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an humble, a teachable, a truth-loving disposition. It is because he is conscious of his wretchedness and guilt that he utters the anxious enquiry, “ What must I do to be saved ?" It is because he is convinced of his own ignorance in the things of God that he applies to the sacred oracles, humbly saying,
Speak, Lord! for thy servant heareth.” And it is because he honestly loves the truth that he implicitly submits his understanding and his heart to its dictates and requirements. And such a mind is prepared for the reception of the truth. Such a mind will ever be aided by the Holy Spirit in its enquiries after the truth; and, having found the blessed treasure, will hold it fast, and bring forth fruit unto perfection. These dispositions, in fact, are a soil in which the seed of truth will vegetate, and take root, and spring up, and bear fruit to God's glory, thirty, sixty, and a hundred-fold. But the unbeliever, on the other hand, is proud and unsubdued ; vain of his own powers, and confident in his own decisions. He leans to his own understanding, and is wise above what is written; and, as a natural consequence of his self-sufficiency, his reverence for revealed truth will sink just in proportion to the height of his confidence in his own powers, and his dependence upon his own sufficiency. Hence it follows that when the teachings of the Bible clash with his own judgment, he will be found either to reject its inspiration, or to employ the arts of sophistry to pervert its meaning. (“ Hear, hear," “ Order," and disapprobation.) Such a man may designate himself a true Christian, but he certainly has no claim to that distinguishing and honourable appellation. He is either fatally deceiving himself, or else he is an impostor, and is artfully deceiving others. Nor can the truth dwell in a mind like that. The morbid state of the heart forbids its admission there. His pride of intellect—his vain confidence and self-sufficiency, will' most certainly originate sentiments and opinions at variance with the truth of God. And here commences the conflict betwixt the errors of man and the truth of the gospel :-a conflict which will last until the sinner is either subdued or destroyed; for the Word of God cannot be broken. It is a rock of eternal adamant; and they who fall upon it, will be broken; but they on whom it shall fall, will be ground into powder.
Now it is this pride and perversity of heart which has caused the Gospel to be rejected by some, and to be perverted by others, in every age of the world. It was this pride and perversity of heart which caused the Gospel to be a stumbling block to the Jews, and foolishness to the proud and speculative Greeks. It was this pride and perversity of heart which caused the Pharisees and the Sadducees not to receive the glad tidings of salvation when announced in the accents of the Redeemer, who came to save the world from darkness and guilt. It was not because they had not light; for they walked amidst the noontide splendour of the Redeemer's ministry. It was not because they had
not evidence ; for they were surrounded by the glorious manifestations of the Son of God. They heard him speak, and beheld the leper cleansed. They saw his touch, and beheld the dead arise. They heard his voice, and demons were silenced, or confessed his heavenly mission to the world. They beheld him feed five thousand with a few loaves and fishes; and yet, notwithstanding all these splendid manifestations of the Saviour's power, and of his mission being divine, they continued in unbelief, and ascribed his miracles to a diabolical agency. Though confounded, they would not be convinced, but pertinaciously asked for a sign. Though earth, and hell, and heaven combined to attest the divinity of the Redeemer's mission and of his doctrines, they would not believe, but asked for a sign. And it was just the same pride and perversity of heart which prevented Saul of Tarsus from receiving, the Gospel for a period. Yes! while he was proud and unsubdued, he continued in ignorance and unbelief. And yet it was not for want of natural sagacity: the epistles of Paul evince iutellectual power. It was not through want of literature: he had sat at the feet of Gamaliel. It was not for want of revealed means to find the truth, for he had the ample pages of prophecy before him, pointing out and characterizing the person, the work, and the death of the glorious Redeemer. It was not for want of the evidence which accompanied the preaching of the truth; for he witnessed the miracles of the Apostles of our Saviour, and he beheld practical demonstration of the divine power of the Christian religion. He held the clothes of those who imbued their hands in the innocent blood of the murdered Stephen. He gazed upon the countenance which shone with brightness like that of an angel. He saw the martyr's calm and dignified countenance, which nothing but the strength, the purity, and the power of true religion could light up. Ile beheld the meekness, the self-denial, the spiritual-mindedness and love of the dying saint employing his latest moments in prayer for his murderers. And yet amid all these evidences of the truth of the Christian religion, and these manifestations of its vital power, he could continue glutting his savage heart with the martyr's blood. But when Saul of Tarsus assumed a new position—when he fell to the earth, and uttered the enquiry,
What wilt thou have me to do?"_then the scales fell from his intellectual vision as well as his bodily sight; and he beheld the glory of the Lamb of God. He perceived the attractions of the true Messiah; he beheld the evidence of the divine origin of our religion; and He who before was the object of his contempt, and whose doctrines he sought to extirpate by persecution and blood, became the sole object that filled the orb of his vision, and became the grand centre of attraction, around which his affections revolved, and to whom his life was henceforth devoted. There must be, I say, an humble spirit- a teachable disposition ; there must be a love for the truth of God, or that
