Page images
PDF
EPUB

of

ny agency of mine ; how the food which I take rears me up to the stature of five or six feet, and not the height of fifteen or twenty; how, in my constitution, a material body is intimately connected with an immaterial, immortal spirit; how these partners sensibly act and re-act upon each other ; how a gloomy disconsolate mind unnerves the vigor of

my body, and a disordered body clouds the perceptions and chills the ardor

my mind. Shall we believe these mysteries in nature, and reject all mystery in grace? Is it replied, “ that we see these things with our bodily eyes; we see the sun moving, and the grass growing, and therefore cannot disbelieve !" I reply that we credit ten thousand facts merely from the report of others, and facts which would be incredible was not the evidence undeniable: We believe that Alexander the great with a single army overranand subdued the world, although no such conquests are related in modern history; we believe that eruptions frequently take place in Ætna and Vesuvius, although there is no such appearance in any mountain around us. Shall we credit these and innumerable other facts upon the foundation of human testimony! Then why not believe upon the foundation of divine ? Shall we reject a report merely because Jehovah is its author? It becomes us rather to imitate the reasoning of the evangelist, “ If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater ; he is not a man that he

should lie;" he cannot possibly be deceived, neither will he deceive others. When a doctrine is contained in the scriptures, the question is not, “ Does it appear reasonable ; does my understanding fully comprehend it ?"-But, « is it a revelation from God ?". A thus saith the Lord, is the highest possible evidence that mortals can either ask or expect. We are no less bound to believe what he reveals, however unsearchable, than to perform what he commands, however arduous. Never does man act a part nobler in itself, more becoming his station, than when he lays his reason at the foot of the gospel, and receives implicitly whatever it contains ; believes without reservé this wisdom of God in a mystery.

" My favor'd soul shall meekly learn

To lay her reason at his throne,
And weak his secrets to discern,

Shall trust him for her guide alone," I would conclude, animating all to a most devout, diligent study of these mysteries of godliness, What nobler, what more interesting subject can possibly occupy the attention of mortals? “ They have God for their author." "Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost :” They contain truths infinitely sublime and important for their matter, and “salvation for their end,”

“ These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.'

Is the student eager in the pursuit of learning, which virtually perishes in the using ? Does the philosopher exhaust his time and strength in exploring the varied mysteries of nature ? merely to gratify his curiosity or immortalize his name? And shall we be less ardent, less unwearied in a study in which the honor of God, and our everlasting salvation are most intimately concerned?

Search the scriptures therefore, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Jesus.” In proportion as ye are occupied in contemplating these mysteries of redemption, you become fellow-students with ancient patriarchs, who rejoiced to see the day of Christ afar off's who looked forward, with equal transports of wonder and joy, to the place and the period of his manifestation in the flesh, with prophets; who searched diligently respecting the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow ; with evangelists and apostles, who counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord; with angels and arch-angels, with the seraphim and cherubim, who eagerly look into these wonders of redeeming love, and learn through them the manifold wisdom of God. I would again invite all to the devout, diligent contemplation of these mysteries of godliness. Is it the most dignified ? it is also the most profitable study in which you can possibly engage. The mind is led to realize the vanity of the world, and its per

VOL. 2.

D 2

rishing prospects; it obtains peace amidst all the tumults of this fluctuating scene, a peace which passeth all understanding, it is elevated more and more to God as its portion and glory; it is gradually ripening for those regions of immortality where JESUS CRUCIFIED AND GLORIFIED IS ALL AND IN ALL. There new wonders in eternal succession will be bursting forth upon their admiring eyes; and other joys, and other joys everlastingly rolling in upon their enraptured hearts.

“ With open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, may you all be changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”— AMEN.

SERMON II.

The universal apostacy of mankind confirmed.

ROMANS III, 23.

« For all have sinned.

[ocr errors]

HE who accidentally witnesses two neighbors contending with each other, immediately enquires into the cause ; he naturally feels an anxiety to ascertain the source of their contention, and either justifies or condemns agreeably to the information obtained. If two nations are involved

in war, and each aims at the destruction of the other, every spectator enquires into the original cause; that particular interest which he feels in the welfare of either or both, impels him to examine, what circumstances first excited their jealousies, and afterwards issued in consequences thus awful. There is evidently a controversy between the LORD GOD OF HOSTS and our world. Whence that disquietude which often agitates the human mind; those diseases which torture the body; those scourges which perplex the nations ? They all undeniably evince that the Creator has a controversy with his creature: These appearances of divine displeasure are not peculiar to one period of time, or one part of the world; they are common to all nations, and to each individual of every nation. All are therefore interested in the enquiry, what is the probable cause of this indignation of the Almighty? What melancholy event has forfeited his favor, and exposed us to these repeated and awful expressions of his wrath? Nojar, or even jealousy existed at the first creation of man: No tempest then ruffled the ocean of human life; no blackness gathered over our heavens; no lightning blazed or thunders rolled either to disturb or destroy. “God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good; and he rested and was refreshed.' The Creator experienced ineffable delight in contemplating his works, and imparting to every

« PreviousContinue »