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in you."* And, did the Spirit supply them with a mouth and wisdom that their enemies could not resist, and desert them when they came to fill up those documents, by which Christianity was to be embodied and brought into a tangible shape, that it might descend with the Church to the end of the world? We have already observed that the harmony which these writers exhibit, all of them building on the same foundation, and raising the superstructure with the same materials, and prosecuting iuvariably the same plan, yet not writing in concert, shows that they wrote by another spirit than their own. The divine and moral style of their writings has in it a purity, a dignity, a sublimity, an energy, and a pathos, to which nothing but inspiration could have exalted it.
This fact has been felt and confessed by men of the finest and most cultivated talents; by men who have embraced, and by men who have rejected Christianity. Of the former, Sir William Jones, and of the latter, Rousseau, may be produced as examples. “I have regularly and attentively,” says Sir William Jones, “ read these Holy Scriptures, and am of opinion, that this Volume, independent of its Divine origin, contains more sublimity and beauty, more pure morality, more important history, and finer strains of poetry and eloquence, than can be collected from all other books, in whatever age or language they may have been composed.”
The testimony of Rousseau is still more remarkable, as he was, though possessed of the strongest powers of discrimination, a wicked man and an infidel. “I will confess to you, further, that the majesty of the Scripture
• Matthew, x, 19, 20,
strikes me with admiration, as the purity of the Gospel hath its influence on my heart. Peruse the works of our philosophers, with all their pomp and diction-how mean -how contemptible are they, compared with the Scripture! Is it possible that a book at once so simple and sublime, should be merely the work of man? Is it possible that the sacred personage whose history it contains should be himself a mere man? Do you find that he assumed the air of an enthusiast or ambitious sectary? What sweetness, what purity in his manners! What an affecting gracefulness in his delivery! What sublimity in his maxims! What profound wisdom in his discourses ! What presence of mind! What subtilty! What truth in his replies! How great the command over his passions! Where is the man, where the philosopher, who could so live and die, without weakness and without ostentation ? Shall we suppose the Evangelical History a mere fiction? Indeed, my friend it bears not the marks of fiction. On the contrary, the history of Socrates, which nobody presumes to doubt, is not so well attested as that of Jesus Christ. The Jewish authors were incapable of the diction, and strangers to the morality contained in the Gospels; the marks of whose truth are so striking and invincible, that the inventor would be a more astonishing character than the hero.”*
The New Testament Scriptures consist of the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and twenty-two Epistles. Many persons who look with no very friendly eye on the great doctrines of Christianity, and yet are willing to be called Christians, argue that we are to look to the four
Quoted by Mr. Fuller, Gospel its own Witness, p. 166.
Gospels principally, if not wholly, for the đoctrines of our religion; because, say they, these are the sole records of our Saviour's discourses. That all the doctrines of Christianity were substantially taught by our Saviour, will readily be admitted ; but some of them neither were nor could be taught in so explicit a manner as they afterwards were, by our Saviour's Apostles. The death of Christ is represented by the Apostles, as well as by himself, as the great price paid for the redemption of a guilty world.
But had our Saviour preached this doctrine as openly to the Jews before his death, as his Apostles did after his resurrection, that people no doubt would have repelled the charge of crucifying the Son of God, by pleading that He had himself invited them to do the very action for which they were upbraided.
Even our Saviour's disciples were so averse from hearing of his death before that event took place, that whenever he approached the subject they found their feelings wounded.-- The A. postle John, in his Gospel, introduces our Saviour in his farewel sermon, thus addressing his disciples : “ I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he shall show you things to come.”* We have, therefore, our Saviour's own authority, for seeking, in the writings of his Apostles, a more lucid, a more expanded and ramified statement of the doctrines of his religion, than the circumstances of his situation admitted of being given by himself, during his personal ministry.
• John, xvi, 12, 13,
The effects which Christianity has produced on the state of man, furnish a powerful argument for its divine origin. If the question be asked, what has this religion done? even a very imperfect statement of facts must carry with it a luminous evidence of its having come from God. This religion found the public worship of the Creator of the world, with the exception of one small spot, and of a few scattered families of one nation, proscribed in the world that He had made; altars smoking with incense, not to Him, but to demons and consecrated vices. Wherever its light penetrated, it either made men abandon those temples and altars which an infuriate superstition bad taught them to erect, or it made them throw them down with their own hands. It rebuilt the altar of God which had long lain in ruins; introduced men, the most illiterate, to the knowledge of the God in whom they lived, moved, and had their being. It conducted them from those broken cisterns which could hold no water, to the living fountain of waters. Open idolatry fled before it, and has never dared to lift up its polluted head, where the Gospel is generally known. It has diffused among the laborious poor, a knowledge of the moral character, and of the moral government of God; of the state and character of man; of the duties he owes to God; and of the blessings which God has, in a future state, prepared for those who love him, with which the knowledge communicated by the philosophy of Socrates, or of Plato, cannot for a moment bear a comparison. By the discoveries it has made of the inestimable love of God in our Redemption, it has opened for sinners a way into the most holy place, by the blood of Jesus. By the promise of the Holy Spirit of God to regenerate, and to sanctify fallen man, it has
inspired with divine hopes, those who (conscious of their death in trespasses and sins,) must, otherwise, have despaired of finding power to resuscitate and quicken themselves to the love and to the service of God. It has restored not only to the favour of God, but also to themselves, to their families and friends, and to society at large, innumerable multitudes who were sunk into such a state of profligacy, as to be their own tormentors, and the pests of all around them. It has made them new creatures, taught them to live to God, and to promote the best interests of their fellow men; to fill up the relative duties of life, with a mind tamed to the yoke of the divine law. Such changes and such cures has Christianity wrought, and such it continues to work, in the humble walks of life. When its principles are cordially received by men of rank and affluence, then arises a Dartmouth, a Thornton, a Howard, or a Dale, who, like his divine master, goes about doing good; and, in promoting the happiness of mankind, most effectually promotes his own. -Christianity, were its influence universally felt, would put an end to wars, and already its influence has been so far felt, that it has softened the ferocity of war and conquest, and stamped a humanity on the manners of its professors, to which Pagans were utter strangers. It has abolished the combats of gladiators, and the practice of exposing children; the immolation of slaves, and even the state of slavery, wherever its voice is heard, it has either greatly ameliorated, or altogether removed. It has, by its influence, directly or indirectly, built thousands of asylums for poverty and distress; whereas the history of Paganism does not furnish us with an account of the erection of one. It has interdicted polygamy, and repressed the frequency of divorces. It is the only