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with the glory which I had with dictated by the Spirit of God. thee before the world was, Now the prophets apply to John xvii. 5. We must there. Christ not only the attributes, fore admit with the apostle, that but the title of Jehovah upts 1177 Christ was “God manifest in the Jehovah our righteousness, Jer. flesh,” or place these declara. xxiii. 6, and xxxiii. 16. I tions to the account of falsehood, have long regretted that, in the and hold Christ for an impostor; common version of the Bible, which po believer in the Scrip- the original word Jehovah has tures will have the hardiness to
not been generally retained in do. I once had doubts on this the translation. I think the subject ; but
mind is now original loses much of its force satisfied of the divinity of our in the English word Lord, and Savior. “Never man spake as when applied to Christ, the evi. he spoke.” The prophecies re- dence of the divinity of Christ, specting Christ, and the aston. contained in the title, is, to an ishing train of events, recorded ordinary reader entirely lost, or in the Jewish history, as pre much impaired. paratory to his appearance, have To those who object to this had no small effect in satisfying doctrine of Christ's divinity, on my mind on this subject. Let account of its mysteriousness, I any man attend, among other would reply, that there is nothprophecies, to the clear predic. ing more mysterious in this tions of Christ, in the ninth and doctrine, than in every thing else, fifty-third chapters of Isaiah, and respecting God and his works. he will find abundant evidence Men should not stumble at mysof Christ's divinity, and the in- tery, after having disposed of the spiration of the Scriptures. It difficulties attending the belief of "eannot be said that these
pre- a preliminary mystery, the least dictions are forgeries, for we we comprehensible of all.
The exhave ample proof that they were istence of a God, infinite, eternal, written several centuries before and unchangeable, in his being the birth of Christ. A part, if and perfections, is, in my apprenot the whole of the Old Testa. hension, by far the greatest mysment was translated into Greek, tery, that can be presented to by the seventy, nearly three cen. the human mind. Yet few men túries before Christ appeared, hesitate to believe in the existence for the benefit of the Jews, who, of such a Being. Men who are after their captivity and disper. not staggered at this first and sion, had lost a knowledge of greatest mystery, one would the Hebrew language; and this think, could not hesitate to give translation is now extant. In their assent to doctrines involving addition to this, it has been less difficulties; for when once the justly remarked that the quota. existence of a God of unlimited tions from the Old Testament by power is admitted, we may safely the apostles and evangelists are admit the existence of taken from the Greek copy. If however mysterious and astonthen the predictions of the pro. ishing, that do not involve an phets are genuine, as I firmly absolute contradiction.
I am believe, they must have been not perfectly satisfied with the
terms used in creeds, “ three ties have no right to expect we persons in one God," the terms shall be able to understand all are not scriptural, and may not the works and counsels of the in. assist the understanding in its finite Jehovah. It is our duty contemplations on this subject. to admire and adore, to love and I receive the doctrine just as the obey. In short, it is the duty Scriptures represent it, without of man to be humble. Indeed it attempting to explain it in terms is a remarkable fact, that God of my own. I bow to this, as rarely communicates to man the to all other mysteries in the king- consolations of his grace, and doms of nature, providence, and evidences of his favor, till severe grace. All creation is full of convictions have reduced him to mystery, indeed the constitution a strong sense of the feebleness of man, is perhaps as great a of his powers, as well as of the mystery as any other. The un. sinfulness of his heart. “God ion of an intelligent principle, resisteth the proud, but giveth with a certain organic structure grace to the humble.” of bones, flesh, vessels, and Men who depend on their own nerves, is perhaps as really in. works for salvation, appear to comprehensible by us, as the ex. question the special influences of istence of God, or the divinity the divine Spirit, in renewing the of Christ ; for we cannot com.
heart. It is difficult to reconcile pare degrees of incomprehensi. this skepticism with a belief in bility. Explain to my under. the Scriptures, which repeatedly standing, how a man, by an act and unequivocally assert the fact. of the will can move a finger, and
Real Christians have the witness I think I may safely undertake within themselves; that is, they to unfold any mystery in the gos
have evidence from their views of pel. Explain to me, the natur. divine things and the affections al cause of attraction, in gravi. of the heart, which leave little or tation, cohesion, or magnetism; no room to doubt the divine in. describe to me the process of vege- fluence, which produced them. tation on the earth, and of mine. The operations of the Spirit are ralization, beneath its surface; at.
