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by which He would make them wise unto salvation, and shall find nothing surer, or more convincing, on which to rest their hopes. Let me here go further, and add, that no better testimony can be desired by reasonable and unprejudiced minds. The Apostles generally ap pear to have been, not hasty, but slow to believe. Also, they must have been themselves well acquainted with the remarkable events which they committed to writing; and, as to the fact of their Lord's resurrection, not only did they proclaim it again and again in the presence of His enemies, but moreover, they shewed" the power" of it, by a number of miracles wrought expressly in His name, and by daring rather to suffer death, than to cease from preaching it throughout the world. Verily such witnesses are most worthy of credit, insomuch that we ought not to require further, or other evidence of the saving doctrine, which they have written, and left on record. And, though, possibly, not on first, yet on second thoughts, it should seem to have been good for us, that we were not with the disciples when Jesus came, nor have subsequently been given to see and handle Him; since thus, being simply by the force of their testimony, convinced, we may look for the blessing solemnly pro
nounced by Him on those, who, without seeing, have believed.
Wherefore, on the whole, and to conclude, resolve, my brethren, as not expecting nor wishing for any thing stronger, at once and cordially to accept the record of His Son, which God hath caused to be written for us by His holy Apostles, who saw and handled Him, after that He was risen from the dead. Let the temporary unbelief of Thomas, which was afterward dispelled to his entire satisfaction, serve only to the more confirmation of your faith; and strive so perfectly, and without all doubt, to believe in Jesus Christ, as that you may be graciously approved in His, and His heavenly Father's sight. Should sundry doubts spring up in your minds, pray against and discourage them, as sinful thoughts; or, in case they should seem to be really honest doubts, converse about them with " some discreet and "learned minister of God's word;" but never willingly loosen your hold on Christ's gospel, or think lightly of refusing your assent to any part of it; for assuredly therein alone is salvation. The most frequent case is that of persons who, while they would not object to, nor deny a single particular doctrine which they have been taught, are generally weak in their
faith, or conscious of not being alive enough to the truth. Let every one of this character remember to adopt that most suitable petition,
Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief:" (Mark ix. 24.) let him be frequently reading his Lord's conversation and discourses, that thus his heart, like the hearts of the two who went to Emmaus, may be piously kindled, and burn or glow within him: above all, let him approach the table of his Lord, and try to become better, or more sensibly, acquainted with Him, by the solemn breaking of bread. (Luke xxiv.) His faith, if it be so lively as to put him on lamenting the deadness of it, will be lively enough to allow of his doing this; and while humbly doing it, as commanded, for the continual remembrance of His Redeemer's body and blood, he may justly expect that the God of consolation will strengthen his weakness, and, in due time, fill him" with all joy and peace "in believing, through the power of the Holy "Ghost." (Rom. xv. 13.)
1 CORINTHIANS xiv. 1.
Follow after charity.
THE same word, which is here rendered charity, is more frequently, perhaps, in other passages of the New Testament, rendered love. Accordingly, St. Paul, in the text, should be understood as exhorting to follow after nothing less than all which the term love will comprehend. This point it will behove us to bear in mind; otherwise, we shall be apt to pass by the love of God, and to rest in that merely natural kindness towards each other, which the heathen used to enjoin, and for which philanthropy, or humanity is the more proper name. Such is our ordinary acceptation of the word, that to propose God as an object of charity would sound not a little strange and unbecoming; whereas we scruple not to account Him an object of love, however we may fail of loving Him worthily ourselves. Be it, therefore, constantly remembered, that a hearty love of God in Christ, and of our brethren that are in the world for His sake, is the just amount of
the charity to which, as believers in the gospel, we stand obliged.
In the chapter immediately preceding my text, the grace of charity is described and commended to us by the Apostle. So ample, and withal so generally known, is his description, stating the manner in which charity conducts herself the habitual frame of her dispositions and practice that I will not, at the present, stay to enlarge upon, or to repeat it. Let me rather proceed directly to point out, first, the reasons advanced in that chapter, which should induce us to follow after charity, agreeably with the exhortation proposed; and, secondly, the mode, or way, by which our pursuit of it may probably find success.
First, then, my brethren, our inducements to follow after charity are chiefly these: not having charity, a man is nothing; all his doings without it are nothing worth in the sight of God. On the contrary, having this grace, we have the best alleviation of all earthly troubles, and moreover, the only possession which never faileth-shall never cease, or vanish away.
Without charity, man is a thing of naught, and all his doings, even the most signal and admired of them, are utterly worthless in the Divine estimation. St. Paul asserts this very strikingly, by putting in his own person a