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will lead to good. They are not far from the kingdom of God: they have some knowledge, and some faith. Now, to such, God's word holds out the most gracious promises; "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." And yet, in many cases, from week to week, from month to month, from year to year, the effect of all these kind promises and gracious invitations is baffled by a secret something, which refuses to be comforted when God would comfort; which puts away the mercy which God waits to bestow; which still exclaims, "The mercy of the Lord is clean gone for ever! he will be merciful to others, but not to me!" Now, what is this secret something, which keeps the man who is convinced of sin, and who wishes for pardon, and who knows that without it he shall be ruined for ever?-what is it, I say, which keeps him out of the possession of pardoning mercy? --what is it? Satan calls it humility and diffidence; and he keeps you out of the blessing, by telling you it is not proper for one so sinful and so worthless to lay hold on the blessings of salvation, and that you are only acting the part of a humble man to keep aloof from those blessings. This Satan tells you: but he is a liar, and the father of lies. O listen not to that arch fiend, when he pretends to preach humility! No: the real name of the principle that keeps you back is pride, and not humility. Real humility will not lead to unbelief; it will rather lead men to cry for mercy, and cause them to flee to the only refuge that is set before them.

And even those who believe, but are not yet made perfect in love, are under the influence of unbelief in part. As unbelief prevents the sinner from entering into God's family; so unbelief, in one who is a child, prevents him from the enjoyment of the privileges of God's family. Take an example. There are found, in the word of God, "exceeding great and precious promises;" promises of a clean heart, and a right spirit; promises of complete recovery to the image of God; promises of being sanctified wholly, body, soul, and spirit; promises of being preserved blameless to the coming of the day of the Lord. And what hinders the man, who sees the beauty and excellency of holiness, and beholds it so clearly and abundantly promised - what hinders him from entering on the full possession of it? In some cases it may be want of perception of its beauty, and the possibility of attaining it; but, in general, it is want of faith.

Take another case. In some dark and cloudy day a man has yielded to temptation; he has committed sin, and he is filled with misery. But this, his guilt, he acknowledges; he does not attempt to palliate it; and it is the privilege of such a man to come to God as at first he

came, and to obtain a renewal of that favor which he has forfeited. And what is it that induces him to postpone the application for this mercy to a future period? What prevents him approaching the fountain opened? What prompts him to seek to wear his stain away, instead of coming to have it washed away at once? Satan persuades him that the principle which thus keeps him from God his Father, who is waiting to be gracious to him, and receive him back to his favor, is shame, holy shame, ingenuous shame ;- but it is really unbelief. We ought to be ashamed of having been negligent, of having been unfaithful, of having been sinners; but we ought not to be ashamed of coming to God for forgiveness; we ought to remember that these words belong to us "These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, JESUS CHRIST the righteous and he is the propitiation for our sins."

And I might observe, that unbelief operates, in a degree, in believers in Christ. It is so in cases of affliction, of trial, of difficulty. Believers are sometimes in circumstances in which they are ready to say, "My way is hid from the Lord: my God hath forgotten me!" in opposition to his word, who hath said, "I will never leave thee; I will never forsake thee!" But I cannot dwell longer on this part; and you can easily apply these remarks to other cases. I proceed,

II. TO JUSTIFY THE EXPRESSION OF ASTONISHMENT ON THE PART OF CHRIST.

It is said that "he marvelled because of their unbelief."- Unbelief is altogether unreasonable and unbecoming.

1. How unreasonable, for instance, was the unbelief which our LORD witnessed in the days of his flesh. The unbelief of these men at Nazareth was marked with great stupidity, and chargeable with great folly. For, consider what opportunities they had been favored with of seeing our Lord's early character, and of listening to his propitious doctrines. The superior sanctity, which marked his childhood, ought to have made strong impressions on their minds; and ought to have led them to investigate carefully, and to receive honestly the convictions of their minds. An unbelief so blind as theirs was surely unreasonable. Consider, also, their confession of his wisdom and power. "From whence," exclaimed they, "hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that such mighty works are wrought by his hands?" The fact they admitted; the evidences were too strong to be resisted. Why, then, did they not at once proceed to draw the only rational inference, namely, that he was a divine person? Their unbelief was unreasonable. Advert, also, to the nature of the excuses

they presented for it. They talked of the meanness of his educationof the poverty of his circumstances of the narrowness of his means. Why, these were the very circumstances that ought to have induced faith. For if natural causes could not produce such surprising effects, how very rational to conclude that they were produced by supernatural causes. Then, their possession of the ancient Scriptures left them without excuse. They had the prophecies of Isaiah; and they might have read them if they had not wilfully neglected so to do. His fifty third chapter would have told them that Christ was to be " as a root out of a dry ground;" that he would be destitute of any outward "form, or comeliness, or beauty," which should lead men to "desire him." All this justifies the strong sensation of surprise, on the part of our Savior, at so much insensibility. "He marvelled;" he who well knew what was in man, and how depraved and how very unreasonable man naturally was even He was surprised; even the Searcher of hearts "marvelled, because of the unbelief" they manifested!

2. The same unreasonableness attaches to modern as to ancient unbelief. Let us consider this in reference to the various descriptions of unbelief we noticed in the first part of the discourse.

