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going forth, as it often does, under covert of the clouds of night; or when, on some occasions, assuming a bolder attitude of defiance to the truth, we need narrowly to watch its movements, and to beware of those who, prompted by the pride of their heart, bid us join with them in despising the religion of the Bible. In viewing this book as the repository of the faith once delivered to the saints, “we have not followed a cunningly devised fable,” but are cherishing a devout regard to “a sure word of prophecy, to which we do well to take heed, as unto a light shining in a dark place."
PRESUMPTION OF MEN IN REFUSING TO BE. LIEVE WHAT THEY CANNOT COMPREHEND,
The doctrine of the union of the divine and human natures in the person of Emanuel, is beyond the grasp of human reason; but faith receives it, because it is clearly revealed; and for a man to ect a doctrine of revelation, merely because it is beyond the grasp of his reason, is folly and presumption in the extreme, for it is saying in effect, that nothing can be true which he cannot comprehend. Pitiful creature ! as though his grain of intellect were the standard of mental capacity to the universe, and nothing could be grasped by the Infinite Intelligence which is beyond the reach of his finite powers ! Such an one reminds us of the man who had lived all his days in his native valley, and was at length induced to climb one of the neighbouring hills, when, looking abroad on the extended landscape, he exclaimed, “Well, I did not think the world had been so large before !” And when we ascend to the summits of the everlasting hills, and view the scenery around in the strong light of eternity, we shall perceive the truth is far more extensive, and the intellectual universe more vast than our utmost efforts of imagination had ever pictured them to be.
MINISTRY OF ANGELS.
ALTHOUGH angelic ministry is no longer openly continued, we are nevertheless taught to believe that it exists, and that many of the blessings that fall upon our daily path, are shed from hands which have been lifted amidst the choirs of heaven in holy adoration to the God of all principalities and powers. As Christians ye are come to this “ innumerable company of angels ;" ye are united to them by a bond which binds together every member of the happy family of God: you are blended with them into one vast and harmonious society. The discordance necessarily subsisting between these pure spirits and the sinful inhabitants of a fallen world is destroyed. Clothed in the merits, and washed in the blood of the Redeemer, you no longer present to them that impurity with which their holy nature could hold no alliance. They perceive, in the redeemed of the Lord, hearts blotted indeed by much imperfection, but yet impelled by the same principles, hopes, tastes, and affections as their own.
Your song is at least the faint echo of theirs. Your Father is in every sense of the word their Father; your God is their God. Touched by these considerations, although once
they watched at the gate of the earthly paradise, to prevent our entrance, now they bend from the golden walls of the heavenly city, to invite you to a participation in joys, of which they alone, of all created beings, know the fullness, the intenseness, and the perpetuity.
MAN ORIGINALLY INNOCENT.
Perfect holiness, Adam doubtless possessed immediately after he was created, and while he continued in the garden of innocence. He knew most intimately the divine law ; what he admired he chose, and evinced his choice by the most spotless and ardent obedience. No wrong bias, no corrupt principle disturbed for a moment the harmony of his mind. His affections and passions all pure and spiritual, were ceaseless ministers to the Lord. LOVE stood before his altar, and offering her grateful incense, kept up the hallowed flame. FEAR, with angel-reverence, bowed down before the sanctuary, where, as yet, no interposing veil had hid the presence of divinity. Hope listed up her hands and eyes tu heaven, and showed by the intenseness of her countenance, where and what she expected to be. Joy told her raptures in glad hosannas of praise, and sought on earth to join in those songs which seraphs sing in the celestial mansions. Whilst MEMORY unfolded the records of eternal love, and with ecstasy reviewed the glorious past. And CONSCIENCE, yet unsullied, stood by, witnessed the sacred service, and gave her approbation as the voice of God.-Such was man in the day when God created him. Knowledge and holi.
ness—the image of God,-all that is great, and all that is excellent, conspired to adorn and sublimate his soul.
DEPRAVITY OF HUMAN NATURE.
If it is good reasoning to conclude, that a tree which, under all circumstances, and every variety of management, does nevertheless invariably continue to bring forth bad fruit, is itself essentially corrupt and bad, surely it is no less consistent with reason to infer, judging from the general quality of his actions, that “man is of his own nature inclined to evil”--that he is indeed “the degenerate plant of a strange vine ;"—moreover, that it requires nothing less than the entire renovation of his nature, to enable him to bring forth fruit pleasing and acceptable to God. If, then, this representation of the real condition of man is true--and that it is true in its principal features, the voice of revelation, and the evidence of facts, incontrovertibly testify—it can answer no beneficial purpose, to quarrel and object against it: rather, is it not our wisdom, frankly and without debate, to admit, in all its force, and to the fullest extent, the humiliating account, in order that we may be thereby led cordially to embrace that wonderful scheme of redemption which is freely proposed to our acceptance, submitting ourselves wholly to that all-sufficient Sa. viour, “ who waiteth to be gracious.” " What better can we do
-than prostrate fall
MALIGNITY OF SIN.
WERE any one to ask me, what is the worthiest object of our most ardent pursuit, and what we should give the greatest possible diligence to obtain, I should answer, holiness, because it comprehends all that is great and good-its end is everlasting life. Were any one again to ask me, what should be our utmost dread, and what we should give the utmost diligence to avoid, I should answer, sin, because it comprehends all that is base and wretched, and necessarily excludes us from everlasting life. To the same degree that holiness is beneficial and lovely, sin is pernicious and detestable. It is of essential malignity and ill desert, and will, sooner or later, be seen by all to be the greatest evil with which our nature can be afflicted. Other evils, such as disease and poverty, losses and calumny, affect only what is external and foreign to us, but they need not disturb our minds, nor can they do the least injury to what is truly ourselves; but sin pierces, and ounds, and ravages ourselves. It hurts, not so much the body, the reputation, or fortune, as the man; it plants anguish, desolation, and ruin, in the soul itself. Other evils may, in the end, prove useful to us, but this is eternally and unchangeably evil; the bane of every heart into which it enters, and the destruction of all those who are not rescued from its power, and delivered from its punishment.