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zeal which he had shown in that persecution. As to credit or reputation, could the scholar of Gamaliel hope to gain either, by becoming a teacher in the college of fishermen ? Could he flatter himself, that the doctrines which he taught would, either in or out of Judea, do him honour, when he knew that “ they were to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness ?” Was it then the love of power, that induced him to make this great change ? Power ! over whom? over a flock of theep, whom he himself had endeavoured to destroy, and whose very shepherd had lately been murdered ! Perhaps it was with the view of gratifying some licentious passion, under the authority of the new religion, that he commenced a teacher of that religion ! This cannot be alleged : for his writings breathe nothing but the strictest morality ; obedience to magillrates, order, and government ; with the utmost abhorrence of all licentiousness, idleness, or loose behaviour, under the cloak of religion. We no where read in his works, that saints are above moral ordinances ; that dominion is found. ed in grace ; that monarchy is despotism which ought to be abolished ; that the fortunes of the rich ought to be divided among the poor'; that there is no difference in moral actions ; that any impulses of the mind are to direct us against the light of revealed religion and the laws of nature ; or any of those wicked tenets, byrwhich the peace of society has been often disturbed, and the rules of moral. ity have been often violated, by men pretending to act under the fanction of divine' revelation. He makes no distinctions, like the impostor of Arabia, in favour of him. felf; nor does any part of his life, either before or after his cooverfion to Christianity, bear any mark of a libertine difpofition. As among the Jews, fo among the Christians, his conversation and manners were blameless.

As St. Paul was not an impoftor, so it is plain he was not an enthusiast.

Heat of temper, melancholy, igno. rance, credulity, and vanity, are the ingredients of which enthuliasm is composed : but from all these, except the first, the apostle appears to have been wholly free. That he had great fervour of zeal, both when a Jew and when a Chriftian, in maintaining what he thought to be right, cannot be denied : but he was at all times so much malter of his temper, as, in matters of indifference, to “ become, all things to all men ;" with the most pliant condescenfion bending his notions and manners to theirs, as far as his

duty to God would permit ; a conduct compatible neither with the stiffness of a bigot, nor with the violent impulses of fanatical delufion. That he was not melancholy, is plain from his conduct in embracing every method, which prudence could suggest, to escape danger and shun perfecu. tion, when he could do it without betraying the duty of his office, or the honour of his God. A melancholy enthusiast courts persecution ; and when he cannot obtain it, affiets himself with absurd' penances : but the holiness of St. Paul consisted in the fimplicity of a pious life, and in the unwearied performance of his apoftolical duties. That be was ignorant, no man will allege who is not grossly ignorant himself; for he appears to have been master, not only of the Jewish learning, but also of the Greek philof. ophy, and to have been very conversant even with the Greek poets. That he was not credulous, is plain from his having resisted the evidence of all the miracles performed on earth by Christ, as well as those that were afterwards worked by the apostles, ; to the fame of which, as he liv. ed in Jerusalem, he could not have been a Itranger. And that he was as free from vanity as any man that ever lived, may be gathered from all that we see in his writings, or know of his life. He represents himself as the least of the apostles, and not meet to be called an apostle. He says that he is the chief of sinners ; ånd he prefers, in the Itrongest terms, universal benevolence to faith, and proph. ecy, and miracles, and all the gifts and graces with which he could be endowed. Is this the language of vanity or enthusiasm ?

Having thus shown that St. Paul was neither an impoftor nor an enthusiast, it remains only to be inquired, whether he was deceived by the fraud of others : but this inquiry needs not be long ; for who was to deceive him ? A few illiterate bishermen of Galilee? It was morally im. pollible for such men to conceive the thought of turning ihe most enlightened of their opponents, and the cruelelt of their perfecutors, into an apolle ; and to do this by a fraud, in the very inftant of his greatest fury against them and their Lord. But could they have been so extravagant as to conceive such a thought, it was physically impossible for them to execute it in the manner in which we find his conversion was effected. Could they produce a light in the air, which at mid-day was brighter than the fun? Could they make Saul hear words from that light,

which were not heard by the rest of the company ? Could they make him blind for three days after that vision, and then make scales fall from his eyes, and restore him to sight by a word ? Or, could they make him, and those who travelled with him, believe that all these things had happened, if they had not happened ? Most unquestionably no fraud was equal to all this.

Since then St. Paul was not an impostor, an enthusiast, or a person deceived by the fraud of others, it follows, that his conversion was miraculous, and that the christian religion is a divine revelation.

CHAP. IV.

DESCRIPTIVE PIECES.

SECTION 1.

The heavens and the earth foow the glory and the wisdom of

their Creator.The earth happily adapted to the nature of

man.

