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for preserving the unity of the Church, instead of his being an instrument of SECESSION from it, he will seek to understand that
doctrine of which our Lord speaks, when he saith, “ He " that will do the will of God shall know of the “ doctrine whether it be of God.” This is an Era of Light in the Church.
Men are ardent to hear the word of God. And if a thousand churches were added to the present number, and “ enlightened by the doctrine of the Evangelist John," they would all be filled. Those who preach that doctrine are the true DEFENDERS of the Faith and the legitimate supPORTERS of the Church of England. If these increase, the Church will increase. If these increase in succeeding years in the same proportion as they have hitherto done, it is the surest pledge that the Church is to flourish for centuries to come, as she has flourished for centuries past. And there is nothing which forbids the hope that she will be PERPETUAL; if she be the ordained instrument of giving light to the world.
I shall now conclude this discourse with delivering my testimony concerning the spiritual religion of Christ.--I have passed through a great part of the world, and have seen Christianity, Judaism, Mahomedanism, and Paganism 'in almost all their forms; and I can truly declare,
that almost every step of my progress afforded new proof not only of the general truth of the religion of Christ, but of the truth of that change of heart in true believers which our Lord describes in these words, “ Born of the Spirit; and which the Evangelist John calls, “Receiving an unction “from the Holy One.” For even the heathens. shew in their traditions and religious ceremonies, vestiges of this doctrine.* Every thing else that is called religion, in Pagan or Christian lands, is a COUNTERFEIT of this. This change of heart ever carries with it its own witness; and it alone exhibits the same character among men of every language and of every clime. It bears the fruit of righteousness; it affords the highest enjoyment of life which was intended by God, or is attainable by man; it inspires the soul with a sense of pardon and of acceptance through a Redeemer: it gives peace in death; and“ a sure "and certain hope of the resurrection unto eter“ nal life.”
Let every man then, who hath any doubt in his mind as to this change in the state of the soul in this life, apply himself to the consideration of the subject. For IF THERE BE ANY TRUTH IN
* See The Star in the East.
The Eras of Ligh(UNT:
63 REVELATION, THIS IS TRUE. “What shall it pro“ fit a man, if he gain the whole world and lose “his own soul?” What avails it that all the treasures of science and literature are poured at our feet, if we are ignorant of ourselves, of Christ, and holiness? The period is hastening which will put an end to this world and all its distinctions ; which, like a flood, will sweep away its applause and its frown, its learning and its ignorance. The awful glories of the last judgment will, ere long appear; when the humble and penitent inquirer, who has received by faith that stupendous grace which the doctrine of Christ reveals, shall be eternally saved; while the merely speculative student, whose secret love of sin led to the rejection of that doctrine, shall, notwithstanding his presumption of final impunity, be, for ever, undone.
I cannot permit myself to conclude, without expressing my thanks for the very candid attention with which you have been pleased to honour these discourses. I trust that every word hath been spoken with a just deference for the learned assembly before whom I preach : for I greatly covet your approbation, and I hope that I shall obtain it. But I have a solemn account to render; for I have had many opportunities.
and I desire to say that, now, which my
conscience shall approve, at that hour when I shall be called to give an account of my stewardship. I
pray that “ the Spirit of truth,” which our Saviour promised should abide with his people for ever, may manifest his power amongst us, dispel the darkness of ignorance and error, and guide our minds into all Truth.” John xvi. 13.
To this Holy Spirit, who, together with the Father and the Son, is One God, be ascribed all honour and glory, power, might, majesty, and dominion, now and evermore. Amen.
[The knowledge of the Holy Scriptures was passing away.]
MORNING SERMON, page 21. Not only was Hebrew literature neglected at the Universities, but theological learning in general had declined; and it was, for the most part, left to the student to chuse, whether he would qualify himself or not for the sacred function. And, as the candidates for holy orders were not required to study what was to be preached, so they were not instructed how they were to preach. There were no lectures in public speaking; no exercises in recitation or in sacred composition. Or, if some lectures and exercises still existed under that name, they had become of little practical use.
In the torpid state, in which all the other religious denominations then were, in common with the Established Church, she would not suffer much, in the way of secession, by this decay in theological learning. But the case is widely different, now that there has been a revival of religion in the nation; and we cannot wonder that, under circumstances so unfavourable to the acquirement of the faculty of preaching, there should have been so great a separation from the Church of late years.