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burthen your memories with too great a number of arguments we rested the matter here;-that the ftyle and manner in which those writings of the infpired penmen are delivered, are every way fuperior to any human compofitions; and as an undeniable proof of their validity, I collected a small number of prophecies, small in comparison of what might be produced, which I proved to be fulfilled in a wonderful manner and as these were principally extracted from the Old Teftament,-in my last discourse, I selected. such passages from the writings of the Evangelifts and Apostles, recorded in the New, as were most liable to exception, and proved that even pagan writers confirmed the truth of the evangelical histories. When I had fatisfied you concerning the authenticity. of our BIBLE, I imagined that nothing more was neceflary in order to convince you of the truth of the christian religion, but to lay before you the miraculous manner in which the gofpel was promulged and propagated; namely, by the means only of a few fishermen and labourers, who from being weak, timid and illiterate, grew on a fudden, not only learned and eloquent, but bold and intrepid; who preached up Chrift crucified to the conviction. of thousands; and at laft fealed the truth by encountering various deaths in far diftant parts,, and almost all over the face of the whole habitable earth. And, in order that no kind of evidence might be wanting, I laid before you a fhort hiftory of St. Paul; who from a Jew became a chriftian, from a perfecutor a martyr; who relinquished at once all the honours and pleafures of this world for the humble doctrines of the crofs; and who gloried in nothing so much, as that God had vouchfafed to call him to the knowledge of his fon Jefus Chrift; that he had feparated him from the rest of his nation to preach the gofpel, to fuffer all manner of worldly fhame and forrow, and to lay down his life as a confirmation of the truth of thofe things which he fo openly dered to the whole world. This is the plan I have pursued, and
no effential article, I hope, has been left unfettled; and therefore I think, I may now with boldnefs put the question in our text, “ARE THESE THINGS So?" And I queftion not, but that all of you will, with one confent, join with me, and ingenuously acknowledge THAT THEY ARE SO.
In the prosecution of these difcourfes, you may have obferved, that in order to avoid ambiguity, we have faid little or nothing concerning the mysteries of the christian religion; and our reason for fo doing was this, that when we had led you, step by step, to a confeffion of a few general truths, fuch as the being of a God, the certainty of a future state, and the truth of the historical parts of the facred scriptures; when we had demonftrated to you, that the writings contained in the Old and New Teftament were dictated by the aid and affiftance of the Spirit of God, and that neither the one nor the other could be mere human compofitions, we might then draw this natural and undeniable conclufion, that every doctrine, and every mystery that can be clearly proved from those facred' writings, must command our affent, though confeffedly beyond the reach of our weak comprehenfion. For it is fufficient for us, that we find them recorded as articles of our faith, in those facred books; and what other and ftronger arguments can we defire for the confirmation of their truth? As it is an impracticable, fo it is a dangerous attempt to aim at rendering divine myfteries easy and intelligible to any human comprehenfion,-and to say, that we will believe nothing but what we can clearly conceive, is equally abfurd and childish; for how many things are most inconteftably true, that we cannot poffibly account for? All we know is, that they are. That there is a God ;—that all nature dies, and revives again in due season ;—that we have rational and immortali fouls. These are as great mysteries of Almighty nower as the doc trine of the ever-bleffed Trinity itfelf. That fuch things are, we are well affured, but how they came to be fo, is a fecret refolvable
able alone by infinite wisdom. Is it therefore any greater inftance of credulity to believe the mysteries of our moft holy religion, which are so strongly confirmed in the facred fcriptures, than it is to believe the truths above-mentioned ?—I think it is not.-And therefore if you will but make the fcriptures the rule and standard of your faith, you cannot err. Let this be the touch-fone;here fix your foot :-THE SACRED SCRIPTURES.-Examine difpaffionately whether fuch and fuch things as are required of you to believe and practise are clearly revealed in those divine writings; if they are, all have further to do, is to give your unfeigned you affent and to act accordingly.
Men and brethren, ARE THESE THINGS So?Is there a God above, who fees, who knows our most fecret thoughts and actions?
