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Her excellent writings, by which though dead she still speaketh, and which are the faithful counterpart of her amiable mind, exhibit to us the fairest picture of the original. The The following lines are inscribed on her tomb.
Silent the lyre, and dumb the tunefuř
But now in heaven she joins the an-
In more harmonious, more exalted
THE DIVINITY OF THE GOSPEL
OF ITS AUTHOR.
THE miracles, which Jesus, performed, demonstrate his heavenly mission. But had he wrought no miracles at all, his holy and blameless life would have been a proof, that he came from God, and taught the way of God in truth. No impostor ever lived in the manner in which he lived. Impostors always have some selfish, worldly design at heart; and though they may teach many useful truths, and may inculcate many excellent precepts, and may seem to practise some specious virtues, yet governed by their favourite object, they run into many inconsistencies of conduct, which betray their pride, avarice and ambition. They never support a uniformly virtuous character. They may for a while deceive the simple and credulous; but their folly and hypocrisy will, sooner or later, be manifest to the wise and discerning. By their fruits they will be known. The character of Christ, from his first appearance to the close of his life, was the same; it was unexceptionably pure and
pious. His enemies, who were
Enthusiasts may sometimes,
Such a man as this could not be an impostor. One, who had
not a good heart, could not live as he lived. One, who had a good heart, would not pretend to a mission from God, when he knew, he had no such mission, but spake merely of himself.
If then we believe, that there was such a person as Jesus Christ, and that he really sus tained that holy and blameless character, which is ascribed to him, we must believe, that his gospel is divine, and that the religion, which it contains, is true and important. They, who profess to believe, that there was such a man, and yet disbelieve his divine authority, and heavenly mission, most palpably contradict themselves; for such a man would never have claimed an authority, and assumed a character, which did not belong to him.
An infidel will ask; "How do we know, that he was so perfect a man? May not this high character be a fiction of his disciples, who have written the memoirs of his life?" It must then be supposed, that his disciples were dishonest and wicked men. And would men of corrupt hearts and vile intentions have ascribed to their master a character, which must condemn themselves? The disciples of an impostor will always exhibit the example and doctrine of their master, in a manner, which tolerates their own vices. They will make him teach and practise a religion lax in those points, in which they wish for indulgence. Yea, is it supposable that wicked men; men, who were in heart utter strangers to true religion; (and such the disciples of Christ were, if they were deceivers and liars ;) I ask, Is it supposable, that
they could conceive and draw such a pure, consistent and exalted character, as they have ascribed to Christ, if they had never seen it? The disciples of Socrates, and the followers of Mahomet have given their rcspective masters no such character: and yet their zeal for and attachment to their cause certainly would have induced ther to say as much, as truth could justify, or their own imagination could suggest. It was not in their power to frame such a character, as is given of Christ, for such a character had never existed in their minds. They had never seen or heard of the like. What the disciples of Jesus saw & heard, that they have declared s for if they had not seen or heard it, they could not have declared it; nor would it have come into their imagination.
They appear to be men of honesty and candour. In their histories they freely relate their own and each other's faults, their weakness, unbelief, dulness of apprehension, mistake of the prophecies, ambition of prefer ment, expectation of a worldly kingdom, the treachery of one in betraying their Master, the falsehood of another in denying him, the cowardice of all in forsaking him at the time of his crucifixion. If they had seen any faults in him, would they not as readily have related these, as their own and each other's faults? The candour, with which they have written, shews, that they were honest and faithful historians, and that the character, which they have given of Jesus, is perfectly just. In short, it shews, that as his enemies, who malignantly watched him, could
find no fault in him, so his friends, the family of an obscure man, and though he assumed no earthly pomp, was infinitely greater than the greatest king that ever He flourished in this world. was God manifest in the flesh. As God, he is equal with the Father, possessing all the divine perfections. He is eternal, omniscient, infinite in power, and perfect in goodness. As man, he possessed powers and faculties, which were derived and limited. As man, he was the descendant of David, and never had existence, until he was born of the virgin Mary. Viewed in the mysterious character of God-Man, he is David's Lord, and, at the same time, David's Son. To this two-fold character he evidently referred, in the following remarkable words, recorded in the Revelation of John; I am the Root and the Offspring of David.
The WORD of GOD, or the second person in the Trinity, being thus made flesh, had power to lay down his life, as a sacrifice for sin, and he had power to take it again, that he might become, as he is declared to be, the resurrection and the life. By the an gel who announced to Mary, and afterwards to Joseph his birth, it was foretold that he should be called Jesus, a name peculiarly expressive of his glorious and divine person, and of the great work, which he came into the world to perform. The word Jesus, means a Saviour. It is the same as Joshua, who was an eminent type of Christ. The incarnate God, or the great Mediator, was thus called, because it was to be his office and work to save his people from their sins.
This divine Saviour is to be considered, as the Father of the
who were intimately conversant with him, knew of none. Therefore, from the example of Christ recorded by the Evangelists, we have full evidence, that the religion of the gospel is divine.
Christ has left us an example, not only that we should believe in him, but also that we should follow his steps. If the same mind be in us, as was in him, we have a witness in ourselves, that his gospel is divine, and that we are interested in the salvation which it reveals.
