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mental Feast of the Lord's table; that there is a restoration to life after death by a resurrection of the body; and lastly, that the world which we inhabit shall be destroyed
These are the principles, at least the chief of them, which are peculiar to the scriptures. He that believes thein is a: Christian: and if the works and ways of nature have a cortéspondence with these principles, and with no other, then ought every natural philosopher to be a Christian believer,
I. Let us proceed then to examine how the case stands.
The unbelieving philosopher supposes man to be in the same state of
perfection now, as when he came from the hands of his Creator. But the infirmities of his mind, with the diseases and death of his body, proclaim the contrary. When the death of man is from the hand of man, according to the laws of justice, it is an execution : and it is the same in its nature, when inflicted upon all men by the hands of a just God. The moral history of man informis us, that he offended God by eating in sin. His natural history shews us, that, in consequence of it, he now eats in labour and sorrow. The world is full of toil and trouble: and for what
end, but that man may earn his daily bread? The hands of the husbandman are hardened, and his back is bowed down with the cultivation of the earth. Thorns and thistles prevail against him, and multiply his labour. While some are toiling upon the earth, others are doomed to work underneath it. Some are exercised and wasted with works of heat : some for a livelihood are exposed to the storms and perils of the sea; and they who are called to the dangers of war, support their lives at the hazard of losing them.
The woman, who was first in the transgression, is distinguished by sorrows peculiar to her sex; and if some are exempt, they are exceptions which confirm the general law; and shew, that the penalty doth not follow by any necessity of Nature, but is inflicted.
Many are the unavoidable sorrows of life ; but if we consider how many more are brought upon man by himself, it is plain his mind is not right: for if he had his sight and his senses, he would see better and avoid them.
Suppose human nature to be perfect; what is the consequence? We not only contradict our own daily experience; but we supersede the use of Christianity, by denying the existence of those evils, for which only it is pro
vided. The whole system of it is offered to us as a cure for the consequences of the fall. From the accommodation of its graces, gifts, and sacraments to the wants of our nature, we have a deinonstration that our minds are in a distempered and sinful state: as the drugs and instruments in the shop of the surgeon are so many arguments that our bodies are frail and mortal.
II. The scriptures declare farther, that man, thus born in sin and sorrow, would grow up in darkness and ignorance, as to all heavenly things, unless he were taught of God: whose word is therefore said to be a light. The case is the same in nature. For how doth man receive the knowledge of all distant objects ? not by a light within himself, but by a light which comes to him from heaven, and brings to his sight a sense of the objects from which it is reflected. What an uninformed empty being would man become in his bodily state: how destitute of the knowledge of all remote objects ? not by light within himself, but by a light which comes to him from heaven, and brings to his sight a sense of the objects to which it is reflected. What an uninformed empty being would man become in his bodily state : how destitute of the know
ledge ledge of all remote objects, but for the rays of light which come to him from without ? Such would he be in his religious capacity without the light of revelation, which was therefore sent out into all lands, as the light of the sun is diffused throughout the world : The people that walked in darkness (which is the state we are born to) have seen a great light : they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined *. The scriptures declare that we are in a state of stupidity and death, till we are illuminated the Gospel: Awake thou that sleepest, and rise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light to But they cannot make our souls worse than our bodies would be without the visible lights of heaven; and therefore in this respect, the physical state of man answers precisely to his religious state; and if we duly observe and reflect upon the one, we must admit the other alsó, or oppose the testimony of our senses.
III. The gospel informs us, that there is a light of life to the soul of man, and a divine spirit of God which quickens and inspires; and that the whole economy
# Isa. ix, 26
+ Eph. v. 14,
ministered to us by the persons of the Son and the Holy Ghost. And are not the principles of man's natural life maintained by a parallel agency in nature? Do we not there also find a light to animate, and a spirit to inspire and give us breath? The divine spirit, from his nature and office, takes his name from the air or natural spirit of the world, which supplies us with the breath of life. On the day of Pentecost he descended from heaven under the outward sign of a rushing mighty wind; that from his philosophical emblem we might understand his nature and operations; who, like the wind, is invisible, irresistible, the medium of life and the inspirer of the prophets and apostles, who all spake as the spirit gave them utterance. The air is the instrument of speech, and the vehicle of sound. Such was the divine spirit to the apostles; by whose aid and operation, their sound went out into all lands. The ways of the Spirit of God in the birth of man unto grace, are hidden from us: we distinguish him only by his effects : so it is in nature; we hear the sound of the wind, but we cannot tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth. Thus did our Saviour himself illustrate the operations of the Holy Ghost from those of the air: and,