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THE

PASTOR'S TESTIMONY.

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTION.

CHRISTIANITY being once proved to be a system emanatIng from the all-wise God, objections to it of every kind must cease. For this point being conceded, men might just as well rail at the arrangements of the natural world, the laws of motion, or the attraction of gravity, as at the requirements of the Bible.

The adaptedness of the Christian religion to the actually existing state of things in our world is no slight argument in favour of its divine origin. It is a religion designed, not for angels, but for men, and for men under peculiar circumstances.

This earth at its first creation bore such striking correspondence with the other parts of the divine empire, and was adorned by the hand of its Creator with such resplendent beauties, that when the attention of the heavenly host was first directed towards it, “ the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted aloud for joy."

That which drew forth such a burst of long and loud acclaim among all the hierarchs of heaven, was not the material garniture with which our earth was clad, but the moral intelligences with which it was peopled, who bore such a striking family resemblance to their great common parent, and were, with them, subjects under the same moral government.

But the bright sunny scene over which they rejoiced was soon changed. The law of God was broken. From that moment, celestial beauty, and peace, and happiness fled from the earth. The heavens immediately grew dark with impending wrath. Every moral and physical evił crowd

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Excellence of the gospel.

ed around the path of man, and became incorporated with his very being. Thus fallen from his high eminence, he would have been swept from the earth with the besom of destruction, had not divine mercy interposed, and divine compassion caused the bright bow of promise to arch down the angry sky. That bow pointed to a plan of redemption, an expedient emanating from the Supreme Intelligence, to rescue from death eternal erring man, and bring him back to the paths of holiness; and, at the same time, uphold the divine government, and vindicate the honour of God's violated law. That plan of redemption the gospel undertakes to unfold. And we argue that it is the product of the divine Mind from its striking adaptedness to the moral condition of the beings for whom it was intended.

As we before remarked, the gospel was not designed for angels, nor for a community of unfallen intelligences, but for sinners. Contemplated under this aspect, it will be seen to be indeed “ the wisdom of God,” and “ the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”

It will be found to be exactly adapted to the state and case of every sinner on the globe, whether he be he degraded hottentot of South Africa, or the most refined and intellectual scholar of civilized Europe.

In whatever tends to elevate the human character in the scale of moral excellence, the gospel will be found to be in advance of the discoveries of the most enlightened men of the most enlightened age. Should the world go on progressing in intellectual improvement for thousands of years, the latest generation will find, that in whatever relates to moral excellence, the gospel is still in advance of them.

And what, I would ask, but the wisdom of God could have thus anticipated the highest discoveries of human intellect?

Can we suppose that the uneducated son of a carpenter and a few illiterate fishermen of Galilee, independently of divine illumination, could have originated a system like that of the gospel ? The solution of this question is one of “the dificulties of infidelity."

Again : the manifest tendencies of the gospel bespeak its high and heavenly origin. Those tendencies can be seen either by studying its doctrines, or observing its influence upon human conduct.

The benign tendency of the gospel.

While the gospel sheds a benign and heavenly radiance over all the walks of human duty, and invests all the relations of domestic life with a sweetness and sacredness before unknown; it distinctly holds up to view the fact that this life is only to be regarded as preparatory to another and higher state of being. The Bible teaches us to view this world as a sort of campus martius, or gymnasium, where we are to be trained and fitted for other scenes of action, and the society of a different order of beings.

It distinctly advertises us that there is nothing here, either in the objects or pursuits of earth, worthy of our supreme regard ; that our high destination imposes upon us an obligation to live for other objects and other scenes, better suited to the aspirings of an immortal mind ; that the glorious Creator made us for himself; and that, if we follow after holiness, we shall ultimately reach such a point of elevation as to stand amid the beatitudes of the celestial world, clothed in the brightness of immortality.

Do not such views tend to expand and elevate the mind ?

Compare with them the views of those who reject divine revelation. Instead of regarding the present life as a state preparatory to future and unending being, they look upon it as the term and boundary of man's existence. They teach us, that beyond the present life all is dark uncertainty, and that it is the part of wisdom to make the most of the passing scene.

In other words, in their view, the whole object of our being is attained during the short period of our earthly existence. The only purpose for which we were created was to plow, and weave, and traffic, and get money, and then to die :

.“ To die, and go we know not where, To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot."

Can any one be at a loss which set of views tends most to elevate the human character !

The benign tendency of the gospel appears from the view it takes of the moral nature of man. Almost all other systems regard human creatures as being possessed only of an animal and intellectual nature.

Christianity contrasted with atheism.

The Bible regards man as a creature of dignity and excellence, chiefly on account of his moral nature, on account of his being made susceptible of knowing, loving, and serving God.

If the human family were distinguished from the brute creation only by their higher intellectual powers, they would stand but a very small remove from them. For many species of animal tribes exhibit a degree of intelligence little short of that possessed by human beings.

And so, on the other hand, if human creatures had nothing in the substratum of their being to assimilate them with the angelic nature, save the few feeble glimmerings of intellect which they possess, they would stand separated by an impassable gulf from the humblest of the beings that tread the celestial courts. But when there is

to view the moral nature with which man is endowed, his relative position in the scale of being is instantly changed. Contemplated under this aspect, we see him occupying a point at an infinite remove from the most sagacious of the animal tribes. Not any one of them are capable of knowing, loving, or serving their Maker.

Of all the beings that move on this earth, man alone possesses this peculiarity. And this it is which places him almost on a level, as to the nobleness of his nature, with angelic beings. "Thou hast made man a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour."

Infidelity would strip man of this glory and honour, and reduce him to a level with the ox that grazes the field.

Finally, we may remark that Christianity tends to augment human happiness, by the expansion it gives to intellect, and the strength, kindliness, and elevation it imparts to the social affections. Did it consist with the plan of these introductory remarks to enter into a full illustration of these points, it would be an easy matter to show that they are entirely sustained by abundant existing facts ; and equally easy would it be to show, by the same mode of illustration, that atheism, and every system of infidel philosophy, tends to dwarf intellect, to contract the heart, and extinguish the social feelings. But the plan which we have proposed to ourselves will admit only of a single passing illustration.

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