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corruptible and immortal. So that in honour or shame, in abundance or want, in ease or pain, in life, or in death, always and in all things he bas learned to be content, to be easy, thankful, happy.

12. He is bappy in knowing there is a God, an intelligent Cause and Lord of all, and that he is not the produce either of blind chance or inexorable necessity. He is happy in the full assurance he has that this Creator and End of all things, is a Being of boundless wisdom, of infinite power to execute all the designs of his wisdom, and of no less infinite goodness, to direct all his power to the advantage of all his creatures. Nay, even the consideration of his immutable justice, rendering to all their due, of his unspotted holiness, of his all-sufficiency in himself, and of that immense ocean of all perfections, which centre in God from eternity to eternity, is a continual addition to the happiness of a Christian.

13. A farther addition is made - thereto, while in contemplating even the things that surround him, that thought strikes warmly upon his heart,

“ These are thy glorious works, Parent of Good." While he takes knowledge of the invisible things of God, even his eternal power and wisdom in the things that are seen, the heavens, the earth, the fowls of the air, the lilies of the field. How much more, while, rejoicing in the constant care which he still takes of the work of his own hand, he breaks out, in a transport of love and praise, O Lord, our Governor! How excellent is thy Name in all the earth! Thou that hast set thy glory, above the heavens ! While he, as it were, sees the Lord sitting upon his throne, and ruling all things well : while he observes the general Providence of God co-extended with his whole creation, and surveys all the effects of it in the heavens and the earth, as a well-pleased spectator ; while he sees the wisdom and goodness of his general government descending to every particular ;. so presiding over the whole universe, as over a single person, so watching over every single person as if he were the whole universe : how does he exult, when he reviews the various traces of the Almighty Goodness, in what has befallen himself in the several circumstances and changes of his own life! All which, he now sees, -have been allotted to him, and dealt out in number, weight, and measure. With what triumph of soul, in surveying either the general or particular Providence of God, does he observe every line pointing out an hereafter, every scene opening into eternity.

14. He is peculiarly and inexpressibly happy, in the clearest and fullest conviction, This all-powerful, all-wise, all-gracious Being, this Governor of all, loves me. This lover of my soul is always with me, is never absent, no not for a moment. And I love him ; there is none in heaven but thee, none on earth that I desire beside thee! And he has given me to resemble himself, he has stamped his image on my heart. And I live unto him; I do only his will*; I glorify him with my body and my spirit. And it will not be long before I shall die unto him ; I shall die into the arms of God. And then, farewell sin and pain; then it only remaing, that I should live with him for ever."

15. This is the plain, naked portraiture of a Christian. But, be not prejudiced against him for his name. Forgive his particularities of opinion, and (what you think) superstitious modes of worship. These are, circumstances but of small concern; and do not enter into the essence of his character. Cover them with a veil of love, and look at the substance; his tempers, his holiness, his happiness.

Can calm reason conceive either a more amiable or a more desirable character ? Is it your own ? Away with names ! Away with opinions ! I care not what you are called. I ask not, (it does not deserve a thought,) what opinion you are of; so you are conscious to yourself, that you are the man, whom I have been (however faintly) describing.

Do not you know, you ought to be such ? Is the Governor of the world well pleased that you are not? Do you (at least) desire it ? I would to God that desire may penetrate your inmost soul; and that you may have no rest in your spirit, till you are not only almost, but altogether a Christian !

Sect. II. 1. The second point to be considered is, What is real, genuine Christianity ? Whether we speak of it as a principle in the soul, or as a scheme or system of doctrine.

Christianity, taken in the latter sense, is, that system of doctrine, which describes the character above recited, which promises, it shall be mine, (provided I will not rest till I attain;) and which tells me how I may attain it.

