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that with this principle of uncertainty in How will it go to aggravate the whole guilt such full operation, ministers should feel of our impenitency, should we stand out for you; or angels should feel for you; or against the power and the tenderness of all the sensibilities of heaven should be these manifold applications the voice of a awake upon the symptoms of your grace beseeching God upon us--the word of salvaand reformation; or the eyes of those who tion at our very door--the free offer of stand upon the high eminences of the celes- strength and of acceptance sounded in our tial world, should be so earnestly fixed on hearing the spirit in readiness with his the every footstep and new evolution of agency to meet our every desire and our your moral history. Such a consideration every inquiry-angels beckoning us to their as this should do something more than si-company-and the very first movements of lence the infidel objection. It should give our awakened conscience drawing upon us a practical effect to the calls of repentance. all their regard, and all their earnestness!
1 , DISCOURSE VI. . On the Contest for an Ascendency over Man, among the Higher Orders of
“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in
it."-Colossians ii. 15.
Though these astronomical Discourses when the soundness and the consistency of be now drawing to a close, it is not because her principles are brought faithfully to bear I feel that much more might not be said on upon it. Were the characters of modern the subject of them, both in the way of ar- science rightly understood, it would be seen, gument and of illustration. The whole of that the very thing which gave such strength The infidel difficulty proceeds upon the as- and sureness to all her conclusions, was sumption, that the exclusive bearing of that humility of spirit which belonged to Christianity is upon the people of our earth; her. She promulgates all that is positively that this solitary planet is in no way impli-known; but she maintains the strictest cated with the concerns of a wider dispen- silence and modesty about all that is unsation; that the revelation we have of the known. She thankfully accepts of evidence dealings of God, in this district of his em- wherever it can be found; nor does she pire, does not suit and subordinate itself to spurn away from her the very humblest a system of moral administration, as ex-contribution of such doctrine as can be wittended as in the whole of his monarchy. nessed by human observation, or can be Or, in other words, because infidels have not attested by human veracity. But with all access to the whole truth, will they refuse this she can hold out most sternly against a part of it however well attested or well that power of eloquence and fancy, which accredited it may be; because a mantle of often throws so bewitching a charm over deep obscurity rests on the government of the plausibilities of ingenious speculation God, when taken in all its eternity and all Truth is the alone idol of her reverence; its entireness, will they shut their eyes and did she at all times keep by her atagainst that allowance of light which has tachments, nor throw them away when been made to pass downwards upon our theology submitted to her cognizance its world from time to time, through so many demonstrations and its claims, we should partial unfoldings; and till they are made not despair of witnessing as great a revoluto know the share which other planets have tion in those prevailing habitudes of thought in these communications of mercy, will they which obtain throughout our literary estaturn them away from the actual message blishments, on the subject of Christianity, which has come to their own door, and as that which has actually taken place in will neither examine its credentials, nor be the philosophy of external nature. This is alarmed by its warnings, nor be won by the the first field on which have been successtenderness of its invitations.
| fully practised the experimental lessons of On that day when the secrets of all hearts Bacon; and they who are conversant with shall be revealed, there will be found such a these matters, know how great and how wilful duplicity and darkening of the mind general a uniformity of doctrine now prein the whole of this proceeding, as shall vails in the sciences of astronomy, and bring down upon it the burden of a righ-mechanics, and chemistry, and almost all teous condemnation. But, even now, does the other departments in the history and it lie open to the rebuke of philosophy, philosophy of matter. But this uniformity
avate the whole guilt
s-the word of salva
beckoning us to their
lligher Orders of
mily, triumphing over them in
s and the consistency of rought faithfully to hear 2 characters of modern erstood, it would be sent vhich gave such strength ll her conclusions, was pirit which belonged to ates all that is positively maintains the strictest ty about all that is un fully accepts of evidence je found; nor does she
her the very humblest h doctrine as can be wit observation, or can be
stands strikingly contrasted with the diver- 1 paltry and provincial a system as infidelity sity of our moral systems, with the restless presumes it to be. And as I said before, fluctuations both of language and of senti- I have not exhausted all that may legitiment which are taking place in the philoso-mately be derived upon this subject from phy of mind, with the palpable fact that the informations of Scripture. I have adevery new course of instruction upon this verted, it is true, to the knowledge of our subject, has some new articles, or some moral history, which obtains throughout new explanations to peculiarize it: and all other provinces of the intelligent creation. this is to be attributed, not to the progress I have asserted the universal importance of the science, not to a growing, but to an which this may confer on the transactions alternating movement; not to its perpetual even of one planet, in as much as it may additions, but to its perpetual vibrations. spread an honourable display of the God
