« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
the compiled Precepts of Jesus alone to lead to salvation, unless accompanied with the important doctrines of the Godhead of Jesus and his atonement.
As the Compiler neither in his Introduction to the Precepts of Jesus, nor in his defence of those Precepts, has expressed the least doubt as to the truth of any part of the Gospels, the arguments adduced by the learned Editor to demonstate the truth and excellence of the authority on which they rest, are, I am inclined to think, quite superfluous, and foreign to the matter in question.
The only reasons assigned by the Compiler, ([in the] Introduction,) for separating the Precepts from the abstruse doctrines and miraculous relations of the New Testament are, that the former “ are liable to the doubts and disputes of Freethinkers and Antichristians, and the latter are capable at best of carrying little weight with the natives of this part of the globe, the fabricated tales handed down to them being of a more wonderful nature.”
These sentiments respecting the doctrines and miracles, founded as they are upon undeniable facts, do not, I presume, convey any disavowal or doubt of their truth. Besides, in applying the term “ fabricated” to the tales received by the credulous Hindoos, the Compiler clearly evinced the contemptible light in which he viewed those legends; and in stating that the miracles of the Scriptures were subject to the doubts of “ Freethinkers and Antichristians,” it
can vever fairly be supposed that he meant himself, other
person labouring in the promulgation of Christianity, to be included in that class.
As to the second point urged by the Reverend Editor, namely, that the compiled Precepts were not sufficient to lead to salvation, I deeply regret that the Editor should appear to have overlooked the authority of the gracious author of this religion in the several passages cited by the Compiler in his Appeal, to prove beyond doubt the sufficiency of the Precepts in question to procure eternal life; as it is almost impossible that so numerous quotations, spreading over a great part of the Appeal, could have escaped his notice. The Reverend Editor, while endeavouring to prove, that the compiled Precepts would fall short of guiding to peace and happiness, only illustrates by sacred authority the truth and excellency of the miracles and the doctrines of Christianity. But such illustration can have no tendency to demonstaté the position he endeayours to maintain; I am therefore under the necessity of repeating a few passages already quoted, with some others, shewing that the compiled Precepts are sufficient to conduct the human race to happiness ; and I humbly entreat to know, if I be persuaded to believe in the divine origin of those passages, and in the entire veracity of their author, how I am to réconcile their authority with the position maintained by the learned Editor, as to the insufficiency of the Precepts of Jesus to guide to peace and happiness.
Matthew, ch. xxii. beginning with ver. 37: “ Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; this is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Mark, ch. xii. beginning with ver. 29: “ And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength : this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Matthew, ch. vii. ver. 12: “ Therefore all things whatsoever you would that. men should do to you, do you even so to them ; for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Luke, ch. X. from ver. 25: “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the Law? How readest thou ? He answering said : Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right. This do, and thou shalt live." Matthew, ch. vii. ver. 21: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord! Lord! shall enter into the
kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say unto me in that day, Lord! Lord! have we not prophesied in thy name; and in thy name have cast out devils ; and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you ; depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock; and every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand.” Luke, ch. xi. ver. 27: .“ Blessed is the womb (said a certain woman to Jesus), that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked : but he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” John, ch. xv. ver. 12: “ This is my commandment, that
ye love one another, as I have loved you.” Ver. 17, “ These things I command you, that ye love one another." Ch. xiii. ver. 34 : “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another ; as I have love you, that ye also love one another :" 35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Observing those two commandments, (Matt. ch. xxii. ver. 37, 38, and 39,) selected by the Saviour as a substitute for all the Law and the Prophets, and sufficient means to produce peace and happiness to mankind, the Compiler never scrupled to follow the example
set forth by Jesus himself in compiling such precepts as include those two commandments, and their subşidiary moral doctrines, as a true substitute of the Gospel, without intending to depreciate the rest of the word of God. I regret that the Reverend Editor should have disapproved of this compilation on the ground that “ it is of importance that every compilation be given as a sample of the Sacred Writings in all their excellence and importance, and not as a substitute for the whole."
The authority of St. Paul, the most exalted among primitive Christians, quoted by the Reverend Editor, (page 89,)“ If righteousness come by the law, Christ is dead in vain,” is not, I presume, adequate to set aside, nor even applicable to the express authority of the Author of Christianity, already quoted ; as the latter includes not only the Mosaic *law, to which St. Paul alludes, but both law and religion, as is evident from the following passages : “ Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to men ; for this is the Law and the Prophets.” “ On these two commandments (to love God and to love our neighbours), hang all the Law and the Prophets." Every must admit, that the gracious Saviour meant by the words “ the Law and the Prophets,” all the divine commandments found in the Scriptures, obedience to which is strictly required of us by the founder of that religion. Luke, ch. xi. ver. 28: “ Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” John,