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their Christianity does not command them to preach one day in the week without drawing something from our poor and scanty allowance. They tell us that the poor are more religious and better Christians than the rich. Yet how strange it is that seldom or ever does one of these truly good Christians of the lower orders become a parson-they always spring from the higher order. What is the fair inference to be drawn from this? why that they are not parsons by nature, but made so by education, money, and rich friends. It must be admitted that they draw immense sums from the pockets of the poor, merely for delivering their opinions, and the more they can gain our faith, the more they can gain our money. Therefore, they have a direct interest in preaching and maintaining their creeds. This subject will be continued, if it should not be considered too intruding on your valuable work.
November 16, 1820.
THERE was a prodigious crowd at the lecture-room, in Edinburgh, on Tuesday last, to hear the first lecture of Mr. Wilson, whose election to the chair of moral philosophy was so warmly opposed, chiefly on the ground that he had been in the habit of parodying the Scriptures, ridiculing religious ceremonies in convivial parties, and venting private slander against his friends in an Edinburgh Magazine. Mr. Wilson*, it seems, took the earliest opportunity of rebutting suspicion as to his religious sentiments. "We will," says the Scots Reporter, "be confirmed by all who heard it, when we say that the lecture he delivered, or, as it may more properly be termed, his inaugural discourse, came fully up to the high expectations of it which had been excited by the knowledge of his great abilities. It cannot be expected of us, nor could we trust ourselves, to give an analysis of this lecture. Mr. Wilson combated with great force the objections which have been made to the science of the mind. He shewed that to philosophy the ancient states of Greece were beholden for all their moral and intellectual grandeur. Amidst the wreck of systems, the love of
* We have no hesitation in saying this man is and apostate.
truth was inextinguishable in the human mind. theory that was opposed to nature was ever durable; and while whatever was bad in a system soon perished, all that was good in it remained to enrich moral science. He expiated with fervid eloquence upon the inferiority of human reason* to attain the knowledge of those sublime truths which revelation has unfolded. The peasant, he observed, whose views of physical nature are bounded by his native hills, and who has read no book but one, knows more of real virtue than he who, however learned, trusts solely to the intellectual attainments of himself and his fellow men. He then proceeded to show that philosophy ought to be subservient to the great ends of religion. After some striking allusions to the character of his countrymen, he pronounced a warm panegyric upon his illustrious predecessors in the chair of moral philosophy, whose respective merits he described with great precision and powers of eloquence."
At the close he left the room amidst universal cheering.
*All this, about the inferiority of human reason, is to cover the blunders of the History of the Jews and the New Testament, or the book commonly called the Bible; for example, when you read the following blunder, that Moses talked with God face to face; and when again, you read in the same Book that no man has seen God at any time-they then tell you of the inferiority of human reason to understand it. T. M.
The part selected for the prosecution of Mrs. Carlile by the Attorney General, will be found in No. 8, of the Republican, Vol. III. In a letter to the Rev. W. Wait, A. B., page 269, in the middle of the paragraph, beginning--“ I will now come to the point with you.' We expect next week to lay before our Readers a Copy of the Information.
WAS JESUS THE MESSIAH OR NOT?*
AT the time that Jesus appeared upon the earth, the Jews were in great expectation of the coming of a Messiah, which they believed to have been foretold, by Moses and the prophets, but they expected he would come in great magnificence. He was to be of the seed of David, and was to reign over the house of Israel for ever, for of his kingdom there was to be no end.
The prophets seem to speak of an earthly king, uor can I find, they give the least intimation, that he should be the Deity himself. The Jews, and even the first Christians, until they were threatened for disbelief, seem to have been of the same opinion, and if they had believed him to be a divine person, unless they had given us better proofs of his mission, there is no reason we should.
That Christ was a distinguished character is without doubt, and that some weak head might have looked upon him as being a messenger from God is not very improbable, particularly amongst the lower class of people, such as the fishermen of Judea, to whom he was so very superior in knowledge and understanding.
