תמונות בעמוד

ly obedient, throughout almost all his life, to the commands of his parents. No person was ever so ushered into life; or marked out by Providence for so extraordinary purposes. No person so early engrossed the attention and admiration of the great and wise by his mental endowments. Whatever could awaken in his mind the loftiest views of ambition, enkindle a strong sense of personal superiority, or produce feelings of absolute independence, he could recount among the incidents, which either attended him at his birth, or followed him in his childhood.

Still no child, no youth, no man of riper years, was ever so respectful and dutiful to his parents. To them, in the language of St. Luke, he was subject, evidently, till he began to be about thirty years of age. To this period he lived, contentedly, a humble, retired, and unobserved life; following quietly the occupation of his father, with such industry and regularity, as to be known familiarly by the appellation of the Carpenter.

Civilized men have united with a single voice to applaud, and extol, Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia, for his moderation and condescension, displayed in labouring at the employment of a Ship-Carpenter, in the Saardam. Unquestionably, this conduct was the result of sound wisdom, and unusual self-government, on the part of this great man; and fairly claimed the admiration, which it received. What, then, shall be said, when we behold him, whose title was the Son of God; whose birth Angels proclaimed, predicted, and sung ; to whom Angels ministered at his pleasure; who commanded winds, and waves, and life, and death; who triumphed over the grave, and ascended to heaven; working at an employment equally humble, not a few days only, but the principal part of his life: and all this, not to subserve the purposes of ambition, but from a sense of duty, and in the exercise of filial piety?

The same character was gloriously manifested by Christ during his public ministry. Particularly, while he hung upon the cross, suffered the agonies of that excruciating death, and bore the sins of mankind in his body on the accursed tree; when he saw his unhappy mother pierced with anguish, by his side, he forgot his own woes; commended her to the care of his beloved disciple John, as his future mother; and that disciple to her, as her future

son; and thus made provision for her maintenance and comfort through life. Thus he began; and thus he ended.

Secondly. Of the same perfect nature were his Candour and Liberality.

The spirit, which is denoted by these two names, is substantially the same; and differs, chiefly, by being exercised toward different objects. That this spirit should exist at all in Christ will naturally seem strange ; when we remember, that he was born of a humble family, in the most bigoted nation in the world, and in the most bigoted age of that nation; and was educated in that humble manner, which naturally leads the mind to imbibe with reverence the bigoted sentiments of the great, and to add to them the numerous and peculiar prejudices springing from ignorance. But from all this influence he escaped without the least contamination. There is not an instance, recorded in his life, in which he was more attached to any person, or thing, or more opposed to either than truth and wisdom must entirely justify. There is no instance, in which he ever censured, or commended, those of his own nation, or of any other, either more, or less, than plain justice demanded. On the contrary, he commended every thing, approved by wisdom and piety; and reproved every thing bigoted, partial, prejudiced, and faulty, in man.

A great part of the people of his nation were his enemies; and among the most bitter of these were the Pharisees. Yet he said to his disciples, The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat : all, therefore, that they say unto you, do. But do ye not after their works ; for they say, and do not. No commendation of the precepts of these men could easily have been conveyed in more expressive language than this. By directing his disciples to follow their precepts, he declared them, in forcible terms, to be true and right : that is, with such exceptions, as he has elsewhere made, and as the same exact regard to truth demanded.

The same disposition he manifested in the case of the Syrophenician woman ; and in that of the Roman Centurion. The Jews considered all the heathen nations as deserving nothing but contempt and detestation, and called them dogs. But Christ preferred the faith of the Centurion, although a Roman, to that of all other persons, with whom he conversed; even to that of his own Apostles.

In the same generous manner he treated the publicans ; regarded by their countrymen as the vilest of sinners. In the same manner, also, he treated the Samaritans; against whom the Jezus exercised the most furious hatred, and with whom they refused to have any dealings; even those of the most indifferent and ne

cessary kind.


The same disposition he showed with respect to doctrines, opinions, and customs. No specimen can be produced, from the history of his life, of bigoted attachment to his own doctrines, or those of his nation, or those of his friends; of prejudice against those of strangers or enemies; of favouritism or party spirit; of contracted regard to any custom because sanctioned by public usage, or general respect, of reluctance lo conform to any innocent practice, by whomsoever adopted; or of any narrowness of mind whatever.