In some persons, tend the chymist in his laborato. convictions produce anxiety and ry, and see two invisible color. terror which drive them almost to less gases combined in a certain despair. In others, convictions proportion, producing that vis. are less violent, but produce a ible substance, water, and the solicitude which leads the sub. same substance decomposed and jects of them to read the Scrip- . converted into gases ; in short, tures ; to inquire the way to unfold to my comprehension, the Zion; to attend to the means of cause of heat, the operations of grace, and gradually to renounce light, and of congelation, before all reliance on themselves, and you complain of the mysterious. to seek God through Christ with ness of Christ's divinity. What humility, prayer, and submission. is there, my dear friend, in heaven In some cases, though less fre. above or on the earth beneath, quently, persons, without much which we do comprehend ? Sure- previous distress have opened to ly beings of our limited capaci. their minds, mest luminous views
of the excellence of the divine is undoubtedly the medium character, of God's love and mer. through which the Supreme Be. cy in Christ, and seem to pass at ing makes his communications. once from death to life ; and At the same time there is so from the most determined enmi. much danger of deception, in ty of heart and opposition to the force of the imagination, that the Christian scheme of salvation, I think the evidence of such to the most cordial delight in facts should be very clear to en. the doctrines of the gospel. courage confidence.
courage confidence. The proof These facts which are within the of a real change of heart should observation of every
honest in. rest on the subsequent life; for quirer, correspond with the ac. (the tree is known by its fruit.” count Christ himself has given But that God does make special of the operations of the Spirit, communications of his favor to which are compared to the blow- man, through the intellectual ing of the wind, whose effects and spiritual principle, or soul, only are perceived. Many per- and that he often grants the re, sons, whose views and affections quests of his children, by a die are evidently changed, are not rect agency, independent of vis. sensible of any particular ope. ible means, are facts fully reveal. ration on their hearts. They ed in the Scriptures, and well hape new affections and views, known to Christians. but know not the time or the " Whatsoever ye shall ask in manner in which they received my name, that will I do, that them. In others, the impressions the Father may be glorified in the are too sensible not to be recog- fon," is the repeated promise of pized. I know there are men our Savior; a consolatory prom, who denominate such impressions ise that many pious souls have enthusiasm and spiritual delu. known to be fulfilled, to their sion. But the instances of such unspeakable joy, and to the great sensible changes of the heart, in confirmation of their faith. persons of sound judgment and These are points which I am cool, dispassionate minds, not sensible, are not generally be. prone to yield to fanciful sug. lieved.
lieved. But why should they gestions and transient feelings, be questioned ! For what pur, furnish evidence of the reality pose was the soul infused into of such special agency of the man ? Why was
man distin. divine Spirit on the heart, which guished from the brute? If maq I cannot think it right to reject, was made to perish like the beast
That the operations of the of the field, of what use is his Holy Spirit are sometimes ac. intellectual part? The anima! companied with a light exhibited appetites of the brute, afford to the imagination, is not genere perhaps, in the gratification, as ally believed; but I am inclined much pleasure as those of man, to believe the fact on the author, Surely then man was endowed ity of well authenticated cases. with superior powers and facul. I see no more reason for disbe, ties for some important purpose. lieving the fact, than for reject. For what purpose ? The soul jog the account of St. Paul's bears some resemblance to divinconversion; for the soul of man ity, and is evidently designed for
enjoyments of a superior rank. agency, to execute sudden yeo. To direct the intellectual powers geance on the offender. Yet of man to their proper objects, many other men, committing a it was doubtless necessary for like offence, may escape present hiin to have a revelation of God's punishment, without, in the least, will, and such revelation requires impairing the evidence of God's
communication from special interference in the case God. It may be said, that such stated. For it is the character communications were undoubt. of God, as represented in the edly made, but having been made, Scripture, and manifested every and the substance of them recordday, to exercise mercy rather ed, further communications are than vengeance, and by a few in. unnecessary.
