Imatges de pÓgina

and depending upon God's most wise counsels, we must, if left to ourselves, have remained entirely ignorant. These are principles which cannot be justly contested: the question then is, whether any sufficient proofs or evidences can be produced, that such a revelation has been really given; and, blessed be God, these are many, and strong, and abundantly sufficient for the conviction of every unprejudiced mind. Here I might remind you of the antiquity, sublimity, and purity, of the sacred records; of the facts which they relate, supported by the most natural and convincing testimony; of the prophecies which they contain, and their exact accomplishment, many of them in former ages, and some of them in our own times; and of the rapid and extensive propagation of the gospel, and the admirable effects that it has produced in the hearts and lives of those who have sincerely embraced it. I might remind you of the character of the sacred writers, who, as they affirmed that they were divinely inspired, and authenticated their affirmation by the miraculous powers which they exerted, gave also abundant proofs that they were men of sound understanding, and strict integrity-men who boldly withstood the prevailing passions and prejudices of mankind, exposed themselves thereby to the greatest inconveniences and sufferings, and many of whom actually laid down their lives in confirmation of the doctrines which they taught. If we examine the nature and tendency of our holy religion, we shall find it every way worthy of God. It embraces a mighty compass; it carries our views

from eternity to eternity, and from the beginning, through all the periods, forward to the end of time. The idea that it gives us of God, of his adorable perfections, and governing providence, is the noblest that can be conceived, and every way calculated to produce proper affections and dispositions towards him. It shews us the origin, the fall, the recovery, the immortality, and the eternal destiny of man-the rise, the plan, the progress, and the consummation, of the salvation of God.Those things which were exhibited to ancient Israel only in emblem, or in dim and distant prospect, are evidently set forth before our eyes: the vail is rent in twain, and the glories which lay concealed behind it are now fully displayed: the shadows of the morning have retired from before the ascending day, and the Sun of righteousness having arisen upon us, illustrates the wonders of the spiritual world.

As to the precepts of Christianity, they are perfectly pure and excellent, comprehending the whole of our duty towards God, our neighbour, and ourselves.

How great a privilege then is it, to have the path of duty and of happiness, the way that leads to eternal life, pointed out to us by the Supreme Legislator himself, and enforced by every motive that can arise from the grandeur of his majesty, the terrors of his wrath, or the attractions of his mercy. How satisfactory is this to the understanding, how soothing to the conscience, how animating to the heart!

2. The way of religion may be denominated a good way, as those who walk in it may expect all necessary guidance and direction.

When travelling, we are sensible of the advantage of a proper guide, who is perfectly acquainted with the way. We are thereby freed of much trouble and anxiety, and proceed in our journey with cheerfulness and alacrity. And, in this respect, the traveller to Zion is peculiarly happy : the word of God is a light unto his feet, and a lamp unto his path: the path of duty is therein as clearly marked out, as if God, by an audible voice from heaven, should address him, saying, 6 This is the way-walk thou in it.'

But we have not only the word of God to point out unto us the path of duty and happiness, but also the promise of the Spirit, to enlighten our understanding, that we may perceive the excellence and importance of the truths therein revealed, and to impress those truths upon our hearts and consciences, with commanding authority. Hence the royal psalmist, though he had the written law for his direction, prays-Teach me to do thy will, O God: thy Spirit is good, lead me into the land of uprightness. And, under the gospel, the Spirit is promised to guide us into all truth.


God also guides his people by his Providence.— He has the supreme direction of our lot, and of all that concerns us; and we are assured that a good man's steps are ordered by the Lord' and so ordered, as to conduct him in that way which infinite wisdom sees to be most for his benefit and ad

vantage and to this providential direction of our lot it is that we owe all our inestimable blessings, all the means of grace, and all the opportunities of salvation, with which we are favoured. It is to his distinguishing providence, that we owe all our civil and religious privileges-that we have been born and brought up in a land of liberty and light -that, while many nations are covered by the darkness of paganism, or blinded by Mahometan delusion, we live beneath the beams of the Sun of righteousness: Through the tender mercies of our God, the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sat in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death, and to guide our feet in the ways of peace.

3. When we are travelling, we esteem it a great happiness to have agreeable companions along with us. By this means, the hours, which would otherwise seem tedious, pass pleasantly away; and the inconveniencies we meet with, seem light, or, at least, are more easily borne, than if we were solitary, or in disagreeable company. Now, wisdom's ways are not only pleasant in themselves, but in them we have the best of company. It was the character of good men of old, that they walked with God; and this character is equally applicable to good men, in every age. The God of heaven and of earth is their constant companion and friend : his presence always attends them, according to his gracious promise-My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. We may therefore dismiss every timid apprehension from our minds, for


he hath said, Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God.-I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

The blessed Jesus is also with us, while walking in the ways of religion. He has indeed left this world, as to his bodily presence, but he is still present, by his Spirit, with all his faithful followers: for, when he left the earth, it was with this gracious promise, Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.

The relations in which the scriptures represent him, as connected with his people, evince the strength and tenderness of his affection for them. He is not ashamed to call them brethren: he speaks of their interests as identified with his own-Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me. His character, considered as exhibiting every necessary qualification for the most endearing friendship, is most attractive. What meekness, what gentleness, what disinterested and generous sentiments, what tender and affectionate feelings, did he display, while on earth! Recollect his lamentations over Jerusalem: behold his tears at the tomb of Lazarus: see his beloved disciple leaning on his bosom : accompany him while he walks with his disciples to Emmaus! Review the history of his whole life, and rejoice that he is the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever. This is thy friend, O Christian, whose presence is ever with thee, in every step of thy *journey through life! Nor will he desert thee at the hour of death: he will conduct thee in safety

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