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took upon

complishment of those objects would undoubtedly confer upon
our beloved country. They are willing to leave their claims
with these explanations, to the generosity and consciences of theis
fellow Christians, with this additional inquiry only. Does it not
become all who suppose they embrace the Christian faith, to con-
sider whose disciples and followers they professedly are? If their
Master, who was rich and exalted, humbled himself, and made

himself the form of a servant, and then had not where to lay his head, submitted to a life of toil and a death of torture and ignominy, to save and bless mankind-can they, who live in comfort, and perhaps affluence and ease, look upon themselves as really the disciples and followers of such a master, and yet refuse an inconsiderable share of their substance, when there is so great a prospect of advancing their master's cause, as is placed before them at the present time? Let this inquiry be deliberately and faithfully put; and all the friends and promoters of missionary exertions may safely rest their claims upon the decision which unbiassed conscience shall make.

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If we judge of heaven by the common opinions of men, what

, can seem less glorious than the gospel? It promises neither wealth, nor power, nor any of the objects which excite ambition. The only empire it claims is the government of the heart. Forgiveness and affection are its characteristics ; patience and humility its favourite virtues. — The country, in which it was first promul. gated, had long ceased to be named among the independent nations of the earth; and its founder was the offspring of a fugitive Jew, doomed to an infancy of exile, a life of suffering, and the death of a traitor and a rebel.-The philosophers of the age, on which it dawned, did not welcome its appearance; and the imperial authority, which was then extended over the world, was exerted only to repress

it. The gospel cannot seem otherwise than mean and inglorious to those, who bound their hopes by the present life, and make personal, temporary advancement the object of exertion. Pride has also encouraged ingenious men to resist its authority, esteeming it more honourable to doubt respecting religion and the destiny of man, than to submit the understanding to the instructions of God; while others, not careful to discriminate truth from error, the original doctrines from later additions, have rejected

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Christianity, where they intended to reject nothing but superstition, and have blushed for the gospel, when they need not have blushed but for their sellow-men.

And yet Christianity claims respect both for its origin and its character. It is a religion, which was established by the Son of God, and illustrated in its early history by unexampled displays of power, by consumate wisdom, by perfect purity. As a revelation it is addressed to the understanding of man. While it supports the scrutiny of reason, it engages and occupies the affections; and it exercises a happy ivfluence on the moral condition by improving and cherishing the higher qualities of the mind.

Let us attend to these truths, that we may persuade ourselves to respect, no less than to love our religion, and learn to bear the cross not only willingly but proudly.

1. We glory in the Gospel for its Author.-Other systems of religion either cannot be traced to their origin, or have been but the inventions of lawgivers and usurping warriors, who, hoping to enlist on their side the religious fanaticism of the people, established such forms of worship as suited their climate, their age, and the prejudices of those whom they would govern or subdue. Most of the ancient sacred institutions grew out of the popular superstitions, formed from the series of accumulated traditions; and resting on no foundations but usage and credulity.

The gospel knows its author. It delivers its precepts and its promises in the name of Jesus of Nazareth ; and Jesus of Naza. reth is a guide, of whom we need not be ashamed.

He claims a descent from God. A chorus of celestial beings welcomed the morning of his nativity; the kings of the east were excited to pay him homage, and a star shot from its orbit to guide them to his cradle. A messenger, sent from Heaven, rescued him from the bloody design of his country's tyrant, and guided him to the same land where Moses had been taught to liberate his people. When he appeared among men as their friend and their instructor, nature obeyed his voice, though the hearts of men remained stubborn. The waves subsided and the winds grew

still at his rebuke; the waters hardened beneath his steps as he trod them; the sick ceased to Janguish, and evil spirits to torment at his command; death drew back, and corruption forgot its office at his bidding; earth trembled and the sun hid its face, as he bowed his head to die; angels descended from heaven to witness and announce his resurrection.

The wisdom, which directed the power and inspired the instructions of Jesus, was superior to all that antiquity had produced. For who will compare the clearness of his doctrines with the bewildering obscurity of the ancient philosophers? or the spotless purity of his injunctions with that compromise between virtue and sensuality, which characterizes the Grecian schools? The heathen sages discoursed of virtue ; but it was at the nocturnal banquet, amidst the luxuries of the table and the excitement of wine : Jesus drew the multitude into the wilderness, and prepared them for reflection by fasting and prayer. The former are said to have drawn wisdom from the clouds, and introduced her to the streets and the forum: Jesus called her from the throne of God, and planted her within the bosoms of men.

And whence could Jesus have derived his wisdom? The age, in which he lived, was a corrupt one; Palestine could offer no examples of patriotism, devotion, or disinterested virtue : and the holy land had long since ceased to be fertile in sacred instructions. The country was inhabited by a degraded race, and Roman licentiousness increased the irreligion and degeneracy of the city. Could he go to the temple for improvement ?-the money changers had their stalls, where the people were wont to kneel:-Or to the Jewish Doctors ?-at twelve years old he was wiser than them all :-Or to the high priest and his associates ?-In their servile submission to Cæsar they had broken their allegiance to God:-Or to the learned sects of the nation ? One of them denied the immortality of man, and another was zealous for nothing but the observance of the ritual. And we must not think that the genius of ancient Poetry still breathed its influence on the land of Moses, and of David; or that the spirit of prophecy yet walked unseen on the mountains of Judea. The Jewish nation was thoroughly corrupt; and had been so for: ages. They retained nothing of the bravery, the inspiration, the piety of their ancestors. All these they had lost, and with them they had lost the favour of God. The harp of David had long since been broken: the very echoes of the Lord's song had died away: the fire of prophecy had become extinguished on the altar; and for more than a century the Urim and Thum. mim had not glistened in their light and perfection. Whence then could Jesus have drawn his wisdom? Whence but from the undefiled springs of his own pure heart, and the blessed inspiration of God ?

