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alone belongs the high prerogative of calling every latent principle of our complex nature into action, giving appropriate exercise to every function, and proportion to every part; of animating, and maturing, and circulating like an etherial fluid through the whole, and bringing it to the perfection of 'a man in Christ Jesus.' Wherever it comes,
it creates a capacity for true enjoyment, and puts all the universe in motion to gratify that capacity. It makes us feel that we exist under an obligation to be happy. Perfect itself, it pants to behold perfection in every thing else; and, since it finds it not already existing, it puts forth all its efforts to produce it. Perfect from the beginning, it has remained unchanged, while the arts, and sciences, and systems of a dateless antiquity have yielded to the demand for improvement. It has seen every thing human, contemporaneous with its origin, renovated and changed again; but, like the Jewish legislator when he had survived his generation, its eye is not dim, nor its natural force abated. It maintains its post in the van of improvement, and points the way to enterprise and hope, as the anointed leader of mankind. And however untried the paths, and high the distinctions which await them in their onward course, it will still be seen in exemplary advance, beckoning them on to the goal of perfection. No living springs of good shall gush from their hidden depths in human nature, which have not been smitten into existence by this rod of heaven; no forms of excellence shall arise to bless the world, of which it is not the parent, and the perfect type. Only give the gospel room to plant its moral apparatus, and let it obtain the necessary fulcrum for its powers, and it will employ a lever which shall move the world from the dark vicinity of hell, and lift it into the sunlight and neighborhood of heaven.
XI. However incredible the statement may appear to
those who are unacquainted with the chimeras of error, there is a class of persons who, under the presumptuous pretence of enjoying an intimate acquaintance with the mind of Christ, and of magnifying his grace, profess to glory in the gospel as a dispensation from holiness. That such a dispensation would be highly acceptable to the children of disobedience we can easily imagine, but that its advent should be ascribed to him whom hell itself acknowledged to be the Holy One of God, must be regarded as a master-piece of impiety which bids defiance to imitation, as the last triumph of infernal art. Compared with the advocates of this blasphemy, he who only charges on the gospel a defective morality is a mere venial trifler; he only alleges that it is wanting in some of the elements of a perfect excellence; they claim for it as a peculiar glory that it dispenses with all excellence. For, by affirming that it discharges them from the law as a rule of life, they virtually declare that it legalizes vice, that it grants them a patent to sin under its own broad seal, that it naturalizes the alien and eternal outlaw, sin, and makes it a denizen of the kingdom of God. He, by pretending dissatisfaction with its unfinished excellence, is guilty of abating the ardor and expectation of the thirsty inquirer after the water of life; they, by adulterating the vital element, by infusing their own poisonous distillation, turn the very chalice of salvation into the cup of perdition. He wears no mask, he bears the mark of his master visibly stamped on his forehead, and takes on himself, so far at least as the character of the gospel is concerned, the undivided responsibility of his sin; while they, under the treacherous guise of an alliance with Christ, affiliate their monstrous enormities on his holy gospel, and throw its hallowed skirt over the nakedness of their pollution.
This, it must be confessed, is a doctrine of devils;' it
partakes of the infernal too palpably to be mistaken; like a stream of volcanic lava, it may be traced directly to the mouth of the pit which disgorged it, to scorch and desolate the earth in its progress. If demons can rejoice, the successful introduction of this error into the church must have furnished them with an occasion for exultation not less triumphant than that of the first transgression: it taught them that the paradise of the new creation is as accessible as the original Eden, that the upas can be grafted on the tree of life, that they might confidently repose on the success of this experiment, and regard it as final, secure that, after this, there is nothing too monstrous to be believed, or too good to be perverted, when human credulity and depravity are the materials to be employed. If he of our race who lent himself to be the first vehicle of this deadly sentiment, had aspired to the bad pre-eminence of eclipsing the first sinner, of enacting another fall of man, he could not have adopted a more effectual expedient. Beyond all proportion of demerit, he has purchased for himself the first place in the classification of the heretics, and troublers, and monsters of the church. Judas betrayed his master to the cross; but he has betrayed the cross itself, and all its loaded blessings, into the hands of the enemy of God and man; his name like that of the Iscariot traitor, deserves to be the synonyme of all that is exaggerated and enormous in guilt.
XII. Instead however of humbling the gospel by putting it on its defence against such an enemy-indeed, an apology is due to common sense, and to the most ordinary piety, for having adverted to the topic-I shall draw to a conclusion by adducing a few illustrations of the supreme importance attached to holiness in the preaching of Christ. 1. Every reformer of ancient abuses, every benefactor
of the species, must expect on entering on his godlike career to be assailed by two antagonist forces. He passes to his work through two opposing ranks; the hosts of prejudice draw out, and assail him as an Abaddon, a reckless destroyer of every thing covered with the dust of antiquity; the lovers of change congratulate themselves, that, at last, they have found a champion to defy and destroy whatever is. In this predicament stood Christ: but, to silence suspicion, and to leave the minds of both parties at liberty to accord to his doctrine undivided attention, he stood on the threshold of his labors, and made known, that, so far from assailing the fundamental principles of law, upon them he should take his stand as upon the terra firma of morality, that he should make them the foundation of all he built, the basis of a superstructure which should survive the dissolution of heaven and earth.
2. Whenever holiness came into comparison with any of those objects which the world is inclined to idolize, he omitted no opportunity of assigning to it a place infinitely above them. Knowledge is one of these objects: so powerful are its attractions to many, that they cordially sacrifice property, and health, and every thing in the pursuit of it. But had we mastered all the branches of human science, laid open ali the secrets of nature, and expounded its most hidden and comprehensive laws; could we recall the past, control the present, and by a wide range of philosophical induction, foretel the future; were we able to descant familiarly on the remotest regions of the universe, and, in the wantonness of that power which knowledge confers, to yoke the imperial elements of nature, and compel them to labor for us; still he would impress us with the fact that the science by which a defiled heart may be made holy,' comprises the sum of all wisdom. This,' said he, 'is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ
whom thou hast sent.' But he valued even this knowledge, only as it prepared men for heaven by regeneration; 'Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth.'
3. He foresaw that the time would come, when a splendid profession of piety, and the possession of superhuman endowments, would be objects of envy in his church. But, in order to correct our estimate of their value, he would have us to understand, that although we could speak in every dialect of heaven and earth, rob futurity of its secrets, lay open all mysteries, and grasp all knowledge; though our faith could enable us to move the everlasting hills; though we possessed, what to our apprehension is the greatest distinction of a miraculous nature which a human being can enjoy, the power of casting out demons, of detecting their presence and commanding them to depart, of defying their power, and compelling them to submit; though, like the apostles, we could invade the infernal region, and add it to our Lord's unearthly conquest; though our benevolence disdained less than the sacrifice of our whole property; and though our martyr-zeal impelled us into the flames; the absence of evangelical holiness would render the whole nugatory and useless. 'Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.'
4. Our Lord foresaw that, in every age of his church, his professed followers, true to the bias of depraved hųmanity, would be in danger of substituting the appendages and accretions of religion in the place of piety itself. This pernicious propensity began to disclose itself under his