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And then, when the day of the Lord cometh, though it be as a thief in the night; when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; when the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up; we shall not be afraid with any amazement, but shall cheerfully prepare to meet our Judge, who now sitteth at the right hand of God, to intercede for us, and to help our infirmities.
2 TIM. i. 10.
But now is made manifest by the appearing of
our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.
IT is the peculiar unhappiness of mankind in
general, to overlook, or be dissatisfied with, present blessings. Prone to change, and fond of novelty, their restless fancies are ever on the wing: regardless of what is in their power, they place their hopes of felicity in what is not so ; and thus, hourly busied in the pursuit of fantastic enjoyments, or impossible attainments, should heaven and earth conspire to make them happy, they would, in spite of both, contrive to make themselves miserable.
And in nothing hath this perverse temper shewn itself more strongly, than in what relates to matters of religion. Favoured as they have been, at sundry times and in divers manners, with such illustrations of the divine will, as God's wisdom thought fit to bestow, or their own necessities required, they have still, in every period, found out something to repine at; some idle pretence for rejecting those means of happiness, which were graciously offered to them.
Thus the heathen, left to the guidance of reason and conscience, by whose laws he was to be judged, instead of pursuing their clear and unerring dictates, which pointed out the great lines of his duty in legible characters, spent his time in lamenting the ignorance of human nature, and complained of the want of some farther light to guide him, at the very time that he was shutting his eyes against that light, which God had given him already.
And the Jews were no less dissatisfied with their condition. They had, indeed, many important discoveries of revelation, superadded to the light of reason; they had Moses and the Prophets, from whom they might learn the clear will of God; yet all this availed nothing: they spent their time in idle wishes for their expected deliverer; and neglecting that knowledge whichi God had vouchsafed to give them, cried out with the woman of Samaria, " the Messias "cometh, which is called Christ: when he is
come, he will tell us all things.
And now, when we have seen the accomplishment of this great event; when God, who, in times past, spake unto the fathers by the prophets, hath, in these last days, spoken unto us by his Son, whom he raised from the dead; yet still the same perverse temper continues to operate, and the Christian is no less ready to reject the counsel of God against himself, than the blind heathen or stubborn Jew. He cannot, indeed, like them, complain of the want of a farther manifestation of God's will, and, therefore, steering a new course, he boldly denies thé necessity of it: it is his aim to disparage that life and immortality which is brought to light through the Gospel, and, by magnifying the powers of reason, as sufficient for all the purposes of mankind, to destroy the credibility of revelation.
I hope, however, that, without entering into any direct proof of the truth of Christianity drawn from its external evidences, I shall be