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mountain, and attempt to scale even heaven itfelf? We will own that there are mysteries in religion, which furpass our comprehenfion: the plurality of persons in the unity of the Godhead, the manifestation of God in the flesh, the operations of the Holy Spirit, the reftitution of the feattered particles of our bodies to their antient functions, we understand not, we pretend not to understand, much lefs, as fome have injudiciously done, to explain and define. Yet where is the hardship or unreasonableness of believing them on the authority of God, the revealer, though we know not the mode or quality of the things revealed? Or, where would be the merit of believing them, if they were prefented for our acceptance with all the clearnefs of intuitive knowledge or irresistible de monftration?
But farther: Where is the justice of objecting to mysteries in religion alone? Every thing within and around us is mystery. The revolution of the planets, the tranfmiffion of light, the production of animals, the vegetation of plants, the gravitation and cohesion of matter, the vital union of foul and body,
with their mode of acting upon each other;
But, 4thly, The infidel brands the Gospel with the name of foolishness, because it exacts from him the performance of several duties, which are oppofite to the bias of inclination, and seem to bear hard upon human nature.
This is the true basis of all infidelity, whatever other causes men may pretend to affign for their unbelief." The chriftian doctrine
"does not comply with the ambitious man's "defire of honour, nor the miser's hunting "after wealth, nor with the voluptuous and "debauched in their pleasures and vicious enjoyments; but croffes all fuch appetites, by enjoining humility, contentedness, contempt of the world, fobriety, chastity, "and temperance *." Hence the tears and clamours of infidelity: hence the general cry of unbelievers, that the preaching of the cross is foolishness. Unwilling to quit their lufts, they affect to defpife the religion which condemns them: unable to wean their groveling affections from things below, they would be thought to disbelieve the doctrines of the Gospel, which tend to raise them to things above: in one word, they love darknefs rather than light, because their deeds are evil.
But after all, what are these heavy restraints, which the infidel complains of, as a fore burden too heavy for him to bear? Would the infidel then have no rule of conduct in life? Would he have all the fences of decorum
Collyer's Sacred Interpreter.
broken down, and the exuberance of human lufts let loose upon the common of nature, unfettered and unrestrained? Or, again, was there ever a religion in the world; nay, was there ever a system of human law or civil policy, which did not lay fome restraint upon the grofs and brutal inclinations of human nature? Or can it be thought any hardship to practise the duties of temperance, chastity, fobriety, and patience; of juftice, equity, charity, and truth, which are clearly taught by reafon as well as religion, and which every confiderate heathen faw to be apparently conducive to the happiness of individuals, as well as of public focieties? And if to these the Christian Legislator has fuperadded some sublimer sentiments of morality, they are fuch as no less clearly approve themselves to every candid mind. To bear injuries patiently,-to forgive, as we hope to be forgiven,-to extend our kindness to all men, in imitation of the great Parent of nature, who fendeth his rain on the just and on the unjust,—to deal with others, as we should reasonably wish to be dealt with ourselyes in the fame circumstances, to govern our vicious thoughts and inclinations, as well as to abstain from vicious
acts,-to raise our fouls from present gratifications to the contemplation of fublimer, though distant enjoyments; these are improvements in morality, which indeed carry the christian system far beyond any other the world ever faw, but which, at the fame time, moft clearly tend to promote the dignity and happiness of man, and therefore cannot justly be rejected by any one, who wishes to act confiftently with the dictates of reafon, who is not guided by blind lufts and brutal paffions.
Thus we fee, then, the foolishness of God, when rightly weighed, is wifer than men. The Apostle, in my text, farther adds, “and દ "the weakness of God is ftronger than men.
The truth of this I might fhew in a variety of inftances. But, unwilling to trefpafs too long upon your time and patience, I shall confine myself to that single one, which the Apostle St. Paul seems to have had principally in view, the miraculous propagation of the Gospel of Christ. Whoever well confiders the circumstances under which the religion we profess made its firft appearance in the world, may justly call it the weakness of God.