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GOD DISPLAYED BY HIS WORKS OF NATURE.
context, and of our Saviour's general doctrine and mode of speech. This, indeed, may be said, with equal truth, of every other part of Holy Writ, which has given rise to divers and strange doctrines and disputations of men. Scripture is best expounded by Scripture. That which is obscure is to be compared with that which is plain ; and if the great and general tendency and design of the whole dispensation be constantly kept in mind, and the peculiar customs and opinions, prevailing at the time when the sacred penmen wrote, be faithfully referred to, we shall scarcely ever be misled in any point of import
But it has been the error of profound commentators, and the folly of fanatic teachers, the inventors of heresies, and the founders of sects, to adopt a very different method, and endeavour to make the lively oracles of GOD bend to the subtleties of the schools, or to the crude conceptions of the illiterate vulgar. By some learned expositors the Grecian philosophy has been blended with Christian theology, and the ethics of Plato and Aristotle have been called in to illustrate the precepts of Peter and Paul; while, by dreaming enthusiasts, the conceits of a doting superstition, the wild fancies of personal predestination and irresistible grace, have been woven out of a few unconnected texts (texts which relate chiefly to questions of the Jewish Law); and of late, all that mass of rubbish, which loaded, and was formerly confined to, the sectarian conventicle, has been most injudiciously, by some of its weaker members, raked together and poured into the Church ; disfiguring that simple but majestic edifice," built upon the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles.”
Their divine Master had been endeavouring to reconcile the minds of his followers to the loss they were about to sustain in his departure from the world, by assuring them that “ in his Father's house, in which were many mansions, He would prepare a place for them ;" and that, when that place was prepared, He“ would come again, and receive them to himself,” that they might enjoy the same splendid inheritance. Upon Thomas's urging their ignorance of the place whither he was going, and consequently of the way leading to it, Jesus replies, “ No man cometh to the Father but by me: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also ; and from henceforth ye know Him and have seen Him." Philip then demands, “ Lord, show us th Father, and it sufficeth us.” “ Jesus said unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip ? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father, and how sayest thou then, show us the Father ? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father, that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works. Believe me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very works' sake.”
Now, in all this, there is nothing to perplex and confound a reader who brings with him no preconceived opinions. The obvious sense is this: “If ye had known me,"—if ye had been sensible of my power and mission, “ye would have known my Father also,” through the only medium in which it is possible for the creature to know his Creator, by his word and by his works; “ And from henceforth,” having heard my doctrines, and witnessed my miracles,“ know Him and have seen Him." But, cries the Disciple, “ Show us the Father,”—display Him openly and visibly," and it sufficeth us,”—we shall be fully satisfied. Have I, rejoins his sacred Master, been so long resident among you, per
forming wonders, and speaking as never man spake, and art thou yet to learn that “ I and the Father are one”—one in counsel and in operation “ He that hath seen me, hath seen” the image or representative of “ the Father:" he hath seen divine power in a human form ; the only way in which the invisible God can be represented to the eye of man. Dost thou not perceive that the wisdom and the authority of the Deity are communicated to me that when I speak, it is the Father who speaks in me, that when I work, it is the Father who works by me? “ Believe me,” then, “that I am" 'essentially
" in the Father, and the Father” virtually and perceptibly “ in me.” He displays Himself by mighty deeds which flesh and blood cannot perform, and reveals to you, in the person of the Son of Man, all that can be revealed of “ the King eternal, immortal, invisible”—for “no man hath heard His voice at any time, or seen His shape.”
This passage of the Evangelist's narrative being, I trust, freed from all ambiguity, I shall briefly state the conclusion deducible from it.
That the supreme, self-existent Spirit, the First Cause and Origin of all things, can never be an object of perception to the organs of man; and can only be made known at all, by his works and operations in the world, and by his dispensations to his creatures ; particularly, through the medium of that sacred character, called in Scripture His ONLY Son, our Lord and Redeemer; by whom the attributes of the Deity being evidently exerted, all that we can comprehend of the divine nature is sufficiently and authoritatively displayed
The clear and convincing manifestation of Himself, made by Almighty God in the person of His Son, in condescension to human infirmity, and for the salvation of the human soul, will form the subject of a separate discourse. Suffice it, at this time, to point, for a few moments, to that open book of Nature and Providence, which in all ages and in all nations, to every order of thinking beings, “shows” and proclaims the Universal « FATHER."
It was the diligent perusal and study of this magnificent volume of creation, which induced the few, who were wise and virtuous among the Heathen, to reject the fabulous divinities of their country, and to reverence and adore in secret “ the Unknown God;" — unknown and unregarded by the common herd. Nor was this