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heaven and earth ; this is evident from the sERM. existence of myself and every thing around me, from the order and regularity with which the universe is conducted, and from the common consent and universal agreement of all mankind. Who makes the sun to rise and to set, the moon and the planets to perform their stated rounds, the seasons to return at regular periods, the grain which is buried in the earth uniformly.to revive and to grow up, but some almighty superintending cause-which is God? We are next called on to believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. Of the truth of all this, we have the clearest testimony:about eighteen hundred years ago, a great personage, called Jesus Christ, was born of a pure virgin, among the Jews; he declared that he was sent from God, and that
SERM. he was God's only Son: and he confirmed
w the truth of those declarations by the wis.
dom of his instructions, and by the many wonderful works which he performed. The Jews, through envy and malice, and fearing that the religion which he taught was to be erected on the ruin of theirs, falsely accused and crucified him, at the time Pontius Pilate was their governor, on the day which we now keep and call Good Friday; and, when they perceived that he was dead, he was taken from the cross and buried in a new sepulchre; a large stone was rolled at the mouth of it, and a guard of armed soldiers placed before it, lest his disciples should come in the night and steal him away.
The creed next asserts that "he descended into hell.”—Whatever is meant by this, I think we may be certain that it is not the place of torment, which usually goes by that name; it possibly means that
place where the souls of the dead reside SERM. during their separation from the body, be: w tween the times of death and judgment; but this I do not think material for us to inquire into: what follows, is indeed important" that he arose again the third “ day ;' because it is an earnest that we also shall in like manner be raised from the grave, and live. That it was really himself, and not an apparition which deceived them, he clearly proved, by condescendingly permitting his disciples to handle him, and by eating and drinking as he had done before his death; he remained on earth and shewed himself to large numbers during forty days. The story of his body being stolen by his disciples (which the Jews pretended) is too improbable to gain credit with any person of sense and candour. He died then, and was buried on the Friday, and rose again on the day which we now celebrate as Easter Sunday,
SERM. “ He ascended into heaven :” this he did
in the sight of many of his followers, after ; having conversed with them, as I have just
observed, during forty days, and given them a commission to preach the gospel to every creature.
He now sits at the right hand of God, the place of highest honour in heaven, where he continually presents our prayers, and makes intercession for us, and from whence he shall come in great pomp and majesty, surrounded by myriads of angels, to recompense according to their deeds, both the multitudes which during all the ages of the world have died, and those whom at his coming he shall find alive. The creed next calls on us to “ believe in “ the Holy Ghost," who is the third person in the blessed Trinity, by whose inspi. ration the prophets spake, and the apostles did miracles ; who is the author of all the good thoughts which arise in our minds,
who sanctifies and makes holy all righteous SERM, persons.
But let me caution you against imagining that this divine being will take up his abode with you, without any efforts on your parts : you may indeed be sure, if you earnestly pray for his assistance, and sincerely endeavour to deserve it, that it will not be withheld from you; but then your own labours must be as strenuously exerted, as if all depended (as in fact it does) on yourselves. We next declare our belief " in the holy catholic church “ and the communion of saints ;” it is not perhaps very clear, now, what is precisely meant by these, but probably they may be best explained together in this manner,--we believe that the true church of Christ is made up of all sincere Chris. tians, of what nation or sect soever, and that all such are and shall be partakers of the benefits and privileges of the gospel.