THE universe may be considered as the palace in which the Deity resides ; and the earth, as one of its apartments. In this, all the meaner races of animated nature mechan. ically obey him; and stand ready to execute his commands without hesitation. Man alone is found refractory : he is the only being endued with a power of contradicting these mandates The Deity was pleased to exert superior power in creating him a superior being ; a being endued with a choice of good and evil ; and capable, in some measure, of co-operating with his own intentions. Man, therefore, may be considered as a limited creature, endued with pow. ers imitative of those residing in the Deity. He is thrown into a world that stands in need of his help ; and he has been granted a power of producing harmony from partial confusion.

If, therefore, we consider the earth as allotted for our habitation, we shall find, that much has been given us to enjoy, and much to amend ; that we have ample reasons for our gratitude, and many for our industry. In those great outlines of nature, to which art cannot reach, and where our greatest efforts must have been ineffectual, God himself has finished every thing with amazing grandeur and beauty. Our beneficent Father has confidered these parts of nature as peculiarly his own; as parts which no creature could have skill or strength to amend ; and he lias, therefore, made them incapable of alteration, or of more perfect regularity. The heavens and the firmament fhow the wisdom and the glory of the Workman. Astrona omers, who are best skilled in the symmetry of fyftems, can find nothing there that they can alter for the better. God made these perfect, because no fubordinate being rould corred their defects.

When, therefore, we survey nature on this side, nothing can be more splendid, more correct, or amazing. We there behold a Deity residing in the midst of a universe, infinitely extended every way, animating all, and cheering the vacuity with his presence.

We behold an immense and shapeless mass of matter, formed into worlds by his power, and dispersed at intervals, to which even the imagination cannot travel. In this great theatre of his glory, a thousand suns, like our own, animate their respective fyf. tems, appearing and vanishing at divine command. We behold our own bright luminary, fixed in the centre of its fyften, wheeling its planets in times proportioned to their distances, and at once dispensing light, heat, and action. The earth also is feen with its twofold motion ; producing, by the one, the change of seasons ; and by the other, the grateful vicissitudes of day and night. With what filent magnificence is all this performed ! with what seeming ease! The works of art are exerted with interrupted force, and their nbily progress discovers the obstructions they receive ; but the earth, with a silent, fteady rotation, suc eellively presents every part of its bosom to the fun ; at once imbibing nourishment and light from that parent of vegetation and fertility.

But not only provisions of heat and light are thus fupplied ; the whole surface of the earth is covered with a transparent atmosphere, that turns with its motion, and guards it from external injury. The rays of the sun are thus broken into a genial warmth ; and, while the surface is allilted, a gentle heat is produced in the bowels of the earth, which contributes to cover it with verdure. Waters also are fupplicd in healthful abundance, to support life, and afiit vegetation,

Mountains rise, to diversify the prospect, and give a current to the stream. Seas extend from one continent to the other, replenished with animals, that may be turned to human fupport ; and also serving to enrich the earth with a fufficiency of vapour. Breezes fly along the surface of the fields, to promote health and vegetation The coolness of the evening invites to rest, and the freshness of the morning renews for labour.

Such are the delights of the habitation that has been affigned to man : without any one of thefe, he must have been wretched; and none of these could his own industry have fupplied. But while, on the one hand, many of his wants are thus kindly furnished, there are, on the other, numberless inconveniences to excite his industry. This habitation, though provided with all the conveniences of air, pasturage, and water, is but a desert place, without human cultivation. The lowest animal finds more convediences in the wilds of nature, than he who boasts himfelf their lord. The whirlwind, the inundation, and all the afperities of the air, are peculiarly terrible to man, who knows their consequences, and, at a distance, dreads their approach. The earth itself, where human art has not pervaded, puts on a frightful, gloomy appearance. The forests are dark and tangled; the meadows are overgrown with rank weeds ; and the brooks ftray without a determined channel. Nature, that has been kind to every lower order of beings, seems to have been negleeful with Tegard to him to the favage uncontriving man, the earth is an abode of defolation, where his shelter is insufficient and his food precarious.

A world thus furnished with advantages on one fide, and inconveniences on the other, is the proper abode of reason, and the fittest to exercise the induitry of a free and a thinking creature. Thefe evils which art can remedy, and prescience guard against, are a proper call for the exertion of his faculties ; and they tend ftill more to affimilate him to his Creator. God beholds with pleasure, that being which he has made, converting the wretchedness of his Datural situation into a theatre of triumph ; bringing alt the headlong tribes of nature into subjection to his will ; and producing that order and uniformity upon earth, of which his own heavenly fabric is fo bright an example.

GOLDSMITH.

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