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of fallen man. In the volume of inspiration it is plainly denounced that the wicked shall not be .unpunished. This being the case, an ungodly man must either forsake his sins, or abandon himself to desperation, or labour to prove that the book which occasions his uneasiness is false. From both the former parts of the alternative his corrupt and deceived heart revolts: the latter therefore is necessary to the establishment of his peace; and in this he engages with so much zeal, as at last, when given up by God to a reprobate mind, almost to believe his own lie. If this consideration be duly examined, it may, perhaps, point out to us an essential feature of distinction between the believer under the lowest apprehensions of the truth of the gospel, and infidels of every description. The former, although through temptation and corruption he may be exercised with many doubts about the truth of the doctrines of the Bible, yet cordially wishes they may prove true : his hope, his comfort, his heaven depends on the solidity of the foundation. Whereas the latter (could the feelings of his heart be analyzed) hopes, that, like the baseless fabric of a vision, they will prove false and fictitious. Between these two characters arises an important difference ; for that which is an object of hope to the humble believer, is an object of fear to the sensu
al unbeliever. Oh! that this consideration may prove a source of comfort to some of the weak followers of the Lamb ; and of conviction to those who are walking after the course of this world,' and are therefore trying to persuade themselves that the Bible is false, because they wish it to be so; • loving darkness rather than light, because • their deeds are evil ! It is not to be expected that many of the latter unhappy class of persons (though its name be legion) will ever condescend to peruse these pages : but as some individual among them may possibly, during a vacant hour, take them into his hands; an attempt to furnish an illustration of that which has been here asserted, will not be improper. We will for this purpose suppose that a young person in the midst of worldly enjoyment and carnal gratification is seized by the ruthless fangs of a consumption. The physician or his friends are honest enough to warn him of his danger. His own apprehensions, lest the disorder should prove fatal, at times occasion great uneasiness. He has seen the same alarming symptoms which he experiences in himself terminate in the death of several of his acquaintance. Yet in opposition to the opinion of his medical friend, his own fears, and matter of fact, he still flatters himself that he shall recover his wonted health and strength, and live many years to enjoy the delusive pleasures to which his foolish heart is wedded. The cause of
the groundless persuasion, which he entertains of his recovery is evident. He wishes to live ; he fears to die; he is loath to quit the present world, and dreads to enter into that which is to come. Hence arise all his vain expectations : they originate not in the judgment, but in the heart. Let unbelievers make the inference and apply it to themselves.
If all scripture be given by inspiration of * God,' the necessity of an acquaintance with the truths it contains is indisputable : for God would not have revealed that, the knowledge of which is a matter of indifference, or of small importance, Could the information which it communicates, have been derived from any other source ;* or had it been unessential to the persons for whom it is designed, God, who does nothing in vain, would either have left us to the exertion of our own natural faculties for the discovery of Divine truth, or have suffered us to remain in ignorance of it. But so indispensably necessary is the blessed Bible to the life, comfort, holiness, and happiness of the human soul ; that a country devoid of light, heat, food and every accommodation of bodily life, affords but a faint emblem of what a fallen world would be without such a revelation from heaven.
* The scheme of natural religion, by an adoption of which many excellent men have opened the gates of our citadel to her enemies, has been shown to have no foundation, in an excellent work, intitled “ The knowledge of Divine things from Revelation, not from “reason. By John Ellis, D.D.”
Go to the frozen shores of Greenland, where night for so many months of the year maintains her cheerless empire ; where the country is cov• ered in most places with everlasting ice and • snow ;' where food is procured with the utmost difficulty; and the once* wretched inhabitants are deprived of many of the comforts, which are enjoyed in other climates of the terrestrial globe. View these desolate people in the most affecting light you can ; and then turn your attention to the delightful islands, which spot the bosom of
the Pacific ocean.' In the latter almost perpetual summer reigns : every necessary and comfort of life is comparatively obtained without labour or difficulty; and the favoured inhabitants enjoy a sort of Paradise, similar to that described by the pretended prophet of Mecca. Yet the latter are in a state that challenges our commiseration in a greater proportion than the former, as the soul is of greater value than the body, and its concerns of higher importance ; because the Greenlanders are favoured with the light of revelation, while the luxurious Islanders of the southern sea remain hitherto in darkness and the shadow of death. Yet, blessed be God, a hope is excited in our bosoms, that on them also, the • Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in • His wings.' May we, who possess the precious depositum of heavenly truth, and thereby the • means of grace, and the hope of glory,' so prize the inestimable benefit, that an incessant tribute of praise may ascend from every part of our country to that gracious Author of all good, who, by means of His holy word, hath made known to us the things that belong to our everlasting peace!
* This word is inserted, because, through the labours of the iodefatigable Moravian missionaries, the gospel bas visited this be. nighted country; and has been received, in the love and in the power of it, by many of the poor inhabitants. Merciful Father, Thy kingdom come !--- See Crantz's History of Greenland.
The perfection of scripture is a necessary consequence of its Divine original. When God had created the universe, He pronounced it to be very good.'* In the best of human compositions there are some defects ; but all God's works are perfect. Infinite wisdom undertook to make such a revelation to man, as should be sufficient to instruct him in every thing with which, in his present state, it is requisite for him to be acquainted. This instruction is given us in the sacred volume; so that we have no reason to expect or wish for any further communication from above. All the pretences which have been made to an immediate inspiration, since the canon of scripture has been closed, have been the effects either of a disordered brain, or a dishonest heart. Yet a
* Gen, i. 31.