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to shine forth at the close and the consummation of all things. Now, most of these things you know, or profess to know. They are recognised by you as true propositions, and not to have them among the articles of your creed, would be deemed by you as monstrous and revolting infidelity. Most of you would shudder at the thought of an atheism, which could deny the existence of God, or of a blasphemy that could disown his government, or of a heresy that could profane his character by stripping it of its truth, and justice, and holiness. So dear, in fact, are your long-established notions of the Divinity, that you could not bear them to be medled with; and would hold that man to be the enemy of your repose, who should offer to violate them. So that, there do exist in your mind certain positions which regard a Deity, the affirmative of which carries your consent, and the denial of which would painfully be offensive to you—and thus far may you be said to know God, and to believe in him. . Now, as a proof how distinct this knowledge of God is from the consideration of him, I will venture to say, that even the first and simplest of all these propositions is, by many, unthought of for days and weeks together. The truth, that God is, which all here present would shudder to deny, is out of habitual regard, and habitual remembrance. It lies like a forgotten thing in some deep and latent depository; and as to its being brought forth of its hiding-place, for o use and meditation, this we never meet with, but among a saintly and selected few, who are indeed a very peculiar people. When God is acknowledged, we cannot lift the charge of theoretical atheism; but when, along with this, God is unminded, surely then may we lift the charge of practical atheism. Now this is the very charge that we prefer against the vast majority of our world. They have a knowledge of God; but this, so far from extenuating their thoughtlessness, brings upon it its most fearful aggravation. It is just because they stand preeminent among the creatures of our world, in the faculty of understanding God, that they also stand pre-eminent in the crime of their ungodliness. It is for this, that they suffer in the comparison with “the ox that knoweth his owner, and the ass that knoweth his master's crib;” and what they have learned of God, or are capable of learning, will bring upon their heedlessness of him, and of his ways, its severest condemnation. It is, indeed, one of the most fearful mysteries of the human spirit, that a truth which, of all others, most intimately concerns us, should yet, of all others, be the most gladly bidden away into oblivion— that, as rid of an unwelcome visitor, the mind of man is never more at ease, or in its

