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the religion to which we have been accustomed. But the truth is, we are acquainted with Christianity in a mutilated form. We recognise it as a system of Truths, but we do not experience it as the energy of Immortality. But if Christianity is "the power of God unto salvation”, there must be some great omission, when this power is no longer manifested. That omission, we need not doubt, is the restraining of prayer. To preach the Gospel alone, is but half the Gospel. The Truth itself informs us, that men will neither hear nor see, till God unstops their ears, and opens their eyes. But, though nothing can be done without a Divine Power, that Infinite Energy is set in motion by prayer. AL things in Scripture are matters of duty. The doctrine of the moral inability, or, in other words, of the unwillingness of man to think either a good thought or to perform a right action, does not leave him, in any case, in helpless inactivity. The remedy is pointed out at the same moment as the disease.“ Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean”, is the cure for the disease of the mind, as, in the Saviour's time, it was the remedy for the diseases of the body. Be thou whole”, is still the perpetual answer of prayer.
We have cited Mr. James's remark, that the result is becoming less and less, in proportion to the means employed. Surely there is something deserving of deep attention in God's thus seeming to withdraw his efficient concurrence from the use of means. He will be “ inquired of concerning this of the House of Israel”. We do not doubt that this solemn pause is preparatory to a great awakening of prayer. The power of Jehovah seems to slumber for a season, that from every part of the earth a cry from his believing people may incessantly arise: “ Awake, awake, put on strength, Oʻarm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old.” God is now teaching his people a lesson which, it may be hoped, will last them while the world endures. It is, that prayer is the key of all things, and that, in proportion as we ask, so shall we receive. The promises belong to faith in all the immensity of their magnitude, and we enter not into their fulness, only from the failure of faith and of prayer. God cannot deny Himself.”
We are not straitened in Him : we are straitened in ourselves. Christianity was founded upon prayer. Before the disciples were sent out on their mission, the Divine Founder of our religion passed the night in prayer. The prayer of agony preceded the Crucifixion, the all-finished work upon the Cross.
Prayer for the descent of the Spirit, preceded the general publication of the Gospel. Prayer without ceasing animated and rendered effectual the ceaseless labours of Paul. Far, then, from considering it as a dark mystery, or evil omen, that the result is not proportioned to the means, we would consider it as only an incentive to constant, fervent, confident intercession and supplica
ion on the part of the Church. The Promises have long lain lormant through our unbelief; yet they are sufficiently ample to warrant our expectation of the moral subjugation of the world, --the diffusion of the light of Christianity as wide as the light of lay,—the removal of the veil that is spread over the face of all nations. The secret of success consists in expecting great things. Those who expect little, receive little : those who expect much, must receive much, if they expect in faith, for their prayers will be in proportion to their expectations. In the worst times of spiritual coldness and decay, men obtain what they pray for; for we must recollect, that the meaning of men's prayers is interpreted by their views. If they ask for an enlargement, or a Revival in the Church, they must interpret their own words; and in general, according to their sentiments of what they conceive to be the fitting progress of Messiah's kingdom, will be the answer to their petitions. Some persons wish that kingdom to be advanced without observation, with silent and almost imperceptible accession of new members from time to time, without noise or opposition; and they have in general what they desire. We have heard of others who have fixed their wishes at fifteen or twenty converts a year ; and it has been done unto them, apparently, according to their wish. The American ministers, in many instances, pray for Revivals, understanding by that term, periodical awakenings to religion ; and their petitions are answered beyond their expectation. There are a few whose minds are beginning to aspire after still higher blessings; who would seek, by prayer without ceasing, for one long, uninterrupted, and never-ending Revival; and they, when many become like-minded with them, will doubtless obtain their request, if they faint not, but continue instant in prayer.
