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the sinner's peace and darken his path, result from Natural Religion: they are the testimony of God against sin inscribed upon man's moral nature; and though Christianity confirms the fact to which this testimony relates,—viz, that man is a sinner,—yet she is in no way responsible for it. If she had never had an existence, it would have been just as true as it now is, that man has exposed himself to the wrath of God; and conscience would sometimes have intimated to him dark things in respect to his destiny. It is Natural Religion then that speaks terror to the sinner : it is the province of Christianity to provide an antidote against it. She comes as a messenger of salvation; with grace upon her lips, and mercy in her heart; and while she takes for granted the fearful reality of his condition, she offers pardon, deliverance, everlasting life. And he that believeth is actually delivered from the shudderings of guilt, and is henceforth sustained and cheered by a living hope of immortal glory.

Do you wish, vain mortal, that Chistianity may not be true? But are you ready to encounter the consequences of its not being true? Are you willing to be left at the mercy of Natural Religion, when Natural Religion has nothing to proclaim to you but a message of wrath ? Are you willing that the justice of God should take its course in the punishment of your transgressions? Are you willing to sit down under the gnawings of the worm that never dies, without any means of arresting its deadly corrosions? If not, then Christianity is your only hope; and in wishing that Christianity may prove a fable, what better do you than invoke upon yourself the horrours of despair ?

2. Hou preposterous is it to remain voluntarily undecided in respect to the truth of Christianity!

You do not act thus in matters of much less importance. Suppose you were to be told, upon authority which you had no particular reason to discredit, that some great temporal evil was hanging over you, which it was yet in your power to avert by the adoption of particular measures which were recommended: or suppose you were to be told, upon the same authority, that there was a splendid estate to which you were fairly entitled, and that there could be no question that an examination of the title would instantly put you in possession of it;what, let me ask, would be the course which prudence would dictate to you in either of these cases ? Would you turn your back upon the intelligence, and say that there might or might not be some great evil hanging over you,—that there might or might not be some splendid estate fairly belonging to you,-you should not give yourself the trouble to inquire; or would you not rather bend all your energies, if need be, to satisfy yourself whether the information were to be relied on? Would you even rest so long as there was a doubt whether the report of good or of evil which had reached you was worthy of acceptation ? And would not your anxiety to determine this be heightened by the consideration, that the information had come to you through a medium which you had no particular reason to suspect? Wherefore then, I ask, should you adopt a different course in respect to the religion of Christ? That comes to you claiming to involve your everlasting interests; to be the grand remedy which Heaven has appointed for the disease of your moral nature;—the only means by which you can avert from yourself the horrours of an eternal death; and there is nothing connected with it that should

lead you hastily to conclude against its divine authority previous to an investigation : on the contrary, there is this at least in its favour,-that the great mass of those who have diligently examined it have been entirely satisfied of its divine origin ; and the wisest and best men of every age have been found among its advocates. I ask now, whether you can justify it to your Reason, to remain voluntarily in doubt respecting the claims of Christianity ? On the contrary, does not every principle of Reason require that you should become decided at once? To remain in doubt on a subject which involves your most momentous interests, when all the means of forming a decision are within your reach, and when, by your own acknowledgment, a neglect to decide may bring after it remediless ruin,—what better is it than the beight of madness?

If there be any one class upon whose consideration I am more desirous of urging this point than upon any other, I confess that class consists of our young men.

I am willing to believe that there is not one among you all, who has openly assumed the character of an opposer of Christianity ;-not one even who harbours a settled though silent conviction that it is a system of imposture; but I greatly mistake if there are not those among you who have no fixed principles on this subject, merely because they have not given themselves the trouble to examine it ;—those who are willing to have the credit of believing the gospel, and yet have skepticism enough to neutralize its legitimate authority over the heart and conscience. Now let me tell you, so long as you remain in this undecided state, you deliberately jeopard every thing. If Christianity be true, your present state involves a practical rejection of the richest of all blessings. And besides, remember that there is but a single step from a state of doubt to a state of settled unbelief; and

while you are madly dreaming of a sort of neutrality, you may find yourself, even to your own surprise, settled on infidel ground. Rest not then, I pray you, till you have satisfied yourself, even to the getting rid of the last doubt, whether the claims of the gospel are to be admitted. If the result of a patient and diligent examination be to convince you that the Bible does not contain a divine Revelation, then you may cast it to the winds, and walk in the light of your own Reason with some shadow of consistency: if it be to convince you that it does contain an authorized message from Heaven, then you are bound to receive and heed it, as you value the approbation, and dread the frown, of the King of kings: but to leave the question of its divine origin unsettled, and especially to act as if it were not true, when you have every reason to believe that it is true, were an outrage upon Reason which no one could defend in relation to any other subject, but at the expense of being considered a mad man.

Once more: What better is he who makes war upon Christianity than the enemy of man?

For is not he your enemy who would annihilate your best hopes, and bring suspense and despair in place of them? Is not he your enemy who would mock your anxious inquiries in respect to the forgiveness of your sins; who would take from you the only balm for a wounded conscience; who would dry up the fountain of salvation, and cut you off from every reasonable hope in God's

mercy,

and leave you to the terrors of his avenging justice? Is not he your enemy who would take from beneath your head the only pillow upon which you can rest in the day of sickness; the only consolation that can sustain you in the hour of bereavement, who would have you left alone in your anguish when your troubled heart pants for the support of an almighty arm?

Is he not your enemy who would hang around your death bed curtains of horrour, and chill the last blood that passes through your veins, and leave you to the monster's mercy without any means of triumphing in the conflict? Is not he your enemy—is not he the enemy of man, who would seal up the only fountain of sanctifying influence, who would open the floodgates of immorality and crime, and shed the mildew of death upon the best hopes and interests of society?

Yes, I repeat, the infidel is the enemy of man. He is engaged in a deadly warfare against human happiness. In the system which he holds there is bound up a tremendous curse. And I should not obey the honest dictates of my conscience to-day, if I were not to caution especially you who are young to have no fellowship with these unfruitful works of darkness. If you wish to try a mad experiment, take burning coals into your bosom, or make your bed in a den of vipers, or try to hang by a hair over a frightful precipice; but oh venture not upon an experiment so desperately hazardous as that of holding communion with those who oppose and revile Christianity. Believe me, you would jeopard far less to associate with the man who was watching an opportunity to mingle poison with your food, or plunge a dagger into your bosom; for while his aim would be only to kill the body, they are labouring for the destruction of the soul. If they will persist in their mad career, show them that you are not to be taken in their

If the altars which they have erected to the prince of darkness must continue to smoke with the blood of souls, let it not be told, either in this world or any other, that you are among the victims. Take re. fuge from their wiles in a practical belief of the gospel of Christ; and then you are safe, whoever may conspire to effect your ruin.

snares.

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