Зображення сторінки

might argue with a keenness and a lings of the agents of scepticism to the shrewdness which left me quite over-| lower and less equipped ranks of socimatched. There might be an ingenuity ety. And beyond all question, if you in his historic doubts with regard to just take the uneducated mass of our the existence of the physician ; and population, there is a far greater risk there might be an apparent science in ihan with the well educated, that the his analysis of the medicine, and his diffusion amongst them of infidel pubexposure of its worthlessness; and I, lications will issue in the warping them on my part, might be quite unable to from the faith of their fathers. There meet him on his own ground, to show may be something like stamina of rethe fault and the falsehood of his rea- sistance in the higher and the middling soning. But you can never suppose classes ; for if indifferent to religion, that my incapacity to refute argument they may be idolaters of reason, and would lead me to the giving up a mat- they will therefore require something ter of fact. I should just be in the case better than worn-out and flimsy objecof the man in the Gospel, to whom tions before they throw away as false, Christ had given sight, and whom the what has been handed down to them Pharisees plied with doubts, derived as true. But when infidelity goes down, from the presumed sinfulness of the so to speak, to the inferior and less Savior, in regard to the possibility of cultivated soils, there is certainly a the miracle. I should answer with this fearful probability that it may scatter, man, only varying the language, so that unmolested, the seeds of a dark harit might square with the form of objec. vest of apostacy; and that men who tion: Whether he be a sinner or no, I have no reason to give why they know not; one thing I know, that are even nominally christians, will be whereas I was blind, now I see. And wrought upon by the most empty and precisely, in like manner, a believer, common-place arguments, to put from with no other resources at his dispo- them christianity as a scheme of falsesal, can throw himself unhesitatingly hood and priesterast. on his own experience; and this, ren- We are thoroughly alive to this dandering christianity to him all matter of ger; and we think it not to be disputfact, makes him proof against the sub- ed, that the incapacity of the lower tleties of the most insidious infidelity. classes to meet infidelity on any fair

So that we require of you to learn terms exposes them, in a more ordinafrom the subject under review, that ry degree, to the risk of being prevailed God hath woven into true religion all on to exchange nominal religion for no the elements of a successful resistance religion at all

. But this, we would have to cavil and objection, leaving not the you observe, is the sum total of the risk. very poorest, and the most illiterate of We have no fears for any thing, excepthis people open to the inroad of the ing nominal christianity. And though enemies of christianity ; but causing we count that the giving up even of nothat there rise up from their own ex- minal christianity would just be equiperience such ramparts of strength, valent to the overspreading a country that if they have no artillery with with ferocity and barbarism, there bewhich to battle at the adversary, there ing none of the charities of life in the is at least no risk of their own citadel train of infidelity-yet we think it a being stormed.

cause of mighty gratulation, that real And though we have not time to fol. christianity has so much of the vis inlow out at greater length the train of ertio in its nature, that we are quit of thought which this portion of our sub- all dread of its being borne down even ject originates, we commend to your in a wide-spread apostacy. Is it not a attention, as worthy of being most care- beautiful truth, that the well equipped fully pondered over, the provision which agents of infidelity might go succesis made in experience against infideli- sively to the library of the pious theo. ty. We may have been accustomed to logian, and the hovel of the pious laregard the evidences of christianity as borer, and make not one jot more imlying out of reach of the poor and the pression on the uninstructed subject of illiterate ; and we may have looked godliness, than on the deep-read mas. with a peculiar dread on the descend- I ter of all the evidences of our faith? Oh, we take it for an exquisite proof | which the Lord your God spake concernof the carefulness of God over his ing you. And certainly, if the result people, that the poor cottager, in the of every experiment is a new witness midst of his ignorance of all that ex- to the joint ability and willingness of ternal witness which we are wont to the Mediator to succor and preserve appeal to as gloriously conclusive on his people, you cannot well avoid the the claims of christianity, is not to be conclusion, that knowledge must proovercome by the most subtle or the duce confidence; in other words, that fiercest assault; but that whilst men of the more a believer knows of Christ, a higher education will lay empires the more persuaded will he be of his and centuries under a rigid contribu- worthiness to be intrusted with all the tion, and sweep in auxiliaries from the interests of man. 'If our knowledge of disclosures of science, and walk with Christ prove to us that, up to the prea dominant step the firmament, gather- sent moment, Christ hath done for us ing conviction from the rich assem- all that he bath promised, it is clear bling of stars; this child of poverty, that this knowledge must be a groundbut at the same time of grace, shall work for confidence, that what remains throw himself upon himself; and turn- unfulfilled will be accomplished with ing experience into evidence, be inac- an equal fidelity. Already has the becessible to the best concerted attack; liever committed every thing to Christ. and make answer, without finching, Faith--saving faith-whatever other to every cavil and every objection, I definitions may be framed-is best deknow whom I have believed. His faith, scribed as that act of the soul by which whatsoever it be at first, becomes soon the whole man is given over to the a faith built upon knowledge; and then, guardianship of the Mediator. He who if not skilful enough to show his ad- thus resigns himself to Jesus avouchversary wrong, he is too much his own

es two things; first, his belief that he witness to give harborage to a fear needs a protector; secondly, his belief that he himself is not right.

