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Sufficiently unprejudiced, not to participate excited the displeasure of the Jews, by ap. . in them.
pearing in a manner inferior to what they " It may now be useful to recapitulate those imagined beforehand, so he roused their in particulars in which Jesus deceived the ex- dignation, by assuming pretensions superior pectations, and frustrated the views, of his to what they expected. They expected the own countrymen; and which rendered it so Messiah to be a prophet
, indeed, but not highly improbable, that the gospel should “the holy one of God," and therefore, have originated in man's invention. Va- when they heard the extent of his claims, nous prophecies had foretold that an extraor- they cried out— By our law he ought to dinary character would arise, for the benefit die, because he made himself the son of of the Jewish nation in particular, and the God.” So that in the eyes of this blind peoworld in general. The epithets of a prince ple, he seemed to add the outrage of insult to and a saviour, which were applied to the fu- the bitterness of disappointment: though he ture Messiah, were interpreted by the Jews in seemed not to equal in dignity the meanest a worldly sense; as they were at all times a of the prophets, he asserted his superiority gross and carnal people, and fancied them. over Abraham; and though he failed to selves exactly in the circumstances which call- realize their gross conceptions of the characed for the intervention of a deliverer, in their ter of Christ, he assumed the still more exsense of the word. They were in bondage traordinary and more dignified title of the to an enemy whom they hated, and against Son of God. If any one, after viewing the whom the least encouragement readily dis- deep root which national pride and prejuposed them to rebel. They expected that dice had taken in the minds of the Jews, the Messiah would deliver them from this after examining the nature of the expectabondage ; restore their religion, with all its tions they had formed, and tire manner in ceremonies, to more than its ancient splen- which they were disappointed, can still condour; add a new lustre to their favourite sider the rejection of Jesus, by the Jews, as temple, and convert the nations of the world a matter incredible or unaccountable, he to the Jewish religion, or subject them to must have accustomed himself to view the the Jewish yoke. As this great personage relation of cause and effect with no very acwas, in their opinion, to unite the character curate eye. Certainly it was impossible for of a conqueror with that of a prophet, they him to appear in a way more contradictory to expected him to exhibit the dignity of the their expectation, and to propagate doctrines one, as well as to practise the austerity of the more dístaseful to their wishes. An enthuother. Purity of manners, spirituality of siast could not conceive such a scheme; an worship, and unbounded liberality of doc- impostor could not adopt it; consequently trine, were the last qualities which these un. the gospel, if preached by a Jew among the bending votaries of the law of Moses seemed Jews, could not originate in human artifice to look for or value. Jesus Christ at length or error, but must have had its source in the appeared to assume the title, and execute the unsearchable wisdom, and comprehensive office, of the long expected Messiah. He benevolence, of the Almighty Governor of was born in a part of the country the most the universe.” dishonoured and despised; his reputed parents were mean and obscure in their circum
The third chapter treats on the conduct stances, though really of royal extraction. of the apostles. “These persons,” says He set at nought that rigid adherence to the Mr. Maltby, “ form a singular excepceremonial law, in which, indeed, the reli- tion to the generality of their countrygion of the Jews at that time almost entirely men, by not only readily admitting the consisted, and from which alone they assum- testimony of Jesus, but by persevering, ed to themselves so much merit. He asso- in spite of every discouragement, and ciated with publicans and sinners; and chose for the confidential ministers of his high every danger, to preach to the world at office, the most obscure and illiterate of his large the doctrines which Jesus had countrymen. He inculcated submission to taught. The motives which shall apthe Romans; he expressly asserted the re- pear upon strict inquiry to have directed jection of the obstinate Jews, and the ad- their conduct, must assist us in determission of the believing Gentiles to the pri- mining how far the gospel is true; and vileges of his kingdom; he led the life of a if their actions shall be conformable to poor destitute, not having where to lay his head; he expressed the most honest indigna- their peculiar circumstances; and if they
what might be expected from men in rion against the rich and the powerful; the interpreters of the law, and the leaders of the shall themselves be found capable of sects. He repeatedly incurred the charge of forming a right judgment of the facts to violating the sabbath, and of profaning the which they bore witness, and actuated dignity of that proud object of their implicit by no wrong bias whatever, we cannot texerenee, the temple at Jerusalem. And refuse their evidence as credible and faally, what is still more extraordinary, as he
competent witnesses." P. 118. Axx. RE. VOL. I.
