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tuking, and come to the conception. own country, and its boasted civili. And now where are we? Even if zation. French civilization may be we take the New Testament only, now taken as the type of the civilizawhat a system opens before us, of tion which modern infidelity is calfacts, of principles, and doctrines ; culated to produce. And let its and of these, as by a wonderful partisans boast of it as much as agreement,
harmoniously they please : they are welcome to united! The character of Jesus, all the advantages which their sys. and the discourses of his public tem can derive from it. It is not ministry,--the mediatorial scheme, only hollow and insincere, possessthe moral system; and these, and ing only a superficial glare, a refineall other parts of the religion, con ment of manners that is purely thesidered in relation to the actually- atrical, and which does not even subsisting world, to the providen- faintly adumbrate that true courtetial administration observable there, ousness to which Christian benevoto the actual character of man, and lence and charity are ever tending ; even to the innermost mental con but it possesses—and in proportion stitution. It is thus that the Gospel as it is seen to be derived from this ought to be considered; for as truth infidel source is it more clearly seen only is universally consistent, in to possess—all the worst principles universal consistency we find no of savage life,- principles which slight argument of truth. And this actually become the more dangerthe Gospel presents. The very phi. ous to society by the civilization in losophy of the human mind, then in other respects with which they are its completest infancy, and which connected. Is their insane passion has only been brought to its present for military glory, their rabid passtate of improvement by the long- sion for war and bloodshed, the uncontinued and accurate observation conquerable propensity to brigandof centuries, is the philosophy of age, which carries us back to the mind which the whole New Testa- Sea-Kings and Northmen of the barment implies. And as to its moral barian days of Europe,- is the comsystem, it is precisely that which bination of such principles with a such a being as man requires. It is national vanity, that could only exactly suited to him as an indi. exist so extensively as unhappily it vidual, nor less so as existing in does with a real and decided godsociety. It is calculated for the lessness of the public mind, any occomplete, the orderly, and beneficial casion of glorying? Does it move developement of all the faculties of in a direction which either promises his nature ; and for the production improvement to society, or peace not only of a happier social state and happiness to the world ? . The than the world has ever witnessed, true perfectionnement of man and but for the production of a really society can only be promoted by a happy state. The French infidels, system combining truth as to our some years ago, were fond of talk, intellectual and moral nature, with ing of the perfectionnement of soci an efficient remedy for our weakety, and of the natural tendency of ness and corruption. And as this man to such a state. That this was combination is only found in the all even worse than idle speculation, Gospel, so it is there found most is not only proved by the state of completely. And let that remedy China and India,—by the stagna- be examined, not only in its wondertion of the former, and the no ful facts, but in its-if possiblelonger-deniable deterioration of the still more wonderful principles; in latter; not only by the condition of its exhibition of love in all its savage tribes, in which not the depths, and in all its forms and asslightest tendency to improvement pects; in its vindication of governhas been visible in a time in which, inent, of law, its manifestation of had it existed, effects, however the brilliant glory of a spotless slight, yet appreciable, must have purity; its presentation of the chabecome apparent; but also by their racter of God as Father, Ruler, and
Judge of all, not only in a light the heavens declare the glory of which, in every properly disposed God, than does the New Testament mind, sweetly compels adoration and exhibit the wisdom of God. We love, but which is also exemplary of now set aside all questions concernthe highest degree of moral excel. ing miracles and prophecy: We lence for man, who is thus called so forego the consideration of the Old to behold this glory as to be changed Testament, although its previous into the same image, froin glory existence supplies an irrefragable into glory. Let the whole of Chris. proof of the divine origin of Christianity, as it is thus declared to be tianity. We limit our notice to by its own authentic records, be Christianity itself, as a system of thus carefully and analytically exa. religion and morals; and to its hu. mined ; let the state of the world man authors, if such alone they when this system was first promul. were. We point to the unlettered gated in Judea be recollected ; let Jesus of Nazareth, and to his assothe actual power and performance of ciates, the equally unlettered fisherthe human intellect be marked by men of the Galilean lake. We take the consideration of the writings of this company of poor men; we then the philosophers and poets of the take the New Testament; and we Augustan age; and then let the fact ask, Whence the pure, the lofty, the of the human authorship of Chris- expansive wisdom necessary for fram. tianity--if human it were—be oh. ing such a system as this? Talk of served just as it is. We have the miracles! Mind has its laws and uneducated son of a provincial arti- its limits, as well as matter; and to san associated with a few fishermen heal the sick, or to raise the dead, in circumstances like to his own. would be a work not more beyond And these men, thus unlearned and the physical powers of man, than unaided, thus POOR, suddenly reach the construction of the system con. ed the highest summit of intellectual tained in the New Testament would light and power, and gave to the be beyond his intellectual capacity: world a system most perfectly adapt- He who can believe that a handful ed to the condition and wants of the of poor Jews, at a period when world,
