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feelings of the heart, and to strengthen and renew the confidence of the soul in the God of the whole earth.
Finally, Prayer is evidently a duty, which, according to the scriptures, has been enjoined by the Creator and Preserver of the world. This fact being admitted, it follows of necessity that it is the subject of reward, and is therefore connected with blessings which will not, and cannot in equity, be received and enjoyed without a compliance with the command. So that he who "casts off fear and restrains prayer," robs himself of Heaven's blessing; withholds the honor which is due to God; incurs the disapprobation of the Sovereign of all worlds, and brings condemnation and misery to himself. Let these considerations sink deep into our hearts; and when we retire from this public assembly to our respective habitations, let the importance of those services which God requires, impress us with gratitude, solemnity and joy; and lead us to seek, in secret retirement of the heart, a peaceful and prayerful intercourse with our Maker; that we may ever bear the seal of his divine approbation, and enjoy the sweet and cheering "promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."
In the course of Lectures which has been commenced this evening, it is my intention, by divine permission, to lay before you, a brief, but plain and systematical defence of divine revelation. This contains the only charter of all our choicest hopes, and is the only true and infallible guide to immortality and eternal life.
ISAIAH xl. 5.
"The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together."
In my former Lecture, I laboured, (and I trust not without some degree of success,) to prove, from the evidences of nature and the demonstrations of physical science, the being and attributes of God; and to deduce from the evidences of the divine existence and government of God, the nature of that service which must be acceptable to him as a guardian friend and Parent.
We endeavoured to show by the most plain and undeniable facts which are brought to light by the science of geolgy, that there must have been a time when the globe which we inhabit did not exist as a solid body, but was in a confused, soluble and chaotic state. That the particles which constitute the internal structure of the earth were deposited in perfect order, according to their specific gravity. That in the lower strata of the primitive rocks of which the earth is composed, no fossil remains are to be found, which demonstrates, that at the time those substances were deposited, there existed neither plants nor animals; otherwise some remains of them would have been there deposited, as well as in the other strata which lie nearer the surface, where such remains are found in a state of petrifaction, in all their profusion of variety.
We were led by these facts to the unavoidable conclusion, that there was a time when the earth did not exist, and when neither the vegetable nor animal kingdoms were in being And if there was a period when these did not exist, they must have been produced by some power which was independent of them : For it would be an affront to common sense to say that they produced themselves, as this would be nothing less than to affirm that they acted
and produced the most astonishing effects before they existed! or in other words, that nonentity produced the reality of all things!
In that Lecture, an appeal was made to the perfect order and harmony, which every where prevail throughout the physical universe, as affording demonstrative evidence that the cause by which they were produced must of necessity be possessed of perfect wisdom and inconceivable power.
It was shown that design was too apparent through the infinite variety of nature, to leave a rational doubt upon the intelligent mind, that they were the production of the combined energies of infinite intelligence and omnipotence: While the capacities of the whole animal creation, for enjoyment, suited to their various natures; with the ample provision which is made for their respective wants and desires, were called in to support the conclusion that the Being who created and governs the countless whole, must be perfect in wisdom, almighty in power, and unlimited, or unconfined in goodness.
Having arrived at this legitimate conclusion, by the aid of sensible objects, and established the fact of the divine existence by the undeniable evidences of nature; we briefly considered the kind of service which such a Being might be reasonably supposed to require of those on whom he had bestowed the gift of reason, and fixed the moral image of his own nature, which could be none other than that of imitating his goodness by efforts to promote the true interest and happiness of our species, whose condition is evidently such as to admit of continual improvement. We also offered some plain and pointed arguments, showing the fitness, the duty, the reasonableness, necessity and moral influence of prayer.
With this brief notice of our introductory Lecture, we shall proceed to the object proposed; namely, to offer a regular course of Lectures in defence of divine revelation.
It would be a vain and useless labor to defend revelation, unless it could be made to appear that mankind needed such a revelation. The object therefore of our present labours will be to establish the fact that the condition of the world was such as to require a revelation from God
for the improvement and happiness, the moral virtue and usefulness of its inhabitants. To accomplish this object, we shall plainly and faithfully contrast the situation of man, while left to the sole guidance of nature, reason and philosophy, with his condition and improvements under the light of revelation: This will afford us a fair opportunity of judging whether a revelation was, or was not necessary to enlarge the sphere of his usefulness, and to advance the knowledge, refinement and happiness of human society.
In doing this, we will not be so ungenerous as to select the most barbarous and ignorant nations which the history of the heathen world presents, but we will select the most polished and enlightened nations, where we find most to admire and approve : Where nature has shed her kindest gifts, and where philosophy has exerted her powers and diffused her happiest influence; and if these will not bear a comparison with those nations who have been favored with the light of revelation, the necessity of such a revelation will be too clearly established to admit of a fair and reasonable doubt.
It would be impossible to determine with any degree of certainty, what discoveries human reason would be capable of making, unless we survey its acquisitions and discoveries, independent of the lights and improvements which revelation has furnished. We can only arrive at an accurate investigation of its powers, by examining what it has brought to light, when it stood unaided and alone.
It cannot be denied, that in the days of Socrates, Plato, and Cicero, science unveiled her splendors, and exerted her powers for the enlightening and improvement of mankind :-Nor can it be denied that philosophy was then in the very zenith of her glory, or that reason had attained the meridian of her strength.-But we demand, (and the demand is made with confidence,) whether reason, science and philosophy, in their combined efforts, produced any system so honorable to the Supreme Being; so congenial to the wants and happiness of man; so fruitful in the glories of moral excellence, or so refined in the hopes and virtues to which it gave birth, as that system of truth which revelation has unfolded to the view of the world? The most hardened and unblushing skepticism dare not answer
this question in the affirmative.-For skeptics know that such an assertion would be confronted by the most stubborn facts.
The splendid elucidations of the divine benignity; the unspeakable consolations of mercy and grace; the endless felicities of eternal life, and the indescribable glories of immortality, were neither recognised by the philosophy of Socrates and Plato, nor embraced by the flowing periods which have thrown so much lustre around the character of the Roman Orator. The depth of scientific research, which was the boast of Greece; the polite literature which distinguished the Athenians; and the senatorial wisdom which illuminated the halls of imperial Rome, fall equally short of elevating the mind to the sublime heights to which it is exalted by the powerful and glorious light of revelation.
The faithful records of history present us with a gloomy picture of the moral condition of man, when left solely to the guidance of nature and reason. Although surrounded with the beauty and luxuriance of nature; though enchanted with the vivifying influence of spring; surrounded with the glories of summer; loaded with the plenteous fruits of autumn, and taught by experience to lay by a store of the blessings of Providence to supply his wants in the dreary period of winter; man, with all his advantages and blessings, formed but vague and imperfect conjectures of the source whence these blessings flowed.
He saw that the seasons had their appointed periods, and was therefore led to conclude that an overruling intelligence presided over the destinies of nature. Hence an atheist was viewed as the most astonishing phenomenon, and as a monster among men. Still, having no clear conceptions of any existence distinct from matter, he was led to suppose that the Author of the Universe might be visible. And what object could so naturally and forcibly attract his attention, as the luminous king of day; from whose influence so many blessings and comforts were enjoyed? If any visible object was worthy of divine adoration, the Persians might well be excused for rearing an altar to the Sun, and bowing down with devout adoration to this most glorious of all visible objects. Next to the Sun, the Moon, which dispelled the gloom of night, and