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er epitlet shall not be given to them. Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? Even civil war has ceased, when the common enemy has been at the door, and mad factions have joined to repel him, and to crown the deserving with laurel garlands; but Christians, when besieged by powerful and formidable infidels, have found leisure and stomach to contend, whether the light which shone about Christ at his transfiguration was created or uncreated,
What has been here suggested was with a view, not to dictate, no not even to advise, but only to moderate a prejudice, which lies deep in the heart of an Englishman and a Churchman, that as his own vales, hills, rivers, and cities, surpass in beauty and convenience any thing that the world affords, so his own religious constitution is free eyen from all appearance of defect, and shadow of imperfection. This may be called amare focos, et lares: the first we easily excuse, as an amiable weakness in the Englishman ; let us shiew the same favour to the other in the Churchiman : but a little more candour, and a little less partiality would do us no harm. The author aims at nothing beyond this, and therefore ENTERS INTO NO PARTICULARS. If the general intimation be proper, from whom can it come more properly than from one whose name or address can give no sanction to it, and raise no prejudi. ces in its behalf? so that it must rely upon its own reasonableness, and stand destitute of all other recommendation.
As to particulars, his opinion would never be asked in such cases, and, if it were asked, he would perhaps, like Simonides, desire a day to consider, and then another, not through an affectation of humility, nor, if he may be credited, through hope of pleasing, or fear of displeasing, but through a real diffidence,
and a consciousness of the difference between discerning what may be speculatively right, and judging what is practicable. An application to moral and theological studies will lead a person to some skill in the first, if he has a mind open to conviction ; but the latter requires a genius and a knowledge of a different sort.
Besides all this, the middle course between too loro and too high, between the serpent and the altar, is somewhat hard to keep :
Neu te dexterior tortum declinet in anguem,
Ovid. Met. ii. 138. It may therefore be more adviseable for him to examine himself in serious silence, and to consider what passes within, and in his own little circle, where the circumference almost touches the centre ;
: "Otlı ol ér meyd poisi xxxóvt' dyabór Te TéTursus. which single line, according to the wise Socrates, contains a complete system of philosophy.
If he desires that others would receive with Christian candour these suggestions, which, whatsoever they be, proceed from a good intention, and are not the language of self-interest, he desires no more than he is very willing to return. But be that as it will, he is not at all disposed to contend about them..
Errare potest : litigiosus esse non vult.. . Such contentions þeget, or keep up enmity; and he had rather glide through the world like a shadow, obscurely and quietly, and meet with few censurers ; for to have none, is a blessing which never was designed for a writer on ecclesiastical subjects.
For this, and for other good reasons, authors should avoid, as much as they can, replies and rejoinders, the usual consequences of which are, loss of time, and loss
of temper. Happy is he who is engaged in controversy with his own passions, and comes off superior ; who makes it his endeavour that his follies and weak. nesses may die before him, and who daily meditates on mortality and immortality!
Let us hear a wise man who thus speaks to himself, and to us : May my last hours find me occupied in amend, ing and improving my heart : that I may be able to say to God, Hare I violated thy commands ? hare I ever accused thee, and complained of thy government? I have been sick and infirm, because it was thy appointment; and so have others, but I willingly. I have been poor aecording to thy good pleasure, but contented. I have had no dignities : thou hast withheld them, and I have not thought them even worthy of a wish. Didst thou see me sad and dejected on these accounts? Did I not appear before thee with a serene countenance, and cheerfully complying with thy sacred orders? Deal with me and dispose of me as thou wilt; thy will is mine; and if any one shall say that thou hast been unkind to me, I will defend and maintain thy cause against him. Wilt thou that I depart hence I go; and I return thee my sincerest thanks that thou hast vouchsafed to call me hither to this great assembly and entertainment, and hast permitted me to contemplate thy works, to admire and adore thy providence, and to comprehend the wisdom of thy conduct. May death seize me writing and meditating such things.
It is needless to say whence these reflections are taken ; the owner is so well known : but they can never be too often cited, and if the stoical self-sufficiency which breathes in some parts of them were corrected by Christian humility, they would be to many of us a proper lesson for the day, and remind us of the resignation that is due to an all-wise and all-gracious providence.
T has been often observed, that Christianity made À its appearance in the most proper time, and under a favourable concurrence of circumstances. Something has been said on this head in my fourth discourse on the Christian Religion : what is now offered to the reader is partly a continuation of the same subject; and these remarks are intended, in some measure, as a supplement to those discourses.
Christianity began to gain ground in Judea and its neighbourhood in the reign of Tiberius, a very wicked prince, but who was so occupied with his lusts and with his cruelty towards considerable persons whom he hated, envied, or feared, and was also naturally so slow and indolent, that either he heard little of this remote and rising sect, or thought it beneath his notice, and so did it no harm.
It is probable that Pilate, who had no enmity towards Christ, and accounted him a man unjustly ac, cused, and an extraordinary person, might be moved by the wonderful circumstances attending and follow. ing his death to hold him in veneration, and perhaps
to think him a hero, and the son of some deity. It is possible that he might send a narrative, such as he thought most convenient, of these transactions to Tiberius ; but it is not at all likely that Tiberius proposed to the senate that Christ should be deified, and that the senate rejected it, and that Tiberius continued favourably disposed towards Christ, and that he threatened to punish those who should molest and accuse the Christians *. This report rests principally upon the authority of Tertullian, who was very capable of being deceived, and Eusebius had it from him, Ecci. Hist. ii. 2. The ancient Christians might have been misinformed in this, as in some other points. Tiberius was of an irreligious disposition and a fatalist, and little disposed to increase the number of the gods, and the burden of Atlas : Circa deos ac religiones negligentior : quippe addictus mathematicæ ; persuasionisque plenus cuncta fato agi f. He hated foreign superstitions, Egyptian and Jewish rites : Externas cceremonias, Egyptios Judaicosque ritus compescuit f. He and the senate had expelled the Jews from Romel, and about the time of Christ's crucifixion he had destroyed an illustrious family, for this, amongst other reasons, that divine honours had been paid to one Theophanes an ancestor of theirs : Datum erat crimini quod Theophanem Mitylenccum procvum eorum Cn. Magnus inter intimos habuisset : quodque defuncto Theophani cælestes honores Græcu adulatio tribuerat g. Augustus commended Caiùs for not worshipping at Jerusalem : Caium nepotem, quod Judceam pretervehens, apud Hierosolymam non supplicasset, collaudavit : and Tiberius made it a
*** See Le Clerc Hist. Eccl. p. 324. + Sueton, Tiber. 69.
Sueton. Tiber. 36. I Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus.
Tacitus, Ann. vi. 18. . Sueton. Aug. 93.