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ple, so he did not give the example without the offer of a power to obey the command.
Genuine religion demands not merely an external pro. fession of our allegiance to God, but an inward devotedness of ourselves to his service. It is not a recognition, but a dedication. It puts the Christian into a new state of things, a new condition of being. It raises him above the world while he lives in it. It disperses the illusions of sense, by opening his eyes to realities in the place of those shadows which he has been pursuing. It presents this world as a scene whose original beauty Sm has darkened and disordered, Man as a helpless and dependent creature, Jesus Christ as the repairer of all the evils which sin has caused, and as our restorer to holiness and happiness. Any religion short of this, any, at least, which has not this for its end and object, is not that religion which the Gospel has presented to us, which our Redeemer came down on earth to teach 113 by his precepts, to illustrate by his example, to confirm by his death, and to consummate by his resurrection,
If Christianity do not always produce these happy effects to the extent here represented, it has always a tendency to produce them. If we do not see the progress to be such as the Gospel annexes to the transforming power of true religion, it is not owing to any defect in the principle, but to the remains of sin in the heart; to the imperfectly subdued corruptions of the Christian. Those who are very sincere are still very imperfect. They evidence their simcerity by acknowledging the lowness of their attainments, by lamenting the remainder of their corruptions. Many ay humble Christian whom the world reproaches with bemg extravagant in his zeal, whom it ridicules for being enthusiastic in his aims, and rigid in his practice, is inwardly mourning on the very contrary ground. He would bear their censure more cheerfully, but that he feels his danger lies in the opposite direction. He is secretly abasing bimiself before his Maker for not carrying far enough that principle wbich he is accused of carrying too far. The fault which others find in him is excess. The fault he finds in himself is deficiency. He is, alas! too com. monly right. His enemies speak of him as they hear. He judges of himself as he feels. But, though humbled to the dust by the deep sense of his own unworthiness, he is “strong in the Lord, and in the power of hig might.” “ He has," says the venerable Hooker, wa Shepherd full of kindness, full of care, and full of pow. er." His prayer is not for reward but pardon. His plea is not merit but mercy; but then it is mercy made sure to him by the promise of the Almighty to pepitent believers.
The mistake of many in religion appears to be, that they do not begin with the beginning. They do not lay their foundation in the persuasion that man is by nature in a state of alienation from God. They consider him ra. ther as an imperfect than as a fallen creature. They allow that he requires to be improved, but deny that he requires a thorough renovation of heart.
But genuine Christianity can never be grafted on any other stock than the apostacy of man. The design to reinstate beings who have not fallen; to propose a restora. tion without a previous loss, a cure where there was no radical disease, is altogether an incongruity which would seem too palpable to require confutation, did we not so frequently see the doctrine of redemption maintained by those who deny that man was in a state to require such a redemption. But would Christ have been sent “to preach deliverance to the captive,” if there had been no captivity; and “the opening of the prison to them that were bound,” had there been no prison, bad man been in po bondage ?
We are aware that many consider the doctrine in ques. tion as a bold charge against our Creator. But may we not venture to ask, Is it not a bolder charge against God's goodness to presume that he had made beings originally wicked, and against God's veracity to believe, that having made such beings, le pronounced them “ good?” Is not that doctrine more reasonable which is expressed or implied in every part of Scripture, that the moral corruption of our first parent has been entailed on bis whole posterity; that from this corruption (though only punishable for their actual offences) they are no more exempt than from natural death?
We must not, however, think falsely of onr nature; we must humble but not degrade it. Our original brightness is obscured, but not extinguished. If we consider ourselves in our natural state, our estimation cannot be too low: when we reflect at what a price we have been bought, we can hardly over-rate ourselves in the fiew of immortality.
If, indeed, the Alniighty liad left us to the consegnences of our natural state we might, with more colour of l'eason, have mutined against his justice. Bnt when we see how graciously he has turned our very japse into an occasion of inproving our condition ; how from this evil he was pleased to a:lvance us to a greater good than we had lost; how that life which was forfeited inay be res. tored; how hy grafting the redemption of man on the very circumstance of his fail, he has raised him to the ca. pacity of a higher condition than that which he has torfented, and to a happiness superior to that from which he fell-What an impression does this give us of the immea. surable wisdom and goodness of God, of the unsearcha. ble riches of Christ
The religion which it is the object of these pages to recommend, has been sometimes misunderstood, and not seldoin misrepresented. It has been described as an un. productive theory, and ridiculed as a funciful extrava. gance. For the sake of distinction it is here called, The Religion of the heart. There it subsists as the fountain of spiritual life; thence it sends forth, as from the central seat of its existence, supplies of life and warmth through the whole frame: there is the soul of virtue, there is the vital principle which animates the whole being of a Chris.
