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conclusive: and perhaps no past event was ever so fully authenticated, as the resurrection of Christ, on which the whole fabrick of revelation in some respects depends. Yet to us the word of prophecy may be said to be still more sure: for a system of predictions of remote events, which no finite mind could possibly foresee, is interwoven with every part of the scriptures, and reaches from the first promise of the seed of the woman, to the close of the sacred canon. These have been exactly fulfilling through successive ages, in respect of the Jews and the surrounding nations; the coning of the Messiah, and every circumstance of that grand event; with the subsequent concerns of the church and of the world to this present day. This forms such a demonstration, that the Bible is indeed the word of God; that the more carefully it is examined with a serious and impartial mind, the fuller conviction it must produce. It is indeed a kind of unobtrusive permanent miracle, which escapes the notice of the careless, but gives entire satisfaction to the diligent enquirer: and to this, all who have doubts on the subject, will "do well "to take heed, as to a light shining in a dark "place," till their own experience of the blessed effects produced by the gospel, prove an inward witness, the dawn of eternal life in their souls.

We might adduce many other arguments in confirmation of this truth, from the nature and tendency of the sacred oracles; the character of those

in every age, who have most firmly believed them; the efficacy of the pure gospel on the minds and conduct of mankind, in rendering them wise, holy, peaceful, and happy; and the manifold blessed. consequences, which must follow, if all men did indeed repent of sin, believe in Christ, worship God spiritually, love him supremely, and love one another with a pure heart fervently. But these few hints are sufficient to shew that our religion is no vain or doubtful matter, but an authenticated revelation from God; and that men oppose it, because it testifies of them that their works are evil, and cannot be made consistent with the "lust of "the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of "life."

Neither is it a superfluous or unnecessary thing. Whatever plausible and soothing notions students in their retirement may entertain; facts undeniably prove, that reason, untutored by revelation, uniformly leads men into atheism, idolatry, impiety, superstition, or enormous wickedness. Renowned and elegant Greece and Rome sunk as deep into these absurd abominations, as the barbarians whom they despised. The philosophical Athenians were ignorant worshippers of an unknown God, amidst their highest improvements; nor have the most celebrated modern unbelievers been preserved from most gross absurdities, or lamentable ignorance. How perplexed and unsatisfactory are their discourses, when they attempt to shew, in what way

a sinner may be justified before God! Or when they would instruct mankind, in the method of conquering bad habits, resisting strong temptations, overcoming the world, or meeting death with humble, serious, and reflecting composure!

If then unaided reason, in its highest advancement, can give so little satisfactory information on these most important points; what must have been the state of the world at large, if revelation had not been vouchsafed? So far therefore from deeming it unnecessary, we ought to value it unspeakably more than gold and precious stones; and to relish it "as sweeter than honey and the honey"comb."

The message of God is no vain thing, because it is exactly adapted to the condition of mankind, and fully adequate to the case of the most enslaved sinner upon earth. If a man's crimes have been ever so numerous, complicated, and atrocious, during the whole course of a long life; if his propensities, habits, and connexions, expose him to the combined force of many formidable temptations; and if his difficulties and distresses be urgent in the extreme;—yet, by attending to the word of the gospel in humble faith, he shall surely be guided into the way of peace, find effectual assistance in the path of duty, be extricated from all perplexities, made victorious over all enemies, and finally be brought to the enjoyment of eternal felicity. Indeed whenever we mistake our duty or

our interest, or whenever we are cast down on any
account, it may be said to us,
"Ye do err, not

knowing the scriptures ;" and forget that "thus "it is written, and thus it must be." We want no other directions, or encouragements, than such as are contained in the Bible: nothing can be added to this perfect rule of faith and practice. All that we can do in this matter to good purpose, consists in calling the attention of mankind to the scriptures, explaining their contents, and exhorting them to believe and obey the divine message: and if any one, whether he be a moralist or a philosopher, an inventor of superstitions, or pretender to new revelations, attempt to add to the Scriptures, or to amend any thing in them; he may be compared to an optician, who should undertake, by new discoveries, and well-constructed glasses, to improve the light of the sun.

Nor is the message of scripture a vain thing, or a matter of small importance: Moses therefore added, "because it is your life." "Whatsoever

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a man hath will he give for his life," is a maxim that is generally found true, though it was once spoken by the father of lies. The merchant throws his rich freight into the sea, when it endangers his life and the patient rewards the surgeon for performing some torturing operation, when it is necessary to rescue him from death. In ordinary computations life is deemed our highest interest; capital punishment is regarded as the most formi

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dable; and it is an admired, though often a proud and rebellious heroism, when a man prefers death to penury, ignominy, or bondage. Yet our Lord hath said, "Fear not them that kill the body, and "after that have no more that they can do; but "fear him, who hath power to destroy both body "and soul in hell." And "what is a man profited, "if he gain the whole world, and lose his own "soul?" Our temporal life is not principally concerned in the subject before us, but our future and eternal condition. When Christ declares, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment, "but the righteous into life eternal;" the same original word is used in both clauses: the punishment could not be eternal, if the person punished should at length cease to exist; and the strongest expressions of the copious Greek language, that language of speculating philosophers, are used in scripture to denote the eternity of the punishment, prepared for the wicked in another world. We are not competent to determine what sin deserves, or how it behoves the Governor of the universe to show his abhorrence of it. "Shall not the Judge

"of all the earth do right?" It is our wisdom to submit to his justice and to seek his mercy; and not to waste our lives in vain disputations, concerning matters too deep for our investigation.

We must, however, close this part of the subject in a summary manner.-It depends on the reception which we give the message of God,

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