dent they cannot be ultimate;-but that each of them having been affirmed by the God of truth concerning the same thing, there is no doubt whatever of their eventual coincidence in one comprehensive and axiomatic truth. In the mean time, we feel that we must wait patiently, pronounce less confidently, inquire more diffidently, look at each other more charitably, and, leaving the polemics of piety in which we differ, unite in the practice of piety in which we agree.

2. Religion has been regarded as the great monopolist of mystery; the popular ignorance of the wonders of natural philosophy has favored this error; and the consequence has too commonly been that the neophyte has brought to religion a speculative spirit, and has spent that breath in disputing which might otherwise have been spent in the race of holiness. It is a subject of congratulation, however, that as natural science advances, she is throwing a light on many of the dark things of scripture, and, at the same time, multiplying her own incredibilia ; so that wonder and scepticism will have to transport their throne from the region of religion into the province of science, And thus much of the strength which would once have been wasted in speculation and controversy, is now more usefully employed in biblical criticism, and the enforcement of piety, in acts of obedience to God, and in deeds of benevolence to man.

3. The present day is pre-eminently distinguished, in every department, social, national, and universal ; civil, po. litical, and philosophical, by practical activity. Religion, also, is up and doing. In every thing proper to her peculiar province, she leads the van, Once more she appears before the world in her appropriate character, militant and aggressive. Hushing their mutual feuds, she is leading her followers forth to the conquest of a world. To fall into her train, is to swear obedience to the laws of Christ.

4. Another characteristic of the present day, whether for good or for evil, we stay not to inquire, is its cui b:no or utilitarian spirit. By this test, religion glories to be examined. Godliness is profitable for all things. In can call witnesses from all classes of the community; bring evidence from all parts of the earth; and constrain even its enemies to speak well of it.

It is the boast of philosophy, that any accession to our knowledge of nature is syre, sooner or later, to make itself felt in some practical application and benefit. Every additional truth which the gospel has brought, is an additional principle of holiness, a fresh element of virtue; it is, in effect, the addition of a new mechanical power for accelerating the motion of the world towards God. It is the pride of physical science, that it can lead the very elements captive, subduing the most powerful energies of nature to its purposes, and employing them in a variety of useful ways. Spiritual triumphs, analogous to this, are familiar to the gospel. It is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.' It gathers grapes from thorns, and figs from thistles. It turns the wrath of man into a song of praise worthy the harps of beaven. It takes the passions, the most intractable and unapproachable human passions yokes them to the car of duty, and benceforth they run in the way of obedience, proud to grace its triumphs. From elements of vice and wretchedness, the gospel forms a new creature, instinct with God.

These are its ordinary effects; but, not only does it retain all its original applicability and power unimpaired; it only waits occasion to develope energies of unimagined value, and to fill the world with wonders of grace.

Do we admire its practical utility and power ? Then the Saviour turns on us a look of personal application, while he repeats, · Whosoever heareth these sayings of

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mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man.' • If ye know these things, happy are ye if


do them.' His sublimest doctrines were all practical. He would not have revealed any one doctrine contained in his word but for its moral effect. He measured beforehand the power of each to sanctify, and according to its tendency to illus. trate the holiness of his divine nature, and to restore sanctity to our human, he assigned it an appropriate place in the system of truth. The moral of each separately, and of all combined, is simply this, “Sin no more.' Reader, such are the beauty and excellence of the seal; what is its impression on your heart and life? The character of the christian should be monumental, commemorative of the great facts and truths of the gospel; how many of these facts and truths could be learnt from your character or transcribed from your life? • If ye love me keep my commandments.'

Epsom, May, 1835.

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'He spake as one having authority.'

When, in the fulness of time, the eternal Son came forth from the bosom of the Father, he descended to a region of spiritual darkness. Ages of inquiry, conjecture, and effort had only served to demonstrate the fact—that man, by searching cannot find out God.' Legislators, philosophers, and poets—the pride of their time, and the boast of the species—had toiled to construct a system whose top should reach unto heaven ; but in vain; they built only to the clouds. Reason, confident in her resources, had sent forth her sons under all auspices, and in every direction : but they returned, defeated and disheartened; the footsteps of truth could nowhere be found. In vain had generation after generation asked, in its way to oblivion, "What is truth?' The devotee had urged the inquiry at the shrine of his god; the priest, at his altar of sacrifice; the sage had repeated it as he walked amidst the works and wonders of


but nothing was heard in reply; nothing, but the faint and bewildering echo, What is truth?' Darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people. Nor can the state of Judea be regarded as an exception


to the prevailing gloom. There, indeed, the ancient oracles of God were yet extant; but their still small voice, heard only, at any time, by the attentive listener, had been long since over-powered and silenced by the dogmas of their professed interpreters, and the clamors of rival sects. The spiritual import of the sacred volume, like the sevensealed roll of the Apocalypse, had long been closed to the Jew; and when the lion of the tribe of Judah prevailed to open it, the aversion with which they turned from the sight, showed how unaccustomed they were to gaze on the truth. The darkness was universal and complete. It had settled down, like a pall, over the face of the whole earth. Truth looked down from heaven ; but from no part could she behold her image reflected. If she would relieve the gloom, she must descend, and shine, and dissipate it with her actual presence. All things proclaimed the urgent necessity that the world should be visited by a teacher sent from God.'

Not only did this awful exigence exist, it was extensively felt and acknowledged; and, by many of the more enlightened heathens, a Divine Instructor was ardently desired. In illustration of this, the language of Plato has been often cited; nor is it easy to conceive of any thing more conclusive and striking than his picture of Socrates advising his pupil to forego the usual sacrifices until a teacher should be sent from on high. In another place, speaking of such an inspired teacher, he represents, with prophetic sagacity and precision, that he must be poor, and void of all qualifications but those of virtue alone ; that a wicked world would not bear his instructions and reproofs; and therefore, within three or four years after he began to preach, he would be persecuted, imprisoned, scourged, and at last put to death.' In this remarkable passage, we behold the divine philosopher, rising from a


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