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whale may as well expect to find its pleasure by plunging and floundering on the mountains of Caucasus, or the eagle in flying ten fathom deep in the seas of Greenland, as man may expect that human happiness can be found from the adoption of any system of conduct which militates against the one which God has decreed for his observance: and the folly, the madness of any such adoption is infinitely increased, when it is considered, that the invaluable assurances of peace of mind in this life, and of eternal happiness in the next, are expressly promised to that observance; and when, from that exact coincidence and agreement, proved in this proposition to exist between the promises and actions of God, no doubt can be entertained by any reasonable man, but that as the former of these gracious and important promises is found by all good men to be realized in the present life, by their enjoyment of the peace of God; so will the latter be equally, through the goodness of God, and the merits of our blessed Saviour and Redeemer, in that which is to come, by their enjoyment of those pleasures which are at God's right hand for evermore. A just faith in these promises, and in the lovingkindness of God towards man, is the true basis, the proper foundation for the structure of human happiness: and this may be inferred from the following gracious declaration to the human species, made by our heavenly
Father himself, in these words; “ Thus saith the “ Lordi; Let not the wise man glory in his wis“ dom, neither let the mighty man glory in his “ might; let not the rich man glory in his riches; “ but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he un“ derstandeth and knoweth me, that I am the “ Lord, which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, “ and righteousness in the earth; for in these « things I delight, saith the Lord.”
How much may the happiness of man be augmented by a due, a serious, a solemn attention to this gracious declaration of Almighty God! It communicates that essential, that important intelligence, which every rational being so anxiously and ardently wishes to possess, but which no heathen ever did possess; and the want of which knowledge was the chief cause of that superstition, polytheism, and idolatry, which so degraded the Pagan character. By this heavenly intelligence man' is now informed, from the source of all truth, (“ for all the promises of God are yea, and Amen*,") in what consists his true glory and happiness; and told that it does not consist in either riches, knowledge or power, but in a piety formed from a just conception of the nature and attributes of his gracious Creator : in believing, that he governs the world not only in judgment
* 2 Cor. i, 20....
and righteousness, but likewise in lovingkindness; and in believing him to be “the Lord, the Lord “ God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and “ abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy “ for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, “ and sin;" and who, though he will by no means clear the guilty, yet is at the same tiine so good, so merciful, so gracious, as to declare, “ Have I “ any pleasure in the death of the wicked? I have “ no pleasure in the death of the wicked, saith " the Lord. Let the wicked man turn from his “ wickedness which he hath committed, and do “ that which is lawful and right, and he shall save « his soul alive."
Having, as I hope, proved, in a fair and direct manner, the perfect coincidence and agreement between the words and actions of God towards the human race, I now proceed to accomplish the further object of this proposition, by an endeavour to prove the divinity and divine mission of our blessed Saviour and Redeemer Jesus Christ; first, by adducing several general and analogical arguments on this subject; and, secondly, by an induction of particulars, and by stating the perfect coincidence and agreement observable between our Saviour's words, doctrines, and actions, and the extraordinary and preternatural peculiarities remarkable in each of these. But before I state the main proofs of the divine
mission of our blessed Saviour, I shall observe the inethod I pursued in the first proposition, and endeavour to refute the two greatest objections that I believe have ever been made against it.
OBJECTION 1. Sceptics affirm, that it is inconsistent with our natural ideas of the majesty of God to suppose that he would send his Son to be an inhabitant of such an insignificant planet as this, for any period however short, or for the accomplishment of any human purposes or concerns however great.
v II. It is asserted by Sceptics, as a justification of their denial of the divinity and divine mission of our blessed Saviour, that his object on earth was an occult design to make himself a temporal king of the Jewish people.
In answer to the first objection, namely, that it is inconsistent with our natural ideas of the majesty of God to suppose that he would send his Son to be an inhabitant of such an insignificant planet as this, for any period however short, or for the accomplishment of any human purposes or concerns however great, I shall observe, the idea, that the Son of God should quit the blissful regions of heaven to reside in a comfortless and degrading state for several years in this world, and at last suffer a painful and ignominious death, is an idea at which it must be confessed the mind of man utterly revolts, when it is proposed to hiş reason in one short, abrupt, unqualified proposition. The human intellect is as much overpowered by this idea, as the eye is overpowered by looking at the sun in its meridian effulgence : nevertheless, it is an absolute truth, that the Son of God did descend from heaven, and dwell for some years on earth. How then is this important truth to be established in the mind ? In the same manner as every abstruse truth is or can be ; by contemplation, by an induction of particulars, by an accurate examination of its evidence; from observing the component parts of this truth, and from rémarking, that there is that harmony and union between these component parts, in which consists the very essence of truth, and which is so much its criterion, that it is scarcely possible to exist with falshood in any long-continued narration, which includes a number of general propositions, divided and subdivided into an almost infinite number of lesser propositions, and which is pre cisely the case in the history of Jesus Christ, as applicable and referable to the cause or reason of his descent from heaven, and to his life, actions, doctrines, and crucifixion on earth. Further, when we fiņd the object of our Saviour's mission to be so very important, as to justify the action of his descent on earth, namely, the accomplishment of the tempo