-a system which no succeed. Judah was but one step from her ing ages have been able in the lowest degradation,-and, so far as slightest degree to improve,-a sys- human power is concerned, her final tem which neither man nor society ruin,-devised that beautiful and can ever outgrow; but which, what- magnificent scheme of moral inever the intellectual or social expan- struction which, we again fearlessly sion may be, is still found to possess assert, we do actually possess in the all the majestic superiority of inde- New Testament, may go on without pendent truth and supreme law, re pausing in his career, and receive vealing to man his proper and high- every tale of wonder which the est good, and guiding him to the legends of pious or impious fraud secure and endless possession of it. may narrate. Transubstantiation To undertake the task of converting itself does not involve more or the world, as the world was eighteen greater contradictions
than the centuries ago, might, perhaps, be merely human origin of the Chrissaid, however destitute the assertion tian religion. No! the weapons of of even the semblance of truth, to their warfare were not carnal
, but be a work in which a visionary en- mighty through God. Their influthusiasm, which either sees no diffi. ence was great, for it was the influculties, or is only the more vehe ence of heavenly truth. It was, mently excited by them, might pro- therefore, as beneficial as it was fess to be willing to engage ; but to extensive. devise such an instrumentality as
II. “YET MAKING MANY RICH." the New Testament undeniably fur- –The general fact thus stated refers nishes, is possible to neither the to the actual influence of apostolic dreaming enthusiast
, nor the crafty preaching, and to its extensiveness. impostor. Not more manifestly do What was the object which the
Apostle-taking him as an instance he could not resist, forget for the
zeal for God, by compassion for
Now, whencesoever it arises, yet shalt be saved !". And this was the so it is, that there is that in man truth. Christ, the incarnate Son of which always responds, and responds God, has atoned for the sins of men. most painfully, to declarations re He does make intercession for them. specting the existence of the one By him all that believe actually are true God, as Ruler, Lawgiver, and justified. To them that are justiJudge. There is in him a conscience. fied by faith, the Holy Ghost is This is the true moral sense, de- given, to shed abroad in their heart praved, indeed, and hardened by a sense of the reconciling love of sin, but always ready to awaken and God. The blessings of Christian condemn, when roused up by the salvation are blessings of actual revoice of truth. It was this wbich, ception and experience on the part of when Paul “reasoned of righteous. all who are truly interested in them. ness, temperance, and judgment to When, therefore, the conscience had come," made Felix tremble. It was been awakened, and, instead of again this which made Agrippa, suddenly lulling it to deadly rest, men both moved by a light and power which yielded to its terrors, and anxiously
sought deliverance, directed, not by wants are supplied, and who has
which sufficiently expresses their There is one frequently-occurring condemnation by general opinion, circumstance by which, if we could By an easy transition, he who can be contented with what is compara
procure enjoyment is said to be rick. tively a low, though by no means an In England, this, so far as derived unimportant, meaning, the Apos. from outward sources, is purchased tle's language might be explained by the precious metals, as they are It is this: True religion often pro termed; but in other countries, by duces a great and very visible other things. The common potion amendment in the temporal condi of riches is that of the possession of tion of men. It teaches them in- ample means of procuring enjoy. dustry, honesty, and frugality. It ment. saves them from many foolish and Laying down this as one principle
, even ruinously-expensive habits. It the next is, that those riches are of secures the blessing of divine Provi. the greatest value which will prodence. And thus does godliness cure the truest, the greatest, the become profitable to all things. most lasting enjoyment. Here is a Very many, who at one time seemed town in which a inost painful and plunged in a poverty from which destructive disorder is raging. One they struggled in vain to extricate man has plenty of gold and silver, themselves, began to emerge from but he can effect no cures with it. this “horrible pit and miry clay” Another has a medicine which not as soon as they experienced the spi- only relieves all who take it, but enritual deliverance of the Gospel. tirely removes the disease; and be The history of all Christian churches has a sufficient quantity for all the could supply numerous instances of inhabitants. In these circumstances
, persons who have risen, not only to which is the richer man? The illusrespectability, but even opulence, tration is homely, but it will answer solely in consequence of their reli our purpose, and brings us again to gion.