When invited to a marriage, he cheerfully went; when bidden to a feast, he readily consented to become a guest. Nor did it make any difference, because the host was on the one hand Matthew or Zaccheus, a publican; or, on the other, Simon, a Phari

In a word, he adopted, and commended, nothing, except what was true and right; and neither refused, nor condemned, any thing, except that which was false and evil. Nor did it make the least difference with him, whether that which was approved, or censured, was adopted by friends, or enemies.

Thirdly. His Prudence was consummate on all occasions.

Particularly was it manifested in avoiding the wiles, and open assaults, of the Jews. Notwithstanding the invincible firmness of mind, universally displayed by our Saviour; notwithstanding he lost no opportunity of doing good; yet he never wantonly exposed himself to any suffering: discovering clearly, on every occasion, a total opposition, to that vain and idle fool-hardiness, which rushes into danger, merely to gain the reputation of being courageous.

The same prudence is strongly evinced in teaching his disciples, and others, as their minds were able to receive his instruc

tions; giving milk to babes, and strong meat to men; opening new doctrines, and duties, by degrees; and never pouring new wine into old bottles. At the same time, he commended his pre

. cepts, both to the heart and the understanding, by their form. At one time, he communicated them in short aphorisms ; easily understood, deeply felt, long remembered, and readily applied to practice. At another, he conveyed them in parables; simple, beautiful, natural, and affecting ; catching the imagination and feelings, as well as convincing the understanding. At another, he entered into plain, but profound, curious, and unanswerable, reasonings: showing, both from the works and the word of God, that his precepts were just, and his doctrines true. Thus he charmed by variety and novelty, as well as proved by argument and evidence; and became, innocently, all things to all men; that at least he might gain some.

The same character he discovered in a manner, not less remarkable, in answering the questions, and resolving the cases, proposed to him by the Pharisees and Sadducees. In every instance of this nature he refuted their arguments, exploded their opinions, defeated their crafty designs against him, and publicly put them to shame and to silence. Thus he beautifully illustrated the truth of that memorable declaration, which he had anciently made concerning himself, I, wisdom, dwell with prudence.

The same truth he still more strikingly illustrated by the uniform tenour of his life. This was such, as to defeat all the malicious accusations of his numerous and bitter enemies; and to place his character beyond a doubt of its innocence and uprightness. To this end it was not sufficient, that he was really innocent and upright. It was additionally necessary, that he should be consummately prudent. In proportion to their want of prudence, all men are endangered in this respect; and most become sufferers. But Christ was regularly considered as an innocent man by all persons, even of moderate candour; had a high reputation for worth in the eyes of the public; and, when tried, on the accusation of enemies and villains, before a malignant and unprincipled tribunal, was pronounced clear of every imputation. Equal proof of prudence, as well as innocence, was never furnished in the present world.

Vol. II.


Fourthly. His Integrity was equally perfect.

This dignified characteristic is strongly visible in several of the things already recited as proofs of his Candour : candour itself being no other, than a particular mode of exercising integrity. Of this nature are his impartial censures and commendations of his friends and his enemies. The same spirit is conspicuous in his reproofs, which, on the one hand, were bold, open, and sincere, and, on the other, were perfectly free from selfishness and ill nature. It is also strikingly 'evident in the perfect simplicity of his instructions and conversation. In them all, there cannot be found a single instance of flattery, sarcasm, ambiguity, affectation, vanity, arrogance, or ill-will. Nay, nothing is enhanced beyond the strictest hounds of propriety. Nothing is so coloured as to deceive; nothing left so defective as to mislead. The strongest specimen, ever given of integrity in the manner of communication, is found in the instructions of Christ.

Many persons have been distinguished for their integrity; and so distinguished, as to leave behind them, in their history, little or no stain upon their reputation in this respect. But Christ differs, evidently, from them all in the degree, in which he manifested this attribute ; and so differs from them, as that simplicity and openness of communication forms a remarkable characteristic of the style, in which he spoke; and constitutes, eminently, what may be called his own original manner. As this runs through all his discourses, as recited by the several Evangelists; it is evident from this fact, that it was his own manner, and not theirs.

The same illustrious attribute was, in the same manner, evinced in all his conduct. By applause he was never allured : by obloquy he was never driven. Popular favour he never coveted: popular odium he never dreaded. To friends and enemies, to the populace and the Sanhedrim, he declared truth, and proclaimed their duty, without favour or fear. When he stood be. fore the Sanhedrim, and was on trial for his life; being adjured by the high priest to declare whether he was the Son of God; he boldly said, though he knew, that death would be the consequence, I am. And, to place the declaration beyond all reasona

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