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without feeling that they have a force which no sonable man can resist.

Consider its first establishment. That a religion so contrary to our nature, should have established itself so quietly, without any force or restraint ; and yet so effectually, that no torments could prevent the martyrs from confessing it; and that this was done, not only without the assistance of any earthly potentate whatever, but in direct opposition to all the kings of earth combined against it.

Consider the holiness, the elevation, and the humility of a Christian spirit. Some of the Pagan philosophers have been elevated above the rest of mankind by a better regulated mode of life, and by the influence of sentiments in a measure conformed to those of Christianity ; but they have never recognised as a virtue that which Christi call humility; and they would even have believed it incompatible with other virtues which they proposed to cherish. None but the Christian religion has known how to unite things which previously appeared so much at variance : and has taught mankind, that instead of humility being inconsistent with the other virtues, all other virtues without it are vices and defects.

Consider the boundless wonders of the Holy Scripture; the grandeur, and the super-human sublimity of its statements, and the admirable simplicity of its style which has nothing affected, nothing labored or dite, and which bears upon the face of it, the irresistible stamp of truth.

Consider especially the person of Jesus Christ. Whatever may be thought of him in other respects, it is impossible not to discern that he had a truly noble and highly elevated spirit, of which he gave proof, even in his infancy before the doctors of the law. And yet, instead of applying himself to the cultivation of his talents by study, and by the society of the learned, he passed thirty years of his life in manual labor, and in an entire separation from the world: and during the three years of his ministry, he called and del


egated as his apostles, men without knowledge, without study, without repute ; and he excited as his enemies, all those who were accounted the wisest and the most learned of his day. This was certainly an extraordinary line of conduct, for one whose purpose it was to establish a new religion.

Consider also those chosen apostles of Jesus Christ: men unlettered and without study; yet who found themselves all at once sufficiently learned to confound the most practised philosophers, and sufficiently firm to resist the kings and tyrants who opposed that gospel which they preached.

Consider that extraordinary series of prophets, who have followed each other during a period of two thousand years: and who, in so many different ways, have predicted, even to the most minute circumstances, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; the mission of his apostles, the preaching of the gospel, the conversion of the Gentiles, and many other matters wbich regarded the establishment of the Christian religion, and the abolition of Judaism.

Consider the wonderful fulfilment of these prophecies, which have their accomplishment so accurately in the person of Jesus Christ, that none but he who is determined wilfully to blind himself, can fail to admit the fact.

Consider the state of the Jewish people, both previously and subsequently to the coming of Christ; how flourishing before his coming; how full of misery since they rejected him! Even at this day, they are without any peculiar marks of their religion, without a temple, without sacrifices, scattered over the whole world, the contempt and the scoffing of all.

Consider the perpetuity of the Christian religion, which has even subsisted from the beginning of the world, either in the Old Testament saints, who lived in the expectation of Christ before his coming, or in those who have received and believed on him since. No other religion has been perpetual, and this is the chief characteristic of the true religion.

Finally, consider the holiness of this religion. Consider its doctrine, which gives a satisfactory reason for all things; even for the contrarieties which are found in man.

And consider all these singular supernatural, and divine peculiarities which shine forth on every side, and then judge from all this evidence, if it is possible fairly to doubt that Christianity is the only true religion ; and if any other religion ever possessed any thing which could bear a moment's comparison with it.




The greatness and the misery of man are both so manifest, that it is essential to the true religion, to recognize the existence in man, of a certain principle of extraordinary greatness, and also a principle of profound misery. For that religion which is true, must thoroughly know our nature in all its grandeur, and in all its misery, and must comprehend the source of both. It should give also a satisfactory explanation of those astonishing contrarieties which we find within us. If also there be one essence, the beginning and the end of all things, the true religion should teach us to worship and to love him exclusively. But since we find ourselves unable to worship him whom we know not, and to love any thing beyond ourselves, it is essential that the religion which requires of us these duties, should warn us of our weakness, and guide us to its cure.

Again, religion, to make man happy, should teach him that there is a God; that we ought to love him; that it is our happiness to be his, and our only real evil to be separated from him. It should shew us that

we are full of gross darkness, which hinders us from knowing and loving him; and that our duty, thus requiring us to love God, and our evil affections alienating us from him, we are manifestly in an evil state. It ought to discover to us also the cause of this opposition to God, and to our real welfare, It should point out to us the remedy and the means of obtaining it. Examine, then, all the religious systems in the world on these several points, and see if any other than Christianity will satisfy you respecting them.

Shall it be the religion taught by those philosophers who offer to us as the chief good, our own moral excellence ? Is this, then, the supreme good ? Have these men discovered the remedy of our evils? Have they found a cure for the presumption of man, who thus makes him equal with God? And they who have levelled us with brutes, and held up as the chief good the sensual delights of earth; have they found a cure for our corrupt affections? These say to us, “ Lift up your eyes to God, behold him whom you resemble, and who has made you for his worship. make yourselves altogether like him; and, if you follow the dictates of wisdom, you will become his equals." Those say, “Look to the dust, vile reptiles, and consider the beasts with whom you are associated." What then is to be the lot of man? Is he to be equal with God, or with the beasts that perish? How awful the scope of this alternative. What shall be our destiny ? What the religion that shall instruct us, at once to correct both our pride and our concupiscence ?Where is the religion that shall teach us, at the same time,our happiness and our duty, the weaknesses which cause us to err, the specific for their removal, and the way

to obtain it? Hear what the wisdom of God declares on this subject, when it speaks to us in the Christian religion.

It is in vain, O men! that you seek in yourselves the remedy of your miseries. All the light you have can only shew you, that you cannot find within yourselves either truth or happiness. The philosophers

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have promised you both; but they could give you neither. They know not your real happiness, nor even your real state. How could they cure those ills, who did not even know them. Your chief mischiefs are, that pride which alienates you from God, and that concupiscence which fetters you to earth; and they have invariably fostered, at least, one or other of these evils. If they set God before you, it was but to excite your pride, by making you believe that your nature was similar to his. And they who saw the folly of such pretensions, have but led you to an equally dangerous precipice. . They have taught you that your nature was on a level with the beasts, and that happiness was only to be found in those lusts wbich you have in common with them. This was not the way to convince you of your errors. Seek not then from men, either truth or consolation. I made you at the first, and I only can teach you what you are. You are not now in the state in which you were created by

I made man holy, innocent, and perfect. I filled him with light and understanding. I made known to him my glory, and the wonders of my hand. Then it was that the eye of man beheld the majesty of God. He was not then in the darkness which now blinds him. He knew not then mortality or misery. But he did not long enjoy that glory, without declining to presumption. He wished to make himself the centre of his own happiness, and to live independently of my aid. He withdrew from beneath my authority. And when, by the desire to find happiness in himself, he aimed to put himself on a level with me; I abandoned him to his own guidance; and causing all the creatures that I had subjected to him, to revolt from him, I made them his enemies: so that now man himself is actually become similar to the beasts, and he is so far removed from me, that he scarcely retains even a confused notion of the Author of his being : so much have his original impressions been obliterated and obscured. His senses uncontrolled by reason, and often overruling it, hurry him onward to pleasure and to in

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