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rally springs from the mysterious and inexplicable nature of the subject, as surveyed by Reason. The Gospel discloses to us the great truth, that God can forgive sin ; and the grounds, on which, even we discern, it may with propriety be forgiven. It shows us, that such guilty beings as we are may be sanctified ; may become real penitents; and may resume that confidence in our Maker, without which our re-union to him would be impossible. All these things are entirely undiscoverable without Revelation. At the same time, the complication, vastness, and grandeur, of the scheme, place it evidently beyond the utmost efforts of human invention.
4thly. Christ has also taught us the Means, by which we may obtain immortal life.
Had we been informed, that there is such a state of existence beyond the grave; and that within the Universe there are means, by which, in some supposable progress of events, some happily directed series of efforts, we might become possessed of this glorious privilege; and yet those means were unrevealed and unknown; the Revelation which we possessed would be of no use, except to plunge us in anguish and despair. We might, nay, we should, pant, and pine, and agonize, to find the path which led to the Divine possession ; but we should agonize in vain. In this mighty article, important beyond all estimation, reaching every nerve of the soul, and, in such a case, harassing it with delirious suspense, Reason is lame, helpless, and useless. To her, the terms, on which God will bestow this invaluable boon, are hidden in a book sealed with seven seals; which, whether learned, or unlearned, she is equally unable to open or to read.
The only ground, on which Reason can conclude, or even hope, that God will admit any Intelligent creatures to the enjoyment of immortal life, is, that of pleasing him alway. Whatever the character of God may be in other respects, he cannot but choose to be pleased. It is impossible, that he should not love those who please him, and hate those who displease him : for this is no more than to say, that he is pleased with those who please him, and displeased with those who displease him. But those whom he loves he will certainly bless; and those whom he hates he will as certajuly punish.
If God is a holy Being, he must be pleased with holiness, and displeased with sin: in other words, he must be pleased with love and obedience rendered to him, and displeased with enmity and disobedience. Plain and awful as these dictates are, man has neither loved him nor obeyed. Hence, he is certainly displeased with man. In what manner then shall God become reconciled to man; or man obtain an interest in his favour? 6 Wherewith shall he come before the Lord, and bow himself before the most high God? Shall he come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old ? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or ten thousands of rivers of oil ?" Alas! his are the cattle on a thousand hills; and we should only ofier him that, which is already his own. “ To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me, saith Jeuovah: I am full of the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats.” Even reason itself, purblind as it is with respect to moral subjects, cannot fail to see that it is impossible for the blood of bulls, and of goats to take away sin. Shall he then give his first-born for his transgression ? the fruit of his body for the sin of his soul? How plainly would this be only a vain and melancholy attempt to expiate one sin by committing another. Unfortunately, for every purpose of this nature Reason clearly discerns, that God needs not us nor our offerings. To Him, who of the stones of the street can raise up children to Abraham, such creatures as we are can plainly be of no value.
Shall we then attempt by the obedience of to-day to atone for the sins of yesterday? Alas! all our services of to-day are due for the day; and we were bound to serve him yesterday, no less than to-day. But we serve and love him less, incomprehensibly less, to-day, and every day, than we ought; and go finally to the grave with all these sins and all these transgressions on our heads,
atonement, without any satisfaction, even for one. What, then, will Reason tell us that we can do, sufficient to obtain our reconciliation with God? To this momentous question, outrunning in its importance the comprehension of man, Reason can give no answer.
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The Dispensation, by which mankind become reconciled to God, is the most wonderful of all his works. Great beyond measure, surpassing all understanding, glorious beyond all praise, is the mystery of Godliness ; God manifested in the flesh; justified in the spirit ; seen of Angels ; preached unto the Gentiles; believed on in the world; received up into glory!
But even after the atonement of Christ was accomplished, Reason was equally at a loss, as before, concerning the manner in which mankind might become interested in that atonement, and attain the blessings to which it opened the access. Here Revelation was equally indispensable, as in the very first stage of this allinteresting inquiry. Revelation alone could teach us, that, in order to the attainment of immortal life, we were to become the seed, the children, of the Redeemer; that our union to him was to be accomplished by faith, a voluntary surrender of our souls into his hands, as a humble, cordial, and eternal offering ; that, when thus offered, he would accept us; that he would defend us from all enemies, give us the victory over death, raise us from the grave, and acquit us in the judgment; and that the Father would forgive our sins for his sake, accept us as his children and friends, and in this character would bestow on us the blessings of a glorious immortality.
