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disposition of mind, which our apostle is de- | smooth the difficulties which we encounter in scribing. He represents the Christian as a man this work, by the pleasure derived from a conon whose heart divine grace has made impres-sciousness of having surmounted them in part, sions so lively, that he is already "quickened," and by the assurance which we have of at already "raised up," already "made to sit in length surmounting them altogether. heavenly places in Christ Jesus." This dispo- 2. The second advice which I presume to sition, in whatever it may consist, (which we suggest is this, be on your guard against the shall endeavour presently to explain with love of the marvellous. It is far from being greater precision,) this disposition admits of impossible that a man should confound the efdegrees; I mean to say, that it is possible to be fects of an imagination heated by its own via Christian not only in name, and by profes- sionary workings, with those which the Holy sion, but a Christian in truth and reality, with- Spirit produces in a soul of which he has taken out having as yet attained it in the most emi- entire possession. A person animated by the nent degree. It was necessary to make this spirit of God, can easily distinguish his state observation, by way of prevention of a mental from that of an enthusiast: but the enthusiast malady, as commonly to be met with in these cannot always distinguish his state from that provinces as any where else. of one animated by the Spirit of God. In geCertain circumstances peculiar to your-neral, the road of discussion is incomparably selves, have constrained your preachers fre- more sure and direct to reach the conscience, quently to inculcate the doctrine of the effi-and to form a right judgment of it, than the cacy of divine grace, and of the sentiment road of feeling. I know that there are certain which it impresses on the heart. This doc- feelings superior to discussion. I know that trine has sometimes been misunderstood. Some the Holy Spirit sometimes diffuses his influence have considered certain rapturous emotions, through the soul, in such abundance, with so excited in the souls of a few highly favoured much fervour, with so much activity, that it is Christians, by the power of the Holy Spirit, not possible the persons thus highly favoured as the essential character of Christianity. It should be ignorant that they are the objects of has been erroneously supposed, that to be his tenderest and most particular care. But in destitute of these was to be abandoned of order to our being warranted to promise ourGod. Hence have arisen those gloomy and selves such communications, the practice of desponding ideas which weak minds form re- piety must have been carried farther, beyond specting their own state, especially at those all comparison, than is commonly the case seasons when the Lord's Supper is administer- with most of those who flatter themselves that ed. The books generally read, as a prepara- they have been favoured with singular commution for participating in this solemn service, nications of the Spirit. And, once more, the tell us, that it is at the table of the Lord, in a method of discussion is by much the surer, to particular manner, the communicant experi- arrive at a true judgment of the real disposiences those communications of the fulness of tions of the conscience, than the test of feeljoy, Ps. xvi. 11, "that joy unspeakable and ing; in which the temperament, or the imagifull of glory," 1 Pet. i. 8, that "peace of God nation have frequently a larger share than real which passeth all understanding," Phil. iv. 7, illumination. that "white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it," Rev. ii. 17, that anticipated resurrection, that heaven upon earth.

What has been written on this subject is liable to misconception on the part of the reader, as it may have been expressed with too much precision by the composers of such manuals of devotion. Hence it comes to pass, that real Christians, who, notwithstanding the imperfection which cleaves to their best services, have most sincerely devoted the remainder of life to God, are haunted with the apprehension of having communicated unworthily, because they are not conscious of having felt, at the Lord's table, all those effects of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Weigh in the balance the proofs on which the ideas you have formed of yourselves are founded. Compare your thoughts, your words, your actions, with the august rules and decisions which God has laid down in his holy word. Regulate your hopes and your fears, according to the characters which you may have discovered in yourselves, after you have studied the subject in this manner. So much for the second advice, which I thought it of importance to suggest.

