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Divine favour, and, in consequence of that opinion, prone to uncharitableness, partiality, and restitution;—when we find, in his religion, no scheme of building up a hierarchy, or of ministering to the views of human governments ;-in a word, when we compare Christianity, as it came from its Author, either with other religions, or with itself in other hands, the most reluctant understanding will be induced to acknowledge the probity, I think also the good sense, of those to whom it owes its origin; and that some regard is due to the testimony of such men, when they declare their knowledge that the religion proceeded from God; and when they appeal, for the truth of their assertion, to miracles which they wrought, or which they saw.

Perhaps the qualities which we observe in the religion, may be thought to prove something more. They would have been extraordinary, had the religion come from any person; from the person from whom it did come, they are exceedingly so. What was Jesus in external appearance? A Jewish peasant, the son of a carpenter,

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living with his father and mother in a remote province of Palestine, until the time that he produced himself in his public cha

He had no master to instruct or prompt him ; he had read no books, but the works of Moses and the Prophets; he had visited no polished cities; he had re, ceived no lessons from Socrates or Plato, nothing to form in him a taste or judge, ment different from that of the rest of his countrymen, and of persons of the same rank of life with himself. Supposing it to be true, which it is not, that all his points of morality might be picked out of Greek and Roman writings, they were writings which he had never seen. Supposing them to be no more than what some or other had taught in various times and places, he could not collect them together.

Who were his coadjutors in the under, taking,--the persons into whose hands the religion came after his death? A few fishermen upon the lake of Tiberias, persons just as uneducated, and, for the purpose of framing rules of morality, as unpromisa ing as himself. Suppose the mission to

be real, all this is accounted for; the unsuitableness of the authors to the production, of the characters to the undertaking, no longer surprises us: but without reality, it is very

difficult to explain, how such a system should proceed from such persons. Christ was not like any other carpenter; the apostles were not like any other fisher

men.

But the subject is not exhausted by these observations. That portion of it, which is most reducible to points of argument, has been stated, and, I trust, truly. There are, however, some topics, of a more diffuse nature, which yet deserve to be proposed

, to the reader's attention.

vation upon

The character of Christ is a part of the morality of the Gospel: one strong obser

which is, that, neither as represented by his followers, nor as attacked by his enemies, is he charged with any personal vice. This remark is as old as Origen: “ Though innumerable lies and calumnies had been forged against the venerable Jesus, none had dared to charge

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him with an intemperance*.” Not a reflection upon his moral character, not an imputation or suspicion of any

offence against purity and chastity, appears for five hundred years after his birth. This faultlessness is more peculiar than we are apt to imagine. Some stain pollutes the morals or the morality of almost every other teacher, and of every

other lawgiverf. Zeno' the stoic, and Diogenes the cynic, fell into the foulest impurities; of which also Socrates himself was more than suspected. Solon forbade unnatural crimes to slaves. Lycurgus tolerated theft as a part of education. Plato recommended a community of women. Aristotle maintained the general right of making war upon barbarians. The elder Cato was remarkable for the ill usage of his slaves; the younger gave up

the

person of his wife. One loose principle is found in almost all the Pagan moralists ;

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• Or. Ep. Cels. 1. 3. num. 36. ed.

Bened.

+ See many instances collected by Grotius, de Veritate Christianæ Religionis, in the notes to his second book, p. 116. Pocock's edition.

is distinctly, however, perceived in the writings of Plato, Xenophon, Cicero, Seneca, Epictetus; and that is, the allowing, and even the recommending to their disciples, a compliance with the religion, and with the religious rites, of every country into which they came.

In speaking of the founders of new institutions, we cannot forget Mahomet. His licentious transgressions of his own licentious rules ; his abuse of the character which he assumed, and of the power which he had acquired, for the purposes of personal and privileged indulgence; his avowed claim of a special permission from heaven, of unlimited sensuality, is known to every reader, as it is confessed by every writer, of the Moslem story

Secondly, in the histories which are left us of Jesus Christ, although very short, and although dealing in narrative, and not in observation or panegyric, we perceive, beside the absence of every appearance of vice, traces of devotion, humility, benignity, mildness, patience, prudence. I speak of traces of these qualities, because the

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