With respect to Revivals, then, we consider prayer as the great means to be used. Prayer of itself, where the means are prepared, would perform all that is wanting. Prayer will open the mouths of ministers, and the ears and hearts of congregations. Still, with respect to instrumental means, something may be effected by novelty. Not so much through the more vivid impression produced upon the mind of the hearer, as that, by its unexpectedness, it forces those who have long sat careless and sermon-proof, to make anew their choice between death and life, and to make that choice under more favourable circumstances, when many prayers are abroad, and the Spirit of God is moving upon the hearts of
And for the same reason that the appeal to the conscience, to be effective, must be unusual, it must also be prolonged, that the doubtful preference may be fixed into an unalterable choice. As to what has been termed the machinery of Revivals, we set small value upon it; and in this we appear to have the authority of the most judicious of the American divines upon our side. The Scriptures themselves contain all the measures which are desirable for their own publication. There are, in effect, but two measures necessary for the conversion of the world; the universal publication of the word, and prayer, without ceasing, that the word should be accompanied with the Spirit.
It would not be easy to ascertain to what extent the necessity of a Revival among ourselves is recognized and felt. We have found that the taught, in many instances, are more sensible of existing deficiencies than the teachers. Too many good men seem sufficiently resigned to the unproductiveness of their own exertions. Others are discontented with themselves and their situation : they have an uneasy conviction that all is not right, but never pursue their inquiries to any assured and final conclusion. A few have done their utmost to revive the work of the Lord in the midst of our land. We may refer for an instance to the successful labours of Mr. James, of Birmingham, the writer of one of these introductory essays, and who, in the present volume, is ably supported by his friend, Mr. Redford. May He who “ has the residue of the spirit,” raise up many such faithful heralds to proclaim the glad tidings of the redemption of the church, and of the restoration of Zion !
We have spoken of America as needing extraordinary measures of religious instruction, so as to overtake the wants of an ever-advancing population. Britain, if religion is not to decline among us, will soon, on her part, require a new infusion of spiritual life. A rapid change is taking place in the mind of the country. Other objects and pursuits are pressing with a tenfold force upon the thoughts of men. If religious truths are not presented with a new vigour and interest, they are likely to engage but a diminished share of the attention which they have even hitherto experienced from the indifferent. From the changes in politics and the diffusion of science, the interests of this life are assuming higher attractions, and exerting a deeper sway over the imagination and the heart. With respect to multitudes, religion is thus silently retiring to the back ground. The faint impression which it has ever made, becomes still fainter; and its voice, imperfectly heard before, is altogether drowned amid the bustle and agitation of life. Unless the Spirit from on high be poured out upon us, unless more vigorous means are used, and far more vehement supplications offered up, the Church of Christ, divided as it already is into factions, and earnest about things which profit not, will soon become stationary, and then rapidly decline.
Our hope is, that there are still many watchmen on the walls of our Zion, who are not silent either by night or by day. They know from what quarter help must come. Their cry is like that of the prophet, * Awake! Awake! O arm of the Lord;" for
! they know that, in the first instance, it is in vain to awaken the
slumbering inhabitants of Jerusalem. But when the arm of the Lord has“ put on strength," then their second watch-cry shall resound over the city of the Lord: “ Awake! awake! stand up, O Jerusalem ;" knowing that an Almighty arm is about to “ raise her from the dust.” And the third and final appeal is for Jerusalem to take the throne that has been prepared for her, even the throne of the world. “ Awake! awake! put on thy strength, 0 Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, 0 Jerusalem, the Holy City!”
Art. III. 1. Harmonia Evangelica. Edidit Edvardus Greswell,
A.M., &c. 8vo. Oxon. 2. Dissertations upon the Principles and Arrangement of a Harmony
of the Gospels. By the Rev. Edw. Greswell, M.A., &c. 3 vols.
8vo. Oxford. 3. A Harmony of the Four Gospels, in the English authorized
Version, arranged according to Greswell's “ Harmonia Evangelica” in Greek; with References to his Dissertations on the Same. By Permission of the Author. Intended principally as an Accompani. ment to a Pictorial and Geographical Chart (by R. Mimpriss) of the History of the Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 8vo. pp. 352. London, 1833.
