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which there has appeared, fo generally as in the present, a disposition to embrace whatever fair enquiry discovered to be the real doctrine of fcripture, without any regard to the authority of men, or to the established distinctions of sects; and no where has this liberal spirit prevailed so much, as in those countries in which infidelity has been suffered for the longest space of time to propose all its objections freely, and without the fear of persecution or legal penalties. But the effect of its opposition has hitherto taken place only in part. The heart of a good man triumphs in conceiving the period when it shall have finally taken place; in anticipating the time when Christianity shall become, in the writings and apprehensions of Christians, as it truly is in the New Testament; not a system of nice fpeculations and contentious subtleties, but a series of plain principles, evidently founded in fcripture, unmixed with the arbitrary explications and precarious conclusions of fallible men, all naturally touching the heart, commanding congruous affections, and by their joint force directly inculcating piety and virtue, and promoting the reformation and happiness of mankind. Let the Chriftian religion be universally and steadily kept in this point of view by Christians; then it will appear that the most formidable objections of Infidels have been directed, not against this religion itself, but against something totally different, though unhap


pily confounded with it; then the excellence of Christianity will shine conspicuous and indisputable; then all its evidences will operate on the understanding with their full force ; then its truth will be strikingly perceived, like the beauty of a fine picture placed in a proper light; then too Christianity will have its native influence on the temper and practice of mankind; it will be a vital principle of real goodness; virtue and joy, its amiable children, will ftand up and declare, with a voice of irresistible persuasion, that it is truly the offspring of the Most High. Every man, who is actuated by the gospel, will feel its truth from his own experience of its efficacy, and will have the witness within himself, that it is the word of God, the incorruptible feed of holiness and felicity. All men will see with their eyes such marks of its power, as cannot suffer them to doubt of its truth and divinity. How glorious a testimony would this state of things give to our religion ! What fplendour would it confer upon its evidences ! The gospel, maintained in its purity, and vigorously conceived, tends to produce this state of things; and the vigilance and opposition of infidels is one very powerful mean of exciting Christians to maintain the gospel in its purity.

Disertations on the Genius and Evi

dences of Christianity.




Y a fervency of Spirit in serving the Lord, must

be understood an ardent and active desire of loving the Lord, of worshipping him in fincerity, and obeying his commands with all our heart, with all our foul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. It consists not in a few tranfient fits and starts of natural devotion, when we are in jeopardy, without help of man ; neither is it a wild blaze of religious passion, that flashes and vanishes ; much less shall it be profaned by confounding it with those furies, enthusiasm and superftition, who would drench a country with innocent blood, under pretence of serving the Lord Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel. O my foul, enter not thou into their secret!

True fervor of shirit proceedeth from above; it is a beam from the Father of Lights, pure and benign, which at once enlightens and warms the mind; it is a ray from the Sun of Righteousness, bright even at the beginning, and which shineth more and more unto the perfeet day; it is a temper wrought into the heart by the holy spirit, compounded of love to God and of zeal for his honour, attended with charity to man.

Do ye consider, my brethren, the dignity and importance of that religion to which your attachment is required? Do ye, reflect that this is the master-piece of infinite wisdom? That here the Almighty made bare his holy arm and put forth his strength ? All events, whether prosperous or adverse, whether malignant or benign, have cooperated towards the advancement of our religion. Saints have established it by their lives; martyrs have confirmed it by their deaths ; hypocrites have added strength to it by their diffimulation ; tyrants have purified it by their persecutions ; infidels have corroborated it by their opposition; the arrows of its enemies have served for its protection; the resistance which it has met with from the combined wit and genius, and malice of mankind, have brought forth thofe illustrious and immortal defences which eftablish its truth upon the basis of demonílration.

Eternal Jehovah! when we tranfgreffed against thy commandments, and lost our original innocence, thy mercy forfook us not ; thou hadst compassion upon the offspring of Adam ; thine eye looked with pity; thou didst lay our help upon one who was mighty to save; him, in the fulness of time, the ambassador of peace, and reconciliation, and love, thou didst fend. Our ears have heard the joyful found, our eyes have seen the falvation of God. This is a day of the Son of Man! Glory be to God, that peace is proclaimed on earth, and good-will to the children of men !

God of the patriarchs ! who saw afar off this day: God of the prophets ! who foretold its arrival : God of the righteous men! who desired its approach: God of the evangelists and apoftles! who first beheld the day of the Mefiah : God of the martyrs and confeffors ! who honoured it with their blood : God of our fathers ! who, within these walls, have kept it in rememberance: God of our children ! who will commemorate it when we shall sleep in the dust: God of time! God of eternity! descend now, make thyself known to us; and fill this house with thy glory. Amen. Sermons, and Celebration of the Lord's Supper.

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