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for the full vindication of God's honour, by human nature obtaining a victory over every infirmity, and delineating a life of unblemished goodness: assigning also the same reason for this necessity, as that deduced from the foregoing reasoning, namely, “ To the intent, that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known the manifold wisdom of God.?'*

New Testament information is, however, very far from confining its declarations to merely proclaiming the necessity that existed for the vindication of God's honour; for it is there affirmed, that what both reason and Scripture unite in pointing out as essentially necessary to be performed, was actually accomplished even amidst the most difficult circumstances and the most arduous trials; and informs us, that this was undertaken and executed by a great and illustrious Being who declared himself to be the Son of God.+

Before we proceed in our researches, it appears requisite to observe in what manner the doctrines contained in the gospel were first offered to the attention of the bearers; and Scripture resolves this inquiry, by informing us that “St. Paul's manner was to reason with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging that Christ must

* The whole passage runs thus, “ Might be known by the Church,” &c. In a future page this passage will be given as recorded in Ephes. iii. 10, with an annexed comment, connected with the purpose to which it has here been quoted and applied.

+ This work will contain a very brief inquiry into the nature of the Deity; and in what light Christ desigaed us to understand his declaration of being the Son of God.

needs have suffered.” (Acts xvii. 2.) Therefore, as this was a subject which had been originally opened and alleged upon rational grounds, by the apostle Paul, we may certainly expect to find among his writings, and those of his contemporaries, such information as must ever establish it on this basis. By these writers we are given to understand, that the difficult task which Christ undertook to perform, did partly consist in endeavouring to effect a thorough reformation in the hearts, the lives, and the opinions of mankind. “ He required them to give up all their former prejudices, superstitions, and traditions; all their favourite rites and ceremonies, and what was perhaps still dearer to them, their darling vices and propensities, their hypocrisy, rapaciousness, and voluptuousness."* “Openly condemning them for having made the laws of God of no effect through their traditions.(Matt. xv. 6.) Now, we may easily conceive what kind of reception such admonitions would meet with from the leaders of the Jewish nation, who, it is natural to suppose, would be highly incensed against him for opposing, and exposing, their obstinate prejudices and deep-rooted vices, which, the history informs us, he continually did. The inevitable consequence of administering such reproofs was, as Christ himself observes, incurring the hatred of the world. “The world, saith he, hateth me, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” (John vii. 7.) And the consequence produced by this hatred, combining itself with some political motives, (for the world was gone after him, and if they, the Jewish rulers, let him alone, the Romans would come and take away their place and their nation, John xi. 48,) induced and determined them to put him to a cruel death. An obvious remark immediately presents itself; namely, that had He been deterred from prosecuting his design by the fear of any suffering it was in the power of man to inflict, his character would have been stained by imperfection, the vindication of God's honour had been unachieved, and the infirmities incidental to human nature had maintained their victory over virtue.

* Porteus's Lectures.

It is, however, very far from our intention to propound the sufferings of Christ, as an exclusive argument whereby to evidence the truth of his mission, as hundreds of other persons have sustained tortures with perhaps equal firmness to that which He evinced during the trying scene of execution; but as we propose, in our future pages, very particularly to inquire why Christ must needs have suffered, and what peculiarity of circumstances rendered his sorrows unlike all other sorrows, suffice it here to remark, that as many have endured the most excruciating deaths, rather than the forfeiture of virtue, it became indispensably requisite for the great Christian Champion to exemplify this noble resolution in its full extent, and patiently to endure every trial incidental to humanity. That the trial of our virtue is the proposed end of our residence in this world, is an opinion that seems to have been

generally adopted, and which Scripture clearly supports by asserting, that God proves his people, whether they will walk in his law or no; (Exod. xvi. 4;) that man may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. (Isaiah vii. 15.)

A moment's reflection must show us, that a state adapted for this purpose could not possibly be constituted without the existence of difficulties; and some further consideration may, perhaps, discover to us the necessity of our passing through a probationary state. For does not the perfection of virtue, and even its very existence, entirely consist in the love of virtue, which love can alone be produced by its being brought in contact with its opponent vice? And is not a free agency of the will an essential ingredient in the composition of all rational beings, who without it would be mere machines, scarce worthy of the name, or of their great Creator's favour; and could that free agency be exercised without good and evil being placed before it for its choice? Our love of virtue, therefore, and adherence to it must be proved by the degree of vigilance with which we endeavour to combat with frailties that attack our nature, which, if not opposed, would insensibly lead us into error; by the diligence with which we cultivate every amiable disposition in our hearts, which, if neglected, would soon become productive of thorns and briars; by enjoying the innocent pleasures of life within the bound of reason and moderation, which, if not restrained within these limits, would betray us into vice; and by our disregarding the frowns of the world when

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with some political motives, (for the world was gone after him, and if they, the Jewish rulers, let him alone, the Romans would come and take away their place and their nation, John xi. 48,) induced and determined them to put him to a cruel death. An obvious remark immediately presents itself; namely, that had He been deterred from prosecuting his design by the fear of any suffering it was in the power of man to inflict, his character would have been stained by imperfection, the vindication of God's honour had been unachieved, and the infirmities incidental to human nature had maintained their victory over virtue.

It is, however, very far from our intention to propound the sufferings of Christ, as an exclusive argument whereby to evidence the truth of his mission, as hundreds of other persons have sustained tortures with perhaps equal firmness to that which He evinced during the trying scene of execution; but as we propose, in our future pages, very particularly to inquire why Christ must needs have suffered, and what peculiarity of circumstances rendered his sorrows unlike all other sorrows, suffice it here to remark, that as many have endured the most excruciating deaths, rather than the forfeiture of virtue, it became indispensably requisite for the great Christian Champion to exemplify this noble resolution in its full extent, and patiently to endure every trial incidental to humanity. That the trial of our virtue is the proposed end of our residence in this world, is an opinion that seems to have been

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