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before the event, when in truth it was written after it, to have suppressed any such intimation carefully. But this was not the character of the authors of the gospel. Cunning was no quality of theirs. Of all writers in the world, they thought the least of providing against objections. Moreover, there is no clause in any one of them, that makes a profession of having written prior to the Jewish wars, which a fraudulent purpose would have led them to pretend. They have done neither one thing nor the other. They have neither inserted any words, which might signify to the reader that their accounts were written before the destruction of Jerusalem, which a sophist would have done; nor have they dropped a hint of the completion of the prophecies recorded by them, which an undesigning writer, written after the event, could hardly, en some or other of the many occasions that presented themselves, have missed of doing.

4. The admonitions* which Christ is represented to have given to his followers to save themselves by flight, are not easily accounted for upon the supposition of the prophecy being fabricated after the event. Either the Chris

tians, when the siege approached, did make their escape from Jerusalem, or they did not: if they did, they must have had the prophecy amongst them: if they did not know of any such prediction at the time of the siege: if they did not take notice of any such warning, it was an improbable fiction, in a writer publishing his work near to that time (which, upon any even the lowest and most disadvantageous supposition, was the case with the gospels now in our hands) and addressing his works to Jews and to Jewish converts (which Matthew certainly did) to state that the followers of Christ had received admonitions, of which they made no use when the occasion arrived, and of which, experience then recent proved, that those, who were most concerned to know and regard them, were ignorant or negligent. Even if the prophecies came to the hands of the evangelists through no better vehicle than tradition, it must have been by a tradition which subsisted prior to the event. And to suppose, that without any authority whatever, without so much as even any tradition to guide them, they had forged

*Luke xxi. 20, 21. When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh; then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let them which are in the midst of it depart out, and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto."

Matt. xiv. 18. "When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then let them which be in Judea flee unto the mountains; let him which is on the house-top not come down to take any thing out of his house; neither let him which is in the field, return back to take his clothes."

these passages, is to impute to them a degree of fraud and imposture, from every appearance of which their compositions are as far removed as possible.

5. I think that, if the prophecies had been composed after the event, there would have been more specification. The names or descriptions of the enemy, the general, the emperor, would have been found in them. The designation of the time would have been more determinate. And I am fortified in this opinion by observing, that the counterfeited prophecies of the Sybilline oracles, of the twelve patriarchs, and, I am inclined to believe, most others of the kind, are mere transcripts of the history moulded into a prophetic form.

It is objected, that the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem is mixed, or connected with expressions which relate to the final judgment of the world; and so connected as to lead an ordinary reader to expect, that these two events would not be far distant from each other. To which I answer, that the objection does not concern our present argument. If our Saviour actually foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, it is sufficient; even although we should allow, that the narration of the prophecy had combined together what had been said by him upon kindred subjects, without accurately preserving the order, or always noticing the transition of the discourse.


The Morality of the Gospel.

IN stating the morality of the gospel as an argument of its truth, I am willing to admit two points, first, that the teaching of morality was not the primary design of the mission; secondly, that morality, neither in the gospel, nor in any other book, can be a subject, properly speaking, of discovery.

If I were to describe in a very few words the scope of Christianity, as a revelation,* I should say, that it was to influence the conduct of human life, by establishing the proof of a future state of reward and punishment-" to bring life and immortality to light." The direct object, therefore, of the design, is to supply motives and not rules, sanctions and

Great, and inestimably beneficial purposes may be attained by Christ's mission, and especially by his death, which do not belong to Christianity as a revelation, that is, they might have existed, and they might have been accomplished, though we had never in this life, have been made acquainted with them.

not precepts. And these were what mankind stood most in need of. The members of civilized society can, in all ordinary cases, judge tolerably well how they ought to act; but without a future state, or, which is the same thing, without credited evidence of that state, they want a motive to their duty; they want at least strength of motive sufficient to bear up against the force of passion, and the temptation of the present advantage. Their rules want authority. The most important service that can be rendered to human life, and that, consequently, which, one might expect beforehand would be the great end and office of a revelation from God, is to convey to the world authorized assurances of the reality of a future existence. And although, in doing this, or by the ministry of the same person by which this is done, moral precepts or examples, or illustrations of moral precepts may be occasionally given, and be highly valuable, yet still they do not form the original purpose of the mission.