Mr. Maltby then proceeds to trace the extending through such a period of years, leading features of the character of the and including such a variety of characters; disciples, as they are delineated in the at once so completely consistent, yet wearing gospel narrative. He selects the most in short, a maze of human actions, rea
the appearance of inconsistency; presenting, Striking instances of their incredulity, dily unravelled with the proper ctue, destitheir ignorance, and their ambition; tute of which the mind must wander in endhe shews the strength of their prejudices, less and inextricable difficulty.” the frequency of their disappointment, owing to the wrong conceptions they
The miracles wrought by the disciples, dur had formed of their master's kingdom, ing the life of our Lord, form the next subthe gradual removal of their deeply: ject of investigation, chap. iv. In exa. rooted prepossessions, and their final mining their conduct, it was necessary more enlarged views and disinterested to prodace some instances of their giv. zeal. He demonstrates that their con ing way to doubt, respecting the characduct is in every respect such as might ter and pretensions of Jesus; these, at be naturally expected from a previous first sight, seem hardly reconcileable with knowledge of their peculiar circum. the power which they themselves had
Mr. stances, bat considered in its whole pro. received, of working miracles. gress incapable of solution, but upon the Maltby, however, undertakes to prove supposition of the truth of the facts re.
“ that the fact is to be accounted for corded in the gospel history,
upon the same principles by which the The whole of this very satisfactory rest of their conduct appears to have argument is summed up in the follow. been guided, and instead of affording ing forcible words:
any just pretence for incredulity, will
corroborate the arguments already ad“ Such is related to have been the cono .vanced in behalf of the Christian reliduct of the persons who joined themselves gion,” p. 164. That the power of work. to Jesus during his life, and after his death ing miracles was actually imparted and sealed their testimony in his favour, by the sacrifice of every worldly good connections,
exercised, is demonstrable from scripinterest, reputation, health, and even life it- ture. The purpose for which it was be. self. And'I think it may be said, that the stowed, was the establishing of their narrative contains an accurate and striking claims to the attention of their country. representation of men, tainted with the men, and the effect it produced upon strongest possible prepossessions, and acting themselves, was to secure their attachnot only for a considerable time, but amidst ment to a cause in which they could not most peculiar circunistances, under a mis- then be fully instructed. The bestowtake, in consequence of those prepossessions. Their conduct at any instance of disappoint, been a wise and important measure; and
ment of this power is shown to have ment, the manner in which they acted the subsequent doubts of the apostles, the foundation of their mistaken opinions, and even their desertion of their Master and the slow degrees by which they gave in the hour of danger, are properly atway to complete conviction, display ihe na tributed to the almost incontroulable in. tural progress of minds yielding reluctantly fluence of deeply-rooted national preju. to irresistible evidence : while the perils dices. which awaited them, when they thus yielded, prove that nothing but the force of truth Gospel. It has been urged by unbeliev
The fifth chapter is on the scheme of the could extort from thein a testimony which they could not utter but at the hazard of in ers, as an objection to the truth of the curring every worldly inconvenience. If we gospel, that the disciples, after the death admit this history of their conduct to be of their Master, adopted a system in fuithfully recorded, are we not constrained to their preaching totally different from admit the truth of the gospel, since such that which he had pursued and authoconduct cannot be fully accounted for, withio rized. Jesus, they assert, confined the out the supposition that their Master taught, blessings of his kingdom to his countryacted, and suffered, precisely as he is describ- men; he never went beyond the limits ed to teach, act, and suffer. Is it then to be of Judea, nor gave any commission to supposed, that the account thus given was his apostles to teach and baptizé such as invented! It would surely exceed the usual limits of human ingenuity, to assign a reason
