Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

ed none of this mysterious jargon, contrived on purpose to puzzle them. Perceiving that they were not moved by it, he informed them, that in order to follow him, a particular call was necessary, and that as they were not disposed to do this, they were, therefore, not called *

por does it appear to have originated with Christ. In In. dostan, the Bramas distribute a kind of grain in their Pagodas; this distribution is called Prajadam or Eucharist. The Mexicans believe in a kind of transubstantiation, which is mentioned by father Acosta in his Travels, chap. 24. The Protestants have had the courage to reject transubstantiation, though it is formally established by Christ, who says, 66 Take, eat; this is my body.The Peruvians have a religious ceremony, in which, after sacrificing a lamb, they mingle his blood with flour, and distribute it amongst the people. Anetanae quest. lib. 2. cap. 20.

* We cannot do too much in order to expose the absurd doctrines of grace and predestination held by Christians. An intelligent writer, whom we have already quoted, remarks -- We scarcely find any traits of the Supreme Being in the fundamentals of this religion, but what strongly impress us with notions subversive of his moral attributes. If we exclaim against a conduct so unworthy of a just and beneficent Being, religion will tell us that God is the disposer of his own gifts; that he owes us nothing: that we are but worms of the earth, who have no right to scrutinize his actions; and that to murmur or complain, is to incur his everlasting resentment. It is easy to discover the weakness of such reasoning. Power, I do contend, can never confer the right to violate justice. A sovereign who punishes and rewards, without any regard to merit and demerit, in both cases incurs the imputation of blame: his subjects may, indeed, flatter and fear him, but never can sincerely love and serve him. If he be deemed a fit subject of praise, it can only be by those who have had the good fortune to be selected as the objects of his kindness. If it be true, that is

The adherents Jesus procured on this occasion were: but few. The Jews, on the other hand, were indignant, that he should pretend to have descended from heaven. We know, said they, his father and mother, and we know where he was born. All these rumours, spreading as far as Jerusalem, so irritated the priests, that they resolved on his death ; but the Son of God eluded their pursuits and designs by skilful marches and ' countermarches, which disconcerted their vigilance. It was especially in the capital that they wished to ensnare him; but Jesus had not been there at the last passover. His distance from the metropolis did not prevent them from knowing his most secret proceedings ; and from this he concluded there were sonie false brethren in the number of his disciples. He was not deceived: but the fear of being betrayed in a country where his resources began to fail, through his refusal to give the people bread, induced him to dissemble till he should arrive in a place of safety. He set out therefore on his journey homeward to Capernaum. At this place he recited nearly the same sermon he had in vain preached to the Galileans. No one, however, would consent to receive for food his flesh and blood. Those who enjoyed his con

relation to God we are but as worms of the earth, or that in his hands we are as a vessel in the hands of a potter, then must it follow that there is no moral relation between the creature and his Creator. Seeing, therefore, that a worm of the earth owes to man who crushes him nothing, and that the vessel can have no obligation to the potter who forms it, and supposing that man is but a worm, or a brittle vessel in the estimation of his Maker, then must he be alike incapable to honour or offend him - hence I conclude that religion is useless.”

[ocr errors]

fidence, knew very well that he gave better cheer ; but bis other disciples asserted, that they could not subsist on this mysterious mess, and took their leave of him*. Unable to do better, Christ was obliged to suffer them to depart.

Jesus, observing the defection of a part of his followers, was vexed at it; and in sorrow for the harm it would occasion, asked the twelve, “ And will you also leave me?" On which Simon Peter answered, “ Lord, to whom shall we go! thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe, and are sure, that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Thus Jesus was assured, in the best way he could, of the fidelity of his apostles ; - yet we see, that in spite of his infinite knowledge he always kept the traitor Judas in his conpany, though he must have foreseen that he would deliver hiin up to bis enemies.

Meanwhile, Christ departed on purpose to return into Galitee, whither his apostles followed him, though his last preaching, and particularly the refusal of victuals, had dissatisfied the Galileans. They did not indeed give him a very welcome reception. The arrival of some Pharisees and doctors from Jerusalem completely marred every thing. They were deputed by the chiefs in the capital to watch the conduct of Jesus, and to put the people on their guard against him. Every one knows, how strictly the Jews adhere to the ceremonies of their law; and in spite of his protestations of at. tachment to it, Jesns, like his trusty friends, observed none of its ordinances. It was particularly taken amiss that they ate without washing their hands. But lie.de

* St. John, vi. 66, &c.

fended himself with saying, that it was better to vio. late traditions and neglect ceremonies, than to infringe the commandments of God, as the doctors did. He advanced, contrary to express law, that nothing which enters the body defiles it, and that it is what comes out of it that renders it impure. This seems to establish, that Christ and his party were not scrupulous as to their aliments. Thereafter he launched out in invece tives against the doctors, whom he called hypocrites, ignorant and blind, who conducted others that were also blind. In his anger he did not perceive that the compliment was not less offensive to the people than to their guides. On this account the latter preserved a deep resentment, but the populace did not regard it. Besides, Jesus did not allow them time for reflection ; he engaged their attention by a fine discourse, to prove that the lawyers and priests were the worst of men and the least charitable, and that none could be happy, either in this world or in the other, without becoming bis disciples.

In the mean time he was informed that there was no safety for him in this place. He therefore left it in great haste, with an intent to go towards the frontiers of Tyre and Sidon. His design was to live concealed in a house of the country, whither he had withdrawn; but with such great renown as that of our hero, it was difficult to continue long unknown. The secret of his retreat was divulged ; and, as misfortune sometimes turns to good, this trifling duplicity procured him the advantage of performing a miracle among the Gentiles, A woman of Canaan came, and besought him to deli. ver her daughter from a devil that tormented her. Jesus at first made her no answer. She insisted the

[ocr errors]

apostles interceded, and pressed their master to grant her request, merely on purpose to silence her; for she spoke clamorously, and might have disclosed that he was the Messiah. He defended himself on the plea of his being sent to the Jews only, and not to the Heathen. - They again besought him, and answered his comparison by another. He at length yielded ; and the girl was delivered from her devil, or her vapours*:

The success of Jesus in this country terminated with this miracle. He passed from thence into Dècapolis; and there acquired some consequence from the cure of a dumb and deaf man, on pronouncing the word Epheta, and then putting his finger into his ears and spittle on his tongue. It would, therefore, appear that our missionary made a sufficiently abundant harvest of alms. He moreover wrought a great number of miracles on the sick, the cripple, and the maimed. But it was his custom to steal away when his miraculous power began to make a noise; he accordingly withdrew to a mountain at the distance of three days journey

from the place where he had performed so many miraclest. The people in a crowd followed him in his retreat, and it appears that they did so without eating. But at this time, Christ, loaded with provisions or money procured by his miracles, again saw himself in a situation to lay the table-cloth. As if he knew nothing of this, he asked one of his apostles how

many loaves they had : Seven was the answer. He then ordered the multitude to sit down on the ground; and taking the loaves, blessed them, together with some small fishes. These were distributed to four thousand

* St. Matt. xv. St. Luke, vii. St. John, vii.
+ St. Mark, xv. St. Mark, vii.

« AnteriorContinuar »