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speak the real truths of God to gives such a view of his character, the outward ear, and even com- grace, and salvation to the minds municate some scientific know- of men, as effectually attracts their ledge of them to the judgment; supreme affections, and constrains but they cannot give a spiritual them to love him. discernment to perceive the things 2. Divine teaching is plain and of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. xii. 14. simple; answerable to wbich the Paul may plant, and Apollos may apostles used great plainness of water, but it is God alone who speech. The artificial wisdom and giveth the increase, 1 Cor. ii. 6. reasoning of men always darken It is he alone that can give an and perplex the simplicity of diviue understanding to know him that truths, and the more they think to is true; that can open the heart, investigate them in this way, the rectify the very perceptive faculty, more do they miss their aim, and and speak immediately to our spi. involve themselves and others in rits by his word. The mind of darkness and perplexities: But man is naturally like ancient Chaos, / divine teaching does not leave the full of darkness and disorder, and mind to laboured and ingenious God's power, in bringing him out investigation, or a painful stretch of darkness into his marvellous of the judgment or reasoning falight, is compared to his creating culty to comprehend it; it comes power, whereby he at first com- with a self-evidence and simplicity manded light to shine out of dark- like the very principles of nature; ness. Thus he shines into the so that every thing will appear so heart, giving the knowledge of his plain and simple, and at the same glory as it shines in the face of time so surprisingly grand and Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 6. and so dis-god-like, that men will be asta covers himself by his own light nished at their former ignorance. even as the sun does. Again, men This method of teaching is peculiar may set forth the evidence of divine to him who made us, who created truth, but they cannot produce and has access to our spirits, and conviction by that evidence; but knows how to shine into our hearts. the light which comes from God This teaching indeed makes the carries its own evidence along with simple wise unto salvation: but it it to the mind; for the God of also makes the reasoning philotruth makes himself manifest as sopher a fool that he may become the speaker, and so it comes not wise in the simplicity of a little in word only, but in power, and in child. A blind philosopher may the Holy Ghost, and in much reason about the nature of colours, assurance, 1 Thess.i. 5. Specula- but a simple peasant will have a tion and belief are often separated juster idea of them by one glance in human teaching, but not so in of his eye. So is every one that is divine; for as God makes himself | taught of God. known as the teacher, we must of 3. It is of a humbling nature. necessity know the truth and reality | Human teaching and speculations of what is laught upon his own tend to puff up with the pride of authority. Further, men mày set knowledge, and swell a person with forth in words the beauty and a conceit of his comparative attaidloveliness of divine things, but ments; hence the wise man glories they cannot communicate a view in his wisdom. But divine teachof their glory and excellency to the ing, as it manifests the glory and mind, so as to make men perceive, majesty of God to the soul, so it relish, and love them supremely; empties the creature of itself, and hence we find knowledge and love lays it low in the dust as ignorant, frequently separated; but the Lord polluted dust and ashes before him. This was the effect of divine of a spiritual nature, it must ne. manifestations on Abraham, Gen. cessarily include peace' with God, xviii. 27. on Job, ch. xl. 4, 5. xlii. which is the inseparable concomi2–7. on David, 2 Sam. vii. 18- tant of faith, Rom. v. 1.-peace of 21. and on Isaiah vi. 5.
conscience, or deliverance from 4. It is of a satisfying nature. the distressing sense of guilt, which Human teaching leaves the mind ever haunts the mind of the unbestill empty and unsatisfied, as to liever, Heb. ix. 14.- peace from the main thing that gives happi- the distracting cares of this world. ness, peace and rest. It still leaves Phil. iv. 6, 7.--- peace and commen in the painful inquiry, What posure of mind amidst all the trilack I yet? or, What shall I do to bulations and afflictions of this be saved ? Or, if it should kindle mortal life, John xiv. 27. ch. xvi. some transient flashes of joy and 33.-and peace and concord among comfort, it is in the power of every Christian brethren, Isaiah xi, 6 wind of doctrine or temptation to | 10. 2 Cor. xiii. 11. blast it. The reason is plain; it cannot of itself beget faith, or communicate to a man the sense ON THE NATURE, IMPORTANCE, of the divine favour in the remis
AND REASONABLENESS OFRE
'LIGION. sion of his sins, or purge his conscience from the guilt of them, [Concluded from page 202.] and so give peace with God. It! The good word of God, which cannot give him the lively hope of is given us to be our sure guide to everlasting life, or bring his soul to heaven, speaks of repenting or peace and rest as to his great con. perishing; of being born again, or cern: But divine teaching does all of not seeing the kingdom of God; this, for tbus its effects are describ- of believing, or being damned; ed, “ Great shall be the peace of of being pure in heart, converted, thy children."
