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or heathens; and the supposition of their having been wrought by the agency of the evil spirit, was in itself an acknowledgment that they were miracles.
were not denied at the time by Jews | ment; because these are invariably quoted and appealed to by the Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles, as the productions of men inspired by the Holy Ghost.
THIRDLY-Infidels object to the Old Testament especially, that it gives us unworthy ideas of God, as creator and moral governor of the world. Let us try whether more exalted conceptions of that great Being are, or ever have been, propounded or discovered by unassisted reason.
We have two remarkable testimonies to the existence and miraculous deeds of Christ and his Apostles, namely, JOSEPHUS amongst the Jews, and TACITUS amongst the Heathens. Josephus lived within forty, and Tacitus about seventy years after the death of Christ. They were both capable of examining into the truth of the matters of fact asserted concerning Christ and his Apostles, they wanted neither malice nor prejudice to dispute them. Yet they admitted these facts; and so did Lucian, and Celsus, and Porphyry, and Julian the Apostate, and even Mahomet himself,-forming altogether an undeniable attestation to the truth of these matters of fact. It is notorious, that the several writings, especially the historical books of the New Testament, existed early in the first century, and are quoted and alluded to by a series of Christian writers, beginning with those who were contemporary with the Apostles, or who immediately followed them, and proceeding in close and regular succession from their time to the present. They appealed to institutions then in existence, such as Baptism and the Lord's Supper; they speak of miracles performed by their writers in the presence of the persons to whom they were written; and they never could have been received as they were re-impure, abominable, and sanguinary ceived, unless such institutions, in commemoration of these facts, actually did exist, and that these facts were actually performed before competent witnesses.
rites, degrading equally to the worshippers and the adored. And what did their philosophers, who affected to despise the vulgar, attain by their abstruse speculations,-what did they learn of God? Anaximenes says, that God is air; Archelaus, that he is air and mind; Democritus, that he is mind in a spherical form. There was, in fact, a vacuity in their minds upon
If, then, the books of Moses and the New Testament be truly the oracles of GOD, the same must be asserted of the Histories, the Proverbs, the Psalms, and the Prophecies of the Old Testa
The popular creed of the most polished nations of antiquity presents nothing but a series of puerile and absurd fables in mythology. The God whom they adored was neither One nor spiritual. Every part of creation, every element in nature, had its peculiar and appropriate deity, and the supreme in dignity amongst this rabble crowd was not even supreme in power. The Jupiter of Hesiod and Homer (who were at once the poets and the theologians of Greece) was a Being subject to every vice and infirmity of the worst of men; and the only distinction, in fact, between their gods and men, was, that the former had more power to accomplish every base and detestable purpose, which they equally followed with the human race. Their worship of these deities was conformable with these gross conceptions. Like that of their ancestors the Phonicians or Canaanites, the religion of Greece, that nurse of arts and literature, as also of imperial Rome, the mistress of the world, was a tissue of
this subject, which they gladly filled | awfully clear to us who live in latter up with fortune, necessity, accident times ! a God who compassionates the or fate, just as each fell in their way. | ignorance of man, and provides him Are we better informed when we turn an unerring guide in the volume of into the boasted theology of the Hindoos, spiration ; who pities his infirmity and or the arrogant disciples of Confucius ? offers the gracious assistance of the No! We find their God is a Being Holy Spirit to correct the weakness who undergoes perpetual transmigra- and purify the defilements of his nation, at one time immersed in slumber, ture ; who in the fulness of time sent at another, absorbed in meditation, at forth an accredited messenger on the another, sailing over the waters of the grand purpose of mercy, bearing the wide abyss. (Compare 1 Kings, xviii. stamp of divinity in every feature; 27.) And how do his worshippers who resigned that glorious Being to adore him? Not as a pure ethereal the temporary rage of men and devils, spirit, but as abiding in rude idols of and glorified him by a triumphant vicstone, or shapeless blocks of wood; tory upon the cross at Calvary; who delighting in the self-murder, or the made there, by that “one offering, a unutterably impure gestures, and at- full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, titudes, and actions of his suppliants. | oblation and satisfaction for the sins Nor are we better informed by the of the whole world.” And is this the cannibals of Africa or the warrior God and Saviour whom we are called tribes of the New World. Their God to surrender for the Jupiters, or Mois, literally, the Devil! whom they lochs, or Juggernauts of Infidelity. worship because they fear him, and Infidels reject the Bible because it whom they appease by tortures and states the doctrine of eternal punishself-afflictions, from the bare mention ment, which they cannot reconcile of which humanity recoils.
