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the human race, as to knowledge in general, ie analogous to that of the individual in tht au quisition of physical truth. The perceptions of the infant are continually erroneous.
One sense gradually corrects another; and notions of distance, magnitude, and colour, at first confused and deceptive, are by repeated observation reduced to truth and order. There is a continual acquisition of information by the senses of the individual, and the intellect of the race. The one process begins afresh with each; the other is carried on from generation to generation, . Knowledge once published becomes the property of the world. Where evidence is adduced, and the mind is impartial, it is obvious that truth must always prevail over error. Now towards this state, of candour in the judgment and complete evidence as to the subject, does all discussion and discovery tend. To this point they are continually advancing; and that approximation is a security for the ultimate reception of truth by all. There are obstacles in the passions, habits and pursuits of men ; but they are neither eternal nor invincible. They are comparatively weak; they are temporary; they are self-destructive. What shall successfully attempt to stay the march of truth? Shall ignorance? And what is there in ignorance to ensure its own eternity? It has no power. It is but a negation : a blank which may be filled up; waste land which
may be cultivated. It has been diminishing for ages, and diminishes every day. Its resistance is that of emptiness to substance, of nothing to existence. Shall education? This may do much for prolonging error, may transmit it from generation to generation; but not for ever. Its power is equal on the side of truth; and, therefore, if resistless, it would prevent our retrograding. But who is there among you that has not met with numerous instances of its yielding to personal conviction? How many are yourselves moņuments of its inability to withstand the force of evidence! Shall antiquity and authority? They often reconcile to absurdity and sanctify falsehood : but where are the proofs of their permanently rebutting truth? Did they protect the temples of Jupiter and Mars, and save them from becoming Christian Churches ? Could they rivet the chains of Popery on our ancestors, when they arose in might to snap them asunder? Do they now preserve what men follow the decision of a thousand years in deeming the holiest mysteries of faith, from free discussion and complete rejection ? O no—they are no invincible barrier : they have been trampled down by hostile feet, and have borne the banners of triumphant foes. Shall political authority, interest, persecution? What institutions can pretend to perpetuity? What is history but the record of their changes ? The establishment of error cannot
enable it permanently to resist knowledge and inquiry. For a time it may be upheld by bribery; external respect may be enforced; and opposition be fiercely avenged: but this cannot last : conscience cannot be permanently bribed, nor thought imprisoned. Institutions must give way to, or fall before, the improving spirit of the times. Persecution is becoming obsolete. efforts which public opinion now allows it to make, only resist the advance of mind as reeds stay the torrent, or straws impede the whirlwind.
We have “a more sure word of prophecy." Christianity asserts its own future universality. Our Lord, by his parables of the grain of mustard seed, which became a spreading tree, and of the leaven which pervaded the whole mass, intimated the indefinite increase of his religion. He taught to pray, and therefore to hope, that the kingdom of God might come, and his will be done on the earth, as it is in heaven." That spiritual kingdom, according to ancient prediction, was to “stand for ever," and "fill the whole earth.” Dan. ii. “ The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah xi. 9. “All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” Isaiah lii. 10. The Lord will « de
stroy the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all
nations." Isaiah xxv. 7. Such prophecies as these are continually occurring, in reference to
the spiritual reign of the Messiah. I will only add, that as Daniel, Paul, and John, in passages formerly adduced, connect the spread of the gospel with the destruction of Antichrist, it is also blended with the conversion of the Jews, “Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in: and so all Israel shall be saved.” Rom, xi. 25.
Truth must prevail. History records that it has no resistless enemy. It is the heritage of man, and he advances to its possession: its prevalence is the promise of Scripture, and prophecy shall be accomplished : it is the object of Providence, and Providence is universal: it is favoured of God, and God is omnipotent. We rejoice in the prospect, whether the success of truth be that of our opinions, or of others. Perish error, though we may wander in its mazes! If our workmanship be only wood, hay, and stubble, let it be consumed, and ourselves saved as by fire, so that the temple of truth be purified from every incumbrance and pollution. But we believe that Unitarianism is truth, is Christianity, It bears all their sacred characters, and claims their promised universality. Prophecy envelopes them in a common glory, and decrees for them the same splendid destiny. “The Lord shall be King over all the earth : in that day shall there be One Lord, and his name One."
For a time indeed this union was dissolved;
and with it fled the energy of Christianity. Only with its revival can the gospel again go forth, “ conquering and to conquer.'
Corruption led to wealth and political authority; but they were ineffectual substitutes for truth. Not only did what was called Christianity cease to spread, but it actually succumbed before imposture ; and Mahometanism made more progress in five-andtwenty years, than nominal Christianity in fourteen centuries. The Trinity, and similar and. kindred doctrines, are the great obstacles to its diffusion. No extensive accession of enlightened converts can be expected anterior to their removal. That event approaches ; nor does the interval of darkness and corruption affect our hopes, for it was foreseen, and its termination fixed, by the same authority as that which gives them confidence. God has sketched for us a plan of the march of truth. Her path is drawn through dark caverns and gloomy wilds; but ending on the lofty mountain of wide dominion. Into that deep abyss she entered, and through that howling wilderness her steps have passed. Already she emerges, and climbs the promised elevation; nor can we doubt her attainment of its summit, to reign there in permanent and unrivalled majesty. How felicitous then will be the power of pure religion over society; all weakening corruptions removed, the hypocrisy that disgusts, the superstition that degrades, the pride that insults ! No