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designed for perpetuity: but, when we examine it by the light of the gospel, we discover that its sanctions merely respected this world, and its rites and ceremonies were merely typical of a brighter dispensation. Oh, Judaism, where is thy boasted temple? Where is that edifice, once the wonder of the eastern world? Where that building which constituted the chief glory of Solomon? He built also Palmyra and Balbec; and the traveller, as he passes through the desert, stops to contemplate their ruins; but of the cities themselves, not one stone is left upon another, to point out the spot where once they stood. And where is thy priesthood? Show me the country where the lamb is slain, or the morning and evening sacrifice regularly offered. And where are thy people? Where? Every where ;-but, as a government, no where. The wind, which penetrates the barn of the agriculturist, never scattered the chaff more widely, than they are scattered upon the face of the earth. But with pleasure let us turn from the contemplation of the mutability of earthly monarchies, and even of a kingdom established by divine authority, to the consideration of one which can never be shaken. The former position was only implied by the Apostle, this is established. 66 Wherefore, we," says he,
ceiving a kingdom which cannot be moved." The arguments I shall bring forward in proof of the stability of Christianity are four-fold:
1. From its own excellence.
2. From its simplicity.
3. From the trials it has sustained.
4. As it is guaranteed by the promises of Heaven.
1. We may prove the stability of Christianity from its own intrinsic excellence. As this is the last dispensation with which mankind is to be favoured, so it is the brightest display of Heaven's glory to man. Christianity is of universal importance. It ascends the throne, and teaches the monarch to be humble; it penetrates into the abode of wealth, and teaches the rich to be generous; it pervades every gradation of rank and power; and prompts the magistrate to be faithful; it reaches the abode of poverty, and instructs the inhabitant to be contented and cheerful; it goes with us into the chamber of sickness, and inculcates patience and resignation to the divine will; and it does not quit us on the bed of death; but irradiates, with its cheering influence, that gloomy season. Is not such a religion deserving of perpetuity?
2. Its simplicity ensures perpetuity. Why has the planetary system of Newton stood the test of years? From its being reduced to two or three grand principles. Ask the mechanic which machine is the most likely to last without derangement, and without aberrations; and he will uniformly answer, "The simplest." It is from the complex nature of many, that they are so soon liable to injuries. How simple is Christianity, when compared with the burdensome rites and ceremonies of the Mosaic ritual! That we are initiated into the religion of Jesus by baptism; that all the world has a sabbath; that we worship God in secret, and with our families; that we frequent his public courts; and that, from time to time, we meet to commemorate a dying Redeemer, form the whole of its positive institutions. And how few are the duties it enjoins! Gratitude to God, love and obedience to our Saviour, kindness to our brethren, and watchfulness over ourselves, are all which it requires. Does not such a religion ensure perpetuity?
3. The durability of Christianity may be argued from its having stood its ground through various trials.
It is pleasant, and it is satisfactory, to ascend from theory to facts, from conjecture to proofs.
A parent delights to trace, in an amiable youth, that future progress in learning and in virtue, which his disposition promises; but he has not been tried, and his future conduct can only be presumed. Thus should we estimate the value of Christianity. Numberless were the difficulties it had to encounter in its promulgation. From its first appearance, in the reign of Augustus, to its establishment under the Emperor Constantine, there were ten distinct persecutions of the Christians. I shall not enter into the particulars of any of them. Were I to describe but a small portion of the sufferings they underwent, I should soon behold this place vacant; no one could sit or stand, to hear a description of the inhuman cruelties which many of these martyrs endured. I shall only mention one. The streets of Rome, at midnight, had no need of your lamps; they were illuminated with the burning bodies of the saints. What must that religion be which could fortify the mind amidst such unheard-of sufferings?
4. The perpetuity of Christianity is guaranteed by the promises of Heaven. In the second Psalm it is written, "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." In Isaiah it is prophesied, "And it shall come to pass, in the last days,
that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains and all nations shall flow unto it." Daniel ii. 14. And in those days, shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed." And to quote but one passage more from the Old Testament, Daniel vii. 13, 14.; "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man, came with the clouds of heaven; and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him; and there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away; and his kingdom, that which shall not be destroyed." In the New Testament the same language is adopted, and the kingdom of heaven, which is always intended to prefigure the Gospel, is uniformly described as everlasting and unchangeable.
Thus have I endeavoured to point out the perpetuity of the christian covenant; and this is the kingdom which we have received. Let us attend to the expression used by the Apostle, we have "received a kingdom;" we have not claimed it, we have not purchased it, we cannot be said to merit it; we have received