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ancient history more circumstantially, minutely and faithfully transmitted to us, than that of the Jewish war predicted by the Messiah. Is there no providence in this?

Will any objector ask,-Might not the prediction have been written after the event? We answer; on as good ground as you believe that Jerusalem was destroyed when it was, or that it was destroyed at all, you may believe that the prediction preceded the event. The question in short comes to this, Is any thing recorded in ancient history worthy of being credited ?

I ask then, whether you believe that those books of the New Testament, called the gospels, of Matthew, Mark and Luke, were written by the men whose names they bear? If you say you do not; I must ask the reason : Why are they not as likely to be genuine, as the history of Tacitus, or any other writer of that age? Till some answer can be given to this question, may it not be taken for granted, that the books were written by the reputed authors, and before the destruction of Jerusalem? Matthew was one of the twelve apostles, and there is abundant evidence that all the apostles died before Jerusalem was destroyed, except John; and it is truly remarkable, that the only apostle who could have forged the prediction after the event, has not recorded it at all.

It may also be observed, that in the Epistles contained in the New Testament, there are plain allusions or references to such an event, as approaching. It

seems to have been a thing generally expected by the Christians. Were then these Epistles written after the destruction of Jerusalem? If not, whence did the writers or the Christians in general, derive the idea of the tremendous calamities which were at hand? Need it be repeated, that the whole voice of antiquity repecting the Epistles, concurs in assigning them a date prior to the ruin of Jerusalem? Need the unbeliever be chailenged to point out a single word, clause, or passage in the gospels, from which it can be reasonably inferred, that they were written after the predicted events took place. Had they been written subsequent to the events, would there not probably have been some specification of names and dates? Is there any thing in the complexion of these historians from beginning to end, which has even the appearance of cunning or imposture, or of any thing but unrivalled simplicity?

Once more; Suppose the prophecy to have been fabricated after the event. By whom was it done? It must surely have been done by a Christian. But in it there are admonitions of Christ to his disciples, to save themselves by flight. The Christians, when the siege approached, either did make their escape, or they did not. If they did, they must have had the prophecy among them; for the event was sudden and unexpected to the nation. If the Christians did not make their escape, let me ask, would any intelligent Christian, in writing for Christians a history

of their master, have been so absurd as to insert admonitions as delivered by him to them, of which they had made no use when the occasion occurred? Would he have fabricated these admonitions, when facts had already proved, that those who were most concerned to know and re

gard them, were either ignorant of them, or had treated them with neglect?

The subject is too important to be thus dismissed. Some reflections on the prophecy itself, and on the principal event foretold, may be expected in subsequent numbers.

WHY WAS JESUS CHRIST PERSECUTED ?

It is an interesting question, Why was Christ persecuted? By what conduct, and what doctrines, did he awaken that unrelenting malignity which pursued him to the cross, and even exulted in his last pangs? The subject is important, as it throws a lustre on the character of our Lord, and as it may correct some mistakes as to the class of his followers, to whom the honour eminently belongs of walking in his steps.

One principal cause of the persecution of Jesus (a cause to which our remarks will now be confined) is to be found in the enlarged, generous and liberal sentiments, which he communicated in relation to the character of God, and to the nature of religion. Jesus was sent to live and to preach in the midst of a bigoted, exclusive and censorious people, who regarded God as a partial being, and expected to monopolize his favour, who regarded all other nations with contempt, and ascribed to the Creator the same unfriendly feelings, who placed religion in

forms of worship which were confined to themselves, and, through an excessive and arrogant estimation of their own distinctions and peculiarities, discarded the obligations of general benevolence, and severed as far as possible the bond which united them to the great family of mankind. Such were the Jews, and especially the Pharisees;-and what course did Jesus pursue? His whole ministry was one continued testimony against their narrow and unworthy views of God and of his service; one continued testimony to the unbounded love of our heavenly Father, and to his delight in benevolence and charity, as the most acceptable service which his creatures can render him. Jesus continually taught, that the character of God is parental, that his love extends beyond the Jew to the Gentile, and that many shall come from the east and west, the north and south, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in his kingdom. He taught, that God prefers mercy or humanity to

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sacrifice, that the noblest use of the Sabbath is doing good, and that the compassionate Samaritan, although a worshipper on Mount Gerizim, was more ceptable to God than the Priest and Levite, whose superiour light did not guide them to charity. He taught, that the Pharisee, notwithstanding his long prayers and disfigured face, was an abomination in the sight of Heaven, because he despised and condemned others, because he valued himself on his forms, and made a parade of saintship, whilst his heart was a stranger to mercy, justice, and the love of God. He taught that God abhors ostentation, censoriousness and spiritual pride, and that the service, in which he most delights, consists in the exercise of a candid and forgiving temper, and in modest and silent acts of kindness and devotion. In one word, he taught, that God loves not a chosen few, but sent his son to be the Saviour of the world; that Publicans, Sinners, Samaritans and Gentiles are all comprehended in the offers of his mercy; that love of enemies and a love of peace constitute men, in the noblest sense, children and and followers of their Father in heaven; and that the reign of Messiah consists, not in spreading a religion of forms, or in exalting a particular people, but in diffusing through the whole earth filial piety, humility, and charity. These generous and enlarged views were a principal cause of the malignity and persecution, which fell on the head of Jesus. The Elders, Rulers, Scribes and Pharisees, hated him because he

testified against their narrowness, hypocrisy, pride and bigotry, because he resisted their exclusive feelings and hopes, and in his conduct and teaching, inculcated a liberality of sentiment altogether uncongenial with the spirit of his age. It is true, that they condemned Jesus at last on different grounds. They accused him before Pilate, of making himself a king and the Son of God. But in this they discovered their characteristick hypocrisy. At that very moment, they were looking with restless impatience for a distinguished personage, who would assume these very titles, of Son of God and king of Israel, and under whose sway they hoped to subvert the throne of the Cæsars; and one great objection to Jesus was, that he gave no countenance to these views, but preferred the glory of founding a spiritual empire of love to God and to mankind.

