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cords was defigned not for the men, whom he never could have intimidated by the exertion of bodily force, but for the beafts, which were at market in the temple, and which could no otherwise be driven out. Wherefore, the whole of this tranfaction was perfectly suitable to our Lord's dignity as the Son of God; and the rather that, in fo far as it regarded the men, there was here an exertion of his miraculous power, very proper at the beginning of his miniftry. Accordingly, the Jews neither found fault with the action itself, nor with the manner of it: they only defired him to prove that he was the perfon he pretended to be. ver. 18. "What fign fheweft thou unto us, feeing thou doft these things?" Befides, among the Jews, it was common for prophets, by their own autho rity, to reform fuch abufes as were introduced into the worship of God, and to punish with their own hands, upon the fpot, grofs vioJations of the law: witnefs the action of Phinehas, by which he ftaid the plague, and which (Pf. cvi. 30.) "was accounted to him "for righteoufnefs to all generations for evermore." fanations of the temple which Jefus reproved were the most horrid abuses imaginable. The priests for gain allowed a fair to be kept in the outer court, whereby the Gentile profelytes were excluded from the place of worship allotted them. Or if any room was left them, they could not but be exceedingly disturbed in their devotions, by the noife and hurry of the market. Add to this, that great frauds were committed in the bargains tranfacted here, by which the court of the temple, which had been affigned to the Gentiles as a house of prayer, was made a den of thieves. No wonder, therefore, that Jefus expreffed the utmost indignation against the tranfgreffors, and used fome violence in expelling them. The men he intimidated by his miraculous power; the cattle he drave out with the scourge he had made; the implements of their illicit trade he overturned; and the things which he could not himself remove, he ordered to be taken away. In all this he acted agreeably to the character which he fuftained. His zeal was no greater than what prophets far inferior to him had fhewed; and the feverity which he ufed was no greater than the crime deferved. Wherefore, in every refpect, this part of our Lord's conduct was perfectly proper and confif
3. That Judas fhould have been of the number of the apoftles, is thought inconfiftent with the knowledge and wisdom afcribed to Jefus in the Gofpels. This objection our Lord himself has taken notice of. He forefaw, that his honouring Judas with the apostlefhip, would be confidered as a prefumption that he was ignorant of his real character. Wherefore, long before Judas discovered himself, Jefus foretold what he would do, to fhew that he was fully acquainted with the character of the man. John vi. 70. "Have not I chofen you twelve, and one of you is a devil "Wherefore, if any objection lies against the founder of Chriftianity for this choice, it cannot affect his foreknowledge, but must be levelled againft his prudence. Yet in this part likewife, as in every other, he is perfectly free of
blame. His making Judas an apostle is a shining inftance of wisdom. It was defigned to be a demonftration of our Lord's innocence. A man of profligate difpofitions, who he forefaw would at the conclufion betray him, Jefus chooses into the college of the apostles. By the choice, this wicked perfon, who had not yet difcovered himself, is appointed his master's conftant attendant, and made the witness of the moft fecret actions; he is admitted into all the mysteries of his fellowship. Who does not in this fee, that Jefus was not afraid of the eyes of his enemies, however malicious? that his miracles were no juggling tricks, performed by compact with his disciples? and that he was not carrying on any plot, to deceive the world? If Jefus had been engaged in fuch a defign, muft he not have foreseen that Judas, when he betrayed him to the chief priests, would difcover the whole fraud? The choice therefore which our Lord, with the fulleft knowledge of Judas's character, made of him for an apoftle, inftead of being an inftance of imprudence, was a proof of the most profound wisdom. He thereby demonftrated, in the cleareft manner, his own moft perfect innocence.-I have only to add, that in this view the wifdom and propriety of the choice was fo great, that it was fore-ordained to be from the beginning: and that notices thereof were given early in the Jewish prophecies, which described Meffiah's life, fufferings, and death.
