« السابقةمتابعة »
already, because he has not believed on the only begotten Son of God.” As we value, therefore, the privilege of our baptism into the kingdom of God upon earth, and our hopes of admission into the kingdom of God in heaven,-our satisfaction here and our safety hereafter, let us cast away the uncomfortable bonds of unbelief, and become, not only almost, but altogether Christians. For Christianity is a religion which speaketh peace on earth, and good-will towards men.-It is a religion which, if universally practised, would raise the world into a paradise, and which, whether true or false, can, at any rate, never make us miserable hereafter. The Deist may go to the place of torment, and if the Gospel be the rule of judgment, he will; but, if Deism speak the will of God, the sincere and holy Christian cannot but be saved. Christianity, therefore, is better than Deism, because it is safer.
But God forbid that I should close the merits of Christianity by a reference to the cold and cheerless topic of its mere safety alone. It comes not only with a shield against fear, but with a positive blessing upon its disciples, which no other religion can boast or promise. There are its superior motives, its more established certainty, its more glorious recompense. The Deist can only hope that his reasoning upon the mercy of God is correct,
that his sins will be pardoned, and himself rewarded eternally according to his works. But what merit have his works to raise that reward into any powerful motive for the resistance of temptation, the quenching of lust, or the hard duty of self-denial in innocent things ? Unprofitable to God-is the highest inscription that can be written upon the most splendid and excellent of the works of man, and the reward which can be reasonably expected to descend upon unprofitableness in the world to come will be too meagre to animate our failing virtue, or give hope to the Deist in the day of perplexity and distress. But the Christian is strengthened, stablished, comforted, by views of a far loftier and more glorious character. Instead of trust and hope, he feels an assurance of forgiveness with God, and a reward according to his works; but then not a reward according to those works when measured in the scale of their own utility and greatness, but when perfected and sanctified by the meritoriousness of Christ. He looks, and he doth not look in vain, for something which shall far transcend the mere recompence of his profitableness in his generation. Eye hath not seen” (how often do we find fit occasion of reference to these words of the Apostle!), ear hath not heard, into the heart of man it hath not entered to conceive, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him"-an exceeding weight of glory which fadeth not away. Compare with this joyful certainty of unspeakable honour and immortality, the cold calculations of the Deist's creed, and what shall we then say to the stability of his holiness? That it is unsound--that it is shadowy --that it rests upon no solid basis, and may yield to the violence of a thousand storms over which the believer in Jesus would ride in his triumph gloriously. The virtue of the Deist may be overpowered by sudden temptation, drowned in forgetfulness and prosperity, weakened by doubt, or dissipated by despair. And is there nothing then, we may ask, in the world and its wickedness, which can endanger the Christian in his even course? We say not so; but we hold that there is to the Christian no temptation which should be irresistible, no danger which he has not a grace from within, and a motive from without, to withstand ; a grace from within in the support and consolations of the Holy Ghost, and a motive from without, in the amazing greatness of the glory, and the honour, and the blessing, and the immortality, which are laid up in store for all who adore their Redeemer, and bring the tribute of their obedience to his Kingly commands. Those refreshings of the Spirit any Christian man may have, if he will pray for them, and those motives he may look to, if he like to indulge the sacred
thought; and of this we are verily persuaded, that if he will consider the end of his calling, and seek for that aid which is from above, neither persecution, nor famine, nor the sword ; neither joy nor sorrow; neither riches nor poverty; neither honour nor shame; neither life nor death, nor any other trial shall be able to separate him from his love and obedience to the Lord. Blessed Christian, heir of glory! Thou hast sought it and it shall be thine. Wretched unbeliever, child of darkness! Thou hast loved it and it shall happen unto thee, and under darkness shalt thou be reserved in everlasting chains unto the judgment of the great and awful day.
Rev. XIX. 10.
“ The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
Of the purity of the life and doctrines of our Lord we have spoken as designating the divine origin of his miraculous powers; of those miraculous powers themselves we have pointed out the peculiar utility and force, and to the predictions of the Old Testament, as they were fulfilled in the life and character of Jesus, we have paid a particular and minute attention. But the spirit of prophecy which rested upon Jesus himself, those clear and absolute predictions of future events which are recorded in the pages of the New Testament, have not yet found a place in our scheme. They form, however, so conspicuous a feature in the contemplation of the contents of the Gospel, and are so useful, as well as prominent, in their application to the evidences of