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of the philosopher are many beautiful passages directed against the vice we have been considering, and no one ever inveighed more pointedly against the luxurious indulgences to which riches are applied. Yet Seneca, first the disciple of the abstinent school of Pythagoras, and afterwards of the self-denying sect of the Stoics, made himself, by his inordinate desire of amassing wealth, the richest man in Rome, and by his passion for splendor the most magnificent.
This inconsistency of profession with practice, at once illustrates the exact difference between speculation and conviction, conceit and truth; and serves, without any other arguments, which, however, are not wanting to demonstrate the real character of Seneca. Though acquainted probably with the religion of Jesus Christ, and not improbably with our apostle himself, from his near connection with Gallio, one of Paul's judges, yet he can never be considered as its convert: and trying them by the testimony of their lives, we are obliged to conclude of these two martyred moralists, that Paul lived a Christian, and Seneca died a Heathen.
ON THE GENIUS OF CHRISTIANITY, AS SEEN IN SAINT PAUL.
HAD a sinful human being, ignorant of Christianity, labouring under the convictions of a troubled conscience, and dreading the retribution which that conscience told him his offences merited,-had such a being, so circumstanced, been called upon to devise the means of pardon and acceptance from an offended Creator, how eagerly, in the hope of relieving his tormented spirit, would he have put his imagination to the stretch! How busily would he have sharpened his invention, to suggest something difficult, something terrible, something impossible; something that should have exhausted all human means, that should put nature to the rack,-penances, tortures, sacrifices-all Lebanon for a burnt-offering, thousands of rams for an atonement, rivers of oil for an oblation;-still concluding that he must perform the act with his own hands, still expecting that himself must be the agent of his own deliverance.
But when a full offer of peace, of pardon, of reconciliation, comes from the offended party, comes voluntarily, comes gratuitously, comes, not with the thunders of the burning mount, but in the still small voice of benignity and love,-free love, benignity as unsought as unmerited; when the trembling penitent is assured, in the cheering words of our apostle, that he shall be "justified freely, through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus," when he is assured that all that is demanded on his part of the compact is, to accept the propitiation made for his sins, through the forbearance and tender mercy of God; when he hears, that to him, and not to him only, but to all who will accept it on the offered terms, of faith and repentance, this previously inconceivable proposal is made;-who would doubt that, overwhelmed with joy and gratitude at the report of a world redeemed, he would eagerly fly to lay hold on an offer, not only beyond his hope or expectation, but beyond his posibility of conception?
Yet is not the fact too often directly the reverse? His pride had suggested to him, that if some difficult thing were to be done, he should have done it himself,-if something were to be suffered in the way of hardship and austerity, or something achieved in the way of glorious enterprise; something that should be splendid in the act, which should bring renown to the doer,-then his natural powers would be set at work, his energies exerted, his emulation kindled, for he would then become the procurer of his own reward, the purchaser, or rather the rightful possessor of a heaven of his own earning.
But while God, by a way of his own devising, by a process of his own conducting, had made foolish the wisdom of this world, and baffled the vain and impracticable schemes of impotent man, for effecting his deliverance by any conception or act of his own,-does not man's unwillingness to partake of the offered mercy, look as if his proud heart did not choose to be freely for given, as if his haughty independence revolted at a plan,
in which, though he has all the benefit, he has none of the merit? Does it not seem as if he would improve the terms of the treaty? as if he would mend the plan of salvation, and work it up into a kind of partnership scheme, in which his own contribution should have the predominance?
But it will be urged, men do not say this; we reply, they do not profess it in words; but do not some say it virtually, when they practically decline the terms; or, if they do not entirely disbelieve them, give at least a reluctant, and partial, and qualified assent?
With the genius of Christianity, with its peculiarities, with its applicableness to the wants of man, the whole soul of Saint Paul was singularly imbued. His acute mind, his lofty qualities, his penetrating spirit, and his renovated heart, entered profoundly into the character and essence of the gospel. His mind was a transcript of divine truth; his life an exemplification of it. What he conceived intimately, he imparted explicitly. To combat the rebellion of the natural man, against the salvation wrought for him, is the leading object of his endeavour. He who was always looking unto Jesus, as the author and finisher of his own faith, uniformly holds him out to others as the sum and substance of theirs.
He delights to dwell on the divine compassion; he introduces it under every form, he illustrates it by every figure, he magnifies it under every mode of expression. Reconciliation is the grand object of his mission. He exhibits the difference between the conduct of the Redeemer, and that of man, in this negociation. In human cases it is usually the offender who makes the ad
vances, who tries all means to recover the friend he has
lost, the patron he has offended. to be just the reverse. tor, here it is the injured friend, who conjures the of fender to return, who entreats the enemy to be reconciled, who promises not only pardon but immunity, not only oblivion but reward. The penitent is every where encouraged to believe, that his offences are forgiven, that his sins have been punished in his Saviour; that the Judge has not only pardoned the malefactor, but has suffered in his stead.
But here he shews it Here it is the insulted benefac
The apostle demonstrates, that God is the fountain, not only of our mercies, but of our virtues-if we turn, it is he who turns us-if we pray, it is he who invites us-if we apply to him, it is he who first draws us-if we repent, it is "the grace of God which leads us to repentance." Whatever right thing there may be in us, it is not our natural property, but his gift. His bounty is the spring from which our goodness, if we have any, flows, instead of our goodness being the original motive of his love. Hitherto we have sketched, though very superficially, Christianity as to its spirit, its design, its offers.We now turn to what is our more immediate object, its practical effects, its general results, its transforming nature, its renovating power.
If the law of God is spiritual, it is not a conformity to its letter, nor is it a partial conformity to its spirit, that constitutes Christian obedience. Christian obedience is ascertained by its universality. It esteems all God's precepts concerning all things to be right; it hates every false way. The prohibitory as well as the precep