kindred and rejoicing element, than when God is not in all his thoughts—that then it is, when, as broken loose from imprisonment, the heart revels in its own desires, and securely blesses its deliverance from the hateful presence of one who constrained and overawed it—that the creature should thus hide itself, as it were, from the Creator, and in virtue of his perpetual recoil from the Being who formed, and who upholds him, should so keep up a perpetual distance from God-–that wholly given over to the idolatry of the things that are made, the Maker should, to him, be little better than a nonentity, or a name; this is the marvel of the strange and wayward nature that belongs to us, and may well lead us to apprehend the visitation upon it of some sore leprosy, the shock of some great and total derangement. For what truth of weightier import to us all than simply that there is a God—that all the busy and unceasing movements around us are suspended on the will of a living Sovereign—that those mighty forces which constantly uphold the play and the mechanism of things, are not the random energies of Nature that is unconscious; but that one sitteth above, and wieldeth them all at his pleasure—that a powerful and a presiding intelligence hath originated all, and overrules all—and that while our only converse and concern are with the near and the visible, that are on every side of us, there is an unseen Spirit, to whom belongeth the mastery, and with whom alone it is that we have mainly and substantially to do? Now, how is it that man practically responds to this real condition of his being? Tell me, from the intimate assurances of #. own conscience, or tell me, from the road and palpable character that sits upon the doings of your acquaintances, whether God hath the ascendency over them. Is there, all the day long, a felt solemnity on your spirits, because of God, which follows you whithersoever you go, and causes you to walk with him in the world? Or, are you familiarized with the habit of submitting your will to his will? Or, have you ever, for an hour together, looked upon yourselves in the light of being the servants of another, and have accordingly run and laboured as at the bidding of that other? Or, utter strangers to this, do you not walk in the counsel of your own heart? Do you not move as independently, as if in yourself it was that you lived, and moved, and had your being? In the work that you prosecute, and the comforts that you enjoy, and even the obligations of which you acquit yourselves to relatives, and to friends, is there any fear of God before your eyes? —and is not the fear of disgrace from men, a far more powerful check upon your licentiousness, than the fear of damnation from him who is the judge and the discerner of men? The mind is ever crowded with thoughts, and wishes, and purposes, that É. in busy succession, through its chamof imagery, and minister the food of its unremitting contemplations. Tell me how much of God and godliness there is in them all. Turn the inward survey upon yourselves, and report to us how much of this heavenly fruit groweth and flourisheth there. O you have but spied the nakedness of the land—God is unto you a wilderness, and you: heart is to him a spiritual desolation This emptiness of a man's heart as to the recognition of God, runs throughout the whole of his history. He is engrossed with what is visible and secondary, and he thinks no farther. The sense of a present and presiding Deity, is habitually absent from his soul; and just because he will not stir himself up to consideration, that he may lay hold of God, is he bounded, as if by an impassable limit, to earth and to earthliness. It needs a force of thought and of reflection, to bear him across this barrier, which, whether from indolence, or carnality, or a misgiving conscience, he does not choose to put into operation; and thus, does he live without God in the world. When he enjoys, it is without gratitude. When he labours, it is without the impulse of an obedient loyalty. When he admires, it is without carrying the sentiment upwardly unto heaven, whence all that is lovely on the face of our world, was strewn for its embellishment, and the delight of its beholders. And thus, may a traveller on his tour of recreation, through some goodly land, be carried forward from scene to scene, till the whole landscape of an empire shall have passed behind him like a shifting panorama—and, as he eyes the beauteous succession of verdant fields, and massy foliage, and the many pictures of comfort or elegance in human habitations, and the rapid variety wherewith, in the speed and the turning of his movements, he is, at one time, closed upon by the limits of a sweet and sequestered valley, and, at another, breaks out in full and open perspective, on the glories of half a province; why, may all the ecstacy he feels be lavished on the spectacles before him, without one thought of that master hand, which spread out the whole of this magnificence, and poured the tide of lustre over it. No piety may mingle with this contemplation; and not for the want of knowledge, but the want of thought, may there be as little of God in the eye of this raptured enthusiast, as in the brute unconscious gaze of the creature that hath no understanding. Now, this is God's controversy with man in the text. He there complains of our heedlessness. He o himself slighted, 3

