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of his having so loved the human species, as to send “his only-begotten Son into the world, " that man should not perish, but have ever
lasting life.” If we consider Jesus Christ in ảny other light than as the Son of God, we introduce duplicity into the Scriptures, and untruth into the character of our Saviour, inevitably destructive of the veracity of both ; and we thereby destroy the august and venerable fabric of prophecy that prophecy which first issued from God himself to Adam and Abraham, then to Moses: and the Prophets, and ended in Jesus Christ and his Apostles : we destroy the efficacy of these prophecies, which were from time to time so many cheering messages from God to mankind, telling them, that his goodness never forgot nor forsook them. This venerable pile is tumbled to the ground, and with it the value we affix to the miracles of our Saviour; in fact, the essential virtue and excellence both of the Old and New Testament entirely evaporate, if we do not believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, and their contents can be considered no more than a mere system of mo ralsty. But before people suffer their minds to reject an absolute assertion made by the
Almighty God, and likewise repeatedly and repeatedly made by so perfect a character as Jesus Christ, and which all the Prophets, all the Evangelists, and all the Apostles equally affirm, I would wish them again to reflect on that character, and likewise on the nature of infinite goodness, in the manner Scripture and reason allow men to interpret and understand it.
All the words and actions of our blessed Saviour had reference only to the promotion either of the temporal and eternal interest of man, or the glory of God, and no other; for when the multitude would have made him a king, he fled from them, constantly affirming, that his kingdom was not of this world; and there is no part of his conduct which can induce a different opinion in the human mind. There is, in fact, that consistency between the words and actions of our Saviour, and the prophecies respecting him, as no art, no combination, no falsehood, nor any thing but truth and the will of God, could have effected. And whoever doubts of the divine mission of Jesus Christ, it is incumbent on him to assign a rational cause for the suicide of Judas Iscariot; for as he must have been witness to all our Saviour both said and did,
unless in his heart he had been convinced of his innocence and truth, he must have been of opinion, that he was an impostor; and then, so far from hanging himself, he must have considered his betraying him as a very laudable and meritorious action. And those who doubt of the resurrection of our Saviour, should inform us what became of his body after his crucifixion, and why the chief priests did not exhibit it to the people; and likewise, if Jesus Christ had not by his resurrection accomplished this criterion of his mission, and had deceived his disciples in this momentous point, how it came to pass that these men, who were so fearful and pusillanimous as to fly from and desert our Saviour whilst he was alive, should have shewn such attachment to him as they did after his death, as' to endure every suffering whatever, even to death itself, in their attachment to an impostor and deceiver. For in no other light was it possible for them to have considered him, had not the reality of his resurrection proved at the same time the- truth of his divine mission, and that he was the Son of God, as he had repeatedly affirmed himself to be ; particularly at the awful period of his examination before the high priest,
who solemnly required of him to declare if he was the Son of God, saying, “ Art thou “ the Christ, the Son of the Blessed ? And 6 Jesus said unto him, I am.” Likewise in the most express terms to the woman of Samaria he said, he was the Messiah, and as such could and would hereafter fulfil those glorious promises of immortal happiness in a future life which he had expressly made to his disciples, and which influenced them, like St. Paul, to “ reckon the sufferings of this pre“ sent time as not worthy to be compared “ with the glory which should hereafter be " revealed.”.
The character of all theological impostors has ever been marked and distinguished either by hypocrisy, enthusiasm, or coercion, and always by requiring and exacting great personal honour and homage; whereas none of these in the least degree attach or can be imputed to the character of our blessed Saviour. His zeal (not for any honour or homage to himself, but for the honour of God and his worship) was invariably shewn in all his words and actions ; it was proyed by his rebuking and reproving the Scribes and Pharisees for invalidating the commandments of God, by teaching, in lieu of them, the com
mandments and traditions of men; and by his casting out the people who profaned the temple, by buying and selling in it. His abhorrence of all hypocrisy and ostentation was incontestibly proved by the directions he gave respecting fasting, prayer, and giving of alms. His love of justice, by teaching, that, before they judge others, men should first judge themselves. His humility and condescension was displayed in washing the feet of his disciples. His compassion and benevolence, by that feeling and pathetic exclamation before mentioned in favour of the Jewish nation, “ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, “ how often would I have gathered thy chil“ dren together, as a hen doth gather her “ brood under her wings, and ye would not!” and in favour of the human species in general by this endearing and affectionate address to it, “ Come unto me, all
that traS6 vail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh * you." His wisdom was displayed by pro pounding such a perfect system of morality and religion, as no man or set of men could do, or had ever done; and by his detecting and exposing every snare laid to entrap his words and actions. Likewise his courage was acknowledged by the Herodians in these