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trary, it secures these interests more-much more, effectually, than any system of any philosopher in any age. Jesus Christ is not the minister of sin.” Of him it was foretold, in the records of ancient prophecy, that when he should come to his temple,” as "the messenger of the covenant,” he would be like a refiner's fire, and like fallers' soap”—that he would then “purify” his people as "gold and silver,” and enable them to offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” 0! never let the doctrine of gratuitous salvation, which forms the glory of the New Testament, be calumniated, as promising happiness on terms incompatible with the promotion of love to God and benevolence to man! The charge we boldly pronounce an unfounded one. Christianity expressly and emphatically teaches, that without holiness no individual of our fallen race can be admitted into the divine presence. It gives us to understand, that we must be saved 5 through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth," or, as the passage might be as well rendered, “through sanctification of the Spirit,” EVEN " the belief of the truth ;” thus identifying faith with an upright and a devout life. Indeed, nothing more remarkably distinguishes the scheme which we advocate, from all other schemes that have been or are now prevalent in the world, than the inviolable affinity which it proclaims to subsist between present purity and future glory. It proffers felicity only on the rigid condition of departing from evil and doing good. Faith, the grand sine quâ non—the indispensable requisition of the gospel, has been shown to involve a degree of moral rectitude and beauty, surpassing all the refinements of philosophy—transcending the most exalted and brilliant visions of poetry. In short, the essence of virtue is centred in an bumble and an affectionate submission to the Son of God. It consists in “living no more to ourselves, but to him who died for us and rose again.”
“ Talk we of morals? O thou bleeding Love!
Brethren, you have now seen the importance of faith. Your assembling within these walls to-night, is a virtual proposition to us, as the servant of Christ, of the question -“What shall we do that we may work the works of God?" And are we not bound to return the same answer which was given by our Lord himself to the inquiring Jews ? Surely we must reply, “ This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." Yes, we dare not do other than announce faith as the only condition of salvation. This, dear hearers, is the grand duty which Jehovah requires of you. It is denominated in our text, “the work of God," because he both commands and enables you to perform it. 6 Without faith, it is impossible to please him.” Nay, “whatsoever is not of faith is sin." How deplorable then is the situation of those (and they are not a few) whose hopes of heaven are founded solely on their own virtues! O! for a tongue to warn them of their danger! O! for an arm of strength to break and dispel the delusion which is beguiling them down to the world of wo! Their case is, perhaps, of all others the most jeopardous. The open and conscious transgressor may be penetrated with feelings of contrition, and reclaimed from the error of his ways. But it is no easy matter to produce such feelings in the bosom of the individual who believes that his life has been, on the whole, as irreproachable as the imperfections of his nature would seem to admit, and who has long entertained the conviction, that his general integrity and benevolence will atone for his occasional failings, and insure
his happiness beyond the grave. Is there such an individual in the audience before us? We must tell you, dear friend, that there is not much probability of your salvation. We greatly fear, that you will never get to heaven. All things, indeed, are possible with God. But it rarely happens that he vouchsafes the blessed influences of his Spirit, to one in your condition.
We cannot conclude, brethren, without reminding you, that as you have been rendered acquainted with the work of God,” you are under imperious obligations to perform it. You have been told again and again, that an awful account will be exacted of those who refuse to believe on an offered Saviour. May none of us, dear hearers, come into the condemnation which shall certainly overtake such! Of the heathen, to whose abodes the Bible has never obtained access, nor the missionary of the cross found his way, charity leads us to indulge the hope, that they shall not all be lost. But what line can fathom the depths, what eye can pierce the gloom, of that dungeon which is prepared for those who sink down to endless ruin from this favoured land, where the Sabbath smiles, where the sanctuary of Jehovah rears its hallowed front, and where the glorious day-spring from on high, gladdens every valley and gilds every mountain! Ah! let me have my eternal portion with the citizens of ancient Greece and Romelet my final residence be in that region where the spirits of departed Cherokees, Hindoos, and Tartarians are gathered—but, God of mercy! may I never experience the doom of those, who, out of the very bosom of Christianity, are cast into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone!
PROVERBS XXVIII. 26. (First Clause.)
“ He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.”
One of the best evidences of the divine origin of the sacred Scriptures, is their tendency to humble the creature and elevate the Creator. It has been argued, that man could not be the uninspired author of a volume exhibiting such a view of the relation between God and ourselves, as compels us to admit, that we are nothing, and that he is All and in ALL.
On the fairness and the force of this argument, it is not our present purpose to insist. Our business is only with the fact which constitutes the premises of the argument. We presume, then, that every man possessing the ordinary powers of discernment and reflection, who reads the sacred Scriptures, will grant, that they contain no very flattering estimate of the dignity and excellence of human nature. While philosophers of every sect and in every age have sought to exalt, their object appears to be to abase our species. They tear away the splendid and imposing drapery which moralists and poets would throw around the imperfections and pollutions of the world. They assert, in no equivocal language, that we are all aliens from the favour of our Maker-that we have con-. tracted a deep and an inveterate hostility to his authority and laws. They declare, that the only process of recovery from this deplorable condition, consists in the most 309 lowly and penitent acknowledgment of our past offences, and the most unreserved reliance on the gracious aid of Heaven for the ability to avoid future offences. They dwell with emphasis upon our own insufficiency to regain the character and standing in the universe which, as fallen beings, we have lost. They assure us again and again, that the great work of our moral restoration cannot be effected without the assistance of God—that to attempt this work in our own strength, is the very height of fatuity and presumption. Thus it is written in our text, “ He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.”
These words would claim our attention as coming from an individual distinguished for his profound knowledge of mankind-one whose extraordinary natural sagacity was quickened and matured by long experience, under circumstances the most favourable for an extensive observation of human character and conduct.—But the
passage before us is of still higher authority. It has been recorded by the pen of inspiration. It proceeds, in reality, from Him who formed the heart of man, and who is therefore best acquainted with its weakness and its strength.
Brethren, how prone are we all to trust in our own hearts! We cherish the most favourable opinion of ourselves. We deem our intellectual faculties keener and more vigorous than they are. We imagine that our moral character, though not entirely exempt from blemishes, is comparatively pure and bright. In short, so high is the estimate which we form of our own ability, that there is scarcely any enterprise which we decline from a consciousness of incompetency.
This general disposition to think well of ourselves, exerts a potent influence over our views in respect to the nature and requirements of religion. We cannot help knowing, it is very true, that our conduct, in many in