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66 tions in a blasphemous light, and then demanding, “ How can you prize or how can you believe that this
book is the word of God, or that the religion it teaches " is divine?' In such an hour of contest, how happy is * the Christian that can say, "Though I am not able 6 to solve all the difficulties in the Bible, nor maintain “ the sacred authority of it against the cavils of wit and « learning, yet I am well assured that the doctrines of 5 this book are sacred, and the authority of them divine; . 6 for when I heard and received them, they changed 164 my nature, they subdued my sinful appetites, they « made a new creature of me, and raised me from death
66 to life; they made me LOVE God above all things, and ..“ gave me the lively and well-grounded hope of his love.
Therefore I cannot doubt but that the CHIEF PRINCI“ PLES of this book are divine, though I cannot so well .." prove that the very words and syllables of it are so
“ too; for it is the sense of scripture, and not the mere 5 letters of it, on which I build my hope. What if the “ scripture should not be divine? What if this gospel " and the other epistles should not be written by inspi166 ration? What if these should be merely the words of • «men, and not the very word of God?-Though I can:« not recollect all the arguments that prove Matthew,
“ Mark, and Luke to be divine historians, or Peter and i « Paul to be inspired writers; yet the substance and
“ chief sense of these gospels and their epistles must - « needs be divine; FOR IT HAS BEGUN THE SPIRITUAL “ AND ETERNAL LIFE IN MY SOUL; and THIS IS MY “WITNESS, or rather the witness of the SPIRIT OF GOD “within us, that CHRIST IS THE Son of God, the “ SAVIOUR OF SINNERS, and the religion that I pro“ fess and practise is safe and divine.
“ And though there are many and sufficient argu.."ments drawn from criticism, history, and human : " learning to prove the sacred authority of the Bible,
" and such as may give abundant satisfaction to an 6 honest inquirer, and full satisfaction that it is the 6 word of God; yet THIS IS THE CHIEF EVIDENCE that “the greatest part of Christians can ever attain of the « divine original of the holy scripture itself, as well as “ the truth of the doctrines contained in it, namely, “ That they have found a holy and heavenly CHANGE pass.
ed upon them, by reading and hearing the proposi“tions, the histories, the precepts, the promises, and “ the threatenings of this book; and thence they are 6 wont to infer, that the God of truth would not attend “ a book, which was not agreeable to his mind, with “ such glorious instances of his own POWER and GRACE.
“ I have dwelt the longer on shewing that the inward • 66 witness is such a witness to the truth of the Christian
“ religion as does not depend on the exact truth of let“ ters and syllables, nor on the critical knowledge of the ; « copies of the Bible, nor on this old manuscript or the “ other new translation, because every manuscript and " every translation has enough of the gospel to save 6 souls by it, and make a man a Christian; and because “ I think this point of great importance in our age, 6 which has taken so many steps to heathenism and « infidelity; for this argument or EVIDENCE will defend “ a Christian in the profession of the true religion, “ though he may not have skill enough to defend his “ Bible.
« Why do you believe in Jesus?” asks the unbeliev- «er. If you have this answer ready at hand, “I HAVE
“ FOUND THE EFFICACY AND POWER OF THE GOSPEL « IN MY HEART;' this will be sufficient to answer every “ cavila
“ The words of St. Paul to the Corinthians have a “ reference to our presentt subject. Ye are manifestly « declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us ; « written not with Ink but with the SPIRIT OF THE LIV
" ING, GOD; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of " the heart*." ?
Thus far Dr. Watts, in his sermons on the inward Witness to Christianity, where the reader will find a great deal of truly evangelical instruction. For my own part, I cannot but think this good man approached as nearly to Christian perfection as any mortal ever did in this sublunary state; and therefore I consider him as a better interpreter of the Christian doctrines than the most learned critics, who proud of their reason and their learning, despise or neglect the very life and soul of Christianity, the living everlasting g'ospel, the supernatural operation of DIVINE GRACE. And be it ever remembered, that Dr. WATTS was a man who cultivated his reason with particular care, who studied the abstrusest sciences, and was as well qualified to become a verbal critic, or a logical disputant on the scriptures, as the most learned among the doctors of the Sorbonne, or the greatest proficients in polemical divinity.
