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that it does not consist in either riches, knowledge, or power, but in a piety formed from à just conception of the nature and attributes of his gracious Creator; in believing, that he governs the world not only in judgment 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, for
giving iniquity, transgression, and sin;" and who, though he will by no means clear the guilty, yet is at the same time so good, so mérciful, so gracious, as to declare, “ Have
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 law“ ful 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 pros position, by an endeavour to prove the divinity and divine mission of our blessed Savi
our 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 method I pursued in the first proposition, and endeavour to refute the two greatest objections that I believe have ever been made against it.
OBJECTION I. 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.
OBJECTION 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 his 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 cani : by contemplation,
by an induction of particulars, by an accurate examination of its evidence; from observing the component parts of this truth, and from remarking, 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 falsehood 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 precisely 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 find 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 temporal and eternal happi. ness of millions of millions of intellectual beings, created in the image of God, who could never otherwise have enjoyed that happiness ; when we find that his words and actions are of that supernatural cast, as to be clearly and unquestionably beyond the power of any man, or set of men, to have
uttered or performed ; and when we find a perfect congruity, agreement, and consistency between each, and that they have both one and the same object, namely, the accomplishment of that human happiness which, consistently with the attributes of God, could po otherwise have been accomplished; when the mind considers this, and such other collateral evidence as it will be the business of this proposition to lay before it, then it is that the reason of man accedes, or should accede, to a belief in the divine mission of our blessed Redeemer, and to the opinion, that it is in no respect inconsistent with the majesty of God, that his goodness should have prompted him to send his Son into the world to rescue from sin, misery, and death, millions and millions of intellectual beings, created in his own image, and with a design that they should ultimately enjoy everlasting happiness. At the same time, without a proper induction of the particulars respecting this awful matter, and a close and careful examination of its evidence, a doubting mind will probably never adopt a due belief in it, any more than the mind of an illiterate person will admit as a truth that the earth moves round the sun, till he has acquired