« הקודםהמשך »
see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
Give not that, which is holy, unto the dogs ; neither cast ye your pearls before swine : lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit ; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one, that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he, that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven *. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets f. Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you I. A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another g.
Such were the precepts of him, who claimed to be the expected Messiah and the Saviour of mankind. Their unexampled purity will be
vi. vii. John xiii. 13-15.
+ Matt. xxii. 37-40.
John xiii. 34, 35.
controverted by none : and their intrinsic excellence approves itself to every heart and head. Never man spake like this man, was the honest confession of the officers who had been sent to apprehend him*: Truly this was the Son of God, was the acknowledgment of the centurion and his companions even while he was hanging upon the cross t. In the sayings of our Lord, we behold a calm and dignified and heavenly strain of morality : but we vainly seek for the least tincture of insane fanaticism. All is composed and serene, equal and consistent. There are no jarring incongruities, no clashing contradictions, no undue elevation of one moral virtue, no unreasonable depression of another. Every thing appears in its right place : the whole is perfect harmony: from a perusal of the system we rise satisfied and convinced. Throughout these admirable discourses, instead of that superiority to ordinances which some enthusiasts have claimed for themselves and their followers, we find the dutiful necessity of obedience to the moral law strenuously inculcated upon every disciple: instead of a violent and exclusive enunciation of some one favourite dogma or line of conduct, we find our whole duty both to God and man clearly explained and impartially enforced : instead of those useless austerities and appalling self-macerations which in all ages and countries Fanaticism has proposed as the surest mode of propitiating the Deity, we find universal love and meekness and sincerity and mercy and purity both of heart and life set forth as the only certain evidence of our being the children of a heavenly Father. In no part of Christ's recorded language can we discover the slightest vestige of a wild enthusiasm.
* John vii. 46.
+ Matt. xxvii. 54.
(2.) As little can we perceive it in any of those actions, which are recorded as having been performed by him.
When a captious question was proposed as to the legality of a Jew's paying tribute to Cesar, we cannot doubt what the answer of an enthusiast would have been. Inflated with high notions of his own divine commission, and viewing with indignation the subject state of the people whom he believed himself appointed to deliver, he would forthwith have boldly declared the deed unlawful, and would have enjoined either a sullen refusal or a bold resistance by force of arms. But Christ, with singular adroitness, neither exposed himself to the anger of the Jews by controverting one of their favourite maxims, nor compromised himself with the Roman government by declaring that tribute ought not to be paid. Render unto Cesar, said, he, upon an inspection of the imperial effigies which marked the tax-money: Render unto Cesar the things which are Cesar's, and unto God the things that are God's *.
* Matt. xxii. 15-22.
So likewise when another question was proposed by the Sadducees, which, as they imagined, reduced the doctrine of a future state to an absurdity, he hesitated not a moment to give an answer so calm and so rational, that nothing can possibly be more unlike the frantic ebullitions of enthusiasm. Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For, in the resurrection, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage ; but are as the angels of God in heaven. But, as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying ; I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the
An enthusiast, when attacked by the arm of force, is generally prone to repel violence with violence : and, believing himself to be the immediate favourite of heaven, he not unfrequently, even if his followers be ever so few, will confidently promise to them a certain victory. But, when in defence of his Lord a zealous disciple wounded one of the servants of the high-priest, Jesus ordered him to forbear; at once declaring the fate of those who should draw the sword in resistance to authority, and intimating the utter needlessness of such a step were he himself inclined to crush his enemies. Put up again thy sword into his place : for all they, that take the sword, shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou, that I cànnot now pray to my Father ; and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be * ?
* Matt. xxii. 23_-32.
An enthusiast, moreover, is very apt to incul. cate his doctrines by fire and sword; as thinking that those deserve no mercy, who can impiously reject what to him appears the undeniable mind of heaven. But the mode of propagating Christianity, prescribed by its founder, is the very reverse of such sanguinary proceedings. As ye go, said he to his disciples when he sent them forth, preach, saying': The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Freely ye have received, freely give. Behold, I send you forth as sheep, in the midst of wolves t. Hence, when two of his disciples would fain have called down fire from heaven upon a Samaritan village which had refused him admission, he gravely rebuked them for their violence; intimating at the same time, that they little knew what spirit they were of: for the Son of man, said he, is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them I.
Various other instances of Christ's perfect freedom from enthusiasm might easily be produced : but these may be deemed sufficient. It may safely, in short, be asserted, that not a single mark of fanaticism can be exhibited against
* Matt. xxvi. 51-54.
† Matt. x. 7, 8, 16. Luke ix. 51 ---56.