that we so seldom think of him, and that he should be thus neglected and set at nought by his own offspring. And this inconsideration of ours, is matter of blame, just because it is a matter of wilfulness. Man has a voluntary control over his thoughts. He can turn and transfer them from one object of mental contemplation to another. He may think of God when he chooses. He may recal his scattered imaginations, and summon all that is within him to an act of attendance upon God. He may bid his mind cease from its rambles, and its reveries, and lift itself up to the abode of the Eternal. He may lay an arrest on the processes of the inner man, and say to it, with authority, that now is the moment for an aspiration, or a solemn feeling towards God. He may repeat and multiply this effort into a habit of seriousness. It may mix itself in with his ordinary business. It may accompany him on his walk even through the streets of the crowde city. It may season the hours of his social fellowship; and what, at first, is difficult, and irregular, and rare, may thus, by dint of perseverance, settle down into an habitual tendency. He may, at length, be familiarized to the thought of God, as his master and his owner; and, at length, putting on the attitude of a daily and hourly obedience, as the eye of a servant looketh towards his master, so may his eye be ever towards God. This is not the attitude of nature, but it may be tried and practised, and, at length, effectually learned. But you will never reach it, unless you begin; you will never succeed in it, unless you persevere. And, therefore, my plain advice to you is, that you now set to it in good earnest. Lay a mandate upon your thinking faculty, and send it heavenward to God. There is many a useless moment that may thus be turned to account—many an idle waste in our existence, that may thus be reclaimed to sacredness. This is true spiritual education —the practice of godliness, instead of the theory—the way of going about it—and by which the soul may, at length, be disciplined to the habit of setting God always before it. It is the absence of this habit which constitutes the ungodliness of man. There cannot be a fouler provocation, than that man should be satisfied to do without God; and this is the provocation inflicted by all who have other cares and other pleasures, which take up the whole of their hearts, and have no room there for God or for godliness. Each of you can best tell whether you fall under this description of habit and of character. Is it not the truth now, that God is scarcely in all your thoughts?—that you feel no encouragement in any of his promises, neither do you tremble under the fearfulness of his denunciations? that you are otherwise employed than in the prosecution of your interest with him 7 and are busied with plans, and objects, and anticipations of your own, wherewith his will, and his glory, have nothing to do? This is your guilt. This, in the estimation of heaven's jurisprudence, is the very essence of sinfulness. Quite consistent, we do admit, with much to soften and much most honourably to signalize you; but involving you in the direct charge, that none of you understandeth, and none of you seeketh after God. IV. But the distinction between those who only know, and those who also consider, is never more strongly marked than in the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel. And fearful is the hazard, lest knowledge, and it alone, should satisfy the possessor; lest he should settle down into a treacherous complacency, because he has made a right adjustment of the articles of his creed; lest he count it enough, that he has acquiesced, at all points, in the orthodoxy of the question; and so come forth with a flaming Christianity, that lies more in dogmatism than in devotion, more in a sturdy intolerance of error, than in a true and tender sincerity of heart. And the very controversies of the church have served to foster this delusion. The very quantity of debate and of argument that has been expended on theology, leads to a most hurtful misconceiving of this matter. You know, that the design of argument is to carry you onward to a set of just and accurate convictions. This, in fact, is the landing place to which it brings you, and at which it leaves you; and the danger is, that having brought you there, you go no further—and this place of arrival becomes your place of rest, and stationary residence. It is the pride, and ambition, and the zeal of every intellectual combatant, to carry the understanding of his reader; and having done this, he is apt to sit down and be satisfied with the triumphs of his gotten victory; and the scholar himself, seized with the very same infection, may sit down, too, as if he had attained an ultimate good, in which he may rejoice, and where he may now securely and fearlessl repose. And yet, the whole amount of his acquisition may be a mere notional Christianity—a list of doctrines that are settled and set by—that are as much within the grasp of his knowledge as many other articles of human speculation and science—but are just as little reiterated upon as they by a habit of frequent and feeling consideration. And hence a familiar exhibition to all who live in this our scholastic land, where a people, fresh from their catechisms, are primed and charged with orthodoxy, and all whose articles stand before you in wellmarshalled and metaphysical array—who have a religion in their heads, but that has

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therean almost exclusive occupancy—whom many a stout defender of the faith would rejoice in as his own, but in whom the Author and the Finisher of faith, finds little of that love or that obedience which to him are the alone tests of discipleship—a people whom none can challenge for ignorance, but whose still unmortified tempers, and still unabated worldliness, may prove, that though they do know, yet they do not consider. It were well, if such people could be extricated from the strongholds of their yet impregnable Antinomianism. . It were well to alarm their conscience with the saying, that no knowledge and no belief will give them justification, which does not give sanctification also. All their doctrinal acquirements are precisely of as little avail as is the knowledge of death, if they think not of dying—or, as their knowledge of a God, if they give no earnest heed to him. It is well that they know; but the blessing is turned into a condemnation and a curse, is, while they know, they do not consider. There are no topics on which there has been so much of controversy, or that has given rise to so many an elaborate dissertation, as the person and offices of Christ. And, doubtless, the scholarship has been well employed, that rescued from the entanglements of sophistry, the precious truth of the divinity of our Saviour. And well may England rejoice in those lettered ecclesiastics, who have put down, as far as argument could do it, the infidelity that decried the truth of his high and heavenly apostleship. And worthier far than all the revenue of all her colleges, is the return of criticism and of demonstration that they have made in behalf of his great sacrifice, and of his unchangeable and ever during priesthood. Yet, let it not be disguised, that the knowledge of all these credentials is one thing, and the serious, the practical consideration of them, is another—that many a commentator has mastered the dif. ficulties of the question, who has not been solemnized by the thought of its urgent and affecting realities—that stalled orthodoxy, with her clear understanding, but untouched heart, has often launched upon heresy her mighty fulminations, and manfully asserted the truth which she never felt—that the peasant may catch direct from his Bible, what the dignitary has gathered by wading through the erudition of distant centuries; and this veriest babe in literature may outstrip the literary giant, because he not only knows the truth, but wisely and duteously considers it. Let us, in like manner, look unto Jesus with the eye of a plain bhristian, instead of looking at him with the eye of a profound critic, or commentator. For this

