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racter. But he gilded the chains of the French. He filled them with the intoxication of national vanity-he astounded them by his victories -he flattered them by his insolent demeanour to other nations—he imposed no restraints upon their licentious habits, except when they interfered with the even progress of his government-he obtained the suffrages of men of letters by his patronageand he took care to raise many splendid public works, amongst a people who enjoy themselves only in public, and are insensible to the comforts and securities of domestic life. In his private demeanour as a sovereign he was haughty and repulsive ;-coarse and offensive, except upon occasions of show;overbearing and insolent even to the fair sex. But he appears to have been affectionate to his relations ;-and the force of his talents, and the magnificence of his power, could not fail to procure him many warm and faithful friends.
In a word, Bonaparte was the living symbol of the French Revolution. He was the representative of its ferocity, its selfishness, its contempt of ordinary restraints, its mighty daring, its defiance of God, its cruelty to man. What Cromwell was in a fanatical age, Bonaparte was in an atheistical. The world will never again behold two such men, because the circumstances that made them can never again exist. They were both, to a certain extent, impostors; and they both exhausted the materials of their deceptions.
71.- On the New Testament.
DODDRIDGE. [PHILIP DODDRIDGE was born in 1702; died in 1751. His family were of that numerous and respectable body of nonconformists who seceded from the Church soon after the restoration of Charles II. Doddridge was educated for the ministry; and became one of the most distinguished of that body. His early death was lamented not only by those of his own persuasion, but by all zealous and earnest Christians. His works, amongst which are · The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul,' and · The Family Expositor,' are monuments of his deep piety and unaffected eloquence.]
I have long been convinced that if anything can stop that progress of infidelity and vice, which every wise man beholds with sorrow and fear, that if anything can allay those animosities, which (unnatural as they are) have so long inflamed us, and pained the heart of every generous Christian; in a word, that if anything can establish the purity and honour, the peace and glory of the Church, or spread the triumphs of personal and domestic religion among us, it must be an attentive study of the Word of God, and especially of the New Testament, that best of books; which, if read with impartiality and seriousness, under the influences of that blessed Spirit by whom it was inspired, would have the noblest tendency to enlighten and adorn the mind, and not only to touch, but to animate and transform the heart.
The New Testament is a book written with the most consummate knowledge of human nature; and though there are a thousand latent beauties in it, which it is the business and glory of true criticism to place in a strong point of light, the general sense and design of it is plain to every honest reader, even at the very first perusal. It is evidently intended to bring us to God through Christ, in a humble dependence on the communication of his sanctifying and quickening Spirit; and to engage us to a course of faithful and universal obedience, chiefly from a grateful sense of the riches of divine grace, manifested to us in the Gospel. And though this scheme is indeed liable to abuse, as every thing else is, it appears to me plain in fact, that it has been, and still is, the grand instrument of reforming a very degenerate world; and, according to the best observations I have been able to make on what has passed about me, or within my own breast, I have found, that in proportion to the degree in which this evangelical scheme is received and relished, the interest of true virtue and holiness flourished, and the mind is formed to manly devotion, diffusive benevolence, steady fortitude,' and, in short, made ready to every good word and work.
I should have thought, my honoured friends, that I had made you a very unworthy return for your regard to me, if I had offered you merely an amusement, though ever so critical and polite. It had been much better, on both sides, that the work should never have been undertaken or perused, than that these divine authors should be treated like a set of profane classics ; or that the sacred and momentous transactions which they relate, should be handled and read like an invented tale, or a common history. I have often reminded myself of it; and per
mit me now, Sirs, solemnly to remind you, that these are the Memoirs of the Holy Jesus, the Saviour of sinful men, whom to know is life eternal, and whom to neglect is everlasting destruction. We have here the authentic records of that Gospel which was intended as the great medicine for our souls; of that character which is our pattern ; of that death which is our ransom; of Him, in short, whose name we bear, as we are professed Christians; and before whose tribunal we are all shortly to appear, that our eternal existence may be determined, blissful or miserable, according to our regard for what he has taught, and done, and endured. Let not the greatest, therefore, think it beneath their notice; nor the meanest imagine, that amidst all the most necessary cares and labours, they can find any excuse for neglecting, or for even postponing it.