3. Permit me to subjoin a third. Under pretence of guarding against the reveries of the enthusiast, and against the love of the marvellous, presume not to call in question certain extraordinary operations of the Holy Spirit, and neglect not the means of obtaining them. To Christians of this description it is, that I Dispute not with saints of a superior order what address my first advice, that they distinguish they know by experience to be real. Presume the degrees of that disposition of mind of not to establish that measure of grace which which our apostle speaks in the text. A man you may have received, as the standard for demay be quickened, may be raised up, may be termining that which God is pleased to grant made to sit together with Christ Jesus in hea- to persons more devoted than you are to his venly places, without having all the joy which service. Form not your judginent from the results from this blessed state. The most in-pleasure which you may at present derive from fallible mark of our being made partakers in the exaltation of the Lord Jesus, is our striving in good earnest, to fulfil the conditions under which that participation is promised us. Let us fortify ourselves in this disposition of mind, and wait patiently till it shall please God to

religion, of that which you may hereafter enjoy, when religion shall have acquired a more powerful influence over your heart. Be not discouraged by the dryness and discomfort which you may now find in the practice of virtue; in time you will experience it to be a pe

rennial source of delight. advice.

This is my third Having premised these necessary precautions, let us attempt to justify the idea which is here given us of the Christian. Let us place in contrast, the condition in which he was, previous to his being converted to Christianity, and that which he has attained in virtue of his having become a Christian. Before he embraced the religion of Jesus Christ, he was "dead in trespasses and sins." This is a figurative expression, denoting, that sinners are as incapable of themselves, to shake off the dominion of sin, and the misery inseparable from it, as a dead person is to defend himself against corruption, and to restore his own life. But by becoming a Christian, the believer is, through the mercy of God, not only set free from the dominion of sin, but is put in possession of the highest recompense of reward that justice ever bestowed on the most perfect virtue which ever existed, namely, that of Jesus Christ.

If " never man spake like this man," John vii. 46, never man lived and acted like this man. Accordingly, never was there a man exalted to such a height of felicity and glory. Now to this very height of felicity and glory the grace of God exalts the Christian. Ilow? In more ways than we are able to indicate, in the time now left us. I satisfy myself with pointing out three of these. The believer is "quickened, he is raised up, he is made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." I. By the proofs which assure him of the exaltation of Jesus Christ.

II. By the means supplied to satisfy him that he is fulfilling the conditions under which he may promise himself, that he shall become a partaker of that exaltation.

III. By the foretaste which he now enjoys of it on the earth.

I. By the proofs which assure him of the exaltation of Jesus Christ. It is not necessary here to detail them in their full extent. This has been already done on former occasions.* We have shown you, that, in support of the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ (and the same reasonings apply, with nearly the same force, to all the particulars of his exaltation,) we have presumptions, proofs, demonstrations. But, as I have just said, it is not necessary here to make a minute recapitula

between mathematical evidence, and moral evidence. A scruple in point of precision, has given rise to this distinction. We call that mathematical evidence, which is founded on the clear idea of a subject. I have a clear idea of two even numbers. This proposition, from the addition of two even numbers, there results an even number, is founded upon an evidence which arises from the clear idea of that number. That is called moral evidence, which is founded on testimony worthy of credit. I have, naturally, no idea of the city of Constantinople. I can decide the question of its existence, only upon testimony of a certain kind. This distinction is undoubtedly a real one. But it is making a strange abuse of it to pretend, that what is founded on the evidence denominated moral is not so certain as that which is founded on what is denominated mathematical evidence. Two reasons persuade me of this, which I submit to your consideration.

1. It involves no less contradiction, that a complex concurrence of circumstances should unite with respect to a false testimony, than that there should be falsehood in a consequence deduced immediately from the nature of a subject. It involves no less contradiction to affirm, that all the witnesses, who assure me there is a city called Constantinople, have agreed to impose upon me, that it involves a contradiction to allege, that this proposition is illusory, from the addition of two even numbers there results an even number.

