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to all nations : but it is not universally necessary that it should precede the Gospel. The fact is, that the religion of Christ has sometimes found more difficulty in conflicting with a refined superstition, with what St. Paul calls “ the wisdom of men,” than with the ignorance of barbarism. It doth not appear that human learning, in itself considered, though in many ways an important instrument of good to mankind, predisposes the mind in any manner or degree to receive the Grace of God. There is a sense in which Learning, like Riches, may impede our spiritual progress, for “Knowledge puffeth up,' (1 Cor. viii. 1.) though we are ever to distinguish between the use and the abuse of learning On this subject we ought to keep in remembrance our Saviour's words, " The poor " have the Gospel preached to them:" in which is implied, “ That the poor would UNDER
STAND the Gospel, and RECEIVE the Gospel ;" and these words have been illustrated in every age. The Apostle Paul had less success among the learned at Athens, than among the barbarous people. And the same is sometimes the experience of Preachers at this day among the Gentile nations. It so happens that the most numerous conversions, during the last century, have been among those nations which have least
civilization. And this fact demonstrates the PERMANENT CHARACTER and DIVINE NATURE of the Christian dispensation. For, “Where is the “wise?” saith the Apostle, in reference to this subject: “ " Where is the Scribe? Where is the "disputer of this world ? Hath not God made “ foolish the wisdom of this world ? For ye see
your calling, brethren; how that not many “ wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, “not many noble are called. But God hath " chosen the foolish things of the world to
confound the wise : and God hath chosen the "weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty: That no flesh should “glory IN HIS PRESENCE: But that, accord
ing as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Cor. i. 26.
* The EsQUIMAUX Indians of LABRADOR ; the COLAREES of the Decan in India ; the African slaves of several islands in the West Indies; and the natives of Caffraria, and of the Great and Little Namaquas, in the South of Africa. See the Reports of the Moravian, Danish, and English Missions.
Gen. I. 3. Let there be LIGAT.
Among the many pieces of sublime and beautiful composition with which the service of our church abounds, there is a prayer which I have always admired, and which will properly introduce the Era of Light that is to be the subject of this discourse; I mean that collect in which we pray that our church may be “ enlightened " by the doctrine of the Evangelist Saint John.”
The doctrine of the Evangelist St. John accords with that of our Saviour before mentioned: namely,
That God the father is Love. God is Love. “ Herein is Love, not that we loved God, but " that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." i John iv. 10. Of God the Son he saith, that “Jesus Christ
sis come in the flesh: and that the blood of
Spirit that beareth witness (to the Son of God), s because the spirit is Truth ;” and of its operation on the hearts of believers he saith, that “ they have an unction from the Holy one; and " that this unction À BIDETH in them; that they are thus BORN of God, and become the children “ of God ;" and finally, that the evidence of their being thus born again, is “ the love of the bre“thren.”—“We know,” saith he, “ that we have '" passed from death to life, because we love the “ brethren.” 1 John iii. 14.
This is the doctrine of the blessed Apostle and Evangelist St. John, as expressed in his Epistles, and confirmed by his Gospel; and this is the heavenly doctrine which our Church prays for in the following words :
“ Merciful Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy BRIGHT BEAMS of light upon thy church, that “it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy " blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John,
may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to the light of everlast"ing life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
prayer was offered up continually during