Page images

the sortil'eges of Simon, the magician, procured him the honour of a temple at Rome, and the appellation of the Great God, at such a cri-' tical period, when gratitude deified benefactors, and extraordinary powers laid the foundations of temples, and swelled the catalogue of false gods, it was a dangerous and ill-timed doctrine,>t0 preach that he was equal to God ; that he was the Son of God 5 that eternal lise consisted in the knowledge of himself and of his Father ; to command his followers to lay down their lives, sooner than deny him, &In. and to confirm this doctrine by silencing the winds that subsided at his nod ; by calming the stormy &asp-changing the nature of the clements 5 restoring sight to the blind,-the use of their limbs to the'lame; forcing Death to snrrender his spoilsr-and all nature to acknowledge his power and empire. Shall a Paul and Barnabas tear their garments in being taken for something more than mortal men ; and shall Jesus Christ, if he be not God, in a calm, deliberate manner, rob the Creator of all things, of his glory and the worship due to him, in affirming that himself and the God of Heaven are ving-in applauding the faith of the apostle who said that he was the Son of the living God,-and in not checking the disciple who, after thrusting his hand into' his side, exclaimed, " My Lord " and my God l "_



lt is not only in the time of his liberty, when he visits the cities of Israel, healing their sick, raising their dead, feeding multitudes with a few loaves, and refusing the temporal sovereignty which the people offered him, that vhe attributes to' himself the prerogatives of the Divinity. It is in chains, in the course of his trial, and on the cross. Conjured by the high Priest to tell whether he is Christ the Son of God, he' anfivers in the affirmative : aud,*in proof of his assertion, says that they shall see him on the right hand of God. U Do you hear the blas" phemy r" cries out the other. Had he used any mental reservations on this occasion, by saying one thing and meaning another,--by expressing outwardly, V Iam the Son of God," and restraining in his mind the sense of the words, to the quality of a messengen-he would not have answered according to the pontiff's meaning, who knew but too well the difference

between'a messenger, such as any prophet may '

be, and a Son, who must be of the same nature with his Father. &Vhat a precedent for perjurers! And what blasphemy in St. Paul, who affirms, " that he thought it no usurpation to " make himself equal unto God l "

Common sense often supplies the room of metaphysical demonstrations. And common sense will inform you, that' Jesus Christ is either the greatest impostor that ever appeared, or that

' he

he is literally what he declared himself to be; God and Man, for whom the martyrs suffered,whom the Christians adore, and to whom all knees are to bend one day.

If he is an impostor, in vain has the blood of impure victims been drained ; in vain have the altars of false deities been overturned ; in vain' have their idols been crushed, and their temples destroyed ; a new idol has been set up in their room, and the worship due to the sovereign Being has been transferred to an impostor. If this be the case, God, then, must have deceived mortals, in investing an impostor, during his life, and his disciples, after his death, with such extraordinary powers. And the miracles wrought

'in confirmation of their doctrine, and which

could never be wrought but by his express and immediate power, must have been wrought with an express design to mislead his creatures into delusion and error. Rcconcile this, if you can, to his goodness, wisdom, and providence ; and behold the absurdities to which incredulity leads.

lf you intend to reconcile those texts that attribute to the same person, an eternal generation and birth in ti_me,-transcendant glory and prosound humility,+-the power and majesty of a God, with the sufferings and death of a man,

-*-admit in the same person, the Divine and human nature-Then, all seeming contradictions vanish. His infirmities and sufferings are applica'ble to him, as Man ; whilst his glorious characters and titles are to be attributed to his Godhead, disguised under a human veil. Thus,


in Jesus Christ we find the God that created us, *

whereas he is the same with his Father; the Redeemer who purchased us, by paying our ransom ; the spotless Pontiff, through whom we find access to the throne of mercy. His cross is folly to the Jew, and a scandal to the Gentile : but to the Christian it is the power and wisdor'n of God. For if he was not man, he could not suffer : and if he were not God, his sufferings would not avail us. He becomes man, to suffer

for our sake : and, as God, he gives his suffeiu p

ings an infinite price,

I remain, Bcc.




IN the preceding letters, we have touched upon the weakness, and the neceffity of revealed religion ; the obscurity in which mortals were involved, and the incongruity of denying religious mysteries, when the book of nature, open to our eyes, is scarce legible ; our fall in Adam, and our restoration in Christ.

It is now time to examine your opinion concerning the foul of man : an opinion which you deliver in the seventy-second page of your work, in these war/ds : " Hence, I conclude V that the souldies with the body. It is an opi" nion conformable to reason, Observation, and " to the doctrine taught by Jesus Christ and his

p" apostles'." l/Vhatever arguments you might

have drawn from olde-mation, you should have passed over the authority of Christ and his apostles : an authority never adduced before in support of a doctrine which in every page they condemn. Or at least, you should have first a bible of your own, and forced it on the world,

as handed to you by the angel Gabriel. Man

« PreviousContinue »