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gives such a view of his character, grace, and salvation to the minds of men, as effectually attracts their supreme affections, and constrains them to love him.

speak the real truths of God to the outward ear, and even communicate some scientific know ledge of them to the judgment; but they cannot give a spiritual discernment to perceive the things 2. Divine teaching is plain and of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. xii. 14. simple; answerable to which the Paul may plant, and Apollos may apostles used great plainness of water, but it is God alone who speech. The artificial wisdom and giveth the increase, 1 Cor. iii. 6. reasoning of men always darken It is he alone that can give an and perplex the simplicity of divine understanding to know him that truths, and the more they think to is true; that can open the heart, investigate them in this way, the rectify the very perceptive faculty, more do they miss their aim, and and speak immediately to our spi- involve themselves and others in rits by his word. The mind of darkness and perplexities: But man is naturally like ancient Chaos, divine teaching does not leave the full of darkness and disorder, and mind to laboured and ingenious God's power, in bringing him out investigation, or a painful stretch of darkness into his marvellous of the judgment or reasoning falight, is compared to his creating culty to comprehend it; it comes power, whereby he at first com- with a self-evidence and simplicity manded light to shine out of dark-like the very principles of nature; ness. Thus he shines into the so that every thing will appear so heart, giving the knowledge of his plain and simple, and at the same glory as it shines in the face of time so surprisingly grand and Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 6. and so dis-god-like, that men will be astocovers himself by his own light nished at their former ignorance. even as the sun does. Again, men This method of teaching is peculiar may set forth the evidence of divine to him who made us, who created truth, but they cannot produce and has access to our spirits, and conviction by that evidence; but knows how to shine into our hearts. the light which comes from God This teaching indeed makes the carries its own evidence along with simple wise unto salvation: but it it to the mind; for the God of also makes the reasoning philotruth makes himself manifest as sopher a fool that he may become the speaker, and so it comes not wise in the simplicity of a little in word only, but in power, and in child. A blind philosopher may the Holy Ghost, and in much reason about the nature of colours, assurance, 1 Thess. i. 5. Specula- but a simple peasant will have a tion and belief are often separated | juster idea of them by one glance in human teaching; but not so in of his eye. So is every one that is divine; for as God makes himself taught of God. known as the teacher, we must of necessity know the truth and reality of what is taught upon his own authority. Further, men may set forth in words the beauty and loveliness of divine things, but they cannot communicate a view of their glory and excellency to the mind, so as to make men perceive, relish, and love them supremely; hence we find knowledge and love frequently separated; but the Lord

3. It is of a humbling nature. Human teaching and speculations tend to puff up with the pride of knowledge, and swell a person with a conceit of his comparative attainments; hence the wise man glories in his wisdom. But divine teaching, as it manifests the glory and majesty of God to the soul, so it empties the creature of itself, and lays it low in the dust as ignorant, polluted dust and ashes before

him. This was the effect of divine | of a spiritual nature, it must ne manifestations on Abraham, Gen. xviii. 27. on Job, ch. xl. 4, 5. xlii. 2-7. on David, 2 Sam. vii. 1821. and on Isaiah vi. 5.

4. It is of a satisfying nature. Human teaching leaves the mind still empty and unsatisfied, as to the main thing that gives happiness, peace and rest. It still leaves men in the painful inquiry, What lack I yet? or, What shall I do to be saved? Or, if it should kindle some transient flashes of joy and comfort, it is in the power of every wind of doctrine or temptation to blast it. The reason is plain; it cannot of itself beget faith, or communicate to a man the sense of the divine favour in the remission of his sins, or purge his conscience from the guilt of them, and so give peace with God. It cannot give him the lively hope of everlasting life, or bring his soul to peace and rest as to his great concern: But divine teaching does all this, for thus its effects are described, "Great shall be the peace of thy children."

5. It transforms the soul into the divine image. Moses beholding the glory of the Lord upon the mount, derived a shining lustre upon his face; and the apostle alludes to this when he says, "But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Cor. iii. 18. so that the light of God's glory in the face of Christ, shining into our hearts, assimilates us into the image of the object. But as human teaching cannot present the object, it cannot produce this effect.

6. I remark, lastly, that the effect of divine teaching is summed up in the word peace-a comprehensive term, which in scripture signifies not only concord, rest and quietness, but every kind of positive happiness. As this peace is


cessarily include peace with God, which is the inseparable concomitant of faith, Rom. v. 1.-peace of conscience, or deliverance from the distressing sense of guilt, which ever haunts the mind of the unbeliever, Heb. ix. 14.-peace from the distracting cares of this world. Phil. iv. 6, 7.-peace and composure of mind amidst all the tribulations and afflictions of this mortal life, John xiv. 27. ch. xvi. 33.-and peace and concord among Christian brethren, Isaiah xi. 610. 2 Cor. xiii. 11.