I mean not to assert the futility of moral head among all the mansions of infinity. I science, or to deny her importance, or to have attempted to expatiate on the arguinsist on the utter hopelessness of her ad-ment, that an event little in itself, may be vancement. The Baconian method will not so pregnant with character, as to furnish all probably push forward her discoveries with the worshippers of heaven with a theme such a rapidity, or to such an extent, as of praise for eternity. I have stated that many of her sanguine disciples have anti- nothing is of magnitude in their eyes, but cipated. But if the spirit and the maxims that which serves to endear to them the of this philosophy were at all times pro- Father of their spirits, or to shed a lustre ceeded upon, it would certainly check that over the glory of his incomprehensible atrashness and variety of excogitation, in tributes--and that thus, from the redempvirtue of which it may almost be said, that tion even of our solitary species, there may every new course presents us with a new go forth such an exhibition of the Deity. system, and that every new teacher has as shall bear the triumphs of his name to some singularity or other to characterize the very outskirts of the universe. him. She may be able to make out an exact I have further adverted to another distranscript of the phenomena of mind, and tinct scriptural intimation, that the state of in so doing, she yields a most important fallen man was not only matter of knowcontribution to the stock of human acquire- ledge to other orders of creation, but was ments. But when she attempts to grope also matter of deep regret and affectionate her darkling way through the counsels of sympathy; that, agreeably to such laws the Deity, and the futurities of his admin- of sympathy as are most familiar even istration; when, without one passing ac- to human observation, the very wretchedknowledgment to the embassy which pro- ness of our condition was fitted to concenfesses to have come from Him, or to the trate upon us the feelings, and the attentions, facts and to the testimonies by which it has and the services, of the celestial--to singló so illustriously been vindicated, she launches us out for a time to the gaze of their most forth her own speculations on the character earnest and unccasing contemplation-10 of God, and the destiny of man ; when, draw forth all that was kind and all that though this be a subject on which neither was tender within them--and just in prothe recollections of history, nor the ephe- portion to the need and to the helplessness meral experience of any single life, can fur- of us miserable exiles from the family of nish one observation to enlighten her, she God, to multiply upon us the regards, and will nevertheless utter her own plausibili- call out in our behalf the fond and eager ties, not merely with a contemptuous ne- exertions of those who had never wandered glect of the Bible, but in direct opposition away from Him. This appears from the 10 it: then it is high time to remind her of Bible to be the style of that benevolence the difference between the reverie of him which glows and which circulates around who has not seen God, and the well-accre- the throne of heaven. It is the very benevoantes declaration of Him who was in the llence which emanates from the throne itself beginning with God, and was God; and to and the attentions of which have for só tell her that this so far from being the ar- | many thousand years signalized the inhagument of an ignoble fanaticism, is in har- bitants of our world. This may look a long mony with the very argument upon which period for so paltry a world. But how have me science of experiment has been reared. I infidels come to their conception that our and by which it has been at length deliver- world is so paltry? By looking abroad la from the influence of theory, and purified over the countless systems of immensity of all its vain and visionary splendours. But why then have they missed the con
In my last Discourses, I have attempted ception, that the time of those peculiar visito collect from the records of God's actual tations, which they look upon as so disprocommunication to the world, such traces portionate to the magnitude of this earth,
relationship between other orders of be- is just as evanescent as the earth itself is ing and the great family of mankind, as insignificant? Why look they not abroad herve to prove that Christianity is not sol on the countless generations of eternity;
i veracity. But with al
times keep by her af-
its claims, we should
ho are conversant with
how great and how
and thus come back to the conclusion, that the Eternal, and to arrest the hand, and to after all, the redemption of our species is defeat the purposes of Omniptence ;-—then but an ephemeral doing in the history of let the material prize of victory be insigintelligent nature; that it leaves the Author nificant as it may, it is the yictory in itself, of it room for all the accomplishments of a which upholds the impulse of this keen wise and equal administration ; and not to and stimulated rivalry. If, by the sagacity mention, that even during the progress of of one infernal mind, a single planet has it, it withdraws not a single thought or a been seduced from its allegiance, and been single energy of his from other fields of brought under the ascendency of him, who creation; that there remains time enough is called in Scripture, “the god of this to him for carrying round the visitations of world," and if the errand on which our as striking and as peculiar a tenderness, over Redeemer came, was to destroy the works the whole extent of his great and universal of the devil-then let this planet have all monarchy?
