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selves hardly in possession of probability. How is it, that we do not distrust the judgments of minds so subject to illusion, and which have been so often deceived From these different reflections ariseth a mixture of light and darkness, a contrast of certainty and doubt, infidelity and faith, scepticism and assurance, which makes one of the most dreadful states in which an intelligent soul can be. If men are not a constant prey to the gloomy thoughts that accompany this state, it is because sensual objects fill the whole capacity of their souls, but there are certain moments of reflection and self-examination, in which reason will adopt these distressing thoughts, and oblige us to suffer all their exquisite pain. A man who has arrived at the knowledge of the truth, a man who hath made all the sacrifices necessary to arrive at it, is superior to these doubts: not only because truth hath certain characters which distinguish it from falshood, certain rays of light which strike the eye, and which it is impossible to mistake; but also because it is not possible that God should leave those men in capital errors, whom he hath enabled to make such grand sacrifices to truth. If he do not discover to them at first all that may seem fundamental in religion, he will communicate to them all that is fundamental in effect. He will bear with them, if they embrace some circumstantial errors, into which they fall only through a frail. ty inseparable from human nature. 4. Finally, consider the value of truth in regard to the calm which it produceth on a death-bed. Truth will render you intrepid at the sight of death. Cato of Utica, it is said, resolved to die, and not being able to survive the liberty of Rome, and the glory of Pompey, desired, above all things, to convince himself of the truth of a future state. Although he had meditated on this important subject throughout the whole course of his life, yet he thought it was necessary to re-examine it at the approach of death. For this purpose, he withdrew from society, he sought a solitary retreat, he read Plato's book on the immortality of the soul, studied the proofs with attention, and convinced of this grand truth, in tranquillity he died. Methinks I hear him answering, persuaded of his immortality, all the reasonings that urge him to continue in life. If Cato had obtained only uncertain conjectures on the immortality of the soul, he would have died with regret; If Cato had known no other world, he would have discovered his weakness in quitting this. But Plato gave Cato satisfaction. Cato was persuaded of another life. The sword with which he destroyed his natural life, could not touch his immortal soul. The soul of Cato saw another Rome, another republic, in which tyranny should be no more on the throne, in which Pompey would be defeated, and Caesar would triumph no more. How pleasing is the sight of a heathen, persuading himself of the immortality of the soul by the barelight of reason | And how painful is the remembrance of his staining his reflections with suicide But I find in the firmness which resulted from his meditations, a motive to obey the precept of the wise man in the text. While the soul floats in uncertainty, while it hovers between light and darkness, persuasion and doubt; while it hath only presumptions and probabilities in favor of religion; it will be impossible to view death without terror: but an enlightened, established christian finds in his religion a sure refuge against all his fears. If a pagan Cato defied death, what cannot a christian Cato do? If a disciple of Plato could pierce through the clouds, which hid futurity from him,
what cannot a disciple of Jesus Christ do 2 If a few proofs, the dictates of unassisted reason, calmed the agitations of Cato, what cannot all the luminous proofs, all the glorious demonstrations do, which ascertain the evidence of another life? God grant we may know the truth by our own experiences ! To him be honor and glory for ever. Amen.
THIE ENEMIES AND THE ARMS OF CHRISTIANITY. Preached on Easter-Day.
EPH. vi. 11, 12, 13.
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
T is a very remarkable circumstance of the life of Jesus Christ, my brethren, that, while he was performing the most public act of his devotedness to the will of God and while God was giving the most glorious proofs of his approbation of him, Satan attacked him with his most violent assaults. Jesus Christ, having spent thirty years in meditation and retirement, preparatory to the important ministry, for which he came into the world, had just entered on the functions of it. He had consecrated himself to God by baptism; the holy Spirit had descended on him in a visible form ; a heavenly voice had proclaimed in the air, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, Matt. iii. 17. and he was going to meditate forty days and nights on the engagements, on which he had entered, and which he intended to fulfil. These circumstances, so proper in all appearance, to prevent the approach of Satan, are precisely those, of which he availed himself to thwart the design of sal
vation, by endeavoring to produce rebellious sentiments in the Saviour's mind. My brethren, the conduct of this wicked spirit to the author and finisher of our faith, Heb. xii. 2. is a pattern of his conduct to all them, who fight under his banners. Never doth this enemy of our salvation more furiously attack us, than when we seem to be most sure of victory. You, my brethren, will experience his assaults as well as Jesus Christ did. Would to God, we could assure ourselves, that it would be glorious to you, as it was to the divine Redeemer! Providence unites to day the two festivals of Easter, and the Lord's supper. In keeping the first, we have celebrated the anniversary of an event, without which our preaching is vain, your faith is vain, and ye are yet in your sins, I Cor. xv. 14. 17. I mean, the resurrection of the Saviour of the world. In celebrating the second, you have renewed your professions of fidelity to that Jesus who was declared, with so much glory, to be the Son of God, by the resurrection of the dead, Rom. i. 4. It is precisely in these circumstances, that Satan renews his efforts to obscure the evidences of your faith, and to weaken your fidelity to Christ. In these circumstances also, we double our efforts to enable you to defeat his assaults, in which, alas ! many of us choose rather to yield than to conquer. The strengthening of you is our design; my dear brethren, assist us in it. And thou, O great God, who callest us to fight with formidable enemies, leave us not to our own weakness : teach our hands to war, and our.fingers to fight, Psal. cxlvi. 1. Cause us always to trumph in Christ, 2 Cor. ii. 14. Make us more than conquerors through him that loved us, Rom. viii. 37. Our enemies are thine, arise, O God,