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man will do the will of God,' said Jesus," he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. His gospel is addressed to our moral nature; and the only mind in a state to do justice to the divinity of its claims, is that which is trained and disciplined to habits of holy obedience. If we take to it a spirit which it does not approve, we are likely to bring from it a spirit which it has not imparted. Even the ancient heathens, when they went to consult their idol gods, did not expect to succeed without due preparation. Their approaches were marked by acts of reverence and self-purification. Before they hoped for the least oracular intimation, days were consumed in sacrifice, ablution, and meditation. They did not degrade even their false deities, by supposing they would speak in the ear of levity, or waste instruction on an irreverent and polluted mind. Were we creatures de void of a moral nature, or did the gospel address the understanding alone, we might then approach it as we go to the study of a mathematical truth, as beings of intellect only; but its aim is the heart; it is addressed to our moral nature; and as such, it claims a free and undisputed ingress to the throne of the will.
If it flattered our importance by submitting its truths to the tribunal of reason, pride would then be no unsuitable preparation for receiving it; but, taking for granted our moral disqualification, it.casts down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and brings into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.' Proceeding on the supposition, that it is the heart which in its fall has dragged down the faculties of the soul, it proposes to erect them again, by raising and restoring the degrading cause; it requires, therefore, that in the process they be submissive and silent. If we would learn of Christ, the soul must be vacated of all its proud prepossessions, that
may be room to prepare him a seat in the will. If we would listen to his voice with effect, there must be silence in the soul : the clamorous pretensions of self-sufficiency must be rebuked; and, putting on the robe of humility, we must take our station as children at his feet.
But that submission to the authority of Christ, which forms an essential qualification in his disciples, is not only opposed to the pride that rejects; it is intelligent and conscious, and therefore equally remote from that unheeding acquiescence which admits with a fatal facility, and as a matter of custom and course, whatever he inculcates: if the former of these is the disqualification of rebellion, the latter is the incapacity of death. Perhaps no greater obstacle can be named, to the proper reception of the gospel, than the error, alas ! how common, of placing religion in a bare assent to its truths; of cherishing a settled and satisfied persuasion that we are christians, simply because we subscribe, and in proportion to the unthinking readiness with which we subscribe, to its dictates. So effectually does this delusion enclose and encase the heart, that the arrows of the Lord,' though barbed and winged by an angel's hand, would fail to stick fast in it.' So potent is the spell, that it enables us to listen, not only to truths the most pungent, but even to the description which pourtrays the very delusion itself, without any self-application or effect. With such certainty does it turn aside and ward off every salutary impression, that, like a building defended from the lightnings of heaven by a rod of steel, we can venture amongst the forked lightnings of the truth, and yet come out from them free, unscathed, and untouched. On such a state of mind, the voice of the Great Teacher himselfits loudest, its most solemn and authoritative tones—are dissipated and lost.
The submission, then, which he demands, is that which
arises from conviction, and consists in the self-surrender of the will; that which, while it admits, at the same time “trembles at his word.' But where is this .preparation to be obtained ? where, but at the throne of the heavenly grace. It is only at the altar, and from the hand of God, we can receive that celestial torch, which reveals at once our own incompetence, and the dignity and glory of Christ. That is the appointed place of meeting between God and the soul, where he puts us under the guidance of that holy spirit, who leads us into all truth; who takes the things of Christ as they fall from his lips, and conveys them as living powers into the obedient heart: who prepares and delivers us into the mould of the gospel, that we may
take the perfect impress of its author.
Never man spake like this man.' *No man knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will
In illustrating the originality which marked the instructions of our blessed Lord, it can scarcely be necessary to premise, that, as the mode of his teaching will receive our separate consideration, we shall now confine ourselves to its subjects.
Were we claiming the attribute of originality for an uninspired mind, we should feel as if we were establishing his right to fame. For he who enlarges, in the least, the narrow confines of human knowledge, is said to confer imperishable wealth; to redeem our mental character; and thus, owing to the unfrequency of the occurrence, he renders himself an object of homage to the species. But this is a quality, which, abstractedly considered, has no moral character; it is a blessing or a curse, only according to the direction which it takes, and the service in which it is engaged.
As the ultimate object of our Lord's teaching, was of a nature entirely practical, it requires but little effort of the imagination to conceive why, if his praise consists, partly, in being so original, it consists also, partly, in not being more original than he is. "If I have told you earthly
things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you heavenly things ?' He could unquestionably have made disclosures which would have eclipsed, and consigned to oblivion, all prior discoveries. As far as power is concerned, he could easily have embroiled the polemic world, by mystifying without misrepresenting, every subject of earthly dispute. He could have uttered a single sentence, which, by furnishing a key to many a mystery, and affording a glimpse of arcana before unknown, would have collected and concentrated around it the busy thoughts of each successive generation to the close of time. Opening one of the numerous doors at which human curiosity has been knocking impatiently for ages, he could have admitted men to a tree of knowledge, from which, age after age, they would have continued to pluck and partake, until the trump of God surprised them at their unholy feast, and found them unprepared for the summons. But he came to plant for them the tree of life, and to give them access to its healing fruits. And as he allowed nothing to divert his own attention from the accomplishment of this object, he guarded against every thing likely to beguile them from seeking the benefit resulting from it. He disdained not the repetition of old and familiar truths, provided his introduction of them would subserve his grand design; for though he proposed to erect a second temple of truth, the glory of which should eclipse the splendor of the first, he deigned to appropriate whatever of the ancient materials remained available. Truths, which the lapse of time had seen displaced and disconnected from their true position, as stars are said to have wandered from their primal signs, he recalled and established anew; and principles, which had faded, disappeared, and been lost, as stars are said to have become extinct, he rekindled and resphered, and commanded them to stand fast forever. Such, for instance, was the