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John Fleetwood.

The life of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; containing a full, accurate, and instructive history of the various transactions in the life of our glorious Redeemer, from His taking upon Himse online

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Online LibraryJohn FleetwoodThe life of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; containing a full, accurate, and instructive history of the various transactions in the life of our glorious Redeemer, from His taking upon Himse → online text (page 1 of 95)
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THE LIFE

^ JESUS CHRIST;

CONTAINING

A FULL, ACCURATE, AND INSTRUCTIVE HISTORY OF THE VARIOUS TRANSACTIONS



FROM HIS TAKING UPON HIMSELF OUR SINFUL NATURE TO HIS CRUCIFIXION, RESURRECTION FROIM
THE DEAD, AND GLORIOUS

ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN.

TOGETHER WITH THE LIVES, TRANSACTIONS, AND SUFFERINGS OF THE

HOLY EVANGELISTS, APOSTLES, AND OTHERS,

WHO HAVE SEALED THE GREAT TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY WITH THEIR BLOOD;

INCLUDING THE

Patriarchs, and the Transactions of John the Baptist, the great Forerunner of

TO WHICH IS ADDED,

A FULL DEFENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION,



The whole iolcnded to set fcrth the Principles of pure and undefiled Religion, in the Knowledge of the Deily and Atonement of Christ, Justificalion,
Purity of Heart, and Holiness of Life.



BY THE REV. JOHN FLEETWOOD, D. D.

1 — '■

EMBELLISHED WITH SUPERB ENGRAVINGS FROM THE FIRST ARTISTS.



BOSTOJ^:
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY S.WALKER, 31 PLEASANT-STREET;

AND SOLD BY HIS AGENTS IN THE PRINCIPAL CITIES AND TOWNS IN THE TNITF.D STATES

1823.



V



THE NEW YORK
PUBLIC LIBRARY

742703 A

A8TOR. LENOX AND

TILDEN FOUNDATIOMS

R 1934 L



PREFACE.



1 HE first aiul greatest object that should most materially engage the attention
of mankind is, the pursuit of that knowledge which tends to promote their welfare
while on this transitory stage of life, and their eternal happiness in that which is to
come. No measures whatever can be taken to etfect this, but the most earnest en-
deavours to make themselves perfectly acquainted with, and strictly to follow the
example of our Blessed Redeemer, the great Captain of our suftering.s — the Preserver
of our souls from death to life everlasting — the grand Pattern of Sanctity, Humility,
Meekness, and Charity — the King of Glory — the Guiding-star to Righteousness —
and who, as he himself expresses it, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

As, therefore, in our Blessed Redeemer only rests the whole of our eternal salva-
tion, let him only engross our most serious attention ; and let the example of his
Apostles, wljp have sealed their faith with their blood, inspire us with resolution,
and make us emulous to be accounted voluntary Servants of Christ, who conde-
scended to suffer an ignominious death to clear us from our sins, that we might es-
cape the punishment due to our manifold offences.

In seriously perusing the Life and Transactions of the Great Redeemer of Man-
kind, we shall there find those balmy Sweets, those solid comforts, which, if pro-



PREFACE.

perly attended to, will promote our felicity here, and secure us eternal happiness
liereafter. If we endeavour to pursue the Divine System laid down by our Blessed
Saviour, there is no reason to doubt but our Obedience will be crowned with that
Reward, which he hath been pleased to promise to all those who imitate his glo-
rious example. Our Lord himself tells us, that if we are poor in Spirit, we shall
gain the kingdom of Heaven — if we mourn here, we shall be comforted — if we
hunger and thirst after Righteousness, we shall be filled. It is from these assur-
ances that St. Augustine says, " The happiness of this Life consists of the Holy
Ghost, without which we cannot come to the Knowledge of God." All true know-
ledge, virtue, and perfection, that a Christian can desire or attain to, are contained
in the doctrines and transactions of our Glorious Redeemer ; who teaches us that
Righteousness and Holiness consist in the inward Purity of the Mind, not in the
outward shew of Works — in a Conscience void of Offence ; not in the pom-
pous Applause of Men — in Humility ; not in Ostentation — in Contempt ; not in
the pursuit of worldly Honours : and he further teaches us to love our Enemies as
well as our Friends. Here we read of the nature of true Faith ; of trusting in Christ
alone ; and how we ought not to glory but in him. Here we read also of the Cer-
tainty of Salvation, the Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and of
Life eternal.