We thus learn one principal cause of that singular hatred with which Jesus was pursued, his actions watched, his words perverted, his character aspersed, and his bloodshed on the cross as if he were the vilest of malefactors. To the same cause we must ascribe, in a great degree, the persecution of the apostles. Every where the Jews followed these first preachers of Christianity with clamour and rage, because they taught, that God was the God of the Gentiles as well as the Jews, that the blessings of the Messiah were equally extended to all mankind, that the partition wall of the Mosaick dispensation was broken down, and that love was the fulfilling

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of the law, and the badge of the subjects of Messiah's king

dom.

These remarks place the character of Jesus in a peculiarly attractive and exalted light. I know not a stronger evidence of his divine mission and sublime virtue, than his superiority to the narrow spirit of his age, and his cheerful and resolute endurance of scorn and outrage, in inculcating the paternal character and unbounded love of God, and the glory and blessedness of charity, -From these remarks we also learn, to what Christians the honour eminently belongs of being conformed in principles, efforts and sufferings, to Jesus and his apostles. They are those Christians, who adhere to enlarged and liberal views of God's character and service amidst opposition and persecution, who, denying themselves and taking the cross, hold forth in a bigoted, exclusive and censorious age, those great principles which exposed their beloved Lord, and their eider brethren, the apostles, to reproach, and violence, and death.

It is a melancholy truth, that these generous views, which were persecuted in the time of Christ, have continued to be opposed to the present day. But at this we cannot wonder. The selfishness, pride, and timidity of men all unite in leading them to ascribe to God partial, narrow, severe, and tyrannical principles of administration, and to disparage, censure, hate, and persecute those, by whom more liberal views are cherished. It is melancholy to look back on the history of the

church, and to observe that, notwithstanding the light of the gospel, as gloomy and as dishonourable views of God have been current among Christians, as prevailed among the Jews. The history of the church shews us, that the most difficult triumph of Christianity is over that exclusive spirit, which brought Jesus Christ to the cross. Would to God, that our own age were an exception to this truth. What a thick darkness at this moment hangs over a large part of Christendom. The mild and cheering light of the gospel hardly struggles through the clouds of errour. The theory which is embraced by many Christians in relation to the character, government and will of God, is truly horrible.--Do not some Christians believe, that God brings men into existence wholly depraved and wholly impotent, that he selects a certain number, as exclusive objects of that grace which is essential to salvation, and plunges the rest into eternal misery, on account of sins to which they were inevitably impelled by the nature which he gave them? Do not some Christians believe, that God consigns to eternal flames children who die in infancy, or if he spares them, that he still regards them as meriting this doom, and spares them that they may be trophies of his pardoning mercy? Do not some Christians believe, that the millions and millions of the heathen world, who are born and live in the thickest darkness, are all lying under sentence of endless wo, and can only be saved by that gospel which has never

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cile the doctrine of three persons in the Godhead, with the fundamental doctrine of the Divine Unity, and who conscientiously believes that the Scriptures every where speak of God as one person, even the Father? Do not some Christians believe, that God has not given one word of promise in the whole Bible, to some who are acknowledged to be among the best men on earth, whose only errour is, that they have been baptized by a minister, on whose head no hand of a bishop ever rested, and have declined submission to a discipline, which they sincerely believe to be unauthorized by the word of God? To conclude, do not vast numbers of Christians believe, that God confines his favour to those who assent to this or that obscure and inexplicable dogma, about which men of the greatest wisdom and apparent piety have been divided, and prepares intolerable and endless fire and wo for all who dissent from the unintelligible creed?-1s not such the God who is now worshipped by a vast number of Christians? and may we not say, that according to some of these views, he is a God of as dark and vengeful attributes as ever haunted the imagination of a Druid, or was ever adored in the gloomy forests of the North? Such is the God, whom many professed followers of the benign and compas

sionate Jesus, have placed on the throne of Heaven, a God, under whose dominion the universe would be shrouded with a horrid gloom, and existence become an infinite calamity! Such is the God, whose attributes have struck terrour into multitudes of conscientious believers, and from whose oppressive and degrading service, many have fled for refuge to infidelity, or to absolute thoughtlessness on the subject of religion?

It is a very interesting question, What is the duty of Christians while such darkness prevails? Their duty is to follow their master, in exhibiting in their lives and with their lips, enlarged, generous and liberal views of God and of his service. Let them be patient and persevering witnesses to his paternal character, his unbounded love, his equitable administration, and to the superiority of love or charity to faith, hope, and the most burning zeal. If they are appointed to suffer reproach, calumny, exclusion, excommunication, or the loss of the best earthly blessings in making this good profession, let them look to Jesus, who was persecuted before them in the same cause, and esteem it an honour to be associated with him, by a fellowship of sufferings. As affectionate children of God, let them lift up their voices against those sentiments which cover him with dishonour, and change him from the Father, into the tyrant and scourge of his creation. As brethren of the human family, and members of the body of Christ, let them never cease to oppose those exclusive

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