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retical science, he may never once visit the garden or the cross.
Or he might gaze upon them for half a century with his present vision, and never discover the great “mystery of godliness.” The truths of the Bible are comprehended by the heart. To be destitute of the “single eye,” is to be blind to its transforming glories. “He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love.” The gospel is a revelation of love. Christianity is love embodied in its purest form. And love can be comprehended only by love. I look upon no small portion of the biblical criticism of the present age as a curse to the church. Such is all the Rationalism of Germany, and such is the modern Unitarianism of our own land. It is a cheerless region, where the Rose of Sharon never blooms; a bleak and wintry sky, where no ray from the Sun of righteousness visits the sterile soil. How can the branches flourish where not even a root is found but is artfully unclasped, or rudely torn from the living Vine ? As soon might you expect the feeblest infant to live and thrive cradled amid the mountain snows, as the genius of Christianity to flourish in such a clime. I tremble at recommending the literature of the Bible, lest I should do it at the expense of its spirituality. I venerate the Scriptures for their historical research, for their literary merit, for their legal and political wisdom, and for their lofty principles of liberty and morality; but I venerate them unspeakably more, because they are “the wisdom of God and the power of God to salvation." Let others win the laurels to which human science may aspire; be it ours to guide the wandering to the feet of the Saviour; to lead them. to his cross; to strew the cypress over the tomb where he was laid ; and there on that hallowed spot, with them renew our faith and our devotion !
But what is the character of the religion of which the Scriptures are thus instrumental ? There is a beauty and sublimity in its spirit which throw all other religions into the shade. If there is a system of truth which is most obviously intended and fitted to refine and exalt the human character, that system is to be found in the sacred Scriptures. When the God of heaven unfolded his purpose of forming a people to his praise, and giving them a character that should correspond with the elevated principles of his own spiritual kingdom, he uttered his design in the following strong and emphatic language : “A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you.” What amazing truths lie concealed under such a design! The character which the Bible forms is formed upon the highest model. And what is that model? Is it the insensibility, the asperities, the anger, the pride, the egotism, the worldliness which are so natural to men? Is it the cold indifference of a Stoical philosophy ? Is it the affected tranquillity and ungoverned voluptuousness of the disciples of Epicurus? Is it the rank, and wealth, and scepticism of the Academics? Is it the intellectual rashness and moral phantoms of the modern philosophists of Europe ? No, it is none of these. These have had their day, and done what they could to exorcise the foul fiend from the human heart, and left it more corrupt and wicked than before. The Author of this great and venerated book, by this instrumentality, imparts to men his own spirit; forms them in his own image; communicates to them the elements of his own divine excellence. It is a character never understood by the world before, and one which none even of the princes of this world knew. The late celebrated Robert Hall, in a discourse of unrivalled excellence upon the influence of modern infidelity remarks, that "infidelity robs the universe of all finished and consummate excellence, even in idea. The admiration of perfect wisdom and goodness for which we are formed, and which kindles such unspeakable rapture in the soul, finding in the regions of scepticism nothing to which it corresponds, droops and languishes. The idea of Deity is composed of the richest elements. In the character of a benevolent Parent and almighty Ruler, it embraces whatever is venerable in wisdom, whatever is awful in authority, whatever is touching in goodness. Human excellence is blended with many imperfections, and seen under many limitations. It is beheld only in detached and separate portions, nor ever appears in any one character whole and entire. So that when in imitation of the Stoics, we wish to form out of these fragments the notion of a perfectly wise and good man, we know it is a mere fiction of the mind, without any real being in whom it is embodied and realized. In the belief of a Deity, these conceptions are reduced to reality: the scattered rays of an ideal excellence are concentrated, and become the real attributes of that Being with whom we stand in the nearest relation, who sits supreme at the head of the universe, and pervades all nature with his presence.” Although in nothing does man, fallen and unregenerate, now resemble this exalted portrait, yet is it the great design of the Bible to recover and restore him to his pristine integrity ; to elevate him above his moral debasement, and re-invest him with the moral dignity, which shall ultimately make him “like unto the angels,” and “perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect.'
God is light. So is the religion of the Bible. It has no fellowship with darkness. Not one of its graces springs from stupidity, or ignorance, but all of them from the knowledge of God, and from a clear, connected, and comprehensive view of his truth. False religions are founded in darkness. The religion of the Bible, like its Author, dwells in light. Light is its element. God also is love. And so is the religion of the Bible. “He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. He that loveth not, knoweth not God.” There is a love which extends itself to every sensitive nature within its knowledge and influence; which overlooks the limits of place, birth, and condition, and bestows its affections in accordance with the character, capacity and importance of its objects; which seeks not its own, and terminates on ends which leave out of sight every personal and individual interest : and such a spirit is the fragrance and perfume breathed every where through the Bible.
The views and spirit of this world are widely different from the views and spirit that are transfused into the soul by the holy Scriptures. The spirit of the world is the spirit of pride and inordinate selfesteem. It is the pride of talent and beauty, the pride of wealth and accomplishments, and the pride of rank and office. It lives for the praise of men. In place of this, the Bible imparts the loveliest of all the graces, a heaven-born humility; a lowliness of mind; a deep sense of unworthiness in the sight of God; a modest estimate of one's own worth, and an unassuming deportment before the world. It is a self-condemxing, self-abasing spirit under the sentence of the divine law because we have sinned, and because there is mercy through Jesus Christ. It is a grace so resplendent, that even the unfallen might envy it. “ Before honour is humility.” The Bible commends an humble religion. Its love is humble; its faith is humble; its repentance is humble; its hopes, its joys, its raptures are all humble. Its heaven is humble,
and for nothing is it so happy or desirable as that it is a world of everlasting humility. True greatness is nowhere found on earth, except in an humble mind. And never is the archangel more elevated, more truly great, than when he bows his head low before the eternal throne. The spirit of the world is obduracy and self-will. It is invincible hardness of heart. It is impenitence that cannot be subdued. It is inflexible perseverance in sin.
Truth cannot enlighten it; authority cannot control it; wrath cannot break, nor the tenderest mercy move or melt its persisting purpose. In place of this, the Bible imparts tenderness and contrition of mind. Under its soul-subduing influence, the spirit that never shrunk from danger, nor wept under suffering, turns pale at temptation, shrinks from sin, weeps over past follies, and looks on Him whom men have pierced, and mourns. The spirit of the world is grasping and covetous. It is inordinately desirous of wealth, and excessively eager to obtain and possess the treasures of time. It is gay, or pensive, as secular prospects wax, or wane. It is stagnant and spiritless, only when it sees there is nothing to gain, or to lose by enterprise. Be it disappointed or gratified, the more vehement are its desires, and never is it so satisfied as to say, It is enough. In place of this, the Bible imparts a tranquil and happy confidence in the wisdom of Divine Providence, a grateful acknowledgment of the daily mercies which God bestows, a moderation in those desires which are directed to worldly enjoyments, and that lifted eye which no longer fastens on earth, but looks upward, where its resources
are undiminished, its treasures never fade, and a crown of righteousness awaits all who love their Lord's appearing. The spirit of the world is the spirit of ambition. It is the desire of power. The object that glitters,