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The same thing happened to our thaumaturge in Jerusalem. Perhaps he despaired of the salvation of these infidels, for during the short space of time he sojourned in that city, he kept no measures with them ; he loaded them with abusive language : but it does not appear that this plan gained proselytes, though since that time his disciples and the priests have frequently endeavonred to succeed by the like means, and even by coercion.*
ality, attest them openly; but these miracles were never able to conquer the incredulity of the Molinist clergy, of the government, nor the police; and the latter, as every body knows, succeeded in putting an end to the miracles of the Most High. This occasioned the following epigram, posted upon the gate of the church yard of St. Medard at Paris.
De par le roi, defense a Dieu
The king commands that God shall not
Work more miracles on this spot. God was obedient ; he no longer performed miracles for the Jansenists, but with shut doors, and in the garrets of the streot Moufetard,
* It is right to remark, says Mirabaud, that the religion of the Christians, which boasts of giving the justest idea of the Divinity; which exhibits that Divinity on the side of goodness and mercy, when his worshippers are accused of being tur. ulent and sanguinary , which prides itself on having taught the purest system of morality; which pretends to have established concord and peace for ever amongst those who possess it ;--it is well, I say to-remark, that this religion has caused inore divisions and disputes-- more political and civil wars, and more crimes of every species, than all the other religions in the world united. If it is said that the progress of learning will prevent this superstition from producing in future such dismal effects: it is answered, that fanaticism will be always dangerous; and that unless the cause be removed,
In short, in this journey, Jesus had no success-his disciples did not meet with good cheer ; to sustain life they were reduced to the necessity of taking a little corn in the environs of the city ; and were surprised at this occupation on the Sabbath day.—The violation of the law appeared to the Jews a greater crime than theft. In vain complaint was made to their master; from him no satisfaction could be obtained. He beat off the Pharisees, by comparing what his disciples had done with the conduct of David, who himself, on an emergency, ate, and also made his followers eat, the shew bread, the use whereof the Lord reserved for the priests alone:* adding, that “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath ;' therefore, he concluded, “that the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.”+
Critics have remarked in several circumstances of the life of our inan God, that his humanity was frequentJy liable to commit mistakes. For example, on the occasion we speak of, he gave the name of Abiathar to the high priest, who permitted David to eat the shew bread. The Holy Ghost however informs us,
the effects will ever be the same. So long as superstition shall be held in consideration, and shall have power, there will be disputes, persecutions, inquisitions, regicides, disorders, &c.long as mankind shall be so irrational as to consider religion as a thing of the first importanee, its ministers will have an opportanity of confoueding every thing on earth, under the pretence. of serving the Divinity, that is, of promoting their own interests. The Christian church has only one way of wiping away the accusation brought against it, of being intolerant and cruel, namely, solemnly to declare, “ that it is not allowable to persecute or injure any one for his opinions.” But this is what the clergy will never declare.
* i Kings, or Samuel xxi. 5 # St. Matt. xii. St Mark ij. St Luke vi.
in the first book of Kings, that this high priest was call. ed Achimelech. The error would be nothing if an ordinary man had fallen into it, but it becomes em. barrassing in a man-God, or in God made man, whom we ought to suppose incapable of blunders.
On the same occasion, Jesus, to justify the conduct of his disciples, maintained that the priests themselves violated the Sabbath, by serving God in the temple on that day; and this, according to the principles of our theology, is styled visibly confounding servile works with spiritual. But this is to have the same idea of a robbery and of the oblation of a sacrifice ; it is to tax God with being ignorant of what he did by or. daining, at one and the same time, the observance and the violation of a day which he had consecrated to repose.
Our doctors further justify Christ, with saying, that, as God, he was absolute master of all things; but in that case he ought to have procured better cheer to his disciples. It would not have cost him more to have permitted them to encroach on the table of some rich financier of: Jerusalem, or even that of the high priest, who lived at the expence of God his Father, than to permit bis disciples to forage in the fields of the poor inhabitants of the country. At least it was previously necessary to verify such sovereignty over all things in the eyes of the Jews, who, from not knowing this important truth, were naturally offended at the conduct which the Son of God seemed to authorise. It is apparently on this princi. ple several Christian doctors have pretended, that all things appertain to the just; that it is permitted them to seize on the property of infidels and the unholy; that the clergy bave right to levy contributions on the people; and that the Pope may dispose of crowns at his pleasure. It is on the same principle that actions are defended, which unbelievers regard as usurpations and violence, exercised by the Christians on the inhabitants of the new world. Hence we see, that it is of the utmost importance to Christians not to depart from the example which Jesus has given them in this passage of the gospel ; it appears especially to interest the power of the Pope and the rights of the clergy.
Pretensions, so well founded, did not however strike the carnal minds of the Jews; they persisted in believing that it was not permitted to rob, particularly on the Sabbath; and not knowing the extent of the rights of Jesus, they took him for an impostor, and his disciples for knaves. They believed him to be a dangerous man, who, under pretence of reforming the Hebrews, sought only to subvert their laws, trampled on their ordinances, and strove to overturn their religion. They agreed therefore among themselves, to collect the proofs they had against him, accuse, and cause him to be arrested ; but our hero, who had information of their designs, frustrated them by leaving Jerusalem.
JESUS WORKS NEW MIRACLES-ELECTION OF THE TWELVE
AS soon as Jesus had secured himself from the ma. licious intention of his enemies, he again betook himself to the working of miracles, with a view to give fresh proofs of his mission to persons of more favourable dispositions than the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Ilis experience convinced him, that to gain the capital, it was still necessary to augment his forces in the environs, and procure in the country a great number of adherents, who might, in due time and place, aid him in vanquishing the incredulity of priests, doctors, and magistrates ; and put him in possesion of the holy city, the object of his eager desires.
These new prodigies, however, produced no re, markable effect. The Jews, who had been at Jerusalem during the festival of the passover, on returning home, prepossessed their fellow-citizens against our adventurer. If he found the secret of gaining the admi. ration of the people in the places he passed through on leaving the capital, he had the chagrin to find opponents in the Pharisees and doctors of these places. The following fact shows to what a degree the people were prepossessed.-On a sabbath day, Jesus entered into the synagogue of a place, the name of which has not been preserved. He found there, perhaps by