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pains to pursue books of morality; yet, since they have only a power to persuade, but not to command, and sin and death do not necessarily attend the disobedience of them, they have the less influence: for, since we may take the liberty to question human writers, I find that the methods they take to impose their writings upon us may serve to countenance either truth or falsehood."
His zeal to propagate Christianity in the world appears by many and large benefactions to that end, which are enumerated in his funeral sermon: "He was at the charge of the translation and impression of the New Testament into the Malayan language, which he sent over all the East Indies. He gave a noble reward to him that translated Grotius's incomparable book of the Truth of Christian Religion into Arabic; and was at the charge of a whole impression, which he took care to order to be distributed in all the countries where that language is understood. He was resolved to have carried on the impression of the New Testament in the Turkish language; but the Company thought it became them to be the doers of it, and so suffered him only to give a large share towards it. He was at seven hundred pounds charge in the edition of the Irish Bible, which he ordered to be distributed in Ireland; and he contributed largely both to the im
pressions of the Welsh Bible, and of the Erse
In his younger years he had thoughts of entering into Holy Orders: and one reason that determined him against it was, that he believed 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 much celebrated, even by the sceptics and infidels of our times, shewed 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, by 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 evidences of our Saviour's mission from heaven is so great, in the multitude of his miracles he did before all sorts of people (which the Divine providence and wisdom had so ordered, that they never were nor could be denied by any of the enemies and opposers of Chris
tianity,) 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-light, 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 whatsoever 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 re
solving 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, 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 should 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 shews at large the necessity there was of the Gospel Revelation, to deliver the world from the miserable state of darkness and ignorance that mankind were in,-First, As to the true knowledge of God; secondly, As to the worship to be paid Him; thirdly, As to the duties to be performed to Him. To which he adds the mighty aids and encouragements to the performance of our duty,-First, From the assurance the Gospel gives of future rewards and punishments; and, secondly, From the promise of the Spirit of God to direct and assist us.