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of Christ were different; to His views His conduct was answerable; nor were either the one or the other different from what we should have expected in a Being superior to man; a Being trusting in Himself and in His Father alone, whom neither the blame nor praise of man could reach, alike above the mark of his hatred and his services. So far from priding Himself on the number and greatness of the miracles which He wrought, He does those miracles as things of course, and with the same degree of unaffected indifference with which a service of the most trifling kind is rendered by one man to another; He displays, almost uniformly, His Divine Power in works of mercy and loving kindness; and instead of collecting an army among His followers, and causing Himself, as He well might have done, to be proclaimed king over Israel, He actually dismissed two armies, one after the other, who were not only flushed with hope and inspired with the fullest confidence in Him, but were actually inclined, as we read in another chapter, to make Him king whether He would or no. Such a conduct as this is what no deceiver would have followed in his own person; nay, it may be pronounced with equal certainty, that our Saviour's character and behaviour, as described by the four Evangelists, are such as, if the Evangelists had been deceivers, they could not possibly have described or imagined. His is, in fact, a character of such perfect excellence and purity as no writer has elsewhere described either in history or fable,

and which it is absolutely absurd to suppose, that the Evangelists, being, as they were, unlearned men, and writing, as they did, separately and without collusion, could have conceived or painted, if the same original had not been before them all. If, then, the history which has been read to you be true, it is certain that Christ was, what He professed, the Son of God Most High; and that it is true we may be sure from the want of power in the Evangelists to describe such a person as our Lord from fancy, or to agree in imputing to Him a conduct so consistent with itself in every part, and in every part so different from that of other men. And this is the first observation which may be grounded on the words which I have read to you, namely, that they confirm our belief that Jesus was the Son of God, that all things which He hath spoken unto us from the Father are true, and that in Himself there is no falsehood at all.

The second observation relates to the tendency and character of the religion which He taught. That religion, above all others, which have been at any time offered to the world, is distinguished by its peculiarly practical nature; by its not drawing. men away from the interests, the charities, nor, when used within due bounds, the enjoyments and pleasures of the present life; but by being a system of which it is the leading object not to take us out of the world, but to fit us for lives of innocence and usefulness in the world. It was the boast of ancient philosophy, and it has been the

boast of false religion and of the power of Antichrist, under whatever disguise presented to mankind, to withdraw men as much as possible from the cares and duties of a worldly and industrious life; to teach them to place their ideas of perfection and their hopes of salvation in a total retirement from mankind, or in an inactive and unprofitable round of ceremonies and superstitions, commanding to abstain from labour, which is the common condition of our kind; from marriage, whereby we contribute to the common stock of happiness and of productive labour, the enjoyments and toils of our children; from meats, which God Himself hath given to be received with thankfulness; from conversation, whereby the bonds of charity are kept alive, and the common fund of religious and useful knowledge extended and preserved. But the religion of Christ, as taught by Christ Himself, and the apostles who were inspired by Him, not only does not command, but expressly discourages all heedless singularity or solitude. If He calls us into the desert for a time to hear the words of life, He calls us only that we may return to the world better qualified to perform our parts in it; the more industrious in our lawful business, in proportion as we are the more fervent in spirit; and so much the better sons, the better parents, the better husbands, brethren, subjects, fellow-citizens, or friends, by how much we are the better Christians. It is in this manner that the connexion so often spoken of between faith and works is made abundantly cer

tain and manifest; because in the Christian religion there is no single article of faith which does not immediately lead us to a necessity of some answerable practice. We believe in God, but this faith is not to be shown forth by us, as by many of the pretended wise men among the Indians, by sitting still, day after day, in the silent and fixed contemplation of that glorious Being, whose essence and attributes surpass the utmost reach of our minds. Our faith in God is an active faith, which leads us to pray to Him, and strive to please Him. Our faith in Christ is to be shown forth by loving Him, and, for His sake, loving each other; our faith in the atonement, which He has made for sin, is to be proved by our honouring His name not only with our lips but with our lives; our faith in a judgement to come is to be proved by being such men in all godly soberness as we desire the Lord of all things to find us at His return. We have promised, indeed, in our baptism, to renounce the sins and vanities of the world, but to renounce a due and temperate use of the world itself is neither desirable nor possible. Our business is to pass through its temptations and engagements like air through water, whose bubbles, though buried in the mass, still rise rapidly upwards, and keep themselves distinct from the surrounding element, till they find that Heaven to which they are tending. But to leave the world is not ours till death has set us free, and to each regenerate Christian, Christ seems to say in His Gospel, as He said of old to the restored

lunatic of Gadara, "Canst thou hope that thy new religion is to set thee free from thine ancient duties? Tarry not here under an idle pretext of serving me more entirely, but return to thine own city and thine own house, and by a diligent discharge of thy duties there, show forth how great things God hath done for thee1."

In a certain sense, then, the words which St. Mark applies to that mighty multitude whom Christ, after miraculously supporting their feeble natures, "sent away" to their respective cities, will apply to the situation of us all, when dismissed from the house of God, to put in practice the lessons which we have there learnt, in the bosom of our families, and amid the larger or smaller circles of our kindred, our friends, our neighbourhood. Each of us may consider himself as having repaired to this holy place to learn the will of the Most High, and to obtain His saving help towards its performance, and each of us, when he retires from the temple, is returning, it may be hoped, with an increased knowledge of his duty, and an increased power of performing it, to those familiar scenes where the course of his duty lies, and wherein his behaviour must determine whether he has truly profited or not, by his visit to God's house.

Let me entreat you, then, my brethren, to suppose yourselves for a moment in the situation of those persons who had been instructed by the

1 St. Luke viii. 39.

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