This may, in a stances of his wrath, to give ex. sense, be true; but I see no im. amples and evidences of his pow. probability in God's continuing er and government, to recal to make special communications other offenders to their duty. of his will to man, by illuminating It is equally probable that spethe mind, in the present, as well as cial communications of his will, ip former periods. The instances, and of his favor, may be made, in which such revelations are dis. to strengthen the faith, and ani. tinctly recognized, may be rare; mate the hopes of those who but some well authenticated facts confide in him. Not to believe of this kind, may serve to confirm in such instances is to discredit the træth of former revelations, all human testimony. If you and fortify the faith of Chris. will take the trouble to converse tians. Such instances now, as with experienced Christians, and in former ages, may be intended read the written accounts of to answer some important por. their lives, you must, I think, poses in the economy of Provi. be satisfied, that God does, at dence and grace; and are prob. times, as directly interpose, in. ably, in most instances, given in behalf of those who ask him in answer to fervent prayer. faith, as he did in restoring
It is no objection to these health to the sick, and sight to opinions that such communica- the blind, under the ministration tions are not general or common; of our Savior on earth. any more than it is to the special Such facts serve to establish infiction of punishment, by divine the doctrine of a special provi. wrath, on some heinous crimes, dence, the truth of which I once while other crimes apparently as questioned, but now fully believe, offensive, are suffered to pass, for Indeed it is surprising I could the present, unpunished. If a ever entertain a doubt on the blasphemer, riding in company, subject; for it is as unphilo. should, with an oath and a lie sophical as unscriptural, to adupon his tongue, declare that the mit a general providence with. horse he is on never stumbles, out a special one; as a general and his horse should instantly providence implies particular fall and break the man's neck, no providences. I was probably person could hesitate to believe led into this error by the false it at least probable, that the Al. philosophy which prevails in the mighty had interposed, by his world, by propagating which
men strive to exclude the agency to the direct agency of the al. of God from all direct concern mighty first Cause. with the affairs of this world, and rations of nature are evidently of the universe. This philoso. the effects of that power con. phy substitutes for the mighty stantly exerted, which first call. hand of Deity, the operations of ed all things into existence. second causes, and laws of nature. Hence their uniformity, for no. We are taught in our youth that thing can be uniform, but God nature or created things, are sub. and his operations. ject to certain laws, such as at. The Jews were
an illiterate traction, gravitation, and re- people, cultivating neither arts pulsion; and with the help of nor sciences, to any considera- . these, we pretend to account for ble degree ; yet, surprising as it all the phenomena of the universe, may appear, they were, for ages, without the direct agency of a the only people whose history supreme, intelligent Cause.
has come down to us, who ap. But what are the laws of nu- pear to have had just ideas of ture? Nature, in its most com. the only true philosophy, which, prehensive sense, means all that mounting to the true source of is made or produced, and laws, all created beings and their ope. when applied to such created rations, ascribes all events to things, signify the regular mo. Jehovah. Upon this scheme of tions, operations, and changes philosophy, the difference be. of these things; or the causes tween miracles and natural by which they are produced. If events is, that natural events the laws of nature are the mo. are the usual, constant, and reg. tions and changes of bodies, then ular operations of divine power, they are effects, and not causes, and supernatural events are the and we ascribe the phenomena of unusual and special operations the universe to the effects of of the same power, which astonsomething else. If these laws ish men, merely because they are are the producing or primary not frequent. It cannot be the cause, they must be the supreme magnitude of the event which Author himself, whom all ra. excites our wonder; for we have tional men
must admit to be nogi ind to suppose the raising an intelligent Being. Is it of the dead is a greater act of possible that laws or principles, divine power, as it regards the competent to carry on the stu- Supreme Being, than the growth pendous operations of the uni. of a tree.
If any person should verse, can be attached to matter, incline to allege that the differand not immediately dependent ence between a miracle and a on the almighty Author ! Is
natural event, is, that a natural matter susceptible of such active event takes place by means of principles, independent of an some medium or instrument, and intelligent mind ? I would not a miracle, without such medium, dare to circumscribe, even in this would only compel us to thought, the power of Jeho- mount one step higher to find vah; but I have given up this the immediate agency of God. philosophy, and am compelled to The waters of the Red Sea were resolve all the laws of nature in. removed to make a passage for