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called natural religion. This is assuming a liberty, and creating a distinction, which no believer in the divine authority of our Lord, can on any ground justify. Christ delivered all his doctrines in the name of God. He required that all of them, without exception, should be received. He has given no man a licence to adopt just as much, or as little of them, as he thinks fit. He has authorized no one human being to add thereto, or diminish therefrom.
Let us, then, never presume thus to newmodel the Gospel, according to our own particular humour or caprice, but be content to take it as God has thought fit to leave it. Let us admit, as it is our bounden duty, on the sole ground of his authority, those mysterious truths which are far beyond the reach of any finite'understanding, but which it was natural and reasonable to expect, in a revelation pertaining to that incomprehensible Being, “ the High and Lofty One that “ inhabiteth eternity.”* “ Let us not ex66 ercise ourselves in great matters, which 66. are too high for us, but refrain our souls " and keep them low.”. I Laying aside all
* Isaiah lvii. 15.. . † Psalm cxxxi. 1. '.
the superfluity and all the pride of human wisdom, “ let us hold fast the profession of o our faith without wavering,” without refining, without philosophizing. Let us put ourselves without delay and without reserve, into the hands of our heavenly Guide, and submit our judgments, with boundless confidence, to his direction, who is, “ the “ way, the truth, and the life.” * Since we know in whom we believe ; since it has been this day proved by one kind of argument, and might be proved by a thousand others, that he is the Son of God; let us never forget that this gives him a right, a divine right, to the obedience of our understandings, as well as to the obedience of our wills. Let us, therefore, resolutely beat down every bold imagination, “ every high thing that “ exalteth itself against the knowledge “ of God; bringing into captivity every 6 thought to the obedience of Christ, and “ receiving with meekness the ingrafted “ word, that is able to save our souls.”+
* John xiv. 6.
+ James i. 21.
TARRY THOU THE LORD'S LEISURE : BE STRONG, AND HE SHALL COMFORT THINE HÉART; AND PUT THOU THY TRUST IN THE LORD.
THAT this life is not, and was not
intended to be, a state of perfect happiness, or even of constant ease and tranquillity, is a truth which no one will be disposed to controvert. That we are beset with dangers, and exposed to calamities of various kinds, which we can neither foresee nor avert, is equally certain. It is a fact, which, probably, most of those who now hear me know too well, from their own experience; and the rest will most assuredly know it, full time enough: for there cannot
* Preached at St. Paul's on the Thanksgiving-day for His Majesty's recovery, April 23, 1789.
be a weaker or more childish imagination, than to flatter ourselves with the hope of passing through the world without our share of those calamities, which are inseparable from mortality. Affliction, then, of one kind or other, being unavoidable, it is evidently a matter of the very last importance to every human being, to inquire carefully what are the best and most solid supports and consolations under it; where they are to be found, and how to be secured. Now the shortest and most effectual way of obtaining satisfaction on these points is, to apply to men of the best judgment, and most experience in the case; to those who have themselves passed through the greatest variety of sufferings, have sought for every possible alleviation of them that could be found, and are therefore the best able to decide on the value and the efficacy of the remedies they have actually tried. If we turn our thoughts to men of this description, we shall find few persons better qualified to give us complete information on this head, than the Royal Author of the text before us. He was initiated early in
the school of adversity; and though he was afterwards raised, by the hand of Providence, to a throne, yet in that exalted situation he experienced a long succession of the severest trials, and the bitterest afflictions, that are incident to human nature. How much he felt on these occasions, is sufficiently evident from his writings, in which he gives vent to the distress and agony of his soul in the strongest and most impassioned language that grief can dictate. Yet with these complaints are mingled generally the warmest expressions of gratitude and thankfulness, for the unspeakable comforts he frequently experienced under these calamities, and the hopes he entertained, not only of being enabled to bear them patiently, but of finally triumphing orer them. From whence, then, were these comforts and these hopes derived ? This is the great question ; the great object of our present inquiry. And the answer to it is in few words: They were derived from TRUST IN God. This it was which he declared to be his great refuge in distress, his shield, his. rock, his castle, his house of defence, his