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Thus then did Chrift, by coming at that remarkable æra, prove beyond contradiction, that he had not only courage to encounter, but also power to vanquish, all the prejudices of the world, and fuperftitions of the people, the interests of priests and the vanity of philofophers, the pride of rulers and the malice of the Jews, all the learning of Greece, and all the power of Rome. And his Gospel, in the hands of a few perfons of low parentage and education, of no learning or eloquence, of no policy or addrefs, of no repute or authority, defpifed as Jews by the rest of mankind, and as the meanest and worst of Jews by the Jews themselves, approved itself to the most prejudiced minds; it stood all trials; and furmounted all impediments, that wit, and erudition, and policy, and vice, could throw in its way. And furely we may now, therefore, fafely venture to pronounce that true, which neither learning, nor prejudice, nor wickedness, nor intereft, with all their united efforts, could ever prove to be falfe.
Since then the evidence of our Saviour's coming in the fullness of time is fo well founded in truth, and carries with it fuch inconteftible
inconteftible marks of divine wisdom, surely they who pretend to disbelieve or doubt of it, must be more perverfe than the Jews of old, more stupid than the very heathens themfelves, who, blinded as they were by their lufts and prejudices, could not long resist the dazzling brightnefs with which it was furrounded.
And for us, who think ourselves well eftablished in the firm belief of our Saviour's coming in due time, happy will it be for us, if we are equally established in the habitual practice of thofe virtues and graces, which he came to recommend.
1 JOHN ii. ver. 17. latter part.
He that doeth the will of God, abideth for ever.
EW and evil have the days of the years of my life been," was the language of good old Jacob to Pharaoh, in ancient times. And little, I fear, is the state of man altered for the better fince his days. We enter the stage of life in tears, we tread it, for a few fhort moments, amidst pain and anguish, and then defcend with forrow to the grave of our fathers.
And muft we, then, end here? Are all our hopes and defires to be buried with us in the grave of mortality? When yon blue regions of heaven darken upon us,
must the black
mantle of eternal night overspread us? Muft we bid an everlasting adieu to all our friends, wifhes, and enjoyments? Is there no other world? Is there no compenfation for what we leave behind us? for the evils we have suffered, the fortitude with which we have refifted, or the patience with which we have endured them? Having been made in the image of God himself, and raised so high above the reft of the created world, muft we lie down in filence with the beast that perisheth Melancholy indeed would our lot be, were this the cafe; dark and gloomy the profpect of life, were it thus to be terminated by mute oblivion and torpid infenfibility! But, blessed be God! the religion we profess affords us nobler expectations than these; it points out to us a better ftate hereafter, and comforts us under the fleeting fashion of all things here below, by affuring us, that "he "that doeth the will of God abideth for "ever."-" He that doeth the will of God:" this is a just and lively description, it is the only true and fure criterion of religion. The Apoftle does not fay, He that knows the will of God; for we must know it in order to do it. But to know it is not enough: too many
have knowledge without practice, faith without works, light without heat, and eyes without hands; who fancy that religion confifts in mere fpeculation, and place all virtue in the understanding, rather than in the heart. But these are not the Chriftians that will abide for ever: the kingdom of heaven is not promised to those who cry, Lord, Lord; but to those who add to their knowledge, virtue; who do the will of their Father in heaven.
Secondly, We may obferve here, that he that doeth the will of God, is opposed to him that loveth the world, and is led away by the lufts thereof. And fo we find it in other places of fcripture. "For the grace of God," fays the Apostle, "that bringeth falvation, "hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that
denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we "should live righteously, foberly, and godly "in this prefent world." He, therefore, that will do the will of God aright, must be crucified to the world he must put off the old man, and be renewed in the spirit of his mind.
Thirdly, He that would do the will of God aright,. muft do it, not reluctantly, not by