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front, and speed tree of life leaves a
that herein are contained the means of recovery, from the consequences of the besetting sins of humanity-of salvation to all people, at all times and in all conditions? Yea, divine truth sits upon its front, and speaks in its benevolent maxims. It is an unprohibited tree of life, whose fruit may be freely plucked, and whose "leaves are for the healing of the nations;' he that partakes thereof shall be no longer in darkness, for his eyes will be opened to the perception of good and evil, and his understanding enlightened with wisdom from above. .. Praise God, therefore, in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness: who, of his great mercy, and
for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ: who by grace hath saved ús; and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus ; that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards, us through Christ Jesus.'
The mystery and intolerance of established creeds, together with mens' indifference to spiritual things, form a principal cause of opposition to the religion of Jesus.-Applicability of the Christian precepts and doctrines to the wants and ciréumstances of mau.—Testimony a most important means of knowledge.The means by which we learn the existence of facts wbich do not come under our own observation.
Testimony of the Christian witnesses.Rnles of judgment respecting, the truth of what they relate.-1. They relate what was possible 2. They relate what was probable.-3. They were pot deceived. 4. Neither were they deceivers.-5. They agree upon the chief points. —6. They agree in several remarkable points with contemporary and independent historiads.-7. Christian scriptures referred to by a regufar saccessiou of writers, from the days of the Apostles to the present time.-8. Persons hostile to the Christian faith did, nevertheless, confirm the testimony of the Christian witnesses.-Refleetiaus on the foregoing evidence, and on the objeotions of the unbeliever.
Did we not know what mysterious doctrines and impossible systems have been exhibited to the world as genuine Christianity, and what inconsistent, intolerant, and cruel conduct has been disa played by professing Christians; and did we not
and Christianity:ated thereld be 10
know, also, that the pursuits, the cares, and the enjoyments of the present fleeting life, are, in a great many instances, apt to disincline men from inquiring whether the popular religion be the religion of the gospel, or, whether it be after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ,'-whether the inconsistency and intolerance of professors be the natural fruits of Christianity, or whether they proceed from cor. ruptions associated therewith, we might, indeed, wonder that there should be men found earnestly endeavouring to destroy the credit of the gospel ; and to banish from the world, as an injurious prejudice or an idle tale, those 'glad tidings of great joy,' which constitute the charter of man's best, privileges, the source of his chief consolations, the support of his dearest hopes, But since, in the prevailing systems of religion, mystery has dimmed the light of revelation, and intolerance is taught in established creeds; since worldliness is too commonly the chief characteristic of mens' pursuits, and indifference to spiritual things, the leading feature of their minds, it is not surprising that there should be found diligent opposers of Christ and of his gospel. For unhappily it is true, that wit, and misrepresentation, and abuse, have, been severally employed to ridicule and traduce Christianity, as if it were the bitterest foe to the liberties, prosperity, and happiness of man. , :
Turn we to the sacred record: 'God sent ņot: his son to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. Did the effects produced by the ministry of Christ agree herewith?. Dhidi his precepts, his works, his example, éörmesi pond with this déctarafron, or were they contrary Merdunto ?319]t is not enough that the unbeliever stioula pretend to make out his case by a reference tö réputea orthodox interpretations of the Christian Peligion, while he leaves genuine Christianity uns touched! it is not enough that he should quote, as he almost invariably does, the mysterious, una intelligible, and unreasonable doctrines, which are so Commönty held up and defended as parts and parcels of the religion of the Lord Jesus: it is not'énough that he should cite missals, and prayerbööks," and intolerant creeds, as specimens of Christianity', nor that he should attempt to vindicate his scepticism, by the exposure of the inconsistency of doctrines unknown to the teachings of Christ'; but let him come to the law and to the testimony; let him stüdy Christianity in its authenticated records; Jet him consider well the general tenour of the declarations, cautions, exhortations, and promises of Jesus and his Apostles; let him impartially inquire if they be not calculated to make man less a sensual and cruel, and mbre an intellectual, humane, and benevolent créature, before he attempts to prove the injurious tendency of Christianity, to banish it froin the minds of his brethren, or' to set at nought the assertion of ils divine founder, God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.'' 16.1", ]} ..?
Let any one contemplate the state of the world, both in speculation and in practice, before the coming of Christ, and then turn to the exhortation
with which he commences his ministry, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven--the reign of truth and righteousness is at hand. Is there any thing injurious to mens' interests in this ? On the contrary, was not repentance essential to the recovering of men from the evil effects of the degrading superstitions and practices, to which they had abandoned themselvesgreedily? Is it not, indeed, a precept suited to frail.man at all times and in all circumstances? Is there a human being who can, justly, say, I have no need of such a friendly admonition; the precept does not apply to me? Truly, if we say we have no sin, we deceive our. selves. If then it does: apply, if there is need of such a precept-divinity and truth sit upon the very front of the Christian system. tis ,
Is there nothing suited to the nature of man, nothing applicable to his uncertain and checquer. ed condition, in the beautiful summary of Christian doctrine in our Lord's sermon on the mount?, I take the first passage that occurs to me. Is there nothing applicable to man, heir as he is to sorrow, in the assurance and promise of our Saviour, • Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted ?'. I ask not the man, who, in his prosperity, vainly flatters himself that he is all-sufficient for his own happiness ; because such a one, even while he stands, as it were, upon the brink of a precipice, is not heedful of the dangers of his sitution. How often, both in words and actions, does he lightly treat such a sentiment. What, says he, haye I to do with sorrow; I, who have many friends, and much goods, and a zest for the