The time which Jesus employed as a preacher was about three years; yet so few were perfectly convinced of the divinity of his mission, that when Peter stood up in the middle of his disciples, soon after his ascension, the number of those who believed in him was only 120, (Acts, ch. i. v. 15.) It even appears from Matthew, that some of his disciples, before he ascended into heaven, from the mountain of Galilee, doubted of him. On perusing the imperfect account we have of him in the New Testament, it seems that all circumstances were against Jesus as being a messenger from heaven, or at least to convince the Jews of it, to whom the prophets say he was to come; neither did he take the proper method to convince the Jews that he was the Messiah. He was of a low and mean extraction, at least according to the ideas of those times; his parents were poor; his father was by trade a carpenter. The Jews were even prejudiced
We are not aware that this piece is an original, therefore, we do not offer it as such. The Editor never saw it, before it appeared in the Republican, or he would not have inserted it, as he believes the whole story about Jesus in the New Testament, to be a fiction.
against the town in which he was brought up; it lay under some heavy imputation. "Can there be any good come out of Nazareth?" was the question which Nathaniel put to Philip, on being informed, they had found him of whom Moses had written, (John, ch. i. ver 46.) The Jews had likewise another great prejudice against him, for to them nothing was more despicable than an illegitimate child; and as they did not believe the conception was brought about by divine means, they would have a much worse opinion of this circumstance than ever Joseph had before his dream. These things would certainly have great effect in preventing the Jews from receiving him as a Messiah, or divine person; for how could they expect to find the Son of God in the house of a carpenter, born in a manger, and illegitimately? They might well not believe it.
Nor was there any thing more favourable to him when he arose as a teacher. Instead of making himself known to the informed part of the nation, who were the more able to comprehend and assist him, he chose his companions out of the lowest class of the people, such as fishermen; these he commissioned to preach his doctrine throughout the land; people who, from their ignorance, could neither be supposed capable to instruct others, or even to convince the more reasonable part of what they had seen or heard. These, however, were the apostles of the Son of God, and were to preach eternal wisdom.
Another circumstance was, the company he kept, it was looked upon, by the greater part of his countrymen, as the most disgraceful. He associated with publicans, and with people of bad morals, (Mark, cb. ii. ver. 16.) It was such kind of gentry as these, and some women, who believed his miracles, and only a few of these. If Christ had really professed the power of working miracles, such as are attributed to him, why did he not satisfy those who were the better able to judge, and who, if they had found any truth in him, would have been a great means of disseminating and establishing his doctrine? With the more reasonable part, however, he never associated; those who understood higher wisdom than mere belief und authority, he despised. This was not the proper method of convincing mankind: nor was the Jewish nation convinced. When, according to Matthew and Mark, the Pharisees and Scribes asked of him a sign from heaven, his answer was, there should be none given to that adulterous generation, and immediately left them, (Matth. chap. xii. ver. 38, 39. Mark, chap. viii. ver. 12, 13.) And yet he was come to clear away the sins of the world.
According to John, when Jesus was at Capernauin, the Jews asked him what sign he shewed that they might see and believe him, (John, chap. vi. ver. 30) but he shewed them no miracle. And when he said he was come down from heaven, (ver. 41), some of them happening to know him, asked each other this proper and natural question: "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he saith, he is come down from heaven," (ver. 42) and many of his disciples finding out the trick, left him (ver. 46.) A similar circumstance happened afterwards at Nazareth, the place where he was brought up, (Luke, ch. iv. ver. 16). As he was there on the Sabbath, preaching in the synagogue, many of them hearing of the things he had done at Capernaum, admired him very much; when, however they found out who he was, they murmured. “Is not this," said they to each other, "the Carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joses, and of Judah, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? and they were offended at him," (Mark, ch. vi. ver. 3.) And, according to Luke, when they saw he could do no miracles, they expelled him the city, (Luke, ch. iv. ver. 23, 29.) Likewise, when the Jews asked him, in the porch of Solomon's temple, to tell them plainly whether he was the Christ or not, he gave them an evasive answer, (John, ch. x. ver. 23) nor would he give any answer when Pilate sent him to Herod, as related by Luke. "And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he was desirous of seeing him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracles done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words, but he (Jesus) answered him nothing," (Luke, ch. xxiii. ver. 7, 8, 9.) Herod, finding he had not the power to shew him a miracle, laughed at him, and sent him back to Pilate. Is it possible that Jesus would have suffered himself to be buffeted about in this manner, if he could have prevented it by proving his divine mission by a miracle? One of the most precious opportunities which Christ had of convincing the world of his divinity, was upon the cross. When the chief priests, the Scribes and the Pharisees, were mocking him in this cruel situation, they told him, that if he would come down from the cross, they would then believe him to be the King of Israel, and the son of God. Had Christ been the Messiah sent by the Deity to work miracles, as the evidence of his mission; or had he been the Deity himself, now was the time to have convinced mankind he really was what it is said he pretended. Nothing could have been more easy, if he