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Gregory Thaunviturgus, an hugger-muggef miracle, said to be performed on the body of a virgin betrothed to a man, in direct violation pf the law of Moses, and in a corner, in the dark; and therefore, being known only to the unknown Platonistic miracle-monger himself, is totally unwor* thy of credit. If it be urged, that this miracle was, in:its very nature, incapable of ©ccular demonstration, I appeal to the unbiassed judgment of every unsystematic Christian to determine, whether that circumstance alone be not an irrefragable testimony of its falshood.
That Christ could not be born of a woman alone is farther evident, from the known circumstance recorded of Mary/ that her state of pregnancy was of the fame duration with that of other women, or, as the women express themselves, • /he went her full time with him.' This is implied in the expression, 'when the days were accomplished that she should be delivered, she brought forth her first-born son,' &c. This certainly convicts the advocates for a supernatural conception, of the maintenance of an imposture. In order to clinch one
forgery forgery with another; they ought to have amplified the miracle, by extracting hiril from his mother's wOmb, riot merely without obstetrical aid, but without the common previous formality, and tedious length, of a nono-mensialbr nine-month's travail. •'
Moreover, Mary's compliance with the Mosaic ceremony of purification, upon the fuppsition that me brought forth Jesusj without a previous carnal knowledge of a •man, would have been needless and im» pertinent; for how could (he have contracted the legal impurities, directed to be warned away by an observance of that fleshly ordinance, if her delivery of the child; Jesus, had not been preceded by carnal copulation with her husband J ofeph? And yet her purification is recorded as a matter of fact, in Luke ii. 22. consequently, the man, Joseph, was as much concerned in begetting Jesus, as the woman, Mary, was in bringing forth this her first-born son^ the child of her virginity, in this one known and true acceptation of the words.
tt It is in vain to expect, that men of common sense among Jews, Mohammedans* Deists, and Heathens, should embrace Christianity, till they be convinced* that genuine Scripture will, as it actually does, support me in asserting that the Jesus of the Christians was a very man, that is, manbegotten, and woman-born, as other men are. The witty Dean Swift humorously remarks, that ' a nice man is a man of nasty ideas.' With equal justice it may be observed, that the said rare wonderful metaphysicians, who invented the merely maternal origin of Jesus, those spiritual men* were men of carnal ideas.
I have indeed heard it plausibly advanced, in private conversation, that the miraculous or, as it is usually stiled, the immaculate conception, an epithet, which indirectly stigmatizes the common connubial conception, as maculate, or defiled, seems to be necessary, in order to' give solemnity and dignity to the person, office,'and character of the Mediator os the New Covenant, and thereby more powerfully attract the attention •7. ' G. l- \-" of of mankind to the important doctrines be preached.
To this I answer, that his person, office, and character, become more exalted in the eyes of men from the consideration, that he as a mere man lived and died without sin, than if he be regarded as the undefinablemiraculous progeny of a virgin alone, a species of intelligent creature, which being altogether new, whatever name men may invent for it, cannot however be denominated a man. But the Athanasians, or rather the modern Pseudo-Athanasians, pretend, that Jesus was the incarnateself-exiflent Jehovah, and the Arians, in conformity to their pte-existent scheme, assert your Messiah to be a God-man, consequently, the first deprive him of the whole of the merit of his moral conduct, and the last annihilate half of that merit, which he would be intitled to, if .considered in the light of a mere man; for it is self-evident, that, by bestowing on him a complete apotheosis, as supreme God in the one case, and in the other, by humanizing, or abasing, one half, os the essence of his compound nature to a man, and by deifying, or exalting, the other
half half, to a God, those destroy the whole, and these sink half, of the excellence of his sinless character as a man.
If good men among modern Athanasians and Arians could be prevailed on to consider well the unavoidable consequences of their respective fanciful hypotheses, they would soon deliver themselves from the shackles of system, and reverently acknowledge with me the admirable example of complete moral rectitude, conspicuous in the life, sufferings, and death of that perfect man, the man Christ Jesus, which it is their and my duty and interest to imitate, agreeably to the express injunction of him, our lord and master, to the extent of our abilities, in every particular, and on every occasion, throughout life. But, though Jesus, your Messiah, was a very man, begotten by an husband on the body of his wife, yet the faculties of his mind were inlarged by that immeasurable degree of inspiration, which God bestowed on him for the beneficial purpose of preaching his merciful Gospel dispensation to mankind, accompanied with a power to work miracles in confirmation of the truth of his divine mission. But, as you have been long blind to your own di
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