truth can seldom be perceived by the intellect-can never be cherished and welcomed by the affections. And the heart that is not thus humbled can never be actuated and guided by the Holy Spirit, which is essential to inspire conviction, and to give power to the truth. “Even so, righteous Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight: because thou hast revealed these things unto babes, and hast hid them from the wise and prudent." (Matt. xi. 26.)
I further remark, that the Christian not except from his creed any truth or doctrine on the ground of its being “unimportant;" though there are those who do so. For example, with regard to the Miraculous Conception, it is rejected, and then it is stated that the doctrine is unimportant. I do not wish to make personal allusions. I am grappling with great principles; and if my remarks appear to tend that way, I hope the audience will not suppose I am under the influence of any emotion that has the least approach to vindictiveness or impropriety of feeling. But I must speak plain truths, no matter what may be their application. Now I say that this involves one of two fallacies ;-either that because a doctrine is unimportant, it is untrue ; or else, that because an individual conceives a doctrine to be unimportant, he has a right to reject it; and, of course, as he makes himself the supreme judge in that case as to what is important and what is not important, he assumes to himself the right of rejecting from God's word whatever he may please. That is the principle involved. Now this is but a thin pretext of infidelity; and the scaly monster can be seen through the thin disguise. The Christian does not thus cashier the word of God
-does not thus reflect upon God's wisdom, nor charge the Almighty with revealing things trifling and unimportant. He knows that God is wise in all he says, and has important reasons for all that he makes known to man : and he therefore re. ceives with reverence all the instructions of heaven-all the doctrines of God; and whether he can perceive their immediate connection with his salvation, or not, yet since God has condescended to reveal them, he gladly and reverently embraces them, and he holds them in religious veneration.
Farther, a Christian does not reject from his creed certain. doctrines, alleging that they are mysterious, or incomprehensible, or inexplicable; or because their modus operandi or modus -existentis involves something he cannot fathom or comprehend. For this involves the following fallacy or sophism--that there can be no truth in existence but what is either grasped by the human intellect, or must be in conformity with man's existing notions. It implies, too, that man is so wise that he does not need a revelation from God, as he is already qualified to improve upon that which God has given. The Christian does not act in this way. The Christian has no idea that he is wiser than the Bible. He knows it is because he is ignorant and needs instruction that a revelation has been given to enlighten
him; and instead of dictating to his Maker what he ought to reveal, or opening his Bible to cavil with what God has revealed, or what God has declared, he reverently embraces whatever the Almighty condescends to dictate unto him,-receives it as true, and welcomes it to his heart, although he may not be able to comprehend it with regard to some of its modes. The Christian believes what his Maker declares in his holy word. He may meet with some things—some doctrines and some facts, which are mysterious; which involve enquiries that the most elaborate efforts of the human mind cannot explain: but he is certain that they are true, because God has declared them. His prin. ciple is, not to make the Bible conform to his sentiments, but to make his judgment conform to the teachings of revelation. That is the principle which actuates and guides him. He meets with mysterious things in the volume of nature, and is prepared to expect them in the volume of revelation, since God is the author of them both. He knows, too, that what is called human reason is nothing more than man's faculty of judging; and he knows that man's faculty of judging infallibly can only be commensurate with the range of his knowledge, and that where that knowledge is imperfect, or obscure, or partial, his capability of judging with certainty is proportionately defective and imperfect. He knows, too, that he has erred already in a hundred cases with regard to subjects with which he is the most familiar : and he knows, likewise, that he is as liable to err in the things of God, especially when he assumes to be his own teacher, and disregards the instructions of divine revelation. He is therefore satisfied, that whatever doctrinethe Almighty declares in his Word, however incomprehensible in its mode, however inexplicable in its manner, is not only true in itself, but in harmony with all other truth. He knows that there is no obscurity in the doctrine itself. The obscurity is in his own mind. And probably the day may come when, with higher faculties, and in a brighter region, and in more intimate intercourse with his God, that obscurity will pass away; and he will see the truth, the harmony, the consistency, and the beauty of every doctrine, however obscure at present, as clearly as he now sees the truth, the harmony, and the beauty of the most familiar facts that occur around him, or are cognizable by the organs and operations of his senses.
