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upholder of all nature-unboundedly present throughout all space-a pure, eternal, self-existent Spirit, who can have neither beginning nor end !—the same who had declared by the mouth of his prophets, “I am God and not man" I am the Lord who change not." But enough-this is a labyrinth where every step conducts the wanderer through increasing obscurity into total darkness. Let us, my friends, rejoice that we walk in the light, and in the full enjoy. ment of our Christian liberty-that we can take the word of God into our hands, and study its meaning, without being obliged to square our inquiries and conclusions by systems and formularies of human device. These things we leave, unmoved by any spirit of bitterness or condemnation, to those who choose to take them as their guides, contenting ourselves with the knowledge and worship of ONE God even the FATHER, through the One Mediator of his appointment, the man Christ Jesus, as upon the best of all authorities, that of Christ himself, the way to life eternal.
CHRIST'S RESURRECTION THE EFFECT OF ALMIGHTY POWER AND THE GROUND OF OUR HOPE.
DELIVERED ON EASTER SUNDay, 1814.
2 COR. xiii. 4.
He liveth by the power of God.
"Gon hath spoken once," saith David in the 62d Psalm, twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God." This, my friends, is a branch of divine instruction in which we all ought to be proficients. It is a voice to which our attention hath been called, not once or twice; for every day of our lives uttereth this speech to another, every night unto night sheweth this knowledge. We have only to lift up our eyes on high, and consider who hath created these things-bringing out their host by numbercalling them all by names, by the greatness of his might for that he is strong in power, not one faileth. The more deeply we are read in the book of nature, the more impressive does this conviction become. Who can think, without an astonishment which precludes every attempt to form an adequate idea, of the manner and measure of that coercive force by which the immense quantities of matter
which compose the planetary system, in themselves senseless, inert, and motionless, were collected?—of that directive impulse which caused them to assume the globular form?—and, having hung them, selfbalanced, on their centres, propelled them through the trackless regions of ether with a velocity, with which the imagination in vain endeavours to keep pace?—yet so exactly proportions the attractive and projectile forces, as to produce a revolution within limits which are never transgressed, and according to laws which are never infringed, nor in the smallest degree interruptive of another process by which they are whirled round their axes with similar rapidity, constancy, and precision. If, quitting celestial objects, we survey the system of things with which we are more immediately connected, how de proofs and instances of almighty power crowd upon us from every quarter! We behold them in the appearances and operations of the several elements-in the cloudcapt mountain, and the tremendous volcano-in the ebbing and flowing ocean, and the rushing cataract -in the sweeping hurricane, and the devastating earthquake! Retiring within a still more confined circle, how are we struck with the infinitely diversified modifications and changes of the same original matter! How surprising its sublimation from its heavy, torpid, and inactive state, and its transmutation into the forms, first of vegetable, then of animal life! From whence, but from an omnipotent agency, could a subject, so totally removed in its origin and condition from any thing like sensation or intelligence, derive, as in the inferior orders of creatures, the faculties of instinct, of associating ideas, of comparing and determining? Or of rising, as in the hu
man race, to the high pre-eminence of perceiving the moral difference of actions and dispositions, and of reasoning on their respective consequences?-But here our attention is called to another change. With regard to several of the inanimate products of almighty power, they remain from age to age, memorials of its primitive and stupendous efficiency; but on every thing that lives the sentence is gone forth- dust ye are, and unto dust ye shall return." However curiously organised the system, however noble the structure-weakness, decay, dissolution, are inseparable from its nature. With respect to these, the wisdom and power of man, which enable him to control some of the established laws in their immediate application, totally fail-he is as unable to protract existence beyond its appointed limit, as at first to impart the principle of vitality. Here he feels, sensibly feels his entire dependence on superior influence; and however strong the attachment with which he clings to life, must quit his hold upon it when the destined moment arrives. And hence such reflections as these will almost unavoidably occur-Although this constitution of things must be resolved into the power and pleasure of the Almighty, is it consistent with his goodness? Is it possible that he can have implanted within us this inextinguishable desire of prolonged being and happiness, merely to disappoint it? Or if it be allowed that there may be, in the divine mind, a disposition to give back what is thus taken away, has not even omnipotence its limits? Certain it is that impossibilities and contradictions are not objects of power; and to suppose that it could be employed for such purposes, would be in itself an absurdity. The next inquiry then will be, whether a restoration
of the functions of life, and a capacity for enjoyment, ought to be reckoned as in itself impossible and contradictory? Now if one thing were more difficult than another to him who can do every thing, it would seem less easy to cause existence and sensation where they were not before, than to re-establish them, having been once possessed. To constitute a living and thinking being, it appears to be necessary that certain particles of matter should unite under certain laws and conformations, established by the will and wisdom of the Creator. The same power by which they were made to coalesce, ordains indeed their separation, but not their annihilation. That a single atom, since the creation of the world, has been lost or destroyed can neither be proved nor conceived. What then is to prevent their resuming, at the command of the Maker of all things, the same, or assuming a similar or an improved configuration and constitution, although in the mean time they may have undergone innumerable alterations and transitions, through every one of which they have been followed by his all-discerning eye and been subject to his unerring direction? That a quantity of matter may be made to pass through a variety of changes, and to recover, at length, its pristine form and appearance, is familiarly known to every experimentalist; and, from all these considerations, the possibility of the return of a rational being to a state of consciousness and activity, after losing them by death, would seem to be beyond question. Be it observed, however, that although this reasoning may be satisfactory so far as it goes, it scarcely advances us to the confines of probability, and might have fallen far short even of this, but for the superior light