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of Him, “who made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that therein is.”* In entering into these considerations, there are two assistants afforded us, by our gracious Creator Reason and Revelation. The former, as well as the latter, is useful on this occasion. It is a faculty given us by God; and, if rightly exercised, will tend to promote our knowledge of Him, particularly in the works of creation and nature. When not misled by the vanity of the human heart, reason sees and feels its own imperfection; and readily embraces and submits to those advantages, which revelation affords. By revelation, I mean to comprehend both that which is mediate, and that which is immediate. The former is communicated in the Holy Scriptures, in wbich we have very ample accounts of the being and nature of God; of his manifold works in Creation and in Providence; of his love to mankind, particularly in the work of redemption by Christ; and in affording the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to guide and direct into all necessary truth. It is by this Spirit, which is called the Spirit of God and of Christ, as proceeding from the Father and the Son, that immediate revelation is received. This revelation pro
* Psalm cxlvi. 6.
duces that knowledge of God and of Christ, on which eternal life depends. In this sense, só no man knoweth who the Father is, but the Son; and he to whom the Son will reveal Him."* And when it pleases God to reveal his Son in any, and obedience is yielded to the heavenly vision, these then become acquainted with the mysteries of God's kingdom; and are made sensible, that “flesh and blood bath not revealed these things unto them; but their Father which is in Heaven.”+
As the Holy Scriptures are the blessed means of introducing us to an acquaintance with the way of life and salvation, and of affording us much instruction in our various duties to God and one to another; I earnestly press on you, my dear young friends, a frequent and serious perusal of them. You will here find much profitable instruction of various kinds: the history is, beyond any other, important and interesting; the mystery makes “wise unto salvation.”Here you may see the various dealings of God with his creature man; you may be made acquainted with the dispensation of the law, the predictions of the prophets, the ministration of John, and the most glorious
* Lake x. 22. + Matt. xvi. 17. 2 Tim. iii, 15.
dispensation of the Gospel. Beware of such publications as have a tendency to create a disrelish for these Sacred Writings. Considerwhat the state of our religious knowledge would have been without them; and look at those parts of the world which have not had the benefit of the Scriptures; or in which the reading of them has been greatly restrained. When this comparison is fairly made, I believe we shall find abundant cause to be thankful to the God and Father of all our mercies, for the benefit we enjoy, in having free access to these testimonials of his ways and will respecting the children of men. Let them be fairly compared with the various systems of religion in the world ; and then, although there should be some difficulties, which may not, at once be fully comprehended, (and in what science are there not such difficulties ?) then will the transcendent excellency of Christianity be felt and acknowledged ; and gratitude will fill the heart, for the unmerited love of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord..
Having fairly appreciated the general principles of Christianity, those which are peculiar to our religious society, and of which you make profession, will, I believe, rise in your
· view with esteem and attachment. Their
consistency with the Christian religion has been already shown; and, presuming you to be sensible of this consistency, I affectionately entreat you to be faithful in your adherence to them. Attend to that Divine Light, that saving grace, that good Spirit, which is placed in your hearts. This, if attended to, will preserve from the temptations incident to early life; and be your guide and support through the various trials and probations, which, now or hereafter, may be your allotment. O! my dear friends, receive this heavenly Visitant in the way of bis coming. Give not up your minds to the pleasures and enjoyments of this world, wbich will draw away your obedient attention from things which make for true peace, and things by which you may edify one another. Be willing to take up the daily cross; and to bear the yoke of Him, who said: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”*
"Let those who have been habituated to sinful or dissipating pleasures, and have afterwards
: * Matt. xi. 29, 30.
been brought to taste of the good word of life, and the powers of the world to come; let these say, whether more of the real comforts and enjoyments of life, are not to be experienced in the humility and self-denial of a Christian, than in all the gratifications which sin and folly afford. When we take into consideration the Divine peace, which, we are told," passeth all understanding,"* and a degree of which is at times the experience of the faithful followers of a crucified Lord; when we also consider the comfortable prospects of another and eternal state of existence; there will be found sufficient inducements, in every reasonable point of view, to prefer a life of religion and virtue, above that which is devoted to the indulgence and the pursuits of folly, dissipation, and sin.
The same principle of Divine Light, which led our predecessors out of the vain and sinful pleasures of the world, also let them see the corruptions which had taken place in religious worship and ministry; the inconsistency of war with the Gospel Dispensation ; and the impropriety of divers other matters, in the external deportment of professing Christians. For their testimony on these accounts, and the conduct
* Phil. iv. 7.