Sidor som bilder

sensible of his lost and helpless state, from the fall of his first parents, is not to be expected. To the one, who braves the destruction, or who feels not the enormity of sin, we should but ill address the merit and the necessity of an atone. ment for it; to the other, who trusts in his own righteousness, we should urge, with as little avail, the insufficiency of his pretensions, without the efficacy of redeeming love. But it is not against the objections or the doubts of infidelity, that the believer is called upon for any vindication. From these he may retire with pity or abhorrence; or if he must answer, it may be in the sure and certain word of GOD, already delivered to the faithful, and to the faithful only now again to be delivered, as a warn ing against the subtlety of worldly wisdomLook unto the rock whence ye are hewn, says the Prophet, and the hole of the pit, whence ye are digged; look unto Abraham your Father, and unto Sarah that bore you. For I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him; and fear ye not, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be afraid of their revilings. For

the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them up like wool; but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation. But when he sees this strong post of Christianity neglected, or given up, by those who are pledged to maintain her cause; when he sees those, to whose protection the fortress of truth is entrusted, abandoning its outworks and weakening its defence, is it not his duty to sound the alarm? or shall he scruple to call it desertion in the soldier of Christ, to leave the citadel thus exposed to the nearer approach of the enemy.

If Christianity be true, it is truein every part, and in every period of time; the creation, the redemption, the sanctification of man, all began together in the Almighty councils, and all move on in divine procession, the distinct, but co-ordinate, the peculiar, though confederate, offices of the same great and glorious Being. And if its heavenly Author be the end of all the law and the prophets; if the testimony of Jesus be the spirit of prophecy, such testimony, must have been the leading object of every preceding revelation. Amidst a contempt of his

miracles, and a disavowal of accomplished predictions, in what manner does our blessed Lord assert the dignity of his character in the face of his enemies? He appeals to their acknowledged leader, and favourite of GOD, in direct evidence against them. Do not think, says he, that I will accuse you to the Father; there is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me; but if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words. The condemnation of the Jew, like that of the Christian, proceeds upon the same sufficiency of evidence; he was to be judged by the word that was spoken, and he must either reject his Law-giver, or receive a Saviour, of whom Moses was both type and prophet. Thus grounding the necessity of their belief in him on the very records of their faith, and establishing his authority upon that of their own religious credentials, Christ at once confirms the authenticity of the Pentateuch, and incorporates, as it were, every preceding dispensation into one system of redeeming love. What language could have spoken so plainly of Him, (that mis

take was made a crime) but the language of inspiration? How could he have appealed to any anterior testimony, unless that testimony had been known to have been of divine origin?

Instructed also in the covenant made with Abraham and his seed, if Moses were ordained to be the instrument of the promised deliverance to his brethren; if, in the progress of his commission, he were allowed to pre-figure, and to predict a more perfect deliverance, through a prophet that was to be raised up like unto him; and if, moreover, almost every act of their legislation and worship be found commemorative of such expectation, and subsidiary to this gracious design, then of what comment will the Mosaic history admit? Descriptive as it is of the works and the ways of Providence, the truths it reveals, and the events it foretels, could not be discovered by human means: nor can it be supposed, that the Being, who must have dictated the word of prophecy, and whose name was to be honoured and proclaimed in the fulfilment of it, should suffer the operations of his hands to be disfigured or disgraced by fabulous legends or fanciful representations.

The legislative and the prophetic annals of this inspired writer even now specify and distinguish the Jewish people. Without a vestige of civil polity left, and scattered as they are among all nations, they still guard them as memorials of their principal ancestors, as a code of laws to direct their practice, and as containing the promised advent of one who shall redeem Israel. What, then, does the Christian understand, when he reads of the veil being still upon their hearts? Will he urge against them the predictive testimony, and refuse the descriptive evidence of inspiration? Will he allow their scriptures to bear witness of Jesus, and the redemption of mankind through him, and doubt their veracity, when they prove the necessity of this rich display of mercy, by bearing witness also of the fall of man, and the state from which he fell? Man never had but one teacher, though he may have submitted to many masters; from the natural world he was to be led to the spiritual, from visibles to invisibles; and the knowledge of the true God is involved in the knowledge of the works of his creation. Without the Mosaic basis, what vi

« FöregåendeFortsätt »