were not Jews. Very soon, however, af. why it should be invented ; and it appears ter his departure from them, in direct op. beyond the reach of human art 10 fabricate position to the directions and the prac. such an account, sv niisutely circumstantial, tice of Jesus, they make converts from
the Gentiles, and proclaim the abolition the the truth of the Christian scripof the Mosaic law. “ These writers," tures. Mr. M. observes, p. 208, “plainly found The next chapter, on the character of their argument upon the information Jesus, we recommend to the serious they have derived from the books of the perusal of every adversary to ChristiaNew Testament, alleging, in proof of nity; especially of those who acknowthem, the supposed silence of Jesus Christ ledge the excellence of Christ's moral as to those material parts of the Christian character; with which it is here clearly scheme, upon which it is allowed that demonstrated, that “ all the hypotheses the disciples acted. It will, however, be that have been framed to account for the discovered, upon an attentive examina- origin of the Christian religion, indetion of the sacred volumes, that they pendently of its truth, are utterly irre. must have been perused cursorily, and concileable.” superficially, by these objectors, since it The whole chapter is deserving of the appears that those parts evidently did be. most attentive consideration; and we long to the dispensation of which Jesus will not weaken the force of the arguwas the author. The plan of that dispen- ment by endeavouring to reduce it to a sation was managed in such a manner, smaller compass. that the first knowledge of it, and the It is certainly remarkable that the first offer of the blessings attending it, most determined enemies of revelation should be commlinicated to the Jews. have in general professed to admire Upon their rejetting the Gospel, which the character of Jesus. Vanini, Bolingwas foreseen and provided for by the broke, Rousseau, Voltaire, and Gibbon, Father of the Universe, it was to be an- strenuous as they were in opposing his nounced to all other nations; and from doctrine, have contended that he was that period (the necessity for the pecu: “ a good man,” though they professed liar institutions of Moses being done to believe that " he had deceived the away) the principles of a religion fitted people." “ Amongst the few," obfor the acceptance of the whole human serves Mr. M. “ whose moral feelings race were to succeed. Consistently with have been so little in unison with those this design, the labours of our blessed of the rest of mankind, as to lead them Saviour were, during the short time of to impeach the character of our blessed his ministry, confined to Judea; never- Saviour, is Mr. W. Godwin," page 285. theless he revealed more fully the will He accuses him of introducing intoleof the Deity, and signified the greater ex- rance and bigotry into the world; of laytent of his plan upon various occasions, ing an improper stress upon faith, and and in a very direct manner; insomuch, of betraying a morose and vindictive that any subsequent notification of this temper. It is the object of the seventh intention to his disciples, would have chapter of the work now before us, to exabeen unnecessary, if their understandings mine and confute these misrepresentahad not been so darkened by worldly tions. And this important object we views, and obstinate prejudices, that they deem to be completely attained. tere scarcely capable of comprehending The argumentum ad hominem was never the plainest declarations." All this is applied with more propriety or force shown in a very clear and satisfactory than in the following passage: manner; and we conceive that to every impanial inquirer it must appear, “ that
“ But on what account, may we ask, are instead of any contradiction, the most
these sarcastic invectives directed by Mr. complete harmony prevails, in reality, and whom is he endeavouring to shield from
Godwin against the conduct of Jesus Christ? throughout the system, as taught by the fury of a malevolent assailant? No doubt Jesus, and acted upon by his disciples; he is espousing the cause of some enlightened nor is there any other difference than philosophers, whose generous attempts to enwhat may be supposed very natu- large the understanding, and increase the tally to exist between the various parts happiness, of their countrymen, were opposed of a comprehensive scheme, which is gra- by the
power of a tyrata, and defeated by the dualiy matured to perfection.” P. 222. intolerance of a bigot! No doubt he is' pro
Having thus vindicated the scheme of tecting, from the attack of ignorance and erthe gospel, the author very ably proves
ror, some whose doctrines breathed the purthat the conduct of the apostles in this in their disinterested researches after truth?
