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, Tim. ii. 4.-Who will have all men to be saved.
MICAH vi. 6, 7, 8, Wherewith shall I come before the Lord
and bow myself before the high God ? &c.
11 Tim. ii. 12.-If we deny him, he will dény us.
The Blefing of God on Filial Piety, 302
JeR. XXXV. 19.--Therefore thus faith the Lord-Jonadab, the
son of Rechab shall not want a man, &c.
The Character and Supports of Widows Indeed. 319
a Tim.v.5.--Now she that is a widow indeed and desolate,
trusteth in God, &c.
phy and vain deceit, &c.
The Sins of Communities Noted and Punished. 385
MAT. xxiii. 36.-.-Verily I say unto you, all these things shall
come upon this generation.
The Wisdom of God in the means used to prop
agate the Gospel.
i CORINTHIANS, i. 27, 28. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to con. found the wise ; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised; hath God chosen, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.*
HE mercy promised to the fathers” was Christ, the Savior,
That " the defire of all na. T
tions should come,” was a prediction of his incarnation ; and his entrance here was announced by a heavenly mes
senger, with, “Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy-to all people.
* The two discourses on this text were originally one, and preached before Windham Association, at Thompson, October Session, 1798. Probably some of the ideas which they contain, may have been suggested byreading Paley's evidences of Christianity; but as the author had not that book
in his poffeffion when he wrote on this subject, he is not able particularly to give credit to that excellent writer, if here his due.
Yet " when he came to his own, his own received him not !” To many he hath been “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence !"
The design and tendency of chriftianity are most benevolent; but being opposed to men's lufts, which rule in their members, all the malevolence of depravity hath been excited against it. Jews and Gentiles united in the opposition. « The kings of the earth stood up and the rulers were gathered to. gether against the Lord, and against his Christ both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gen. tiles, and the people of Israel.”
The Christian religion did not creep into the world in the dark. It first appeared at an enlightened period, and among the most enlightened of the nations. The sciences derived from conquered Greece, had been improved at Rome, and communicated to its dependencies. Syria was then a province of the Empire. Every movement in fu. dea was observed and reported at the metropolis. The crucifixion of our Savior was fan&tioned by a Roman deputy; and the persecuted Christians were allowed an appeal to Cæfar. Soon, therefore, did the religion of Jesus make its way to Rome.
The power of Rome had also reached its acme; and as the spirit of Christianity was diverse from that of the world, the learning and power of the Empire foon combined against it. That this religion would be crushed and vanish away as a dream of the night, was generally expected.
EVERY circumstance feemed to indicate fuch an event. Those reputed wise, considered the gospel
scheme as foolishness ; and the instruments which were chosen to propagate it were thought to be weak and contemptible. It was also observed to spread chiefly among the lower orders of men, who had not the advantages of literature, nor been in. nitiated in the mysteries of Judaism, all which served to inspire its enemies with confidence, that it would soon come to nought.
The apostle takes notice, in the context, of the contempt then so generally poured on Christianity, and declares the wisdom of God in the permission; of it. He also predicts the triumph of the cross; especially over the powers then combined against it-predictions which were afterwards fulfilled : For those powers were all subdued and humbled, and Christ and the gospel exalted. The Christian religion was openly professed, and became the most reputable religion in many countries ; particularly in Syria and at Rome and its numerous provin. ces; and by the means then ordered of God. This is the spirit of the text-God hath chofen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world to confound the mighty, &c.
In discussing the subject, we shall consider the means used to propagate the gospel-the opposition made against it--and the wisdom of God in the choice of the means '; which will bring up to view some of the objections which have been made against the truth of the gospel.
In treating of the means used to propagate the gospel, we pass over the preaching and miracles af Christ, and the wonders which took place at his