SAVING HIS PEOPLE
THE wonderful personage, on whose character and work, the writer of this paper has turned his thoughts, is that Seed of the woman, which was to bruise the serpent's head. He is "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." To reveal this Jesus is the grand scope of the Holy Scriptures. To him pointed all the sacrifices under the Mosaic dispensation; and of him spake all the prophets, from the patriarchs to John the Baptist. The inspired penmen of the various books, composing the New Testament, have also one great object in view, which is to unfold the character, illustrate the doctrines, and make known the kingdom of Jesus. Were we to exclude Jesus Christ and his kingdom from the Holy Scriptures, we should render every part of them uninteresting and unmeaning.
This wonderful personage, though born and brought up in
spirits of all men, because it is expressly declared in the Holy Scriptures, that "all things were made by him." But, though all men are Christ's by creation and preservation; yet they are not all his by covenant and adoption. By his people in the restricted sense in which they are spoken of by the inspired writers, we are to understand that part of the fallen race of Adam, which was given to Christ in the covenant of redemption. Some, who were given to him by the Father, have long since finished their mortal race, and are now in heaven, liberated from all sin, and, in ceaseless anthems, praising God and the Lamb. Others are now dwelling in the flesh, subject to labour and toil, and struggling against foes without and foes within. A far greater number, we have reason to believe, are yet unborn, and are reserved as future trophies of the victorious grace of the incarnate God.
Before the Lord Jesus will have done with this world, he will renew by his grace, and call into his kingdom, the whole of this chosen number, from all nations and languages. They will then be known to be his people, "his jewels," in distinction from the rest of men, and he will "spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." He is now, as he has been for many ages, sealing them, and he will shortly make it manifest, that he knows them that are his." He will say to the Father, "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy word."
One part of his work, as the Saviour of his people, is to deliver them from the punishment of their sins. No language can describe the greatness of the evil to which sin exposes those who commit it. To be a sinner is to be a transgressor of that law, which threatens eternal death, and which knows no mercy. The sinner, therefore, viewed out of Christ, as he must be while he remains in unbelief, is in a ruined, helpless state. He is represented in the word of God to be a lost creature. No created arm can rescue him from eternal punishment, nor give a ransom which will meliorate, in the least, his condition. They, who are given to Christ, are by nature, like all other men, in this ruined state. But, he has come to save them from the punishment to which their sins expose them. To effect this great and important work, he gave his own life a ransom. He died in their stead. It is true, there is efficacy enough in his blood to atone for the sins of the whole world; and the finally impenitent will be condemned, in the great day, for rejecting mercy, freely offered to them, through his mediation. But, meritorious and extensive as is the atonement, it will eventually benefit none who are not united to Christ. The unbeliev ing and incorrigible it will not save from the punishment of their sins. On the contrary, it will be a mean of greatly aggravating their condemnation, and will, in fact, be to them a "savour of death unto death." Widely different from this are the condition and prospects of believers. Though their sins are numerous and aggravated
beyond all description, yet they tongues. It renders them deaf are pardoned for Christ's sake, to all that can be said of the and through him, they will be wretchedness of the wicked in saved from deserved wrath. hell, on the one hand, and of the They will experience the worth blessedness of the righteous of Christ as a Saviour. Reflect- in glory on the other. While ing, as they now often do, on the in this state all their actions are demerit of sin, and the punish- defiled, and are so far from rement threatened to sinners in the commending them to the favour divine law, they are led to ex- of God, that they are an abomiclaim in the language of the nation in his sight. They are evangelical prophet; "Who a- restless and unhappy in every mong us shall dwell with the de- condition, and are continually vouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" From such a punishment, yea from everlasting burnings, Jesus came to save his people. The language of the gospel is, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." "There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." From these Scriptures, however, we are not to infer, that since Christ has come, the law is abated, either in its requirements, or in its penalty. The law stands in full force. Christ did not come to destroy, but to fulfil it. He took on him the iniquities of us all, and by offering his own precious life a sacrifice for sin, he became the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
Another part of the work of Jesus is to save his people from the love and dominion of sin. All men are by nature in bondage to their vile affections. They are bound with a chain, which is so strong, that no created arm can break it; and this chain is their unconquerable love of sin. Though sin destroys all their present peace, and brings a dark, impenetrable cloud over all their future prospects, yet they roll it as a Sweet morsel under their
treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath." This is a faint representation of what it is to be under the dominion of sin, and to be chained down in unbelief. Who can name any kind of bondage that is so unfriendly to peace, and so destructive in its nature as this? From this bondage the Lord Jesus saves his people. He can do that which no created arm could effect. He can speak the word, and they, who are dead in sin, will hear his voice, and come out of their bondage. To this salvation from the dominion of sin the Saviour referred in his conference with the Jews, John viii. He said to them, "The truth shall make you free." They, not under: standing him, answered, "We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man; how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them; Verily, verily, I say un to you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. If the Son, therefore, shall make you̟ free, ye shall be free indeed."
In effecting this deliverance, so happy in its consequences, Christ acts as a physician. He heals the maladies of the soul, and gives spiritual life, where before reigned spiritual death