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and of death; and he will presently despise crucifixion, and flames and torments: Give to Christ a man that is lustful, an adulterer or a gambler ; and you will soon see him sober, chaste and honest : Give to Christ a man that is cruel and thirsty for blood; and his fury will be immediately changed into unfeigned clemency: Give to Christ a man that is unjust, foolish or an offender; and he becomes equitable, prudent and inoffensive. For by a single baptism all his wickedness will be washed." Lactantius, lib. iii. c. 26.

Such are the genuine effects of Christianity; and if in later times it did not, and in our own days it does not, produce the same happy effect in the lives and tempers of its professors, it is because it has lost its novelty; because it has lost its purity, and with its purity its die vine influence; a corrupt system, retaining little more than the name, being substituted in the room of that which Christ once delivered to the Saints. The Apostle Paul asserts that Jesus Christ came into the world to deliver men from their sins; and his own example was a striking proof of the verity and usefulness of that doctrine. Before his conversion he was violent and a persecutor ; but after he surrendered himself to Christ, he became, as Lactantius says of others, gentle and inoffensive as a lamb. The last sentence of this writer illustrates what the early Christians meant by baptism. It was practised by them, not as an atonement for guilt, but as a symbol of moral purity : it was, on the part of those who submitted to it, an open avowal of their faithi in Christ, a public declaration that, as his followers, they were determined to forsake their sins, to correct their most favourite passions, to eradicate the most deeply rooted vices, to imitate the example and obey the precepts of their divine master. This rite no doubt in the course of time became much mistaken and abused. Paul was apprehensive of this consequence; and he declined the practice of it, as forming no part of that Gospel which he was commissioned to preach.

Gamaliel represents Paul here and elsewhere as a murderer. The representation is not true: it is false and libellous. The Apostle, indeed, was once a persecutor, he even consented to the death of Stephen. But there is no evidence that he himself shed a drop of human blood ; much less is there evidence for saying, that he shed blood for robbery or revenge, which make killing men, murder. His object was to extirpate what at the time he deemed a heresy; and when he became convinced of his error, he says in apology that he did it through ignorance in unbelief. But whatever might have been his guilt, he repented; he abandoned the criminal course he was pursuing, and atoned for it by the most generous devotion, having from the hour of his conversion dedicated his property, his comforts, his great and unclouded faculties, and finally his own life, to the support of the glorious cause which he had sought to destroy.

But Gamaliel maintains, that repentance, which in the sight of men and of God is a virtue, in Paul was a crime ; because he added perfidy to murder, having betrayed the trust reposed in him by the authorities at Jerusalem. Nothing can more clearly display the real temper of Gamaliel than this accusation. His object is not to inquire dispassionately and candidly into the claims of Paul, as an Apostle of Christ, but at all hazard to get materials for vilifying and calumniating him. Previously to all inquiry he sets out with the presumption that his conversion was the effect of craft and ambition; and he will not have his readers listen to any evidence to the contrary: for if the story as related by Luke be supposed to be true, it would be folly, it would be impious, to accuse him of treachery towards men for submitting to the will of God, miraculously revealed to him. But as his objection here is levelled more against the historian than the Apostle, I will reserve his own words to the next chapter,

CHAPTER II.

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Paul's testimony to the Gospel of Luke- Luke proved

be the Author of the Acts-Gamaliel's representations refutedthe success of the Gospel at Damascus, in consequence of the conversion of Paul, attested by Josephus - The narrative of Luke and the epistle of Paul confirm and illustrate one another.

p. 45.,

The Author of the New Trial of the Witnesses" says, that Luke was not an eye witness of the transactions which he has recorded, and that therefore little credit is due to his narrative. In the second part he adds,

66 Read all his epistles (namely, those of Paul) from beginning to end, and you will not discover the least trace that any document then existed bearing the name of any of the four evangelists,” &c. This writer is very unfortunate in his assertions; his ignorance is only equalled by his presumption and folly, in attempting to decide upon facts far beyond his knowledge. He tells us that he has examined Philo and Josephus, and was unable to discover the least trace throughout the whole of their writings, that they had any knowledge of these gospels, p. 64. I have examined them too, but have ventured to draw a different conclusion from this great critic, having found them apologists of the gospel, and historians of facts respecting it that will prove

its truth to the end of time. It is well known that Luke was the companion and fellow-labourer of Paul; and in 2 Cor. viii. 18., we meet with these words : “We have sent with him our brother, whose praise by means of his gospel is throughout all the churches.” Here we see a person, whom Paul calls a brother, and in the

next verse a fellow traveller, praised by all the CHURCHES, and praised too by means of his gospel. It follows then that this gospel was received by all thechurches, and that the author was known to all the churches through the medium of his gospel : for this reason he is said to be proved, not by individuals in one place or in many places, to whom he might be personally known, but by all the churches, i. e. by all the societies of Christians who used his gospel. They must, therefore, have esteemed him as an honest man, who had published a history of his Divine Master, deserving of universal credit for its accuracy, fidelity, and truth.

It is generally believed that Luke is the author of the book of the Acts : nor has this opinion ever been called in question by any critic, ancient or modern, who has paid due attention to the subject. The internal evidence which the history presents, is the cause of this unanimity: yet Gamaliel has endeavoured to invalidate the authenticity of the narrative; and it would indeed have been a great point gained by him, if he succeeded. He has however failed; nor has he a shadow of evidence for his position, that “ Saint Luke is not the author of the Acts.” But what he wants in argument he supplies by confidence. “ The reader,” says he, “if the author is not much mistaken, will not only be convinced that that opinion (the common opinion) is untenable, but see no small ground for wondering, how by any person, by whom any survey had been taken of the two objects in that point of view, any such notion should ever come to be entertained." p. 338. His reason is this : “ The interval between Jesus's. resurrection and ascension, according to Luke's Gospel, was one day, but according to the book of the Acts it was forty days.” To this statement he adds, “ The point here in question is not truth but consistency; not the truth of either of the two accounts, but their consistency the one with the other ; and instead of consistence, so palpable is the inconsistency, that the conclusion is,—by no one man, who did not on one or other of the two occasions intend thereby to deceive, can both of them, morally speaking, have been penned.” p. 340. It appears

from the narrative that Luke was one of the two disciples that went to Emmaus. Their departure took place as soon as the report had reached the disciples, that the body of Jesus was no longer in the grave. The historian is particular in stating, that it was on the same morning. Luke xxiv. 13. This was necessary in order to enable the reader to trace the connection of the events, and to gather the real cause of their departure. As soon as Jesus made himself known to them, they returned, and Luke felt himself called upon to state that they returned in the same hour, ver. 34. Then follows an account of Jesus appearing to all the disciples together; and the remainder of the narrative is occupied in giving a condensed and summary view of the instruction which their divine master thought it necessary to give before he finally left them.

Of the time which this occupied no specification whatever is penned by the writer; and as the words of Jesus related by him are but a summary or an epitome of the instruction respecting so wide, so important, and so difficult an object as the commission intrusted to his Apostles, we are at full liberty to conclude, without any violation of truth or probability, that many days or even many weeks elapsed before his final departure. If on throwing our eyes on a map, and on seeing any two places contiguous, we concluded they were actually so, we should be miserably mistaken : the trial would teach us that they are separated by a considerable interval, occupied by other places of some extent though of minor importance. Just so is it in regard to the interval of time in a narrative. Events may be so curtailed in the form of a sketch, a summary or a syllabus, as to present a small compass to the eye, though their actual oc

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