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the spirit of superstition and blind credulity had continued to be the reigning folly of mankind, men would have neglected to study the proofs of the facts of which I have been speaking, and we should have had, in later ages, much greater trouble in demonstrating the truth of them. But infidelity is the reigning folly of the age in which we live, and has, as it were, succeeded the spirit of superstition and blind credulity, the reigning folly of ages past. Now Providence has so ordered the course of things, that this very infidelity should prove the occasion of placing, in their clearest point of light, those illustrious proofs which we have of the facts whereon the Christian religion is founded. But though they have been stated with so much clearness and precision, it is undoubtedly certain that they are not, hitherto, sufficiently known by the generality of professing Christians.
Would you be thoroughly convinced of the exaltation of the Saviour of mankind, devote to the study, which I am recommending, a part, I do not say only of that time which you so liberally bestow on the world and its pleasures, but a part of even that which you have thrown away upon useless controversies, on the speculative questions, and the bold researches, with which most books, on the subject of religion, are filled. Let the mind be deeply impressed with that series of
presuniptions, of arguments, of demonstrations, of which the resurrection, and the other particulars of the exaltation of the Son of God are susceptible. Do all diligence to discern the whole evidence of those facts, without which, to use the apostle's expression, your faith is rain, and our preaching also is ruin, 1 Cor. xv. 14. Then you will perceive, that the truth of the exaltation of the Saviour is founded upon proofs, which it is impossible for any
reasonable man to resist. You will be, in some measure, as much convinced that he is raised up from the dead, and ascended into heaven, as if you had seen him, with your own eyes, bursting asunder the bars of the grave, and assuming his seat at the right hand of the Father: you will be, in this first sense, quickened together with Christ, and raised up, and made to sit together in heavenly places with him.
THE CHRISTIAN A PARTAKER IN THE EX.
ALTATION OF JESUS CHRIST.
EPHESIANS I. 4, 5, 6.
God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved
us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in beavenly places in Christ Jesus.
AVING given a few preliminary advices re
lative to my subject, I went on to justify the accuracy of the apostle's idea, by shewing, that the Christian is quickened, raised up, seated in heavenly places, together with Christ.
I. By the reasons which persuade him of the certainty of the exaltation of Jesus Christ. I now proceed to justify St. Paul's idea, by shewing :
II. The Christian's participation in the glory of Jesus Christ, by the means with which he is fur
nished of knowing himself, and of attaining assurance that he is fulfilling the conditions under which he is enabled to promise himself an interest in that exaltation. I do not mean to insinuate that this knowledge is of easy attainment. I maintain, on the contrary, that it is one of the most difficult which can be proposed to a man. And without entering here into a detail of the reasons which evince the difficulty of it, it is sufficient for me to adduce a single one; it is the smallness of the number of those who know themselves. The judgments which men form of their own character, is an inexhaustible source of ridicule. The world is crowded with people totally blind, especially where they themselves are concerned.,
What illusion do they practise upon themselves, with respect to the body! How many are there whom nature has sadly degraded in point of person: forms which you would say were only blocked out, and of which, if I may use the expression, God seems only to have erected the first scaffoldings, conceive of themselves ideas directly opposite to the truth. Talk of the corporeal qualities of such and such persons: they will be among the first to make them an object of derision, and discover this to be too slim, that to be too gross; falling foul of the whole human race, and shewing tenderness to no one but themselves. If we are thus subject to blindness, where things sensible, palpable, are concerned, how much greater must be the danger where matters of a very different complexion address themselves to our self-love?
We practise illusion upon ourselves, on the score of our understanding. How many ignorant, dull, stupid people, betray a conceit that they are intelligent philosophers, profound politicians; that they possess a judgment accurate, enlightened, uncom