that Christ is just that protector which But enough on the first fact which his necessities require. And though we proposed to investigate, the fact you may resolve saving faith into that a believer obtains a knowledge of more numerous elements, you will find Christ. The second fact is almost in- that these two are not only the chief, volved in the first, --so that the slight- but that they include all others out of est reference to truth already made which it is constituted; so that he out, will show you THAT KNOW- who believes in Christ, gives himself Lenge TuUS OBTAINED IS SUCH AS TO GE- up to the keeping of Christ. And for

asmuch as experience proves to him, You observe that, in the case of St. that heretofore he has been safe in this Paul, knowledge was accompanied by custody, assuredly the acquired knowa most thorough persuasion, that Christ ledge must go to the working in him a was able to keep safe the deposit which persuasion that hereafter he shall be he had given into his guardianship. kept in an equal security. We infer, therefore, that the know- We thus trace the connection beledge, since it produced this persua- tween the knowledge of the first, and sion, must have been knowledge of the persuasion of the second part of Christ as possessing those attributes our text. We show you, that a believer which insured the security of whatso- will gather from his own experience of ever might be intrusted to his custody. Christ the material of confidence in And this is precisely what we have Christ's ability to preserve all that is proved to hold good in regard ge- committed to his keeping. Experience nerally to believers. The knowledge being his evidence that Christ hath which their experience furnishes of never yet failed him, is also his earnest Christ is knowledge of his power, of that the future comes charged with nohis faithfulness, of his love. So far as thing but the accomplishment of prothey have yet made trial of Christ, mise. And therefore is he confident. they can apply to themselves the Oh, if I deceive not myself,—if I have words of Joshua to Israel, Not one actually been enabled, through the aid thing hath failed of all the good things I of God's Spirit, to fasten my faith up.



on Him who died for me, and rose, way infinite, it might well be regarded and lives to intercede,-why should I as an absurd expectation that the disnot stay myself on this persuasion of severed particles should again come St. Paul, that Christ is able to keep that together, and that the identical body, which I have committed unto him against with all its organs and all its limbs, that day? Soul and body-the believer which is broken up piecemeal by the commits both to the Mediator. The blow of death, should be re-formed and soul-she must be detached from the re-moulded, the same in every thing, tabernacle of flesh, and go forth alone except in the being incorruptible and on an unexplored pathway. Who shall imperishable. But the believer knows tell us the awfulness of being sudden- that there is a distinct and solemn proly launched into infinity? Who shall mise of Christ which has respect to the conceive the prodigies of that moment, bodies of his people. I will raise him when, shaking itself free from the up at the last day, is the repeated assutrammels of the body, the spirit strug- rance in regard to the man who begles forth, solitary and naked, and must lieves upon his name,-so that the Remake its way across unknown tracts deemer is as deeply pledged to be the into the burning presence of an un- guardian of a believer's dust, as of a seen God? Terrible dissolution! Who believer's soul. He ransomed matter ever saw a fellow-man die without be as well as spirit; and descending himing almost staggered at the thought of self into the sepulchre, scattered the that mighty journey upon which the seeds of a new subsistence, which, gerunclothed soul had just been compel- minating on the morning of the judgled to enter ? But shall the believer in ment, shall cover the globe with the Christ Jesus be appalled ? Does he not vast harvest of its buried population. know Christ as having ransomed the And, therefore, the believer can be souls of his people, washed them in confident. Overwhelming in its greathis blood, and covered them with his ness as the achievement is, it surpasses righteousness? Has he not found a not the energies of the Agent unto witness in himself, that precious is his whom it is ascribed. Christ raised soul in the sight of the Redeemer? himself—an unspeakably mightier ex. What then? Shall he be otherwise than ploit than raising me. Can I not then persuaded that Christ will watch over take share in the persuasion of St. the soul at the instant of separation Paul ? Let darkness be woven for my from the body; and putting forth that shroud, and the grave be hollowed for authority which has been given him in my bed, and the worin be given for heaven and earth, send a legion of my companion—with thee, O Christ, I bright angels to convey the spirit, and intrust this body. I know whom I have lead it to himself? Then safely lodged believed. The winds may disperse, the in Paradise, the soul shall await re- waters may ingulf, and the fires may union with the body, unspeakably, rarify the atoms which made up this though not yet completely blessed. To frame; but I know that my Redeemer livall this is Christ Jesus pledged; and eth, and though after my skin worms deknowing from his own experience that stroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see Jesus makes no pledge which he does God. Thus, body as well as soul, the not redeem, the believer commits his believer commits himself wholly to soul to Christ, persuaded that he is able Christ,—and experience witnessing to to keep that which he hath committed Christ's power and Christ's faithful unto him against that day. The body ness, he can exclaim with the apostle, I -it must be spoiled of life, and bound am persuaded that he is able to keep that up for burial, and left to corruption. It which I have committed unto him against is a mysterious destiny, that of this that day. That day-we need not tell frame-work of matter. Its atoms may the believer what day. His thoughts be scattered to the four winds of hea and his hopes are on the second advent ven. They may go down to the ca- of his Lord; and though no day has verns of the great deep, they may been specified, yet speak of that day, enter into the construction of other and the allusion is distinctly underbodies. And certainly, unless there be stood; the mind springs forward to brought to the agency a power every meet the descending pomp of the Judge, and that august period is anticipated, and powers, whom else shall we take when, vindicating before the universe as our champion ? whom else confide the fidelity of his guardianship, Christ in as our protector? May God, by bis shall consign his followers to glory and Spirit, lead you all to the one Mediablessedness; and, apportioning noble tor between God and men,—the man allotments to both body and soul, prove Christ Jesus: and may we all be enthat nothing has been lost of that un- abled so completely to resign ourselves measured deposit, which, from Adam into the hands of Christ, that we may downwards to the last elect, has accu- look forward without dread to the hour mulated in his keeping.