(the littleness which astronomy has assigned It might serve still further to incorporate to it-call it what it is, one of the smaller the concerns of our planet with the general islets which float on the ocean of vacancy; history of moral and intelligent beings, to it has become the theatre of such a compestate, not merely the knowledge which lition, as may have all the desires and all they take of us, and not merely the com- the energies of a divided universe embarked passionate anxiety which they feel for us; upon it. It involves in it other objects than but to state the importance derived to our the single recovery of our species. It decides world from its being the actual theatre of a higher questions. It stands linked with the keen and ambitious contest among the up-supremacy of God, and will at length demonper orders of creation. You know that strate the way in which he inflicts chastisehow, for the possession of a very small and ment and overthrow upon all his enemies. insulated territory, the mightiest empires I know not if our rebellious world be the of the world would have put forth all their only strong-hold which Satan is possessed resources; and on some field of mustering of, or if it be but the single post of an excompetition have monarchs met, and em-tended warfare, that is now going on bebarked sor victory, all the pride of a coun-tween the powers of light and of darkness. try's talent, and all the flower and strength But be it the one or ihe other, the parties of a country's population. The solitary are in array, and the spirit of the contest is island, around which so many fleets are ho- in full energy, and the honour of mighty vering, and on the shores of which so many combatants is at stake; and let us therefore armed men are descending, as to an arena cease to wonder that our humble residence of hostility, may well wonder at its own has been made the theatre of so busy an unlooked for estimation. But other princi-operation, or that the ambition of loftier naples are animating the battle, and the glory tures has here put forth all its desire and of nations is at stake; and a much higher all its strenuousness. result is in the contemplation of each party, This unfolds to us another of those high than the gain of so humble an acquirement and extensive bearings, which the moral as the primary object of the war; and ho-history of our globe may have ori the nour, dearer to many a bosom than exist system of God's universal administration. ence, is now the interest on which so much Were an enemy to touch the shore of this blood and so much treasure is expended ; high-minded country, and to occupy so and the stirring spirit of emulation has now much as one of the humblest villages, and got hold of the combatants; and thus, amid there to seduce the natives from their loyall the insignificancy, which attaches to the alty, and to sit down along with them in material origin of the contest, do both the entrenched defiance to all the threats, and eagerness and the extent of it, receive from to all the preparations of an insulted emthe constitution of our nature, their most pire-oh! how would the cry of wounded full and adequate explanation.
pride resound throughout all the ranks and Now, if this be also the principle of high-varieties of our mighty population; and er natures, if, on the one hand God be jea- this very movement of indignancy would lous of his honour, and on the other, there reach the king upon his throne; and circube proud and exalted spirits, who scowl de- late among those who stood in all the granfiance at him and at his monarchy ;-if, on deur of chieftainship around him; and be the side of heaven, there be an angelic lost heard to thrill in the eloquence of Parliarallying around the standard of loyalty, ment; and spread so resistless an appeal to who fee with alacrity at the bidding of the a nation's honour, or a nation's patriotism, Almighty, who are devoted to his glory, that the trumpet of war would summon to and feel a rejoicing interest in the evolution its call all the spirit and all the willing enof his counsels; and if, on the side of hell, ergies of our kingdom; and rather than sit there be a sullen front of resistance, a hate down in patient endurance under the burnand malice inextinguishable, an unequalled ing disgrace of such a violation, would the daring of revenge to baffle the wisdom of / whole of its strength and resources be em
is now going on be light and of darkness I the other, the parties
spirit of the contest is the honour of mighty ce; and let us therefore
our humble residence theatre of so busy an
ambition of loftier na forth all its desire and