We most certainly hope, that the perusal of this Work will produce that effect for
which it is so happily adapted, namely, the Promotion of the Cause of Christianity,
and make Mankind wise unto Salvation. A serious attention to the Divine Trans-
actions contained in this History, will fill the mind with awful, though pleasing
Ideas; banish every Doubt ; confirm the Reader in the most sublim^ Truths, and
fill his soul with divine Ecstasies.

We shall only further observe, that in the execution of this Performance, we have
endeavoured to improve the understanding and warm the heart ; to inspire the mind
with gratitude for the astonishing love of a dying Saviour, and excite the soul to
embrace his kind invitations of F'orgiveness, of Happiness, and of Peace.



AN



INTRODUCTORY DISSERTATION,



The Evidences of Christianity are fairly stated, the JSTew Testament proved to be
genuine, and the Religion of JESUS truly Divine.



|"T is a well-attested truth, that immorahty ever grows with infidelity, and to the prevalence
of vice must certainly be imputed that scorn and derision in which too many in the pre-
sent day hold the sacred oracles of God, the revealed will of the great Creator of Heaven
and ^arth.

From hence, therefore, it is reasonable to ask, What cause can produce so strange a deviation from
the ways of God ? Doubtless from that unhappy disregard, either to the Gospel in general, or to his
peculiar and essential truths, so visible in the world, and which appear to be continually increasing.
It is too evident, that multitudes among us, like those of old, who thought and professed themselves
the wisest of mankind, have been desirous of banishing God and his truths from their knowledge ;
and it is, therefore, the less to be wondered at, if God has given them up to a reprobate mind; to the
most infamous lusts and enormities ; and to a depth of degeneracy, which, while it is in part the
natural consequence, is in part also the just, but dreadful, punishment of their apostacy from the
faith. And we are persuaded that those who wish well to the cause pf Christ, as every true Chris-
tian most certainly docs, cannot serve it more effectually, than by endeavouring to establish men in
tlieir belief of the Gospel in general, and to build them up in its most holy faith. The latter, we
flatter ourselves, we have sufficiently done in the following lives of the blessed Jesus and his Apostles
and followers ; and we propose in this dissertation to prove that the Christian Religion is true, and
owes its origin to God himself.

It will be needless to observe, that this is a matter of the highest importance, as every one will ap-
prehend that this is the foundation of all our hopes. It is absolutely necessary, in this age of liber-
tinism, that every Christian should be ^bXeto give a reason for the hope that is in him, and to put to
silence the tongues of those men who have evil icill at Sion. And may the Almighty enable us to
plead his cause with success ! May the divine Spirit accompany these arguments, that the faith of

.51 & 52. a



VI AN INTRODUCTORY DISSERTATION.

our readers being more and more established, it may appear that the tree is watered at the roots, by
all the other graces growing and flourishing in an equal proportion.

God has made ample provision for the honour and support of his Gospel, by furnishing it with a
variety of proofs, which may, with undiminished, and, indted, with growing convic;ion, be dis-
played in the eyes of the whole world : and we should be greatly wanting in gratitude to him, in
zeal for a Redeemer's kingdom, and in charitable concern for the conversion of those who reject the
Gospel, as well as for the edification of those who embrace it, should we wholly overlook those ar-
guments, or neglect to acquaint ourselves with them. This is the evidence we propose, and beg our
readers would peruse it with becoming attention.

