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legions of angels, the Giver of life to whomsoever he pleaseth, the Son of God who shall sit on his glorious throne to judge the world. At other times we find him embracing young children, not lifting up his voice in the streets, not breaking the bruised reed nor quenching the smoking flax; calling his disciples, not servants, but friends and brethren, and comforting them with an exuberant and parental affection. Let us pause an instant, and fill our minds with the idea of one who knew all things heavenly and earthly, searched and laid open the inmost recesses of the heart, rectified every prejudice and removed every mistake of a moral and religious kind, by a word exercised a sovereignty over all nature, penetrated the hidden events of futurity, gave promises of admission into a happy immortality, had the keys of life and death, claimed an union with the Father ; and yet was pious, mild, gentle, humble, affable, social, benevolent, friendly, affectionate. Such a character is fairer than the morning star. virtue is made stronger by opposition and contrast ; and the union of so many virtues forms a brightness which fitly represents the glory of that God “ who inhabiteth light inaccessible.”
Such a character must have been a real one. There is something so extraordinary, so perfect, and so godlike in it, that it could not have been thus supported throughout by the utmost stretch of human art, much less by men confessedly d unlearned and obscure.
5 Kgατίση των αρελών δοκεί είναι η δικαιοσύνη και 25' έσαερος άθ' εαος ότα Grupasás. Arist. Eth. Nic. v. p. 1. 196. 8vo.
1 Tim. vi. 16. d Acts iv. 13.
OF THE TESTIMONY WHICH HAS BEEN BORNE TO OUR
LORD'S CHARACTER BY ENEMIES.
The last section fitly concludes the subject which I undertook to discuss. But there are some topics so nearly connected with my design in this work, that I cannot leave them untouched.
In the first place, it will be curious and useful to observe what concessions our Lord's adversaries have made in favour of the great and glorious character which I have attempted to delineate.
When the Chief Priests and Pharisees sent officers to apprehend Jesus, fear of offending their rulers did not deter them from acknowledging that “ never man a spake like him."
When our Lord made an appeal to the perfect rectitude of his life, which no other man could have made at any time, “ Which of you convinceth me of sin ?" The Jews had recourse to calumny instead of facts, “ Say we e not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a demon ?"
When he argued against the Sadducees on the subject of the resurrection, some of the Scribes said, "d Master, thou hast spoken well.” And when he answered a teacher of the law, who tried his wisdom by asking him which was the first and great precept of the law, the Scribe himself made this acknowledgment, “Ofe a truth, Master, thou hast spoken well."
• John vii 46.
b c. viii. 46.
d Luke xx, 39.
When he f questioned the Chief Priests, Scribes and Elders whether the baptism of John was of heaven or of men, they durst not assert that it was of men because they feared the people, all of whom held John to be a prophet indeed. This corroborates the signal attestations given by the Baptist to our Lord.
The testimony of Judas clearly shews that our Lord uniformly led that humble, unambitious life which the evangelists describe ; and which cut off all expectations from one who, like him, entertained nothing but sordid and corrupt views. It was with a divine wisdom that 8 our Lord, though he knew every dark purpose of the traitor's heart, yet admitted him among the number of his immediate followers. For thus an enemy became acquainted with the most private transactions of our Lord's life, and yet
had no seditious or secular design to disclose, no accusation of any kind to allege which might sully the lustre of his character. On the contrary, when awakened to a sense of his guilt, his public declaration, in an hour when insincerity cannot be supposed, was this : “I h have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.”
Again : when the Jewish rulers were determined to compass our Lord's death, we have in effect an attestation to his upright and irreproachable life from these his most implacable enemies. After i
After i diligent
• Mark xii. 32. * Matt. xxi. 26. and p. p. & See a pamphlet on the Conduct and Character of Judas Iscariot. Edinburgh. 1751.
h Matt. xxvii. 4. * ib. xxvi. 60, 1, Luke xxiii. 2.
inquiry, they could bring no testimonies against him but frivolous or false ones; nay, one of their kallegations serves to prove that he uttered a remarkable prophecy: nor could they have any advantage over him but what his own uniform and unshaken virtue afforded them, when before the high priest and the Roman governor he' witnessed a good confession.
We have a like testimony to our Lord's innocence from the crafty and malevolent Herod ; who, when our Lord was brought before him, held him indeed in derision, and contemned his meekness, like one whose mind was incapable of perceiving in what true dignity consisted ; yet found no fault in him respecting those things of which he was” vehemently accused, though a short time before, probably be. cause he suspected him to be a mover of sedition, he had sought occasion to take away" his life.
Herod had also a full persuasion of our Lord's supernatural power. When he heard of all his actions, he concluded that he was John the Baptist, raised from the dead by the divine interposition, and enabled to work o miracles in vindication of his innocence : and he was rejoiced to see Jesus at his tribunal; for he hoped that some P miracle would have been performed in his presence.
The Jews, when they absurdly and blasphemously ascribed our Lord's miracles to 9 Satan, by that very calumny, of resolving them into the power of a
k Comp. Matt. xxvi. 61.
John ii. 19.
Matt. xxvi. 64. and p. p. xxvii. 11. and p. p. m Luke xxiii. 10, 14, 15. nib. xiii. 31 • Matt. xiv. 2. and p. p. ? Like xxiii. 8.
9 Matt. xii. 24. and p. P
superior evil being, allowed their reality and great
“So 'weak a subterfuge for evading the evidence of their senses probably satisfied neither others nor themselves: otherwise this accusation of sorcery (being capital by their law and also by the Roman) would have been heard of when they were so much to seek for crimes wherewith to charge him on his trial.”
“ What do we ? for this man doeth many miracles ;" were the words of the Chief Priests and Pharisees, when they took counsel together against Je. sus on occasion of his raising Lazarus from the dead.
Nay, the rulers of the Jews by their very derision of our Lord on the cross confirm our faith in him. “ He ' saved others,” they confess; though they inconsistently add, “ Himself he cannot save.”
The Pharisees, by narrowly examining into the miracle performed on the man who had been u blind from his birth, and by reviling him and casting him out of the synagogue for persisting in the truth, served more and more to establish the fact in every step taken by them.
I do not insist on Pilate's w repeated assertions of our Lord's innocence; nor on the centurion's words, "* Certainly this was a righteous man :" because however remarkable these declarations are, as proceeding from unprejudiced persons, or rather from men whose prepossessions were unfavourable to one treated as a malefactor, yet they cannot strictly be accounted concessions of enemies.
* Observer, number x.
s John xi. 47. * Matt. xxvii. 42. John ix. w Luke xxiii. 4, 14. John xix, 6. Matt. Ixvii. 24. * Luke xxiii. 47. and p. p.