SECTION XIV. The Opinion of Dr. Lucas, the celebrated Author of a
Treatise on Happiness, concerning the Evidence of Christianity arising from divine Communication,
« 1 HERE is,” says Dr. Lucas, “no great “ need of acquired learning in order to true illumina.
tion. Our Saviour did not exact of his disciples, as 6 a necessary preparation for his doctrine, the know“ ledge of tongues, the history of times or of nature; “ logic, metaphysics, or the like. These indeed may " bę serviceable to many excellent ends: they may be
* 2 Cor. iij. 2, 3. i.
great accomplishments of the mind, great ornaments, 6 and very engaging entertainments of life. They may “ be, finally, very excellent and necessary instruments
of, or introductions to several professions and employ. “ments; but as to religious perfection and happiness, to “ these they can never be indispensably necessary. ,
“ A man may be excellently, habitually good, with. “ out more languages than one; he may be fully per" suaded of those great truths, that will render him 6 master of his passions and independent of the world; « that will render him easy and useful in this life, and “ glorious in another, though he be no logician nor me. “ taphysician,
“ The qualifications previously necessary to illumina. « tion are two or three MORÁL ONES, implied in that
INFANT temper which our Saviour required in those “ who would be his disciples,---humility, impartiality, “ and a thirst and love of truth."
** There is a knowledge, which, like the summit of « Pisgah where Moses stood, shews us the land of Ca" naan, but does not bring us to it.
“ How does the power of darkness, at this moment, “ prevail amidst the light of the gospel? Are men igno“ rant? No: but their knowledge is not such as it ought “ to be ;-it is not the light of life.
"The understanding does not always determine the « will.
* Though every honest man be not able to discover “ all the arguments on which his creed stands, he yet “ may discover ENOUGH; and what is more, he may “ have an INWARD, VITAL, SENSIBLE proof of them; “ he may. FEEL the power, the charms of holiness, ex“ perience its congruity and loveliness to the human, “ soul, so as that he shall have no doubts or scruples. “ But besides this, there is a voice within, a divine “ Teacher and Instructore
« Extraordinary natural parts are not necessary to “ illumination. The gospel takes no notice of them. " Such is the beauty of holiness, that it requires rather " a fine SENSIBILITY arising from purity of heart, than "quickness of intellectual apprehension, to render us * ENAMOURED of it.”
A truth which involves the present and eternal happiness of human beings, cannot be placed in too great a variety of lights, or too repeatedly enforced. “ He: " that soweth to the Spirit,” says St. Paul, “ shall of “the Spirit reap life everlasting*.” When such is the harvest, every benevolent mind must wish to urge mankind, in this their seed-time, to sow to the Spirit. What is so important cannot be inculcated by too frequent repetition. I therefore quote authors which occur to me in the course of my reflections on the subject, whose opinions, though similar, may add weight to doctrines already advanced. Such is the above from Dr. Lucas, a most excellent divine, never charged with the least tendency to blameable enthusiasm.
I wish my reader to pay particular attention to what he suggests on the INFANT TEMPER, required by our Lord in his followers. " Except,” says Jesus Christ, "ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall « not enter into the kingdom of Godt.”—“ Verily I say “ unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom ss of God as a LITTLE CHILD, he shall not enter there « in f.”
The amiable dispositions of infants must therefore be produced in the heart, before the religion of Christ can be received into it. But are such dispositions best produced, or can they be produced at all, by subtle dispu. tations, by cold argumentation, by bringing forward objections in order to display ingenuity in answers,
• Galatians, vi. 8.
+ Mat. xviii. 3.
Mark, x. 14.