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age, and are incapable of standing before an enlightened one.
All seems preparing for men's gradual deliverance from their thraldom.
7. The powerful influence of general knowledge, diffused by various ineans is, also, beginning to tell upon the native mind-the public press, schools, colleges, medical classes, arts, sciences, commerce, agriculture, libraries, &c.
8. The concurrence of so many principles and advances of Christianity at the same period raises the momentum of the whole. It is not one thing, but many. The renewed vigor of religion amongst her own followers, the state of mind in the idolatrous and Mohammedan nations, and the more favorable regard of governors, will bring on rapidly the rescue of the peoples of the earth, whenever the divine grace shall impregnate with life these preparations.
9. Nor should delays, impediments, persecutions, and even some scandals, discourage our hopes. A tendency is not the less real because of obstructions. Christianity has ever worked its way, like a foun. tain, through superincumbent weights.
Such, then, is the obvious character of the gospel in its most general aspect, whether we consider its rise, its progress, or its present state. For eighteen centuries it has been bending one way, showing one and only one main tendency towards the deliverance and happiness of man both in body and soul.
Contrast with this the manifest tendency of idolatry and all false religions. What has Hindooism done for three thousand years ? What Mohammedanism for more than twelve hundred ? Suppose the whole world covered with either of these forms of religion, what would be the miserable effects ? But suppose it filled in every part with pure Christianity, and no imagination can estimate aright the happiness, peace, purity, righteousness, holy influence which would follow.
We shall have to trace the same beneficial bearing of revelation in all the details of it which are to occupy our subsequent discourses ; but suffice it now,
In application, first to urge on you the importance of viewing Christianity in its simplicity, in order to catch its genuine tendency. Separate it from admixtures. Abstract its essence. Lay aside the additions and incrustations of men. Remove from your view for a moment even its primitive and necessary creeds and forms of discipline—such as those of our own and other apostolical churches. Take it as it was exhibited in the character, and described in the doctrines, of our Lord and his Apostles ; and you will more clearly see its beneficial operation. Men are bewildered by a thousand things being represented as flowing from Christianity, which have merely co-existed with it, or arisen from the judgment and opinions of man. Christianity did not occasion or create the evil in the world. No; it found it there. Whether it be received as a revela. tion from God or not, the misery and blindness of man exist the same; the fall of man is the same; the violence of human passions the same. Mark then the gentle, holy current of Christianity, as she flows through the world, opposing all evil, undoing every yoke, speaking pardon to guilty, and freedom to captive, man; laying down the doctrine of the atonement of Christ as the foundation of hope ; and dispensing the aids of the Holy Spirit to enable man to build upon it for eternity.
But, further, realize the blessed tendencies of religion for yourselves, by admitting it into your own hearts. Feel your own captivity; be broken in heart for sin; acknowledge your wounded and
bruised spiritual state. Admit your natural blind
See in the description of the captive, your own picture. Go to the bottom of the dissatisfaction and unhappiness which every human being is conscious of; and trace it to a fallen nature, apostacy from God, unbelief, rebellion, separation from the fountain of bliss.
The jubilee of the gospel will then be a joyful sound to you. Listen to its silver voice. Pray for that rescue which the Son of God died to procure. Rely humbly on his atonement. Implore his Holy Spirit to break the bands of sin, to restore your sight, to heal your wounded heart, and bring you out of the dark prison-house of Satan and sin. You will thus become a witness to the blessed tendencies of Christianity.
On the other hand, if any who hear the glad tidings, turn from them in unbelief; if they accept not the deliverance, but go on in their degrading bondage, love their idols and lusts, and resolve to follow them still, they must be reminded of that
day of vengeance of our God” of which the prophet speaks in the words following those which our Lord quoted in the text. There is no other alternative. Mercy rejected will aggravate our previous
Now then welcome the jubilee of grace, and implore pardon and peace from Christ the only source of both.
Lastly, Exemplify in your temper and conduct the holy character of Christianity more and more. Carry your religion with you wherever you go. Guard against worldliness on the one hand, and mere human philosophy and science, on the other. Maintain the meek, gentle deportment of a true Christian. Follow Christ. He not only taught the
ue religion; he not only died as a sacrifice for sin ; but he was what he taught; he EMBODIED his pre
cepts in his own life. Imitate Him, and you will best demonstrate the beneficial character of his gospel. You have all rules reduced to one easy precept, BE LIKE TO CHRIST.
Do not dwell on this or that objection raised against Revelation. Do not allow particular difficulties to harrass your mind. Stand on broad ground. Here is a religion supported by direct evidences of so irrefragable a nature, that men venture all their worldly interests on testimony far less se
Here is a religion whose internal texture abounds with proofs of a benevolent design. Here is a religion whose mysteries are the means of heal. ing. Here is a religion whose obvious tendency for eighteen hundred years has been to “
peace on earth and good-will towards men.” Here is a religion whose whole impress is concentrated in the matchless innocency and loveliness of its Founder. Truth prints holiness; and holiness is happiness.
Venture eternity then upon this blessed gospel. Such a religion cannot but be from God, because it resembles him, leads to him, and centres in him. Plant your foot here, and you are safe for ever. Propagate this religion, and you are propagating light, truth, love, moral elevation, purity, the seeds of all happiness here and the preparations of endless peace hereafter.
EPHESIANS iii. 8-10.
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints,
is this grace given, that I should preach amongst the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in the heavenly places might be known by the Church, the manifold wisdom of God.
In considering the most obvious and general tendency of the gospel as impressed on our Lord's discourse at Nazareth, many references were made to the doctrine of redemption. The mystery involved in this great doctrine we now proceed, in the next place, to consider ; with the purpose of illustrating from the excellency of it the benevolent bearings of Christianity.
In estimating the dignity and value of the gospel, we may not unnaturally enquire, What blessings it contains in itself-what circumstances of discovery and unexpected relief it involves—and what prudence and contrivance the whole of it displays, in the judg