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was itinerant; His works and discourses would at first be only locally known; other places would learn them only by report diffused from the places where they had been wrought or spoken; often, it is likely, a confused and uncertain report.* Beside which, while to us the interest of those several events and discourses is nearly equal, it would, to believers of that age and country, be very unequal, being intensified in particular instances by connexion with persons and places familiar and beloved. And to those who derived their knowledge entirely from the oral teaching of the apostles, even if that teaching had ever attained that fixedness of form which Professor Norton supposes, it must often have come irregularly and in fragmentary portions. How much, for instance, of the history of Christ could the deacon Philip have taught the Ethiopian ??
That knowledge, which thus was often fragmentary, should have found fragmentary record, seems to me far more likely than that it should have passed at once from an oral form to the comparative completeness of our present gospels. Whether intended for the writer's own use, by enabling him to retain a clear remembrance of what he had recently heard and seen; or penned for the benefit of some friend, who, not having been an eye witness, had received a less vivid impression and feared to lose it; or taken down by some diligent and conscientious disciple from the lips of his apostolic teacher; such fragmentary records seem to be a perfectly natural production of the time and the circumstances. That having been originally written in Hebrew, they should have been transcribed, circulated, and translated into Greek, with such variation and enlargement of detail as the translator or transcriber saw fit, was merely a continuance of the same natural process. They had no other sacredness than what resulted from their subject and their source; and as further details, resting on apostolic or other equally good authority, would be like them in these respects, there could be no scruple as to their incorporation. The subsequent steps in their growth are so well described by Professor Norton, that I will give them in his words: “Whoever was desirous of obtaining one written account of an event, or supposed event, in the life of Christ, would be desirous of obtaining more. He would extend his collection, and arrange it if he did not find a collection arranged to his hands. The coincidence between the gospels ascribed to Mark and Luke in the order of the events which they have in common, shows that the authors of these gospels, if they followed written documents, must have copied documents in which
the events were already thus arranged. The writer of the gospel ascribed to Luke says, that many before him had undertaken to prepare accounts of Christ; and whether we do or do not believe the gospel to be the work of Luke, there can be no reason for doubting the truth of this information.”I As compared, then, with other modes of accounting for them, the supposition that the accordances in the synoptic gospels had their origin in the separate documents, used in common by the evangelists, seems to be not only most consistent with the indications in the gospels themselves and with the statements of Luke, but also the most natural in the circumstances of the primitive disciples.
As to the author or authors of the original documents, we can only form a conjecture; and any conjecture on such a subject should be offered with modesty and diffidence. Yet even here, we may perhaps glean a few hints for our guidance. Luke's statement restricts our conjectures to the apostles and other “eye-witnesses” of the events recorded who “became ministers of the word.” Of these, we know that several were fishermen on the lake of Galilee, ş and it is probable that except Matthew, the rest followed either that or some other manual occupation. Now such pursuits commonly unfit or indispose those engaged in them to the use of the pen; so that, even in communities where reading and writing are common acquirements, they are reluctant and unfrequent writers. The apostolic letter in Acts xv. 23-29 is very brief, though the occasion would have justified, and indeed required, ample discussion: and the epistles of Peter, John, James, and Jude, are short as compared with those of Paul. Matthew alone was, by his calling as a publican, accustomed to the use of the pen, and his bookish” habits || would dispose him to employ it; and when we remember that these documents were, many or most of them, written
* Compare Matt. iv. 24 ; ix. 31; Mark i. 45; iii. 7, 8; v. 20; vi. 56; vii. 24, 36; Luke iv, 14, 23, 37; v. 15; vi. 17; vii, 17; ix. 7-9, &c. † Acts viii. 26-39.