est benevolence, and who were indefatigable instance furnishes a striking evidence of He is defending a virtuous few from the inc.
naces and insults of one who substituted au- fanatics or impostors, essentially differ thority for evidence, and counteracted the from those with whom they are too often efforts they made for the melioration or per- confounded. By an honest and undis. of all this. Mr. Godwin heroically steps sembling appeal to history, I would opforth in desence of fanatical and cruel priests, pose to the enemies of revealed truth, of crafty and interested politicians, to pro- their favourite test of experience. In tect them from the reproaches of a person
this design it would doubtless appear a who inculcated the purest lessons of mora considerable omission, if I neglected an lity, and practised the most exalted benevo- inquiry into the causes which produced lence. He is vindicating prejudice, selfish- the success of the Arabian impostor, ness, and bigotry, against him who was de- since that success has sometimes been voted to the generous purpose of delivering confounded by the designing or the unthe human race from these and all other moral evils. He is defending " hypocrites, who tended the propagation of the gospel.” devoured widows' houses, and for a made long prayers ;" who “paid tithe of P. 326. mint, and anise, and cummin, but omitted The defects of the evidence in the the weightier matters of the law, judgment, favour of the Mahometan religion, are mercy, and truth;” men who perverted di- therefore pointed out. He adverts, vine and human laws to the purposes of their as briefly as possible, to some of the own selfish and cruel policy. These enemies to reform, these oppressors of truth, most discriminating circumstances, unthese persecutors of virtue, has a moderá der which the prophet of Arabia was philosopher valiantly, but inconsistently, enabled to execute his portentous de undertaken to defend against the honest in- signs, and these he collects chiefly from dignation of him “ who went about doing Sale and Gibbon, sources to which the good ;" “ who did no sin; neither was guile most obstinate unbelievers can offer no found in his mouth;" who, even when he objection. Our limits will not permic was reviled, reviled not again, but commit: us to follow Mr. Maltby through this ted himself to him that judgeth righteously." Chapter; we must content ourselves with Surely when we reflect upon the spirit and the tendency of Mr. Godwin's accusations observing that he has made a judicious against Jesus, as containing, indirectly but selection of facts, which, illustrated by substantially, a plea for scribes and pharisees, his remarks, most clearly prove that the we may retort upon the adversaries of Chris- success of Mahomet affords no argutianity the charge which they have again ment whatever to affect in the slightest and again levelled against Christians. In degree the evidence of the Christian rethe opinions of philosophers, it should seem, ligion. as well as priests, the end justices the means: the convert to ism not more
The volume concludes with a thesis anxious to set bounds to his zeal, than the on the insufficiency of human reason, convert to Christianity; and by that zeal in- fully to discover the proper worship of fidelity, as infidels themselves have some- God, the extent of human duty, and times said of orthodoxy, is supposed by its the future life of man; and with a conta votaries to atone for the want of precision, cio ad clerum upon the much disputed impartiality, and candour."
subject of Jeptha's vow. In this Mr. The concluding chapter is thus intro. M. defends with considerable skill the duced: “ Among other objects pro- hypothesis which removes from this posed by this work, I have endeavoured, Jewish warrior the charge of having wherever it has been practicable, to bring taken away the life of his daughter, and the substantial support of facts to the refers that misfortune to the being deaid of arguments. In the execution of voted to a state of perpetual virginity. my design, I have been occasionally led The argument in both these tracts is to consider in what way persons actually ably sustained, and the latinity correct influenced by the motives which have and classical. In these Mr. Maltby disbeen imputed to Jesus and his apostles, covers himself a good critic, and an ele. by the adversaries of Christianity, have gant scholar, as in the former part of invariably conducted themselves, and to the volume he has earned the more disshew in what particulars of times, and tinguished praise of an enlightened anda of circumstances, these persons, whether zealous Christian
ART. XVII. LESLIE's Short and Easy Method with the Deists; wherein the Certainty
of the Christian Religion is established by some infallible Marks, (in a Letter to a Friend). To which are subjoined four additional Marks from the same Author's subsequent Tracts, entitled “The Truth of Christianity demonstrated.” Compressed by FRANCIS WRANGHAM, M. 4. Pp. 37.
