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brute which we call instinct, and which, without experience in the animal, unerringly directs it to what is beneficial, and which, with equal certainty, teaches it to avoid those things that are hurtful. Man acquires this knowledge chiefly by instruction—he would perish in the attempt to acquire it by experience. Therefore, even as far as man's animal welfare is considered, it appears that revelation, or some aid equivalent thereunto, was necessary to him on coming from the hands of his Creator. But how important soever revelation may seem to have been to man, regarding him merely as one of the animal creation, it is, in its applicability to his circumstances and wants as an intellectual being, that its peculiar advantages are perceived. In fact, if revelation be a fable, man was not only, originally, in a worse condition than the rest of the animal creation, but he is, during all times of his existence, less amply provided for than they. For the world, replete as it is with every thing adapted to the full enjoyment of the sensual nature, is deficient in what does more particularly, indeed exclusively, apply, to the desires and wants of the intellectual. The creatures, which possess only the properties of the animal life, do, in an especial manner, belong to the world; they are, as it were, a kind of animated clods of the valley. They have no views beyond the present time, no desires beyond the satisfying of the grosser appetites, no hopes stretching out into the future. Man, in comparison with them, seems to be a creature of another sphere. He demands satisfactions of a higher order, and of a *F 3948 OF

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more durable kind, than any which the world has to offer him. Even the things which are best adapted to his nature, and are most worthy of his contemplation and desire, disappoint his expectation. His inquiries, respecting subjects the most interesting to an intellectual being, lead to no certain knowledge. On every side appear fluctuation, and transitoriness, and dissolution; and he seeks permanency, and life, and immortality. By no aid, which nature affords him, can he penetrate the darkness and mystery which envelope his condition; and, seeing that his superior powers do not even exempt him from the fate of the brute, but that he fleeth as a shadow and continueth not,' he is tempted to believe that man was made in vain.

But if these remarks apply to the most fortunate earthly condition, unblessed with revelation; and if vanity and insufficiency are the accompaniments of 'man's best estate;' how much more vain and ineffectual do the things of the world, and the knowledge which the world affords, prove, in the various trials and distresses incident to human nature. How little amends can they make for the thefts of time! How little security can they afford against the attacks of disease! How little consolation in the hour of bereavement! How little hope in the prospect of dissolution! How mute they are to his most anxious inquiries, and niggard to his most urgent wants! Yea, they do seem but to deceive hope, and mock misfortune, and trifle with sorrow, and add to the wounded spirit!


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Nothing, but a series of divine communications, and of interferences with the established laws of nature, such as the scriptures speak of, could make amends for the disadvantages, and reconcile the disagreements, of man's condition. Nothing, but a revelation of the gracious purposes of the Di vine Being, such as, it is alleged, was given unto the fathers, by the prophets, and in later times, unto us, by his Son, could remedy the evils of the present life, and raise man to his proper level in the scale of being, and ennoble his nature with the hope and promise of the future, and complete his education as an intellectual creature. Let him be addressed by revelation, and then will he be furnished with a source of the most important knowledge, and with the most worthy objects of pursuit, and with an exhaustless spring of consolation. Then will his views be extended beyond the weary pilgrimage he is destined to accomplish upon the earth. Then will he be sure that his present existence is only the introduction into life, the childhood of his being, the commencement of a course of usefulness, of glory, and of honour!


Revelation is, moreover, unspeakably important to man as a means of making him acquainted with the true character of God, of furnishing him with the strongest motives to the performance of duty, and with every encouragement to aspire after the highest degrees of excellence of which hu man nature is susceptible. It is certain, indeed, that nature teacheth us many truths respecting the character and ways of the Divine Being; but the superiority of revelation will be, in many


respects, perceived, when we consider, that, although we trace the effects of God's power, and witness the tokens of his presence, and behold the proofs of his goodness, throughout the works of nature, yet, He himself is invisible: He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it.' He hath decreed, that the affairs of the world shall be administered by laws which present a severe and inflexible constancy. The powers, which are his ministers in the natural world, turn not aside at the voice of any prayer, nor change at any bidding; but onwards they hasten to execute the Divine purposes. Though they proceed forth from God, they speak not of him in articulate sounds: neither do they proclaim what he hath decreed for us in the future dispensations of his government. Revelation, on the contrary, speaks to us of our Maker and Benefactor in language which cannot be misunderstood; it cheers us by the most delightful representations of the divine character: it reminds us of obligations we should otherwise overlook; of duties we should otherwise neglect; and of laws, we should otherwise transgress: it guards us, on the one hand, from idolatry, man's besetting sin, and on the other, from denying the existence of the Eternal God: it unfolds the Divine will and intentions with regard to us; and encourages us to a stedfast continuance in well-doing, by representations of the consequent approbation and favour of God, in the future stages of an interminable and happy life. Nature declares the Lord God to be good, and merciful, and gracious,

by symbols and by signs, often of doubtful import; but revelation confirms the glad tidings by posi tive declarations; and adds, moreover, the joyful assurance, that, to the penitent offender, he will forgive iniquity, transgression, and sin.' By the former, men know only that they have a Creator; by the latter, they are assured that he is their Father in Heaven.' And thus does the Divine Being connect man with himself by the most endearing ties, supply his most urgent intellectual wants, and afford him the most powerful motives to the pursuit of whatsoever may seem best calculated to render him a worthy steward in God's household, and acceptable in the sight of his Almighty Benefactor and Judge.

These are a few of the important uses to which revelation is subservient, Indeed, in whatever light it may be viewed, it will seem peculiarly adapted to the circumstances and wants of man. This does, as it seems to me, afford a strong ground of argument in favour of revelation, even before any direct evidences of its truth be examined. It is not, however, upon these grounds alone that revelation rests its claim to our regard. It is not upon such grounds that both the Jewish and Christian communities assert, that a revelation has been given to man. The Jew points to his ancient scriptures as the repository of the word of God. We Christians, also, acknowledge their divine authority, and believe, moreover, that, 'God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath, in these last days, spoken unto us by his Son.'


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