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a state of happiness or misery in the world to come, by our Saviour himself, our merciful and compassionate judge. There never was any man in the Christian world, but felt the reasonableness and importance of this doctrine; and, whenever these things have been repeated to him, was immediately conscious to himself, either of having followed or transgressed these precepts.
THE SIMPLICITY OF THE GOSPEL GIVES IT AN AIR OF SUBLIMITY.
THE graceful negligence of nature always pleases beyond the truest ornaments that art can devise. Indeed, they are then truest, when they approach the nearest to this negligence. To attain it, is the very triumph of art. The wise artist, therefore, always completes his studies in the great school of creation, where the forms of elegance lie scattered in an endless variety; and the writer who wishes to possess some portion of that sovereign excellence, simplicity, even though he were an infidel, would have recourse to the Scriptures, and make them his model.
The pathetic and sublime simplicity of our Saviour's whole description of the last judgment cannot be paralleled in any writing of any age.—
In the Gospel we find no pompous displays of reasoning; no laboured and difficult distinctions; no long and learned inquiries concerning the nature and kinds of virtue; but virtue itself represented to the life; in examples, and precepts, which are level to the plainest understandings;
in familiar occurrences; in short and simple narrations; in actions, or discourses, real or imagined. And perhaps, among other things, it is this unsystematic form, this neglect of art and method, which produces that graceful ease, that venerable, majestic simplicity, that air of truth and originality, which distinguish the Scriptures from all human writings. Rev. J. Mainwaring.
THE SPOTLESS CHARACTER OF CHRIST, A PROOF OF HIS COMING FROM GOD.
BESIDES that God gave testimony from Heaven concerning Jesus, he also gave this testimony of himself to have come from God, because that 'he did God's will; for he that is a good man and lives, by the laws of God and of his nation, a life innocent and simple, prudent and wise, holy and spotless, unreproved and unsuspected, he is certainly by all wise men said in a good sense to be the son of God; but he who does well and speaks well, and calls all men to glorify and serve God, and serves no ends but of holiness and charity, of wisdom of hearts and reformation of manners, this man carries great authority in his sayings, and ought to prevail with good men in good things, for good ends, which is all that is here required.
But his nature was so sweet, his manners so humble, his words so wise and composed, his comportment so grave and winning, his answers so reasonable, his questions so deep, his reproof
so severe and charitable, his pity so great and merciful, his preachings so full of reason and holiness, of weight and authority, his conversation so useful and beneficent, his poverty great but his alms frequent, his family so holy and religious, his and their employment so profitable, his meekness so incomparable, his passions without difference, save only where zeal or pity carried him on to worthy and apt expressions; a person that never laughed, but often wept in a sense of the calamities of others: he loved every man and hated no man; he gave counsel to the doubtful, and instructed the ignorant; he bound up the broken hearts, and stengthened the feeble knees; he relieved the poor, and converted the sinners; he despised none that came to him for relief, and as for those that did not, he went to them; he took all occasions of mercy that were offered him, and went abroad for more; he spent his days in preaching and healing, and his nights in prayers and conversation with God: he was obedient to laws and subject to princes, though he was the prince of Judea in right of his mother, and of all the world in right of his father; the people followed him, but he made no conventions, and when they were made, he suffered no tumults; when they would have made him a king, he withdrew himself; when he knew they would put him to death, he offered himself; he knew men's hearts, and conversed secretly, and gave answer to their thoughts, and prevented their questions; he would work a miracle rather than give offence, and yet suffer every offence rather than see God his father
dishonoured; he exactly kept the law of Moses, to which he came to put a period, and yet chose to signify his purpose only by doing acts of mercy upon their Sabbath, doing nothing which they could call a breach of a commandment, but healing sick people, a charity, which themselves would do to beasts, and yet they were angry at him for doing it to their brethren.
In all his life, and in all his conversation with his nation, he was innocent as an angel of light; and when by the greatness of his worth, and the severity of his doctrine, and the charity of his miracles, and the noises of the people, and his immense fame in all that part of the world, and the multitude of his disciples, and the authority of his sermons, and his free reproof of their hypocrisy, and his discovery of their false doctrines and weak traditions, he had branded the reputations of the vicious rulers of the people, and they resolved to put him to death, they who had the biggest malice in the world, and the weakest accusations, were forced to support their want of articles against him by making truth to be his fault, and his office to be his crime, and his open confession of what was asked him, to be the article of condemnation; and yet, after all this, they could not persuade the competent judge to condemn him, or to find him guilty of any fault; and therefore they were forced to threaten him with Cæsar's name, against whom then they would pretend him to be an enemy, though in their charge they neither proved, nor indeed said it against him; and yet to whatsoever they objected he made no return, but his silence and his inno
cence were remarkable and evident, without labour and reply, and needed no more arguments than the sun needs an advocate to prove, that he is the brightest star in the firmament.
THE VOLUME OF THE SCRIPTURES SUPERIOR TO ALL OTHER BOOKS.
THE Scriptures contain, independently of a divine origin, more true sublimity, more exquisite beauty, purer morality, more important history, and finer strains both of poetry and eloquence, than could be collected within the same compass, from all other books that were ever composed in any age, or in any idiom. The two parts, of which the Scriptures consist, are connected by a chain of compositions, which bear no resemblance, in form or style, to any that can be produced from the stores of Grecian, Indian, Persian, or even Arabian, learning. The antiquity of those compositions no man doubts; and the unstrained application of them to events long subsequent to their publication, is a solid ground of belief, that they were genuine predictions, and consequently Sir William Jones. inspired *.
-There is not a book on earth so favourable to all the kind, and all the sublime affections, or so unfriendly to hatred and persecution, to tyran
* We extract this passage from the author's Eighth Discourse to the Society for Asiatic Researches. He is said to have written it also at the end of his Bible.-Editor.