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as the sublime in conduct, it is surely this. But the source of this was something more than we ever find in man. It had evidently a higher origin, and the affectation of any thing like it, without the actual presence of God, far from inspiring with awe and reverence, would only have exposed a man to contempt.
7. Jesus having wrought a great number of miracles, in the most public manner, so as to have given abundant evidence of his divine mission, had no occasion to act in the same open manner at all times. He sometimes shewed his benevolence to afflicted persons without wishing to have the mira. cles by which he relieved them known, except to the persons who received the benefit. Thus when he cured two blind men, after raising to life Jairus' daughter, “ he straightly charged them, (Matt. ix. 30.) saying, See that no man know it.” Nay, after giving life to the young woman, at which only the father, the mother, and three of his disciples were present, he also“ charged them straightly, (Mark v. 43.) that no man should know it.” When at one time the Pharisees " held
a council (Matt. xii. 14.) against him, how they might destroy him, he withdrew himself from the place; and when a great multitude followed him," and he “ healed them all,” he at the same time " charged them, that they should not make him known,” or discover where he was.
This might also be intended to avoid giving unnecessary provocation to his enemies, the proper time for delivering himself up to them not being come.
The conduct of Jesus on these occasions, and his often avoiding the crowds that attended him, shew that he was naturally far from being given to ostentation, but discover an amiable modesty; and the reverse of this would have been the case of an impostor.
8. On one particular occafion Jesus pursued a different method. The people of Gadara, after the destruction of the herd of swine, and the cure of the demoniac in those parts, having “ besought him (Matt. xiii. 34.) to depart out of their coasts,” said to the man whom he had relieved, and who (Mark v. 9.) “ prayed him that he might be with him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” He was then leaving that part of the country, and probably did not apprehend any inconvenience from this publication of the miracle. Besides he had wrought very few miracles in those parts, and might think that the people were not sufficiently impressed with them.
I HAVE considered feveral particulars of Jesus's authoritative manner of speaking when he was instructing his audience, and also the dignified manner in which he wrought his miracles; a manner which would have been unnatural and preposterous in an impostor, and absolutely impossible to a common carpenter, but easy and natural to any person conscious of speaking and acting in the name of God, and impowered by him to work real miracles. I shall now bring into view some other particulars in the general behaviour of Jesus, independent of his
teaching, teaching, or working miracles, which discover the same sense of personal dignity and such authority as no other man in the same rank in life could have thought of assuming, or would have been capable of supporting if he had attempted it. And yet this highly dignified character Jesus maintained with perfect ease, propriety, and consistency, through the whole of his history.'
1. Mahomet could not immediately persuade his own family to believe that he had the supernatural communications that he pretended to, though for three years he had made it his practice to seclude himself from the world, and shut himself up in a cave, in order to favour that idea ; and he was careful to endeavour to make converts of his own family, and near friends, in the first place. Jesus, on the contrary, gave no particular attention to his own family or former acquaintance, but addressed himself to his countrymen at large, who knew nothing more of him than they then saw, and his mean parentage, of which they would soon be informed ; and yet he appears not only to have had numerous disciples as soon as
ever he began to shew himself, but to have commanded whom he pleased to be his constant followers.
Immediately after the first passover, at which he worked some miracles, though they are not specified, at Jerusalem (after which, and not before, he began to preach) as he was walking by the sea of Galilee, and “ saw two brethren, Simon and Andrew, casting a net into the sea, (Matt. iv. 18. Mark i. 17.) for they were fishermen, he said unto them, Follow me, and I will make
fishers of men; and immediately they left the ship, and their father, and followed him.” It appears from the Gospel of John, that these men had been his disciples in Judea, and had attended him some short time there; but they had returned to their ordinary occupation, as the disciples of John in general probably did; but from this time they never left him. In the same authoritative manner he seems to have commanded the attendance of all whom he thought proper.
Seeing Matthew, a person in a public employment, and evidently wealthy, at his