2. First, It describes this character, in all its parts, and that in the most lively and affecting manner. The main lines of this picture are beautifully drawn in many passages of the Old Testament. These are filled up in the New, retouched and finished with all the art of God. The same we have in miniature more than once ; particularly in the thirteenth chapter of the former epistle to the Corinthians, and in that discourse which St. Matthew records, as delivered by our Lord, at his entrance upon his public ministry.

3. Secondly, Christianity promises this character shall be mine, if I will not rest till I attain it. This is promised in the Old Testament and New. Indeed the New is, in effect, all a promise ; seeing every description of the servants of God mentioned therein, has the nature of a command; in consequence of those general injunctions, • Be ye followers of me, as I am of Christ.' 1 Cor. xi. 1. Be ye followers of them, who through faith and patience inherit the promises.' Heb. vi. 12. And every command has the force of a promise, in virtue of those general promises : • A new heart will I give you, and I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.' Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27. • This is the covenant that I will make after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their minds and write them in their hearts.' Heb. viii. 10. Accordingly, when it is said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and

with all thy mind ;' it is not only a direction what I shall do, but a promise of what God will do in me; exactly equivalent with what is written elsewhere, The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart and the heart of thy seed (alluding to the custom then in use) to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.' Deut. XXX. 6.

4. This being observed, it will readily appear to every serious person, who reads the New Testament with that care, which the importance of the subject demands, that every particular branch of the preceding character is manifestly promised therein ; either explicitly, under the very form of a promise, or virtually, under that of description or command.

5. Christianity tells, me, in the third place, how I may attain the promise, namely, by faith. But what is faith ? Not an opinion, no more than it is a form of words ; not any number of opinions put together, be they ever so true. A string of opinions is no more Christian faith, than a string of beads is Christian holiness.

It is not an assent to any opinion, or any number of opinions. A man may assent to three, or three and twenty creeds; he may assent to all the Old and New Testament, (at least, as far as he understands them,) and yet have no Christian faith at all.

6. The faith by which the promise is attained is represented by Christianity, as a power wrought by the Almighty in an immortal spirit, inhabiting a house of clay, to see through that veil into the world of spirits, into things invisible and eternal: a power to discern those things which with eyes of flesh and blood no man hath seen or can see; either by reason of their nature, which (though they surround us on every side,) is not perceivable by these gross senses ; or by reason of their distance, as being yet afar off in the bosom of eternity.

7. This is Christian faith in the general notion of it. In its more particular notion it is, a divine evidence or conviction wrought in the heart, that God is reconciled to me through his Son : inseparably joined with a confidence in him, as a gracious, reconciled Father, as for all things, so especially for all those good things which are invisible and eternal.

To believe (in the Christian sense) is then to walk in the light of eternity: and to have a clear sight of, and confidence in the Most High, reconciled to me through the Son of his love.

8. Now how highly desirable is such a faith, were it only on its own account ! For how little does the wisest of men know of any thing more than he can see with his eyes ! What clouds and darkness cover the whole scene of things invisible and eternal! What does he know even of himself as to his invisible part? What of his future manner of existence ? How melancholy an account does the prying, learned philosopher, (perhaps the wisest and best of all Heathens,) the great, the venerable Marcus Antoninus give of these things ? What was the result of all his serious researches? Of his high and deep contemplations ? “ Either dissipation (of the soul as

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well as the body, into the common, unthinking mass) or re-absorption into the universal fire, the unintelligent source of all things : of, some unknown manner of conscious existence, after the body sinks to rise no more." One of these three he supposed must succeed death, but which he had no light to determine. Poor Antoninus ! With all his wealth, his honour, his power! With all his wisdom and philosophy!

" What points of knowledge did he gain ?
That life is sacred all--and vain !
Sacred bow bigb! And vain bow low !

