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clude the transactions between man and man; that we are required to regard all the inhabitants of our earth, however distinguished from each other by natural or artificial circumstances, as members of one great family, that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer from the controlling power, love, and consequences of sin, and is also proposed to us as an example of patience, humility, benevolence, and charity; and that, if we continue disobedient, it is on pain of suffering the divine displeasure ; - the position maintained must be granted. Because, if the belief of an all-observing Deity, of rewards, and punishments, are motives essential to the forma. tion and increase of virtuous habits and affections, it follows that such virtues and habits will be in exact proportion to the force which the motives themselves have on the mind. And as the Holy Spirit does powerfully impress these motives, in all their ramifications, on the heart, his influence must, therefore, directly promote the interests of genuine piety.
And as, in journeying to some distant land, the promised aid of an experienced guide, or the protection of a powerful friend, inspires confidence and excites to activity; so is it with the Christian in his earthly pilgrimage. He has a journey to perform ; his home is distant ; he travels through unknown and unfriendly climes ; he has foes to combat, the world, the flesh, and the devil; he has difficulties to encounter, obstacles to surmount, snares to avoid ; and surrounded with the allurements of sense, how difficult is the enterprize! But the doctrine of divine influence wears the most friendly aspect towards him. It assures him, “Greater is he that is in him, than he that is in the world.” It stimulates him to renewed exertion. It brightens his prospects, and assists him “to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus ;" by enabling him to walk “in all the ordinances and commandments of the Lord blameless." The softly falling dews and the summer showers are not, then, more necessary to the thirsty earth, than the influence of the Holy Spirit is to man. Nor are the verdure and fertility which those dews and showers promote, more ornamental and beneficial to the natural creation, than the effects of the Spirit's influence are to the moral universe.
4. It justifies the expectation of the future triumph of Christianity, and the harmony of the world.
The moral history of mankind is one of deep interest to the Christian philosopher. Whether he is directed by the clear and strong light of revelation, as the magi were by the star; or whether he ascends by the several streams of history, of literature, of the arts and sciences, he arrives, in both cases, at the East, as the common source. And regarding the narrative of Moses as a record of facts, he finds the natural and moral history of man to have been coeval, as they have since been inseparably connected. Following the course of events from that period, and marking the manner in which they have
been brought about, he clearly perceives that, in all the great changes and moral improvements which have been effected, Providence has invariably paved the way.
The preservation of Moses, who was to be the leader and legislator of Israel, his adoption by Pharaoh's daughter, and his education ;-the barbarity and oppression exercised by the Egyptians ;-the sufferings and consequent readiness of the Israelites to depart at midnight out of Egypt, were but so many steps preparatory to their receiving of that law, which was to regulate their conduct, and of those ordinances which were to direct them in their worship of the one living and true God; and, by prefiguring, to prepare the nation for the coming of the Messiali.
When, again, they had relapsed into the idolatrous worship of Baal, a drought of “three years and six months” continuance, and a consequent“sore famine," reduced them to extremities, the nation assembled by the divine command an Mount Carmel, there, through the instrumentality of Elijah, publicly renounced Baal, and as publicly recognised Jehovah to be their God.
Whether Cyrus, during his expedition into Syria and Palestine, seeing the desolations of Judea, was anxious to restore the captive Jews to their own land, for the purpose of cultivating it, and of increasing the strength and riches of his empire; or was anxious to meet the wishes of his favourite minister the prophet Daniel, is immaterial, since, it is certain, “the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, to issue a proclamation for the building of the temple at Jerusalem.” 8
The decree of the Roman emperor led Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem to be enrolled; where the prophecies received their fulfilment, and the Saviour of the world was born. At his appearing, learning, and “philosophy so called,” had risen to a height and splendour unattained
6 Ezra i. 1, 2; and Prideaux's Connect. vol. i. p. 172-3.