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and Danger of making Light of Christ" closes the Volume; and though it does not părtake of the character of direct evidence, yet we hold it to be of prime importance to the cause of Christian truth, as it detects and exposes the latent causes of infidelity in the worldliness, or love of pleasure, or the diversified pursuits which engross the mind, to the utter exclusion of the salvation which the Gospel reveals. And truly does he resolve the largest portion of the infidelity which exists, into the infidelity of the heart, and not of the understanding. From the irreconcilable characters of God and Mammon, of Christ and Belial, of the love of the Father, and the love of the world, those infatuated men who are determined to render their homage to the one, must necessarily entertain feelings of hostility to the other ; and this hostility of the affections exerts a secret but blinding and delusive influence over the judgment, and in spite of the clearest and most incontrovertible evidence, betraying it into a disbelief of what the depraved heart must wish were not true. Aware as we are, of the extreme reluctance with which men whose minds have become poisoned with the pride of infidelity, or whose hearts have become depraved with the love of sin, admit any argument in favour of Christianity, we could not close our Volume without bringing the forcible and pathetic appeals of Richard Baxter to bear upon their consciences. And if there be one piece in this Volume, which, in preference to another, we would more urgently recommend to their serious regard, it would be this invaluable Treatise of Richard Baxter. Aware as he was of that deep and desperate infa
tuation by which so many are deceived to their eternal undoing, with the tenderness and pathos of a man whose heart glowed with angelic benevolence and with the earnestness and urgency of a man who felt the importance of his message; does he endeavour to persuade men by all that is commanding in the authority of God-by all that is winning in the love of Christ by all that is inviting in a blessed immortality and by all that is tremendous in eternal perdition, to flee from the wrath to come, and to lay held of the offered remedy. And if such men continue in their wilful and obstinate rejection of the Gospel, and heedlessly neglect, or perversely resist, the mercy which it offers, then it is not from want of clear and incontrovertible evidence, but from a des perately wicked and deceitful heart which is deceiving them to their ruin ; and we know not by what power, or by what sophistry such infatuated men can turn away from them the force of this fearful declaration, That - if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
It is well that Christianity has such a firm basis of argumentation to rest upon. It is well that she can be triumphantly borne throughout the whole range of human literature, and can bear to be confronted with all that the fancy or the philosophy of man have ever devised against her reputation. We count every one illustration of her external evidence to be an accession to her cause, nor can we look at the defensive barrier which has been
thrown around her, without wishing that the public eye might often be directed to the strength and the glory of her venerable qutworks. But let it not be disguised. The surrender of the understanding to the external argument is one thing; the rational principle of Christianity is another. And, therefore, there must be something more than the bare evidence of Christianity, to work the faith which is unto salvation. Many are the accomplished philosophers who have rejected this evidence, and to them it will stand in place of the miracle of tongues to the unbelievers of old. It will be a sign to justify their condemnation. But many also have admitted the evidence, and still the opinion has been as unfruitful of all that is religious, as the conclusion they have come to on any literary question. And, men of genius and accomplishment as they are, they must, to: obtain the faith of the Gospel, just put themselves on a level with the most untaught of our peasantry. They must submit to be tutored by the same evidence at last. They must labour after the same manifestation of the truth unto their consciences. They must open their Bibles, and give earnest heed unto the word of this prophecy. To the spirit of earnestness they must add the spirit of prayer. They must knock for light at the door: which they cannot open, till the day dawns and the day-star arise in their hearts and then will they find, that, by a way hidden from the wise and the prudent, but revealed unto babes, the word of prophecy may become more sure than any miracle can make it---more sure, than if a voice of attestation were to sound forth upon them from the canopy of heaven and greatly more
sure than by all that traditionary evidence, which links the present with the past, the period in which we now live with that wondrous period, when such a voice was heard by human ears on the mount of transfiguration.
It is true that the word of the testimony is often perused in vain—that in the reading of the Scriptures, the veil which is upon the heart of the natural man often remains untaken away—and that, after all that is done with him, he persists in blind and wilful obstinacy, and will neither see the doctrine of the Bible, nor the reflection of that doctrine upon his own character. To work this effect, the word must be accompanied by the demonstration of the Spirit, and who shall limit his operations ? When we think of the influences of Him who is promised in answer to prayer, and when we farther think of the extent of warrant that we have for prayer, even that we should ask for all such things as are agreeable to the will of God, who willeth all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth, and who is ever ready to put a blessing on His own word; then, to the diligent reading of the word, let him add the humble, earnest, and sincere prayer, that
, “ God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, may shine into his heart, to give him the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, as it is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ."
T. C. EDINBURGH, April, 1829.
CHAP. I. Religion necessary for the honour of God and
happiness of man. The truth of the Christian religion
made evident by comparing it with all other religions, . 331