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this disfigured countenance the child discerns with difficulty the features of his father. In that mangled body dwelt the spirit which was the prop and the glory of yonder silvery head, now bowed down over it in silent, unspeakable sorrow. There the widow washes the wounds of her husband with her tears. And how few of that dreadful list of slaughtered men were fit to die! Surely war was let loose upon the world as a curse, in the just anger of God. Let us seek therefore a better state of existence, Let us deem it no longer an hardship, that we are “pilgrims and strangers upon the earth:” but let us “confess it” with cheerfulness, and look for “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Let us turn away from the kingdoms of this world, laid open to the hand of violence, and seek a shelter under the government of Deity, from all present, and from all future evil. Let us press forwards to his immediate presence, to live there in a state of rest, a state of holiness, a state of felicity, a state of permanency, a state of immutability!
THE LIFE, DEATH, RESURRECTION, AND ASCENSION OF JESUS CHRIST, PROVED AS MATTERS OF FACT,
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cesar Augustus, that all the world should be tawed. (And this taring was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be tared, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brougth forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling-clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
For I delivered unto you first of all, that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures: and that he was buried,and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once: of whom the greater part
remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
2 PETER i, 16. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty.
THERE is a certain degree of sublimity in which we feel gratified, and the emotions which it excites are pleasing as well as awful; but beyond that—the sensation becomes painful and oppressive. As my eye explores the azure vault of heaven, I contemplate with solemn delight worlds moving there, suspended without any known or visible support: yet I should tremble if a rock of ice, which would be but as a grain of sand in comparison of these, hung over my head. The reason why I feel no terror in beholding bodies so immense quivering upon nothing is, that they are too remote to excite apprehension, and distance has so diminished them, that I lose the conception of their magnitude. I gaze with pleasure upon the proud elevation of the lofty mountain, as I stand at its foot: but I shudder to approach the brink of a precipice of equal depth: the one excites in me an impression of the sublime—the other appears to risk my personal safety. So nearly allied are the emotions of sublimity and terror, that the one sometimes rises into the other! An earthly monarch does well to borrow all possible splendor, and to array himself in all the ensigns of roy
alty, in order to impress the spectator with an idea of
majesty: and scarcely are we impressed after all! We See humanity tottering under that weighty grandeur, and feel that we are in the presence of but a man. The Majesty of heaven needs no such appendages. Decked in his mildest radiance, no mortal vision could endure the insufferable splendor; and we have seen him, when all ideas of sublimity were absorbed and lost in the stronger emotions of terror. We can only behold him at a distance without fear: whenever he approaches us, whatever veil he may spread over his uncreated glory, we are overwhelmed with the presence of Deity. We cannot contemplate God in any point of view, through the medium of revelation, without being sensible of his perfections. If his mercy speak in whispers, soft as the breath of the morning, or grateful as the gale fanned by the wings of the evening, every passion sinks to rest, every tumultuous feeling subsides, and we are lost in wonder, in love, in ecstacy. If his justice thunder in the heavens, the commotions of listening nations are suspended: and men, and angels acknowledge, in silent awe, the justice of his dispensations. In making requisition for sin, and requiring its expiation by blood, his conduct may be inexplicable to our present imperfect apprehensions; nevertheless we are assured, that “it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.” O how unlike is He to the most perfect of human characters! The wisdom of Solomon yielded to the strength of seduction: the piety of David, to the force of temptation: the integrity of Abraham, to the impressions of terror: and there never appeared on the face of the earth a
perfect character, till “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” But Deity is always equal to himself—and appears alike great in terror and in mildness, in mercy and injudgment, in pardoning and in punishing. We have lately seen him in the thunder and the lightning of Sinai: we are now to contemplate him in the stillness and the tranquillity of Calvary. In this latter form he is more endeared to us, as sinners saved by grace: but he is equally great in both. The righteous law, which was pronounced with an audible voice, out of “the thick darkness where God was,” is a beautiful transcript of the purity of his nature: and the melancholy scenes of Calvary present a fine illustration of the harmony of his perfections. The first dispensation was temporary: the types, which were the shadows only of good things to come, have disappeared: the ceremonial law waxed old; and its institutions, having received their accomplishment, vanished. A new and immutable dispensation, more simple, more spiritual, more enlarged in its nature, followed: we still repose under its shadow; and it looks forwards to eternity for its fulness, its glory and its completion. In reviewing years which are passed by, we are necessarily involved in difficulties. The destroying hand of time obliterates many a page of history; and the more remote the age to which our attention is directed, the more oppressively heavy hangs the cloud of oblivion over it. We have surmounted the larger portion of these difficulties; and as we return to later generations, the cloud slowly rolls away. We have gradually advanced from obscurity to the dawn of the morning—we have seen the gates of light open upon