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them, I will also ask one thing: The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of man? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, if we shall say from heaven, he will say, why, then believed
him not? But if we say of man, all the people will stone us, for they were persuaded that John was a prophet.” (Luke, xx. 1, 2, 3, &c.) The priests, &c. finding they could bring nothing against him themselves, and that he avoided all their craft, formed a stratagem; "they watched him, and sent forth spies which should feign themselves just men, (i. e. of his party) that they might lay bold of his words, and deliver bim unto the power of the Go. vernor.” Luke, xx. 20.) - They likewise asked him whether it was lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar, in order to convict him of high, treason, if he had answered in the negative; but he was still a match for them, giving a very quaint and cautious answer: “Give unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and unto God the things that are God's." They knew very
well it was the intention of Jesus to throw off Cæsar's yoke, aud that he wished to bring about a revolution. The abilities and caution of Jesus still withstood all the stratagems of the chief priests and the captains, and as they durst not take him without a lawful pretext before the multitude, they bribed Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles, to betray him, and deliver him up during his retreat in the evening, when he retired with the rest of his disciples in the absence of the populace. Christ, it seems, had been informed of this piece of treachery, (most probably, by Joseph of Arimathea, who was a couusellor, and the most likely to know it); for when they had sat down together at the passover, he discovers it to them, and, in order to give his disciples some encouragement to defend him, promises to divide a kingdom amongst them, which appears to be an earthly one, for they were “ to eat and drink with him at his table, in bis own kingdom.” The danger becoming more evident, Christ desired them to get arms. And he said unto them, “ But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he tɔat haib no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” (Luke, xxii. 36.) He then went with his disciples to the mount of Olives. That Jesus knew he must be taken, is very evident; that he dreaded the future, and was in the last despair, is without doubt; for we are told, that here “ he prayed, and was very sorrowful, even unto death.” During this time appeared Judas, with some armed soldiers, and the disciples then asked Jesus whether they should defend themselves; (Luke, xxii. 49.)
" and one of them drew his sword, and cut off the ear of one who came to take him." But failing in their courage, and finding that all defence was useless, bis disciples ran away and left him. (Mark, xiv. 50.) A little while before this happened, it appears that Jesus wished to make his escape; having sent some of his disciples to watch, and finding this precaution to be useless from their propensity to sleep, on seeing Judas coming, he said to them, “ Arise, let us be going, for behold he is at hand that is to betray me." (Matth. xxvi. 46.) But it was too late. He was then årrested, and taken before Pilate. *
Jesus nerer denied his object to have been the throne of David, until brought before Pilate; he then said, “My kingdom is not of this world ; if it was, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered unto the Jews.” (John, xviii. 36.) The chief priests, however, erea though they were obliged to have recourse to false witnesses, could neither prore he had said he was the son of God, or that he was the King of the Jews; both of wbich might have been lawfully punished with death. According to Luke, the accusations they brought against him were, " They found him perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Casar, saying that he was Christ the Kin He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place." (Luke xxiii. 2,5.) According to John, they accused him of making himself the Son of God. (Jobo xix. 7.) There was no proof, however, that he had said so, and both Herod and Pilate looked upon him to be innocent of the crimes laid to his charge; for it appears that
* N. B. It was very apparent, and may again' be repeated, of Christ's friends, whether Nicodemus, or Joseph, or some of the elders, who dur-t not avow their being of his party, for fear of the consequences, (John, xii) had given him to understand, that it was the intention of his enemies to betray him by one of his diciples. This would make Jesus very cantious of what he said; and we observe that, during the night, in the abscence of the people, he was either concealed, or in some secret place. Judas had likewise informed the rulers, that Jesus would defend himself, which is the resson why Judas came with a great multitude of followers, “ with swords and with staves;" which would not have been necessary, if his disciples had been without weapons of defence. Jesus, however, saw that defence was useless. “ The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weali," j. e. their determination for defence was good, but their numbers too small.
Pilate only delivered him up to be crucified from the dread of raising a tumult; (Matth. xxvii. 24.) and Judas, repenting of having betrayed innocent blood, went out and hanged himself* (Matth. xxvii. 34.); consequently, Jesus was innocent, either of making himself a king, or the Son of God, and suffered unjustly, merely to satisfy the rancour of the priesthood. There now remains to say a few words of what became of Jesus after bis supposed resurrection from the dead.
Wben Moses bad delivered the laws of God to the chile dren of Israel, and had chosen Joshua for his successor, he departed into the land of Moab, where it is said he died, and was buried by the Lord, for no man knowétb of bis sepulchre, even to this day. When Lycurgus had given laws to the Spartans, he called the assembly togetber, and told them he would go and consult the Oracle of Delphi, but never returned. ., And when Christ had given his commands to his apostles, who were to succeed bim, he departed, and was re-, ceived by the Lord in a cloud into heaven, for he was seen no more.