Is there a life after this, where we shall dwell forever either in the most exquifite torments, or the most confummate joys?-Were the holy fcriptures dictated by the Spirit of God?-Did the blessed Jefus lay down his life to procure eternal happiness for us?—Must not the Evangelifts and Apostles be fully convinced of the truth of those transactions which they recorded, when they chearfully laid down their lives as an everlasting teftimony of their veracity?— May not the christian cause then boast of the strongest evidence that ever was produced in favour of any inftitution?—If these things are so, as I hope you are all convinced they are, and as I am_fure you have every reafon you can defire to induce you to affent to them, then be perfuaded to lend an attentive ear.-Think how nearly you are concerned to believe, think how greatly it behoves you to practise all the virtues that are recommended to you in those books, which were compofed by the inspiration of God himself.
The Lord our governor and protector requires nothing from his creatures but what will be greatly conducive to their good. He has vouchsafed to be reconciled to us after our unhappy fall; and to
promise to receive us into his reft, through the merits of Chrift Jefus his Son. He has moreover given us the facred fcriptures for our rule of life; and enjoined us to meditate therein." He hath"shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do juftly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" He hath, moreover, been gracioufly pleased to add to these inexpreffible mercies his folemn promise, that "when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness "that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his foul alive.”
You, therefore, who have hitherto, to the beft of your abilities,obferved the will of the Lord to do it, never forego fo glorious a hope, and fuch a transporting profpect as that which eternal life affords you you. Continue ftedfast in the paths of virtue, and furely meet with true contentment here, and ineffable happiness hereafter. And you who have been fo unhappy, as hitherto to have been negligent of your future felicity, confider how precarious life and health are; look round and fee, how suddenly the most blooming and vigorous of your friends drop off, and fink into eternity, and reflect with yourselves, that this night perhaps your foul be required of you, and then-BE NEGLIGENT IF YOU CAN. Confider all your paft deportment as irrecoverable; and if you look back, let it be with a view only of making your peace in heaven, by a hearty repentance, and a steady refolution to lead a new and a better: life. Put your whole trust and confidence in the Lord, and doubt not of acceptance; for, he that cannot lye, has promised,
though your fins be as fcarlet, they fhall be white as fnow; though they be red like crimson, they fhall be as wool."
But if there be any still fo unhappy, as to be deaf to perfuafion 5. if there be any ftill fo negligent as not to concern themselves about the truth or falsehood of the christian religion; let not us, who build our hopes on the promises contained in the facred fcriptures,
be remifs in putting up our most fervent prayers for them, that the almighty will found the alarm and make them timely confcious of their danger. Let us point out to them, after we have demonstrated the divine authority of the facred fcriptures, thofe paffages where eternal death is denounced against all impenitent and obdurate finners. Let us fet before them the horrors of that folemn day, when the almighty Judge fhall fummon mankind before his aweful tribunal; and confign the wicked to endless, never-ceafing misery :-furely when the terrors which the damned are to feel, are fet before their eyes, they will fhudder at the dreadful thought.-Surely, when they are thoroughly awakened, they will efteem the pleasures of fin but a poor compenfation for the lofs of heaven; especially, as they muft exchange it for a place, where no glimpfe of joy can ever enter; where the flames of the bottomless pit will for ever surround them, where they will fuffer every moment for endless ages, the inexpreffible torments of the most agonizing death, and at last, be not one moment nearer their releafe; where they will become dreadful examples of God's vindictive juftice, and have the gates of hell closed upon them, never to be opened more.
That so dreadful an end awaits such as depart this life without making their peace with God, is very evident from a thoufand places in fcripture; and therefore, fhould any be fo prefumptuous, as to flatter themselves that these things are not fo, they are in the most dreadful fituation imaginable. Much rather, O gracious God, afflict us with poverty and contempt, pain and fickness, grief and disappointment than, by fuch a fatal delufion, to suffer us to lofe our immortal fouls!
As none of my hearers, I hope, need fuch awakening scenes of horror, to call them to a fenfe of their condition, let us turn our thoughts from fuch a gloomy fubject to another more engaging, where we cannot fail of filling the imagination with the most delightful and transporting ideas. Let us reflect on the indulgent pro