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quickening in those who believe already, or exciting in those who do not, a greater degree of attention to the Sacred Volume on which it is founded.
As the argument I am about to advance is drawn altogether from our Lord's conduct, as recorded by the four Evangelists, I shall first give an analysis, or abstract of their account, so far as it bears upon the point in question. That point is; that He
appears from the very commencement of His ministry to have acted uniformly with a reference to His final suffering, intentionally pursuing that manner of life which was likely to lead to such an end; avoiding every thing that would have obstructed it; and finally presenting himself to the danger at the precise time when it was most critical. He had announced to His disciples, a considerable time before, that such would be the end of His ministry; at first by typical and metaphorical expressions; afterwards more and more plainly: at first to His more immediate and confidential followers; afterwards to others also; declaring that He should thereby fulfil the object of His mission, and the prophecies of the ancient Scriptures; by offering, in His own person, an atonement for the sin of others.
From these previous and distinct intimations of what He was about to suffer, and from the con
stancy with which he pursued a course of life the most likely to lead to such an end, it is argued that the memorable Personage of whom these things are related, must have been sincere; and that He is entitled to all the credence due to one, who voluntarily and deliberately adopted a painful way of life, the end of which (inexpressibly painful), He had all along foreseen and predicted, yet submitted to, for a peculiar purpose; without any possible advantage to Himself, and incapable of being influenced (as might be objected in the case of the follower of any teacher), by the force of example, or enthusiasm derived from others.
The reader will be pleased to attend to the number, the force, and the agreement of the following particulars; which are necessarily condensed into a shape little attractive, except to the sincere inquirer after truth. The supreme importance of the truth to which they refer, will, it is hoped, secure his attention to the detail which is unavoidable. I place the facts in the order of time, as they are given in a Harmony, such as that I have before mea: the accuracy of which is amply sufficient for the present purpose.
a Dr. White's Diatesseron.
OUR LORD'S CONDUCT
PRÆDIXERAT ET IPSE ITA FACTUROS.
According to the history of Jesus of Nazareth, as given by four contemporary writers, we find that, after having been pointed out by John the Baptist, and spoken a of by others in terms very consistent with the character we attribute to him, and the purpose for which we believe he came into the world; and having been baptized by John when about the age of thirty, he retired into the district which his parents inhabited,
à As this Essay may be considered as addressed, in part, to unbelievers, I shall endeavour not to insist upon any fact which may not be fairly considered as indisputable.
To preserve the simplicity of the argument, I shall also abstain from enlarging upon any thing which not said or done by our Lord himself.
and there, on the occasion of a marriage-feast drew upon himself the attention of all present by a miracle he is stated to have performed. At this time he was accompanied by some disciples (partly in consequence of the testimony borne to him by John the Baptist), and with them and his relatives, he removed to Capernaum, a town in the same obscure province. Subsequently he went up, agreeably to the custom of his countrymen, to the feast of the Passover at Jerusalem. Here he excited the anger of a powerful party by driving out the mercenary crowd which filled the temple; an act of authority which most of those who saw it were little inclined to tolerate, accompanied as it also was by expressions they must have considered blasphemousa. Accordingly we find that they demanded some "sign" of his right to such authority, which obviously did not belong to his station, and which therefore could only be justified by his proving himself to be a prophet. His answer is remarkable : “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews reply, very naturally: “ This temple was forty-six years in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days?"
John ii, 2. c Passover the first.
d. “Make not My Father's house a house of merchandise.” John ij, 16.