4. The freedom Jefus used in "rebuking the Scribes and Pharifees," and the vehemence with which he denounced woes against them more than once, are thought inconfiftent with the sweetness of his difpofition, and with the refpect due to perfons of their rank. Neverthelefs, if we confider the matter in its juft light, we shall foon be fenfible that the feverity wherewith Jefus treated this order of men, was by no means inconfiftent with his general character, but was the neceffary refult of his wifdom, and of his love to the reft of mankind. The Scribes and Pharifees were perfons remarkable for avarice, fenfuality, pride, obftinacy, and contempt of real religion. Their corruption of heart exceeded all bounds. Gentle means would have made no impreffion upon them. They needed the fevereft remedies.--Befides, without regarding their reformation at all, which perhaps was not to be accomplished by any methods; confidering the fhew of worth which they affumed, and by which mankind were cheated into an high admiration of them, it was neceffary, for the fake of the people, to pull off the mask of hypocrify under which they had fo long concealed their wickednefs, and led the world aftray. Luke xvi. 15. "Ye are they which juftify yourselves be"fore men, but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is "highly esteemed among men, is abomination in the fight of God." Nor was there any other method to prevent the pernicious influence of their example and doctrine. This was the reafon Jefus rebuked them fo openly, and denounced woes against them with fuch vehemence. By fo doing, he, whofe judgment was by his miracles proved to be the judgment of a prophet, fhewed his hearers every where what opinion he had of thofe hypocrites, and cautioned
them, in the most affecting manner, to beware both of them and of their doctrine. And though on thefe occafions he expreffed himself with more than ordinary vehemence, it must be owned that he preferved an entire command of himself. For he uttered no fentiment of expreffion, but fuch as the offences fully warranted, and the regard which he had for virtue abfolutely demanded.
5. Our Lord's riding into Jerufalem on an afs, amidst the acclamations of his difciples and the people, has been grofsly misundertood, and ignorantly ridiculed by the adverfaries of religion. Hitherto Jefus had affumed the title of Meffiah, only in private, and among his difciples. The reafon was, if he had declared his intentions publicly in the beginning of his miniftry, the rulers would have put him to death before his work was finished. It was neceffary, however, both for the more certain information of mankind, who were not to be left to guefs who he was, and for the credit of his own character, which was not to be doubtful or ambiguous, that he fhould openly affume the dignity which really belonged to him. Wherefore, his miniftry having continued the time determined, a few days before his death he refolved to receive the titles of Meffiah, fon of David, and king of Ifrael, publicly; though he knew it would become the foundation of that accufation by which he was to be cut off.--This feafon was of all others the most proper for his purpose. A great multitude now attended, in expectation that he was to fet up his kingdom immediately. He knew that much people was coming from the city, to ufher him in with the pomp and state of Meffiah. Among the reft, there were to be many Scribes and Pharifees, his enemies, before whom it was proper he fhould acknowledge himself Meffiah. Wherefore, he did not think of fhuning the multitude as formerly; but determined to enter Jerufalem amidft the acclamations which he knew they would offer him as Meffiah. And left, in the narrow paffages and lanes leading into the city, he might have been hurt by the croud, he made his difciples bring him an afs to ride upon. Nor in this equipage was there any thing mean or ridiculous; affes being the beafts commonly ufed by the Eafterns, who feldom rode on horfes, except they were perfons of the firft rank. Hence, in the prophecy which foretold this event, it is mentioned as an inftance of Meffiah's humility, that when he fhould make his public entry into Jerufalem, he would ride, not upon an horfe, after the manner of great kings and princes, but upon an afs, becaufe " he was meek and lowly.'
6. The defpondency which Jefus fhewed in the garden of Gethfemane at the approach of his trial and death, and the words which he uttered upon the cross, are thought inconfiftent with that patience and fortitude, which, as the Son of God, he ought to have poffeffed. But they can be fo only, on fuppofition that his forrow and trouble in the garden, with his agony and bloody fweat, proceeded from the fear of death. Nevertheless, the profpect of death, though it was in him to be attended with every aggravating circumftance of pain and ignominy, cannot be fuppofed to have raifed any violent perturba
fion in one who on all occafions fhewed the greatest firmness and; courage, and whofe virtue was of the most perfect kind. His followers, even of the weaker fex, have many of them fuffered much greater and longer bodily pains than he, not only without fhrinking, but with triumph. Why then fhould it be imagined, that the fear of crucifixion fo far overcame Jefus, as to put him into an agony, and make the blood iffue through the pores of his body? A much more probable account of this matter is given by the Evangelifts themselves. They introduce Jefus telling that he gave his life, a ransom for the fins of many, and fhed his blood for the remiffion of fin. Our Lord's perturbation and agony, therefore, arofe from the pains which were inflicted on him by the hand of God, when he made his foul. an offering for fin*. In this view, his forrows were fuch as no other perfon in this life ever felt. They arofe from caufes altoge-, ther fingular, and from circumftances peculiar to himself. Being of this fort, they were no greater than the caufe merited: and the expreffions by which he uttered them are no argument of his pufil-, lanimity or weakness. They were fuitable to his feelings, and expreffed them, as far as it was poffible to make them known. For it. was agreeable to the counfels of God, and for the benefit of men,) that the forrows which the Son of God felt in that hour fhould be laid open to the view of the world.- The fame account must be given of his anguish upon the crafs, when he cried out, "My God, my God, why haft thou forfaken me?" if these words were an expreffion of anguifh, rather than a citation from Pfalm xxii. For whatever was the occafion of this exclamation, it proceeded not from the pain of crucifixion. To make fuch a fuppofition, is to degrade N4 the
* I know fome imagine our Lord's diftrefs in the garden arose from the more lively view, which he at that time had, of the miferies of mankind, occafioned by fin. But the confideration of thefe, however lively, could only raife fympathy in the breaft of Jefus; where too it must have been greatly foftened by the certain profpect which he then had of their defiverance, by what he had already done, and was still to do for their recovery.
