noticed the incidents which may be learned from the gospel itself. The writer claims to have been the special object of the Saviour's regard, describing himself repeatedly as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,”|| and recording that he leaned on the bosom of Jesus at the last supper;s and that he received from his dying lips the solemn charge to do the part of a son in affectionately supporting and consoling the declining years of his bereaved and heart-stricken mother. **

In the Acts of the Apostles, John appears as the companion of Peter, with whom he took part in the miracle of healing the lame man at the beautiful gate of the temple, and in the imprisonment which followed it;tt and again in * Matt. xx. 20—28; Mark x. 35–45. + Luke ix. 52 to 56. | Mark ix. 38 to 40: Luke ix. 49, 50.

the mission to Samaria, to see what had been done there by the deacon Philip.* (See above p. 314.) On both these occasions he seems to have yielded the lead to the practical and energetic Peter, as we have noticed that on other occasions, he seems to have done to his own brother James. After this we read no more of him in the Acts of the Apostles ; but we learn from Paul's pistle to the Galatians (ii. 9) that he was still at Jerusalem, and accounted “a pillar” of the church there, when Paul, after his first missionary journey, went up to vindicate the sufficiency of the gospel preached by him and the liberty of his Gentile con. verts; and that he was one of those who gave to Paul the right hand of fellowship, and sanctioned his mission to the Gentiles. This was probably about A.D. 50 or 52.

Of what we learn from ecclesiastical writers, the best ascertained and most important facts are, that, after leaving Palestine, he settled at Ephesus, apparently not earlier than A.D. 65 if so early, and that he died there at a very advanced age. That he was banished on account of his religion to the island of Patmos will be accepted as fact or denied, according as he is regarded or not as the author of the Apocalypse; a question will be presently considered. His death is fixed by Irenæus (who, as living in the latter part of the second century, and being a native of the Roman proconsular province of Asia, of which Ephesus was the chief city, is entitled to credit in this matter) in the reign of Trajan, and by Jerome, more exactly, in A.D. 100. His age can hardly have been less than ninety, and was perhaps more.

Four other books of the New Testament are ascribed to our Evangelist, three Epistles, and the Apocalypse or Revelation ; of which the First Epistle was generally received by the early Church ; but the Second and Third Epistles, both very short, and the

Apocalypse or Revelation are placed by Eusebius among the disputed books. The similarity of thought and style are justly regarded by most critics as clearly showing that the gospel and the First Epistle are by the same hand.

The two short epistles perhaps failed to obtain general acknowledgment because, being originally private letters, and, from their brevity, of comparatively little importance and in. terest, they were published at a later date, and were more slowly diffused than the generally acknowledged writings.

The testimony of the early Christian

& Mark iii. 17. Il ch, xiii, 23; xix. 26; XX. 2; xxi. 7, 20. Compare xxi. 24. [ch. xiii. 23 to 25.

** ch, xix, 25—27. tt Acts iii, iv.

* Acts viii. 14 to 25.

writers is conclusive as to the place, ! eighty years later, gives a similar acEphesus, where the gospel was written; count, adding that the gospel of John and it is remarkable that it is only one had a polemical character, being directed of the gospels, the place of the composi- against Cerinthus, and the Ebionites, tion of which is so clearly stated. and other early heretics.* Irenæus, whose evidence, for the reasons The substance of Eusebius's statement just given, is entitled to great weight, may be accepted, though the details are is the earliest witness to this tradition.

open to question. It may be doubted if All thoughtful readers of the fourth all the synoptic gospels were concurgospel must be struck with the difference rently in circulation at so early a period; between it and the other three. This though Ephesus, from its position and fact is in harmony with the statement of importance, would be as likely a place as the ancients, that John designed his to any for such concurrence. The differbe supplementary to theirs. Certainly ence too between John's and the earlier he gives us a record of different discourses gospels had reference to doctrine rather and different events from those given by than to time; as Clement of Alexandria, them; and not only so, but the scene of a century before Eusebius, had observed. his narrative is to a great extent different. He

says,

“ Last of all, John, observing Many of the transactions which he re- that in the other gospels those things cords occurred at Jerusalem or else- were related that concerned the body where in Judæa, or in Samaria; those of Christ, and being persuaded by his recorded by the syuoptic evangelists, oc- friends, and also moved by the Spirit of curred almost entirely in Galilee, except God, wrote a spiritual gospel.” I those which immediately preceded the It is not easy for us who are born crucifixion. Even with regard to these, into a community, pervaded by the where the four are on common ground, Christian traditions of many centuries, John has chiefly given incidents or dis- and who acquire early and almost unconcourses peculiar to himself. Eusebius sciously a knowledge of the great facts accounts for it thus: “The three gospels and leading precepts and truths of Chrispreviously written having been dis- tianity, and who are continually reminded tributed among all, and also handed to of them by things around us, to realise him, they say that he admitted them, the condition of the early believers, who giving his testimony to their truth; but had grown up and were living in the that there was only wanting in the nar- midst, not of a Christian, but of a Jewish rative the account of the things done by or a heathen community, and had to acChrist among the first of his deeds and quire and retain by elaborate instruction at the commencement of the gospel. the knowledge which we imbibe almost And this was the truth. For it is evi- without an effort. To meet their wants, dent that the other three evangelists the synoptic evangelists wrote their gosonly wrote the deeds of our Lord for one pels, which embodied the substance of year after the imprisonment of John the previous apostolic oral teaching, and reBaptist, and intimate this in the very corded the more popular of our Lord's beginning of their history.

For discourses, and those events of his life these reasons the apostle John, it is said, which constituted the very elements of being entreated to undertake it, wrote Christian faith. John's gospel, on the the account of the time not recorded by other hand, deals with those more abthe former evangelists, and the deeds struse and recondite truths, which meet done by our Saviour which they have the requirements of a riper Christian expassed by, (for these were the events perience; which had been uttered by that occurred before the imprisonment our Lord in conflict with his subtler adof John,) and this very fact is intimated versaries, or in confidential intercourse by him when he says, “this beginning with his chosen disciples ; and had been of miracles Jesus made,' and then pro- elaborated in the mind of our evangelist ceeds to make mention of the Baptist in under the promised guidance of the Spirit the midst of our Lord's deeds, as John and the influence of the varied scenes of was at that time 'baptizing at Ænon, a long and eventful life. I suppose that near Salim. He also plainly shows this even now the synoptic gospels have the in the words, 'John was not yet cast preference in our earlier, and the fourth into prison. The apostle, therefore, in

gospel in our riper years; and thus bear his gospel gives the deeds of Jesus before inward witness to the relative time and the Baptist was cast into prison, but the

purpose of their original composition. other three evangelists mention the cir. cumstances after that event."* Jerome, De Viris Illustr. c. 9, cited in Lardner's

Credibility, pt. II. ch. cxiv., sec. viii. 4. * Hist. Eccles. iii. 24 (Crusé's translation). # Clem. Alex. in Eusebius, Hist. Ecc, vi, 14. I Susebius wrote early in the fourth century. give Lardner's version of the passage.

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