2. The second reason is still more forcible. It is taken from the nature of God himself. We have mathematical evidence for this, that God cannot take pleasure in leading men into error. But God would take pleasure in leading men into error, if after having made the truth of their religion to rest on the existence of certain facts, which are susceptible only of proofs of fact, he had bestowed on imaginary facts, the same characters of truth which he has impressed on such as are real. The truth of our religion is founded on these facts: Jesus Christ is risen, and has ascended into heaven: but this exaltation is supported by all the evidence of which facts are susceptible. If the exaltation of Jesus Christ is merely imaginary, God has permitted imaginary facts to assume all the evidence of real facts. God, therefore, betrays him into error. But we have mathematical evidence that it is impossible for God But I would wish to unfold under this head, to betray men into error. It is clear, therefore, the true causes which prevent those proofs, ir- as I think, that moral evidence, when carried resistible as they are, from producing, on the to a certain degree, ought to be ranked in the mind of the greater part of Christians, that same class with mathematical evidence. The lively impression which would justify the hy-truth of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, perbolical language employed by our apostle, that Christians have a conviction as complete of the truth of the exaltation of Jesus Christ, as if they had been "quickened," as if they had been "raised up," as if they were "made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ JeThe following are the principal causes



of this sore evil.

I. The proofs of the exaltation of Jesus Christ, do not produce impressions so lively as they ought, from the abuse of a distinction

* Consult the Sermon on Christ's Resurrection, of Mr. Robinson's selection.

therefore, will not produce the lively impressions which we have mentioned, so long as men abuse, which is the case with certain philosophers, the distinction between moral evidence, and mathematical evidence.

2. The proofs of the exaltation of Jesus Christ produce not impressions so lively as they ought, because the mind is under the influence of a prejudice, unworthy of a real philosopher, namely, that moral evidence changes its nature, according to the nature of the things to which it is applied. What is demonstration of a fact, which is in the sphere of natural things, seems to cease to be such respecting


facts of a supernatural kind. A certain species of proof will be sufficient to demonstrate that Cesar existed: and that same species of proof shall be deemed insufficient to ascertain that Moses existed. What a strange disposition of mind! The truth of a fact, which does not in itself imply a contradiction, depends not on the nature of that fact, but on the proofs by which it is supported.

I am ready to admit, that stronger proof will be expected, in order to produce belief of extraordinary events, than is necessary to establish the truth of what happens every day; to produce belief, for instance, that a great scholar is humble, calls for stronger proof than that he is vain; to produce belief, that a friend is as faithful in adversity as he was in prosperity, than that he is less so. But what is evidence with respect to ordinary facts, is likewise so with respect to such as are extraordinary. What is evidence with respect to natural things, is likewise so with respect to such as are supernatural. Nothing more unreasonable can be conceived than the disposition expressed by the apostle Thomas. All the members of the apostolic college, unanimously assure him that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. They adduce this proof of it, that they had beheld him with their own eyes. No, says he, "except I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my fingers into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe," John xx. 25. Wherefore does that which would have been evidence to him on another occasion, cease to be so on this? It is because the matter in question is something supernatural. But the question is not, whether the resurrection of Jesus Christ be within the sphere of natural things, but whether it is founded on proofs sufficient to constitute satisfying evidence.


of Jesus Christ, so long as he neglects to discriminate the proofs on which the truth of it rests. The discovery of the slightest falsehood in those which we had believed to be true, will go far towards invalidating the proof of those which we had good reason to believe founded in truth.

