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what we would call very slow degrees; it comprises within its grasp some thousands of years; it gives time for every thing. The prophets of the Old Testament allowed four thousand years to elapse before the coming of the Messiah: the apostles of Christ assign twelve hundred and sixty years to the dominion of antichrist, from his rise to his fall, a duration of which no other class of men was ever able to bear the thought. After this immense space, Christianity, they say, will overcome all opposition, and be universal on the earth.

How much this scheme resembles the course both of the natural and the moral world, must be obvious to all. Plants spring gradually from seed; trees grow still more slowly; and ages pass on before some of them arrive at maturity. In man, as an individual, the progress of improvement is far from rapid; in communities it is still slower. How many centuries before a nation passes from a barbarous state to a high degree of civilization. It must be allowed to be, at least, an extraordinary circumstance, that the New Testament should, in this respect, differ so materially from all other books; and that it should, at the same time, so perfectly accord with the actual state of the divine government. The degree of weight in it is submitted to the consideration of the reader.

SECTION VII.

The Appearance and Tendency of the Moral World confirm

the Principles of Christianity.

There is a pleasing concord in the operations of the Supreme Being. The governor of the world will not act contrary to its creator; nor the benefactor of the human race to the governor of the universe. If Christianity be a religion from God, it will correspond with the works of God, and appear in harmony with his government of the world. Sir Isaac Newton framed a system of philosophy, and recorded the laws of nature, as written by the finger of God, upon the broad tables of the heavens and the earth. After the lapse of a century, the motions of the celestial bodies, and the various operations and revolutions which he described, correspond with his system. This correspondence is considered as an evidence of its probability—some will say, of its certain truth. In like manner, should the state, order, and tendency of things in the moral world correspond with the gospel of Christ, will it not strongly evince the probability of its being, what it professes to be," of divine authority ?” Eighteen centuries have elapsed since its promulgation; and we may search in the full treasures of experience, with a certainty of finding either an evident confutation of its pretensions, or a strong presumption of its truth.

Christianity professes to be the true religion. True religion is the art of happiness, taught by God himself. Christ says that “ the weary and heavy laden shall find in him rest to their souls ; and that his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.”

- Matt. xi. 28-30. He likewise promises an unceasing happiness, as the certain accompaniment of increasing attention to his gospel, and conformity to his will, and imitation of his example. Of the truth and reality of this, Christians are indeed the only competent judges. They find wisdom's ways to be ways of pleasantne:s, and her paths peace; and their happiness to be augmented in proportion to their activity in glorifying God, and doing good to men. But even to the enemies of the gospel we can here appeal, as they are able to give their testimony, which likewise issues in its favour. You can perceive that integrity of heart and life, that the performance of relative duties, and, in a more eminent degree, that philanthropy, actively engaged in lessening the miseries, and augmenting the enjoyments of all around, brings with it a considerable degree of felicity. Did you but know the work. ing of humility, of meekness, of gentleness, of forgiveness of injuries, of love to the souls of men, and above all, of love to God and the Redeemer; and did you feel the energy and goodness of the principles of the gospel, from which they flow-you would readily acknowledge that the religion of Jesus produces in the soul the highest measure of happiness which is to be enjoyed on earth. The other part of the argument is more plain : disregard of religion, or, in other words, wickedness, is followed by misery. Every evil disposition has a sting which pierces the heart; and the indulgence of vicious passions strips the soul of real enjoyment. Pride, avarice, sensuality, hatred, malice, envy, revenge, and forgetfulness of God, are all enemies to the felicity of men: they rob the soul of tranquillity, and they fill it with uneasiness and distress.

In proportion to the degree of goodness or of wickedness, is the degree of happiness or of misery which men feel. The winged activity of the disciple of Jesus, in adoring his God and Saviour, and doing good to men, enlarges the spirit of

piety and benevolence, gives a higher relish to the pleasure of conferring benefits, and renders him more blessed in his deed. On the other hand, the more a man increases in wickedness, the more miserable he grows. His evil passions boil over in his words and actions, and make all who are around him wretched; but his own soul feels the torment most.

The tendency of these, both as to the years of life which are to come, and likewise to a future state, is just the same. “ Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” “ But there is no peace to the wicked.” Still brighter prospects are presented to the Christian, as he advances in the path of faith and holiness; and confirm the declaration, that “ the path of the just is as the morning light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” The continued tendency of an increase of happiness till death, gives the highest probability of a still greater accession in a future state. On the other hand, nothing is more evident than that wickedness presents no other prospect but that of being wretched, both here and hereafter. The slave of vice till old age, becomes a perfect demon; and he is fit for nothing but the misery of another world, which the gospel describes as the punishment of those who reject the Saviour.

