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he met with upon earth, were such, as had the strongest tendency to check the influence of this benevolent and holy principle, and must have totally surmounted it, if it had not been invincible. Every thing that could be done by the wickedness and malice of mankind, was opposed to the exercise and progress of his goodness. He proceeded, nevertheless, with the same unshaken constancy, as if no discouragement, or opposition had occurred. In doing the will of God, and promoting the immortal happiness of men, he was totally regardless of himself, -unaided by the comforts of this world, -contradicted by the highest malice and ingratitude,--and at last, without the least impatience or complaint, became a willing martyr in the cause for which he had come from God, by an infamous and miserable death.-When the Philosopher, in a celebrated passage of antiquity, described the character of the just and perfect man, treated with all the hatred and contempt, which is due to the vileft criminal, while he merited all the honour and esteem which is due to the most perfect virtue; he unknowingly, described the character and situation of the Son of God. The features are so strongly markt, that one can scarcely miss the application *.
* The passage referred to, is in the ad.book of Plato's
Added to the extraordinary merit of the character, we are struck with the idea of its wonderful propriety.-Jesus was declared to be the Son of God, in a sense that was pecu. liar to himself. “He shall be great *,' said the angel, when he announced his conception to the Virgin Mary, 'and shall be called the Son
Repuhlic, and is to the following purpose; · He is a simple " and ingenuous man, defiring, not the appearance, but the : reality of goodness. We must take from him the
appearance of goodness: for if he shall appear to be just, he shall have • honours and rewards; and thus it may be uncertain whether • he be such for the sake of justice, or on account of the re• wards and honours that are given him Let him be stript of
every thing but justice. Whilft he doth no injustice, let him • have the reputation of doing the greatest. Let him bę tor• tured for justice, not yielding to reproach, and such things as • arise from it; but immoveable tiil death.'
To this paffage from a Heathen author, it may not be improper to fubjoin a paffage from one of the Apocryphal books, called the Wisdom of Solomon, which looks like a description, or prophecy, of Jesus Christ
Cap ii. 13.-' He professeth to have the knowledge of God: ¢ and he calleth himself the child of the Lord. --Let us fee if • his words be true: and let us prove what shall happen in the • end of him. For if the just man be the Son of God, he will
help him, and deliver him from the hand of his enemies. • Let us examine him with despitefulnels and torture, that we
may know his meekness, and prove his patience. Let us • condemn him, with a shameful death; for by his own saying • he shall be refpreted. Such things did they imagine and were
deceived for their own wickedness hath blinded them.'
Lake i. 31en
of the Highest. His person is accordingly described in terms which fignify the highest eminence and dignity: 'He is the brightness
of the Father's glory, and the express image • of his perfon. He had been in the form of * God. In him the fullness of the Godhead * dwelt, ----and men beheld in him the glory as
of the only begotten of the Father.'-- Jesus also was declared to be the Son of man, and the Saviour of this world : and as the Son of man, “ He came to minister, and to give his
life a ransom for many: to be touched with the feeling of our infirmities: to have compallion on the ignorant, and then that are
out of the way.” From these two different prospects of his character, we are naturally led to look for something in the history of his life, that shall, in each of these respects, distinguish him from the rest of the human race; and be equally expressive of his dignity and greatness, as the Son of God, and of his goodness and compaflion, as the Son of man.---Agreeably to this, the history of his life presents us with the view of a very singular propriety.--Majesty and mercy, the most respectable talents of power and wisdom, with the most amiable expressions of mildness and humanity, meet together with a wonderful assemblage in the life of Jesus, and at once exhibit to our view what is most sublime and
beautiful in human manners.- -By his wisdom he perceived the secret recesses of the human heart, and the uncertain and remote events of Providence.—By his power he suspended, and controlled the laws of nature at his pleafure. By his command the storms were calmed, the waters became solid as the earth, the deaf heard, the fick were healed, and the dead arose. The heavens too were opened to announce his glory, and the devils astonished and affraid, acknowledged him to be the Son of God.
Amidst these extraordinary expressions of his greatness, he gave equal proofs of his humanity and goodness. His power and wisdom were employed, not in raising useless admiration and surprise, far less in raising terror and astonishment; but in doing the most amiable and useful offices of mercy. To bless mankind was the sole ambition of his life, and the mighty talents with which he was endowed, were employed only as the instruments by which he gratified the generous ambition. Had he markt his character only by the exertions of his power and wisdom, he might have shown himself to be the Son of God; but would not have, equally, shown himself to be the Son of man, and Saviour of the world. To the dignity and grandeur of the first, he therefore added the humanity and mildness of the
fecond character: and from his first appearance on the public stage, to the last moment of his life, his history contains such a series of events as equally discovers the dignity and greatness of the Son of God, and the gentle, ness and mercy of the Son of man.
Reflecting further on the life of Jesus Chrift, we are ftruck with another expression of its singular propriety. Jesus is declared to have come immediately from God, with commission from him? To save this world ? when it was lost, I am come, says he,. * a " light into the world, that whosoever believ: eth on me, should not abide in darkness.! I have not spoken of myself, but the Father ? which fent me, he gave me a commandment * what I should say, and what I should speak. « And I know that his commandment is life
everlasting.'-Coming in this manner, and with this design from God, nothing could appear to him of much importance in this world, but the faithful and successful execution of the commission which was given him by his Father. All the other transactions, in which the rest of mankind are embarked with so much eagerness and zeal, behoved to feem in his eye, extremely frivolous and insignificant. From the whole history of his life, it