the point, that he who possesses the But this is far below 'the force certain means of safety and enjoyand solemnity of the Apostle's de ment-of making existence comclaration. We have still to ask, In pletely and lastingly happy - is
, what sense does Christianity thus with scarcely a figure in the form make many rich ?
of speech, called a rich man. What is the ordinary significa The application of this to the tion of the term? What is meant Apostle's language is direct and by being rich? Two general defini easy. However the proud infidel tions have been given : the one,
may scorn, or the wretched worldsomewhat philosophical ; the other, ling despise, the beneficence of Chrismore general and popular. By the tianity appears in this,- that it confirst, he is said to be rich whose fers genuine, undecaying wealth ;
riches which do 'not “make to of an access to God, of which the themselves wings, to fly away ; unregenerate cannot even form a which never leave us, unless we conception. They need not the ourselves dismiss them.
wells opened here and there in this The Apostles made “many rich.” world's wilderness, to quench the
now ask, How? They thirst that thus is continually recurbrought men to true repentance, to ring; and which, if there be no the acceptance of the mercy of God access to the well, becomes a raging in Christ Jesus, and thus to forgive- fever; for they have a well within ness and adoption. And thus they them. Their peace flows full and become rich, first, even in a lower equable as the river. Their joy is sense, by the reduction of their
unspeakable, and full of glory. wants within very narrow limits, Trials only show the greater brighteven within those of controlled and ness of the light in which they sanctified nature. He who is de walk, and the prospect of death roted to God knows "the plague of raises their happiness to triumph his heart,” its natural worldliness, and exultation. and the danger of feeding it. Self And they have a glorious inheritdenial, therefore, becomes habitual ance before them.-Although in the and pleasant. Where there is real land where they are only strangers delight in God, little else is wanted. and sojourners they may have no Plain food and decent clothing will possessions, yet in that to which be abundantly sufficient, and will be they now happily belong, of which received with thankfulness. Не they are the registered citizens, and who is brought into such a condi to which every day brings them tion is made rich, if not by the en nearer, they have a boundless inhe. largement of his means, yet by the ritance,-a better and enduring subreduction of his wants.
stance in the better, that is, heavenly, This, however, is but a lower country. They journey towards it sense of St. Paul's language. We with singing; and when they come now come to the higher, and, as we to the gate through which they pass believe, to the proper and intended, into the eternal city, sorrow and meaning.
sighing, the companions of their Look, then, at the real—not figu- earthly pilgrimage, leave them for rative-circumstances of all who are ever, and they obtain joy and glad. truly brought to God, according to ness, and so are for ever with the the Gospel of Christ.
Lord. God is their reconciled Father. If, then, every true Christian posAll the riches of God, therefore, are sesses the especial, distinguishing engaged by his promise for the sup favour of the Lord, the everlasting ply of their actual need. He who is God; if he has true enjoyment, Lord and Possessor of heaven and both as to the present in sacred earth is their friend, -not their neg communion with God, and as to the ligent and unregarding friend, but future in a well-grounded hope of one who “ careth for them,” whose complete and eternal felicity; if he "eye is upon" them, and whose has a real title to an actually-existing "ear is open to their cry.” Jere- inheritance, one that he shall posmiah, in the midst of the ruins and sess when every other shall have desolations of Jerusalem, was a rich passed for ever away, and which man; for though earthly posses- shall constitute the proper blessedsions had all been swept away by ness of his whole nature for an everthe Chaldean irruption, he could lasting age ; then is it true, that in look up to the calm and bright hea the highest and best sense he is ven, far above the region of tem- rich ; and all who are instrumental pests, and say, “ The Lord is my in bringing men to this state, howportion, saith my soul; therefore ever poor they may be, yet, by will I hope in him.”
God's blessing, are they honoured They possess a solid and durable in "making many rich.” enjoyment.--They bave the privilege How great is the goodness of God,