The means, here pointed out for the attainment of this Divine inheritance, while they are thus wonderful, are all such, as become the perfect character of God; and are exactly suited to the circumstances of frail, sinning, perishing man. They are obvious; they are effectual. They are easy; they are delightful. Rich blessings in themselves, they are the high-way to all other blessings.
T in everything, interesting to man, is immortal life brought to light by Christ in the Gospel.
From these considerations we cannot fail to realize, in the 1st. place, The Excellence of the Redeemer.
What condescension, benignity, labours, and sufferings, bas Christ exhibited in the mighty work of obtaining for us immortal life. Lord of all things, to accomplish this work he became a
servant. Honourable above all beings, he submitted himself to the contempt and rejection of men. Happy beyond all beings, he became a man of sorrows, and acquainted with gref. Needing nothing for himself, he purchased, with his own blood, every thing for us. Hated, persecuted, and nailed to the cross, he remembered sinners with infinite compassion ; and died only, that they might live. For you, and me, and such as we are, were all these things done. When we were friendless and helpless, he became our almighty and everlasting Friend. Unchanged by our provocations, undiscouraged by our backslidings, with tenderness immutable and unlimited, he brought us out of endless sin and misery, and raised us to endless holiness, life, and joy. How, then, ought we to prize him above all things, and determined to know nothing in comparison with Jesus Christ, and him crucified; to consecrate ourselves to his service, and study what we shall render to him for his benefits! Who, with these considerations in view, can fail to exclaim, “ How beautiful on the mountajus are the feet of Him, who bringeth good tidings ; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth Salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.'"
2dly. From the same considerations we learn, that the Gospel is of inestimable value.
In this scheme of immortal life revealed in the Gospel, you have seen that the richest blessings are proffered and communicated to mankind. Here are riches endless, and enjoyments infinite. Here are all things which can make the soul wise and virtuous ; the body, vigorous, beautiful, and undecaying ; and the man, immortal, glorious, and happy, a friend, a child of God, an inhabitant of his house, and an heir of his Universe. These blessings, the same Gospel teaches us, not only exist, but may
be discloses the manner, in which they may be obtained; points out all the means of the attainment; and places those means in our power. They are means open to all men.
have the Gospel preached unto them.” No school of Philosophy needs be sought out, in order to find the path to heaven. The Sanctuary unfolds its doors to the child and the peasant, the beggar and the slave; and invites them to enter in, and be saved. The Bible opens its pages and its promises to every perishing sinner. so that
he who runs may read; and pointing, with its unerring index, to the path of life, proclaims, " This is the Way, walk ye therein."
3dly. These considerations show us what enemies Infidels are to themselves, and to their fellow-men.
Infidels, although born in a Christian land, and, (painful to remember.) often baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, voluntarily become heathen. They do not, indeed, worship Jupiter and Apollo; nor prostrate themselves before stocks and stones; for, usually, they worship no God, whether false or true. But they place themselves on the same foundation with the heathen, for acceptance with God. They reject the Bible; deny the Saviour; and renounce the immortal life of the Gospel. In every respect, therefore, they are heathen, except that they refuse light which the heathen never enjoyed; and cast away blessings of which the ancient heathen never heard. Their sins, therefore, are exceedingly aggravated beyond those of their predecessors. God would save them; but they will not be saved. Christ would redeem them from their sins ; but they refuse to be redeemed. Immortal life is ready to descend upon them; the gates of heaven are opened, that they may enter in, and become partakers of its glorious blessings; but they turn their backs upon the proffer, and reject it with disdain. What folly was ever so entire! What maniac was ever so much his own enemy!
Nothing, however, is farther from the Infidel's own thoughts. St. Paul exclaims, in the full confidence of his own inspiration, and triumphing in the infinite superiority of the Evangelical system to the wild dreams of Philosophy, “Where is the wise man? where is the Scribe? where is the disputer of this world ?" To these questions the Infidel, with a cool and settled front, answers, “Here am I, who assemble all these characters in my own person. I know that the Bible is not the word of God. I can devise a better scheme of Salvation, than that of Christ. I can form better precepts, than those of my Maker. I can disprove bis perfections. I can show, that he did not create, and that he does not govern, the Universe. Nay, I can prove that there is no God."
The amount of all these magnificent pretensions, and the real results, which have flowed from the reason of man, thus puffed up, and thus raunting itself, I have formerly exhibited, summarily, in