purpose, let us lay hold of things that are

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palpably and unambiguously told of him, and see whether, without learning of him that which we do not know, much might not be made by considering of him that which we do know—and whether, out of such materials of thought as are within reach of all, there might not a far more solemn impression come upon the heart, and a far more powerful influence upon the character, than are to be witnessed even among the most zealous and declared professors of our day. First, then, he is the Apostle of our profession, or we profess him to be our Apostle. Let us consider him as such. Let us bethink ourselves of all which this title implies. It means one who is sent. The twelve were called apostles, because sent to preach the Gospel unto every creature. And, in like manner, he too is an Apostle, because sent by his Father into the world. He came to us from a place of deep and unknown mystery—he traversed that domain which separates the land of spirits from the peopled and familiar land in which we dwell—he burst upon our senses from a region where all is invisible—and far more wonderful than if he had been a visitor from another planet than our own, did he light upon our world from the dwellingplace of him who is the uncreated source of all worlds, from the very abode and sanctuary of the Eternal. How it ought to move us with awe at the approach of such a messenger, when we think of the glory and the sacredness of his former habitation! —of those ineffable communions that he had with the Father before the world was —and deep insight into all those mysteries of God, that are to us unsearchable ! How it ought to fasten upon it the gaze of every mortal eye, that on the shore of our world there has been an arrival from the dark and the shrouded infinity which lies beyond it —that, at length, out of realms which are afar, a traveller hath come; and that, though veiled from everlasting in the obscurity of a remote and lofty nature, he hath now stood revealed to the observation of human senses, and poured forth an utterance that can be taken up by human ears! And what ought to fasten upon him a still more intense regard, he comes with a message to our world—he comes straight from the Divinity himself, and charged by him with a special communication—God had broken silence, and this great Apostle of our profession was the bearer of that voice which speaketh from heaven unto the children of men. It was a thing of mighty import, indeed, that there should have been an actual errand to us from the pavilion of the Almighty's residence—that one familiarly acquainted there should have come to tabernacle here, and to enter upon converse and companionship with men—that

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he did announce himself, and on satisfying credentials, to have been sent amongst us from the upper paradise, with tidings that he had to deliver, and on a work that had been given him to do. And it ought, at least, to make no difference, that now he has returned to the place from whence he came. For he left behind him the records of his wondrous embassy—and the authentic and the authoritative voice of heaven still speaketh to us there—and with our hands upon the Bible, we are in contact with the very materials of a communication from the Deity. In the breast of the Godhead, there was a motion and a desire towards our species, and here is the expression of it—the very transcript of that message which our Apostle brought, and which our Apostle left amongst us—the word that actually came from the secret place of the Eternal, and is fraught with those revealed things, which now belong to us and to our children. I declare not a novelty in your hearing. It is not a matter of which you are ignorant, and which you need to know. But it is a matter of which you are wofully heedless, and which you need to consider We do not need to teach you what is new. But we need to st you by the sense of what is old and *forgotten. We charge your neglect of the Scriptures of our faith upon your neglect of that great Apostle, who is the Author and the Finisher of our faith. By your daily indifference to the word that is written, you inherit all the guilt, and will come under the very reckoning of those, who, in the days of the Saviour, treated with neglect and indifference, the word that was spoken. Our challenge against you is, that the Bible is to you a thing of insipidity—that it is not desired by you as the aliment of your souls—that though unread for days together, you miss no necessary food, you feel no vacancy, you are visited with no hunger, you can do v well without this nourishment of the spiritual life, and so give reason to fear, that within you there is no spiritual principle to sustain. And looking unto that of which this written o: is the memorial, do we charge upon all who slight the perusal of it, that they trample into insignificance a formal embassy from heaven—that they treat with contumely the messenger who came ther ceforth unto our world—that God by him has spoken, and they have disregarded—that the daily spectacle of the Bible before their eyes, is a daily solicitation on the part of Christ to be heard, and by their continued heedlessness to which, they, all their lives, set his character, as an Apostle, utterly to scorn. The way to repair this treatment, is forthwith to give your diligence unto the book —and to press upon your moral sense, as you open it, that now you are about to en

