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never but to benefit themselves and their confidents, that impostors devise reforms, or institute sects.
with impunity; and their persons, at the disposal of God alone, were sicred and inviolable. Though they contributed nothing to public charges, or at least no more than they pleased, their possessions were defended and enlarged by fanatic sovereigns, who hoped thereby to conciliate the favour of heaven. In fact, those reverend wolves in shepherds' clothing, under pretence of feeding with instruction, devoured with avarice, and, secure in their disguise, fattened on the blood of their flocks, unpxnished and unsuspected. Christianity Unvelled,
SERMOX ON THE MOUNTSUMMARY OF THE MORALITY OF
JESUS-OBSERVATIONS ON THAT MORALITY,
THE dread of being arrested having constrained Je. sus to abandon the cities, where he had too many enemies, the country became his ordinary residence. The people, affected by his lessons, or at least some male and female devotees whom he had converted, furnished provisions to the divine man and his followers. Obliged to wander about incessantly, bury themselves in mountains and deserts, and sleep in the open air, our apostles became frequently discontented with their lot; and this kind of life, compared with that which had preceded it, must have appeared to them very distressing, and often create murmurs. In spite of the multitude of spiritual graces, which they could not fail to receive in the society of the Messiah, these carnal men expected something more substantial on deyoting themselves to his service. They were doubtless promised important posts, riches, and power, in the kingdom he was about to establish. Jesus on this account frequently experienced almost as much difficulty in retaining them, as in convincing the rebellious Jews by his miracles and fine arguments. The measure of their appetite, and well being, was at this time the only rule of their faith, To prevent their muripurs, and familiarize them with a frugal life, which our missionary saw he would be obliged perhaps for a long time to come to make them lead, he pronounced an oration on true bappiness : it is the one known by the name of the Sermon on the Mount, and related by St. Matthew, chap. v.
According to our orator, true happiness consists in poverty of spirit, that is, in ignorance, and contempt of a proud knowledge, which bids us exercise our reason, and strips man of that blind submission, which is necessary to induce him to submit to a guide. On this occasion, Jesus preached to his apostles and the surrounding multitude, a pious docility which impli. citly credits every thing without examination ;* and
Men, says Boulanger, blindly follow on in the paths which their fathers trod; they believe, because, in infancy they were told they must believe they hope, because their progenitors hoped ; and they tremble, because they trembled. In youth, the ardour of our passions, and the continual ebriety of our senses, prevent us thinking seriously of a religion too austere and gloomy to please. If by chance a young man examines it, he does it with partiality, or without perseverance; he is often disgusted with a single glance of the eye, on contemplating an object so revolting. In riper age, new passions and caresa ideas of ambition, greatness, power, the desire of riches, and the hurry of business, absorb the whole attention of man, or leave him but few moments to think of religion, which he never has the leisure to scrutinise. In old age, the faculties are blunted, habits become incorporated with the machine, the senses are debilitated by time and infirmity, and we are no longer able to penetrate back to the source of our opinions; besides, the fear of death then renders an examination, over which terror commonly presides, very liable to suspicion. Civil authority also flies to the support of the prejudices of mankind ; compels them to ignorance, by forbidding inquiry; and þolds itself in continual readiness to punish all who attempt to undeceive then,
shewed them, that the kingdom of heaven would be the reward of this happy disposition. Such is the sense which the church has always given to the words of Jesus, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Among the apostles, there were some whose passione ate dispositions might have been prejudicial to the progress of the sect; it may in general be presumed that rough men, devoid of education, have repulsive man
Jesus demonstrated to them the necessity of meekness, civility, and patience, in order to gain proselytes, and attain his ends; he recommended to them moderation and toleration, as the certain means of insinuating themselves into the minds of men, and thrive ing in the world, and as the surest way of making conquests. This is the true sense of these words, Happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Wishing afterwards to inspire them with courage, and console them for their miserable situation, he gave them to understand, that to live in tears is felicity, and an infallible method of expiating iniquity. He promised them that their vexations should not endure for ever ; that their tears should be dried up; that their misery should terminate, and that their hunger should be appeased. These consolations and promises were indispensably necessary, to fortify the apostles against every accident which, in the course of their enterprises, might befal them, in the retinue of a chief destitute of riches and power, and incapable of procuring to himself or others the comforts of existence.
Jesus, with a view, no doubt, of sweetening the lot of his apostles, recommended compassion to the listening multitude, of which he, as well as his party, stood in the greatest need. It is indeed readily perceived, that the Messiah felt the most impe. rious necessity to preach up charity to his auditors, for he lived only on alms, and his success depended obviously on the generosity of the public, and the benefactions of the good souls who hearkened to his lessons.
The preacher recommended peace and concord, dispositions indispensably necessary to a new born, weak, and persecuted seot; but this necessity ceased to operate, when this sect had attained strength enough to dictate the law.
He afterwards: fortified his disciples against the persecutions whieh they were to experience ; he addressed himself to their self love, spurring them on by motives of honour:“ Ye are (says he) the salt of the earth, the light of the world." He gave them to understand that they were the “ successors of the prophets," men so much respected by the Jews; and, to share in whose glory, they ought to expect the same erosses which their illustrious predecessors heretofore experienced. In fine, he called on them to regard it as a felicity, and most worthy of heavenly rewards, to be hated, persecuted, contemned, traduced, and to be deprived of every thing that is commonly regarded as constituting the well being and happiness of man.
After having thus fortified bis disciples against the misfortunes which would attend their mission, he addressed himself more particularly to the people. He presented to them a new morality, which, so far from being totally repugnant to that of the Jews, could easily be reconciled with it. Things were not as yet sufficiently matured for abrogating entirely the law of Moses: too great changes alarm mankind. A missionary, still feeble, must at first confine himself to reforming abuses,