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theses; professors of each branch of literature have succes sively contributed to colour and adorn the subject; and yet in real life neither the law of nature, nor that of nations, nor that of private virtue, or public policy hath been generally obeyed: but, on the contrary, by crimes of all descriptions the whole earth hath been filled with violence, Gen. vi. 11. 13. Alas! what is the life of each individual but a succession of mistakes and sins? What the histories of families, nations, and great monarchies, but narrations of injustice and woe? Morality, lovely goddess, was a painting of exquisite art placed in proper light in a public gallery for the inspection and entertainment of connoisseurs: but she was cold and her admirers unanimated: the objects that fired their passions had not her beauty but they were alive. In one word, obligation to virtue is eternal and immutable; but sense of obligation is lost by sin.
3. MOTIVE. We will not enter here on that difficult question, the origin of evil. We will not attempt to wade across that boundless ocean of difficulties, so full of shipwrecks. Evil is in the world, and the permission of it is certainly consistent with the attributes of God. Our inability to account for it is another thing, and the fact is not affected by it. Experiment hath convinced us that Revelation, along with a thousand other proofs of its divinity, brings the irrefragable evidence of motive to obedience: a heavenly present, and every way suited to the condition of
It would be endless to enumerate the motives to obedience, which deck the scriptures as the stars adorn the sky; each hath been an object of considerable magnitude to persons in some ages, and situations: but there is one of infinite magnificence, which eclipses all the rest, called the sun of righteousness, I mean, Jesus Christ. In him the meekness of Moses, and the patience of Job, the rectitude of the ten commandments and the generosity of the gospel are all united; and him we will now consider a moment in the light of motive to obedience.
By considering the prophecies, which preceded his advent, and by comparing his advent with these prophecies, we are impelled to allow the divinity of his mission. This is one motive, or one class of motives to moral obedience. By observing the miracles, which he wrought, we are obliged to exclaim with Nicodemus, no man can do what thou doest, except God be with him. This is a second class of motives.
By attending to his doctrines we obtain a third set of power-
This moral excellence, this conformity to Jesus Christ is