« EdellinenJatka »
But a full
in which we have been instructed." acquaintance with all that Scripture teaches is requisite, in order that we may rightly understand the nature of "those things in which we have been instructed," and in which many of us are called to instruct others. "Let, then the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom." The more we contemplate for ourselves, and exhibit to others, the genuine doctrines of Scripture, in the manner in which Scripture itself reveals them, the better will our teaching be understood, and the more will it edify. The more shall we be "joined together in unity of spirit, by the doctrine of the Apostles and Prophets;" the less will heresy or infidelity disturb, and ignorance and immorality darken, our Zion; and the more shall we "grow into a holy temple in the Lord."—Revealed religion is not a metaphysical theory. Many such have been made, and substituted for religion; but they have been as unsatisfactory, and as baseless, as any in philosophy. Thousands more might be created, as fast as the canvas receives form and colour from the painter's hand. They may speak the same things as "the law and the testimony;" if they do not, "it is because there is no light in them." But a knowledge of the real nature of Revelation, of its connexion, and extent, and circumstances, would banish all strange doctrines and devices of men, and would prevent the recur
rence of the theoretical propensity; just as the Newtonian philosophy subverts our belief of the old philosophical theories, and supplies us with one of real knowledge, because grounded on certain facts. Thus the mind is disciplined to reason, and brought into a habit of calm investigation; is emancipated from the power of imagination; and is taught to prefer plain and sober, though it be yet imperfect truth, to the brightest and most complete vision that fancy ever conjured up. And as theories are not to be adopted as our Religion, so neither are they a legitimate objection to it; and for the same reasons. The Gospel comes with higher claims; with facts which challenge our belief; with observations the truth of which all experience has proved, and still does prove; with "the witness of God which he has given us of his Son." Let us not then "make him a liar," by rejecting it; let us not be "moved away from the hope of the Gospel which we have heard;" but rather let us gladly meditate on its declarations, rely upon its promises, desire its consolations, live in obedience to its precepts, and, anticipating the prospects which it holds out to us, "rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
STATEMENTS OF JESUS, RESPECTING HIS PRETENSIONS AND THE
OBJECT OF HIS MISSION, WHICH PRECEDED HIS ACTUAL APPEAL TO THE EVIDENCES IN CONFIRMATION OF THEM.
OUR LORD'S CONFERENCE WITH NICODEMUS.
St. JOHN III. 1-3.
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
To peruse the works of the mighty masters of reason, eloquence, and pathos, with that sensibility to their beauties, which attention and reflection alone can awaken, affords a pleasure, at once pure in its kind, diversified in its form, and salutary in its influence. Those, however, who have accurately studied the discourses of our Lord; who have made themselves familiar with his manner of instruction; who can judge of the propriety of his remarks from a knowledge of that which occasioned them; and still more those, who feel that interest in the subjects on which he treats, which