Secondly, morality, neither in the gospel, nor in any other book, can be a subject of discovery, properly so called. By which proposition, I mean, that there cannot, in morality, be any thing similar to what are called discoveries in natural philosophy, in the arts of life, and in some sciences; as the system of the universe, the circulation of the blood, the polarity of the magnet, the laws of gravitation, alphabetical writing, decimal arithmetic, and some other things of the same sort; facts, or proofs, or contrivances, before totally unknown and unthought of. Whoever. therefore expects, in reading the New Testament, to be struck with discoveries in morals, in the manner in which his mind was affected, when he first came to the knowledge of the discoveries above-mentioned; or rather in the manner in which the world was affected by them, when they were first published; expects what, as I apprehend, the nature of the subject renders it impossible he should meet with. And the foundation of my opinion is this, that the qualities of actions depend entirely upon their effects, which effects must all along have been the subject of human experience.

When it is once settled, no matter upon what principle, that to do good is virtue, the rest is calculation. But since the calculation cannot be instituted concerning each particular action, we establish intermediate rules: by which proceeding the business of morality is much facilitated, for then, it is concerning our rules alone that we need inquire,

whether in their tendency they be beneficial; concerning our actions, we have only to ask, whether they be agreeable to the rules. We refer actions to rules, and rules to public happiness. Now in the formation of these rules, there is no place for discovery properly so called, but there is ample room for the exercise of wisdom, judgment and prudence. As I wish to deliver argument rather than panegyric, I shall treat of the morality of the gospel in subjection to these observations. And after all, I think it such a morality, as, considering from whom it came, is most extraordinary; and such, as, without allowing some degree of reality to the character and pretensions of the religion, it is difficult to account for; or to place the argument somewhat lower in the scale, it is such a morality, as completely repels the supposition of its being the tradition of a barbarous age, or of a barbarous people, of the religion being founded in folly, or of its being the production of craft; and it repels also, in a great degree, the supposition of its having been the effusion of an enthusiastic mind.

The division, under which the subject may be most conveniently treated of, is that of the things taught, and the manner of teaching.

Under the first head, I should willingly, if the limits and nature of my work admitted of it, transcribe into this chapter the whole of what has been said upon the morality of the gospel, by the author of the internal evidence of Christianity; because it perfectly agrees with my own opinion, and because it is impossible to say the same thing so well. This acuté observer of human nature, and, as I believe, sincere convert to Christianity, appears to me to have made out satisfactorily the two following positions, viz.

I. That the gospel omits some qualities, which have usually engaged the praises and admiration of mankind, but which, in reality, and in their general effects, have been prejudicial to human happiness.

II. That the gospel has brought forward some virtues, which possess the highest intrinsic value, but which have commonly been overlooked and contemned.

The first of these propositions he exemplifies, in the instances of friendship, patriotism, active courage; in the sense in which these qualities are usually understood, and in the conduct which they often produce.

The second, in the instances of passive courage or endurance of sufferings, patience under effronts and injuries, humility, irresistance, placability.

The truth is, there are two opposite descriptions of character, under which mankind may generally be classed. The one possesses vigour, firmness, resolution, is daring and active, quick in its sensibilities, jealous of its fame, eager in its attachments, inflexible in its purpose, violent in its resentments.

The other, meek, yielding, complying, forgiving; not prompt to act but willing to suffer, silent and gentle under rudeness and insult, suing for reconciliation where others would demand satisfaction, giving way to the pushes of impudence, conceding and indulgent to the prejudices, the wrong-headedness, the intractability of those with whom it has to deal.

The former of these characters is, and ever hath been, the favourite of the world. It is the character of great men. There is a dignity in it which universally commands respect.

The latter is poor-spirited, tame, and abject. Yet so it hath happened, that, with the founder of Christianity, this latter is the subject of his commendation, his precepts, his example; and that the former is so, in no part of its composition. This, and nothing else, is the character designed in the following remarkable passage: "Resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also; and whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain; love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use and persecute you." This certainly is not common-place morality. It is very original. It shows at least (and it is for this purpose we produce it) that no two things can be more different than the heroic and the Christian character.

Now the author, to whom I refer, has not only remarked this difference more strongly than any preceding writer, but has proved, in contradiction to first impressions, to popular opinion, to the encomiums of orators and poets, and even to the suffrages of historians and moralists, that the latter character possesses the most of true worth, both as being most difficult either to be acquired or sustained, and as contributing most to the happiness and tranquillity of social life. The state of his argument is as follows:

I. If this disposition were universal, the case is clear: the world would be a society of friends. Whereas, if the

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