If we extend our views from the individual to the community, we find “ that righteousness exalteth a nation;" and that sin is its disgrace and ruin. The prevalence of pure religion in its principles and acts, promotes the public welfare in the highest degree, diffuses social felicity far and wide, and tends to a continual increase;—while, on the other hand, a disregard and opposition to religion, which is but another name for wickedness, is productive of the worst of evils to a kingdom; it lessens the people's enjoyment, and tends to a constant accumulation of misery. The deep-laid plans of unrighteous policy, which promise the most extensive and lasting advantages, prove unsubstantial as the spider's web, become a source of bitterness to the contrivers, and issue in national distress and calamity. These are laws of nature, or shall we not rather say, of the Supreme Ruler, which confirm by their execution the revelation of Jesus Christ, and display the effects and consequences of his religion.

There is a still more extensive tendency in the divine government, which, as belonging to the present subject, ought not to pass unnoticed. The gospel speaks of the melioration of the state of mankind, which, after a lapse of ages, is to be produced by the influence of its principles and precepts. By appearances in the moral world, these hopes are cherished and confirmed. The man who will compare the present state of society in England, in Holland, and in France, with that which subsisted in them about three hundred years ago, will perceive a most rapid progress: and the vast machine is moving with accelerated speed. There are principles now budding in the minds of the disciples of Christ, which are producing plans of active benevolence, in order to advance the first and best interests of the human race-principles which, when the fruit is brought to maturity, will change the face of the world, and introduce the reign of reason and of love, and give happiness to mankind; because they introduce the reign of God, and of his Christ, over the souls of men.

The coincidence between the government of the world, and the Christian religion, in so many varied points of view; and the agreement between the appearances and tendency of the former, and the declarations and effect of the latter, are considerations not unworthy of the notice of those who are examining, with impartiality and care, the evidences of the New Testament.

SECTION VIII.

The Manner in which the New Testament addresses Men.

Here, as in many other points, the book is eminently singular. In men who had no intercourse with the great world, we might expect to find either an admiration of the rich and powerful, or a dislike of them, and a partiality for people of their own rank. But nothing of this is to be seen. We scarcely find a writer who has not his partialities: one is a sycophant of the great, and a despiser of the poor; another hates the great, and makes his court to the multitude, that he may gain their favour. Some pay homage to the learned, and treat the ignorant with contempt; others take the contrary side. Country and religion have a powerful influence on men's sentiments, and on their manner of speaking of persons and things. Both Jewish and Gentile writers furnish remarkable instances of this, each in an opposite way.

But here is a perfect exception to these modes of writing. The whole human race is always considered in the New Testament as one great family. The apostles view man as an inmortal being: this is the light in which he constantly appears. The different conditions of life sink into nothing, in comparison of this more illustrious rank. The only reason why they notice the various stations in ciyil society, is to remind men of the duties of these stations, and to guard them against the temptations to which they are exposed. This is peculiarly the case as to persons in the most exalted condition, the temptations of which they represent as the strongest of any: they therefore kindly entreat them to watch against their influence with the utmost care; and at the same time they frankly reprehend their abuse of the blessings of their condition. If they speak favourably of the poor, it is to console them, because their temptations are not so strong, and to point out those advantages in their lot which they are apt to overlook. But in all the grand concerns of human nature hey view men as equals; they speak to them as brethren; they envy not the great; they despise not the poor; they address all with dignity and affection. There is, indeed, one marked difference which they ever maintain, and never, in any one instance, lose sight of for a moment. But it arises from nothing external; it is that which takes place between the righteous and the wicked. Such greatness of mind as this, which overlooks all worldly distinction; which attaches dignity to man as immortal, and excellence to man as good, and meanness only to man as wicked; found in illiterate men, and found in all the writers of the New Testament will be allowed to have some weight, when thrown into the scale which contains the evidences of Christianity.

SECTION IX.

The Harmony of the Writers of the New Testament.

DISAGREEMENT among persons who contribute each a part towards the compilation of a volume, infers the certain destruction of its claims to divine inspiration. Harmony is absolutely necessary; and where it is found, especially in so extensive a manner, and in so many different points of view, and in matters so various and complicated, it furnishes a presumptive argument in favour of its claim.

The first thing we are led to inquire, is, What harmony subsists between the gospel and natural religion? On the most accurate examination it will be found, that there is not one principle in the latter, which the former does not advance and

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