barked upon the contest; and never, never ment of earth, there are certain principles would we let down our exertions and our which cannot be compromised; and certain sacrifices, till either our deluded country- maxims of administration which must men were reclaimed, or till the whole of never be departed from; and a certain chathis offence were by one righteous act of racter of majesty and of truth, on which vengeance, swept away altogether from the the taint even of the slightest violation can face of the territory it deformed. . never be permitted ; and a certain authority
The Bible is always most full and most which must be upheld by the immutability explanatory on those points of revelation in of all its sanctions, and the unerring fulfilwhich men are personally interested. But ment of all its wise and righteous proclait does al times offer a dim transparency, mations. All this was in the mind of the through which may be caught a partial archangel, and a gleam of malignant joy view of such designs and of such enter-shot athwart him as he conceived his proprises as are now afloat among the upper ject for hemming our unfortunate species orders of intelligence. It tells us of a within the bound of an irrecoverable dimighty struggle that is now.going on for a lemma; and as surely as sin ånd holiness moral ascendency over the hearts of this could not enter into fellowship, so surely world's population. It tells us that our | did he think, that if man were seduced to race were seduced from their allegiance to disobedience, would the truth, and the jusGod, by the plotting sagacity of one who tice, and the immutability of God, lay their stands pre-eminent against him, among the insurmountable barriers on the path of his hosts of a very wide and extended rebellion. future acceptance It tells us of the Captain of Salvation, who It was only in that plan of recovery of undertook to spoil him of this triumph, and which Jesus Christ was the author and the throughout the whole of that magnificent finisher, that the great adversary of our train of prophecy which points to him, does species met with a wisdom which overit describe the work he had to do as a con- matched him. It is true, that he reared, in flict, in which strength was to be put forth, the guilt to which he seduced us, a mighty and painful suffering to be endured, and obstacle in the way of this lofty undertaking. fury to be poured upon enemies, and prin- But when the grand expedient was ancipalities to be dethroned, and all those nounced, and the blood of that atanement, toils, and dangers, and difficulties to be by which sinners are brought nigh, was borne, which strewed the path of perse- willingly offered to be shed for us, and the verance that was to carry him to vietory. eternal Son, to carry this mystery into ac
But it is a contest of skill, as well as of complishment, assumed our nature-then strength and of influence. There is the was the prince of that mighty rebellion, in earnest competition of angelic faculties em- which the fate and the history of our world barked on this struggle for ascendency. I are so deeply implicated, in visible alarm And while in the Bible there is recorded, for the safety of all his acquisitions :-nor (faintly and partially, we admit,) the deep can the record of this wondrous history and insidious policy that is practised on carry forward its narrative, without furthe one side; we are also told, that on the nishing some transient glimpses of a subplan of our world's restoration, there are lime and a superior warfare, in which, for lavished all the riches of an unsearchable the prize of a spiritual dominion over our Wisdom upon the other. It would appear, species, we may dimly perceive the conthat for the accomplishment of his purpose, test of loftiest talent, and all the designs me great enemy of God and of man plied of heaven in behalf of man, met at every his every calculation; and brought all the point of their evolution, by the counterdevices of his deep and settled malignity to workings of a rival strength and a rival sabear upon our species; and thought that gacity. could he involve us in sin, every attribute We there read of a struggle which the of the Divinity stood staked to the banish- Captain of our salvation had to sustain, ment of our race from beyond the limits of when the lustre of the Godhead lay obscuThe empire of righteousness; and thus did red, and the strength of its omnipotence ne practise his invasions on the moral ter- was mysteriously weighed down under the mtory of the unfallen; and glorying in his infirmities of our nature-how Satan singled success, did he fancy and feel that he had him out, and dared him to the combat of achieved a permanent separation between the wilderness-how all his wiles and all the God who sitteth in heaven, and one at his influences were resisted-how he left least of the planetary mansions which he our Saviour in all the triumphs of unsubhad reared.