THE tracts which are here presented valuable works into so small a compass; to the public, in an abridged form, have and furnished those who have not either been so long known, and their character leisure or inclination to study larger so justly appreciated, that we consider it treatises, with arguments in defence of needless to enter upon an analysis of the Christian faith “so short and clear, their contents. Mr. Wrangham is en. that the meanest capacity may undertitled to the thanks of every friend of stand them, and so forcible that no man revelation, for having compressed these has yet been found able to resist them.” Art. XVUI, A Plea for Religion, and the Sacred Writings; addressed to the Disci.
ples of Thomas Paine, and wavering Christians of every Persuasion ; with an Appendix, containing the Author's Determination to have relinquished bis Charge in the Esta. blished Church, and the Reasons on which that Determination was founded. By the Reverend David SIMPSON, M.A. 8vo. Pp. 351.
THIS appears, from the advertisement the horrors of the French revolution as prefixed to it, to be an enlarged edition an incitement to avoid delay. In order of a work of so miscellaneous a nature, that our readers may have some idea of as to be scarcely capable of being re. the manner in which this well meaning duced to an orderly arrangement. It is work is conducted, we shall select the the production of a singular, but evi. following as a proper specimen, and as dently honest mind; a book of religious containing some serious truths, which all anecdote, discovering some reading, but who are interested in the welfare of remore observation and knowledge of the ligion ought seriously to consider. world. We shall endeavour to give our readers, in a few words, some idea of its church livings. Some of my readers may be
“ I have spoken above of the patronage of contents. The first object which the au- in a great degree strangers to the state of it. thor seems to have had in view, is to shew I have taken some pains to inform myself the different effects of infidelity, and upon the subject, and I find that it stands faith in the gospel, upon the last mo- nearly in the following proportions. I speak ments of life. For this purpose twelve generally, but yet accurately enough for the examples are given of dying unbelievers ; purposes of common information. "It is well the same number of persons recovered known then, that the church livings of Engfrom their infidelity, several instances of round numbers, about 10,000. Of these dging Christians who had lived in the spirit near 1000 are in the gift of the king. It is of the world; and several of persons living
, customary, however, for the lord chancellor and dying either with confidence, or the full to present to all the livings under the value Assurance of faith. The author next in- of twenty pounds, in the king's book, and quires into the causes which induce men for the ministers of state to present to all the to reject the gospel; he allows the exist- rest. Those under twenty pounds are about ence of many deplorable corruptions in 780, and those above near 180. Upwards of the Christian church, but properly shews 1600 pieces of church preferment, of difiethat they furnish no argument against the 26 bishops : more than 600 in the pre
rent sizes and descriptions, are in the gift of Christianity itself. He then enters upon sentation of the two universities: about a defence of the sacred writings, and of 1000 in the gift of the several cathedrals, revealed religion, but with little atten- and other clerical institutions: about 5700 tion to arrangement and method. He livings are in the nomination of the nomakes great use of the prophecies; from bility and gentry of the land, men, wowhich he concludes that every thing men, and children: and 50 or 60 there may antichristian will be shortly overwhelmed be of a description different from
any of the in destruction; he therefore urges the These are all so many heads of the church,
above, and nearer to the propriety of things. necessity of a speedy and complete re. in a very strong sense of the words, the king formation of the abuses which exist in or queen of the country being a kind of arcks wur established church, and holds up head.