Imatges de pÓgina

pous Monarch; for God Almighty values no more the Robes and Diadems, the noble Attendants and numerous Guards of the greatest Emperor, than he does the feathered Caps of the poor Mad-folks in Bedlam. We Men are apt to set a great Value upon these Things, because they agree with our carnal Affections, and are the finest Things this World affords ; but to an Al-wise and Allhappy God, they are all Mock-lhew and Pageantry: And so they shall be to us in another World. Nothing is glorious in God's Sight, but Piety and Goodnefs; and our blessed Saviour's Spotless Integrity looked a thousand Times more splendid to his Eyes, than all the mad Ravages and costly Triumphs of conquering Princes; or the Craft, and Designs, of politick ones


But consider, What a Deal of Mischief has been done in the World by these glorious Princes, these Men of Figure, you so much admire? How many Thousands have they murthered by their Cruelty, or ambitious Designs? How many noble Cities have been laid waste, and how many whole Countries destroyed by them? Such a Glory, as this, is in Reality, the greatest Infamy. But if there be any Glory arising from brave and generous Actions, it is all centred in our blessed Saviour. If it be any Glory to refuse profered Honours, and to slight Fame for the meaneft obfcurity; if it be any. Glory, to live a Life of the exa&test Purity, without any Blemish in it; and hardly ever to spend a Day, without doing some extraordinary charitable AA, to one or other ; if it be any Glory, to be the most universal Friend, that Mankind ever had, to rescue their Souls from eternal Death, and to teach them the wiseft and noblest Institution that ever was, and to entail on them, for their Conformity to it, everlasting Happiness; then the Character of Jesus Christ is the most glorious one that ever was; and all the Glory of great Monarchs, which you so much admire, will be but like the shining of Pebbles to the Stars, or the dusky Blaze of Comers to the Meridian Sun. But you, forsooth, think it an undervaluing of himself, that Christ should cure poor sick People. But, by the way, it would have been more in

glorious glorious to him, to have cured chiefly the Rich, It was not the principal Design of Christ's coming into the World to cure Diseafes, but to preach the Gospel; he made use of this miraculous Power, only as a Means to prove his Divine Million. But then, in his divine Widom, he took care to make use chiefly of those Miracles, which were apt to do most good. He might have contrived an hundred Ways of acting Miracles, beyond the Power of Nature, besides the curing the Blind and the Lame by a Word, which might as well have given Credit to his Doctrine; but then they would not have been so beneficial to Mankind. He was for finding out a Way how to do good to Men's Souls and their Bodies too; to confirm the Religion he taught, and also to cure their Diseases. Nay, he wisely bestow'd these bodily Cures

upon those chiefy, to whom it was the greatest Charity to do it; the Rich might have been eased often, times of their Maladies, by their physicians, and by the Rules of Art; but the Poor must have languish'd under their Distempers, if our blessed Saviour had not miracu lously relieved them.

Therefore, I say, the Character of our blessed Saviour is much more admirable, by his conversing and doing fo much Good among the Poor, than if he had been ever so great, and done ever so much good in the Court of Herod. And as for that plain Morality, which you despise him for preaching; even this did exceed all the studied Philosophy of the Gentile Worla.

Phil. Jesus Christ is by you generally allow'd, to be the greatest Pattern of Virtue that ever was, which is a Thing, I could never bring my Thoughts about to assent to. His Religion would pretend to teach Men to mortify all Affections; and therefore he should have been the most eminent Example of this himself. But we find he oftentimes could not govern his Passion; he seems frequently to be outrageously angry with the Pharisees, calling them many hard Names, Hypocrites, and Generation of Vipers, &c. and liberally deals about his Maledictions among them, which is the perfe& Character of an angry


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Man, (as ķ Celfies says in this Matter), who when he come

not convince with threaten. A Character not only unbecoming . 4 God, but unworthy of a prudent Man...

Cred. You have not been sufficiently observing of the Vindication Life of our blessed Saviour, when you tax him as an anof Christ's

gry Person, who was the most patient one in the World. Aiger. Christ a

It must not be said, that our Saviour never had upon Pattern of him the Passion of Anger; but this Passion was never the greatest criminal, either for the Cause, or for the Degree of it. Patience.

