« السابقةمتابعة »
and sink down into the habitation of devils and the damned. When their voice of anguish from the deep pit of their destruction, shall strike upon our ears, what is the impression it will produce upon our hearts? A feeling of sorrowfulness without doubt, to think of talents wasted, virtue lost, and the beautiful brightness of early hope broken and blasted by the chilly touch, the heartless reasonings of anrighteous unbelief. Yet 'if our duty towards these fallen ones has been done, it will be a feeling of sorrowfulness without fear, -chastened and subdued into pious regret, by the cheering consciousness that we are guiltless of their blood. But if their words be fraught with the language of excuse, and we hear them pleading for a mitigation of woe, because, though they rejected their Redeemer in their age, yet in their youth they were neither rewarded nor encouraged in the search after truth ; then will the voice which cometh up from the prison of their misery, come loaded with a curse upon ourselves, and call us down from the blessedness we thought we had inherited, to be mingled in the flames of their wretchedness and remorse.
But, perhaps, I am passing the bounds which become my station and my age; and I forbear. Be it yours, my Fathers, to judge and to correct what is amiss. To me, or to any minister of God, it can only belong, to exhort with all meekness, yet with all earnestness, them that bear rule in our University, to give a more direct and special fulfilment to the Apostle's injunction, by some additional regulations with regard to the public studies and examinations of those, whose instruction, both in worldly and spiritual things, is committed under God, to their charge. I would beseech you as elders, so to divide the attention and the time of those who are sent hither to be imbued with all the necessary erudition of a man and a Christian, that every one, upon quitting this fountain of knowledge, may carry away with him “ a reason of the faith and the hope that is in him.”
* I cannot permit a third edition of these Lectures to appear without adding, that the subject here touched upon has been considered, and that such a change has taken place in the public examinations of the University, that no one can now obtain a degree without some portion of classical erudition, and some acquaintance with the principles of his religion.
“ Then Jesus answering, said unto them, Go your way
and tell John what things ye have seen and heard, how that theblind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the Gospel is preached. . . . . And blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me.”
In opening our views upon the evidences of Christianity we professed an intention of examining, whether the answer of our Saviour to the Baptist contained a satisfactory solution of the question he had proposed, and whether the 'circumstances of Christians in the present day are so far similar, as to enable them to follow out the same course of reasoning for themselves, and to derive from it, when completed, à sufficient and solid demonstration that Jesus was the Christ. But we may seem, perhaps, to have forgotten the proposition with which we originally set out, in the impetuous pursuit of a peculiar system of our
own, and to have lost sight of the example and the authority of Jesus. It will be expedient, therefore, to compare the nature of the arguments we have advanced, and the order in which those arguments have been arranged, with the nature and order of those proofs to which our Saviour referred in defence of his claims, in order to see whether that particular train of evidences which we have ourselves pursued, be in fact the same of the same force and formed upon the same model as his.
The inquiry of the Baptist contained a tequest for some distinguishing mark of the Messiahship of Jesus, and the mark to which, in reply to his demand, John was taught to look for a solution of his doubts, was a combined and connected view of the miracles and doctrines of our Lord. “Go,” said our Saviour to the disciples of John, “and tell him what things ye have seen and heard.”. Tell him the works I do, and the words I speak. Tell him, first of all, “' what things ye have seen,” how wonderful, how mercifal, how varied are my works, “how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up.” To the character, the Evangelist informs us that our Saviour added also the number of his astonishing works; for he observes that, “ in that same hour,” when the men were come to him, “ Jesus cured
many of their infirmities, and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gàve sight.”
The second particular to which our Lord applied in recapitulating the evidences of his Christian mission, was the nature of his doctrine. "Go your way," says he in the second place, “and tell him what things ye have heard, how that to the poor the Gospel is preached ;" how that the simple in understanding are enlightened by the knowledge of that pure and gentle wisdom which is from above, those glad tidings of truth and salvation, which speak peace on earth, and good-will towards men. Say that my doctrines, like my. self, are holy and undefiled, and therefore worthy to be confirmed by the testimony of a perfect and Almighty God.
Thus far it is evident, that we have pursued both in the nature and arrangement of our proofs, the very method which our Lord himself condescended to use. Like him, we have first of all, referred to the mighty and benevolent character of his varied and numerous works, for a presumptive proof of the divine origin of his power; and then we have confirmed our conclusion by a subsequent consideration of the righteousness of his religion ;