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Bible, have more and more convinced him, that those views are correct; and he now publishes the Sermons as they then appeared; but with additional evidence, and under the correction, he humbly trusts, of a maturer judgment. It is one thing, however, to perceive, broadly and plainly, a distant light oneself, and, another, to be enabled to cause those around to observe and acknowledge the same clear perception. If the writer fails in this, which, considering the strength of the evidence adduced, is scarcely possible, an abler hand, following a similar course, may still draw aside the veil, which shrouds the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and negative the improbable assertion, that God ever concealed from His people, the awful realities of a Future State. Looking to the myriads of immortal beings, gone to their account before the birth of Christ and the pro
mulgation of His Gospel; how could the Mercy and Justice of the Almighty be ever vindicated, but on the conviction, that Life Eternal was revealed at the Creation, and, (in various and innumerable instances) from the period of the Fall of Man? To each, and all, the warning of Eternity, was, and is given. The Promise made unto the Fathers, was, unquestionably, Life Eternal : although that Promise, was the shadow of things to come, the body of which, was, and is, Christ!
1. When these Sermons were undertaken, the author clearly observed, that the New Testament, examined carefully through every passage,does not contain the first Revelation of Life and Death Eternal. This doctrine is perpetually referred to Moses and the Prophets, by the writers of the New Testament; and again, by the
Epistle to the Colossians, ii. 17.
writers of the Prophetic Books, to Moses ; whose doctrines they all taught, and whose Law they all enforced. Thence arose the idea of tracing up the stream of Revelation, if possible, to its uttermost known source, in its earliest records. The investigation has been patiently pursued, the whole argument has been, both in the Sermons, and in the notes, expressed in popular language, in order to make the inquiry interesting, and intelligible to all, as the eternal interests of all, as well as the Attributes of our COMMON FATHER are involved in the question.
It is confessed, that different opinions are conscientiously held, as to the precise period of the Revelation of Life Eternal ; but the writer's conviction abounds more and more, as he reads the Bible, that, it was made at the Creation and Fall of Man; and that, it was never afterwards,
obscured, but by man's own wilful negligence. Perhaps this difference of opinion exists, because many confound the Revelation, of Life Eternal, with the actual Redemption, and refer both, to the same period. The Revelation was made, at the Creation and Fall of Man; the Redemption, came only, when, in the fulness of time, Christ was born, and died, and rose again. The great end, Life Eternal, was proclaimed from the first. The time, and the one special means, were unfolded slowly, through the immense period, and through all the obscuring changes of four thousand years. Yet, the only difference is, that believers of old, looked forward with earnest expectation to the Redemption (or actual fulfilment of God's Word,) while they had the Revelation ; we, more blessed, looking back on both, carry our eyes onward to the full, and perfect accomplishment, of all the Pro
phecies, and of the WHOLE WORD (until the times of restitution of all things ',) in the person of Jesus, the Redeemer. Christ is the means, and the time, and the end ; the Revelation, and the Redemption ; the Alpha, and Omega, of the Law of Life : promulgated indeed by Moses, but previously existing, in all its necessary Moral and Sacrificial Statutes, through the times of Abraham and Noah, even from the very Fall of Man.
The investigation has been made, by seeking in the Bible, its own exposition ; such as one part of Sacred Scripture furnishes for another ; thus causing the Word, if we may use the expression, to be its own interpreter.
There is no safer guide, there is no surer commentary, there is no more unerring Revelation. The doctrine is not attempted to be
1 Acts iii. 21.