In prosecution of this great design, we shall endeavour more particularly to show, that if we take
the matter on a general siu-vey, it will appear highly probable, that such a system of doctrines and
precepts as we find Christianity to be, should, indeed, have been a divine Revelation, and then that
if we examine into the external evidence of it, we shall find it certain in fact, that it was so, and that
it had its origin from on high.

First, then, we are to show, that, taking the matter merely in theory, it will appear highly pro-
bable, that such a system as the Gospel should be, indeed, a divine Revelation. To prove this we
shall endeavour to show. That the state of mankind was such, as greatly to need a revelation ; that
there seems, from the light of nature, encouragement to hope, that God would grant one ; that it
is reasonable to believe, that if any were made, it should be introduced and transmitted, as
Christianity was ; and that its general nature and substance should be such as we find that
of tiie Gospel is. If we satisfactorily prove these particulars, there will be a strong presumptive
evidence, that the Gospel is from God, and a fair way will be opened for that more divine proof,
which is principally intended.

1. The case of mankind is naturally such, as to need a divine revelation. We should not be un-
derstood to speak here of man in his original state, though, even then, some instruction from above
seemed necessary to inform him of many particulars, which it was highly proper for him then to
know ; but we speak of him in the degenerate condition in which he now so evidently lies, by
whatever means he fell into it. It is very easy to make florid encomiums on the perfection of
natural light, and to deceive unwary readers by an ambiguous term, as a late author has done in
his deistical writings ; a fallacy beneath an ingenuous reasoner, and which alone ought to have
exposed his book to the contempt of every serious reader. Truth needs no disguise ; a candid ad-
vocate scorns such subterfuges ; let facts speak for themselves, and controversy will soon be decided.
AVe appeal to every intelligent reader, who is acquainted with the records of antiquity, or that has
any knowledge of the present state of those countries where Christianity is unknown, whether it is
not too obvious a truth that the whole heathen world has lain, and still lies, in a state of wickedness ?
Have not the greater part of them been perpetually bewildered in their religious notions and prac-
tices ; very different from each other, and almost equally differing on all sides from the appearances
of truth and reasons ? Is any thing so wild as not to have been believed ; any thing so infamous as
not to have been practised by thfm, while they not only pretended to justify it by reason, but to have
consecrated it as a part of their religion. To this very day, what are the discoveries of new nations
in the American or African world ; but, generally speaking, the opening new scenes of enormity?
Rapine, lust, cruelty, human sacrifices, and the most stupid idolatries, are, and always have been,
the morality and religion of almost all the Pagan nations under heaven; and if they have discovered
a daw n of reason, it has only sufficed to convince them of the want of an abler guide to direct them
in pin-suit of real happiness.



AN INTRODUCTORY DISSERTATION. vil

But perhaps some of our readers have only heard those things by uncertain reports. If this be
the case, look around you within the sphere of your own observation, and remark the temper and
character of the generality of those who have been educated in a Christian, and even in a Protestant
country. Observe their ignorance and forgetfulness of the Divine Being, their impieties, their de-
baucheries, their fraud, their ojipression, their pride, their avarice, their unnatural insensibility to the
wants, sorrows, and interest of each other; and when you see how bad they generally are in the
midst of so many advantages, judge by that of the probable state of those that want them. When
the candid reader has well weighed these particulars, let him judge whether a revelation be an tm-
necessary thing.

2. There is, from the light of nature, considerable encouragement to hope, that God would favour
his creatures with so desirable a thing as a revelation appears to be.

That a revelation is in itself a possible thing, is evident beyond all shadow of doubt. Shall not
He that made man's mouth, who has given us this wonderful faculty of discovering our sentiments,
and communicating our ideas to each other; shall not he be able to converse with his rational
creatures, and, by sensible manifestations, or inward impressions, to convey the knowledge of
thingr



Online LibraryJohn FleetwoodThe life of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; containing a full, accurate, and instructive history of the various transactions in the life of our glorious Redeemer, from His taking upon Himse → online text (page 1 of 95)