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and of those who presided over them.
The emperor Julian', amongst the many schemes which he formed for the destruction of our religion, proposed to introduce into Paganism what he judged to be most commendable in Christianity; as schools for moral lectures, readers and preachers in the temples, forms of prayer, hospitals for the reception of strangers, of the sick and helpless, collections for the poor, recommendatory letters for travellers, &c.
Christianity hath given men a clearer knowledge of God and of morality, and of a future state. Hence it comes to pass that the far greater part of Christians, when they do amiss, sin against conscience, and feel many restraints and checks, by which they are at least kept from some crimes which they else would have committed, and incited to do some good actions which they would not have performed.
Several of these benefits are more evidently visible in some Christian countries than in others P; but they are to be found in some measure in all nations where the gospel is received.
The gospel, for several ages after its establishment, was of some benefit even to those who received it not ! ; for the Pagan philosophers and learned men in those times' were improved in their notions of morality and religion ; for which we can account no way so probably as from their intercourse, and conversation, and debates with Christians.
The gospel hath likewise been in some measure serviceable to those great and populous nations who are Mohammedan ; for their religion, false and foolish as it is, bor
Gregor. Nazianz. orat. iii. Julian. Fragm. et Epist. 49. Sozomen. H. E. v. 16. If Julian's project had taken place, the Pagans would have imitated the Christians very awkwardly, as monkeys mimic men.
p The church of Christ here upon earth, in a true sense, is the whole number of all those, in all places, who believe in Christ, and endeavour to kiww his will and obey his laws. Every person who is in such a disposition of mind, is a member of the universal church, and, as such, a Christian.
Whitby on 1 Cor. tv. 44.
rows several things from Judaism and Christianity ; it teaches the belief of one God maker of heaven and earth, and of a providence, and of a future state. Therefore it is better than Epicurean notions of the mortality of the soul, and of a God who takes no care of the world ; it is better than Pagan idolatry, than the worship of dæmons, of false gods, of stocks and stones. :- Justice requires us to give every one his due, and to commend what is commendable, wheresoever we find it *. Christianity is so fair and excellent, that we need not inisrepresent other religions, to set it off to more advantage. It should be acknowledged that the false prophet, in his Koran, requires the belief of one God, trust in him, frequent prayer and fasting, alms-giving, even to strangers, keeping of covenants, justice in dealings, patience in adversity, to honour father and mother, and to maintain them if they are old and poor; that he forbids usury, bearing false witness, profane swearing by the name of God, and the murdering of infants, which had been common in Arabia
4. It is prophesied of Christ that he should be a conqueror, a prosperous and victorious king, who should subdue all his enemies. To him, as he is a king, belongs the right of judging and punishing those who rebel against him, and refuse to submit to him. Kings in antient times were also judges, and in scripture are called judges of the earth. And of the Messias it is said, that he should judge with righteousness, that he should smite the earth with the
5 'Αινείν αινητά.
1 But Mohammedism is a religion destitute of all proper evidence, and liable to insuperable objections.
Moliammed sufficiently confuted himself by striking out some passages of the Koran, upon second thoughts, and when his exigences required it, saying, “In the name of God, whatever verse we shal} abrogate,' &c. ch. ii. p. 14. and ch. xiv. p. 223. Sale's edit.
The xxiiid chapter shows him to be an impostor.
If the repetitions were blotted out, not more than a fourth part of his book would be left.
In some passages of the Koran lie denies a possibility of salvation to those who reject it; in other places he is thought by some to have lett room for virtuous men who believed a God and a future stave. See ch. ii. p. S. and the Notes; and Fabricius Luc, Evang. p. 491,
rod of his mouth, and slay the wicked, that his enemies should lick the dust, that he should break in pieces the oppressor, that kings should perish if he were angry with them, and that he should smite in sunder their heads over divers countries; and many like acts of power are ascribed to him. In the New Testament also our Saviour, under some parables, represents himself as a king, who should destroy his enemies, and declares that all judgment is committed to him by his Father,
Many of these acts of regal authority have had their signal completion; for,
First; Christ punished Judæa with utter desolation, His rebellious subjects there, who would not that he should reign over then, were given up to a reprobate mind, to blindness and madness, and by their own outrageous ini. quity, by civil discord, by famine, by war with the Romans, suffered calamitiesu not to be equalled in the history of any other people w; their city and temple were destroyed, and those of them who survived were scattered into all lands.
After this, the Jews of Libya, Ægypt, Cyprus, and Mesopotamia rebelled, and slew an innumerable multitude of people, for which they were severely punished by Trajan.