We have spoken thus far of the miracles which distinguished the life of Jesus, and of that heavenly wisdom which was poured out upon him without measure. We have seen him excelling all mankind in power and in knowledge. To complete the description of his perfect character, we have only to add his un.

blemished moral purity, his love for man, for truth, and for God. Through the whole course of his life Jesus Christ was actuated by none but the highest and purest motives, by the warmest patriotism and the most generous affection for the human race. He would have gathered his whole nation under the wing of his protection : he sent out instructors to convert mankind, and suffer, ed his side to be pierced, that they might feed their hopes on his blood. Devotion was his ruling principle, the habit of his soul; the love of God was his strongest passion ; and the welfare of men the object which he pursued with inflexible firmness. Follow bim through the whole course of his ministry; weigh every word ; scrutinize every action ; and you will learn that the mind of Jesus was never stained by passions, never bent by unjust desires, never unmindful of the calls of duty ; that he was the same faultless character in the wilderness and in the cities, in temptation and in triumph, in the midst of crowds or when forsaken by men and by his Father; and the more you contemplate his character, the more will you admire his excellence, love him for the warning voice of friendship, the admonitions, the lessons of guiding wisdom, and glory in him as your Teacher, your Redeemer and your Lord.

Is not the gospel then glorious for its author ?

II. The Gospel is no less glorious for its intrinsic excellence. It is deficient in none of the characteristics, which give loveliness or honour to sacred institutions.

Christianity is a revealed religion, a rational religion, an affectionate religion, a moral religion,

Christianity is a revelation. Religion did not commence its existence with the birth of Christ: The hand of Providence upheld Creation, the practice of virtue was the duty of moral beings, holiness had a claim to happiness, the spirits of men were immortal before, no less than since, the Christian doctrine was promulgated. Life and immortality were not ordained, but only brought to light by the gospel. The nature of our relation to God is not changed, but only explained to us; and those principles have been authoritatively promulgated, which, whether concealed or unfolded, exist in eternal unchanging verity. There is but one religion for all worlds and all ages, and Christianity consists in the revelation of that religion to man. Its principles are professed not only on earth, but in all worlds where truth has dawned. We speak in the spirit of Christianity, and with the authority of scripture; for if the devils believe and tremble, then the angels believe and obey; we have a community of service with the hosts of heaven : and the faith which warms the Christian's heart, kindles the devotion of seraphs. The unity of the spirit pervades earth and heaven; and one sacred bond unites the farthest parts of the moral universe.

But while the first principles of our faith are revealed and taught with authority, the understanding is not enslaved, nor the right of judging and examining controlled. Christianity is a rational religion. Reason bails its appearance, as the presence of her kindest ally and firmest supporter. Who does not know how diflicult it is to discuss the nature of things which are invisible and divine; how presumptuous to decide from argument alone, on the character of futurity and the world beyond the grave ? On these sublime objects of enquiry, the Christian has received instruction, which elevates his moral nature, which does not contradict but confirms the doubtful conclusions of his under. standing. The spiritual and parental character of God, the immortality of man, the force of moral obligations, the connection between virtue and happiness, repentance, the resurrection, heaven, hell, judgment and eternity-these are the solemn and momentous thoughts, which the gospel presents as the fit subjects of careful reflection. Christianity is therefore a rational religion, because it invites examination, elevates the understanding, and presents to it the noblest truths, on which the powers of reason can be exercised.

But it is false and fatal to esteem Christianity a religion of Feason alone. The heart is the true sanctuary of the gospel. The new covenant is an affectionate one; and its first commandment does but enjoin the love of Gud: that sacred, fervent and habitual love, which may purify every exercise of the affections, lend beauty and innocence to every resolution and desire, and imbue the whole soul with gentleness, humility and devotion.

And thus our religion presents itself as a moral one, destined to have a practical influence on the hearts and lives of men, appointed to make them good, that they may be made happy. Christianity is no scheme which opens the courts of heaven to those who are too indolent or too stubborn to become virtuous; and the merits of another can never be pleaded as an excuse for our own degeneracy. Vice is essentially offensive to God, and is therefore essentially miserable, and if we live and die in sin, we cannot hope for salvation. Shall we plead the covenant? It is in vain, for we have not fulfilled its conditions. Shall we gather hope from the mild and forgiving spirit of the gospel? The penitent are spared, but Christianity is no shield to be interposed between wickedness and its merited consequences.

Or shall we call on Jesus to intercede for us and to save us ? Jesus himself has no power to redeem us, if we persist in being vicious; bis tears could not rescue Jerusalem from

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