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live witliout foresight.-Amass nothing, lest you excite the wrath of my Father. Think not of to-morrowlive at random, like the birds that never think of sow. ing, gathering, or accumulating provisions. Detach yourselves from all things here below—seek the kingdom of God, which I and my disciples will sell you for your charities. This conduct cannot fail to plunge you into misery ; but then you shall beg in your turn, God will provide for your wantsmask, and it shall be given you. Do not the beggars find, agreeably to our divine precepts, wherewith to live at the expence of the simpletons who labour ?* My disciples and I, are we not an example, evincing, that even without toil, one may draw himself out of scrapes, and never perish by hunger? Ifour manner of living appears not to agree with my language, I warn you that you must not judge my person, nor cordemn your masters and doctors. Do not intermeddle with state affairs ;-that care is reseryed for me, and those in whom I confide. The master is superior to the disciple—it is to me in particular you ought to listen. If you call me your master, it is necessary to do what I desire you. The practice of my morality is difficult, and even impossible, too many persons; but the broad and easy way conducts to perdition; and to enter into heaven, it is necessary to be as perfect as my heavenly Father. I must warn you against my enemies, or those who shall preach to you a doctrine contrary to mine. Treat them as wolves" ; they are false prophets-shew them no indulgence : for it is uot to them that you ought to be humane, tolerant; and pacific."

* See what is said in a note on chap iii. where the Nazarenes are mentioned. The whole Christian doctrine is favourable to mendicants, beggars, and drones. Our prelates affirm, that the property of the church is the patrimony of the poor, who are members of Jesus Christ. As the priests are usually the self-styled depositories and distributers of alms, they take great care to preach up charity; consequently, in very devout countries, the imbecile laity make donations to monks, and legacies to hospitals, which seem established only to be gainful to the administrators, but very little to the unfortunate. Besides, these esta“ blishments encourage idleness; a good government cannot make so many poor; it will punish mendicants by profession, and force them to work when able, to provide for the wants of those who are really incapable.

In the course of his discourse, Jesus taught them a short form of prayer, known to Christians by the name of the Lord's prayer.* Though the Son of God may have shewn himself on this occasion the declared enemy of long prayers, the Christian church is full of pious sluggards, who, in spite of his decision, believe they cannot perform any thing more agreeable to God, than spending their whole time in mumbling prayers in a very low tone, or singing them in a very high one, and frequently in a language they do not understand. It appears, that in this, as in many other things, the church has rectified the ideas of its divine founder.

St. Matthew informs us, that the discourse, of which we have given the substance, transported the people with admiration at the doctrine of Jesus, for he instructed them as one baving authority, and not as the scribes.--The latter, perhaps, spoke in a more simple fashion, and consequently less admired by the vulgar,

* M. Basnage informs us, that the Jews have a prayer called Kadish, in which they say to God-6.0 God, exalted and hallowed be thy name.- -May thy kingdom come,”. &c. This prayer is the short ancient one preserved by the Jews. Hence we see that Jesus was but a plagiary, and not the author of the Lord's prayer.-- Basnage Hist. des Juifs, tome 6. p. 374.


whose wonder is excited in proportion to their inability to comprehend, or practise, the precepts given them, Thus the sermon of Jesus had not, at that time, any contradictors. It has, however, since then furnished ample scope for dispute to our casuists and theologians; they bave subtilly distinguished between things which were merely of counsel, and those of precept, which ought rigorously to be observed. It was in fact soon felt, that the sublime morality of the Son of God did not suit mankind, and its literal observance became pecessarily destructive to society.-It was, therefore, requisite to abate it, and recur to that marvellous dis. tinction, in order to shelter the honour of the divine legislator, and reconcile his fanatical morality with the wants of the human race.

Moreover, this discourse presents difficulties, which will always appear very embarrassing to persons accustomed to reflect on what they read. They find, that it is ridiculous and false to say, a law is accomplished, when it is proposed and permitted to violate it, and add or retrench the most essential points. Since the time of Jesus, why has that law been completely abro« gated by St. Paul and his adherents, who, as we have seen, seceded from the Christian partizans of Judaism? Why do Christians entertain at present so much horror at that same Judaism, except indeed when the privileges and pretensions of the clergy are in question-articles on wliich our Christian priests are very judaical, and which they have prudently borrowed frons Leviticus ; all to supply the neglect of Christ, who in his gospel was not sufficiently attentive either to their temporal interests, divine rights, or sacred hierar: chy? By what law do the inquisitors (if Christians) in Portugal and Spain burn those who are accused, or con

sicled, of having observed the usages of a law, which Jesus has declared, that he did not wish to abolish, but to fulfil ? By what law bave Christian doctors dispensed with circumcision, and permit themselves to eat pork, bacon, pudding, hare, &c? Why has Sunday, or the day of the sun among Pagans, been substituted for Sabbath or Saturday?

2dly, It is held unjust to punish in the same manner a man in a passion and a murderer. One may be in a passion and restrain himself, or afterwards repair the injury done; but he cannot restore life to a man, whom he has deprived of it.

3dly, The restriction of divorce to the single case of adultery is a law very hard, and very prejudicial to the happiness of married persons. This precept compels a man to live with a woman, who in other respects may be odious to him. Besides, it is generally very difficult to convict a female of adultery; she usually uses precaution to avoid conviction on account of her debauch. eries. Is it not very grievous, and even dar.gerous, to live with a person who occasions continual suspicions ?

4thly, It is absurd to make a crime of desire, especially without supposing the liberty of man; but Jesus is not very explicit on that important article. On the contrary, from the train of his discourse, he appears to recognize the necessity of man, who has no authority over a single hair of his head. St. Paul, his apostle, declares in many places against the liberty of man, whom he compares with a vessel in the hands of a potter.* But if there be no proportion between the work man and his work; if the latter has no right to say to the former, why have you fashioned me thus ? if there

man is not master of his

St. Augustine says, that " thoughts."


be no analogy between them, how can they bear any relation to each other? If God is incorporeal, how does he act upon bodies ? or how can these bodies disturb bis repose, or excite in him motions of anger? Ifman is relatively to God as an earthen case, this vase owes neither thanks nor adoration to the potter who gave him so insignificant a form. If this power is displeased with his own vessel because he formed it badly, or because it is pot fit for the uses he intended, the potter; if he is not an irrational being, can only blame himself for the defects which appear. He no doubt can break it in pieces, and the vase cannot prevent him ; but if, in: stead of forming it anew, and giving it a figure more suitable to his designs, he punishes the vase for the bad qualities he has himself conferred upon it, he would shew himself to be completely deprived of reason. This, in fact, is the view which Christianity gives of its God. It represents mankind as having no more relation with the divinity than stones. But if God owes nothing to man; if he is not bound to show bin either justice or goodness, man on his part can owe nothing to God. We have no idea of any relation between beings which are not reciprocal. The duties of men amongst themselves are founded upon their mutual wants. If God has no occasion for these services, they cannot owe him any thing; neither can they possįbly offend him by their actions.

5thly, It is a very strange remedy to cut off or pluck out a member every time it is an occasion of scan, dal or sin : it contradicts the precept not to make an attempt on one's life. Origen is blamed by the Christians for having performed an operation, which he no doubt judged necessary for preserving bis chas,

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