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therefore overlook the sanctions, recognised and allowed by holy Scripture, under which an artificial inequality has been adopted,—to the most salutary ends. Mere familiarity, as such, is not kindness ; nor is it the proper fruit of that affection with which the Christian will love his brethren. We may see most convincing evidence of this in the world's ordinary familiarity. What more common, there, than to perceive the same person (under guidance of false principles) at once haughty in demeanour, and condescending in vice? the tyrant over his inferiors in all demands of outward homage ; and yet, their equal and exact associate in various acts of moral degradation? A Christian sense of the importance of example would not permit such inconsistency.
This would teach us, that to preserve the character of our respective stations is of chief importance in rendering those stations of their full utility;-that proportion and harmony cannot be violated without injury, any more in things accidental and indifferent, than in things vital and permanent;that to become degraded is to betray our trust, and (as far as respects 'our own personal ability) to undo the very purpose of that diversity of talents, which God has ordained, and Christ accepted. It would teach us, that to be good and effective stewards of the grace committed to us, (be its proportions what they may,) we must be independent, I speak not of that
self-sufficiency, in perishable means, which the world so denominates; but of independence such as that with which St. Paul appealed to the Corinthians; Receive us; we have wronged no man, 2 Cor. vii. we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man : of independence, as it is alone to be found perfectly, in the dignity of Christian obedience; and in the exercise of that conduct, against Cf. Gal. v. which there is no law. · We have completed, then, the course of our proposed inquiry, in such manner and measure as time and abilities have permitted it to be done. If it has been made in agreement with divine truth, I am willing to hope it may not be found without arguments of consolation; and that, to the believer, the “divine authority of “ holy Scripture” may stand thereby illustrated and confirmed.
Be this, however, as it may; let it be thankfully and triumphantly remembered, in conclusion ;-that such argument does not, after all, even approach those bulwarks of the Christian faith, by which it stands defended from the unbeliever. The “external evidences” of its divine authority abide untouched, in their strength and majesty. The glorious light of PROPHECY there shines with undiminished brightness; the miRACLES which the Redeemer wrought there testify, that he indeed spoke his Father's words; the SUFFERINGS AND BLOOD OF THE APOSTLES and
MARTYRS bear attestation to the truth as heretofore. Again : the “impossibility of accounting “ honestly, whether for the doctrines or progress
“ of Christianity, if its own record and pretenCf. Lect. iv. “ sions be not true;" the “inability to substitute
“ any adequate rule of conduct in its stead;"
these difficulties, and the like, remain in full 2 Pet. i. 16. force with the objector. Assuredly, we have not
followed cunningly devised fables altogether, though we should have followed a defective argument now. These are points to be preserved in grateful remembrance. ;
The reasons for attempting an illustration of the great subject most interesting to us all, of a quality and nature like the present, removed from every pretension of adding information to
the store of theological knowledge, or of supplyLect. i. pp. ing any relish to the taste of the profound scholar, 10, 15, 22.
were represented in the beginning. ..
More, infinitely more, than ample satisfaction in such an undertaking will it be, if those intentions may be at all realized !-if, while the more honourable members of Christ's body, the defenders of the Church mighty in learning, be found watching and engaged upon their posts, such view may minister to impartial thought and personal scrutiny among far humbler brethren : if it may bear witness to the spiritual workings of the reflecting heart, in solitude: if (without abating any of the real strictness of a pure and peculiar covenant) it may cheer the innocence of social intercourse,—while it rejects the importunate tyranny of fashion, and the deceits of criminal self-indulgence: if, without compromise of essential faith, it may conduce to charity: if, without breach of any vowed allegiance, it may check the hasty adoption of too partial and exclusive opinions: if, finally, it may prevail with any to persevere in loving the truth and peace; and to bring that last, and best, and greatest argument to its support—the argument of GOOD AND HOLY LIVES.
So shall the body best make increase unto the Eph. iv. 16. edifying of itself in love ; and wisdom be justified Luke vii. of all her children.