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INTRODUCTION.

Page. § 1. From the character of Jesus and the salutary effects of Chris

tianity, proofs have often been drawn in favor of the truth

of this religion
$ 2. It has seldom been observed, however, that the mere plan

devised by Jesus for the good of mankind, is of such impor-
tance and extent as to designate a man upon whom had
been conferred the dignity of the most exalted ambassador of

God
§ 3. To be convinced of this, we must,
(1) ascertain from history what Jesus had in view, .

3 (2) show that no one before Jesus ever had similar views, 3 (3) consider what peculiarities such a plan as Christ's presup

poses a mind to possess; and if it can be shown that his
mind was unique in its kind, great without example, and
formed and developed in a manner altogether peculiar, then
we may draw the conclusion, that Jesus was the greatest
benefactor of our race ever sent of God

PART FIRST.

SKETCH OF THE PLAN DEVISED BY JESUS FOR THE GOOD OF MANKIND). § 4. We are not here to speak of what theologians call the office

of Christ, but merely of what his plan has in common with

the benevolent plans of other venerable men
§ 5. We shall not even attempt to refute what has lately been

said respecting the object which Christ had in view. We
shall merely collect together the accounts of his friends

upon this subject and give them a connected representation 5 § 6. These accounts, however, are perfectly credible, and to be depended upon

6 $ 7. To form a correct conception of the plan of Jesus from them,

we must attend to its compass, its character, and the man-
ner in which it was to be carried into effect

7

I. THE COMPASS OF CHRIST'S PLAN.
§ 8. A disposition has been evinced by some to maintain that

Jesus acted solely for his own nation and aimed at the res-
toration of genuine Mosaicism

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8

§ 9. From a consideration of Christ's condition however it is ev-

ident, that whatever his object may have been, he was

obliged to make his first appearance and commence his ef-

forts as a religious reformer, among his own people

9

§ 10. That he actually intended however to erect an establish-

ment wholly new and entirely different from that of the

Jews, he has so frequently and explicitly declared, as to place

the matter beyond all doubt

10

§ 11. This will be rendered still plainer if we can show, that

this plan was of universal extent and embraced mankind at

large

17

And that the plan of Jesus was universal without limitation,

is evident;

(a) from his conduct,

17

(b) from his language respecting it,

19

(c) and finally, it lies at the foundation of the doctrines which

he inculcated;

24

§ 12. and hence, the position, that Jesus was engaged in the

execution of a plan of the most universal extent, derives

the greatest degree of probability of which such a thing is

capable

II. THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST'S PLAN.

§ 13. He commenced his career with the declaration that the

kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, was at hand and

to be established by him;

28

§ 14. and upon making

it

, appealed to certain expectations

which already existed among his countrymen,

29

§ 15. in accordance with which, the Jews hoped for the estab-

lishment of a universal monarchy

30

§ 16. That by the appellation kingdom of God, however, he

derstood no such thing as an earthly constitution, is evident,

(a) in part from his actions,

30

(b) and in part from his declarations

31

§ 17. If the heavenly kingdom however which he intended to

establish was not an earthly monarchy, it must have been a

moral institution

33

That it was such, he has said

1. in plain language,

33

2. in figurative descriptions,

36

3. and in John, in the most definite terms

37

§ 18. Hence, it must have been his intention to make religion,

morality, and society, the principal objects of improvement. 40

Religion.

§ 19. The religion then prevalent both among the Jews and

heathen was a senseless superstition prejudicial to morality. 40

§ 20. Jesus intended to destroy this superstition by every where

spreading the doctrine of one true God, making it the popu.

lar belief, and representing this God as the Father of man-

kind

43

un-

§ 21. This representation rendered religion clear and simple,

destroyed the pernicious influence of the priesthood, and in-
stead of the sacrificial service, introduced a worship of God

in spirit and in truth
§ 22. Hence also the doctrines of the providence of God, the

reconcilableness of God, and the immortality of the soul, re-
ceived additional light and confirmation

45

46

48

50

MORALITY. § 23. Morality required no less improvement, as it was not what

it ought to be, either among the Jews or the heathen § 24. Now as the religion which Jesus taught, was a living faith

in God the Father of men, so his morality resolved itself into

love to the supreme Father and to men his children
§ 25. Jesus has declared in the most definite terms in what this

love must consist; namely, in a disposition to imitate God,
evinced by endeavors after pure morality and the promotion

of the general good
§ 26. By means of this principle, morality was placed in its true

relation to religion, § 27. was purified,

28. was secured against fanaticism and extravagance,
29. and rendered intelligible to common intellects
30. And this love to God and man was the power by means of

which Jesus intended to ennoble mankind and render thein
happy.

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Society. § 31. Hence, also, he directed his attention to society, which,

owing to the prevalence of a selfish spirit, was then in the greatest disorder

60 § 32. True, he did not intend directly to meddle at all with political affairs.

61 $ 33. But he was not on that account indifferent to the temporal welfare of his followers

62 § 34. The civil institutions in existence, however, were not to be violently attacked, but left to their fate,

63 § 35. and by means of religion and morality preparation was to be made for better regulations .

65 § 36. Jesus intended therefore to commence his reformation by improving the domestic relations

65 § 37. He intended to improve these by animating every one

with a love to act for the state and all parts of the political
union,

67 § 38. and by connecting mankind together as close as possible

and giving them the highest degree of cultivation and per-
fection

69

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III. THE MANNER IN WHICH CHRIST'S PLAN WAS TO BE CARRIED INTO

EFFECT. $ 39. Jesus might have employed power, a secret society, or the gentlest means possible for this purpose

72 JESUS DID NOT THINK OF EMPLOYING POWER. 40. This is evident from his declarations,

72 41. and the whole tenor of his conduct;

76 42. and appeals are made in vain to his last entrance into Jerusalem to render the contrary probable

79 JESUS DID NOT THINK OF EMPLOYING A SECRET SOCIETY. § 43. It has of late been pretended that Christ employed a secret society :

84 § 44. Though it is difficult to make every thing as clear in this respect as one could wish,

86 § 45. yet it is undeniable, that we find not the least trace of the

existence of a secret society, by which Jesus apparently in-
tended to operate, either in his external connexions,

87 § 46. or his institutions of instruction;

90 47. in his private life, 48. the language and expressions of his friends, 49. or in their enterprises after his death

101 50. Neither can what Clement and Origen have said respect

ing higher mysteries, existing in the bosom of the church, 104 § 51. nor any thing that is known respecting the Gnostic sects

be so interpreted as to imply the existence of such a society. 106 § 52. We have the express declarations of Jesus however to the purpose,

108 § 53. and other circumstances which are altogether incompatible with the supposition of the existence of such a fraternity. 110

JESUS CHOSE THE GENTLEST MEANS POSSIBLE.
§ 54. Jesus therefore intended to accomplish his object, simply

by means of convincing instruction, and such institutions as
were adapted to advance morality,

112 § 55. and he commanded his apostles to do the same

. 117

95 98

PART SECOND.

.

NO GREAT MAN OF ANTIQUITY BEFORE JESUS, EVER DEVISED A BENEY

OLENT PLAN FOR THE WHOLE HUMAN FAMILY. § 56. Fairness necessary in a critical examination of that portion of antiquity before Jesus

121 $ 57. From general principles, however, it is probable, even

now, that we shall light upon no man in all antiquity, who resembles Jesus in regard to that enlargement of thought and benevolent goodness of heart which embrace all man

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