I p. 110. § Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Thomas (John xxi. 2) were fishermen; and if we identify Nathanael and Bartholomew, as some do, and suppose the two other disciples ” in John xxi. 2, to have been apostles, we have eight fishermen among “the twelve."
|| See Mag. 1872, No. VI. p. 179.
in Hebrew, in which also his gospel was written, and that the writing of the shorter records would be a preparation for the compilation of the larger work in which they are embodied, it is surely a legitimate conjecture which names Matthew as their writer. And if that conjecture be admitted, it is not unreasonable to suppose that many of his notes would be contemporaneous with the discourses and events recorded in them. As to the author or authors of the amplified Greek versions, and of such documents as were first written in Greek, we have nothing to guide us.
Whether Luke made any use of the unfinished labours of those whom he speaks of as having failed, * must also be matter of conjecture. I think that there is considerable force in the argument from the coincident order of events in Mark and Luke, alleged by Professor Norton in the passage cited above; but I should hardly have affirmed the conclusion so positively as he has done. All that can be said beside is, that two passages peculiar to Luke's gospel, chapters i. and ii.t and a longer passage, extending from chap. ix. 51 to chap. xviii. 14, in which are imbedded several incidents and sayings given by the other evangelists, especially by Matthew, in another connexion, may have been borrowed in this way.
That the second of these two passages (viz. ch. ix. 51 to xviii. 14) was found by Luke already in the connected form in which he has given it, is likely from the place which it occupies in his gospel: it makes a long break between the two parts of his gospel (ch. iii.-ix. 50, and xviii. 15-xxiv) which are parallel to the other synoptic gospels. This long passage, thus interposed, presents two remarkable features. One is, that those numerous sayings of our Lord contained in it, which are also in Matthew, are given by the latter in quite a different connection: for instance nearly all the charge to the seventy, whose mission is given by Luke alone, (x. 1-20) is contained in the charge to the twelve, or in the rebuke to the careless cities of Galilee, as given by Matthew (x. xi. 20-24). Again considerable portions of Luke xi. and xii. are given by Matthew in the sermon on the Mount (ch. v.-vii.) or in the rebuke of the Pharisees (ch. xxiii). But the more remarkable feature is the number and beauty of the parables, the good Samaritan, the rich fool, the barren fig-tree, the lost piece of silver, the prodigal son, the unjust steward, the rich man and Lazarus, the importunate widow, and the Pharisee and the publican, which have been preserved and handed down to us by Luke alone. It certainly does seem extraordinary, that teachings so precious should have been omitted by Matthew and Peter, (the source of Mark's information,5) two of our Lord's immediate companions and disciples.
J. C. MEANS. * See Mag. 1873, No. I. p. 180. + Although these chapters have the same general subject as the first two chapters of Matthew's gospel, viz. the miraculous birth of our Saviour, they can hardly be considered as parallels, so entirely different are the particular incidents they give. I have remarked one very interesting point of distinction. Matthew relates the visions granted to Joseph, and his thoughts and purposes; thus showing that the account rested mainly on information derived from him : while Luke's account contains the like indications of having originally come from Mary.
# Mag. 1872, No. VII. p. 207.
PAPERS ON PREACHING.
No. IV.-Bad Habits. “Take care you don't do too much,” is the affectionate counsel repeatedly addressed by fond mothers to their sons at college, and by ladies of long experience to young men just commencing their public ministerial life. Nobody questions the good feeling from which such advice springs. But it must be objected, in the first place, that the warning is not needed; and in the second, that it is based upon a total misconception of the results of hard work. Few people really do work hard, and those who do find their reward in a vigorous flow of health, and mostly a long and useful life. Idleness kills its thousands, and anxiety its tens of thousands; but industry, downright steady industry, is full of benediction, and brings a sweet solace to the mind and increasing strength to the body.
Far wiser, therefore, would it be to say to the student, “Work away with all your soul and strength. Spare no pains. Give yourself wholly to your vocation : but take care that you do not drift into bad habits of living and working or you may permanently enfeeble your health, and seriously prejudice your usefulness.” The evils attributed to over-work, are unquestionably due to bad habits and mistaken methods of labour, and are neither more nor less than punishments inflicted by a wise and loving Father, for the violation of His beneficent laws. When we were at
Papers on Preaching.
265 college certain names were floating in the academic atmosphere as beacons to any man who should dare to carry a pale face and yet work with a will.
