« السابقةمتابعة »
Temption of those who can least help themselves; of the most despised soul from the meanest pollution ; and stripping it of its vile accompaniments, it purifies it more and more, and at last places it in the bright jewellery of the sainted heavens.
NOTHING ABOUT THE SOUL UNIMPORTANT.
THERE is, in the slightest motion of the meanest soul, something worthy of attention beyond all the aspects of the congregated stars, and more sublime a thousand fold; because, disregarded at present, it is part, causal or indicative, of an incalculable future magnitude,-a thing over which the great final judgment is to be held, --worthy of the approbation or formal denunciation of God and the consentaneous verdict of archangels, swelling in consequences of woe or joy through all eternity, when the planets, to which philosophers look more earnestly now, are extinguished or forgotten in their spheres. That over the being before us hangs an awful judgment, to himself and us uncertain whether of acquittal or condemnation, invests him with a sacred and solemn interest; and, as in the case of all criminals, denies him to a sneer. And who shall sneer? Not surely he who is going before the same tribunal for a participation in the same crimes ? Eternity laughs at the little distinctionsof earth; and long ere an eternity of woe could go by, the proudest intellects in its dark kingdom must find themselves but on a level with the meanest.
CHRISTIANITY FOUNDED ON FACTS.
Waen the Almighty was pleased to introduce, by the advent of the Messiah, a more perfect and permanent economy of religion, he founded it entirely on facts, attested by the most unexceptionable evidence, and the most splendid miracles. The apostles were witnesses, who, by the signs and wonders they wrought, made that appeal to the senses of men, which had been previously made to their own, and the doctrines which they taught in their writings, were little more than natural consequences resulting from the undoubted truth of their testimony. If they wish to inculcate the doctrine of a resurrection and future judgment, they deem it sufficient to appeal to the fact of Christ's resurrection, and session at the right hand of God. They present no evidence of a future state, except what ultimately terminates in the person of the Saviour, as the first begotten from the dead; and most anxiously warn us against resting our hope of salvation on any other basis than that of a sensible sacrifice, “ the offering of the body of Christ once for all.” Thus whatever is sublime and consolatory in the Christian religion, originates in facts and events which appealed to the senses, and passed in this visible theatre, though their ultimate result is commensurate with eternity. In order to rescue us from the idolatry of the creature, and the dominion of the senses, he who is intimately acquainted with our frame, makes use of sensible appearances, and causes his Son to become flesh, and to pitch his tent amongst us, that by faith in his crucified humanity, we may ascend, as by a mystic ladder, to the abode of the Eternal.
CHRISTIANITY THE BEST SYSTEM OF ETHICS.
Tue efficiency of the salvation which Christ accomplished, to deliver men from the guilt of sin, shall be seen in the result of the faithful preaching of the Gospel, when compared with any other scheme, that all the talent and all the application of men can invent. Philosophers may try to regenerate a nation, a neighbourhood, a family, or an individual ; and moralists may try to reform them. They will work in vain. Crime, robed in every possible character of deformity, and blood shed under every circumstance of horror, and accomplished villany buoyed up with every feeling of pride and self-righteousness, have been too plainly seen to be the legitimate results of that “philosophy falsely so called,” which forsakes the guidance of revelation. And as to the moralist, even though he take with him a certain portion of the Christian religion, and teach that as a divine system of morals, which ought to be taught as a system of divine grace; or as a system of reward on sincere obedience, and not as the system of justification by faith ; we have now, on every side, sufficient and melancholy proof, that notwithstanding his best efforts, the people may and will decline from every good way; that a general corruption of manners may and will prevail, against whose overwhelming tide the voice of moral suasion will be raised in vain, and the daily aggravating deluge will threaten with speedy desolation a once fair and promising land, and every safeguard which such a heartless and unauthorized system can rear round the altar and the throne. But the faithful servants of the living God, and of his Christ, go forth armed only with the pure and heavenly weapons of Gospel mercy, and the result shall vindicate the truth of God. Let the missionary hasten to the polluted savage of Taheite, or the worshippers of devils on the Bullom shore, or to the civilized, though blood-stained votary of Juggernaut, or the high-minded servant of the false prophet; and let him declare in Christ Jesus, " the righteousness of God, for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" and this word shall be effectual—the sinner shall receive it, shall believe, shall be reclaimed, and sanctified, and comforted.
CHRISTIANITY THE TRUE RELIGION. I SEE many contrary religions, all of which must be false but one. Each of them claims credit upon its own authority, and deals out its threatenings against all who disbelieve it. I do not therefore take them at their word. For they can all do alike in this respect, just as every man can call himself a prophet. But in Christianity I see the accomplishment of prophecies, and an infinite number of miracles, attested beyond all reasonable doubt, and these I find in no other religion.
PRACTICAL Christianity may be comprised in three words ; devotion, self-government, and benevolence. The love of God in the heart is a fountain from which these three streams of virtue will not fail to issue. The love of God also is a guard against error in conduct, because it is a guard against those evil influences which mislead the understanding in moral questions. In some measure, it supplies the place of every rule. He who has it truly within him, has little to learn.
Look steadfastly to the will of God, which he who loves God necessarily does; practise what you beiieve to be well-pleasing to him, leave off what you believe to be displeasing to him; cherish, confirm, strengthen the principle itself which sustains this course of external conduct, and you will not want many lessons, you need not listen to any other monitor.
The behaviour or practice of every man who is vitally united to the holy Jesus, is universally conformed to the law as a rule of duty. Such a holy practice is the grand business of his life; the business in which he is chiefly engaged, and which he pursues with more earnestness and diligence than he does any other. His understanding is divinely enlightened, to see the transcend ent beauty of holiness; his will is renewed to choose holiness, and his affections are sanctified to love, desire, and delight in it. He is also constrained by the love, commanded by the law, and enabled by the spirit of Christ, to be “ holy in all manner of conversation.” He therefore makes the constant practice of universal holiness his choice, his delight, and in an eminent degree his employment. Relying on the righteousness of Jesus Christ for all his title to eternal life, trusting in Christ for continual supplies of grace, and aiming in all his performances at the glory of