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thus kindly and graciously imparted, is a boon, a blessing, a gift from God to mankind, of such inestimable value, that no human intellect is strong enough properly to appreciate its worth ; nor is any human heart sufficiently affectionate, grateful, or susceptible, as to be able duly to feel that worth, or to return adequate thanks for it: especially as it has pleased God to let the truth of this knowledge be attested by an evidence so great, so circumstantial, so beyond all evidence that ever was pretended to be adduced by any other religion; by an evidence, which, after the strictest examination possible, has convinced the bulk of mankind in general, and men of the highest erudition in particular, regularly from age to age, for seventeen centuries, and therefore is so complete, that no man, without a just imputation on the goodness of his heart, or the soundness of his intellect, can dispute it: nevertheless, and notwithstanding this evidence, and those reasons before assigned for a grateful return to God for this merciful instance of his goodness, there are men in the world of a nature so proud or perverse, as to despise this revelation, to cavil at it, to deny its truth, and to reject it altogether. Now,
as it is very unlikely men of this sceptical disposition should have their hearts qualified with that love of God which, as they will not cultivate, they cannot feel; nor with that holiness, without which no man can see God; the love that our blessed Saviour ever bore to the human race, and the pity he entertained for men of this mistaken and unhappy turn of mind, induced him to make the abovementioned declaration expressly to warn them of the fatal tendency of their opinions : it induced him to tell these men, who are infatuated with a false and imaginary idea of their superior intellect, learning, and genius, that the highest wisdom is to have an humble idea of themselves ; and that it consists in knowing, fearing, and obeying God, in trembling at his word *, instead of rebelling against it, and treating it with derision : it induced him to tell them, that, till an entire change is effected in their heart, and their pride is exchanged for humility, their ingratitude into thankfulness, and they adopt a new system of thought and conduct, and receive the word of God with the meekness and
*" To this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of « a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” Isaiah lxvi. 2.
simplicity of a little child, with all their learning and genius it will be impossible for thein to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Till this reverential awe for God and his word exists in the heart, no man, let his attainments in other respects be as they may, will ever understand the true meaning of the Scriptures: he may read the letter, but it will ever be a dead letter to him, unless his heart at the same time feels the spirit of what he reads. For, however Sceptics may deride the assertion, it is nevertheless a truth, supported by the whole weight of Scripture, that spiritual things are spiritually discerned ; and that the secret of the Lord (that heavenly intelligence which the Scripture imparts to a righteous man, cheering and rejoicing his heart in this life, and assuring him of a happy existence in a better) is only with them that love and fear him; and is only understood and felt by those who have true humility of mind, and who receive the word of God with that submission and simplicity of heart, required and expressly insisted on by our Saviour. And how agreeable this assertion in Scripture is to human reason, may be collected from the following passage in Xenophon's Memo
rabilia ; “If thou wouldest be convinced “ how great is the power and the goodness “ of the gods, put thyself in a condition “ to deserve, by thy services, that they may “ reveal to thee some of those great secrets “ which are concealed from men."
With the reader's leave, I will here explain what I apprehend is meant by the assertion, that spiritual things are spiritually discerned, by stating the opposite conclusions, formed from the same premises, with respect to these spiritual things, by two men of equal mental abilities; and shall endeavour to prove, from this difference in opinion, that it is necessary for the mind of man to possess something besides mere abstract intellect, besides genius and learning, if he wishes his soul to be enriched with a real belief in the truths of Revelation.
Lord Bolingbroke and Mr. Addison were each men of very superior natural understanding, highly improved by a knowledge of ancient philosophy, classical learning, by a very extensive acquaintance with mankind, with politics, in short, with every thing that can be supposed capable of exempting the mind from superstition, bigotry, and prejudice, and to improve its natural intellect
and judgment in the highest degree. Now though the evidence respecting revealed religion laid before each was exactly the same, their opinions on it were diametrically opposite; notwithstanding, there is the greatest probability in imagining they would have agreed in their criticism respecting any profane writer; the one considered revealed religion as a mere imposition, ås a system originating in, and prosecuted by, priestcraft; whilst the other, after a most strict and severe examination of its evidence, believed it to be exact truth, proceeding ima mediately from Almighty God. With these fundamental data in the minds of each, with reference to Revelation, how different must have been the association and combination of their ideas on it, and equally on the state of man here and hereafter; likewise respecting the Deity and his attributes, and especially that of his goodness; as a particular instance of which Lord Bolingbroke not only affirms, that God has not given the same proofs of his goodness as of his his philosophical works he infers, that, with respect to man, he has not given any. The one considered God as a great and potent Being, who, having allotted man reason and
power, but in