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signation to the divine will, and so suited to convince all who visited him, that the truths which he had preached to others were calculated to support the dying Christian, that it is hoped the impression produced will not soon be forgotten.
A few hours before his departure, he said io his son, “ I have done with time, and all hefore me is a vast eternity; and as long as God exists, my happiness is secure!"
* DIFFERENCES AMONG DEISTS
AN ARGUMENT FOR TIIE DANGER OF IMBIBING TIIEIR SYSTEM.
DIFFERENCES among Christians are often dwelt upon and magnified by Infidels, as undeniable arguments of the insufficiency of Christianity, and the indistinct and indecisive nature of its doctrines. But thc dupes of the system of Incredulity seem to forget that we can retort the charge npon themselves and their system with a dilemma, and show the insecurity of their ground, without the possibility of evasion. We can also shew, that whatever differences exist among the genuine friends of Christianity, do not affect the essence of the system, nor endanger the safety of those who embrace it.
We now consider the differences between the champions of Deism ; and they are such as show that the system is without foundation, and that those who trust in it are undone. On the first of all subjects, and the foundation of all religion, - the being of a God, they differ and contradict one another. Some of them allow that there is a God; and that it is our duty to worship him: -- while others make such mistakes about his existence, as amount to a denial of a God altogether. Some deny his perfections as God; and others deny or overlook the obliga. tion of worshipping him. Lord Herbert, the first and the best of the English Deists, makes his Natural Religion to consist in five articles, the first of which is the belief of a God. He allows, as another article, that it is our duty to worship him; and that the soul is inmortal, for another; while he admits of a future state of retribution, as another article. But have they all agreed in the first article of all? No: Hobbes held, that God was corporeal; and Toland, that there is no other God but the Uni. verse. Thus these advocates of Incredulity were in the utmost uns certainty about this very important and foundation-article of religion. Does not this shew us that Deism lcares its votaries in the utmost uncertainty, whicther there be a God or not? — or if there be, what he is ? A religion which begins in clarkness, must surely issue in darkness which may be felt.
Some of the champions of Infidelity deny the perfections of God, and therefore, in effect, say, there is no God. Bolingbroke insists, that we must not ascriixe to God any nomal portictions, : such as holiness, justice, and yoodness. - Thus the licentions In- . fidel forms a God to himself, agrecable to his own mind, and thinks that God is such a one as himself. This is just as much as to deny a God altogether * Hume endeavours to subyert the proofs of the existence of an Intelligent Cause of the universe and spcaks of the doctrine of the Being of God as uncertain and useless. Thus, these men, in their delusions, songht to get rid of a Goci, who might be ready to disapprove of them, or disa posed to punish them. This is the resort of a heart still depraved,
ad to wish them. This is where and a conscience ill at ease, in the prospect of what may take: place hereafter, and is a dangerous, daring effort to get rid of the qualms occasioned by the foreboiling apprehensions of a future reckoning.
These men disagree also about the obligation of creatures to worship God. Lord Herbert allows it to be a duty to worship God, and makes this, as we have said, one of his five articles of Natural Religion. - Chubb insists, that prayer to God is no part of Natural Religion. So that Naturai Religion is no religion at all. Hume again says, that where the gods are conceived to be only a little superior to mankind, and to have been, many of them, advanced from that interior rank, we are more at ease in our addresses to them, and may even, without profaneness, aspire sometimes to il rivalship and emulation of them. So that the grossest absurditics of the Heathen Idolatry would have passed with Hume, and have been, in his judgment, quite rational. Surely those who can reject the Religion of Christ, and are inclined to admit such absurdities as these, must be strongly biassed in their judgments in examining these matters, and must have some very clifferent grounds for their belief than the reason and fitness of things. The author of the Age of Reason not only omits the duty of worshipping God, but treats it with the utinost contempt, saying, that, “ he is not a beggar, a mumper, and à worm." He says, lie docs not need the divine favour or friend. ship, and stands indebted to God for nothing. Thus Deism is a sort of Practical Atheism, anil in some respects is more inconsiste ent; becausc, while it pretends to acknowledge a God, it refuses to worship him. Indeed, it Icads directly to Atheism. The first of the champions of this cause admitted the being of a God, and the obligation of his creatures to worship him ; while later advo. cates sncer at the latter, and even hesitate about the former. Does not this show that it is the high road to Atheism! It issurely highly reasonable that, if the Lord be God, we shonld worship hin.
* Sce Leland's Dcistical Writers, and Boling broke's Works:
Thesc gentleinen ditlir also about the immortality of the soul, Respccting this important article of belief, the modern champions ot Deism aic is much in the dark as their elder brethren of the Heathen workil. Ineked, they are involved in deeper shades of darkness than they, becanse they have seen the light which dis. covered it, and have hate and despised it. Lord Herbert ad. nitice that the soul was immortal ; but those who have followed him, have laboured with the utinost diligence and anxiety to get rid of the belief of it altogether. Hobbes denied any distinction between soul and body, — Chubb represents it as absolutely doubtful whether the soul be material or immaterial, or whether it be distinct froin the body; and if it be, whether it be equally pea rishable with the body, and shall die with it, or shall subsist after the dissolution of the body, - Bolingbroke maintains, that the soulis not a distinct substance from the body; and ibat'the whole muan is dissolved at death.* What a gloomy state are these men willing to take up with! All the hopes of life and immortality they are willing to relinquish at oncc; if they may be but freed from their dreal and apprehension, and be allowed), without danger of the conscqucncc, to live as they pliase. They can give up the hopes of Heaven, to be freed from the fears of Hell! What mizerable men! to take up with annihilation -- to be willing to be no more.-- Oh! what will you gain by losing every thing? You must be in an evil case when this is your best portion and highest hone.