You'll soon follow poor A. He worked himself to death, and you're doing the same :” and again, “You'll never be an old man; you won't even live as long as Z., if you do not slacken your speed.” Naturally we were curious to gather some of the biographic incidents of these martyrs to the sacred calling of the preacher. How came they to make their quietus with the bare bodkin” of overwork so soon? Enquiry revealed the well-authenticated fact that A., in the full swing of his popularity, graced two or three evening parties a week, and with his flashing wit and keen repartee, kept the company alive till midnight: and then hastened to his study to toil at literary work till three or four o'clock in the morning. The marvel was he lived so long. Such folly ought to have had an earlier end. Not so with Z,. however. Calmly he kept the even tenour of his brief way, more solemn than a judge, and gloomy as the deep grave. He looked upon a romp as an unpardonable sin; would as
soon have clasped a serpent's fang as gripped a bat handle; and, like a blind heathen, he flung himself under the wheels of the Juggernath of “ministerial dignity," and was crushed to death. And these men, forsooth, were the victims of overwork. Never! We are prepared, in a spirit of profound homage to real worth, to travel a hundred miles to see the grave of any man who died from downright hard work, and nothing else.
If you pay little or no attention to the study fire, you are not surprised if the coal becomes clogged into a dull mass, and blaze and heat wholly disappear. Ought you, then, to marvel if, having fed the fires of the brain with bad fuel, or with good fuel in excess, or at irregular intervals, or without regard to its condition, it should fail to respond to your summons, and neither give the light nor warmth you expected from it? All work is combustion, and brain-work is the combustion of the most precious material, and therefore it requires good sense to keep the flames bright, and the heat intense but regular. The mind must be fed if it is to work. The blood must be perfectly oxygenated, and nourished with strengthening food. The more a man works the greater the need that his food should be supplied at regular intervals, and of the right quality, and that it should be completely digested. Wendell Homes says, “So much logic, so much beef; so much poetry, so much pudding.” And the quality of the “ beef” has a connexion not very remote with the force of the logic; and the beauty of the poetry is determined by the degree of assimilation of the “pudding.” Never can we forget the fierce energy of hate displayed by a preacher after having failed to deliver with effect, what he considered, one of his best sermons. Not Hamilcar could have shown a more bitter hostility towards the Romans than the enraged divine against the ill-cooked but highly seasoned swine's flesh on which he had somewhat freely dined. It would be easier to get that man to the moon than to get him to eat pork on a Sunday. A good breakfast, much enjoyed, at nine o'clock on Sabbath morning, has in many cases been a serious clog on the brain in the study, and has sent the minister to the pulpit, at eleven, in a fit of fear and depression, and back again to his study lamenting, perhaps, his coldness of heart, or his want of devotion, when he should really have been blaming himself for the ignorance displayed in drawing off the blood of the body from the brain, where it was most required, to do the work of digestion instead of thinking.
Of course rules on such a subject as this cannot be of much use. What is required is a quick observation of one's own symptoms, a knowledge of physiological laws, and a fixed resolve not to eat as a habit merely, nor yet as a pleasure, but as a means to an end, that end being the acquisition of brain force sufficient for the easy performance of the work in hand. The experience of preachers differs. Some commend the policy of a liberal breakfast at seven or half-past on the Sunday, followed by a brief interval of rest, then very little more food for the rest of the day. Exceptional men eat heartily at each meal. Others have a feast at the day's close. Beecher, with great good sense and discrimination, describes his plan thus:-"Men are divided into two great classes. There is the sanguineous class, who cannot eat much if they are going to think or speak. There is another class who have the extreme nervous temperament, who cannot speak unless they do cat. On Sunday morning, when I wake, my first thought is that it is Sunday morning, and the very idea of it takes away my appetite, I go down, drink a cup of coffee, and eat an egg and half a slice of toast. That is all I can eat. There is just enough to sustain my system. Then I preach, and if I have not done very well I am hungry, but if I have done very well I cannot eat much dinner. That is because there is a reaction of the nervous influence of the system. The whole
system is working so much by the brain and the nerves that the stomach does not crave anything. Just as great grief or fear, or any other extreme passion, takes away appetite, so does active preaching. Ordinarily I take but a moderate dinner on Sunday. Supper with me is at five o'clock in the afternoon, and I usually take a cnp of tea and a small piece cracker. That is all I can take. Then I go to my evening work; and when I get through, I sometimes am satisfied to take nothing but an orange, which I eat to give my stomach something to do until morning, and to keep it from craving, for often a fit of craving will give you a nightmare as quickly as over-feeding will. At other times I feel a strong appetite, and then I eat. Perhaps once out of five Sundays I eat more just after preaching morning and evening than I do all the rest of the day put together. The system indicates it, and therefore I am not harmed by it. It does not disturb my sleep, and digestion goes on perfectly."
