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added others not less numerous, nor less afflictive. By the changes of life, the trials of probation, the fraud, the malice, and the competition of the world, the difficulties and obstructions which, at every step, oppose the progress of intellectual acquirement, the limited and narrow boundaries which circumscribe the attainments of human knowledge, we are perpetually reminded of the imperfection of the state in which we are here placed, and of the powers which we are here to exercise; and almost every thing within and without us contributes to defeat our views, to render our happiness precarious and incomplete, to mingle bitterness in the cup of our brightest joys, and to instruct us, that on the best acquirements of this world, according to the language of the preacher, are inscribed only vanity and vexation of spirit.”

But Christ and his Gospel have confirmed the hope of better things to come.

He has effectually drawn up the veil through which a future life had been, hitherto, but dimly and doubtfully contemplated, even by the philosopher and the sage ; and he has opened an inspiring view of the glories of the new Jerusalem, the unfailing mansions of the just, the building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. He has not only announced, fully and clearly, the sublime doctrine of a life to come; but confirmed it by evidences of proportional authority ; for he himself lay down in the grave, became the first fruits of them that slept, ascended visibly to heaven as the forerunner of his disciples, and left behind him the pledge that he went to prepare a place in his Father's kingdom for those that love him. In perfect consistency with the declarations confirmed by these facts, is the whole tenor of the gospel. We are taught alike by Evangelists and Apostles to regard the earth but as the vestibule from which we are speedily to pass into the palace of an Almighty Sovereign, and we are almost permitted to behold a state of probation, corruption, and calamity, already vanishing away, and succeeded by a state of peace, of order, of purity, and of joy. Even the nature of the felicity which is to become, hereafter, the portion of the righteous, is graciously disclosed. Care and sorrow, and disappointment and dismay, shall exist no more. Fluctuation and change shall be followed by stability and security, pleasures subject to alteration and decay, by imperishable enjoyment. For ignorance, there shall be knowledge; for darkness, light; for informity, glory; for the bondage of the world, the liberty of heaven; for mortal existence, eternal life; for the visions of faith and hope, the august realities of the kingdom of God. All that is in part shall be done away. Doubt shall terminate in certainty, trust in conviction, the holy desire of the saint and the martyr, in divine fruition. A sun shall arise, which is never to be dimmed. A calm shall reign, which is never to be disturbed. A fountain of felicity shall be opened, which shall never fail, and of which all the elect shall be permitted to drink for ever and ever.

If the language in which these magnificent as surances are conveyed be often figurative, the figures are, in the highest degree, forcible and expressive. Frequently, however, the phraseology of scripture, on this subject, is more plain and simple, though not less lofty and impressive; and when weare told, “that “ the spirits of just men shall be made perfect; that “ they who shall be accounted worthy, shall die no


“ more, but be equal to the angels, as being children “ of God, and heirs of the resurrection; that the

righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the king“ dom of their Father; that they shall be like God, " and see him as he is, and behold his face in

righteousness, and be satisfied with his likeness; " that they shall not walk by faith but by vision, " and shall know even as they are known; and that, “ in a word, glory, and honour, and immortality, “ shall be to every man that worketh good, to the “ Jew first, and also to the Gentile*;"—we may justly admit the force and fulness of such annunciations, and be satisfied with the assurances thus communicated, of the certainty of a future state, and of the high, and progressive, and enduring, felicity, which is reserved in heaven for the recompence of the elect.

Such are the views of a future state which are unfolded to the disciples of the New Covenant, for his comfort and his edification. When we consider them in their nature and tendency, we readily admit that they are admirably calculated to awaken in the heart the deepest and most salutary motives of fear and hope, and to sustain, in the warfare of this world, the triumphant perseverance of piety and of virtue. When we compare them with the annunciations of other religions on the same subject, we may be permitted to affirm that life and immortality have been indeed brought to light by the gospel alone, and that the communications which the holy sages of Greece, of Rome, of Arabia, and of the East, were utterly unable to afford to their revering and credulous disciples, have issued, with as much grandeur and sublimity, as simplicity and precision, from the despised, uneducated, and persecuted Christ, and from his equally scorned and illiterate disciples.

* Hebr. xii. 23; 1 Corinth. xiii. 9, 10, 11 ; Luke xx. 34, 35, 36; Matt. xiii. 4, 3; Hebr. xii. 22, 23, 24; 1 Jobn iii. 2; 1 Cor. xiii. 2 ; Rom. ii. 2.




The great object of all religions to supply the means of expiation to

sin-Erpiations and atonements of the Greeks and Romans Sacrifices and oblationsHuman victims-Offerings of meat and salt Lustrations by water, by sulphur, by fire, by air— Desecrated victims Consequences on the moral and religious principles of mankind.

THROUGH all the ages of antiquity, and equally

in civilized and barbarous nations, the moral and religious responsibility of man was every where acknowledged, and every where some ceremony or rite was framed and sanctioned, by which the sinner was to avert the penalty, and purify himself from the stains, of sin.

The universality of the practice may demonstrate its traditionary origin, and from the sacrifices prescribed to Adam and his family may be derived the expiatory offerings of later periods. But, whatever may be the source to which the custom is traced, there is, it would be thought, an instinctive persuasion in the heart, which, connecting punishment with guilt, implies the necessity of an atoning ransom. A friend slays his friend, in the blind rage of a sudden quarrel; a husband sacrifices his wife in the madness of jealousy ; a corrupt judge condemns the innocent man to death. Sinners, like these, cannot always still the recollection of their

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