I dued loyalty-how the progress of this The errand of the Saviour was to restore mighty achievement is marked by the every Was sinful world, and have its people re-character of a conflict--how many of the admitted within the circle of heaven's pure Gospel miracles were so many direct in. and righteous family. But in the govern-fringements on the power and empire of ment of heaven, as well as in the govern-la great spiritual rebellion-how in one
i another of those high
humblest villages and
of indignancy would
around him; and he
ind all the willing -
precious season of gladness among the few ing us to explain, why on the salvation of which brightened the dark career of our our solitary species so much attention apSaviour's humiliation, he rejoiced in spirit, pears to have been concentred, and so much and gave as the cause of it to his disciples, energy appears to have been expended. that " he saw Satan fall like lightning from But it would appear from the records of heaven"-how the momentary advantages inspiration, that the contest is not yet ended; that were gotten over him, are ascribed that on the one hand the Spirit of God is to the agency of this infernal being, who employed in making for the truths of entered the heart of Judas, and tempted the Christianity, a way into the human heart, disciple to betray his Master and his Friend. with all the power of an effectual demonI know that I am treading on the confines stration ; that on the other there is a spirit of mystery. I cannot tell what the battle now abroad, which worketh in the children that he fought. I cannot compute the ter- of disobedience; that on the one hand, the ror or the strength of his enemies. I can- Holy Ghost is calling men out of darkness not say, for I have not been told, how it into the marvellous light of the Gospel; was that they stood in marshalled and and that on the other hand, he who is styled hideous array against him :-nor can I the god of this world, is blinding their measure how great the firm daring of his hearts, lest the light of the glorious gospel soul, when he tasted that cup in all its bit of Christ should enter into them; that they terness, which he prayed might pass away who are under the dominion of the one, from him; when with the feeling that he are said to have overcome, because greater was forsaken by his God, he trod the wine- is he that is in them than he that is in the press alone; when he entered single-handed world; and that they who are under the upon that dreary period of agony, and in- dominion of the other, are said to be the sult, and death, in which from the garden children of the devil, and to be under his to the cross, he had to bear the burden of snare, and to be taken captive by him at a world's atonement. I cannot speak in his will. How these respective powers do my own language, but I can say in the lan-operate, is one question. The fact of their guage of the Bible, of the days and the nights operation, is another. We abstain from the of this great enterprise, that it was the sea- former., We attach ourselves to the latter, son of the travail of his soul; that it was and gather from it, that the prince of darkthe hour and the power of darkness; tlatness still walketh abroad among us; that the work of redemption was a work accom- he is still working his insidious policy, if panied by the effort, and the violence, and not with the vigorous inspiration of hope, the fury of a combat; by all the arduous at least with the frantic energies of despair; ness of a battle in its progress, and all the that while the overtures of reconciliation glories of a victory in its termination; and are made to circulate through the world, after he called out that it was finished, after he is plying all his devices to deafen and he was loosed from the prison-house of the to extinguish the impression of them; or, grave, after he had ascended up on high, in other words, while a process of invitation he is said to have made captivity captive: land of argument has emanated from heaand to have spoiled principalities and pow-ven, for reclaiming men to their loyalty-ers; and to have seen his pleasure upon the process is resisted at all its points, by his enemies; and to have made a show of one who is putting forth his every expethem openly..
dient, and wielding a mysterious ascendI will not affect a wisdom above that ency, to seduce and to enthral them. which is written, by fancying such details: To an infidel ear, all this carries the of this warfare as the Bible has not laid be- sound of something wild and visionary fore me. But surely it is no more than along with it; but though only known being wise up to that which is written, to through the medium of revelation, after it assert, that in achieving the redemption of is known, who can fail to recognize its harour world, a warfare had to be accomplish-| mony with the great lineaments of human ed; that upon this subject there was among experience? Who has not felt the workthe higher provinces of creation, the keenings of a rivalry within him, between the and the animated conflict of opposing in- power of conscience and the power of terests; that the result of it involved some- temptation ? Who does not remember thing grander and more affecting, than even those seasons of retirement, when the calthe fate of this world's population ; that it culations of eternity had gotten a momentdecided a question of rivalship between the ary command over the heart; and time, righteous and everlasting Monarch of uni- with all its interests and all its vexations, versal being, and the prince of a great and had dwindled into insignificancy before widely extended rebellion, of which I nei-them? And who does not remember, how ther know how vast is the magnitude, nor upon his actual engagement with the obhow important and diversified are the bear-jects of time, they resumed a control, as ings; and thus do we gather from this con- great and as omnipotent, as if all the imsideration, another distinct argument, help-1 portance of eternity adhered to them-how