of our departure; assured that those Oh, that we all had the persuasion of black and cold waters which roll in St. Paul! rather-oh, that we all, like upon the dying shall sweep nothing the apostle, would resign ourselves to away out of the watchfulness of our Christ. Able to save to the uttermost, guardian ; but just bearing us within Lord, to whom shall we go; thou hast the sphere of his peculiar inspections, the words of eternal life. Thou who give us up to his care as children of hast abolished death, upon whom else the resurrection,-as heirs of that inshall we suspend our immortality ? heritance which is incorruptible and Thou who hast spoiled principalities undefiled.



“ And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven : and

behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it."-Genesis, 28 : 12.


It is the registered saying of a man, earnestness in suggesting objections. eminent alike for talent and piety, that We do not intend to follow out the he had never found such strong argu- train of thought thus opened before ments against the Bible, in the writings you. We have made these remarks as of infidels, as had suggested themselves introductory to one which you may to his own mind. We are inclined to have often made for yourselves, namesuppose that this individual expressed ly, that sceptics, as though blinded and what many have experienced. We can bewildered, frequently adduce, as arreadily believe that doubts and difficul- guments against the Bible, what are ties will occasionally be presented to really arguments in its favor. For exthose who read the sacred volume as ample, how constantly and eagerly are the word of God, which never meet the the faults and crimes of the Old Testasceptical, who read only that they may ment saints brought forward, and comobject. There would be nothing to sur- mented on! In how triumphant a tone prise us, if such could be proved gene- is the question proposed, Could these rally the fact. Where there is a spir- have been after God's own itual perception, apparent inconsisten- heart ?" Yet certainly it does not need cies with the divine character will be much acuteness to discover, that the more readily detected, than where there recording these faults and crimes is an is a decided aversion to all that is holy. evidence of the truth of Holy Writ. A It should moreover be remembered, mere human biographer, anxious to that Satan has a great deal to with pass off his hero as specially in fav the injecting sceptical thoughts into with God, would not have ascribed to · the mind: and we may fairly expect him actions which a righteous God that he will so proportion his attack to must both disapprove and punish. Eveits subject, as to suggest the strongest ry writer of common discernment must arguments where there is most to over- have foreseen the objections which come. The man who is studying the such ascriptions would excite: if, Bible with the express design of proy- therefore, he had been only inventing ing it a forgery, will have little assist- a tale, he would have avoided what ance, as it were, from Satan, in prose- was almost sure to bring discredit on cuting the attempt: he already disbe- the narrative. So that there is a manilieves the Bible, and this is enough for festation of honesty in the register our great adversary, the devil. But the given of the sins of such men as Abraman, on the contrary, who is studying ham, and Jacob, and David, which the Bible as an inspired book, will be should make sceptics pause, ere they continually beset, and vehemently as- seize on that register as an argument saulted, by Satan. There is here a against Scripture. great object to be gained, the shaking Besides, had holy men of old been his confidence in the divine origin of exhibited as faultless, there would have Scripture; and it may, therefore, well been much to make us doubt whether be expected that the devil will exert the history were faithful, and much to all his ingenuity in devising, and all his discourage us in our strivings after

« НазадПродовжити »