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If these exceptionable declarations made by Jesus, were not intended to be understood literally; why were they spoken in a manner to be fo construed ? That they were fo, even by the Apostles themfelves, is certain. Two of them, James and John (whom, it seems, he had not improperly named fons of thunder) profited fo much by this lecture, that some time after, when the Samaritans refused to receive Jefus and his disciples into one of their villages, because they were going to Jerusalem : asked permission of their master, to call down fire from Heaven to confume them : and in the true fpirit of Judaism, quoted the example of the humane Elijah, St. John indeed does not record this circuinftance; we could not expect it : but St. Luke does, ch. ix. V. 52, 53, 54. as likewise the anfwer given by Jesus And he turned, and res buked them, and said, ye know not what man
ner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man is * not come to destroy mens lives, but to save
them. And they went to another village.' This reply, breathes a spirit of humanity : and the subsequent act, is an example of forbearance. It is plain then, from these and many others of a fimilar kind; he meant not that scenes of so horrid a nature should be exhibited in his days, by his orders, or with his permission. But as they were to be: the questions are-When were they to commence? And how long were they to con
tinue? The disciples had reason to expect them Chapter Verfo as the immediate consequence of their preaching: but the duration, could not, in their apprehenfion, be extended beyond the duration of their own lives, or the lives of some of them. Within that period, they have been frequently told, this world would be changed, and the kingdom of Heaven established. After which, affuredly, fuch things could not be. Whatever their expectations were, certain to us it is; that time is not arrived : and yet the diabolical spirit of persecution for righteousness fake, is at an end. Humanity has regained her empire in the enlightened souls of men; and the Christian religion affumes the wildness of Paganism. Thus of the three questions-Why were these speeches made? How were they then 'understood? And how are we to understand them now? The scriptures do not enable me to answer either satisfactorily : the mind labours in vain here, as it does in many other parts of the gospel, for consistency.
We will now return to Matthew's account of the lecture to the twelve, &c.— He thať x. 37 • loveth father or mother more than me, is not
worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth af
* Vide page 51, 52.
Chapter Verle ter me, is not worthy of me.' If this was faid
to the twelve, and a compliance was expected
gone upon a forlorn hope indeed— It is
kingdom of God.' Matt. ch. xix. v. 24. St. xi. i Matthew concludes this lecture. And it came to
pass when Jesus had made an end of command-
teach and to preach in their cities.' It doth
two and two, and gave them power,' &c. with some of the instructions, but not a word of the offensive matter mentioned by Matthew~' And
they went out and preached, that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and
healed them.' After giving an account of John's decollation, he tells us, the twelve (posfibly alarmed thereat) joined their master, gave him an account of what they had done, and what they had taught; and then withdrew with him privately into a desert place. But he does not inform us how Jesus employed himself during their absence. Luke in his oth chapter gives nearly the same account; and in his roth chapter he (and he only) informs us that Jesus gave the same instructions and the same powers to seventy others ; sent them out two and two, that they returned to him again, and with great joy told him the devils were, through his name, subject to them. Upon which he replied— I
beheld Satan as lightning, fall from Heaven.' And added, “Behold I give unto you power to
tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the
power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you.' His exultation here seems equal to that of the seventy. They had through his name cast out devils : the Jewish historians tell us, the name of Solomon had done as much. This was an art practised long be
Chapter Verse fore, indiscriminately by Pagans and Jews, but
the too frequent use of it in those and after times by the Christians, brought it into discredit, and in course it was gradually abandoned. What Jesus meant by saying—I beheld Satan as lightning, fall from Heaven, is a question not easily resolved. Did he really see this, in his pré-existent state : or did he use this metaphor (borrowed perhaps from Isaiah, ch. xiv. v. 12.) in exultation when he found the power of Satan so fallen as to be controuled by men, poor and ignorant as the feventy were? Having examined the four records concerning the twelve disciples sent out to teach, .&c. we will now return to St. Matthew's IIth chapter, wherein he informs us that John
the Baptist, from his prison, sent two of his difxi.
-3 ciples to Jesus, asking him— Art thou he that
' should come, or do we look for another?' This appears a very extraordinary question from John, after what he had said and seen when he baptised Jesus, Matth. ch. iii. V. 13 to 17, or in stronger terms, John, ch. i. v. 32, 33, 34*.
In answer, Jesus orders them to report what they 5 had heard and seen— The blind receive their
sight, and the lame walk : the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to thein. And blefled is he whosoever shall not
* Vide pages 12, 13.