the Christ; and in one place he limits their silence Chapter Verso upon this matter, until he was risenfroin the dead. (Vide Matth. ch. xvi. v. 20, and ch. xvii. y. 9.) And when the Jews said to him publickly in the temple-How long doft thou make us doubt? If thou be the Christ tell us plainly. They received an evasive answer, vide John, ch. x. V, 24. Before this he had given the like answer to other enquiries, vide John, ch, viii. And after this, he does the same to the high priest, and to Pilate ; and when questioned by Herod, he was silent. And yet, John tells us (ch. ix.) that he discovered himself to the man who was born blind, receives his adoration, and assigns a reason for it which must fail of approbation. It indeed corresponds with some parts of his doc-' trine, but is contradictory to those of a better tendency. The same inconsistency is found in his orders to those he had healed, &c. Some he commanded that they should tell no man : others, that they should proclaim what great things God had done for them. Having made this long digression, to which the scriptures offer much matter for addition, we will now return to St. Matthew's account of the instructions given to the twelve.

. And as you go, preach, saying, The king- x 7 ?dom of Heaven is at hand. John began his misson with this declaration, Jesus followed him ; ... and now orders his disciples to do the same. It


[blocks in formation]


Chapter Verse was indeed an information highly necessary, if

what he assured them, in the 23d verse, had been literally fulfilled - Verily I say unto you, ye • shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, o till the Son of Man be come. Again ch. xvi. v. 28. Verily I say unto you, there be some

standing here, which shall not taste of death,

till they see the Son of Man coming in his ' kingdom.' And again ch. xxiii. v. 36. ' Ve• rily I say unto you, all these things shall come • upon this generation. Greatest part of ch. xxiv, particularly v. 33— So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is

near, even at the doors.? And in ch. xxi. of St. Luke, the approaching end of the world is declared in the most express, and clearest

terms*. Jesus, according to Matthew, proceeds X. 8 – Heal the fick, cleanse the lepers, raise the

· dead, cast out devils : freely have ye received;

freely give.' He tells them to provide neither 10 money, nor change of apparel, and gives as a

reason--the workman is worthy of his meat.

Instructs them, when they enter a city or town, 11 to enquire who in it is worthy, and with thein

abide till they went from thence. Adding14 " And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear

your words; when ye depart out of that house

or city, shake off the dust of your feet : Ve15 ' rily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable

* Comments upon this passage will be found page

o for riance

for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the Chapter Verse day of judgment, than for that city. This appears a very heavy judgment, for so light an offence. Possibly the Apostles thought fo : for we do not find they, or either of them used this method of condemnation. (But St. Paul, to whom this direction was not given, executes it readily at Antioch in Pesidea). Jesus tells them ii. 16 to be harmless as doves, but at the same time, wife as serpents; being fent forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Tells them to be aware of men who would deliver them up to the councils, who would scourge them in their synagogues. That they should, for his fake, be questioned by governors and kings. And in that situation they

20 were not to study a defence, for the spirit of the Father would speak in them. Foreseeing the effects of their mission; that some would believe, and others not; he says— And the brother shall ' deliver up the brother to death : and the fa'ther the child : and the children shall rise up

against their parents, and cause them to be put S to death. And ye shall be hated of all men ' for my name's sake. No wonder : if they, by their preaching, occasioned such horrid scenesa And left they might be deterred by viewing them even in idea only ; he, after some other matter, adds - Think not that I am come to send peace " on earth : I came not to send peace on earth, . but a sword. For I came to set a man'at va


E 3

Chapter Verre riance against his father. (Posibly this was

" the case with James and John, two of his dis

• ciples, who had left their father Zebedee toil35 ¢ ing for his subsistance) And the daughter

• against her mother : and the daughter-in-law 36 ' against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes

shall be they of his own houshold.' (I think it is likely, poor Zebedee experienced this. We tead that his wife and sons followed Jesus, but we hear nothing of his doing so himself.) St. Luke, ch. xii. records that Jesus at another time, said I am come to fend fire on the earth, and • what will I, if it be already kindled ? Suppose

ye that I am come to give peace on earth ? I • tell you nay : but rather division. For from

henceforth there shall be five in one house di. • vided, two against three, and two against stwo. The father shall be divided against the "fon, and the son against the father : the mother

against the daughter, and the daughter against • the mother: and the mother-in-law against - her daughter-in-law : and the daughter-in-law

against her mother-in-law. Why were these speeches made? How were they then understood? And, how are we to understand them now? are questions of much moment, but of great difficulty. If they were made as prophecies; they were indeed fulfilled, uniformly and regularly, through the course of a thousand years ; by a fervent zeal for the Christian religion divested of

morality: morality* : and if they were to be understood literally, it could not be otherwise. If the author of this religion came not to promote ' peace on ' earth, and good will towards men,' an host of angels, at his birth, proclaimed a lie to deceive a few ignorant shepherds. If he came to promote dissention, fire, and the sword, of which the world had enough before, he himself had deeeived many, by declarations to the contrary. Ambition had, before this, sufficiently corrupted and thinned mankind : but to deluge the world with the blood of fathers, mothers, brothers, fisters, wives and children, under the pretence of kindness for their souls ; was a crime unknown, and reserved, it seems, for the impious followers of a God, whom they proclaimed the God o Peace. Had the devil himself schemed a religion to deceive mankind; he could not have inserted a more pernicious tenet. These horrid scenes, painted by a faithful hand, must plant a dagger in the heart of humanity. Every benificent being, in those ages, must have exclaimed - happy Paganism! thy mild and tolerant {pirit received the world at large, with all its imperfections : each man worshipped the God of all; under whatever form, by whatever name, and in whatever manner, he thought moft acceptable : he deified every attribute; and in the festivals, poured forth his grateful thanks to all. . Vide pages


[ocr errors]
« 上一页继续 »