with the idea of a benevolent Being. Let us turn hence to the God of the
Evil we know exists. Why was it Bible, a pure Spirit, who will be wor- introduced, why suffered to continue ? shipped in spirit and in truth,-a Be- When every difficulty which attends ing to whom sin is hateful, and who this inquiry shall have been removed, yet regards the sinner with compas- then, but not till then, may we sion, and willeth not his destruction ; question the doctrine of eternal puwho manifested his abhorrence of nishment, not only less clogged with evil in extirpating the accursed nations difficulties, but perfectly analogous to of Canaan ; who selected a peculiar the established chain of causes and people as depositaries of his revealed effects in the natural world. will, as an eternal beacon to the The happiness of heaven is holiness. world against the rocks of idolatry, It cannot then be heaven to an impeinfidelity and vice; who furnished nitent sinner. Remove him there, them with a code of laws, the admi- with all the sinful passions and proration of every reflecting mind, and pensities of his lower nature, and the very source and spring of all just heaven would become his hell. Leave principles of legislation ; who ordered him to himself: as he dies, so shall he a ritual of worship, sublimeand solemn, awake at the resurrection. His crime and instructive even in its obscurest is its own punishment, and, from rites ; and these, explained as typical their nature, both must be progressive and emblematic of his future purposes, and everlasting. by a succession of men eminent for Infidels scoff at the credulity of the their piety and magnanimity of soul, Christian. But let us fairly state the and gifted with a prophetic spirit I case, and see whether of all beings in existence the Infidel is not the most like that of any being who ever dwelt weakly credulous. What is the In- on earth, sustained throughout with fidel's creed? He believes that the the most exact consistency, and the whole world united in a conspiracy to most minute and apparently undecesimpose upon themselves about the æra sary particularity of dates and times of the introduction of Christianity;- and places ;--that they travelled over that they invented an universal per- the greater part of the world, every suasion of the coming of some great where successful, though every where personage, and that by mere accident persecuted; and that they were eventu. their conjecture was verified in the ally the means of subverting the rebirth of Christ,-that verses or poems, ligious establishment of the most the productions of men who lived se- powerful nation upon earth. veral hundred years before, accidentally Yes! and the Infidel believes that all happened to apply to that extraordinary this was CHANCE ; these men were all person, and things the most contra- impostors; the whole story was a fable dictory did accidentally concur in him; and a forgery!!! If it be so, then the that he was a deceiver and an en- case is without a parallel in history; thusiast, and a false claimant to a and the man who receives the creed of divine commission, and yet that he the Infidel betrays a credulity so cawas, without exception, the purest and pacious, a faculty so prodigious of overthe most amiable of beings;—and that looking difficulties, that we cannot but he succeeded in his object without any suspect there is something wrong in of the means usually employed by the ordinary powers of his understand. similar characters; for that without ing. But the case is otherwise : inmoney, without troops, without power, fidelity is not a derangement of the he convinced multitudes of his divine head, but of the heart. Believing, as authority. He believes that after we do, that the words of Christ are Christ was openly crucified as a male- words of eternal truth, we maintain factor, twelve illiterate fishermen took that it is impossible for any man to up the extraordinary tale that he had disbelieve the Bible who searches it risen from the dead, although these with a right spirit : “If any man will fishermen must have known to the con- do his will, he shall know of the doctrary if he was a deceiver ; and with. trine whether it be of God." out any assignable motive, in the face Pride and evil passions are the main of danger and death, they formed the springs of infidelity. bold design of converting the whole believe, which receive honour one of world to a belief of this strange story; another, and seek not the honour —that although aware of the calami. which cometh of God only? Ye love ties which they must thus occasion to darkness rather than light, because mankind (and therefore men of un- your deeds are evil.” “Every one feeling and cruel dispositions), their that doeth evil hateth the light.” No writings and actions exhibit the purest wonder, then, that the profligate and morality and the most benevolent the libertine should hail the temporary spirit ;-that without education or triumphs of infidelity, which annihiliterature they composed several works, lates the salutary dread of future rein which the leading character or sub-tribution, and substitutes universal reject of their memoirs (if a fictitious demption, or the vain and fantastic personage) is unquestionably one of salvo of purgatory, that most successful the most wonderful creatures of ima- device ever yet employed by Satan to gination that the range of literature open the floodgates of licentiousness, can furnish; a character altogether un- and break down every barrier which
would oppose individual or national, piety, or pity for such folly, conceal profligacy. No wonder that the from your view a much more importhaughty, cold, and calculating phi- ant subject-I mean the real nature losopher, who comes to dictate to his and effects of the faith which you proMaker, and cavil at the decrees of fess. In proportion as you discern the Omniscience, should be abandoned to evidences for the divine origin and the senselessness of his boasted wis. truth of your Bible, so is the responsidom. “Gop taketh the wise in their bility which attaches to your proown craftiness." “ He filleth the session. Faith is a matter of deep hungry with good things, but the rich personal concern.
