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body requires more substantial aliments: the adventure which has been related had led to the hour of dinner. On leaving the synagogue, Jesus was iuvited to the house of Simon Peter, where every thing appears to bave been prepared, for which he might have occasion in performing a second miracle. The mother-in-law of Simon felt herself sick, at the moment they had need of her ministry in managing the kitchen. Jesus, who possessed the talent of very readily curing the kinsfolk of his disciples, took her by the hand, and made her rise from her bed : she came out of it completely cured, cooked the victuals, and found herself in a condition to serve the guests.
The same day, in the dusk of the evening, they brought Jesus all the sick in Capernaum, and all the possessed, whom, according to St. Matthew, he cured by some words; and, according to St. Luke, by Jaying hands on them. Several devils, on coming out of the possessed, had the impudence to betray the secret of the physician, and openly declare, that he was Christ the Son of God. This indiscretion mueh displeased Jesus, who wished, or feigned to wish, to keep private.- St. Luke tells us, that “ he rebuked them, and suffered them not to speak, for they knew that he was Christ.” Here it is proper to remark, that according to theologists, the Son of God, in all his conduct, had in view only to lead the devil astray, and conceal from him the mystery of the redemption. Yet we see, that Jesus was never able to succeed in deceive ing his too cunning enemy.- In the whole Gospel system, the devil is more sly and powerful than both God the Father and God the Son; at least it is certain, that he is always successful in thwarting their designs, and
succeeds in reducing God the Father to the hard necessity of making his dear Son die, in order to repair the evil which Satan had done to mankind. Christianity is real manichæism,* wherein every advantage is on the side of the bad principle, who, by the great number of adherents he continues to acquire, seems to render nugatory all the purposes of the Deity.
If the devil knew that Jesus was the Christ, such knowledge must have been posterior to his retirement into the desert, for he then spoke to him in a style which intimated that he knew him not.—It is, however, superfluous to examine at what time the devil acquired this knowledge ; but it is manifest that he had it only by divine permission. Now God, by granting to the devil the knowledge of his Son, either wished, or did not wish, that he should speak of it. If he wished, Jesus did wrong in opposing it, if he did not wish it, how was the devil able to act contrary to the divine will ? Jesus carefully concealed his quality, the knowledge where
• The doctrine of two principles is borrowed from Zoroaster, the celebrated legislator of the Persians, who flourished under Darius Hystaspes. Oromasdes or Oromazus, the ancient of days, and Arimanes, the genius of darkness, are the original divinities of manichæism. Oromazes is the name, which the Magi and Chaldeans give to the Supreme Being, and which, in the Chaldaic language, signifies burning light. They represent God as surrounded by fire, and declare that his body is like unto light, and his soul unto truth. This God was the good principle, but there was another bad principle which they called Arimanes, or Arimanus, that is in Chaldaic, my enemy, or cunning and deceitful. It is opposed to Oromazes, who was to destroy it however at last. This is the Osiris and Typhon of the Egyptians; this the Pandora of the Greeks; this the Jehovah and Satan of Jews and Christians; and such are the vain efforts of all the sages to explain the origin of good and evil.
of could alone operate salvation. But in this case, the devil himself had the greatest interest to conceal it. It was therefore contrary to his own interest, and the will of the Almighty, that the devil made known the quality of Christ. Besides, if Jesus really did not wish that the devil should discover him, why delay imposing silence on him until he had spoken ?
The conduct of the Messiah in these particulars has made it be believed, that not daring to endanger himself by publicly assuming the quality of Christ, or Son of God, he was not sincerely displeased with the devils, who were at his command, for divulging his secret, and sparing him the trouble of speaking. It was moreover eliciting a very important confession out of the mouth of enemies.
Jesus was not ignorant, that to retain his influence over the minds of men, it was necessary to prevent satiety. Accordingly, on the day following that on which so many miracles had been wrought in Capernaum, he departed before day-break, and withdrew into a desert. All legislators have loved retirement; it is there they have had divine inspirations, and it is on emerging from these mysterious asylums, they have performed miracles calculated to deceive the eyes of the astonished vulgar. Solitary recollection is besides at times necessary, in order to investigate the state of our affairs.
Meanwhile the disciples of Jesus, notwithstanding his flight, did not lose sight of their master; they repaired to him at the moment he thought himself alone, and informed him that they had been every where in search of him. In fact, there were still many sick and possessed persons in the country; yet this consideration did not induce Jesus to return to Capernaum ; 00 which account many resorted to him in his retreat.
To get rid of them, he again traversed Galilee, where he continued to cure the sick, and cast out devils : this is all the gospel mentions. It appears he tarried little or none at all on his road, and preached as he went along; for in a very short time he had advanced a considerable way on the shore of the sea of Galilee. As the multitude which followed him augmented continually, by supplies of idle and curious people that every village produced, our preacher, finding bimsell pressed down by the crowd, gave orders to his disciples to convey bim to the other side, on the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he was landed, a doctor of the law repaired to him, and offered to become his follower : but Jesus very readily conceived that a doctor could not suit him; he would have cut a bad figure in a company composed of fishermen and clowns, such as those of whom the Messiah had formed his court. He gave the doctor to understand, that he would repent of this step: that this kind of life would not agree with him; the Son of man, said he to the doctor, hath no where to lay his head.
Christ would not permit his disciples to ramble too far in the territory of the Gerasenes ; for amongst them were some of that country. One asked his permission to go and perform the last duties to his father, another wanted to go and embrace his family ; but Jesus harshly refused their requests. The one received for answer, that he ought to “ let the dead bury their dead.” The other, that “ whoever having laid his hand to the plough, and looks back, is not fit for the kingdom of heaven." The incredulous think they perceive in these answers a proof of the rough habit, repulsive and despotical spirit of Jesus, who, under pretext of the kingdom of heaven, obliged his disciples
to neglect ihe most sacred duties of morality. But Christians, docile to the lessons of their divine master, which they dare not examine, have made perfection consist in a total abandonment of those objects which nature has rendered dearest to man. Christianity seems intended only to create discord, detach men from eve. ry thing on earth, and break the ties which ought to unite them. There is, according to Christ's maxims, but one thing needful, namely, to be attached to him exclusively: a maxim very useful, in meriting heaven, but calculated to destroy every society in the world. *
After our missionary had spent some time in the country of the Gerasenes, where it appears he kept incog, one day towards the evening be passed over to the other side of the lake, having previously dismissed the people, who had come that day on purpose to hear him; but he did not preach. Jesus, fatigued, fell asleep on the passage, whilst a furious tempest overtook the ship. Ilis affrighted disciples, inpressed with the
* Notwithstanding the eulogies lavished by Christians on the precepts of their divinc master, some of them are wholly contrary to equity and right reason. When Jesus says, “ Make to yourselves friends in heaven of the mammon of unrighteousness," does he not plainly insinuate, that we may take from others wherewithal to give to the Church? Divines will say, that he spoke in parables; these parables, however, are easily unfolded. In the mean while, this precept is but too well followed. Many Christians cheat and swindle during all their lives, to have the pleasure of making donations, at their death, to churches, monasteries, &c. The Messiah at another time treated his mother extremely ill, when she was seeking him with the most parental solicide. He commanded his disciples to steal an ass; he drowned a herd of swine, &e. It must be confessed that these things do not agree extremely well with good morality. Christianity Unveiled, p. 147-9.