(Continued from page 22.) WE proceed, in the present article, to exhibit some specimens
of the application of the principles laid down by Mr. Greswell, to the Harmony itself; and in so doing, we shall avail ourselves of the English Harmony which, with his permission, has been constructed upon the model of his arrangement of the Greek text.
Mr. Greswell divides the harmonized evangelical narrative into five parts, as follows:
Part I. Matt. i. ii; Luke i-iii. 38. Comprehending the space
of 31 years; viz. from A.U.c. 748, answering to B.c. 6, to A.U.c. 779, or A.D. 26.
Part II. Matt. iii.-viii. 4; 14-17. ix. 249. Mark i.- ii. 22. Luke iii. 1-23; iv. v. John i.-iv. Comprehending one year and six months; viz., from the commencement of the preaching of John the Baptist, A.D. 26 medio, to the end of the first year of the ministry of Jesus Christ, A.D. 28 ineuntem.
Part III. Matt. viii. 5–13; 18–34. ix. 1. ; 10-38. x.-xiv. Mark ii. 23–28. iii.-vi. Luke vi.-ix. 17. John v.-vi. Comprehending the space of twelve months, from the end of the first year of the ministry of Jesus Christ, A.D. 28, ineunte, to the end of the second year of the same, A.D. 29, ineuntem. Part IV. Matt. xv.-xxvii. Mark vii.-xv. Luke ix. 18–xxiii. John vii.--xix. Comprehending the space of twelve months, from the end of the second year of Our Lord’s ministry, to the end of the third year, A.D. 30, ineuntem.
Part V. Matt. xxviii. Mark xvi. Luke xxiv. John xx. xxi. Comprehending the forty days from the morning of Our Lord's Resurrection, April 7, to the day of his Ascension, May 16, A.D. 30.
This division, our readers will perceive, is purely chronological, and not founded upon any natural divisions of the subject matter of the Gospels. Part I., which comprehends 31 years, occupies only 13 pages of the Harmony, consisting of the first two chapters of Matthew, and the first three chapters of Luke. Within the compass of this brief introductory portion, however, there occur one or two points of considerable difficulty, as regards the exact arrangement and chronology. Mr. Greswell commences his Harmony with the exordium of Luke's Gospel, as Calvin has done ; and, with that commentator, he proceeds regularly as far as ver. 55 of the first chapter ; but he then introduces, as parallel to ver. 56, Matt. i. 18—25. He then resumes Luke's narrative to ver. 21 of chap. ii., where he inserts the double genealogy given by the two evangelists; and then continues Luke ii. to ver. 38. The visit of the Magi and the events dependent upon it, Matt. ii. 1—23, are next given ; and the part concludes with Luke ii. 40-52. Calvin pursues Luke's narrative to the end of his first chapter, where he introduces the genealogies. He then continues Matthew's Gospel to the end of chap. i.; follows this with Luke ii. 1-21; then gives the visit of the Magi, Matt. ii. 1-12; but interposes Luke ii. 22-39 between that verse and vss. 13-23; and lastly, gives Luke ii. 40- 52.
The placing of the genealogies is a point of small moment; but their respective position in the two Gospels is deserving of notice. It would liave been unnatural and inappropriate for Luke to commence his history with the genealogy of Christ, the circumstances of whose birth are not adverted to before ver. 26. No good opportunity occurs for introducing it, till, on mentioning the age of Our Lord on entering upon his public ministry, this Evangelist appositely connects with that circumstance, his descent by blood from the royal house of David ; tracing his genealogy still upward to Adam, as if to represent him as the promised seed of the Woman, in whom all nations of the earth were alike interested. St. Matthew, on the contrary, could not but affix his transcript of Our Lord's legal genealogy as the heir of David, through the line of Solomon, and the descendant of Abraham, at the very beginning of his Gospel, as one indispensable proof of that which it was his main object to establish, the Messiahship of Jesus; and he connects it immediately with the miraculous circumstances of his birth. It stands there in its appropriate and