These men too differ about a future state of retribution. That there is another world, that there will be a future reckoning, and that there is a place of happiness and misery in that world, where all will be fixed for cvcr, are truths of serious concern; about which we stand much in need of soine certain information. But the champions of Deisiu show the darkness which they labour niider about the matter, by their disagrecment respecting it. Lord Hicrbert allowed that there was a future state of retribution ; but the most that have followed him have laboured to get rid of the belief of it, and have tricd to persuade then selyes that there was no such thing. Hobbes denied a future statem Chubh endeavoured to subvert it - Hume endcavoured to overturn all the proofs of it. Bolingbroke maintained that the doctrine of future rewards and punishin:ents is a fiction, which hath no real foundation in nature and reason; and that to pretend to argue for future retributions from the unequal distributions of this present state, is absurd and blasphemoust. The same writer tells us again that the design of his scheme is, that “the burning lake may disappear.” Paine tells us, “it we knew that a future judgment was a fact, we should be the micre slaves of terror." ";
How uncasy are these men at the prospect of an hereafter! Oh! miserabie, miserable men, to live in a situation, and rest contented
with it, while the very possibility of such a thing makes you! the mere slaves of terror. How inad the conduct which leads you to close your eyes upon danger, and to aim at case by keeping it out of sight! know ye not that if the danger be real, yon tisbelief of it will not put an end to it? Remember then, there is another thing still necessary to your safety, besides cuvilling at these things, and denying them. You must prove that they have no existence. We ask, Can you disprove them: We appeal to yourselves. You cannot. The very possibility of these things proving true, ought to make you consider, and scrionsly cuquirc into, their nature and evidence. Reinember that you stand as much in need of a revelation on your system, as we stind in need of the information which revelation communicates. You need a revelation to show you (as you have no certainty in yourselves!) that these things are mere infonaded chimneras; and that therefore you may fearlessly go on, and live as you please. Till you obtain this, do not take it for granted that there is no hereafier, or that death is eternal sleep; or fancy, because you persuade yourself that the burning lake has disappearer), that it is extinguislıcd. Take warning - You are ceriainly hastening to fire unquenchable.
Do you say Christians differ as much as we? This is not true Real Christians do not differ as to any thing essential to Christianity. They are all agreed as to those important articles wherein you cssentially differ - and also in others which voir overlook or deny. They all believe in one God-in inan's guilly, ruined condition, as a sinner, - ihe sufliciency of Jesus' denile for their salvation, and the certainty of life anil immortality through his blood. Thouglı professors of Cliristianity didir, this does not alter the case; because genuine Christianity is plainly revealed, and cannot be altered. They only are its genuing friends who embrace it as a wbole, and live according to it, bay. ing their conversation and conduct conformed to its precepis. It has described the character and conduct of ihose who believe it in truth; and those to whom these will not apply, have neither parte nor lot in the matter. Look for such as these, and sock to bu like them, by believing in Jesus Falkland..
How solemn, yet delightful, have been the engagements of this morning! Surely, I can appropriate the language of tbe church of old, and say, “ My Lord hits tiken me to his bangil.ting house, and his biinner over me was love; I sit down wuler his sha:dow with great delight, and his fruit wils Sweci tw my taste.” Oh! that my soul may have the savour of these rich en. joyments long in remembrance, and whilst she is humbled under a sense of her unworthiness of such privileges, may she be refreshed and invigorated by the participation of them, to pursue with greater alacrity her imınortal course. Oh! that such divine entertainments as these may raise me above the grovelling delights of this vain and transitory state, and make me earnestly long after those yet more glorious and ravishing pleasures, which are laid up in reserye for the righteous, when, through tile iron gate of death, they shall pass into the immediate presence of their Saviour and their God; and be put in possession of that fulness of joy which is found at his right hand for evermore!
How deeply has every one present been interested in the transactions which have just taken place! To the dear servant of God who has been set apart to the pastoral oflice, they must have been peculiarly solemn. He has entered into a sacred engagement to feed and watch over the flock of his divine Master; to go in and out before them, and guide their footsteps in the path that leads to glory and to Goi. To him it henceforward appertains to strengthen the weak, to counsel the ignorant, to succour the tried and tempted, to comfort the afllicted, to reclaim die wanderer, to reprove the stout-hearted and rebellious, nay, to raise the dead! The cyes of the church will be turned to him for an example; and, perhaps, forgetting that he is a man of like passions with theinselves, they will be ready to expect too much from him; the eyes of the world will be upon him to watch for his halting, and to magnify every little infirmity into a crime. Angels and Devils will be looking on as strict observers of his actions; and God himself will mark, with his allscrutinizing eye, his faithfulness or negligence in the great work "to which he has called him. Hóv weighty, how important the charge! Well might even an apostle exclaim, “Who is sufficient for these things" What shoulder, what lieart is strong mnough to hear such a burden, and not be crushed under it Not one of the song of mortality is equal to the task, independent of the infinite power and omnipotent arin 'of Jehovah Jesus. But here we turn to the bright side of the subject; here is a fand of grace and of strength laid up, which is fully adequate to all his neccis; and, by drawing daily supplies from this inexhaustible treasury, le may fulfil the important duties of his high and holy calling with credit to himself, and with honour to his God; ----- may meet the eyes of men and angels with an undauntercourage, and intain even the heart-searching glance of the Almighty will humble satisfaction and joy.
Be thon, ikcii, ( their greit Shepherd of thy flock, be thou over with him! and hold up his going's in thy paths, that his footsteps slide not! Loft in himself, he will be more likcly to lead thy sheep istray than to restore them from their wanderings, but guiding himself liy tirer, he shall conduet them inte