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and completely developed and revealed. In the two first of these nothing was ever more required of man than to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with his God; and, in addition to these, in the latter to believe in the goodness of God, as displayed in the divine mission of Jesus Christ, and that “ God so loved the world, that he gave his
only-begotten Son, that mankind should “ not perish, but have everlasting life.” Every one of these injunctions is calculated to produce in the heart of man cheerful and agreeable feelings; and their observance, so far from being attended either with pain or difficulty, is attended with the utmost pleasure, and the greatest satisfaction of mind, and true and real honour to the agent.
It is a mark of the goodness of God, that the greatest degree of human grief is capable of being relieved, even in its highest paroxysm, by genuine devotion, by pious offices and considerations; and that by these and time it can be, if not entirely subdued, at least so meliorated and effaced, as not perhaps very often to occur to the mind; and when it does, with a feeling of tender rather than bitter susceptibility, with a feeling that neither impairs our peace or cheerfulness. The single consideration, that God governs the world not only in judgment and righteousness, but in lovingkindness, and that he is loving unto every man, is an argument; when opposed to any worldly grief or misfortune whatever, which ought to check every thing like murmur and dissatisfaction of mind, and to have weight enough to reconcile us to his dispensations, and to a decided belief and persuasion, that all his decrees'are, ever have been, and ever must be, just, right, and merciful, whether we can or cannot comprehend them. Now it is impossible for a rational mind to be violently and permanently grieved at any decree it believes to be just, right, and merciful; and if it is so after the first paroxysm of its grief is over, it is a proof of want of a proper faith and confidence in the decrees and dispensations of God. Thus genuine devotion allays that storm in the soul, with which it is occasionally ruffled and agitated by the violence and acerbity of worldly events, and places in it that peace which the world cannot give; it does more, it charms it with joy and pleasure; for there is, or always should be, pleasure in a holy intercourse with God, as in his presence there is fulness of joy, in this world as well as in the next.
The goodness of God is not only shewn in the revelation of his will to mankind, but very greatly likewise in the peculiar manner in which that revelation is propounded to and made comprehensible by man: for at the same time that people of weak abilities in other respects, having faith, humility, and a good heart, comprehend the scope and meaning of Scripture extremely well, people of great erudition and far superior understandings, without faith, appear to have no power of understanding it at all; they seem to these unfortunate persons as idle tales, as the relation of our Saviour's resurrection did to the unbelieving Jews. Indeed, for the same reason, want of faith, this is more remarkable than may at first sight appear; for is there any instance, this single one excepted, wherein people of inferior powers of mind excel in apprehension those of super rior powers ? Here the Sceptic will probably justify his disbelief, by pretending a want of . sufficient evidence to authorize such belief,
and which want of evidence he can discern, though the unlearned and ignorant man cannot; but how much in this instance does the hardness and blindness of his heart, his folly, vanity, his prejudiced mind, and his want of candour, deceive him. Can thé ablest mathematician, without the most consummate vanity and presumption, assert this want of adequate evidence, when his great leader and master, Sir Isaac Newton, after the most exact and rigid investigation of that evidence, admitted its sufficiency, and asserted it in his writings? Can the most acute logician presume to deny the competency of this evidence, when Locke was so completely satisfied with it, that, like Sir Isaac Newton, he wrote a treatise in justification of it? When Lord Bacon and Mr. Boyle, in the most expréss terms, declare in their writings their complete conviction of this sufficiency of evidence in favour of the Scriptures, the modern Sceptic must with very ill grace dispute and oppose the judgment and decision of men of their towering genius and intellect, unless he arrogantly and presumptuously imagines the orbit of his understanding to be of greater depth and circumference than that of these great men ; especially after that genius and intellect had been exclusively employed in the examination and investigation of that evidence, and which most probably the intellect of this Sceptic never has been. Nothing indeed can be a greater proof of a
weak, or at least of à perverse and ill-judging mind, than to doubt there being sufficient evidence in a revelation, which has convinced the most able and learned men that ever lived, year after year, for a series of many ages : and the man, who asserts that there is this insufficiency, only proves, by his assertion, that, though he may think himself acquainted with the evidence that exists in favour of revelation, in reality he is ignorant of it; and therefore not to his knowledge, but to his ignorance, if he possesses either candour or humility of mind, he ought to ascribe his incredulity..
When God requires man to place his trust and confidence in him, and in his promises, as the most effective way to accomplish his temporal and eternal happiness, does he require more than every physician requires of his patient for the recovery of his health, or every lawyer of his client for the preservation of his property? and when he requires our obedience to his commands as the price of his favour, does he require more than every father does of his son, or every master of his servant?
God is pleased to declare to man, by his prophet Jeremiah,
66 that he