No doubt but Christ, after having been so cruelly treated by the priests for telling his countrymeu the truth, would retire from the bustle of the world, to spend the rest of his life in tranquillity and repose. But the retreat he fixed upon after he left his disciples is unknown. The first opportunity which Christ bad of convincing the world of his mission, was after his resurrection. Had be been the only Son of the Creator, or the Creator himself, or even a partaker of his Divinity, now was the time to have proved it. · Had he been only a man risen from the dead, he need not have been afraid of either the high priests, the scribes, or the pharisees; “ the cbildren of the resurrection die no more," were his' own words to the Sadducees. (Luke xxv. 36.) As Christ had not performed the mission it is said he caine with, in any one point of view, now was the time to fulfil the saying of the angel, that“ the Lord should give upto aim the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke : i. 32, 33.) Why tbis was not fulfilled is still a mystery.
* With respect to the death of Judas, the apostles differ, Luke, in the acts of the apostles, makes his bowels gush out by a fall, (Acts i. 18.)
† Josephus relates, that Moses was conveyed away by a cloud,
It appears, however, that Christ had not, after his resurrection, entirely shaken off the feelings of a mortal; that he was still composed of flesh and blood, that he still feared the persecutions of the chief priests, the scribes and the pharisees; and that he was not so immortal as to think himself secure from a second death. The dread which Christ had of the Jews was very evident. Before he was crucified, he was almost always with his disciples; but after his resurrection, he only appeared to them five times, although it is said be remained forty days upon the earth before he was carried into heaven. (Acts i. 3.) It appears from the accounts of the apostles, that Christ was very cautious to whom he made himself known, which undoubtedly was for fear of bis enemies. He did not once shew himself, either to the priests, the scribes, or the pharisees. When he did appear, it was either to Mary, early in the morning, to desire her to acquaint bis disciples with his resurrection, or to make it known to them himself at night when all was safe, that the absent disciples might likewise hear of it, and that he might explain the Scriptures to them. When he appeared to his two disciples out of town it was in disguise. (Luke xxiv, 16.) The same was the case at the sea of Tiberius, when be
appeared in the morning to Peter and the rest of the fishermen, for they did not know binn; nor did he discover bimself, either by tbe breaking of bread or by any other token, until he was convinced who they were, and that he might do , it without any danger; he seems even to have had some susa picion of the two disciples at Emmaus; for po sooner did ihey know who he was, than he disappeared from their sight. (Luke, xxiv. 31.) And he only gave a commission to bis disciples to declare and publish his resurrection openly, and to teach all nations in bis name, just before he separated from them. He likewise had the precaution to command them to remain in Jerusalem, and not to teach before they should be endowed with power from on bigh, for by these ineans Jesus obtained sufficient time to get away in safety. And the disciples did as they were ordered, ten days being elapsed before they said any thing of his resurrection. Thus endeth the political history of this celebrated character, who has innocently set the world at such variance with itself.
Quebec, June 10, 1620. I DEEPLY deprecate the persecution you have met with, and enclose you a book of which I am the author. I am, Sir, your very obedient,
TO MOSES HART, OF QUEBEC IN CANADA.
Sir, I HAVE to acknowledge the receipt of two of your little volumes entitled, “ Modern Religion.” The first came to me in October through the medium of the General Post, with the moderate charge of L 1. 58. wbich induced me to send the volume back to the Post Office, as an improper correspondence, and to claim the return of the money; which, to the honour of that well-conducted establishment, I must say, was immediately granted; the second copy was put into the Two Penny Post in London, and reached my shop in December, for the charge of twopence only. This latier sum I did not murmur about, as I have had, what we vulgarly call in this country, twopennyworth of fun, from the perusal of the work.
Taking all circumstances into consideration, I am at a loss to form any satisfactory idea of your character. To say that you are a fanatic I am not exactly prepared, to say that there is no fanaticism in your “ Modern Religion,” I cannot;—but I have concluded that you are a Deist not quite purged of superstition and fanaticism, and wherever superstition and fanaticism remains, it is alike in all secta. ries, only more rancorous in some individuals, than in others, according to their natural passions.
I find, by your Appendix, that you are a descendant from the Jews, and that you have been brougbt up in the superstilion of that sect, but your scientific pursuits, it appears, have induced you to look beyond the fables of the book called the Bible. I am agreed with you, that all the books of the Bible, which are of Jewish origin, were compiled during or subsequent to the Babylonish captivity. I believe that Ezra, or Esdras, was the chief compiler and fabricator, and the reason I take for their being adopted as boly books
Vol. IV. No. 17.