and created anew, or not seeing 5. It transforms the soul into the Lord, and being for ever ex. the divine image. Moses behold- cluded the heavenly kingdom. ing the glory of the Lord upon the “ If any man be in Christ he is a mount, derived a shining lustre new creature, old things are passed upon his face; and the apostle away, behold all things are become alludes to this when he says, “But new;” and also, “If any man have we all with open face, beholding not the Spirit of Christ, he is none as in a glass the glory of the Lord, of his." It speaks of an inward are changed into the same image work wrought in the soul of the from glory to glory, as by the true Christian, of which God alone Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. iii. 18. must be the author; and for which so that the light of God's glory in he alone is competent. Thus, the face of Christ, shining into our “He that hath wrought us for the hearts, assimilates us into the self-same thing is God.” “He who image of the object. But as establishes us with you is Christ, human teaching cannot present the and hath anointed us is God;" object, it cannot produce this “We are his workmanship, creeffect.
ated anew in Christ Jesus unto 6. I remark, lastly, that the ef good works." Eph. ji. Also that fect of divine teaching is summed we are to "seek first the kingdom up in the word peace-a compre- of God, and his righteousness ;" hensive term, which in scripture Matt. vi. Surely every one who signifies not only concord, rest and attentively reads, and duly conquietness, but every kind of posi- siders these passages, must enterlive happiness. As this peace is tain opinions very different from
those before mentioned; and be it! How few are they that are sinfully convinced that religion is both cerely religions. This poor fleet. a very serious and important busi. ing world engrosses the whole atness, and that it demands the most tention of the multitude, and the attentive regard, and most fervent most important concerns are left prayer to God to be habitually to a sick bed, and a dying hour. and solemnly impressed with it, It has been remarked, that in most and guided aright.
places, scarcely more than one The scriptures speak of the ne-third of the inhabitants attend re. cessity and importance of religion gularly any place of worship; and in the strongest terms, and it is how many of these are found to truly surprising that readers are attend to little profit? Under this not more powerfully impressed melancholy view of the subject, with them. They mention it as how natural is it to exclaim, in the one thing needful; as the the pathetic language of Moses; principal thing; as that which we “Oh that they were wise, that they should first seek, Luke x. Prov. iv. inderstood this, that they would 7. Matt. vi. 33. They exhort us to consider their latter end!" strive, that is, “to agonize to en. Yet what life so happy as a fer in at the strait gate;" to labour, truly religious life? To enjoy for. to wrestle, to run, and to give all giveness and reconciliation with diligence. They speak of the way God; to live under a sense of his to heaven being narrow, and the love and favour; to walk with gate strait; and but few finding God, enjoying daily communion it: and the road to destruction with him; to have his love shed broad, and the gate wide, and abroad in the heart, and to be that many enter in thereat : also able to worship and serve hinn that “many shall seek to enter in constantly, from the sweetly con. and shall not be able.” What straining influence of supreme and moreover is very alarming, they prevailing love; to view and ap. speak of great numbers who do proach him as our Father, our repay some regard to religion, and conciled Father; and be perinake an open profession of it, suaded that “all things are under who will be finally rejected. Thus his direction, and will be made our Lord; “ Not every one that subservient to our eternal good; saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall to be able to look forward to hea. enter into the kingdom of heaven.” | ven, as the inberitance provided “Many shall say unto me in that for us, and promised to us: and day, Lord ! have we not prophe- to enjoy pleasing anticipations and sied in thy name, and done many foretastes of it: is encouraging and wonderful works: to whom he delightful. Besides these, to par. will then say, “I know ye not, de- take of the liberty of the gospel, part from me ye workers of ini- liberty from guilt, from condemguity." See also the parable of nation, from the dominion of sin : the ten virgins ; the parable of the to devote all our powers, volun. tares; and the fishes; and alsol tarily and cheerfully, from choice, of the sower, where out of four from love, from a sweet and divine sorts of hearers, only one of them bias of the will; is no small adheard to'good purpose. How pe- vantage. The obedience of the culiarly awful is the above descrip: Christian is not a slavery; he is tion of the number of the saved, not induced to it by a slavish fear; and the care and exertion neces- the law of God is his delight; sary to secure eternal life! yet his service is freedom, he oder awful as this account is, how few because he loves: his "yoke is easy comparatively, are affected with and his burden is light;" che
has made him free indeed. Now it; we must be as earnest and rewhat has the world to offer; what solute as soldiers that take a place pleasure can sig afford, in any de. by storm. “All men,” says Christ gree comparable to these? ( that “press into it;" that is, “every men would lay aside their preju- occupant,” all that succeed, obtain dices, and judge impartially of re- the possession of it through eara ligion! If they would consider nestness, resolution and persen truly religious characters, they verance, by pressing into it. Shalt would see they were not the most we manifest these qualities in all unhappy men in the world, but other cases, confessedly inferior: the most happy. And if they and refuse it in the case of the soul, considered the end of their pro- and eternal salvation? When we bationary course, and anticipated have such objects before us as. an eternal state, their consciences heaven, eternal life, a crown of would satisfy them which will then glory, the beatific vision, &c. shall have the advantage.