lively, because we are too deeply affected by 4. The proofs of the exaltation of Jesus our inability to resolve certain questions, which Christ produce not impressions sufficiently the enemies of religion are accustomed to put, on some circumstances relative to that event. The evangelists have recorded all those which are necessary to convince us of the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Their silence respecting circumstances of another kind, and our inability to satisfy the demands of those who insist upon them, present nothing to excite suspicion against the fidelity of their narration. They do not tell us, for example, what Jesus Christ did immediately after his resurrection, and before his appearing to the devout women, and to the apostles. They do not tell passed upon the earth before his ascension. They do not tell us to whom those dead perus what he did during the forty days which he sons appeared, who came into the holy city to attest his resurrection, nor what became of them after their apparition. The Holy Spirit, perhaps, was not pleased to reveal such things to those inspired men. Perhaps they did not think proper to declare them, though they might have had perfect information on the subject. But is there any thing in this, to invalidate the proofs on which the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is founded? Is there any one ancient history, I say any one without exception, that goes into a certain detail of circumstances? Are we acquainted with all the Darius? Does our ignorance respecting such and such particulars suggest a doubt whether circumstances of the life of Alexander, or of those persons ever existed? Do we know all the circumstances attending the battle of Cannæ, and that of Pharsalia. Does our ignorance of these suggest a doubt whether such battles were actually fought? Is it fair to prescribe to the sacred authors rules which we readily dispense with in the case of profane authors?

3. The proofs of the exaltation of the Lord Jesus produce not impressions sufficiently lively, because the necessary discrimination has not been employed in the selection of those proofs, on which some have pretended to establish it. This remark has a reference to certain of the learned, who imagined that they were rendering essential service to the church, when they multiplied proofs, with an indiscreet zeal, and produced every thing which they deemed favourable to the Christian religion. Fraud, fair dealing, all, all appeared equal in their eyes, Christ produce not impressions sufficiently provided it would contribute to this end. lively, because we suffer ourselves to be inti5. The proofs of the exaltation of Jesus Wretched method! Why was it not confined midated more than we ought, by the comparito the propagators of falsehood; and why has son instituted between them and certain popuit been so frequently adopted by the partisans lar rumours, which have no better support of truth! I pretend not to determine whether than the caprice of the persons who propagate there be much solidity in the idea of some who them. Unbelievers tell us that the multitude have alleged, that the reason why Jesus Christ is credulous, that it is ever disposed to be pracso strictly prohibited the demons to publish tised upon by impostures, from the idea of the that he was the Messiah, was an apprehension marvellous. They accumulate all those noted that a testimony borne to his mission by lying spirits, might render the truth of it suspected. But I am well assured that if any thing could have excited a suspicion in my mind unfavourable to the exaltation of the Son of God, it would have been that medley of proofs, solid and without foundation, which we find in the writings of certain ancient doctors of the church on this subject. No one will ever attain to a complete conviction of the exaltation

instances of credulity which ancient and modern history abundantly supply, for it costs very little trouble indeed, to make the collection ample. They avail themselves of those. instances to invalidate the argument which we adduce from the unanimity of that testimony which evinces the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But let them show us, among what they call "popular rumours," let them show us among these any thing of the same

kind with those which we have produced: and then we shall feel ourselves called upon to defend, in another way, the doctrine in question. But under the pretext that mankind is credulous, obstinately to resist the force of proofs which have been admitted by judges the most rigid and acute, is wilfully to shut the eyes against the truth.

6. Finally, the proofs of the truth of the exaltation of our blessed Lord and Saviour, produce not impressions sufficiently lively, because they are not sufficiently known. The preceding particulars chiefly relate to the learned, and the philosophic part of mankind, of whom the number, undoubtedly, is on comparison very inconsiderable. This relates to the multitude, of which the far greater part of our audiences is composed. I am well aware that those proofs have been carried farther in the present age, than ever had been done, perhaps, since the days of the apostles. I have oftener than once, adored the conduct of divine Providence, in that the objections of unbelievers, of which it may likewise be affirmed, that they have been carried farther in the present age, than they had been since the times of the earliest antagonists of the Christian religion: I have oftener than once, I say, adored the conduct of divine Providence, in that those objections have furnished occasion to scrutinize the

proofs of the facts, on which the truth of Christianity rests.

