« ZurückWeiter »
velation are to be determined, reason is then employed by them against the Divine Being from whom they have received it. Not that we would be understood as confining the province of reason in religion to the mere estimating the evidence of Revelation ; because to a certain degree it must be employed in judging of its contents. But this we mean, that when reason has ascertained a Revelation to be divine, it is most unreasonable in man to reject or attempt to evade any doctrines, which by legitimate interpretation such Revelation is found to contain, on the ground that they cannot fully comprehend them.*
If then the argument in favour of Christianity, which is to be drawn from the several parts of Scripture regularly and fairly collated, be not in itself sufficient to produce conviction on their minds, we lament their want of discernment. But if they will not give themselves the trouble to bring the subject to this test, they are incompetent to form a judgement on its merits: and in such case they act not like reasonable men (unless they can be called reasonable men, who make no use of their reason;) but deceive 'themselves, by neglecting to place the most important of all subjects on that ground, on which, if fairly placed, it cannot fail to stand secure. Under such circumstances we must leave them to God; but not without earnestly beseeching them in the bowels of Christ, not to refuse him, “ whose blood speaketh better things than the blood of Abel.” “ For if they escaped not, who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from Heaven.” Heb. xii. 25.
* The generality of unbelievers, it may be suspected, possess strong propensities to err about divine things, and a secret indisposition to admit truths, which lay open the weakness and corruption of our fallen nature in such manner as to mortify their pride and humble their pretensions; by holding out to them a light of such a clear and piercing quality as never fails to discover to them those latent vices and evil inclinations, which man, unassisted by grace, is seldom, if ever brought to acknowledge
To sound members of the Christian Church, (thanks be to God) such language does not apply
They know in whom they have believed. From the plain unequivocal language of the text, they have
learnt to expect eternal life, on the only plan, on which it has been promised; “ as the gift of God through Jesus Christ.”. They consequently are prepared, we trust, by divine grace, to resist that fatal delusion, which exchanges the well-grounded hope of the Christian, for the presumptuous confidence of the self-righteous man; by placing a condemned sinner before the throne of grace, not in the becoming character of an humble suppliant, but in the offensive one of an arrogant claimant.
But, be it remembered, that in no page of the Bible do we read, blessed are the proud; blessed
the high-minded; blessed are the self-sufficient;—but on the contrary, “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is the kingdom of Heaven.”
- And whoever expects Christ for his Saviour, must first take the example of Christ for his pattern: he must learn of him to be “ meek and lowly in heart," if he would find “ rest unto his soul."
The classical scholar has many proofs of this established opinion, relative to sacrifices among the Heathen, to produce from his favourite poets.--Homer in strict conformity to the Mosaic Ritual, points out the firstlings of lambs, as particularly applied to this sacred use.
Αρνων πρωτογονων ρεξειν ιερης Εκατομην.
II. &. 120.
To this universal doctrine of atonement, Horace refers in his second Ode.
Cụi dabit partes fcelus expiandi
The opinion relative to the steam or smoke of burnt sacrifices, being in a certain sense grateful to the Deity, its derived from a variety of texts of Scripture, was, though perverted, universally retained by the Heathens. -Homer (Iliad i. 493) makes Phænix speak thus, with the intent of soothing the anger of Achilles,
Στρεπτοι δε τε και Θεοι αυτοι,
The Gods themselves are flexible;
See also Iliad. A. 315.--and A, 48.
Virgil, speaking of Paphos, the beloved city of Venus, says, (Eneid, lib. i. 420)
Ubi Templum illi centumque Subxo
And Ovid (Metam. lib. xii. 153) to mention no more, speaks of a sacrifice thus:
Et Dis acceptus penetrarit in æthera nidor.
The steam so grateful to the Gods above,
By reading the Classics, as they ought to be read, with a Christian eye: Heathenism, being brought to bear its appropriate testimony to divine Revelation, may be made to answer a purpose contrary to its intention and nature, by confirming, what it was intended to confound; and thus the devil himself be compelled, to sup port the cause of truth. Whilst the Christian Disciple, by thus dedicating the first fruits of his education to the honour of the true God, furnishes the best security to the Church for the perfection of her future harvest; by his uniting in the same person, the Scholar and the Divine. For there is scarcely a doctrine of the Scriptures, which classical writers have not preserved, nor a miracle, which they have not imitated and transferred to themselves, in some form or other; in so much, that Celsus, one of the earliest writers against Christianity, most impudently pretended, that the Books of Moses were