But it is in the matter of exercise the most serious errors are committed by men of sedentary occupations. Thinking and preaching give play to a limited part of a man’s nature; and nothing is more conclusively proved, or more generally admitted, than that exercise must be afforded to every part of the body if growth, development, and efficiency are to be maintained. Men who row in the races between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge go through a full and varied course of gymnastic training in order to be able to row without danger : for if one part of the body is under-trained, that may fail in the contest, and so the man and the race be lost. Large and deep chests, strong hearts and lungs, able of bearing any strain, are only obtained by a systematic course of physical education under a skilled director.
The preacher's work holds him in doors; fastens him to his desk. His muscles are mostly still while there is a fervid movement in the brain, and deep draughts are being made on the nervous system. Somehow or other, then, he must get exercise, exercise in the open air, on the hill side, or by the river's edge; and exercise in plenteous variety and with every cheerful accompaniment. Swinging dumb bells in the air is better than nothing: and a dismal, solitary walk is to be preferred to perpetual confinement. But more is needed than either of these will supply. Is there not a Naturalists' Field Club at hand, a Geologists' Association, a Botanical Society, one of which you may join and accompany the members in their excursions, and so get plenty of oxygen, invigorating society, and a pleasant and profitable occupation for the brain ? Can't you get up a Cricket Club or a Rowing Society amongst the young men of your charge? Is it not possible to have an afternoon's gleeful play with the children of your school, or of your weekly special service? Get the exercise somehow. And take care to vary it. No one form of play or of work uses all the body: not horse-riding, nor rowing, nor cricketing, nor walking. There must therefore be a pleasant and refreshing variety, arranged for as part of “the whole duty of the man” who is a preacher: and, if necessary, entered upon from as solemn a conviction of duty as any part of the manifold work of life. Of course Mrs. Grundy will protest, and her voice will be heard descanting on the proprieties of ministerial life, and the necessity of maintaining the “dignity of the pulpit.” Let her shout till she is hoarse. Your sermons will be better; your work will have a healthier tone given to it, and you will do much more good ; and even Mrs. Grundy will find her senses bye and bye.
Do not imagine that the minister is to enjoy perpetual holiday. We do not write a word of this for the man, if such there be, who shirks his work, vegetates unanxiously from week to week, welcomes the bright new Sabbath with a dingy and well-worn M.S., and preaches now with less power than when he left college. No. Such men need the pleasant relaxation of hard work, downright and thorough, and a good deal of it: and would be better in both body and mind if they could be forced to undergo it.
But ought a student to work at night? What is the best plan of taking rest and getting strength in sleep? Very wisely the Lancet says, “Night work is injurious to the young by the mere fact of its being night work; but for those whose organisms are consolidated we greatly doubt if it be at all injurious per se. Students, and men under thirty, ought not to work at night.” And those older should always use “a light, very white, powerful and steady, and carefully concentrated by a green shade on to the books and paper. An insufficient, flickering, and too diffused light, is one of the most serious causes of the brain irritation which afflicts some night-workers.”
As to sleep, no doubt it should be had by persons who enjoy a high degree of intellectual activity in large quantities. No man should have less than six hours. Eight would not be too much for most ministers; and the sleep should be continuous and easy, not broken or disturbed.'