In proportion as events are more remote, the more difficult it becomes to ascertain them. If the spirit of superstition and blind credulity had continued to be the reigning folly of mankind, men would have neglected to study the proofs of the facts of which I have been speaking, and we should have had in later ages, much greater trouble in demonstrating the truth of them. But infidelity is the reigning folly of the age in which we live, and has, as it were, succeeded the spirit of superstition and blind credulity, the reigning folly of ages past. Now Providence has so ordered the course of things, that this very infidelity should prove the occasion of placing, in their clearest point of light, those illustrious proofs which we have of the facts, whereon the Christian religion is founded. But though they have been stated with so much clearness and precision, it is undoubtedly certain that they are not hitherto sufficiently known by the generality of professing Christians.

you will perceive, that the truth of the exaltation of the Saviour is founded upon proofs, which it is impossible for any reasonable man to resist. You will be, in some measure, as much convinced that he is raised up from the dead, and ascended into heaven, as if you had seen him with your own eyes bursting asunder the bars of the grave, and assuming his seat at the right hand of the Father: you will be in this first sense, quickened together with Christ, and raised up, and made to sit together in heavenly places with him."

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EPHESIANS ii. 4-6.

God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved,) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

HAVING given a few preliminary advices relative to my subject, I went on to justify the accuracy of the apostle's idea, by showing, that the Christian is "quickened, raised up, seated in heavenly places, together with Christ."

I. By the reasons which persuade him of the certainty of the exaltation of Jesus Christ. I now proceed to justify St. Paul's idea by showing,

II. The Christian's participation in the glory of Jesus Christ, by the means with which he is furnished of knowing himself, and of attaining assurance that he is fulfilling the conditions under which he is enabled to promise himself an interest in that exaltation. I do not mean to insinuate, that this knowledge is of easy attainment. I maintain, on the contrary, that it is one of the most difficult which can be proposed to man. And without entering here into a detail of the reasons which evince the difficulty of it, it is sufficient for me to adduce a single one; it is the smallness of the number of those who know themselves. The judgments which men form of their own character, is an inexhaustible source of ridicule. The world is crowded with people totally blind, especially where they themselves are concerned.

Would you be thoroughly convinced of the exaltation of the Saviour of mankind, devote to the study, which I am recommending, a part, I do not say only of that time which you What illusions do they practise upon themso liberally bestow on the world and its plea- selves, with respect to the body! How many sures, but a part of even that which you have are there whom Nature has sadly degraded in thrown away upon useless controversies, on the point of person: forms which you would say speculative questions, and the bold researches, were only blocked out, and of which, if I may with which most books, on the subject of reli- use the expression, God seems to have erected gion, are filled. Let the mind be deeply im-only the first scaffoldings, conceive of thempressed with that series of presumptions, of arguments, of demonstrations, of which the resurrection, and the other particulars of the exaltation of the Son of God are susceptible. Do all diligence to discern the whole evidence of those facts, without which, to use the apostle's expression, "your faith is vain, and our preaching also is vain," 1 Cor. xv. 14. Then VOL. II.-24

selves ideas directly opposite to the truth. Talk of the corporeal qualities of such and such persons, and they will be among the first to make them an object of derision, and discover this to be too slim, that to be too gross; falling foul of the whole human race, and showing tenderness to no one but themselves. If we are thus subject to blindness, where

things sensible, palpable, are concerned, how much greater must be the danger, where matters of a very different complexion address themselves to our self love.

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possible, by means of an examination so cursory, to attain a knowledge which costs the most eminent saints so much application? A real Christian studies himself in a very We practise illusion upon ourselves, on the different manner. With the torch of the gosscore of our understanding. How many ig-pel in his hand, he searches into the most senorant, dull, stupid people betray a conceit that they are intelligent philosophers, profound politicians; that they possess a judgment accurate, enlightened, uncommon; and are so powerfully prepossessed with the belief of this, that the combined universe could not drive them out of it. Hence it comes to pass, that they are for ever taking the lead in society, exacting attention, courting admiration, pronouncing, deciding peremptorily, and seeming to say at every turn, am not I a most extraordinary personage? But you have never had the advantage of a course of education, or of regular study. No matter; talents supply every deficiency. But no one presents incense to you, yourself only excepted. Still it signifies nothing: it is the wretched taste of the present age. But you are actually a laughing-stock to mankind. No matter still: it has always been the lot of great men to be the object of envy and calumny.

