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of reasoning which it involves that insanity could not command and control the elements; yet, as unbelievers have a prejudice against the evidence of miracles, we judge it better to treat of them when the question can be discussed somewhat at large, than to speak of it incidentally, and therefore insufficiently. But mention is made of the doctrine of Christ. These are not the words of him that hath a demon.' The immediate reference appears to be to the discourse which Jesus had just delivered; and blind, indeed, must that man be who cannot see the evidences, not only of sanity, but of wise and pure benevolence, in the words of Christ. The general tone of the discourse, and the particular images employed, breathe a pure, lofty and tranquil spirit. I am the door; by me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved; and shall go in and out and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy ; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it exceeding abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might receive it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to receive it again. This privilege I have received of my Father.' Is this the language of fanaticism ? Here are no preternatural fervours, no vain-glorying, no aberrations of intellect; none of these, the ordinary symptoms of a bewildered imagination, but a regular sequence of thought, a calm and benign moral elevation, blended with unaffected humility and devout repose on God, and adorned withal by an entire self-abandonment. * I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep, and the sheep that I am desirous of saving comprise the Gentile as well as the Jew; and, if my purpose appear vast and superhuman, it must be remembered that the power under which I act is not mine, but his on whose errand I have come, and who is the Father of the universe.' From this instance, let the reader turn to what is termed the Sermon on the Mount, or to the long conversation Jesus had with his disciples in the hours immediately preceding his death, as recorded towards the conclusion of John's Gospel ; and especially let him fix his attention on the latter, delivered under circumstances which could not fail to agitate the mind of Jesus, seeing that indignity, outrage, desertion and death rose darkling on his sight; and yet what entire mental possession—what devout composure—what gentle benignity—what calm and meek reliance on God-what solicitude for his associates and what forgetfulness of self are there evinced. Surely if this is the
language of an enthusiast, the qualities of enthusiasm have changed their character, and we can no longer infer what human nature was from what it is. Turn from the hours which preceded the death of Jesus, to the dying words of those who in early times were ambitious of martyrdom, or who in these times speak and act under the influence of the fever of religion, and seek the signs of safety in the ecstasies of the departing spirit, and the contrast must force the conviction on the mind, not only that Jesus was no enthusiast, but that as in all other things, so in a well-balanced and justly-proportioned intellect, he far transcends all other men.
There is no one fact more conspicuous in the annals of fanaticism, than it has always abjured the plain and practical in its teachings, out of a preference for what is abstruse, and trivial, and illusory. Fanaticism is based upon ignorance; and how can ignorance hope to acquire votaries except by an affectation of what is singular, and an avowed contempt for the every-day duties of life? Having, from the poverty of mind which always attends it, nothing substantial to offer as an allurement, it has no resource but to fabricate a claim to attention out of what is visionary; that is, out of elements which have nothing to do with the great duties and interests of life. And then, as fanaticism by its very essence has an affinity with passion, what can it ally itself with but human weakness and folly? It is therefore reduced to plant its standard in the regions of fancy, to enlist in its service the dreamer, the imbecile and the ascetic. And it has never failed to raise faults into crimes—to convert crimes into virtues—to attach importance to things indifferent in themselves—and to make the trivialities of life its great business. Barren contemplations are its food, mental ecstasies its expression, and bodily austerities the fulfilling of its law. Have we, in this description, given a picture of the teachings of Jesus—or rather, is it not in broad contrast with all that Jesus taught and did ? Never was a doctrine more thoroughly imbued with a practical spirit than was that of Christ. Did he commend or discommend the prayer in the market-place, the enlargement of the phylactery, the payment of tithe on annise, mint and cummin, the disfiguring of the face, the cleansing of the exterior ? The affectation of piety ever met with the severity of his rebuke. And what did he substitute in its stead? The love of God, which should lead man to be like him; and the love of man, which should regard every fellow-being as one's neighbour. On these he made the law, the prophets, and the Gospel, too, to hang. And far from restricting himself to the outward act, he evinced that the doctrine he brought from God was spirit and truth, by drawing and fixing attention on the hidden man of the heart, requiring, as a test of discipleship, not profession, nor
merely obedience, but the surrender of the soul. His mission was heralded by the preaching of repentance—was carried forward in labours to regenerate the heart, and can be terminated only in that new creation which is found in the man of God, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.' On the simple, earnest, practical spirit which pervades the teachings of Jesus, the believer may place his hand as on the one consideration that is in itself sufficient to convince the lover of truth that Jesus was no enthusiast.