In the above account of our Lord's agony, I only affirm the fact, that it arofe from the pains which were then inflicted upon him by the immediate hand of God. And I affirm it, becaufe in every page, the fcriptures fpeak of Jefus as having suffered for the fins of mankind; also because it beft accounts for his behaviour in the garden. To object to the fact, that we do not know-how one who knew no fin could fuffer for fin, is incompetent, because it may` be a matter above our comprehenfion. It deferves however to be confidered, whether Almighty God, who by means of fecond caufes conveys into our minds every fenfation, whether of pleasure or pain, may not by the direct operation of his power, without the intervention of any second caufes, convey precifely the fame fenfations. If this is admitted, though Jefus knew no fin, God might, by the immediate operation of his power, make him feel thofe pains which shall be the punishment of fin hereafter, in order that by the vifible effects which they produced upon him, mankind might have a juft notion of the greatness of thefe pains. In this no injuftice was done to Jefus. He freely confented to fuffer in this manner, because it was for fo great an end as the falvation of the human fpecies. His bearing thofe pains, with a view to fhew how great they are, was by no means punishment. It was merely fuffering. Thefe pains were not the effects of the divine anger; for at no time was God better pleafed with his Son, than when he made his foul an offering for fin. Lastly; thefe pains did not arife from God's withdrawing his favour from his Son. Of the divine favour, Jefus in his fufferings had the fulleft conviction: as appears from the affectionate manner in which he then addreffed God; "O MY-FATHER, if it be poffible," &c.---The above particulars merit attention, not as matters contained in revelation, but as an explication of facts contained there, which fome reafoners reject, I fuppofe, because they think a proper explication cannot be given of them.
the character of the founder of Chriftianity, below that of many of his own difciples, who have suffered greater pains than his, with the utmoft fortitude.
Thus, after the fevereft fearch into our Lord's conduct, it appears that none of the ordinary actions of his life can be cenfured with juftice. To his parents he was ever dutiful. The abufes in the temple he reformed with a zeal fimilar to that which the Jewish prophets in ancient times had often fhewn. His choice of Judas for an apoftle did not betray any ignorance of the man's character: he did it to prove the purity of his own defigns and actions. The ftubborn incorrigibleness of the Scribes and Pharifees, made it neceffary that he should denounce woes against them, that the people might be led to a juft notion of their character. He rode into Jerufalem on an ass, amidst the acclamations of the people, to publish his claim to the dignity and character of Meffiah. Withal, his sorrow and afAliction in the garden of Gethsemane was perfectly confiftent with entire refignation; while, at the fame time, it fhewed in the most lively colours the greatness of the pains which he then endured. In short, his whole behaviour was holy, harmless, undefiled, and feparate from finners; and therefore was perfectly fuch as became the Son of God in the human nature.
Shewing that miracles in general are possible, and that they are capable of
1. THE oppofers of revelation affect to treat miracles in general with contempt, as things in their own nature impoffible,. Hence, without any examination at all, they reject the Gofpels as utterly unworthy of credit, merely on account of the miracles which they contain. But that miracles are things naturally poffible, will appear from what follows. To ufe the definition which our adverfaries give of a miracle, it is a deviation from, or alteration of, the established course of nature. Now that such things may be, is perfectly agreeable to the notions mankind have of the operations of the Deity. The laws of nature, called by fome immutable, are nothing, on the principles of Theifm, but the rules whereby God directs himself in his operations throughout the mundane fyftem. Thefe laws he may alter at his pleasure; unless we affirm, that the Deity is neceffitated in his actions, and cannot suspend the exertions of his power. Thefe doubtless are the fentiments of Atheists: but all who acknowledge the existence of an Intelligent Mind the Creator of the Univerfe, believe him to be perfectly independent in his operations.. Of confequence, they find no difficulty in fuppofing that, as often as he pleafes, he can differ from the ordinary methods which he has prescribed to himself in the government of the univerfe. A miracle, therefore, is by no means a thing in its own nature impoffible.--This reafoning is confirmed by the perfuafion which has univerfally prevailed concerning miracles. For mankind are fo far from having any general prejudices against such things, that they have ever looked upon them as what