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The good word of God, which is given us to be our sure guide to heaven, speaks of repenting or perishing; of being born again, or of not seeing the kingdom of God of believing, or being damned; of being pure in heart, converted, and created anew, or not seeing the Lord, and being for ever excluded the heavenly kingdom. "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new;" and also, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." It speaks of an inward work wrought in the soul of the true Christian, of which God alone must be the author; and for which he alone is competent. Thus,"He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God." "He who establishes us with you is Christ, and hath anointed us is God;" "We are his workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works." Eph. ii. Also that we are to "seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;" Matt. vi. Surely every one who attentively reads, and duly considers these passages, must entertain opinions very different from

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those before mentioned; and be fully convinced that religion is both a very serious and important business, and that it demands the most attentive regard, and most fervent prayer to God to be habitually and solemnly impressed with it, and guided aright.

it! How few are they that are sincerely religious. This poor fleeting world engrosses the whole attention of the multitude, and the most important concerns are left to a sick bed, and a dying hour. It has been remarked, that in most places, scarcely more than one

The scriptures speak of the ne-third of the inhabitants attend recessity and importance of religion gularly any place of worship; and in the strongest terms, and it is how many of these are found to truly surprising that readers are attend to little profit? Under this not more powerfully impressed melancholy view of the subject, with them. They mention it as how natural is it to exclaim, in the one thing needful; as the the pathetic language of Moses; principal thing; as that which we "Oh that they were wise, that they should first seek, Luke x. Prov. iv. understood this, that they would 7. Matt. vi. 33. They exhort us to consider their latter end!" strive, that is, "to agonize to enter in at the strait gate;" to labour, to wrestle, to run, and to give all diligence. They speak of the way to heaven being narrow, and the gate strait; and but few finding it: and the road to destruction broad, and the gate wide, and that many enter in thereat: also that "many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able." What moreover is very alarming, they speak of great numbers who do pay some regard to religion, and make an open profession of it, who will be finally rejected. Thus our Lord; "Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven." "Many shall say unto me in that day, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name, and done many wonderful works: to whom he will then say, "I know ye not, depart from me ye workers of iniquity." See also the parable of the ten virgins; the parable of the tares; and the fishes; and also of the sower, where out of four sorts of hearers, only one of them heard to good purpose. How peculiarly awful is the above description of the number of the saved, and the care and exertion necessary to secure eternal life! yet awful as this account is, how few comparatively, are affected with

Yet what life so happy as a truly religious life? To enjoy forgiveness and reconciliation with God; to live under a sense of his love and favour; to walk with God, enjoying daily communion with him; to have his love shed abroad in the heart, and to be able to worship and serve him constantly, from the sweetly constraining influence of supreme and prevailing love; to view and approach him as our Father, our reconciled Father; and be persuaded that "all things" are under his direction, and will be made subservient to our eternal good; to be able to look forward to heaven, as the inheritance provided for us, and promised to us: and to enjoy pleasing anticipations and foretastes of it; is encouraging and delightful. Besides these, to partake of the liberty of the gospel, liberty from guilt, from condemnation, from the dominion of sin : to devote all our powers, voluntarily and cheerfully, from choice, from love, from a sweet and diviné bias of the will; is no small advantage. The obedience of the Christian is not a slavery; he is not induced to it by a slavish fear; the "law of God is his delight;" his service is freedom, he obeys because he loves: his "yoke is easy and his burden is light:" Christ

has made him free indeed. Now what has the world to offer; what pleasure can sin afford, in any degree comparable to these? O that men would lay aside their prejudices, and judge impartially of religion! If they would consider truly religious characters, they would see they were not the most unhappy men in the world, but the most happy. And if they considered the end of their probationary course, and anticipated an eternal state, their consciences would satisfy them which will then have the advantage.

