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sion of their minds, have sorrowfully confessed.
We are sent, however, to preach the Gospel in the way of plain testimony, rather than to occupy ourselves all the day in weighing the objections of infidelity, and in proving the preponderance of truth. In fact, few reject Christianity for want of convincing evidence; and if infidelity would engage to believe, on the production of proof, then might we expend our might and means to furnish proof. But, we apprehend, there exists in many a pre-determination, invincible to argument, not to believe, whatever evidence be adduced ; and hence, though silenced, they do not yield. If they will not believe Moses and the prophets, nor evangelists and apostles, testifying of Christ, neither would they believe should one rise from the dead, to aver that what. the Bible reveals of God and eternity is true. Too great a solicitude may be shown to apply argumentativesupport to theark of our faith. And, we fear, the majesty and authority of the Most High God have been sometimes little reverenced, in the manner in which men have gone about the defence of the Gospel ; conceding to objectors more than was meet, and apologizing almost for that
“ word of truth,” by which the world is already judged and condemned for its wilful unbelief. It is much easier, likewise, for the unbeliever to stand the shock of argument, and debate the pretensions of the Bible to credibility, than to resist the plain and heart-touching statements of Gospel grace. And we cannot but think, that ignorance of the Gospel has occasioned numerous objections to it, which a full discovery of its nature would have instantly shown to be groundless.
In the meantime, let no man deceive you with vain words, as if the Gospel were not true; for who, of competent information and honesty, will tell you so, whose interest does not make him wish it to be false? though it seems strange that any creature should connect his interest with the subversion of a scheme which is so reconciling on the part of God, so fraught with comfort for the present, and so consolatory to dying mortals in the prospects which it opens up beyond the grave. It is not only “the word of truth,” as the text avers, but also “the Gospel of our salvation;" and how well it answers to this description, we shall attempt to explain, by exhibiting,
II.--A brief outline of Gospel truth, in
the reconciling aspect which it bears to man, whom it finds in a state of sin and misery, having fallen from the love of God, and incurred those evils which every creature must suffer, that wilfully disobeys the King Immortal. The Gospel finds men already chargeable with guilt; their own consciences accusing them; already suffering for sin, subject to death, and in peril of the wrath to come.
When God made man, he made him accountable for his actions, and put him under a law of obedience, with every induce ment to continue good, which fear or love could supply. If he kept his Maker's equitable covenant, lifeand immortality were sure; the penalty of breaking it was death; and yet man, fearless of God's displeasure, or not re-: garding the happiness of his favour, sinned. Immediately he fell under the power of evil, and under the sentence of death; enmity and distrust succeeded to love, and all right affections towards God were quenched by the admission of guilt. All men have concurred in sin. None of them are righteous. God hath concluded them all under sin ; the law passes on all its sentence of condemnation, and shuts them up to the retribution of the great day, when the doom already passed and recorded, shall be exe
cuted without possible escape. In this condition, we see a world travailing in pain, pursuing vanity, disappointed of happiness on every side, and yet refusing to seek it in God. Nay, there is in them a deep alienation, and their conduct exhibits a daily departure from their Maker, and a constant violation of his law.
But is there no way of retrieving lost character? and no expedient for recovering what has been forfeited through sin ? Will our Maker deny us a new probation state ? and if we keep his commandments for the future, will he not remit the debt of past offence ? Alas! he who speaks in this manner, neither knows the inflexible awards of justice which pronounces sentence by the law, nor his own utter inability to be perfect in the time to come; neither knows he the enmity of his heart to such spirituality as the law requires; nay, to declare its extent and spirituality, serves only, to irritate the carnal mind.
But men having once fallen under the condemnation of the law, it knows nothing of putting them on other conditions of
probation. It meets all such proposals with one uncompromising, though most equi. table declaration-“The soul that sinneth
shall die.” And it is just in this condition of guilt and danger, incapable of delivering ourselves by any strivings, and too much attached to sin, sincerely to strive—it is in this helpless and undone state, that the Gospel comes upon us with its surprising announcements. Instead of regarding us with a frown of judgment; instead of addressing us in the language of wrath for our enmity to God and his law; it throws a look of commiseration on the misery to which sin has reduced us, and then discloses the wonders of redemption. It tells us how God can be just, and yet justify the ungodly. It brings us a wonderful report of the divine mercy, and reveals to us such an infinite excellence and grace in the character of God, that enmity subsides, and confidence returns, and a peace, new to our troubled souls, begins to prevail. It tells us that this God, whose character we had so much mistaken and abused, is not our enemy, as we apprehended, but our friend. And that he hath even loved us; yea, so loved us, that he gave his only-begotten Son to be a propitiation for our sins; on him laying our inquity, and inflicting on his sinless soul the demonstrations of wrath that were due only to our transgressions.