And I doubt not but that it was the Design of Christ to
suffer himself to be seen in fome Degree of that Paffion,
to evince the Lawfulness of it upon some Accounts, and
by his Example to confute the Doctrines of those Heathens
Stoicks, who would condemn the Use of all Pallions, and
so make all those natural Tendencies, which God had
implanted in our Souls, altogether superfluous. But our
blessed Saviour's Do&trine is contrary to these paradoxical
Notions, and forbids Anger, only when there is no just
Cause for it, Whosoever is angry with his brother without a
Cause, &c. And his Life was exactly answerable to this
Doctrine. He was angry, 'tis true, with the Buyers and
Sellers in the Temple; and there was just Reason for it,
to see God's House so irreligiously abused. He thew'd
à Resentment to the Pharisees, and upon very good
Grounds; because they, by their Traditions, had made
void the moral Law of God; they excused Men from
doing that which God had commanded, and laid upon
them other unnecessary Burthens, which God had said
nothing of. Besides, the Pride and Arrogance of this
Sect, and their Contempt and Hatred of all that contra-
dicted them, made it necessary not to make use only of
mild Raciocination to confute them, (for they scored all
Reason in respect of their Tradition,) but to ufe some
Smartness in the Reprehension, to make them sensīble of
their Errors. These were such just and generous Causes
of this Passion, as improved it into an extraordinary Vir-
rue; but we never find in the Life of Christ, that he

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' was peevithly angry'upon small Occasions; and upon the greatest, he still kept his Pallion within the Bounds of Reason, for he always argues as well, under those Emotions of his Soul, as he did at other times. No one could reason better upon that Subject than our Saviour, when she drove the Money Changers out of the Temple, My House fosall be called a House of Prayer, have made it a Den of Thieves. But, when there was no Cause for some Degree of Anger, and where the Honour of God was not immediately concerned, the Life of our Saviour was the most perfect Pattern of Patience in the World. He answers very mildly to all those captious Questions, -which his Adversaries brought to him to ensnare him: When they said he did his Miracles by the Power of the Devi),ihe very calmly demonstrates, that his Doctrine is contrary to the Devil's Kingdom: When they perfecuted him, he prayed for them, and was willing to the utmost, to extenuate their enormous Guilt

, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. These are not the Characters of an angry Person, but of a Soul perfectly subjected to Reason, and the Will of God.

But I have farther to urges upon this Head, That some of our Saviour's Expressions have not that Keenness in' them, which at first light they seem to carry; and that there was more Reason for his using them, than there can be for ours. He calls them Generation of Vipers, which looks now like a very hard Word, but it was much mollified by common Use among the Jews, who meant no more by it than ill Men, or the Seed of the Serpent, Gen. iii

. in Oppofition to good Men, or the Children. of God. And when he calls them Hypocrites, (tho’ that is a Name we ought to be very cautious in giving to any Men, because we cannot positively tell whether they be fo or no;) yet our blessed Saviour could see into all their clancular Thoughts, and behold that little inward Reverence they bore to God Almighty, though their outward Actions pretended to so much of it; and therefore, having the exactest Grounds for the Truth of what he said, he could not apply that Name wrongfully to


them; nor could that be accounted a passionate Word dropt from him at random, which he was sure he had the juftest Reason to call them by. But it is a shameful Calumny to say, that our Saviour made use of Passion for want of Reason, since his Discourses are full of the most exalted Reason in the World. Indeed he does not always make use of it, to the obstinate and captious Pos risees, because he knew it would be to no purpose, frequently sending them away with some fevere Rebuke: But whenever he had any Auditors of a docible Temper, as he had, for Instance, when he preached his Sermon upon the Mount; he then teaches Morality upon fuch excellent Grounds, as the exactest of the heathen Philofophy falls short of.

Phil. Pray, Şir, excuse me if I think there is nothing fo excellent in the Sermons of Jesus Christ, as you Christians imagine. For I take them, for the most part, to be poor vulgar Matters, which any ordinary Man may fay, and * Socrates and Plato have said much better. They are only a few mean Parables of a Sorder of Seed, of a La bourer in a Vineyard, or a Wedding Feast, which when the Moral is made out after the moft fanciful Way, is but poor dull Morality at the best, and nothing comparable to those noble Ratiocinations among the Eibnick Philosophers. And in the Sermon upon the Mount, which is the best of the Performances, there is no rational Account given of those moral Duties he recommends, but he would have all those Rules to be taken upon his Word: For he gives not a Tittle of Proof of those Obligations, instead of that, only putting us off with an I say serp you. Then how can you expect any sensible Man should be taken with such Lectures, which were fit only for the poor filly People, which he chofe to have his Followers? Cred. Those Parables, which you so much defpife

, were the most ancient and most useful Way of conveying

* Celsus apud Orig. Ed. Cant. p. 337. ib. p. 282.

+ Julian apud Cyril. Ed. Spanh. p. 206.


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