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is the beart which does not feel? The picture of charity, in the thirteenth of the first of Corinthians, is familiar to a child. The maxims of the book of Pro verbs are in every mouth. Revelation, thus, does not reason as a philosopher, but commands as a lawgiver. We observed this in a former Lecture;11 but this is the place for applying the remark to the morals of the Bible. Revelation utters with sententious authority her brief determinations, as occasions require, in popular language, for the understanding of all; and leaves man to collect, as he can, her maxims into systems, or compare and illustrate them by the aid of sound reason and conscience. Human treatises on morals stop to define and prove every duty, to contrast it with its proximate defect and excess, and to reduce the whole to an elaborate system. Revelation takes for granted that man knows what temperance, chastity, fortitude, benevolence mean, or may learn them from other sources, and contents herself with binding them on the conscience. The consequence is, that a child at school in a Christian country knows more of the standard of morals, and the details of social virtue, than the most learned of the ancient sages.
Allied with the preceding observation is the remark, that the gospel works its moral system by setting every thing forth by STRONG AND AFFECTING EXAMPLES. This, like almost every thing else in this fruitful subject, is peculiar to Christianity. All its precepts are illustrated and embodied in the historical parts of the Bible. All the separate virtues, duties, graces, acts of abstinence and self-denial, effects of the Christian spirit, and of its principles carried out into habit and character, are set forth in the lives of Christ and his apostles.
All the infirmities and errors and vices to be shunned, are exposed in the fearful punishments of guilty nations, in the destruction of the cities of the plain,
11 Lecture XIV.
in the deluge, in the captivity of Babylon, in the lives of wicked princes—Pharaoh, Saul, Ahab, Jehu, Nebuchadnezzar. With this view, also, the sins and falls of the true servants of God are held forth for our caution, with a fidelity unknown except in the inspired Scriptures—the drunkenness of Noah, the incest of Lot, the falsehoods uttered by Abraham and Jacob, the irritated expressions of Moses, the sin, the gross and awful sin, of David,"2 the rashness of Josiah. And in the New Testament, the infidelity of Peter, and the dispute between Paul and Barnabas, to say nothing of the accounts of the ignorance and dulness of our Lord's disciples, and of the corruption of some of the converts in the first churches ;—these examples deter from vice by exposing it in its darkest colours, and by marking the severe judgments of God which followed his most holy and sincere servants in conse
quence of it.13
I do not dwell on the examples which hold forth the duties of parents and children, of masters and servants, of husbands and wives; nor on those which
12 A lesson this of the greatest moment to princes, as showing the connexion of the grossest transgression of the seventh commandment, with the concerted and aggravated breach of the sixth.
13 The attempts made by infidel writers to misrepresent the purport of some of these narratives are too absurd to be noticed. The tendency of the scriptural exposure of vice is to excite abhorrence ; to which the plainness and brevity of its descriptions, and even the directness of the terms which it employs, greatly conduce.
It may be observed here, how pure and manly is the delineation of the Christian's love to his Redeemer and to his fellow-creatures, as detailed in the Scriptures. There is nothing of effeminacy, nothing that can be misinterpreted; all is elevated and holy. In like manner, the accounts, the necessary accounts, of vice and crime, are most pure; and calcu. lated, like the inquiries of a physician, to promote the recovery of man.
A few expressions have acquired an import, from the mere lapse of time since our English translation was made, not originally designed, and are instantly corrected by every reader.
exhibit the minister, the missionary, the teacher of youth. Nor do I dwell on the examples which display the faults and excellencies of nations, of bodies politic, of legislators, of magistrates, of churches and spiritual societies. It is sufficient for me to have shown the plan, in this respect, on which the Christian morals work—by strong and affecting examples.
I add only, that it proceeds by referring men to the ALL-SEEING EYE OP God, and the constant aid of the Holy Spirit. Christian morality is built on the faith of the invisible God who seeth in secret, and on the habitual persuasion of the agency of the Blessed Spirit, which is granted to all them that ask for it.