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ter into converse with God—and thus to fix and solemnize your attention, while you read those words of which Christ may be called the Apostle or the messenger. The act of reading the Bible, is the act of holding conference with the Deity—and while this is what all know, this is what few consider. There is one topic which stands connected with the apostleship of Christ, and that stamps a most peculiar interest on the visit which he made to us from on high. He is God manifest in the flesh. In the character of a man, hath he pictured forth to us the attributes of the Divinity. He is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person—yet, in virtue of the humanity wherewith he is invested, hath he offered, even to the eye of sense, a palpable representation of the Godhead. “He who hath seen me, hath seen the Father,”—and we, by fastening our attentive regards upon his person and history, may gather the very aspect and lineaments of the King invisible. That Being, who had been so long wrapt in profoundest secrecy from our world—that Being, whom none could apprehend, for no eye of mortal could carry him through that dark and untrodden interval, by which the two regions of sense and of spirit stand apart from each other—the Being, who ever since the entrance of sin, had laid his jealous interdict on the approaches of our species, and withdrawn himself by a remote and lofty separation away from us—he, at length, broke out from this vail of deepest mystery, and in the person of him who is at once his representative and his Apostle, does he now stand before us in visible manifestation. And we, by considering this Apostle, learn of God. By looking unto him, we look unto the likeness of our Creator, and we become acquainted with him. In the purity, and the gentleness, and the simple majesty of Christ, do we read the characteristics of the Deity. And 0 how it concerns us to know, from this narrative of unwearied well-doing, that there is so much of benevolence in heaven—that the Sovereign who sits in high authority there, is as good as he is great—that there is a meekness to soften the majesty of his nature, and a compassionate longing after those men whom the hand of justice was listed up to destroy—that even in the holy of holies, there dwells a tenderness for our degraded species—and could the securities of heaven's throne only be upholden, that there were a good-will and a mercy on high, ready to burst forth upon our world and to circulate at large over all its families. . But this leads us to another topic of consideration, the priesthood of Christ. The atonement that he made for sin has a fore


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most place in orthodoxy. It is reiterated in all our catechisms. It forms the burden and the argument of many a ponderous dissertation. And to the popular mind, too, is it fully as familiar as to the accomplished scholar in theology. Insomuch, that scarcely an individual can be met with, even in the humblest walks of society, who does not know, and who could not tell, that Christ died for the world. But as we have often said, there is a knowledge without consideration. A truth may be acquired, and then, cast as it were into some hidden corner of the mind, may it lie forgotten, as in a dormitory. And thus it fares with many a precious doctrine of the Bible. We learn it most readily from the question-book. We give the vote to it of our most prompt and zealous affirmative. We enlist it among the articles of our creed— and espousing it as our own belief, do we become partisans, or even advocates in its favour. And yet all this may consist with an entire practical heedlessness—with a deep torpor and unconcern about that truth which may have come to us most abundantly in word, though not at all in power. The soul may be habitually inadvertent to that as a principle, which is most zealously professed, and even contended for as an opinion. And accordingly, we are told by the apostle, of this very doctrine, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, how possible it is for men to receive it, yet not to remember it—that they may have once committed it to their understanding, as an article of faith, without having charged it upon their memory as an article of hourly and habitual recurrence—that it may have been consented to by the mind, without being dwelt upon by the mind—in which case, says Paul, you have believed in vain; and just because you keep not in memory, or, rather, consider not, and call not up to memory, that which I have preached unto you. And, therefore, would I again bid you consider him who is the High Priest of your profession. I call upon you ever and anon to think of this sacrifice—and to ward off the legality of nature from your spirits, by a constant habit of recurrence, upon your part, to the atonement that he hath made, and to the everlasting righteousness that he hath brought in. Without this, the mind is ever lapsing anon into alienation and distrust—and the habitual jealousy of guilt, when not met, at all times, by a sense of that blood which washes it away, will throw us back again to our wonted distance from God—and instead of breathing the free air of confidence in him, or rejoicing in the sunshine of his reconciled countenance, there will be a flaw of suspicion in all our intercourse, and instead of loving him as a friend, we shall still stand in

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