We practise illusion upon ourselves in favour of our heart. Should you chance to be in a circle of slanderers, and bear your testimony against slander, the whole company will instantly take your side. The most criminal will endeavour to pass for the most innocent. They will tell you that it is the most odious, abominable, execrable of vices. They will tell you that the severest punishments ought to be adjudged against the offender, that he ought to be excluded from all human society. And the very persons who are themselves actuated by this detestable passion, who are themselves diffusing the baleful poison of their malignity, apprehend not that they are, in the slightest degree, chargeable with such a vice. Have you no knowledge, my brethren, of such a portrait? Have I been depicting to you manners which have no existence in real life? If there be any among you incapable of discovering himself under such similitudes as these, it is a demonstration of what I wished to prove, that it is a very difficult thing for a man to know himself.

But though this knowledge be extremely difficult, it is by no means impossible of attainment. The believer employs two methods, principally to arrive at it. 1. He studies his own heart. 2. He shrinks not from the inspection of the eyes of another.

1. First, the believer studies his own heart. Let it not appear matter of astonishment that the generality of mankind are so little acquainted with themselves. They are almost always from home; external objects engross all the powers of their mind; they never dive to the bottom of their own conscience. Does it deserve the name of searching the heart, if a man employs a rapid and superficial self-examination, by reading a few books of preparation, on the eve of a communion solemnity: if he devote a few moments attention to the maxims of a preacher, much more with a design to apply them to others, than to make them a test of his own conduct? How is it

cret recesses of conscience. He traces his actions up to their real principles. When he has performed an act of virtue, he scrupulously examines whether he had been actuated by some merely human respect, or whether it proceeded from a sacred regard to the law of God. When he unhappily is overtaken, and falls into sin, he carefully examines whether he was betrayed into it by surprise, or whether, by the prevalence of corruption in his heart, and from the love of the world still exercising dominion over him. When he abstains from certain vices, he examines whether it proceeded from real self-government, or merely from want of means and opportunity; and he asks himself this question, what would I have done, had I been placed in such and such circumstances? Would I have preserved my innocence, with Joseph, or lost it, as David did? Would I, with Peter, have denied Jesus Christ, or have endured martyrdom in his cause, like Stephen?

2. The second method which the believer employs to arrive at the knowledge of his own heart, is to permit others to unveil it to his eyes: this is done particularly, either by the public instructions of the faithful ministers of the gospel, or by the private admonitions of a judicious and sincere friend: two articles very much calculated to explain to us the reasons why most men attain such an imperfect knowledge of themselves.

It is with difficulty we can digest those addresses from the pulpit, in which the preacher ventures to go into certain details, without which it is impossible for us to acquire selfknowledge. We are fond of dwelling on generals. Our own portrait excites disgust, when the resemblance is too exact. It is a circumstance well worthy of being remarked, that what we admire the most in the sermons of the dead, is the very thing which gives most offence in the sermons of the living. When we read, in discourses pronounced several ages ago, those bold strictures in which the preachers unmasked the hypocrites of their times, reproved the vices of the great as freely as those of the little, attacked adultery, extortion, a tyrannical spirit, in the very presence of the of fenders, we are ready to exclaim, What zeal! What courage! What firmness! But when a preacher of our own days presumes to form himself after such excellent models; when he would copy the example of Elijah, who said to Ahab, "I have not troubled Israel; but thou and thy father's house," 1 Kings xviii. 18, when he would follow the example of Nathan, who said to David, "Thou art the man," 2 Sam. xii. 7, or that of John Baptist, who said to Herod, "It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife," Mark vi. 18, then the cry is, What audacity! What presumption! It would be improper, my brethren, to extend any farther my remarks on this subject at present; but I may be permitted, at least, to borrow the words of Jesus Christ, addressed to his disciples; "I have yet many things to say

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