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as proceeding from all the Apostles : “ That fo which was from the beginning, which we "have heard, which we have seen with our « eyes, which we have looked upon, and our “ hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have “ seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you " that eternal life, which was with the Father, " and was manifested unto us;) that which we s have seen and heard declare we unto you, " that ye also may have fellowship with us:

, and truly our fellowship is with the Father, 66 and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these “ things write we unto you, that your joy may 6 be full.” Thus have we Jesus declared to us, by His beloved disciple, and, as it were, in the names of the whole number, that He rose from the dead, and proved Himself alive again, by many infallible tokens, to those who had been with Him from the beginning; and their intention in so declaring Him St. John professes to be, that we, and all to whom their writings shall be transmitted, may, through their testimony, have fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ, to the fulfilment of their joy in the gospel. A truly pious and benevolent intention, and one which it were a sin against our own souls to frustrate.

Perhaps, we would rather see Jesus with our own eyes, and handle Him with our own hands, than put confidence in the eyes and hands of another. But this is not within our choice. The great God, and our Saviour, hava ing, once for all, or out of compassion to the infirmities of all, interposed to convince a faithless disciple, justly requires us to be, not faithless, but believing, in the word of His chosen witnesses, who saw and conversed, yea, and did eat and drink with Him who had been crucified, after his resurrection from the dead. And we may observe abundant reason to rely on their testimony, as fully persuaded that hereafter we shall be made to perceive, equally with Thomas, that it is no deception. One of our most ordinary habits is, to give credence to, and to regulate our conduct by the report of worldly men, concerning such worldly things as are not within our own sight and knowledge It appears necessary for us in many cases to do this, and, accordingly, we are apt to do it with little or no hesitation. Much more then, about things pertaining unto God, should we practically trust in what hath been related to us by the Apostles of His Son. Occasion hath already been taken to remark, that they who will not receive their written word, are guilty of rejecting the counsel of God, or the means by which He would make them wise unto salvation, and shall find nothing surer, or more convincing, on which to rest their hopes. Let me here go further, and add, that no better testimony can be desired by reasonable and unprejudiced minds. The Apostles generally appear to have been, not hasty, but slow to believe. Also, they must have been themselves well acquainted with the remarkable events which they committed to writing; and, as to the fact of their Lord's resurrection, not only did they proclaim it again and again in the presence of His enemies, but moreover, they shewed " the power" of it, by a number of miracles wrought expressly in His name, and by daring rather to suffer death, than to cease from preaching it throughout the world. Verily such witnesses are most worthy of credit, insomuch that we ought not to require further, or other evidence of the saving doctrine, which they have written, and left on record. And, though, possibly, not on first, yet on second thoughts, it should seem to have been good for us, that we were not with the disciples when Jesus came, nor have subsequently been given to see and handle Him; since thus, being simply by the force of their testimony, convinced, we may look for the blessing solemnly pro

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nounced by Him on those, who, without seeing, have believed.

Wherefore, on the whole, and to conclude, resolve, my brethren, as not expecting nor wishing for any thing stronger, at once and cordially to accept the record of His Son, which God hath caused to be written for us by His holy Apostles, who saw and handled Him, after that He was risen from the dead. Let the temporary unbelief of Thomas, which was afterward dispelled to his entire satisfaction, serve only to the more confirmation of your faith ; and strive so perfectly, and without all doubt, to believe in Jesus Christ, as that you may be graciously approved in His, and His heavenly Father's sight. Should sundry doubts spring up in your minds, pray against and discourage them, as sinful thoughts; or, in case they should seem to be really honest doubts, converse about them with 66

some discreet and “ learned minister of God's word;" but never willingly loosen your hold on Christ's gospel, or think lightly of refusing your assent to any part of it; for assuredly therein alone is salvation. The most frequent case is that of persons who, while they would not object to, nor deny a single particular doctrine which they have been taught, are generally weak in their

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faith, or conscious of not being alive enough to the truth.

Let every one of this character remember to adopt that most suitable petition, ** Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief :" (Mark ix. 24.) let him be frequently reading his Lord's conversation and discourses, that thus his heart, like the hearts of the two who went to Emmaus, may be piously kindled, and burn or glow within him: above all, let him approach the table of his Lord, and try to become better, or more sensibly, acquainted with Him, by the solemn breaking of bread. (Luke xxiv.) His faith, if it be so lively as to put him on lamenting the deadness of it, will be lively enough to allow of his doing this; and while humbly doing it, as commanded, for the continual remembrance of His Redeemer's body and blood, he may justly expect that the God of consolation will strengthen his weakness, and, in due time, fill him “ with all joy and peace “ in believing, through the power of the Holy “ Ghost.” (Rom. xv. 13.)

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