This religion has been the support and consolation of the pious believer in all ages of the Church. That it has been perverted both by the cloistered and the un-cloistered mystic, not merely to promote abstraction of mind; but inactivity of life, makes nothing against the principle itself. What doctrine of the New Testament las not been made to speak the language of its injuicious advocate, and turned into arins against some other doctrine which it was never meant to oppose?
But if it has been carried to a blameable excess by the pions error of holy men, it has also been adopted by the less innocent fanatic, and abused to the most pernicions purposes. His extravagance las furnished to the enemies of internal religion, arguments, or rather invectives, against the sound and sober exercises of genuine piety, They seize every occasion to represent it as if it were criminal, as the foe of morality; ridiculous as the infallible test of an unsound mind; mischievous, as hostile to active virtue, and destructive as the bane of public utility.
But if these charges be really we!l founded, then were the brightest luminaries of the Christian Church-then were Horne, and Porteus, and Beveridge; then were Hooker, and Taylor, and Herbert; Hopkins, Leighton, and Usher; Howe, and Baxter, Ridley, Jewel, and Hooper ;-tben were Chrysostome and Augustine, the Reformers and the Fathers; then were the goodly fellowship of the Prophets, then were the noble army of Mar: tyrs, then were the glorious company of the Apostles, then was the Disciple whom Jesus loved, then was Jesus himself --I shudder at the implication-dry specnlatists, frantic enthusiasts, enemies to virtue, and subverters of the public weal.
Those who disbelieve, or deride, or reject this inward religion, are much to be compassionated. Their belief that no such principle exists, will, it is to be feared, effectually prevent its existing in themselves, at least, while they make their own state the measure of their general judgment. Not being sensible of the required dispositions, in their own hearts, they establish this as a proof of its impossibility in all cases. This persuasion, as long as they maintain it, will assuredly exclude the reception of divine truth. What they assert can be true in no case, cannot be true in their own. Their hearts will be bar. red against any influence in the power of which they do not believe. They will not desire it, they will not pray for it, except in the Liturgy, uchere it is the decided languuge: They will not addict themselves to those pious exercises to which it invites them, exercises which it ever loves and cherishes. Thus they expect the end, but avoid the way which leads to it; they indulge the hope of glory, while they neglect or pervert the means of Grace But let not the formal religionist, who lias, probably, never sought, and, therefore, never obtained, any sense of the spiritual mercies of God, conclude that there is, therefore, no such state. His having no conception of it is no more proof that no such state exists, than it is a proof that the cheering beains of a genial climate have no existence, because the inhabitants of the frozen zove have never felt them.
Where our own heart and experience do pot illustrate these truths practically, so as to afford ns some evidence of their reality, let us examine our minds, and faithfully follow up our convictions ; let us inquire whether God
has really been wanting in the accomplishment of his promises, or whether we have not been sadly deficient in yielding to those suggestions of conscience which are the motions of his spirit. Whether we have not neglected to implore the aids of that Spirit; whether we have vot, in various instances, resisted them? Let us ask onsselveg have we looked up to our heavenly father with humble dependence for the supplies of his grace? or have we prayed for these blessings only as a form, and liaving acanitted ourselves of the form, do we continue to live as if we had not so prayed? Having repeatedly implored his direction, do we endeavour to submit ourselves to its guidance? Having prayed that his will may be done, do we never stoutly set up our own will in contradiction to his?
If, then, we receive not the promised support and comfort, the failure must rest somewhere. It lies between him who has promised, and bim to whom the promise is made. There is no other alternative; would it pot be blasphemy to transfer the failure to God? Let us Dot, then, rest till we have cleared up the difficulty, The spirits sinks, and the faith fails, if, after a continued roand of reading and prayer; after having, for years, conformed to the letter of the command; after having scrupulously broaght in our tale of outward duties; we find ourselves just where we were at setting out. - We complain jastly of our own weakuess, and truly plead our inability as a reason why we cannot serve God as we ought. This infirmity, its nature, and its measure, God knows far more exactly than we know it; yet he knows that, with the help which he offers us, we can both Jove and obey him, or lie never would have made it the qualification of our obtaining his favour. He never would have said “ give me thy heart"_" seek ye my
face"-add to your faith virtue?" have a right heart · and a right spirit”-“ strengthen the things that remain"
" ye will not come to me that ye might have life"had not all these precepts a definite meaning, had not all these been practicable duties.
Can we suppose that the omniscient God wonld have given these uinqualified commands to powerless, incapable, unimpressible beings? Can we suppose that he would paralyse his creatures, and then condemn them for not being able to move? He knows, it is trne, our natural impotence, but he knows, because he confers, our super