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feeling against them. But in times of another kind, when the general feeling becomes divided, and the cause of Christianity has lost many of its artificial supports, nothing will support our faith effectually, but a real and earnest love of its principles, and a lively hatred of every thing that is evil. When unbelief, instead of being received with general abhorrence, becomes generally fashionable, — when our profession of faith loses that confidence which is given by seeing that the majority are on its side,—then a man must begin in earnest to examine his own foundations,—to look for a stay within him, when outward aids begin to fall away. Woe to him in that moment, if his support be only intellectual,- if he relies alone on the books or the arguments which he had been used to consider all-triumphant. Many of my present hearers require to be warned on this point most earnestly. The question between Christianity and unbelief is now assuming a form essentially different from that which it wore in the last century; and thus the popular books of evidences are becoming daily more insufficient to meet the arguments and objections with which you will now, on your entrance into the world, find

your faith assailed.

Most of the books of evidences which you have read are directed against deists, that is, against persons who professed that they believed in God, but did not believe in his Son, Christ Jesus. Against deists and their arguments, the books I allude to (Butler, for instance, and Leslie) are, indeed, quite triumphant; but the battle is now fought upon different grounds, and you will be attacked, either by those who would represent every thing as doubtful, and who, having no opinions of their own to defend, avail themselves of that weakness of the human mind, which suffers its doubts to disturb the tranquillity of its knowledge; or else, by those who say at once, that there is no God, and that our life will utterly and eternally perish with the decay of our mortal bodies. And this last opinion, as it is one which, to a good man, would bring distraction of mind little short of madness, so it is one which, to a bad man, the deeper he advances in wickedness, will become constantly more probable and more natural. God does, indeed, send on such persons strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, because they loved not the truth, but had pleasure in unright

And the beginnings of this fearful

eousness.

state, this sin against the Holy Ghost, for which there is no forgiveness, are nearer at hand to us, perhaps, than we are disposed to fancy. He who indulges violent passions, who permits himself to return evil for evil,— to despise the notion of forgiving from the heart those who have done him wrong,-he is becoming ready to wish that the Gospel were not true, and, as he who denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father, he is becoming ready to wish, and if to wish, he will soon assuredly believe, that there is no judgment at all, and no God. Or, again, he who commits fornication, or any other sensual sin,who endeavours to cheat himself with the notion that these things are of no great consequence, he soon learns to hate the Gospel, which declares that no fornicator or unclean person hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ or of God; and from hating he soon comes to disbelieve, and to deny both the Son and the Father. Or still, again, he who from strong natural powers and lively spirits, is disposed to think too highly of himself,—who seldom knows what it is to feel reverence or admiration, and far less to feel humility, - he cannot bear

Christianity, which exalts God so highly, and teaches man that he can only be exalted by humbling himself; — with him the notions of independence, and vigour, and power, and courage of mind, are as fatal as a violent nature or a sensual nature in the other cases that I have described; and the man becomes colder, and harder, and prouder, and more ignorant of himself, till he reverences nothing, admires nothing, and loves nothing, but himself and his own mind. All these are roads to atheism ; and if any man will follow them far enough, he will surely become an atheist, although he may read ever so constantly, and be unable to answer the arguments which have been drawn for the being and attributes of God. So it is, “ he that is filthy, let him

“ be filthy still : and he that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still : and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” When

When arguments for atheism are brought forward, nothing seems to me so decisive against them as this certain fact, - that the surest way to make them seem convincing to our minds, is to plunge as deeply as possible into wickedness. Any man may easily and certainly become an atheist if he will but reject all good practices, all self - examination, all scruple of

crime, and do the bidding of the devil without reserve.

On the contrary, “ he that is holy, let him be holy still.” He too will grow steadier and steadier in his faith, in proportion as he dreads sin more, and is more watchful over his life, and heart, and temper, and learns to deny himself, and to love his neighbour, and thus becomes more and more conformed to the Spirit of God. To him God manifests himself, not by signs of his power, not by pouring irresistible conviction upon his understanding, but by speaking in the still small voice of peace, and hope, and love unfeigned, by giving him already an earnest of that blessed state of mind, which they who see God and live in him, continually and of necessity enjoy. Truly “ he will be holy still,” let the temptations, and difficulties, and dangers of his course be what they may. His thought is still, “ Lord, to whom but thee shall I

go

? Thou hast the words of eternal life. With thee, and with those who have followed thee, I will gladly stake my hopes for this world, and for eternity: I desire nothing but to follow in thy steps here, and, if it may be, through thy blood shed for my manifold sins and imperfections, to be where thou art hereafter.

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