Let the reader take due care that he be not induced to neglect religion, nor attend to it superficially, from the example of others, however numerous they may be, or whatever be their rank, learning, or other pretensions. A day is coming when he will find himself destitute and wretched, if he slights it, or attends to it in a formal lifeless manner. While the closest attention is thought necessary to obtain an accurate acquaintance with an art or science, nor is any expence, or time, or labour thought too great, to qualify a person to make his way through this world, and to rise to distinction in it; while which is confessed to be of transcendent importance, and on a proper application to which, the complete and eternal fruition of heaven depends, is left to slight and occasional attention: or regarded as an object of secondary importance. While the best energies of men are requisite to secure the salvation of the soul, it is frequently left to the dangerous uncertainty of a dying hour. The Lord Jesus, the competency of whose knowledge of this subject none can call into question, has commanded us to strive, and has assured us that "the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." We must forcibly sieze heaven, if we would obtain


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it; we must be as earnest and resolute as soldiers that take a place by storm. "All men," says Christ press into it; that is, every occupant," all that succeed, obtain the possession of it through earnestness, resolution and perseverance, by pressing into it. Shall we manifest these qualities in all other cases, confessedly inferior: and refuse it in the case of the soul, and eternal salvation? When we have such objects before us as heaven, eternal life, a crown of glory, the beatific vision, &c. shall our affections be cold, our desires languid, and our efforts occasional, feeble and constrained; when every effort should be used, and every nerve strained to ensure success? Be assured no ordinary exertiou in this case will ever be approved of God, or secure to us a final victory and an eternal crown.

No one can justly object to the reasonableness of religion. Is not God our Maker, Preserver, and Benefactor? does not his providence watch over us with an in. cessant care? do we not live on his bounty? and does he not "give us all things richly to enjoy?" Is he not "the God of all grace;' the author of the plan of redemption, the giver of "his only begotten Son," and doth not he offer freely to us with and through him, full forgiveness, his favour, and eternal life? Do these give him no claim to our supreme regard ? Has he not also endowed us with reason, made us capable of the knowledge, love, worship, and fear of Him? Has he not endowed us with a moral sense, given us a revelation of his will, promised his Holy Spirit, and made us capable of immortality? Oh how reasonable is it then that he should have our best affections, our su➡ preme regard? how reasonable is it, that we should subm wholly to him, forsake all for him, devote all to him, and live wholly and entirely to his glory.

Guard against the prejudices does my wondering eye survey! which hinder many from embracing a religious life. It is thought to be gloomy, unsocial, and destitute of all comfort. But it is unquestionably the very reverse of all these. Just conceptions of the nature of religion, must satisfactorily convince any one of this. The Christian, as before intimated, enjoys forgiveness, and reconciliation; he enjoys a sense of the love and favour of God, and communion with him; he draws nigh unto him daily as his Father; looks forward to heaven as his home, and has frequent delightful foretastes of heaven. He serves God cheerfully, and does not consider his service as servile drudgery, but does his will from the heart, because he loves God, and is assured of God's love to him; his service therefore, is his delight. He "walks with God" constantly, and finds his ways, "ways of pleasantness, and paths of peace." He can sincerely say,

"Thy service, Lord! is my delight, "I would be spent and spend for thee." and frequently, with an ardent and aspiring mind,

"He looks to heaven's eternal hill,

"To meet that glorious day; "When Christ his promise shall fulfil,

"And call his soul away;" "While multitudes circumscribe their views, and contract their happiness within the narrow limits of a miserable and short-lived existence, embittered by cares and bounded by time; the believer passes these boundaries, with a noble ambition enlivens his prospects, and expands his views with the anticipation of future glory. Thus mounting on wings as eagles, be ascends the sacred hill of contemplation; from thence views by the eye of faith the fair inheritance which is prepared for him; and often breaks out into effusions of joy and gratitude, under the impressions of such a ravishing prospect. O what a rich inheritance

How extensive! how glorious! What is a land flowing with milk and honey, the glory of Israel's portion, compared with a country, where there are rivers of pleasure, and joys for ever more! Here, no sorrow can embitter, no sin diminish, no enemies interrupt, no lapse of time exhaust, the joys of its blest inhabitants. Here is an eternal sabbath, an uninterrupted state of repose. No fruits of the curse, no assaults of Satan can endanger the bliss of this Eden, through which flows the river of life, clear as crystal, from the throne of God and of the Lamb;' and in which grows the tree of life, whose fruit is the repast of heaven, and whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. Here is that society, which the most perfect harmony unites, which the blood of Christ redeemed, and which his grace shall animate with songs of never ending praise. Here is the mansion of rest and glory, which the Redeemer went before to prepare for his disconsolate disciples.

"Whether we consider religion in its origin, foundation, nature, influence, fruits, and evidences; or examine the consolations it imparts, the attractive loveliness it displays, and the prospects it opens to its happy votaries: it must in every point of view, be a concern of great importance. *

Reader! give this subject your most dipassionate consideration. Pray for divine illumination. Consider, your all is at stake. In a few years at farthest, you will be in heaven or hell, lost or saved for ever. Can any subject, any object of pursuit be placed in competition with this? God has given you reason, a Bible, a preached gospel, and some leisure hours; and he has appointed a throne of grace for you to approach daily he has directed you to "ask and

*De Courcey.

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