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tion of all religion. We have repeatedly had the charge of Deism fastened upon us; but certainly by those who either knew nothing of our doctrine, or were altogether ignorant of the import of the term. Be assured, my friends, we are too well aware of the wretched, debasing, and comfortless nature of deistical notions to admit them into our creed. We regard them as unnatural -as counteracting the most pleasing hopes, the tenderest affections, and strongest desires interwoven with the human constitution. The deist, in contradistinction indeed from the atheist, admits an intelligent cause of all things; but as to a future state, if he does not disbelieve it altogether, his ideas on the subject are too vague and indistinct to produce any elevation of character, or become the motive of conduct, and he treats revelation as a fa. ble-the mere dream of superstition, or the invention of priestcraft, to obtain, for interested purposes, an ascendant over the minds of the ignorant multitude-as too únintelligible and improbable to afford any consolation under the evils of life, or support under the apprehensions of death. My friends! Let me seriously ask you—do you find any resemblance between these sentiments and those which have been exhibited in the foregoing discourse? As these are in honesty and sincerity my own, so I firmly believe thein to be theirs who are known by the distinctive appellation of Unitarians. Let it not be imagined, however, that we are actuated by any hot or eager zeal for making converts—we are content that the progress of truth should be, as in due consistency it ought, gentle, peaceable, and gradual. As to any authoritative imposition upon our fellow citizens of opinions which we think ever so correct, we have as
little of the inclination as of the power to employ it ; and we most emphatically disclaim the idea, that the difference of their sentiments from our's will subject them to condemnation, at that tribunal, where both we and they are to appear. Yet this we think we have a right to claim and to insist opon, that, wbile there is nothing in our conduct to forbid it, we be allowed to take an equal rank, and to be treated with the same respect as is allowed, by the constitution of our country, to all religious societies in common. To conclude,
If I have succeeded in my attempt to give a rational, intelligible, and consistent view of this main article of gospel faith-its connexion with practice, and its value, as a motive to follow after that holi.
ness without which no man shall see the Lord, will * be distinctly perceived; as well as its total disagree
ment with those metaphysical subtleties, which have for ages filled the world with strife and angry debate, but never made any one of their warmest advocates a wiser man or a better Christian.
ON THE ASCENSION AND EXALTATION OF CHRIST.
Eph. i. 18-23.
That ye may knowwhat is the exceeding greatness of his power towards us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand, in the heavenly places, fur above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world (rather in this age) but that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
THAT the Christian religion contains some things, which being contrary to the known and established laws of nature, may at first view create suspicion and hesitation, cannot but be acknowledged even by its most zealous advocates; and doubts as to its truth might reasonably be entertained, if we saw, upon the face of the narrative, the marks of disguise or concealment, or of a design to impose upon the world, for divine truth, the reveries of a disordered imagination. But whenever we meet with any thing of this extraordinary kind, we find it represented as taking place, if not before assembled multitudes, at least in the presence of witnesses to whose testimony
every degree of credit is due, and who could have no conceivable motive for propagating an imposture. And if the facts are not trifling and unimportant in themselves, nor unworthy of the wisdom and goodness of the Deity in the ends they are to answer, we cannot question his power to effect them; for as the Author of the established laws of nature, he must be compctent also to their controul.
Such is the ASCENSION OF JESUS. Of the evangelists, Luke, in the conclusion of his gospel, and the beginning of the book of Acts, gives the most particular account of it. Mark briefly mentions it. Matthew and John seem to take the notoriety of the transaction for granted; the former carrying his narrative no farther than Christ's promise of his continued presence with the apostles, and the latter only incidentally referring to it in the message sent to them by Mary of Magdala—Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Direct and frequent reference is also made to the fact, throughout the succeeding part of the apostolic history, and the épistles. Indeed, so important a place does it occupy in the gospel system, that it may be said, even as of his resurrection-“ If Christ be not ascended, our faith is vain."-But to be more particular
Although Christ had appeared, after his resurrection, to a very considerable number of his followers, it would seem that the apostles only were witnesses of his ascension. To them specially were his parting words addressed, respecting the promise of the holy spirit; and that promise having been openly accomplished, no other testimony than theirs, to the fact of his ascension, was requisite. Accounts have
been given of the translation of heathen heroes and others into heaven, but they carry, upon their very face, evident tokens of their falsity. That of the , event we are considering, wears, on the contrary, every mark of truth. Here was no collusion, nothing concealed or dubious. It took place in open day from an eminence, where it could be plainly and advantageously seen, and while the attention of the persons present was closely rivetted upon him—while, according to the expression of the evangelist, they beheld him, expecting indeed something of a very different nature, even that he was about publicly to appear as the restorer of the kingdom to Israel. He rose, while in the act of bestowing on them his solemn benediction— he lifted up his hands and blessed them--while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up”-not in a conflict of the elements, whereby their attention might have been distracted and their senses confounded, but in a slow, gradual, and easy manner, till a cloud intercepted him from their view. In all this affair there is not the smallest circumstance that can denote fraud or deception, but every thing to preclude any such idea. And if any doubts existed in the minds of such as were not actually present, they would in a short time be con. vinced that Jesus was not only still living, but capable of acting in a more extended sphere than while on earth, by the gift of the spirit, poured out on the apostles, and communicated to themselves. This was the proof to which the apostles constantly and universally appealed. Thus Peter to the assembled multitude on the day of Pentecost. Being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of