But we need not prolong these details. Let every one heartily believe that his health is in his own hands, and that his efficiency as a thinker and worker depends upon the way he deals with it. Immense is the power of the will. A leading American physician of large practice asserts that the few cases of pulmonary disease which have ultimately recovered within his experience have all been of persons of strong will who have determined to get well. They appreciated the danger they were in, and persistently and bravely fought with the disease till they gained the victory. It is stated, on high medical authority, that a man cured himself of the bite of a mad dog by a strong effort of the will. Every one is acquainted with the disturbing action of fear and the curative power of hope. A "merry heart doeth good like a medicine," says Solomon; and a strong will may hold disease at bay and make even a weak body mighty, through God, to the accomplishment of much good.
A case of the conversion of a minister from the error of his ways will fitly close
Dr. Patton says, “During the first twenty years of his ministry, in which he always had a pain in his chest, following each sermon, the writer was careless of his habits of study. Under the impression that he could write more easily and effectively at night, he fell into the exhaustive and destructive habit of being in his study until from twelve to two o'clock. Then, fatigued and his nerves all excited and his brain at unrest, he gave himself to sleep—not sweet restoring sleep, but restless, dreaming, wearisome sleep. So far from waking up refreshed and invigorated, the morning light found him tired, weak, yawning, and energyless. Add to this that such a habit easily induced another, that of deferring his preparations for the Sabbath until the latter part of the week. Monday he felt so blue he could not think, Tuesday was not much better. Wednesday he read some. Thus the two sermons and the lecture were all crowded into the last of the week. Hence Saturday, all day and far into the small hours of the night, he was shut up in his study, working wearily, working desperately-nay, almost despairingly, as, unable to write any more, the sermon unfinished, he had to go to bed. Dreaming and restless he lost himself in what he then called sleep. Sabbath morning oftentimes compelled him to write until the bell told him he must go to the pulpit. Thus, languid in body, and not uncondemned in conscience, he went through the duties of the Sabbath. Is it any wonder that the unusual, violent, and continued use of the lungs showed distress? The only wonder is that they could endure such torture and unreasonable usage. This course went on through wearisome years. Though his lungs did not give out, this habit of study which kept him weak induced other ailments which for a while prostrated him and suspended his labours. In his earlier years he indulged in the use of a cigar—under the imagination that it quieted his nerves and helped him in his night studies. Sitting in his study one evening, with his fragrant Havana, the gift of a kind parishoner, and vainly striving to fix upon a train of thought for his sermon, he felt exhaustion of the chest rather than repose, when the conviction flashed upon him, “This cigar does me no good, but positive injury. He took the half-consumed cigar from his lips, looked at it, then throwing it into the fire he said, 'God helping me, I will never smoke another. That resolution he has kept. The balance of the unconsumed box, being full two-thirds, he carefully and annually used, as long as they held out, in keeping the moths out of the woollen clothes during the summer. He found benefit from this abandonment of tobacco, though he was a very moderate smoker. His chest was less exhausted and less painful after preaching. Still, the late night studies and the crowding preparations into the last of the week were undermining. Convinced of this, he broke up this habit, and religiously shut his study from all night work, and used the morning as the time for study. He soon learned that his mind would work as well in the daylight as in the night season. He now found refreshing sleep, and that the Sabbath services were not so prostrating; the pain in the chest grew fainter and fainter, until it passed away. The putting off the preparations for the pulpit to the last of the week continued to be wearing upon him, so that he necessarily entered the pulpit with a conscious languor. He determined to begin his preparations on Monday, and keep Saturday sacredly as a day of rest—thus falling in with the law of his physical nature. The improvement was marvellous and rapid. He had great peace and satisfaction when he left his study on Friday, with the knowledge that his sermons were done. He entered the pulpit on Sunday fresh and vigorous, and enjoyed the privilege of preaching. He slept well on Sunday night, and woke up on Monday morning ready for his work. He had no more knowledge of blue Mondays; his health steadily improved. In