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it a disparagement to his judgment that any should differ from it. Meer nature and self-love, will inake a man hate those who oppose the interest and advancement of that party which himself hath espoused. Hence men are many times more displeased at some small mistakes in judginent, than the greatest immoralities in practice ; yea, perhaps they will find a secret pleasure, and wicked satisfaction, in hearing or reporting the faults or scandals of their adversaries. Certainly the power of religion, rightly prevailing in the soul, would mould us into another temper ; it would teach us to love, and pity, and pray for the persons, as well as hate and condemn the errors they are supposed to espouse. It would make us wish their conversion rather than their confufion, and be more desirous that God would fit them for another world, than that he would take them out of this. We may indeed with the disappointment of their wicked purposes ; for this is charity to them, to keep them from being the unhappy instruments of mischief in the world ; but he that can with plagues and ruin to their perfons, and delights in their fins, or in their misery, hath more of the devil than the Christian.
WILLIAM CRAIG, D.D.
ONE OF THE MINISTERS OF GLASGOW. JESUS constantly avoided taking any part in
the theological controversies of the Jews, but in so far as he faw it necessary to secure the efsential interests of true religion. The errors and corruptions of the Pharisees, as totally destructive of these important interests, he publicly and strenuously oppofed. The distinguishing error of the Sadducees, as it tended to destroy the principal foundation upon which he was to propagate the practice of religion, he in like manner publicly confuted and condemned. With relation to every other dispute, as not having an immediate connection with the virtue and happiness of men, he appears to have observed a perfect silence and neutrality. The perpetual aim of his instructions was to propagate the love of God and man, and the duties of a holy life, on the faith that he had come froin God as the instructor and faviour of inankind. These effential interests of practical religion being guarded and secured, he neglected all inferior disputes, and taught the things of God in such a manner, as either to withdraw the attention of the world from every unessential and intricate debate, or to preserve such a temper of benignity and meekness among men, as might for ever unite the hearts, whatever disagreement in their judgments might arise.
It is well known how much theological difputes (oftentimes concerning matters of the most minute and inconfiderable moment) have diverted men's attentions from thofe effential duties of religion which admit of no difpute; nay, what unjust and violent antipathies, destructive of the spirit and design of all true religion, hare arisen from such disputes. This appears to have been the unhappy situation of the Jews and the Samaritans in our Saviour's time, with relation to the controversy which they had about the place where God was to be worshipped. The Jews had openly renounced all social and friendly intercourse with their antagonists, and formed such an odious idea of their character, as created in their breasts the most implacable hatred and rancour. Hence, in order to express in the strongest manner their aversion to our Saviour, and to give him the most opprobrious appellation which their imaginations could devise, they called him
Samaritan, and said he had a devil. The manner of our Saviour's deportment towards these religious antagonists, merits our particular attention. It appears from various incidents recorded in the history of his life, that he not only disapproved of that unnatural hatred and antipathy with which they conducted their debate, but that he had in his view entirely to extinguish it. He signified, indeed, in his conversation with the woman of Samaria, that the Jews were in the right on the subject in debate between them and the Samnaritans ; but that, nevertheless, the question which divided them was of small importance in itself, as it concerned not what was most effential in the worship of the Deity ; and by the zeal which he expressed to instruct her, and the rest of the Samaritans, in the doctrines of the gospel, he sufficiently declared, that notwithstanding their difference of opinion on the matter in debate, both Jews and Samaritans were equally capable of being the true worshippers of God. Having thus prepared the way for their mutual reconcilement, our Saviour took every proper occasion to give the Jews a more favourable impression of the Samaritans than they were disposed to entertain, and thereby to destroy their inutual hatred and enmity. Thus when he describes the nature and extent of that benevolence and charity which he came from heaven to propagate among mankind, he describes it as exemplified in the conduct of a Samaritan, and sets it in opposition to the conduct of a Jewish priest and Levite. By this description he undoubtedly intended to correct the antipathy which the Jews entertained against the Samaritans, as persons totally depraved. It was very probably with the same amicable intention that Jesus reprehended in so strong a manner the severity of his two disciples, when they desired to bring fire from heaven to destroy the Samaritans who had opposed himn in his journey to Jerusalem-declaring that the hatred and revenge which they expressed was very different from the spirit which he came from heaven to promote among mankind: the purpose of his coming being not ta de'troy, but to save the lives of men. With the fame intention the Evangelist appears to have recorded the story of the ten lepers whom Jesus cured of their disease. One of them, it is said, was a Samaritan, and his gratitude for the favour he had received is marked by the Evangelift, and commended by our Saviour, with this particular note of approbation--that he was a stranger !
From these few remarks on our Saviour's conduét with relation to the religious controversies of the Jews, it may appear that he intended to exclude from the plan of his instructions every controversy of this nature, which had not an immediate, connection with the virtue and immortal happiness of men, and purposely avoided every intricate enquiry or debate which might either perplex their understandings or divide their hearts. The gospel, indeed, was delivered by him with a plainness and simplicity which makes it level to the capacity of every honest mind, independent of the subtility and art of all those curious intricate distinctions by which, in after-ages, the learning and philosophy of men has vainly attempted to explain it.
Life of Christ.