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shews, how difficult it is for those who enjoy the riches of this world to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and the snare which such things lay in the Christian's path'; when, in reply to the person who came to him for the arbitration of a dispute, he warned his disciples against covetousness; and, in the impressive parable which followed, shewed the wretched condition of those, who lay up treasure for themselves, and are not rich towards God? ;—we feel that these instructions, uttered incidently as peculiar circumstances called them forth, must have come upon those who heard them with a weight, which no settled discourses could have possessed; they flash conviction upon the mind, as we read them; and we feel, by the manner in which they affect us, that they are the words of Him, who knew what was

in man.

5. Lastly, we may remark the unspeakable tenderness, the dignity, the sublimity, with which he spake; the calmness with which he always approached the most awful subjects; and the unvarying constancy with which he directed all the thoughts and actions of his followers to the great end for which he left the throne of heaven and came into the world, the attainment of an eternal and heavenly reward.

When we consider the unrivalled excellency, which distinguishes all the discourses of our Redeemer; the unspeakable dignity, authority, and tenderness, which characterize our Saviour's mode of delivering his instructions; the entire conformity which they exhibit with the character and attributes of God; the intimate knowledge which he appears to possess of that world from whence he came, and of the hearts and purposes of man; we cannot but feel how remarkable is the consistency, which pervades all his revelations and the whole of his conduct as a religious teacher, with the mysterious character in which he appeared, as God manifest in the flesh” for the instruction and salvation of man. The teaching of our Lord is in every way worthy of the most sublime ideas which we can form of Him, in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in whose divine mind were hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge

i Matth, xix. 16, &c.

2 Luke xii, 13. &c.

יל

3 Col. ii. 9. 3.

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As the doctrines of the Gospel are original, so, in like manner, are the duties, which arise out of the belief of these doctrines, original also. Whatever might be the views of moral obligation, which were inculcated by those who considered these subjects before the coming of our Saviour, they must necessarily be altogether affected, both in their character and their obligations, by the relation which they bear to Him, in what he did and suffered for mankind. “For,” as Bishop Butler has observed, “ the office of our Lord being made known, and the relation he stands in to us, the obligation of religious regards to him is plainly moral, as much as charity to mankind is; since this obligation arises, before external command, immediately out of that his office and relation itself.” With regard to those who profess to receive the Gospel dispensation, it is impossible that they can have any views of moral duty and moral obligation which are not considered with reference to the doctrines and example of our Redeemer, and the obligations which we owe to Him, con

1 Analogy. Part 11. Chap. i.

sidered with reference to the different relations in which he stands to us.

The same observation, which was made with reference to the intimations contained in our Saviour's discourses relative to his death, his resurrection, and everything connected with Him as the Judge of mankind, is applicable also to the moral duties and dispositions inculcated in our Saviour's discourses. For as these intimations imply a perfect knowledge and comprehension of all the great doctrines connected with these great facts in our Redemption, so, in like manner, do the moral duties and dispositions inculcated in our Saviour's discourses presuppose these doctrines in their full revelation: and the precepts of our Saviour derive their great force, no less from their own intrinsic beauty and excellence, than from the relation which they bear to Him, who suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his steps.

Now there is nothing, which is more repeatedly and more earnestly inculcated in the writings of the Apostles of the Lord, than that entire change of heart and disposition, which is always the preliminary, as well as the consequence, of a faithful reception of the Gospel. The natural man, saith St Paul, receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned': and again, If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away ; behold all things are become new'. It is that entire change of disposition, for which the great Apostle entreated the mercy of his Redeemer for his Ephesian converts,—that they might be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, that Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith; that they, being rooted and grounded in love, might be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the length, and breadth, and depth, and height, And to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that they might be filled with all the fulness of God.

2 1 Peter ii. 21.

3 1 Cor. ii. 14.

Now this great change of disposition and heart is the subject of one of our Saviour's earliest discourses, his conversation with Nicodemus; in which our Lord enforces attention of his disciple the necessity of an entire change of disposition and heart, that a man may be fitted to see the kingdom of God; and grounds the necessity of this change on the sublime and heavenly character of the doctrines which he taught. This is the plain and obvious import of our Lord's discourse with Nicodemus, divested of those points of controversy, which, though they are important in themselves, do not affect this, which is the main drift and argument of our Lord's discourse : " Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be

upon the

1 2 Cor. v. 17.

2 Ephes. iii. 16-19.

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