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causes added to its entire and inseparable union with the politics and government of Mohammed's successors : and other princes of that religion, have prolonged its prevalence, in ignorant and despotic countries; and probably will do so till the light of pure Christianity expose the whole to neglect and disgrace.
Few words may suffice for the contrast of the holy religion of Jesus, with the unholy system which we have delineated. The perfect law of
loving God with all the heart, and mind, and “ soul, and strength," and of " loving our neigh« bour as ourselves,” is by it explained, and applied to every circumstance and relation of human life. Man is uniformly. considered as a sinner deserving the wrath of God for his violations of this holy law; and by his proneness, arising from the carnal mind, to refuse subjection to it, he is represented as “a vessel of wrath fitted “ for destruction ;” inheriting fallen Adam's rebellious and apostate nature, and ready to imitate his disobedience. To man, in this ruined and wretched state, the most full, and suitable, and gracious proposals of mercy, reconciliation, and recovery to holiness are made : but in such a way as never for a moment suffers him to lose sight of the dreadful and hateful nature of sin, or of his just desert of final wrath and misery: and, in this proposal, through the righteousness, and redemption, and intercession of Immanuel, “God “ manifested in the flesh ;” the holy law is more especially honoured, both in its precept and in its awful sanction. Every doctrine of Christianity is diametrically opposite, nay, designedly opposed, to man's pride of self-wisdom, self-righteousness, self-confidence, and self-will. He must, in order to be saved, “ become a fool, that he may be made “ wise ;” and “receive the kingdom of God,” not as a reasoning philosopher, but “as a little child.” He must seek mercy, as a self-condemned criminal,“ submitting to the righteousness of God,” and renouncing his own righteousness. He must come even “ to the throne of grace," not in his own name, but in the name of his faithful and merciful High Priest; and seek forgiveness and grace, not for his own sake, or for the sake of any thing which he has done or can do; but for the sake of the righteousness and atonement of his heavenly Advocate, and “ through faith in his
name; nay, even “the spiritual sacrifices of “ praise and thanksgiving," are " acceptable only
through Jesus Christ.”! This repentance, and faith, and grace, and “ things accompanying sal“vation,” are all to be considered as “ the gift of
and the whole glory given to him. Man's restoration to holiness, his moral capacity of serving God acceptably in this world, and of enjoying his love in heaven, must be effected by a new creation."
“ We are his workmanship, “ created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Selfdependence and self-glorying, in every thing, are systematically and most carefully excluded. Every difference is ascribed to the grace of God. Even while we are called “ to work out our own salva“tion with fear and trembling," we are reminded that it is God who worketh in us both to will
Phil. i. 11. Col. iii. 17. Heb. xiii. 15, 16. 1 Pet. ii. 4,5.
“ and to do of his good pleasure." Every thing is suited to give offence to all, except“ the poor “ in spirit,” and the humble in heart. Yet not the least allowance is given to any one of our corrupt inclinations. The mortification of those passions, which among men are in high estimation, is as absolutely required, as that of the most grovelling sensuality. Ambition and the love of human applause, and emulation of excelling others, and desire of power and prëeminence, are even more decidedly proscribed than drunkenness and licentiousness. « God resisteth the proud :” Ýmempávous avliláscetus. Christianity, again, makes no exceptions, in her impartial and holy requirements, in favour of the wealthy, the powerful, and the noble; no, not of kings and emperors : and, so far from making more allowance to the zealous professors of her holy truths than to others, she considers sin in them as far more heinous than in " those who know not God ;” and denounces a doom on wicked professors of the gospel at the day of judgment, more intolerable than even that of Sodom. No zeal, or labours, or endowments, though a man should " speak with the tongues of
men and of angels,” and should“ give his body “to be burned,” after having preached as long and as successfully as the apostle Paul himself, is allowed as a compensation for “ working ini“ quity:" and, after all, if the preacher, or martyr, hath not“ kept under his body, and brought it into subjection,” (what a contrast to Mohammedan licentiousness!) he himself will be “ a “cast-away."
At the same time, the heaven proposed by Chris
tianity, is one of perfect purity and holy love : a heaven of perfect conformity to God, and constant delight in him, and in his worship and service. Such a heayen, as no unholy man could endure. “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” In order to be “ made meet for this inheritance of “ the saints in light,” from which the most honourable and lawful of our earthly comforts and satisfactions are excluded, “ the flesh must be crucified with its affections and lusts; the right hand which causes to offend, must be cut off; and even our most lawful attachments and inclinations must be habitually subjected to the holy will of God. As to this world, nothing is set before us but the prospect of self-denial and tribulation : except such supports and comforts as come from God alone, and consist principally in the hopes and earnests of heavenly glory and felicity. Food and raiment, with a contented mind, are the whole of that which is expressly promised. Instead of being allured like Mohammed's followers, by the hope of plunder and power, of wealth and sensual pleasure, we are called on to “ deny ourselves, and “ take up our cross,” and follow our suffering Saviour, forsaking all and prepared to.“ lay down “ our lives for his sake."
Were all men consistent Mohammedans, all would be sensual, selfish, ambitious, deceitful, malignant ; “having a form of godliness, but “ denying the power of it.” Were all men consistent Christians, all would be piety, purity, humility, integrity, disinterested, liberal, self-denying love. The earth would be full of happiness, approximating to that of heaven, and preparing for it: and, without any effort to induce them, men would every where “ beat their swords into “plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, “ and would learn war no more.”
But our divine religion wants a more able panegyrist; not, as panegyrists in general, to ascribe to her undeserved honours, but to do her justice in any tolerable measure. These remarks, however, may suffice to shew, that, in such a world as this, a religion which declared war against all vices, and against all the proud virtues; all the ignorance and delusion, all the “science falsely so “ called,” all the irreligion, and all the existing religion, of mankind; which attempted not, like heathen moralists, to rule by balancing parties, and to prevail against grovelling vices by sanctioning ambition and love of glory; but proscribed all corrupt passions without exception: I say, that such a religion should become triumphant to the degree and extent, and in the durable manner, which it undeniably has ; is an event unprecedented and astonishing, and which never could, in the prospect, have been imagined, except by those who considered the power of Almighty God as engaged to render it successful.—This may introduce the third part of our subject,
3. The means by which the triumphs of Christianity, and those of Mohammedism, were severally acquired.
The apostle might well say, “ The weapons of
our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through “ God to the pulling down of strong holds; cast
ing down imaginations, and every high thing