Besides, the appeal of fanaticism is of passion to passion—it is weakness working on terror—it is the glare of a fiery imagination on the ignitible fuel of a disordered fancy. The appeal of Jesus is of reason to reason—of emotion to emotion-of nature to nature. • Go tell John what things ye have seen and heard ; the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.' • Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they that testify of me. Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right ?' • Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in lieart, and shall find rest to your souls. But the citation of passages can give no adequate idea of the lofty and tranquil atmosphere in which the spirit of Jesus was sustained—the Gospels are the evidence of his mental harmony, as they are the record of his life. Let them be studied with an express reference to the question in debate by those who are desirous to know the truth; in them Jesus appears invariably as self-possessed as he is good and great ;-witness the dexterity with which he avoids the snares laid by his enemies to catch him in his speech, to involve him with the populace or the authorities ;—witness the composure and harmony that breathe through all his instructions, and the justness and point, and the beauty of imagery, which distinguish his incomparable parables ;—witness the moral and mental dignity, visible but not displayed, in the judgment-hall. We would, however, particularly advert to what may, from its prevalence, be termed the ordinary manner of his teaching; and that the rather, because the character developes itself more truly in the general tenor than in the exigencies of life. Jesus was not a formal and systematic professor of morality, but an occasional and unambitious expounder of all the truth and beauty which he met with in the incidents that presented themselves as he went about his Father's business. Illustrations are found in almost every page of the Gospel history; for if the teaching of Jesus has one characteristic more clear and prevailing than another, it is found in the incidental manner in which it was conveyed. Let what follows serve as a specimen. The circumstances connected with the request made by the Centurion, that Jesus would heal his palsied servant, must be fresh in the recollection of every reader of the New Testament. The prayer was not only granted, but made the occasion for the delivery of an important truth, namely, the conversion of the Gentile nations and the rejection of the Jew. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel. And I say unto you, that many shall come from the East and the West, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness. Now what was the circumstance which excited this thought in the mind of Jesus ? It is so trivial in appearance that there is scarcely a doubt it often escapes the notice of the ordinary reader. It was, that the person who preferred the petition, was a Roman. This simple fact elicited a truth which is of such magnitude in its applications, as to convert Christianity from the insignificance of a Jewish sect into the grand dimensions of the religion of the world. Yet, as there was no pomp
of preparation, so was there no display in the announcement;, it fell from the lips of Jesus in all the simplicity of unaffected sincerity.
By reading a little onward in the same connection, we find another instance. Jesus was teaching on the western border of the lake of Galilee. The fame of his doctrine, and the splendour of his miracles, had brought around him such multitudes as to render it desirable to pass to the other side. He announces his intention so to do- an intention in itself most unlike the ambition of fanaticism. On two of his auditors, however, it produced effects diametrically opposite. One who bore an office in the Jewish polity—a scribe, probably half convinced of the Messiahship of Jesus, but still more powerfully impelled by an ill-regulated ardor of temperament, declared his purpose of following Jesus whithersoever he went. This zeal, 'not according to knowledge,' Jesus knew would pass away as rapidly as it had sprung up, and he therefore checks its impulses by warning its possessor of the destitution in which he would involve himself if he yielded to its guidance. “First count the cost,' he in effect says, for though the foxes even have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, yet the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.' Another person, however, who is termed a disciple,' was as tardy as his predecessor had been precipitate. He may have felt, that by embarking with Jesus in the vessel which was to transfer them out of the concourse of men to the comparative solitude of the opposite shore, he was irretrievably committing his fate to the fortunes of this errant teacher ;-yes,
to the fortunes of one who had just intimated, not only that he had no earthly reward for his followers, but was himself in the extreme of destitution. His caution overcame his faith, and prompted a request, vamped up, it is not unlikely, for the occasion, that he might be allowed to go first and bury his father. The answer was,
· Let the dead bury the dead; let those who are without moral life bury those who are without animal lifebut follow thou me.' 'A speech more fitted to rebuke than conciliate, and which a fanatic, in what was something like a crisis, when the example of even a professed disciple's retiring might have drawn on an extensive, if not a general desertion, would in no way have been likely to utter. Is this the conduct of fanaticism—this promptitude to seize on the hidden but actuating feelings of the breast-this discrimination of individual peculiarities of character—this spontaneous adaptation to unforeseen contingencies—this fearlessness of consequences in the absorbing purpose of speaking what was true in itself and prompted by the occasion ? The whole implies far too much coolness and self-possession of mind to be the act of an overheated and ill-balanced imagination. The remark may be generalised. It is true of the ordinary tone of Christ's instructions. The fanatic is too full of the one idea which disorders and agitates his breast, to avail himself of the contingencies of social intercourse. Blind to minor and collateral circumstances, he rushes forward under the impulse of passion to the completion of his purpose, and so far is he from cooling the fervor of the rash, or repelling the wary for their hesitation, that he seeks to bear down every impediment in the overwhelming current of his own impetuosity.
Reference has been made to the matter and the manner of Christ's instructions--let us for a moment turn to a striking feature in his conduct. During the greater part of his public life, he carefully avoided a collision with the Jewish authorities. How frequently do we find him commanding those who had been the subjects of his miraculous agency, not to divulge the benefits they had received, nor who had conferred them. He desired no premature outbreak of popular feeling in his favour; nor would he give occasion of offence to the bigotted government of the land before the purposes of his mission made it of absolute necessity. He was content to sow the seed and wait the process of growth, ripening and reaping. With the same spirit of patience, he took such precautions, as in the circumstances appeared requisite, for the preservation of the freedom of his person, and for the continuance of his life. On hearing of the imprisonment of John, he left the scene of danger, and departed into Galilee,' where, at a distance from his enemies in power, he might discharge the duties of his mission. So on learning that John had been put to death, he retired to a desert place, apart' from the crowd,