Had I not been fully convinced of the importance of Christianity, I should not have determined to devote my whole life to its service, (for, on the principles of natural religion, I know the soul to be immortal, and should expect nothing but its ruin in the ways of the most sanctified fraud :) but as I am thus convinced, I must make it my humble request to every one that enters on the perusal of these volumes, that they may, for a little while at least, be the employment of his retired hours; and that, as he proceeds from one section to another, he would pause and reflect, “Whose words do I hear? Whose actions do I survey? Whose sufferings do I contemplate ? And as all must know they are the words, the actions, and the sufferings of Jesus the Son of God, our supreme Lord, and our final Judge, let it be farther, and very seriously inquired, in what degree the obvious and confessed de. sign of the glorious Gospel has been practically regarded and complied with : “ Can I, in my heart, think that I am a disciple, whom such a Master will approve, and whom he will choose for his attendant in that world of glory to which he is now gone?” Let the plainness of this advice be forgiven; for such is the temper and conduct of most who call themselves Christians, that, if this religion be true, their cold and unaffecting knowledge of the history of Christ, and of the purposes of his appearance, will only serve to furnish out matter for eternal selfaccusation and remorse : and he is at best but a learned and polite infidel, who would not rather be the instrument of conducting the lowest creature, capable of reading or hearing these lines, to the saving knowledge of a crucified Redeemer, than fill the most refined nation with
his own applause, while the grace of the Saviour is forgotten, of his service neglected.
As what I now present to the reader concludes the historical part of the New Testament, I here fulfil the promise which I long since made, of offering some remarks on the excellence and usefulness of that history; which may dispose the reader more frequently to review it, and to study it with the greater application.
It must be universally granted, that the excellence of any performance is to be estimated by considering its design, and the degree in which it is calculated to answer it. The design of the Gospel history is summed up in the words which I have placed for my motto ; which, though they are taken from the conclusion of St. John's Gospel, are applicable, not only to all the other Evangelists, but likewise to the Acts of the Apostles, that invaluable appendix to them. “ These things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
I shall beg leave to show how admirably the history before us is calculated to answer both these ends : viz., to produce a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and to make those good impressions on the heart, which may secure the eternal life and happiness of the reader; which no speculative conviction, even of the most sublime, comprehensive, and important truths, will itself be able to do. I apprehend, that in proportion to the degree in which these two premises can be illustrated, the excellence and value of this history will immediately appear: for no man is so far infatuated as to dispute, whether obtaining life, eternal life, be an end of the highest importance; how light soever he may in fact make of it, and how wantonly soever he may barter it away for every trifle that strikes his imagination or fires his passions. Obvious as the hints are which occur on these heads, I will touch a little upon them, that we may more evidently see how much we are indebted to the Divine Wisdom and Goodness, in giving us so invaluable a treasure as these books contain, and how highly we are concerned to attend diligently to the contents of them. · First, every intelligent reader of this Evangelical History must have seen, that it is admirably adapted to produce and support, in all attentive and impartial minds, a strong conviction of the truth of Christianity; and, by consequence, of the divine glories of Jesus the Christ, as the Son of God.
It is evident that our most material arguments for the demonstration of the truth of Christianity, are drawn from miracles, from prophecies, from the character of its founders, and from the genius of the religion itself. Now, though all these receive great illustration from the epistolary parts of the New Testament, and some of them, especially the second, from the Old; yet it is certain that the great basis and foundation of them all, is what we read in the history of Christ and his Apostles. There we are informed of the miracles which they wrought, of the character they maintained, and of the system of religion which they published to the world; and the application of Old Testament prophecies to Jesus of. Nazareth, is, beyond all controversy, to be justified chiefly from what we find there.
These books do in the most authentic manner, as we have demon. strated elsewhere, show us who Jesus of Nazareth was, and what he professed himself to be. They give us an account of the very high pretensions he made to an immediate mission from God, and to a most intimate relation to him, as His Son, in a peculiar and appropriate sense, not communicable to any other. They give us also, as in this connection it is very fit they should, a very large and circumstantial narration of a variety of miracles which he wrought. Their number appears to be very great; so that a late writer, who had considered them very accurately, reckons up sixty-nine relating to particular persons, besides twenty other instances; in all of which several, and in most of them multitudes-yea, frequently great multitudes, are men tioned, not merely as the spectators, but as the objects of his miraculous power; which must, on the most moderate computation, arise to many hundreds ;- not to mention those yet more numerous miracles which were performed by his Apostles in his name, wherever they came, especially after the descent of the Holy Ghost upon them ; or the variety of supernatural gifts and powers with which they were endowed; and which, in many thousands of instances, they communicated to others.
It is further to be recollected here, that these miracles were not of such a kind as to leave any room for a doubt, whether they lay within the natural efficacy of second causes or not; since the most hopeless and inveterate diseases gave way, not merely to some trivial application of means, whether internal or external, but to a touch or a word; and