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from the tenets and precepts of pagan philoso, phy, authentic vouchers of the existing hope and promise of a Redeemer mighty to save ;-we shall then not only behold the glorious, but the uniform design of the Gospel institution; we shall shew forth a Saviour's love upholding fallen man, and recovering his faded dignity; we shall exhibit Christianity as it is--the triumph of grace over sin and death, the fruit of the seed that was to bruise the Serpent's head; we shall welcome with more abundant gratitude the glad tidings of joy, which ushered in a Saviour's birth, who came to ratify man's primæval assurance of pardon, to complete his promised restoration to his forfeited inheritance, to confirm, his justification unto holiness, and his resurrection unto life eternal, Previously, however, and as a sort of
preparatory introduction to those scriptural proofs, which I mean to produce in a series of declarations and promises through the several periods and families of God's church, let me be allowed to trace out a general line of argument, which hereafter may be examined with more minuteness of investigation. The farther such enquiries go, the more firmly will our faith be established; and each step affording some characteristic evidence of the Apostle's assertion, we shall be conducted along the ways of God's righteous providence, every where collecting arms for the christian warrior to repel the attacks of the infidel, and exposing the temporizing soldier, who pretends to fight under the banners of the cross.
The first revelation made to Adam, after his fall, was a promise of redemption; and this appears to have been connected with a typical ordinance, to preserve a prospect of acceptance resulting from the shedding of blood. For though we do not read the injunction, we learn the respect that the Almighty shewed to the sacrifice of Abel, which exactly coincided with that which he afterwards required in the institution of the Mosaic ritual. That this revelation continued in force through all the antediluvian ages of the world, we may infer from the righteousness of Noah who walked with God; and who was therefore saved, when a defection from the faith had filled the earth with violence, and in consequence of their guilt,
an insulted Creator destroyed the whole race of man from off the face of it.
The acceptance of Abel's sacrifice not having been signified by any temporal blessing, but on the contrary, followed by an immediate and violent death, must necessarily lead to an inference, that it promised a blessing to arise from the archetype of the victim, in a life of which the body and blood of Jesus Christ was to be the purchase. It was by faith he offered it; it was by faith that Enoch was translated, and that Noah became heir of the righteousness that is by faith. That the sacrifice, therefore, which he offered on his coming forth from the ark, had in contemplation the object of that faith, is an indisputable consequence. From Noah, then, a testimony to the hope which was communicated to him by God, and a sacramental mode of anticipating its object, were exhibited to the few who survived the flood.
The transmittal from the original communi. cation to the reviving world is thus made perfect; but however the ceremonial form might have been retained, the spirit of it soon departed, and we find the faith of their fathers
abandoned in a very short time by the progeny of Noah. Exalting himself against God, who was still testified by his revelation, man again incurs his hot displeasure. Confusion of tongues, and consequently the dissolution and dispersion of all subsisting society, was the sentence pronounced against him at Babel, when the Almighty scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
As all came under this penalty, there was no preacher of righteousness to restore the faith, and accordingly we behold the prevalence of idolatry in all the recorded nations of the earth. In consequence, however, of adhering to the statutes and laws of his God, and of preserving the purity of primæval theology, and the spiritual meaning of sacrifice, amidst the corrupted rites and offerings that ignorance of the truth had now grafted on superstitious dread, we observe Abraham called out of his own country, and from among his own kindred-made the object of God's favour and adoption--and separated, for the work of righteousness, from the rest of mankind, who were given up to the vanity of their own imaginations.
Again, when the direct interposition of God was evinced by miracles to Egypt, and the people of God were preserved with Moses, the Egyptians were punished in the most exemplary manner; their unbelief drew down a penalty connected with their offence.
The generation which followed Moses, tho' they ate of the passover, yet lapsed from the faith that was thus again revealed to theni; they were, therefore, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, doomed to perish in the wilderness for their apostacy and rebellian.
While the temple yet stood, a type of an expected redemption, the Jews departed from the creed of their fathers; they were also given up to their enemies, and carried into a penal captivity.
Our Lord himself came to his own, but his oron received him not.
The issue is sufficiently known. There is therefore, in all the degrees of evidence afforded to mankind, no intimation given to which we may not attach a faith that will justify, or a denial that will condemn. And if, with the full concentred light of his Holy Gospel now shining forth, we yet depart