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timents, When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and stars, which thou hast or dained; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that thou visitest him, Psalm viii. 3, 4. 2. Ar they temptations arising from the length of the course, which apparently have no end, and which rę. quire the constant exercise of piety ?.... It is incom, parably more easy to make a hasty sacrifice for reKigion, than to do it daily by degrees. - Virtue is an imated on great occasions, and collects the whole of its resources and strength'; but how few have the resolution to sustain a long career.
The saints, whom St. Paul adduces as models, have vanquished this temptation. See Moses....behold him, for forty tedious years in the wilderness, having to war with nature and the elements, with hunger and with thirst, with his enemies, and his own people ; and, what was harder still, having sometimes to contend with God himself, who was frequently on the point of exterminating the Israelites, committed to the care of this afflicted leader. But Moses triumphed over a vast course of difficulties ; ever returning to duty when the force of temptation, for the moment, had induced him to deviate; ever full of affection for that people, and ever employing, in their behalf, the in-Auence he had over the bowels of a compassionate God. : Are they temptations arising from persecution ?.. Nature shrinks not only at the idea of suffering, but also at the ingenious means which executioners have invented to extort abnegations. The saints, whom St. Paul adduces as models, have vanquished this class of temptations. Look only at the conduct of those noble martyrs, to whom he is desirous of calling the attention of the Hebrews. Look at the tragic but instructive history of that family, mentioned in the seventh chapter of the second book of Mac. cabees. The barbarous Antiochus, says the histo
rian, seized on a mother and her seven-sons, and res solved, by whips and scourges, to force them to eat swine's flesh. The eldest of the seven boldly asserted his readiness to die for his religion. The king, enraged with anger, commanded the iron-pans, and brazen caldrons, to be heated, and him who first spake to be flayed alive ; his tongue cut out; the extremities of his limbs to be cut off, in presence of his mother and brethren ; and his body to be roasted, while yet alive, in one of the burning pans.
Ó my God! what a scene for the persons so tenderly united to this martyr! But this scene, very far from shaking their constancy, contributed to its support. They animated one another to an heroic death ; affirming that God would sustain their minds, and assuage their anguish. The second of those brothers, the third, the fourth, the fifth, and sixth, sustained the same sufferings, and with the same support, in presence of their mother. What idea do you formi of this woman, you timorous mothers, who hear me to-day ? In what language, think you, did she address her sons ? Do you think that nature triumphed over grace; that, after having offered to God six of her sons, she made an effort to save the seventh, that he might afford her consolation for the loss she had sustained in the other six ? No, says the historian, she exhorted him to die like a martyr: Antiochus compelled her to present the seventh, that she might prevent his death. But she said, O, my son, have pity upon me, that bare thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee suck three years, and nourish. ed thee, and brought thee up unto this age, and endur. ed the troubles of education. I beseech thee, my son, look upon the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, and know the Author of thy being. Fear not this tormentor ; but, being worthy of thy brethrén, take thy death, that I may receive thee again. in mercy with thy brethren.
Perhaps the historian has embellished his heroes;
perhaps he has been more ambitious to astonish than to instruct; and to flatter the portrait, than to paint the original. The history of our own age confirms the past age: the history of our own tyrants, substantiates all that is said of the Jewish tyrants : and the constancy of our modern Maccabees, is a sure test of what is said concerning the constancy of the ancient Maccabees. What has been the seed of the reformed church? It is the blood of the reformers, and of the first reformed. What was the rise of this republic ? It was the light of faggots kindled to consume it. Inhabitants of these provinces, what were your ancestors ? Confessors and martyrs. And you, my dear countrymen, whence are you come ? Out of great tribulation. What are you? Brands plucked from the burning. Fathers who have seen their children die for religion; children who have seen their fathers die for religion. O that God may forbear hearkening to the voice of so much blood, which cries to Heaven for vengeance on those who shed it! May God in placing the crown of righteousness on the heads of those who suffered, pardon those who caused their death! May we be, at least, permitted to recount the history of our brethren who have conquered in the fight; to encourage those who have yet to combat, but who so disgracefully draw back. Ah! generation of confessors and martyrs, would you degrade the nobility of your descent? Your fathers have confessed their religion amid the severest tortures; and would you deny it in these happy provinces, enlightened by thę truth ? Have they sacrificed their lives for religion, and will you refuse to sacrifice a portion of your riches ? Ah, my brethren, Seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us run, with patience, the race that is set before us.
IV. I have said that there is, between us and those illustrious saints, proposed as models by the Holy
Spirit, å similarity of motives. It implies a contra diction, to suppose that they had more powerful motives to animate them in their course, than those we have proposed to you. Yes, it implies a contradiction, that the Abrahams, quitting their country, the land of their nativity, and wandering they knew not where, in obedience to the divine call :....it implies a contradiction, that the Moseses preferred afliction with the people of God, to the pleasures of sin, which are but for a season :....it implies a contradiction, that this multitude of martyrs, some of whom were tormented, others were stoned, others were sawn asunder, others were killed by the sword:....it implies a contradiction, that those illustrious saints have beheld, at the close of their course, a more valuable prize than that extended to you. This prize is a blissful immortality. Here the whole advantage is on your side. This prize is placed more distinctly in your sight, than it was in the view of those illustrious characters. I really think this was St. Paul's view at the close of the chapter, in which he enumerates the saints, whose virtues have formed the leading subject of this discourse. These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise ; God having provided some better thing for us, that they, without us, should not be made per.. fect. What is implied in their not having received the promise ? Does it mean that they did not know the doctrine of a future state ? St. Paul affirms quite the contrary. What is meant by their not being made perfect without us? Is it as some of the primitive Fathers, and as some of our modern divines have thought, that the Old Testament saints were not received into heaven till the ascension of Jesus Christ? This is contrary to other passages of our Scriptures. But they received not the promise, that is to -say, with the same clearness as christians. They without us were not made perfect; the perfect know. ledge of immortality and life being the peculiar preci.
rogative of the christian church.'. Whatever be the sense of those words of St. Paul, we will show, that this doctrine of immortality and life is no longer covered with a veil; as it was previously to the intro, duction of the Gospel; but it is demonstrated by a multitude of arguments which sound reason, though less improved than that of the ancients, enables us to adduce for conviction; and they are placed in evidence by Jesus Christ. Let us introduce this Jesus to you ; let us cause you to hear this Jesus animating you by doctrine and example in the course; Him that overcameth, says he, will I grant to sit down with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father on his throne, Rey. wi. 21. 1. 2018 96.3
**1 IV. The last article....happily adapted to silence those who avail themselves of the distinguished vir tues of those saints for not accepting them as mo. dels; or, to conclude in a manner more correspondent' to our ministry, an article well calculated to support us in the race God has set before all his saints....is, that between us and those who have finished it with joy, there is a similarity of assistance. By nature they were, like us, incapable of running the race; and by the assistance of grace we become capable of running like them. Let us not imagine that we honour the Deity by making a certain sort of absurd complaints concerning our weakness; let us not ascribe to him what proceeds solely from our çorruption: it is incompatible with his perfections to expose a frail creature to the force of temptation, and exhort him to conquer it without affording the aid requisite to obtain the victory. Be not discouraged, christian champion, at the inequality. God has made in the proportion of aids afforded to them, and to thee; be not discouraged on seeing thyself led by the plain paths of nature, while nature was inverted for them ; while they walked in the depth of the sea ;