After this, when the Jews began to gather and to settle once again in Jerusalem*, they drew upon themselves the arms of the emperor Adrian ; and, if we may believe their own writers y, they suffered calamities not less severe and extensive than the former.
In the time of Constantius they rebelled again?, and Gallus slew many thousands of them, not sparing even the
u Before this, in the time of Caius, a slaughter was made of the Jews in Ægypt, Mesopotannia, Babylon, Syria, and Seleucia, which Was, says Josephus, φόνος πολύς, και οπόσος ουκ ιστορημένος πρότερον, a greater destruction than any that was ever before recorded of them. Ant. xviii. 9.
w These caļamilies were pot confined to Palæstine, bụt reacked them in all places where they dwelt, as in Ægypt, Syria, &c.
* Eusebius E. H. iv, 2. 6. & Valesius; & Fabric. Luc. Evang. į Buxtorf. in vocibus Bitter, Barchozila. 2 Hieron. in Chron. ann. 355. Socrat. Hist. Eccl. ii, 33. Sozom. iv.7:
p. 124, &c.
children, and burnt Diocæsarea, Tiberias, Diospolis, and other towns of the Jews.
After this the emperor Julian, in hatred to the Christian religion, would have settled them in Jerusalem, and restored to them their temple ; but all his attempts were frustrated in a miraculous manner by Divine Providence.
After this, in later times, Christian princes entertained a design to deliver the holy land from the infidels, and many attempts of that kind were made, which God would not suffer to prosper ; but Judæa, lies to this day barren, uncultivated, thinly inhabited, a memorable and dreadful example of Divine justice.
Secondly; it hath been a common opinion, that our Saviour punished the Roman empire, that great adversary and oppressor of Christianity, that cruel persecutor of his church, that empire of Satan. Thus much is certain ; that most of the persecuting emperors were cut off, one after another, in a very remarkable manner a; and that the empire was visited with plague and famine, with civil wars, with inundations of savage and barbarous people, Persians, Goths, Germans, Scythians, &c. till all Italy, and Rome b itself, fell into their hands and was plundered by them.
These acts of regal authority Christ has executed. Some remain, which in their due season will be accomplished;
See Grotius Append. de Antichr. p. 499. and the writer de More tib. Persecut,
☆ However, it must be confessed that Rome at that time was Christian, and under Christian emperors. Jos. Mede has taken notice of this, and says, “ Although the Roman emperors were now become Christians, yet would not God forget their former slaughters of his servants, but require their blood at the hand of that empire.' p. 919. * Nec est,' says Grotius, ' quod quisquam opponat tunc Romam fuisse Christianam. Contrà enim verum est, etiam postquam imperatores facti erant Christiani, Romæ mansisse idololatriam tuin in senatu, tum in plebe.' ad Apocal. xvii. 16. See also Hammond there, and Grotius Append. de Antichr. p. 501.
Add to these the following observation : ' Scribere enim disposuiquomodo et per quos Christi Ecclesia nata sit et adulta, persecutionibus creverit,-et postquam ad Christianos principes vencrit, potentia quidem et divitiis major, virtutibus minor facta sit.' Hieronymus in vita S. Malchi.
for it is generally supposed that the prophets speak of a time when the Jews shall be converted, and the fulness of the Gentiles shall flow into the church, and the kingdoms of the world shall be the kingdoms of Christ; when the gospel shall be further spread, and better understood, and more religiously obseryed than it is at present. And without question, these great events will be attended with as great and conspicuous acts of Christ's royal power and majesty.
But the most illustrious act of royal aụthority which Christ will exercise, will be at the end of all things, when he will judge the world in the truest and largest sense ; when this sinful earth, the seat of folly and iniquity, shall be set on fire and consume away before his he will pass sentence on the evil angels; when he will raise up the dead, and distribute rewards and punishments to all, proportionably to their behaviour in the days of their mortality,
Thus are we come to the most glorious part of Christ's reign, and also to the conclusion of it. It is said, by the angel, that he should reign for ever, and of his kingdom there should be no end, and the angel's words are taken from Isaiah, who, prophesying of the Messias, says; Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and witḥ justice, from henceforth even for ever.' Daniel speaks in the same manner: His dominion is an everļasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. And again :
And again : The God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and it shall stand for ever.' In this also Christ's kingdom was to differ from all other kingdoms, from all the preceding human monarchies, which, when they had arrived to their full strength and glory, had the same fate which attends human bodies, and either were quickly de. stroyed by violent causes, or insensibly decayed and mouldered away, so that no tokens of them would have remained, if history had not written their epitaph, and told us where they lay, and what they had been.
Not such was to be the fate of Christ's kingdom, to