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lieved he might, in some respects, be more serviceable to religion by continuing a layman; "his having no interests, with relation to religion, besides those of saving his own soul, gave him, as he thought, a more unsuspected authority in writing or acting on that side. He knew the profane crew fortified themselves against all that was said by men of our profession, with this, that it was their trade, and that they were paid for it: he hoped, therefore, that he might have the more influence, the less he shared in the patrimony of the church.'
Mr. Locke, whose accurate talent in reasoning is so much celebrated even by the Sceptics and Infidels of our times, showed his zeal for Christianity, first, in his middle age, by publishing a discourse on purpose to demonstrate the reasonableness of believing Jesus to be the promised Messiah ; and, after that, in the last years of his life, hy a very judicious Commentary upon several of the Epistles of St. Paul.
He speaks of the miracles wrought by our Saviour and his Apostles, in the strongest manner, both as facts unexceptionably true, and as the clearest evidences of a divine mission. His words are these: "The? evidence of our Saviour's mission from heaven is so
* Life, p. 37.
7 Reasonableness, &c. p. 256.
great in the multitude of his miracles he did before all sorts of people, (which the Divine Providence and Wisdom has so ordered, that they never were nor could be denied by any of the enemies and opposers of Christianity,) that what he delivered cannot but be received as the oracles of God, and unquestionable verity.' And again ; “ After his resurrection, he sent his Apostles amongst the nations, accompanied with miracles ; which were done in all parts so frequently, and before so many witnesses of all sorts, in broad day tight, that, as I have often observed, the enemies of Christianity have never dared to deny them, no, not Julian himself; who neither wanted skill nor power to inquire into the truth; nor would have failed to have proclaimed and exposed it, if he could have detected any falsehood in the history of the Gospel, or found the least ground to question the matter of fact published by Christ and his Apostles. The number and evidence of the miracles done by our Saviour and his followers, by the power and force of truth, bore down this mighty and accomplished Emperor, and all his parts, in his own dominions. He durst not deny so plain matter of fact; which being granted, the truth of our Saviour's doctrine and mission unavoidably follows, notwithstanding whatso
8. Reasonableness, &c. p. 263.
ever artful suggestions his wit could invent, or malice should offer to the contrary.'
To those who ask, “What need was there of a Saviour? what advantage have we by Jesus Christ?' Mr. Locke replies, •It is enough to justify the fitness of any thing to be done by resolving it into the wisdom of God, who has done it; whereof our narrow understandings and short views may utterly incapacitate us to judge. We know little of this visible, and nothing at all of the state of that intellectual world, (wherein are infinite numbers and degrees of spirits out of the reach of our ken or guess), and therefore know not what transactions there were between God and our Saviour, in reference to his kingdom. We know not what need there was to set up a head and a chieftain, in opposition to * the prince of this world, the prince of the power of the air," &c. whereof there are more than obscure intimations in Scripture. And we shall take too much upon us, if we shall call God's wisdom or providence to account, and pertly condemn for needless, all that our weak, and perhaps biassed understanding cannot account for. And then he shows at large the necessity there was of the Gospel Revelation", to deliver the world from the miserable state of darkness and ignorance
9 Reasonableness, &c. p. 255.
10 Ibid. p. 260.
that mankind were in ; 1. As to the true knowledge of God"; 2. As to the worship to be paid him"?; 3. As to the duties to be performed to him '3. To which he adds the mighty aids and encouragements to the performance of our duty; 1. From the assurance the Gospel gives of future rewards and punishments'4; and, 2. From the promise of the Spirit of God to direct and assist us's.
The Holy Scriptures are every where mentioned by him with the greatest reverence: he calls them the Holy Books,' the Sacred Text,' • Holy Writ,' and “Divine Revelation ;' and exhorts Christians 'to '7 betake themselves in earnest to the study of the way of salvation, in these Holy Writings, wherein God has revealed it from heaven, and proposed it to the world ; seeking our religion where we are sure it is in truth to be found, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.' And, in a letter written, the year before his death, to one who had asked this question's, • What is the shortest and surest way for a young gentleman to attain to a true knowledge of the Christian religion, in the full and just extent of it?' his answer is, 'Let him study the
11 Reasonableness, &c. p. 257. 12 Ibid. p. 264. 13 Ibid. p. 282. 14 lbid. p. 284. Is ' Ibid. p. 289., 16 Pref. to Comment.
17 Ibid. p. 24. 18 Posth. Works, p. 344.
Holy Scripture, especially the New Testament. Therein are contained the words of eternal life. It has God for its author; salvation for its end ; and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter.' A direction that was copied from his own practice'', in the latter part of his life, and after his retirement from business ; when, for fourteen or fifteen years, he applied himself especially to • the study of the Holy Scriptures, and employed the last years of his life hardly in any thing else. He was never weary of admiring the great views of that Sacred Book, and the just relation of all its parts. He every day made discoveries in it, that gave him fresh cause of admiration.'
Of St. Paul in particular, upon several of whose Epistles he drew up a most useful Coinmentary, he says, “That 20 he was miraculously called to the ministry of the Gospel, and declared to be a chosen vessel ;- that he had the whole doctrine of the Gospel from God by immediate revelation ;—that for his information in the Christian knowledge, and the mysteries and depths of the dispensation of God by Jesus Christ, God himself had condescended to be his instructor and teacher; - that he had received the light of the Gospel from the Fountain and Father of Light
19 Posth. Works, p. 20.
20 Comment, p. 16.