He could not tellBut died to know." 9. He died to know! And so must you, unless you are now a partaker of Christian faith. O consider this. Nay, and consider not only how little you know of the immensity of the things that are beyond sense and time, but how uncertainly do you know even that little ! How faintly glimmering a light is that you have ! Can you properly be said to know any of these things? Is that knowledge any more than bare conjecture ! And the reason is plain. You have no senses suitable to invisible or eternal objects. What desiderata then, especially to the rational, the reflecting part of mankind, are these? A more extensive knowledge of things invisible and eternal: a greater certainty in whatever knowledge of them we have; and, in order to both, faculties capable of discerning things invisible.

10. Is it not so ? Let impartial reason speak. Does not every thinking man want a window, not so much in his neighbour's, as in his own breast? He wants an opening there, of whatever kind, that might let in light from eternity. He is pained to be thus feeling after God so darkly, so uncertainly ; to know so little of God, and indeed so little of any beside material objects. He is concerned, that he must see that little, not directly, but in the dim, sullied glass of sense; and consequently so imperfectly and obscurely, that it is all a mere enigma still.

11. Now these very desiderata faith supplies. It gives a more extensive knowledge of things invisible, showing what eye had not seen, nor ear heard, neither could it before enter into our heart to conceive. And all these it shows in the clearest light, with the fullest certainty and evidence. For it does not leave us to receive our notice of them by mere reflection from the dull glass of sense ; but resolves a thousand enigmas of the highest concern, by giving faculties suited to things invisible. Oh! Who would not wish for such a faith, were it only on these accounts ? How much more, if by this I may receive the promise, I may attain all that holiness and happiness !

12. So Christianity tells me; and so I find it, may every real Christian say.

I now am assured that these things are so; I experience them in my own breast. What Christianity (considered as a doctrine) promised, is accomplished in my soul. And Christianity, considered as an inward principle, is the completion of all those

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promises. It is holiness and happiness, the image of God impressed on a created spirit; a fountain of peace and love springing up into everlasting life.

Sect. III. 1. And this I conceive to be the strongest evidence of the truth of Christianity. I do not undervalue traditional evidence. Let it have its place and its due honour. It is highly serviceable in its kind, and in its degree. And yet I cannot set it on a level with this.

It is generally supposed, that traditional evidence is weakened by length of time; as it must necessarily pass through so many hands, in a continued succession of ages. > But no length of time can possibly affect the strength of this internal evidence. It is equally strong, equally new, through the course of seventeen hundred years. It passes now, even as it has done from the beginning, directly from God into the believing soul. Do you suppose time will ever dry up this strea 'n ? O no. It shall never be cut off.

Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis ævum. 2. Traditional evidence is of an extremely complicated nature, necessarily including so many and so various considerations, that only men of a strong and clear understanding can be sensible of its full force. On the contrary, how plain and simple is this ! And how level to the lowest capacity! Is not this the sum, One thing I know : I was blind, but now I see. An argument so plain, that a peasant, a woman, a child, may feel all its force.

3. The traditional evidence of Christianity stands as it were a great way öff; and therefore although it speaks loud and clear, yet makes a less lively impression. It gives us an account of what was transacted long ago, in far distant times as well as places. Whereas the inward evidence is intimately present to all persons, at all times, and in all places. It is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, if thou believest in the Lord Jesus Christ.' This then is the record, this is the evidence, emphatically so called, That God hath given unto us eternal life; and this life is in his Son.

4. If then it were possible (which I conceive it is not) to shake the traditional evidence of Christianity, still he that has the internal evidence, (and every true believer hath the witness or evidence in himself,) would stand firm and unshaken. - Still he could say to those who were striking at the external evidence, “Beat on the sack of Anaxagoras.' But you can no more hurt my evidence of Christianity, than the tyrant could hurt the spirit of that wise man.

5. I have sometimes been almost inclined to believe, that the wisdom of God has, in most later ages, permitted the external evidence of Christianity to be more or less clogged and encumbered for this very end, that men (of reflection especially) might not altogether rest there, but be constrained to look into themselves also, and attend to the light shining in their hearts.

Nay, it seems, (if it be allowed for us to pry so far into the reasons of the divine dispensations,) that particularly in this age, God suffers

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