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tiquity, and, for the fond hopes with which they were connected. Nothing but conviction and truth can rationally explain the Gospel being so cordially embraced, so faithfully obeyed, so firmly persevered in. "Take "heed to such men:—they speak the words "of truth and soberness."
Nor can we be told that the people who know not the law, or the unlearned, only, became, from being indifferent or the enemies of the Gospel, its converts and friends. It is true, learning and high station declared against the Gospel: but we know also, that the learned and the great bowed before the power of God, and felt and acknowledged the force of truth. Not learning, but the pride of learning, has an enemy in Christianity : not station and wealth, but their vices, are incompatible with the doctrine and the practice of Christianity. The learned acknowledge the frivolousness of all their knowledge, when brought into comparison with the excellence of the Gospel: the men of power threw their crowns at his feet who is the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords: by humbling themselves, they become truly
great great and Cxalted; they are kitigs and prie/ls unto God. One example of the opposition of authority, of learning, and of zeal, cannot but be well known to you. You know the history of the persecutor, and of his zeal and success, in forwarding the interests of that Gospel which he sought to extinguish and destroy. "Saul made havock of the church, "entering into every house, and haling men "and women, committed tfiem to prison, "breathing out threatenings and slaughters "against the disciples of the Lord" This blasphemer, this persecutor and injurious man, is convicted, is converted: fee how ably he reasons, how consistently he lives, how nobly he suffers; how active and successful, and persevering, in preaching the Gospel, and in establishing and comforting the churches! In what was it he gloried? "I am '* not ashamed," said he, " of the Gospel of "Christ, for it is the power of God unto "salvation, to every one that believeth :—« *' God forbid that I should glory, save in the 1' cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by which "the world is crucified to me, and I unto "the world. What things were gain to me "those I counted loss for Christ: yea doubt
"less "less and I count all things but loss, for the "excellency of the knowledge of Christ "Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered "the loss of all things, and do count them "but dung that I may win Christ; and be "found in him, not having mine own righ"teousness, which is of the law, but that "which is through the faith of Christ, the "righteousness which is of God by faith; "that I may know him, and the power of M his resurrection, and the fellowship of his "sufferings, being made conformable to his "death."
Not men of one nation, and of one country, left their former principles and practices : ,from the feats of idolatry, from the schools of philosophy ; from the camp, from the court; came forth disciples, confessors and martyrs of Jesus Christ.
They who are in any danger of listening to opinions and principles hostile to the Gospel, and of being dazzled with the reputation, and vaunted eminence of infidels, will do Well to reflect that, the ablest, the most respectable, the most learned have been the.
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most strenuous advocates, and firmest friends, of Christianity: let them consider, whom they are to forsake, whom they are to follow: let them inquire, where wisdom presides, where virtue reigns, where peace and love, and harmony, abound ?. Let them remember the instructions and education of their fathers; the example of their friends; who were their teachers, who have been, and who are, the ornaments of learning, the pillars of society, the models of imitation, the best and happiest of mankind: they are Christians: they cheerfully professed their faith: they obeyed the Gospel: they lived for Christ; and for them to die is gain.
4. A Fourth direction and advice, for being saved from the influence of the irreligious is, that you diligently and regularly attend upon the means of instruction, and edification; and enter into the spirit of the religious exercises in which you engage; and profit by them, so as to obtain and enjoy the objects of their institution.
That they were instituted of Christ, is a demonstration of their utility and excellence.
They who do not prize the ordinances of . Christ, or are easily turned away from observing them, are not sufficiently impressed and affected with a sense of the authority, the wisdom, and grace of the Lord; do not duly consider the design of their institution. It was for most important purposes that God appointed his worship to be celebrated, under the former dispensation, and that various rites and ceremonies were performed, and festivals and memorials were observed, in Israel. Such services suited the state of the world, at the time they were appointed, the nature of that dispensation which was vouchsafed to Israel, and the character of that people. The worship and ordinances, and the positive institutions, of the Gospel, are more simple and less numerous, are full of meaning and of comfort; are suited to the nature of the new dispensation, the better covenant, an universal religion. All we know and declare of the excellence of this better covenant, all the manifestations of the wisdom and grace of our great Master, must convince and impress our minds that it is no vain thing to observe its ordinances; that much advantage must accrue from their frequent, and K k 2 solemn,