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SERMON VII.

THE

DIVINE

ORIGIN OF THE GOSPEL.

BY REV. 1. D. WILLIAMSON

“For I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was taught it except by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”. GAL. i. 11, 12.

The conversion of St. Paul and his subsequent history, are among the most remarkable incidents recorded in the New Testament. Born a Jew, brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, and belonging to the strictest sect of the Pharisees, he commenced his career as a bitter enemy of the religion of Christ. Clothed with authority from the High Priest, he persecuted the Christians

even into strange cities, and when they were put to death, gave his voice against them.” But suddenly, and for no earthly reason, he pauses, and immediately commences preaching the Gos

pel which he had despised. And he is no ordinary preacher. He understands, at once, all the mysteries of the new religion - he meets its learned adversaries in the arena of open discussion, and confounds them by his arguments. He establishes churches, and instructs them thoroughly, in all the principles and precepts of the gospel. He writes letters, which evince the most thorough acquaintance with the whole system of Christ in all its parts, and with his voice and pen,

, labors more abundantly and successfully than any other of the disciples of his day. In view of these facts, it seems natural to inquire, how Paul obtained this thorough knowledge of this new and unknown religion? The brief history of its author was not written. There were no libraries containing expositions or commentaries, to which he had access. He had not seen Jesus in the flesh, or heard a word from his lips, nor did he, after the scene that occurred on his way to Damascus, go to Jerusalem to take counsel, or get instructions from the disciples; but he went forthwith to Arabia, and returned again to Da

Three years he preached, before he went up to Jerusalem, and abode with Peter fif

mascus.

teen days, and even then, he saw no other of the disciples, except James, the Lord's Brother.

How, then, did he obtain his deep and thorough insight into all the mysteries of the religion of Jesus ? The text gives the only answer that can meet the circumstances of the case. "I neither received it of man, neither was taught it, except by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

The Gospel, then, is an authoritative revelation of divine truth, which rests upon its own immovable basis, and claims, from the reason of man, the subscription of faith. Now, the

very

idea of a revelation necessarily supposes, that the thing revealed lies, originally, without the domain of science or philosophy. There is no necessity, that God should interpose with a special revelation to teach Astronomy, or Geology, or Botany, or any of the exact sciences, because all these are within the grasp of the intellect, and may be learned by the diligent exercise of the powers which the Creator has given to man.

It is not so with the sacred truths, of which the Gospel treats. God, his character and attributes, his purposes, and the principles of his government: Man, his origin, his relations to the

spiritual and invisible, his duty as affected by those relations, and all that relates to his final destiny, These are matters that are beyond the province of unaided reason. No depths or profundity of scientific knowledge – no powers of the human intellect, can solve these problems, or penetrate these mysteries. If made known at all, it must be done by revelation ; if seen at all, it must be by the vision of faith.

No man, by searching, can find out God, for the simple reason, that the inferior cannot measure the superior. God must come down to us, for we cannot go up to him.

So, also, of God's designs and purposes. No efforts of reason, no experiments of science, no demonstrations of mathematics, or inductions of philosophy, can fathom the Infinite Mind, or penetrate the cabinet of his counsels, to unfold the secrets of his will. If that will is known at all, God must reveal it.

In like manner, there is a darkness, dense and impervious as night itself, over the untried and unexplored future, and what awaits us there, no wisdom of earth can predict. On the contrary, every ray of light that shines upon that darkness, ,

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