But this leads us to consider
III. The inseparable CONNEXION OF THE MORALS OF CHRISTIANITY WITH EVERY OTHER REVELATION, AND ESPECIALLY WITH ITS PECULIAR DOCTRINES.
For, notwithstanding this extent and purity of the Christian theory of morals, and those subordinate means by which it works, the question yet remainsWhat is to set the machine actually in motion ? What are to constitute the prevailing motives of duty ? Every rule is a constraint, and every constraint is unpleasant. We must, therefore, have motives—powerful, because we have to conquer powerful passionsuniversal, because morals are designed for all menpermanent, because virtue is necessary for all times and all places."
Here, then, the peculiar truths of the gospel, as well as those other parts of Revelation with which the
precepts are inseparably connected, appear in all their influence. It is on the deep and ample basis of the Christian doctrine that the whole superstructure of Christian morals is grounded.
THE FACTS on which these doctrines rest, PREPARE FOR THE OPERATION OF MOTIVEs most powerful, universal, and permanent.
The facts of the fall and corruption of man; of the mercy
of God in the gift of his own Son; of the birth, sufferings, and death of Jesus Christ; of the descent and operations of the Holy Ghost; of the promulgation of the Christian religion and its offers to mankind —these great facts fill the mind of the penitent with such a sense of the awful justice of God, of the inconceivable evil of sin, of the unspeakable love and mercy of the Alınighty to a guilty world, as prepare for the formation of the Christian character; as make sin the object of abhorrence, and holiness of choice and pursuit. The facts of Christianity, brought home to man's heart, and having their influence actually upon his conscience, that is, being truly believed, render morals practicable, natural, delightful. The machine is set at work. Exactly as the immoralities of the heathens were connected with their vile superstitions, were a part of them, were permitted by the laws of every heathen people, and incorporated with the usages of their temples and their religion ; so the pure and lovely morality of the gospel is connected with the FACTS of Christianity, forms a part of the religion, and is incorporated with all its worship and observances.
rther, the doctrines of Revelation are EXPRESSLY DESIGNED and admirably adapted to produce Christian obedience. He that receives Christianity aright, not only believes the facts on which it rests, but embraces the peculiar doctrines which explain those facts, in order that he may become the servant of God. He receives the doctrine of man's guilt and condemnation, and thereby learns to mourn over and forsake every
sin n; he receives the glad tidings of joy in the salvation of Christ, and then loves and obeys this new master in every future act of his life; he
THE CHRISTIAN MORALS.
CALIFORNI LECT. Xvi.] receives the doctrine of justification by faith, and be proves that faith by its proper effects ; he receives the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, and he implores his promised grace, to renew his heart and to dispose him to love and practise the law of God; he receives the doctrine of the sacraments and other means of grace, and by them he obtains strength for persevering obedience. And why should I say a word of the immediate connexion of the doctrines of the holy character of God and of the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment, with that obedience which cannot, even by supposition, be disjoined in the Christian's mind and conscience from them? Thus there is no truth conveyed in the doctrines, without a correspondent obligation enforced in the precepts. Holiness is the end in view of the whole Revelation, modified by the particular dispensation of the Son and Spirit of God. All meritorious confidence is, indeed, renounced; but "the dutiful necessity" 15 of good works is greatly in creased by every truth relating to our salvation.
For it is further to be noted, that the peculiar doctrines of Revelation go to form exactly THAT SORT OF CHARACTER, AND NO OTHER, WHICH THE MORALS REQUIRE ; and that the precepts delineate and require that sort of character, and no other, which the doctrines go to form—that peculiar Christian spirit, I mean, which we have already shown to be the end in view in the performance of each particular duty. The Christian spirit is humble and lowly; founded on renunciation of self-righteousness and self-confidence; warmed with active benevolence and sympathy for the spiritual and temporal wants of man; accompanied with meekness, patience, and forgiveness of injuries. And it is obvious that the peculiar doctrines of the gospel go to form this sort of character, and no other. For the facts on which they