« הקודםהמשך »
ascertain the grounds of that faith, into the profession of which they have been baptized; and though they may not, perhaps, have it in their power to " confound the sophistry of every gainsayer," they will be at all times " ready to give a reason of the hope that is in them;" and to prove demonstratively that the character of Jesus Christ, the doctrines he taught, and the precepts he enforced, possess every mark of a divine origin, and cannot be denied or disobeyed, without subverting the principles of truth, and destroying the best hopes and springs of action in the human heart.
The Appendix, containing some account of the Lives of the Evangelists, a description of the leading Sects and Parties among the Jews, and a chronological view of the principal Prophecies of the Old Testament which pointed directly to the Messiah, and were evidently fulfilled in the person of Je«us Christ, will, it is presumed, be found a suitable illustration of the work.
LIFE OF OUR SAVIOUR.
Conception of St. John and Christ.
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye-witnesses, and ministers of the word;
It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,1
That thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed.
The Divinity, &;c. of Christ.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.
1 Probably a Greek of high birth. M'Knight. B
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
The Angel Gabriel appears to Zacharius.
There was in the days of Herod,1 the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia," and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name •was Elisabeth.
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,
According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was. to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
1 Commonly known by the name of Herod the Great.
1 Abia, the course to which Zacharius belonged, was the
*t!i in David's regulation. M1Knight. 1 A Prophet who foretold the coming of Our Saviour.
And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias,1 to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
And Zacharius said unto the angel,Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
And the angel answering, said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee; and to shew thee these glad tidings.
And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not