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offence against purity and chastity, appears for five hundred years after his birth.
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 lawgiver26. 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; 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
26 See many instances collected by Grotius, de Veritate Christianæ Religionis, in the notes to his second book, p. 116, Pocock's edition.
the widow's 254 vice, traces of devotion, humility, benignity, mildness, patience, prudence, I speak of traces of these qualities, because the qualities themselves are to be collected from incidents; inasmuch as the terms are never used of Christ in the Gospels, nor is any formal character of him drawn in any part of the New Testament.
Thus we see the devoutness of his mind in his frequent retirement to solitary prayer? ; in his habitual .giving of thanks ; in his reference of the beauties and operations of nature to the bounty of Providence; in his earnest addresses to his Father, more particularly that short but solemn one before the raising of Lazarus from the dead 30; and in the deep piety of his behaviour in the garden,, on the last evening of his life 1: his humility, in his constant reproof of contentions for superiority 32: the benignity and affectionateness of his temper, in his kindness to children 33 in the tears which he shed over his fallen country 34, and upon
the death of his friend 35 ; in his noticing of Samaritan, of the ungrateful servant, and of the Pharisee and publican, of which parables no one but a man of humanity could have been the author : the mildness and lenity of his character is discovered in his rebuke of the forward zeal of his disciples at the Samaritan village 37; in his expostulation with Pilate 38; in his prayer for his enemies at the moment of his
27 Matt. xiv. 23. Luke, ix, 28. Matt. xxvi. 36. 28 Matt. xi. 25. Mark, viii. 6. John, vi. 23. Luke, xxii. 17. 29 Matt. vi. 26-28.
30 Joho, xi. 41. 31 Matt. xxvi. 36-47.
32 Mark, ix. 33. 33 Mark, X. 16.
34 Luke, xix. 41. 35 John, xi. 35.
36 Mark, xii. 42. 137 Luke, ix. 55.
38 John, xix. 11.
suffering 39, which; though it has been since very properly and frequently imitated, was then, I apprehend, new. His prudence is discerned where prudence is most wanted, in his conduct on trying occasions, and in answers to artfül questions. Of these the following are examples :His withdrawing, in various instances, from the first symptoms of tumulto, and with the express care, as appears from St. Matthew 41, of carrying on his ministry in quietness: his declining of every species of interference with the civil affairs of the country; which disposition is manifested by his behaviour in the case of the woman caught in adulterý“, and in his repulse of the application which was made to him to interpose his decision about a disputed inheritance *3 : his judicious, yet, as it should seem, unprepared answers, will be confessed in the case of the Roman tribute *; in the difficulty concerning the interfering relations of a future state, as proposed to him in the instance of a woman who had married seven brethren 45; and, more especially, in his reply to those who demanded from him an explanation of the authority by which he acted, which reply consisted in propounding a question to them, situated between the very difficulties into which they were in-sidiously endeavouring to draw him 46.
Our Saviour's lessons, beside what has already been remarked in them, touch, and that oftentimes by very affecting representations, upon some of the most interesting topics of human duty, and of human meditation; upon the principles by which the decisions of
39 Luke, xxiii. 34.
42 John, viii. 1.
44 Matt. xxii. 19. 45 Matt, xxii, 28.
46 Matt. xxi. 23, et seq.
the last day will be regulated“; upon the superior, or rather the supreme importance of religion 8 : upon penitence, by the most pressing calls and the most encouraging invitations *); upon self-denial 5; watchfulness", placability", confidence in God 55, the value of spiritual, that is, of mental worship 54, the necessity of moral obedience, and the directing of that obedience to the spirit and principle of the law, instead of seeking for evasions in a technical construction of its terms 55
If we extend our argument to other parts of the New Testament, we may offer, as amongst the best and shortest rules of life, or, which is the same thing, descriptions of virtue, that have ever been delivered, the following passages :
“Pure religion, and undefiled, before God and the Father, is this; to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world 56”
“ Now the end of the commandment is, charity, out of a pure heart and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned 57."
“ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world .
Enumerations of virtues and vices, and those suffi
47 Matt. xxv. 31, et seq.
50 Matt, v. 29.
sa John, iv. 23, 24. ss Matt. v. 21.
56 James, i. 27. 1 Tim, i. 5.
58 Tit. ii. 11, 12.
ciently accurate, and unquestionably just, are given by St. Paul to his converts in three several epistles 59.
The relative duties of husbands and wives, of parents and children, of masters and servants, of Christian teachers and their flocks, of governors and their subjects, are set forth by the same writer, not indeed with the copiousness, the detail, or the distinctness of a moralist, who should, in these days, sit down to write chapters upon the subject, but with the leading rules and principles in each; and, above all, with truth, and with authority.
Lastly, the whole volume of the New Testament is replete with piety; with, what were almost unknown to Heathen moralists, devotional virtues, the most profound veneration of the Deity, an habitual sense of his bounty and protection, a firm confidence in the final result of his counsels and dispensations, a disposition to resort, upon all occasions, to his mercy, for the supply of human wants, for assistance in danger, for „relief from pain, for the pardon of sin.
The Candour of the Writers of the New Testament: I MAKE this candour to consist in their putting down many passages, and noticing many circumstances, which no writer whatever was likely to have forged; and which no writer would have chosen to appear in his book, who had been careful to present the story in the most unexceptionable form, or who had thought himself at liberty to carve and mould the particulars
59 Gal. v. 19. Col. iii. 12. 1 Cor. xiii.
Eph. v. 33; vi. 1. 5. 2 Cor. vi. 6,7. Rom, siji.