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you into heaven, shall so come, in fike manner, as ye have feen him go into heaven.”
After his resurrection, Jesus appeared more than once to Paul, and must have conversed with him at some length; fince he was by this means qualified to be an apostle, or witness of his resurrection, and also fufficiently enabled to preach the Gospel, without any instruction from the other apostles. These appearances to Paul also shew that Jesus entertained no enmity towards those who did not believe his divine mission, and even perfecuted his followers, provided they were honest men, only blinded by prejudice; which is true greatness of mind, and a proof of his just discerument of characters. And hence we may conclude, that such will be his justice and impartiality, as judge of all men at the last day, and may be led to expect that many enemies of the Gospel will be received with more favour than fome of its professed advocates; which agrees with his own repeated declarations to that purpose.
Thus have I given a sketch of the history of Jesus, from which we may form a just idea of his real character; and let those who are best acquainted with human nature say, whether it does not bear every mark of true greatness, even exceeding any that ever existed before or since. Jesus appears to have been free from every human weakness, and to have been actuated by every sentiment that is justly entitled to the denomination of great; being remote from common attainments, arising from the greatest comprehenfion of mind, which is only acquired by just and enlarged views of things, respecting alike God and man, this life and another,
To persons of sufficient knowledge, and candid reflection, this consideration affords satisfactory proof of the truth of christianity, The evangelists were not men who were capable of devising such a character as this, or of inventing a series of actions and discourses indicating such a character. It is a great unique, of which they could not have formed any conception, And if such indeed was the character of Jesus, the question to the philosophical inquirer is, How could it have been formed ? For so remarkable an effect must have had an adequate cause. The answer is
K 3 . obv ius.
obvious. It could only have arisen from tho firmest persuasion in the mind of Jesus of a divine mission, and consequently of a great future reward, which would abundantly overbalance all the sufferings of this life.
Such an uniform propriety of conduct, free from all inconsistency and extravagance, equally excludes the ideas of enthusiasm, or a heated imagination. If any man was ever in his right mind, it was Jesus, No person, in his own right mind, can peruse his hiftory, with the least degree of attention, and think otherwise. The only conclufion, therefore, from these premises; viz. that he actually had a divine mission, must be adopted. On this supposition every thing in the history, extraordinary as it is, was perfectly natural. With such views and assurances as his history afcribes to Jesus, many other men would have acted as he did. His conduct requires no peculiarity of constitution, They are situations that chiefly maķe all men to be what they are; and the peculiar and extraordinary circumstances in which Jesus was placed, will account for his being that great and extraordinary character which the
evangelical evangelical 'history represents him to have been. No impostor could have spoken and acted as Jesus did, and have preserved such an uniform dignity, joined with the truest fimplicity of character, through the whole of his public life, and the trying scenes of his sufferings and death. It is not one transaction, but a series of transactions, not one speech, but a series of speeches, intermixed with the events of which the history, conlifts, that are to be explained, and certainly the subject is deserving of the most serious consideration.
The grace of God, which bringeth salvation,
hath appeared unto all men; teaching us that, denying ungodliness, and worldly lufts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of the great God, and of our Saviour Jesus Chrift; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus ii. 11–14.
I HAVE sewn that the great object of the whole scheme of revelation, Jewish and Christian, was to inculcate good morals, or the due regulation of men's passions and affections, with a view to their good conduct in life; that every thing of a positive or ceremonial nature, delivered by Moses or by Christ, was merely subservient to this great end, being always represented as in themselves of no value whatever in the sight of God; and that even the holding and pro