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and convincing those who at present oppose themselves.
From the general body of the once favoured people the veil, which has so long excluded the truth, is not taken away ; but from individuals, in this as in former ages, it may, through God's mercy, be removed. Convince them that by the law, wherein they trust, they cannot be saved. Shew them that in its best state it never by its own excellence justified any who came to it, but only through faith in the sacrifice of Christ. Remind them that the law itself, which promises no aid to human infirmity, expressly pronounces every one cursed who continueth not in all things there written to do them. Teach them these plain and salutary truths, it may be they will cease to look for salvation where it never could be found, and will begin to inquire from what other source they may obtain it.
Expound to them then other parts ture; shew them that the prophecies respecting the Messiah were all of them fulfilled in the life and death, the resurrection and ascension, of the blessed Jesus. Instruct them
m 2 Tim, ii, 25
n Deut. xxvii. 26. Gal. ii. 10.
that God was in Him reconciling the world to himself; of which he gave proofs tie same in kind but superior in degree to those which confirmed the mission of Moses. Signs and wonders and mighty deeds were wrought by both ; and both delivered prophecies, which
every succeeding age has verified.
In this manner and by arguments of this fort, not by suppressing any part of the truth, nor by giving it up to preconceived notions, thousands of Jews were in the beginning converted to the faith of Christ. The same mode of reasoning has proved successful in every other instance where success has been gained ; and by the same, if wisely and seasonably urged, we may still, under the good influence of the Spirit of grace, hope to save fome.
But, secondly, if we wish to persuade others to good effect, we ourselves should above all things be diligent, not only to search for and examine : the truth, but likewise, when we have found, conscientiously to practise it.
The proofs of that pure religion, which we profess, are not less certain than the clearest demonstration ; but demonstration itself is of
no avail if it be not attended to ; nor can inoral evidence, however cogent, produce its effect, if we do not give it an impartial hearing. We are not easily convinced of what we are not willing to learn. If airy phantoms are pursued till we fancy them solid substance, if the grounds of our faith are seldom viewed or slightly regarded, if every imaginary or even real difficulty is made to over balance positive proof, our doubts arise from some other defect than want of evidence.
To exemplify in our life the superior excellency of the gospel precepts is the best recommendation of our cause to others, and the surest means of drawing down the blessing of God upon us and our endeavours. He is wont of his gracious and unmerited goodness to bestow upon the world his choicest favours for the sake of his saints and faithful servants. “ Fear not, Paul” said the holy angel; “ thou must be brought before Cesar, and Lo! God hath given thee all them that fail with thee o.” If by the hatred, emulation, and strife, if by the carnal lusts and appetites, if by the coldness and indifference, if by any other sin, of those who name the name of Christ, the progress of his kingdom is obstructed, and the conversion of unbelievers hindered, we have reason to tremble before the Lord, and Thould endeavour to avert his righteous vengeance.
• Acts xxvii. 24.
The study of our holy religion is the noblest exercise of our rational faculties; the practice of it is the brightest ornament of our moral capacities. The blefsing promised from the fall, what patriarchs and kings have hoped for, what prophets and apostles have taught, what angels have ministered unto, and the Son of God died to obtain, must deserve the attention of man, should inspire his heart with gladness, and fill his lips with praise.
The present works of providence confirm our belief of the past, and establish our hopes of the future. He who « holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved P,” could animate the breathless clay, and can raise our body from the dust. He who guideth the sun in his course, and teacheth the moon her way, could stop tie one in the midst of heaven, and the other in the chambers of the east. He who scattered,
and yet hath preserved, the fons of Judah, the flock of slaughter, can reassemble, convert, and save them ; can“ say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Keep not back ; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” He who from the foundation of the world hath confirmed his holy covenant and magnified his loving kindness, can fulfil the words which he hath spoken, and impart his appointed favours. At the right hand of God in heaven Christ Jesus our Redeemer is enthroned: thence doth he protect his church, and there he intercedeth for us. He prepareth mansions of bliss, which he promised to them that love him. His truth can never fail; he will come to his chosen servants, and where He is they shall be also, and reign with him in glory for
9 If. xliii, 6.