Imatges de pÓgina
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have heard his blafphemy.-What think ye? They anfwered and faid, He is guilty of death.

And before Pontius Pilate the question was the fame, Art thou the king of the Jews?- Jefus anfwered, My kingdom is not of this world—If my kingdom were of this world, then would my fervanis fight, that I fhould not be delivered to the Jews:but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore faid unto him, Art thou a king then? Jefus anfwered, Thou fayeft that I am a king: which, as obferved, was his yea to the queftion, and his confeffion to the accufation laid in against him to take his life. Here, alfo, as before the Sanhedrim, and the court of Herod, when he was queftioned in many words, or concerning various matters, he anfwered nothing: but as foon as this point is brought up, and this question is put to him, in every inflance he made an immediate reply and confeffion; for his errand into the world was to bear witness unto the truth.

Pilate was determined to let him go; for, tho' he found the matter of his accufation to be a fact, that Jefus did claim, by the highest authority, to be the rightful fovereign of that ancient kingdom, and therefore, as by the charter given to David, Pfalm lxxii. 8. he was the prince of all the kingdoms of the earth; yet he knew that for envy the people had delivered him, and he had also fome apprehenfion of the divine afpect of the thing: But the Jews cried out, faying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Cefar's friend: whofoever maketh himself a king, fpeaketh against Cefar.--And the

Evangelifts note that it was this faying that determined Pilate to give judgment in the case.

That this was the matter for which Jefus Chrift was condemned to the crofs is evident from his written accufation, which, according to the Roman custom, in cafes of capital punishment, was fufpended over the sufferer, and therefore called a fuperfcription, and which was this-The king of the Jews. And, doubtless, the truth for which Jefus Chrift bled upon the cross is fimply the gofpel. This is" that thing," that diftinct thing, confeffed by Peter, in two words,* Luke ix. 20, 21. as it was revealed to him in the words and works of Jefus, which he fpake and wrought from the Father, and for which this difciple, Peter, was pronounced bleed.

Hence the Apostle, in giving the gospel charge to Timothy, which is the commandment given to every minifter of Jefus, fays I give thee charge in the fight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Jefus Chrift, who, before Pontius Pilate, witneed a good confeffion; that thou keep this commandment without fpot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jefus Chrift; which in his times he fhall fhew, who is the bleffed and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Here, then, the folemn charge of the minifter of God is laid down in the very article which Christ, as a witness to the truth, confeffed before Pontius Pilate, and which in a future day, called his times,

The Chrift of God.

he will shew in the actual exhibition. And, furely, this commandment, fo given in charge to the minifters of Jefus, is the gofpel merely.

It is evident that good difcouríes may be made upon the fubjects of religion, virtue and morality; particularly, upon the divine perfections, humant depravity, the decrees of God, dependence upor divine influences, the nature of exercises, the shortnefs of time, vanity of the world, moral obligations, fubmiffion to adverfe difpenfations, and a future ftate of rewards and punishments, and numerous other serious fubjects, without embracing the gospel. The Grecks and other improved nations, poffeffed many very valuable inftructions of this nature, long before the gofpel came among them. I fay that excellent difcourfes may be made upon these and fuch like important fubjects; and that kingdom and glory which lies at the foundation of the doctrine of Chrift, and which will foon be revealed, to crown the whole divine exhi bition, be left out of view; and they may be very ufeful, provided they be not fubftituted for the gofpel. But this is another thing; the gofpel is diftinctly the king's matter as really a matter of ftate, as was the fubject of the contest between the House of Saul and the Houfe of David.

I mean not, however, to admit that it is proper for a minifter of Chrift, in any discourse, to leave the great fubject of his embaffage out of prominent view: Paul could not do this. It may be hoped that, in this dark day, the lamentable filence which

* Pfalm lxv. 1.

prevails refpecting the teftimony of Jefus, in fome inftances, is to be imputed to mere mistake and ignorance of what is truth; and this is bad enough, that men fhould run and not be fent; that they should take upon them the infinite responsibility of this ministry, without knowing what is their commiffion and charge. But it is greatly to be feared that, in most instances, the latent cause of the evil is that most malignant one which blinded the Jews, and made their elders and chief priests, whilft fitting in Mofes' feat, and holding the law and the prophets in the highest veneration, pronounce the glorious truth of Jefus Chrift's kingdom, blafphemy; of which truth Mofes and the prophets had fo clearly written.

Alas! How is it, that men who are charged with this commandment, to keep it pure, under the folemnity of a confecrating vow, should preach whole years about the gofpel, and never so diftinctly as to be underflood, preach the gospel itself? And alfo write volumes of truths, and fcarcely give one broad hint of the truth.

But notwithstanding this apparent mistake of the moral character of the divine principle for the principle itself; or, to fay the leaft, notwithftanding the great obfcurity respecting the height, and depth, and length, and breadth of the divine foundation; the many clear philofophical demonstrations of truth, from the proposed foundation, in the works particularly referred to, afford convincing evidence that there exifts in the divine fystem, some one difcoverable principle, which conftitutes and governs the whole, as really and demonftrably as the power called attraction

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and repulfion is fuppofed to conftitute and go vern the fyftem of nature. It is evident that these authors wrote under fuch an impreffion, otherwise they would not have attempted to philofophize upon thefe fubjects. The attention once paid to the vortices, as abfurd as the attempt to found the fyftem upon that doctrine, appears to us, was of great importance. The ingenious writings upon vortices, led naturally to the discovery of the true operations of the fyftem; and, in the fame direc→ tion, our late reafonings upon benevolence, may lead to the ultimate of all our inquiries.

Being very familiar with thefe works from my childhood, they undoubtedly had an influence in impreffing my mind with the belief of the existence of such a divine principle.-But it was the difcovery of the harmony and analogy of all God's works; and, above all, the declarations in the fcriptures, of the existence of a pattern of divine things, which was fhewed Mofes in the Mount, and which, if we will do the truth, we are exprefsly required to refpcét-that led me fully to this conclufion:

And if there be a discoverable first principle in the divine fyftem, which is the exact type or pattern of the whole, and which, in one view, opens a vaft eternity, and difcovers the end of the works of God from the beginning, no argumentsare neceffary to fhew the importance of making the discovery of clearly defining the object, and of eftablishing the belief of it in the human mind.-It is obvious that fuch an acenifition must have

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