The Gospel never professes that all its doctrines are devoid of mystery or difficulty to man. On the contrary, many of the Redeemer's sayings, though he spoke with so much plainness—many of them were hard to human reason-natural and carnal reason, I mean. Hence, when he stated that he gave his flesh for the life of the world, and that men must eat his flesh, and drink his blood, or they could have no life in them, the people said, “ This is a hard saying ; who can hear it ?" But the replies of our Saviour show that, hard as it was to their reason, it was not to be rejected as untrue; and he charges them with positive
unbelief, because of their murinuring at his statements, and complaining that they were hard to understand. See the 6th chapter of John's Gospel, from the 53rd to the 64th verses. The Apostle Paul taught some things which Peter spoke of as hard to be understood. See Peter's second Epistle, 3rd. ch. and 16th verse.
But were they to be rejected ? They were not ; but they were the very subjects which men of corrupt minds perverted to their own destruction—“ Wrested or perverted unto their own destruction.” So says the Apostle :
we fre. quently read of subjects which are mysterious in the Holy Scriptures. We read of “the mystery of faith.” And the Apostle says, in the 1st Epistle to Timothy, 3rd ch. and 16th verse---“Great is the mystery of godliness. But was that mystery to be rejected ?---was that doctrine to be put away by the puny mind of man, because it could not grasp it? See also the 1st epistle to Timothy, the 3rd ch. and 9th verse.—“Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” To reject å doctrine because it is difficult to be comprehended, is just the same thing as to reject a duty because its performance is difficult to flesh and blood; and he who rejects either is guilty of disobedience.
The Gospel requires obedience and submission; uniform and entire submission to God. And there is the obedience of faith as well as the external obedience of the lifethere is the submission of the understanding and the judgment, as well as the submission of the conscience and the moral
powers. But he who rejects a truth or doctrine which God declares, refuses that submission, and acts in rebellion against his Maker: he is under the influence of the carnal mind, which is enmity against God; and therefore cannot be a Christian.
But I here anticipate an objection or two. It may be said that a man may not know all the truths or doctrines in the Gospel at the time of his acceptance with God: and therefore cannot be said to believe them seriatim. I may make that admission without at all weakening the force of my argument; for not to know a doctrine is undoubtedly different from rejecting a doctrine. If a man does not know, it is the rssult, merely, of a want of information : but if a man rejects a doctrine, it is. the result of unbelief; and it is unbelief that makes God a liar, and grieves the Holy Spirit, and excludes man from the covenant of grace ; for “ he that believeth not shall be damned.” The rule with regard to faith is parallel with the rule of our obedience. A man, when first brought to God, may not know specifically and individually, every duty he ought to perform throughout the whole course of his life : but there is in him the principle of obedience-there is in him unreserved submission to God---& principle applicable to every duty prescribed and specified in God's word---and applicable also to every other duty which may subsequently arise from new circumstances, new relations, and the diversified dispensations of Jehovah's providence. And so with regard to the Christian's faith ; it may