First. On what do our modern infidels rest their unbelief? Do they plead WANT OF EVIDENCE? How base and ungrounded is their assertion! Let them study our Christianity; let them institute a strict comparison between its various parts; let them look at the long chain of prophecies by which it was introduced; let them consider the miracles by which its verity was attested-its pure salutary truths and doctrines; let them mark the astonishing rapidity of its early progressits progress in opposition to all obstructions, and to the most determined hostility; and that it came not with any appeal to the passions, or proclaiming any truce to the vices, but with the force of truth alone, and denouncing all the vices. Let them, I say, consider this body and weight of evidence; which, if considered aright, is more than enough to weigh down all their objections, and which, if rejected, exposes them most justly to the charge of unreasonable unbelief. But our religion, they allege, contains in it so many MYSTERIES, and that these ought to lead them to its rejection. But this very circumstance, we say, is an additional argument for faith. If Christianity told us nothing but what the book of nature teaches, it could not be from God. Surely, if God write a book, it must contain something of which the ear hath not heard, which the eye hath not seen, and of which the human heart hath not conceived. As in the earth, while surveying the works of nature, and perceiving their peculiar skill and adaptation, we infer that they are the produce of a Divine hand; so, in what are termed the mysteries

of religion, we see abundant proofs of a Divine hand. And besides, if we are to doubt because of what is mysterious, where is scepticism to end? We see mystery all around us; and if we are not to believe till we can comprehend, we shall never believe at all. It is absurd, it is monstrous, to reject the truth of God, because it teaches us something which, but for it, we could not understand! And further peculiar criminality and unreasonableness attaches to modern than could attach to ancient infidelity. On us "the ends of the world are come;" to us the system of Christianity is more fully explained, and the glory of GoD shines forth with greater radiancy, in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The beneficial effects of the system have been illustrated by many striking facts in our days, which were not known to our fathers. The argument for Christianity is stronger; it has grown, and is still growing, with the growth of information. On the infidels of these days, therefore, the benevolent Savior may well look down with mingled emotions of surprise and indignation; he may well be alike grieved for the hardness of their hearts, and surprised at the strength of their infatuation!

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Secondly. And what shall I say of the unreasonableness of the next class, a disbelief of the principal doctrines of Christianity? Is not this unreasonable? When a man writes a book for his fellow-men, if his object be to instruct philosophers and the learned, he adapts his style to them; but if he be anxious to instruct the mass of men - if he would benefit the unlearned, and those who are incapable of deep and critical inquiry, then he writes in a plain and popular style, that all who read may at once comprehend his meaning. Now, apply this to the book which God has given. The poor and uneducated form the mass of the people; their instruction and benefit must therefore be regarded; and if he be a good and gracious God, then a plain and simple man will be able to collect his meaning from the plain language and letter of his word. Those who reject the great truths of the Bible pretend to say that a great part of the Bible is not to be understood according as the words appear on the surface. They tell us about corruptions; and they explain much of its contents away into Eastern similes. But let any plain, unsophisticated man, any man whose mind is not prejudiced and perverted by tortured criticisms, let any honest man regard the corruptions, as they term them, of the Scriptures, and he will find them to be the very vital and important truths of the system. But there is some reason to think that men are beginning to get tired of this rational system; and to see that they must either follow Scripture, as it is, or go at once to Deism: they begin now to find that the half-way house, as it has been termed, between Deism and Chris

tianity, is untenable. And let those who attempt to take refuge there, let these half way-house-men take care, lest God should say to them, as he said to ancient Chaldea -" Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee!"

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3. But the form of unbelief which is the most extraordinary, is that of the neglecters of salvation: those who hold the truth, but hold it in unrighteousness. You will not surely account us your enemies if we you the truth. We say that there are many who admit the truth of the gospel, and yet neglect its great salvation. If we speak of such characters, we must speak in the terms which belong to them: we accuse you of conduct which, if it were exemplified in the common affairs of life, would justly expose you to the charge of inconsistency and irra tionality. I will endeavor to set out your conduct before you, and I entreat you to let your consciences go with me. You say that you believe the gospel to be of God; that " at the first it began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will;" you say that you believe in his Scripture; and yet you live in habitual opposition to what you know to be the requirements, and what you know to be the privileges of this gospel! You say that you believe in the existence of a God; a God who is present in all places; who is intimately acquainted with all your thoughts, and words, and actions ; — and yet you go on, day after day, in a career which you know he must hate! You say that you believe him to be a just God; and that he who is the Maker of all the earth shall be the Judge of all the earth; and that he has prepared the thunderbolts of his wrath, that he may take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not his will; and yet you continually defy this authority, and expose yourselves to this vengeance! You say you believe that you have immortal souls; that when you leave this world you must go into another state; that this other state must be regulated by your present character and conduct; that there is a state of happiness for the holy, and of misery for the unholy; and yet you act as if you had no souls; as if there were no future state; as if heaven were a delusion, and hell were a chimera! You that say believe Jesus Christ came from you heaven to earth to seek and to save the lost; that he was delivered for the offences of men, and rose again for their justification, and returned to heaven, that he might intercede for them and send them down all the blessings of his salvation; and you come to hear his truth proclaimed to you Sabbath after Sabbath; and, such is the force of habit, you would be quite uncomfortable if you did not listen to these things;

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