- our affections be cold, our desires Let the reader take due care languid, and our efforts occasional, that he be not induced to neglect feeble and constrained; when religion, nor attend to it super- every effort should be used, and ficially, from the example of others, every nerve strained to ensure suca however numerous they may be, cess? Be assured no ordinary ex. or whatever be their rank, learning, ertiou in this case will ever be apa or other pretensions. A day is proved of God, or secure to us de coming when he will find himself final victory and an eternal crown. destitute and wretched, if le No one can justly object to the slights it, or attends to it in a for- reasonableness of religion. Is not mal lifeless manner. While the God our Maker, Preserver, and closest attention is thought neces- Benefactor ? does not bis prosary to obtain an accurate ac- vidence watch over us with an in. quaintance with an art or science, cessant care? do we not live on nor is any expence, or time, or la. his bounty? and does he not“ give bour thought too great, to qualify us all things richly to enjoy ?" Is a person to make his way through he not "the God of all grace;" this world, and to rise to distinc- the author of the plan of redemption in it; while which is con- tion, the giver of his only begotfessed to be of transcendent im- ten Son, and doth not he offer portance, and on a proper appli- freely to us with and through him, cation to wbich, the complete and full forgiveness, his favour, and eternal fruition of heaven depends, eternal life? Do these give him is left to slight and occasional at no claim to our supreme regard ? tention: or regarded as an object | Has he not also endowed us with of secondary importance. While reason, made us capable of the the best energies of men are re- knowledge, love, worship, and quisite to secure the salvation of fear of Him? Has he not endowed the soul, it is frequently left to the us with a moral sense, given us a dangerous uncertainty of a dying revelation of his will, promised hour. The Lord Jesus, the com- his Holy Spirit, and made us ca. petency of whose knowledge of pable of immortality? Oh, bow this subject none can call into reasonable is it then that he should question, has commanded us to have our best affections, our site strive, and has assured us that premę regard? how reasonable is "the kingdom of heaven suffereth it, that we should subna wholly violence, and the violent take it to him, forsake all for hiui, devote · by force.” We must forcibly all to him, and live wholly and en sieze heaven, if we would obtain tirely to his glory.
Guard against the prejudices | does my wondering eye survey! which hinder many from embracing How extensive! how glorious! a religious life. It is thought to What is a land flowing with mills be gloomy, unsocial, and desti- and honey, the glory of Israel's tute of all comfort. But it is un- portion, compared with a country, questionably the very reverse of all where there are rivers of pleasure, these. Just conceptions of the na- and joys for ever more! Here, no ture of religion, must satisfactorily sorrow can embitter, no sin dieonvince any one of this. The minish, no enemies interrupt, no Christian, as before intimated, en-lapse of time exhaust, the joys of joys forgiveness, and reconcili- its blest inhabitants. Here is at ation; he enjoys a sense of the eternal sabbath, an uninterrupted love and favour of God, and com- state of repose. No fruits of the munion with him; he draws nigh curse, no assaults of Satan can enunto him daily as his Father; danger the bliss of this Eden, looks forward to heaven as his through which flows the river of home, and has frequent delightful life, clear as crystal, from the foretastes of heaven. He serves throne of God and of the Lamb;' God cheerfully, and does not con- and in which grows the tree of life, sider his service as servile drudgery, whose fruit is the repast of hea. but does his will froin the heart, ven, and whose leaves are for the because he loves God, and is as- | healing of the nations. Here is sured of God's love to him; his that society, which the most perservice therefore, is his delight. fect harmony unites, which the He“ walks with God" constantly, blood of Christ redeemed, and and finds his ways, “ways of plea- which his grace shall animate with santness, and paths of peace.” songs of never ending praise. Here He can sincerely say,
is the mansion of rest and glory, * “ Thy service, Lord ! is my delight,
which the Redeemer went before "I would be spent and spend for thee.” to prepare for his disconsolate and frequently, with an ardent and disciples. aspiring mind,
“Whether we consider religion *He looks to heaven's eternal hill,
| in its origin, foundation, nature, • “To meet that glorious day;
influence, fruits, and evidences; - 6 When Christ his promise shall fulfil, or examine the consolations it im “And call his soul away;"
parts, the attractive loveliness it “While multitudes circumscribe displays, and the prospects it opens their views, and contract their to its happy votaries: it must in happiness within the narrow limits every point of view, be a concern of a miserable and short-lived ex. of great importance. * istence, embittered by cares and Reader! give this subject your bounded by time; the believer most dipassionate consideration. passes these boundaries, with a Pray for divine illumination, Connoble anabition enlivens his pros- sider, your all is at stake. In a pects, and expands his views with few years at farthest, you will be the anticipation of future glory. in heaven or hell, lost or saved for Thus mounting on wings as eagles, ever. Can any subject, any obbe ascends the sacred hill of con-ject of pursuit be placed in com, templation; from thence views by petition with this? God has given the eye of faith the fair inheritance you reason, a Bible, a preached which is prepared for him; and gospel, and some leisure hours; often breaks out into effusions of and he has appointed a throne of joy and gratitude, under the im- grace for you to approach daily; pressions of such a ravishing pros- he has directed you to “ask and pect. O what a rich inheritance .. . sve De Courcey. Her '