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be real, all this is accounted for; the unsuitableness of the authors to the production, of the characters to the undertaking, no longer surprises us: but without reality, it is very difficult to explain, how such a system should proceed from such persons. Christ was not like any other carpenter; the apostles were not like any other fisher


But the subject is not exhausted by these observations. That portion of it, which is most reducible to points of argument, has been stated, and, I trust, truly. There are, however, some topics of a more diffuse nature, which yet deserve to be proposed to the reader's attention.

The character of Christ is a part of the morality of the Gospel; one strong observation upon which is, that, neither as represented by his followers, nor as attacked by his enemies, is he charged with any personal vice. This remark is as old as Origen: Though innumerable lies and calumnies had been forged against the venerable Jesus, none had dared to charge



him with an intemperance*." Not a reflection upon his moral character, not an imputation or suspicion of any offence against purity and chastity, appears for five hundred years after his birth. This faultlessness is more peculiar than we are apt to imagine. Some stain pollutes the morals or the morality of almost every other teacher, and of every other lawgivert. Zeno the stoic, and Diogenes the cynic, fell into the foulest impurities; of which also Socrates himself was more than suspected. Solon forbade unnatural crimes to slaves. Lycurgus tolerated theft as a part of education. Plato recommended a community of women. Aristotle maintained the general right of making war upon barbarians. The elder Cato was remarkable for the ill-usage of his slaves; the younger gave up the person of his wife. One loose One loose principle is found in almost all the Pagan moralists;

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* Or. Ep. Cels. 1. 3. num. 36. ed. Bened.

See many instances collected by Grotius, de Veritate Christianæ Religionis, in the notes to his second book, p. 116. Pocock's edition.

is distinctly, however, perceived in the writings of Plato, Xenophon, Cicero, Se neca, Epictetus; and that is, the allowing, and even the recommending to their disciples, a compliance with the religion, and with the religious rites, of every country into which they came. In speaking of the founders of new institutions, we cannot forget Mahomet. His licentious transgressions of his own licentious rules; his abuse of the character which he assumed, and of the power which he had acquired, for the purposes of personal and privileged indulgence; his avowed claim of a special permission from heaven of unlimited sensuality, is known to every reader, as it is confessed by every writer, of the Moslem story.

Secondly, in the histories which are left us of Jesus Christ, although very short, and although dealing in narrative, and not in observation or panegyric, we perceive, beside the absence of every appearance of vice, traces of devotion, humility, benignity mildness, patience, prudence. I speak of traces of these qualities, because the

qualities themselves are to be collected from incidents; inasmuch as the terms are never used of Christ in the Gospels, nor is any formal character of him drawn in any part of the New Testament.

Thus we see the devoutness of his mind, in his frequent retirement to solitary prayer*; in his habitual giving of thanks† ; in his reference of the beauties and operations of nature to the bounty of Providence; in his earnest addresses to his Father, more particularly that short but solemn one before the raising of Lazarus from the dead; and in the deep piety of his behaviour in the garden, on the last evening of his life; his humility, in his constant reproof of contentions for superiority; the benignity and affectionateness of his temper, in his kindness to children**: in the tears which he shed

* Matt. xiv. 23. Luke ix. 28.

Matt. xi. 25. Mark viii. 6.
Matt. vi. 26-28.

Matt. xxvi. 36–47.

** Mark x. 16.

Matt. xxvi. 36.

John vi. 23. Luke xxii. 17. § John xi. 41.

Mark ix. 33.

over his falling country*, and upon the death of his friend; in his noticing of the widow's mite; in his parables of the good Samaritan, of the ungrateful servant, and of the Pharisee and publican, of which parables no one but a man of humanity could have been the author: the mildness and lenity of his character is discovered, in his rebuke of the forward zeal of his disciples at the Samaritan village§; in his expostulation with Pilatell; in his prayer for his enemies at the moment of his suffering, which, though it has been since very properly and frequently imitated, was then, I apprehend, new. His prudence is discerned, where prudence is most wanted, in his conduct on trying occasions, and in answers to artful questions. Of these, the following are examples:-His withdrawing, in various instances, from the first symptoms of tumult**, and with the express care, as appears from Saint Matthew, of carrying

*Luke xix. 41. § Luke ix. 55. ** Matt. xiv. 22. tt Chap. xii. 19.

† John xi. 35.

John xix. 11.
Luke v. 15, 16.

Mark xii. 42.

Luke xxiii. 34. John v. 13. vi. 15.

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