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The unrenewed mind.

All those systems which conflict with divine revelation, adopt false and erroneous views of the human character. The only book which lays open with perfect accuracy the great principles of human nature, is the Bible. Unless its views in reference to human corruption be received as undoubted verities, he who attempts to investigate intellectual or moral philosophy, history, or political science, will grope his way through a region filled with mist and darkness. He is precisely in the predicament of one who undertakes to examine the great principles of natural philosophy trammelled with a false theory. On the other hand, the higher we ascend that ladder which reaches from earth to heaven, the broader will be the field of our vision. The more fully one places himself under the subduing and illuminating influence of the gospel, the better will he be fitted for every high intellectual effort. Such an one will have a just view of himself, of the divine character, and of the relation he bears to the Supreme Being.

“ Man, while he continues unregenerate, does not know himself. The inbred infatuation which prevents his seeing his relation to God, and his destination to another life, spreads itself as a spirit of blindness through his soul, and brings with it endless confusions and mistakes. Nothing of the inner world is simply and correctly understood; the heart is a maze of preposterous suppositions, the varnished motives and the conceits of self-love. The world reflects itself on the mirror of the mind in distorted proportions, or appears in phantasm ; and the imagination, erroneously moved by these images of things unreal or exaggerated, breeds an abundance of vanities. Moreover, the conscience, turbid with hidden evils, and not appeased by the flattery itself prepares, refuses to have the abyss of the soul exposed and explored, and the mind betakes itself to any diversion that may interrupt the dreaded

But when divine truth finds a lodgement in the heart, light becomes diffused through all its chambers, and the hidden world is explored. The man who is the subject of this divine illumination thus gains admittance into one

inquiry."*

* Saturday Evening.

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Christian unity and affection.

66 The men

field of knowledge which before was shut up and dark. Consequently, his views on all other subjects will be more just, accurate, and enlarged.

The tendency of the gospel to invigorate the social affections might be shown in ten thousand ways. The gospel has brought life and immortality to light. The idea of a future state seems almost essential to the exista ence of permanent attachment. There is nothing short of this which can raise the benign emotions, called forth by a view of our fellow creatures, above mere animal instincts. And one has well remarked, “ It is only in religion that one can find the true philosophy of love ; for love, apart from the belief of an after state, has neither substance nor purity.” The idea of a companionship which is to continue and be perpetuated in the scenes of a future world, adds strength and permanency to affection. whose thoughts are bounded by the present life, hurry along upon the broad way of pleasure and business, ex- changing, as they go, the trivial courtesies of the moment, but naturally indifferent, as those must needs be who soon are to part by plunging severally and alone into the shoreless obli. vion of death. Not so with the followers of Christ. They stand in close order, as a phalanx that has yet a foe to meet, a victory to achieve, and a triumph to enjoy. A common hope binds their hearts together. Death divides them ; but it is only as the successive ranks of a host are divided, when summoned, in turn, to advance and pass singly a perilous defile. Beyond that strait of momentary gloom and danger all are again to be marshalled, and every one to join his commander. Christian affection, therefore, has the permanency it derives from an indissoluble bond, the vigour given it by a participation in sufferings and reproaches, and the depth it receives from the prospect of an unbounded future."*

If the gospel, at the first glance we turn towards it, has so many things to commend it to our esteem ; if so many forms of beauty and loveliness meet us at its very entrance and porch; what constraining motives must press upon every intelligent and ingenuous mind to enter its inner

• Saturday Evening.

Invitation to the reader.

courts to behold the resplendent glories it unveils, and the undying radiance it pours forth on all the surrounding spectators.

Let us, therefore, dear reader, go in “ to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” The design of this volume is to point out and interpret some of the scenery of that inner temple, where God sits revealed and encircled amid the glories of redeeming love.

Characteristics of the present age.

CHAPTER II.

MOTIVES OF THE WORK.

“ Declaring unto you the testimony of God.”—From the 2d Epistle to

the Corinthians.

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THE present is a peculiar age, distinguished alike by the triumphs of the cross, and the open and organized opposition that is everywhere arraying itself against the truth.

Infidelity has become so rife and rampant in every part of our country, that its apostles no longer lurk in the dark, or whisper its crude and blasphemous dogmas in the ears of the ignorant, but stand forth in the broad light of day, and proclaim upon the house-top that the Bible is a forgery, man's accountability a tale of the nursery, and God a nonentity. And as long as depravity abounds in our earth, and men possess " the carnal mind which is enmity against God," such preachers will have hearers, and such systems, adherents and advocates. They will not be vanquished by all the intellectual strength of the Christian world. The infidelity of the present age is not so much an error of the head as an obliquity of the heart. It will not therefore be convinced or put down by arguments, though they be never so conclusive. It will not look to see what religion is in the Bible, but what it is in the conduct and character of its professors. And here it will not take the best, but the worst specimens that are to be found. Hence there never has been a time when it was more important for the ministers of Christ, faithfully to remind all who have “ subscribed with their hand unto the Lord,” and entered the Christian covenant, that they are

an holy priesthood ;” and to say to them, with a voice loud as the trumpet of God, “be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” Men, will in this age, form their notions of Christianity from the conduct of its professed

Causes of infidelity.

disciples; and for this very reason, never did the followers of the Redeemer stand in a more responsible attitude.

It is very observable, that at the present moment the great effort of infidelity is, to turn the attention of men from the oracles of truth, and to lead them to judge of what the gospel is, from the lowest exhibitions of it which they can find among its professed subjects.

How unspeakably important then is it, that all who bear the name of Christ should walk worthy of their high calling.

But to ensure this, the door of entrance into the Christian chiurch must be strictly guarded. Decided and unequivocal evidences of real conversion to God must in all cases be demanded. There must be no temporizing to swell the list of communicants ; no letting down of the high standard of scriptural requirement, under the delusive idea that if persons are brought into the church, and embrace the ordinances, they will soon attain light and the converting grace of God.

It is in this way that the ranks of the Redeemer have often been filled with men who were, in fact, cherishing enmity and opposition in their hearts to God, and furnishing, in their worldliness and wickedness, ample occasion for the railings and scoffs of the infidel. Christ will continue to be “wounded in the house of his friends,” and infidelity to utter the song of triumph, until the ministers of Jesus plant themselves at the door of his fold, with the fixed determination to shut that door upon all who cannot exhibit decided evidence that they are his sheep.

The present volume is the result of an humble effort of this sort. It was a sincere desire to act in accordance with the principle above stated, that gave existence to the following series of lectures.

At a recent season ( of confirmation, when many thought of presenting themselves as candidates for this sacred ordinance, the writer of the following lectures, anxious to guard . strictly that door of entrance into the Redeemer's fold at which he was stationed, and desirous that all the members of the church over whom he was placed should be living members of the spiritual body of Christ, proposed to address the candidates in a series of lectures, which should exhibit the indispensable qualifications for admission to this

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