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sayings being sufficient for salvation, independent of the dogmas, is, (as he notes in page 27,) radically
, false ; and that it is presumption of him (the Compiler) to think himself qualified to judge, independently of the Divine Teacher, what sort of instruction is advantageous for the happiness of mankind. If indeed the Reviewer understands by the word moral, what relates to conduct only with reference to man, it cannot apply to those precepts of Jesus, that teach the duty of man to God; which, however, the Reviewer will find included in the collection of the Precepts of Jesus by the Compiler ; but a slight attention to the scope of the Introduction might have convinced the Reviewer, that the sense in which the word moral is there used, whether rightly or otherwise, is quite general, and applies equally to our conduct in religious as in civil matters. Without attaching this meaning to the term moral doctrines, the whole of the concluding sentence must appear absurd, where it is said, “ This simple code is well fitted to regulate the conduct of the human race in the discharge of their various duties to God, to themselves, and to society.” This assertion is corroborated and supported by a great number of passages in the treatise in question, which point out the appropriate mode of performing our duty to the Almighty Power. It is, however, too true to be denied, that the Compiler of those moral precepts separated them from some of the dogmas and other matters, chiefly under the supposition, that they alone were a suffici
ent guide to secure peace and happiness to mankind at large--a position that is entirely founded on and supported by the express authorities of Jesus of Nazareth-a denial of which would imply a total disavowal of Christianity. Some of those authorities, as found amongst these precepts, here follow : 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. 38. This is the first and great commandment. 39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40. 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. 30. 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. 31. And the second is LIKE, namely this : Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: there is no other commandment greater than these. 32. And he said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth; for there is one God, and there is none other but he. 33. And to love him with all the heart, with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all burntofferings and sacrifices. 34. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou
art not far from the kingdom of God.” Matthew, ch. vii. ver. 12: “ 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. Ch. v. Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or Prophets ; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Luke, ch. x. beginning with ver. 25 : “ And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26. He said unto him, What is written in the Law? How readest thou ? 27. He answering said, Thou shalt [love the] Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thyself. 28. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right. THIS DO and THOU SHALT Live.” The Saviour meant of course by the words Law and Prophets, all the commandments ordained by divine authority, and the religion revealed to the prophets and observed by them ; as is evident from Jesus's declaring those commandments to afford perfect means of acquiring eternal life, and directing men to follow them accordingly. Had any other doctrine been requisite to teach men the road to peace and happiness, Jesus could not have pronounced to the lawyer, “ This do and THOU SHALT LIVE.”. It was the characteristic of the office of Christ to teach men, that forms and ceremonies were useless tokens of respect for God, compared with the essential proof of obedience and love towards him evinced by the practice of beneficence towards their fellow-creatures.
The Compiler, finding these commandments given as including all the revealed law and the whole system of religion adopted by the prophets, and re-esta
blished and fulfilled by Jesus himself, as the means to acquire peace and happiness, was desirous of giving more full publicity in this country to them, and to the subsidiary moral doctrines that are introduced by the Saviour in detail. Placing also implicit confidence in the truth of his sacred commandments, to the observance of which we are directed by the same Teacher, (John, ch. xiv. ver. 16, “If
love me, keep my commandments ;" ver. 24, “He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings,") the Compiler never hesitated in declaring (page 1) “ a belief in God, and a due regard to that law, Do unto others as you would wish to be done by,' render our existence agreeable to ourselves, and profitable to the rest of mankind.” It may now be left to the public to judge, whether or not the charge of arrogance and presumption which the Reviewer has imputed to the Compiler, under the idea that he preferred his own judgment to that of the Saviour, be justly applicable to him.
3. The respected Reviewer argues in page 26, that there are two important points, a knowledge of which is not to be acquired by following the moral precepts of Christ, but which are essential to the attainment of true peace of mind; they being entirely founded (as he alleges) upon the dogmas and histories, viz. how to obtain, 1st, the forgiveness of sins
and the favour of God; and 2dly, strength to overcome human passions, and to keep the commandments of God. These precepts separated from the mysterious dogmas and historical records, appear, on the contrary, to the Compiler to contain not only the essence of all that is necessary to instruct mankind in their civil duties, but also the best and only means of obtaining the forgiveness of our sins, the favour of God, and strength to overcome our passions, and to keep his commandments. I therefore extract from the same compilation a few passages of that greatest of all prophets, who was sent to call sinners to repentance; a due attention to which will, I hope, satisfy the respected Reviewer on those two points. Luke, ch. xiii. ver. 3 : “ Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish." Ch. xv. ver. 7: “I say
you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine persons who need no repentance. I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Matthew, ch. ix. “ I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Ch. xviii. “ For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” Luke, ch. vi. “ I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Which sayings are confirmatory of what is taught in Ezekiel, ch. xviii. ver. 30: “Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruin.” See also the parable of the prodigal son, where the mercy of God is illus