The Gospel is a sendeth he empty away.”
scheme of redemption in which you Cheerless and disheartening, and must have a personal interest, or worse void of all consolation, are the mere than none at all. To believe that discoveries of reason, unassisted by the Jesus is the Christ, includes much of Bible: worse, far worse, the delusions which the world of professing Chrisof infidel philosophy. Here the cele- tians knows but little. brated Quintilian, in the absence of the Is yours a faith which has purified cheering light of the Gospel, when your hearts, which has rescued you death had deprived him of a beloved from the trammels of the world, and
“What affectionate parent,” said caused you to live superior to its blanhe, “ would pardon me if I could any dishments, and unawed by its frowns, longer give myself to study? Would a life of holy devotedness to your Rehe not hate that strength of mind, if I, deemer? Has it subdued your evil who have survived all my family, could passions and substituted the mind of make any other use of my voice than Christ? Has it regulated your vain to blame the gods, and to testify that no imaginations, and induced that calm Providence looks down upon the earth?” sobriety of temper and demeanour, How different the language of Job! | that affectionate zeal for the welfare of “ The Lord gave, and the Lord hath souls, that tender and lively solicitude taken away. Blessed be the name of for the spiritual good of all around the Lord !”
you, which glowed within the heart, What was the remedy devised by and shone forth in the spotless life of the celebrated Infidel, Hume, for the your Redeemer? Has it exalted to afflictions of life? It is to be found in you, as chief amongst ten thousand,
Essay on the Propriety and Law- that once despised, but now highlyfulness of Suicide;" a publication so honoured Messiah, in whom “we have monstrous that his admirers and friends redemption through his blood,” and were absolutely ashamed of it, and en- sanctification through his spirit? Is deavoured, in the face of positive evi- he your wisdom and your righteous. dence, to deny that he was the author. ness, your friend and intercessor, The vaunted discoveries of this de
your Saviour and the God of your spiser of the Bible afford no better re- worship? fuge than SELF-MURDER to the broken- O, my brethren, if this, or somehearted sinner; while that blessed book thing of this kind, be not your faith, points to “ a blood that speaketh better beware that you have but a name to things,” and will at once purify and live and are dead. “Be watchful, and set the guilty conscience at peace. strengthen the things that remain,
Are you, my brethren, Infidels ? which are ready to die," lest you You shudder at the very question. O should be “ weighed in the balances let not your abhorrence of such im. and found wanting.”
DELIVERED BY THE REV. J. F. DENHAM,
AT ST. BRIDES CHURCH.
2 Cor. v. 21.-" For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of GOD in him.”
THE subject upon which I am about to discourse is one of supreme importance, both to your peace of mind while passing through this world, and to your happiness in that future world whither your are hastening. I take it for. granted, that all now present acknowledge, that in some measure at least they are sinners, that is offenders, against the laws of Almighty God. You will also giant that, considered merely as such, you are liable to punishment. In proportion as your views of these truths are deep and affecting, will be your anxiety to become acquainted with those means which God has revealed, whereby you may be delivered from his wrath and receive forgiveness and favour at his hands. Your minds stand in need of no argument to convince you of the importance of this doctrine, your own interest in it is sufficient for that purpose. It will be my endeavour, on this occasion, to furnish you with clear, definite, and scriptural views on a subject of such acknowledged value. And while I endeavour to enquire diligently of the Scriptures respecting that way, whereby a distressed conscience may attain peace with God, may He, who alone can give the increase, be pleased to open the hearts of all present to receive the truth, and evermore to rejoice in it as they that have found the pearl of inestimable price.
The enquiry we have in view may, perhaps, be best stated by way of question and answer :-The question is, what is that, on account of which GOD pardoneth the sins of any child
of Adam, deals with him as if he were a righteous person, and gives him an entrance into a blessed immortality? The answer is, the righteousness and sufferings of the Saviour; the sins of the believer being imputed to Christ, and the righteousness and sufferings of Christ being imputed to the believer.
In order to demonstrate that this is the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures, I shall pursue the following method. First, Shew that the justification of a sinner, in the sight of God, consists in the imputation of a righteousness unto him which is not the sinner's own. Secondly, That the righteousness thus imputed is the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, consisting of his legal righteousness or his obedience to the commands of the law while on earth, and also of his passive righteousness, when he suffered the penal curse of the law for man in his death. Thirdly, That faith or trust in Christ for these benefits is the means or instrument whereby they are received.
FIRST, I would endeavour to shew THAT THE JUSTIFICATION OF A SINNER IN THE SIGHT OF GOD CONSISTS IN
THE IMPUTATION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
TO HIM BY ALMIGHTY GOD. Before coming directly to shew this, perhaps I may be permitted to define the meaning of the two principal terms now used, namely, justification and imputation. What then is to be understood by justification? This of course is to be determined by the use made of it in the Scriptures. You find, then, that it is a term used always in reference to the proceedings