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Had it been false, writers of such various descriptions must have differed from each other. As then there is but one Lord, one faith, one baptism, let us be directed by one rule of conduct, one hope of our calling.

N° XIV. No XIV.

On the inward Evidence of the Gospel.

From heaven
He to his own a comforter will send
The promise of the Father, who shall dwell
His spirit within them, and the law of faith,
Working thro’ love, upon their hearts shall write,
To guide them in all truth.-

MILTON,

However the learned or the wise may satisfy themselves with reasoning on the truth of divine revelation, it is certain that neither the deductions of the one, nor the arguments of the other, can make

any

impression on those ignorant and uninstructed minds which form the great mass of mankind: for “ how can they believe in him “ of whom they have not heard?" Or what advantage will it be to them to hear, if they do not understand ? It is likely then that Divine Providence would find out some other method of instruction, equal to the wants

that

, equal to the abilities of every man. I would not infer that there is one kind of evidence adapted to the wise, and another to the ignorant. Far from it; for all have one faith, one hope;. “all eat the same spi

ritual meát, all drink the same spiritual

drink, for they drink of the spiritual “ rock which follows them, and that rock

is Christ.”

Though God has been pleased in constituting the world to make several outward distinctions ainongst men, and endow then with different degrees of knowledge, yet true wisdom is within the reach of all. And unless even the wise men of this would seek for the evidence of heavenly things in the manner prescribed by, the gospel, and with that humility of mind, to which alone

race is promised, they will wander in a wilderness out of which they can find no

191 way, they will stumble upon dark mountains, and lose themselves in the labyrinth of error.

Too often have we seen this conduct. The writings of infidels have met

with

GO

with the completest confutations. But with what effect? With the conversion of the writers ? Alas! few are the instances where that has been the case. Wrapt up in the pride of knowledge, they disdain the only method recommended by the gospel, and refuse the operations of the divine Spirit, which alone can lead them into all the truth.

Allowing the outward testimony to the truth of christianity, all the confidence which it merits (and important indeed are the conclusions which are drawn from this source) still it will be unproductive of good fruits, if we rely not on the inward evidence so strongly inculcated in the preaching of all the primitive apostles.

" Christ sent me not,” says St. Paul,

" to baptize, * but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom

of words, lest the cross of Christ should

be made of none effect,” that is, not with that parade of learning which you so much esteem, but with the inward dictates and demonstration of the spirit;

« for the " preaching of the cross is to them that perish (the worldly wise) foolishness; but

to

to us who are saved (in consequence of our belief) it is the power of God.”

At the first promulgation of the gospel, and for several years afterwards, it was not to the written word that the first preachers appealed. For, as the writer of an exccllent treatise on this subject observes *,

During sixty, seventy, or perhaps nearly “ a hundred years, christianity flourishıcd so without the assistance of any written

gospel t. This must have been by the spirit's immediate influence. It does not appear, that when the apostolical epistles were written, any of the gospels which we now have, were extant or known. They are not inentioned in the epistles,

nor is there any allusion to them. Yet “ it is clear, from the epistles, that there

were large churches, or societies of chris

* Knox's Christian Philosophy: or an Attempt to display, by internal Testimony, the Wisdom and Excellence of the Christian Religion, p. 534.

† Whatever dates may be assigned to the writings of the Gospels, the argument is not here affected by it, as it will be universally allowed, that there was a period, when the Gospel was preached, before the works of the Evangelists were delivered in writing.

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