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convenient; the doctrine, in fact, coming at last to this, that all beliefs may be tolerated while they are not beliefs; while they are negative, feeble, inoperative. The moment they come forth with any positive energy, the legislator who adopts this theory is confounded, and finds that he must persecute in fact, though not in name.

Such inclinations and acts on his part seem to afford great justification for the eagerness of religious men to be exempt from all state cognizance, so for as their religion is concerned. But unless they are prepared to deny that a false religion does produce evil and corrupt moral effects, such effects as the makers and executors of laws must take cognizance of; unless they are prepared to affirm that their religion does not bear at all upon human life, or that it has a set of maxims altogether peculiar to itself which are not meant for human beings as such; that is, unless they aro ready to take up all the maxims which are most utterly disparaging to the Gospel, and which have in all times been checking its influence and perverting its nature, they cannot rationally maintain their theory of separation ; least of all can they enforce it in practice.

These conclusions might be very distressing and unsatisfactory, if there were not evidence that while men have been trying to identify the Nation with the Church, or to sever them utterly, God has been using each for His purposes, has been claiming each for a distinct part of His kingdom. However selfish the plans of kings may have been, they

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have been witnesses against the idolatry which priests have been promoting. He has made the assertion of royal supremacy a bulwark against a supremacy which was undermining His own. He has used nations, as of old, to punish and destroy others more corrupt than themselves, though they might not feel that they were acting by His command, and might covet the silver and gold which He forbade the Jew to touch. He has infused into little insignificant communities an irresistible might with which they have overthrown long-established tyrannies. He has taught our rulers, at various periods of our history, that it is our vocation to resist every power, papal, imperial, democratic, which strives to destroy the pecularities of race, family, individual, and to construct a society which shall be an artificial corporation, not a living body. At the same time He has raised up witnesses for the unity of His own nature, and of mankind, which He has formed in His image. Priests, in spite of their own sin and exclusiveness, have kept alive a testimony in the world, that a spirit has come down to establish a universal communion, with which the diversities of feeling, opinion, temperament, constitution, shall not interfere.

And now the time is come when we must either understand these purposes of God, and work together with them, or when that separation of Nation and Church, which decrees civil and ecclesiastical have been unable to effect, shall be effected as far as we are concerned, by the sepa

, ration of all that is meant to be united and har

monious in our hearts. The notion has been working for a long time among us, that indifference is another name for charity, that zeal for Truth and the name of God is identical with exclusiveness and narrowness. If we yield to that notion, for us there will be no Nation, no Church; each will succeed in robbing us of the other. But if we have learnt to believe that the spirit of love is a consuming fire which must destroy the idols and high places that we ourselves have set up, and then all those which are withdrawing men anywhere from the living and true God, we shall find that the command to drive out the debased people of Canaan, is an utterance of the same gracious Will which bade the disciples go into all lands and preach the Gospel to every creature, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.'

SERMON XV.

THE TEST OF PROPHECY AND MIRACLE.

Lessons for the day, Deuteronomy XII. and XIII.

Preached at Lincoln's Inn, Sunday after Ascension Day, June 1, 1851.

Deut, XIII. 1-3. If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer

of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams : for, the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all

your soul.

The thought will certainly come to us when we

hear which I have been taught to try the divine prophets? Has not the fulfilment of their predictions been the reason which has been given me for believing in their mission and authority, nay, for believing the Revelation of God in the Scripture altogether? If the test fails in any one case-if I have the highest authority for thinking that it will fail—if I am warned that the guesses of a lying and mischievous prophet may be successful, and that yet I shall be guilty of a sin if I pay heed to them, what is the worth of this evidence and of all the arguments that have been grounded upon it ?' For many reasons it is exceedingly desirable, even necessary that we should consider this question at the present time. Let us desire that we may look at it humbly and fearlessly, not shrinking from any acknowledgment of our own mistakes and insincerities, and sure that nothing is safe but Truth.

One objection to the language of the text, which would seem to many very formidable will not, I trust, have much weight with you. Did not the whole commission and work of Moses, it might be asked, rest on signs and wonders? Did he not go into Pharaoh with power to turn a rod into a serpent and water into blood ? And was not the faith which these signs awakened in his own power, the reason for obeying him and for letting the people go ? Was it not by signs and wonders, in like manner, that he asserted this authority over the Israelites in the wilderness ? To diminish the trust of the people in signs and wonders—was it not to shake all their trust in himself, all their assurances that God was with him ?

The consideration we have bestowed upon the previous books of Moses, and upon this last, has, I trust, shewn us clearly what the answer to these questions is. He was to exhibit signs and wonders before Pharaoh, but the signs and wonders were for the very purpose of breaking that trust in

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