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ages, there is not one which is 'so fully displayed, and which may be so easily understood, as that of Jesus Christ.

John, towards the close of his gospel, records this saying of his master; “ Thomas, because thou hast

seen me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they " that have not seen, and yet have believed :" and the evangelist immediately subjoins; “ Many other

signs truly did Jesus, in the presence of his dis

ciples, which are not written in this book : But " these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus s is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing,

ye might have life through his name."* Thus, though a sensible exhibition of the Redeemer's person be withheld, we have sufficient information of his character, doctrine, and laws; sufficient evi. dence of his mission, his dignity, and his finished work. And the want of such an exhibition, requiring for belief attention more laborious, and displaying in a believer a mind more ingenuous, is fully compensated on the equitable principle; '“ Unto “ whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much

required.”+ “ Blessed," then, peculiarly blessed,

are they that have not seen, and yet have be« lieved.”

2. Since, in an age so remote as the present from that of Christ's manifestation, and so much disposed to cavil at the principles of his religion, it is of peculiar importance to establish the position maintained in this head of discourse, let us attend a little more closely to matter of fact; and the possibility, nay the necessary existence of love, and of Jobin met 29-31

† Luke xü. 48.

other affections to a being, though unseen, will more clearly appear.

When we read of distant cities swallowed up by earthquakes, or buried under the melted bowels of burning mountains, our tranquillity is but little disturbed. We hear of others exposed to the murderous rage of conquering armies; and though here we feel somewhat more interested, yet, after uttering one or two melancholy reflections on the subject, +We hasten to our business or our amusements, with as much cheerfulness, as if no disaster had taken place. A person, in a remote country, is described to us, in general terms, as the most wise and virtuous of mankind, and as withal the most afflicted: yet. the description does not perceptibly kindle a single emotion of love, pity, or admiration.

But do such instances shew that, towards persons unseen, it is incompatible with our nature to exercise its affections; and that those objects only, which fall under our immediate inspection, can attract our regard ? No: they only prove that a general account is insufficient deeply to interest us; and that, to awaken our affections, particular persons must be pointed out, particular facts and incidents must be specified. The sufferings or deliverances, the virtues or vices, the wisdom or folly of individuals, must be exhibited, in connexion with appropriate actions, and events. Characters, thus presented in combination with their circumstances, come within the grasp of the mind; they are rendered distinct

objects of perception, and are capable of powerfully interesting us. Nay, so irresistible is the effect of particular delineations

upon our hearts, that, in such cases, the scenes, even though known to be unreal,

do not fail to affect us with lively emotion. In either of the first instances alluded to above, state a few particulars. Mention by name a husband hastening to the relief of his wife, instead of saving himself by flight; while she, equally inattentive to her own safety, is found dragging her wearied limbs along, beneath the burden of her infant children, unable to escape from the advancing torrents of burning matter, or from the pitiless hands of a ferocious soldiery. Of the man of extraordinary endowments and sufferings, describe the words, the actions, and the particular calamities. There will then appear no need of actual vision to interest our minds, and awaken their strongest feelings. Fear and pity, love and hatred, admiration and horror, will reign alternate in our bosoms. Though visible objects, therefore, produce impressions more readily and more powerfully; and though frequent personal intercourse makes us retain them more lastingly; yet these, and a thousand other instances, prove, that, the same impressions may be made, where vision cannot be attained. Let us now apply these observations to our case with respect to Him, whom though we have not seen him, we profess to love. Are we only told in general that Christ is our Saviour? Are we barely informed that he lived a season on earth; that he died and rose again, that every excellence adorned his character; and that sufferings manifold and exquisite afflicted his soul?: No: For then, though we might feel some general emotions of admiration and gratitude; yet, agreeably to the fixed constitution of our nature, it were. impossible that we should love him, or that he


should become the immediate object of our affections. He that formed us remembers our frame; and has adapted to it the records of inspiration. The gospels are no general encomiastic relation of Christ's obedience, kindness, power, and sufferings. They afford firm footing to the mind's affections, in the simple details, which they afford us, of a vast' variety of particulars in his demeanour towards God and man, in every different situation and circumstance. His conduct in the several relations of human life, in retired intercourse with his chosen disciples, in the company of admiring thousands, in the midst of malicious detractors, and inveterate enemies, is distinctly brought in view. He is exhibited in situations which are not only conceivable, but which have often been experienced by us all : and what he did, how he spoke, and how he felt in these, is related with a particularity which places him directly before us, and brings him not only within the limits of human conception, but within the circle of human converse. Every heart must feel, in the perusal, some degree of emotion: the heart of a believer burns within him.-Glorious the Redeemer indeed appears: but, like the sun thinly shaded, he dazzles not by excessive brightness.

Under a form which we can contemplate and appreciate, he discovers himself in every character; and in every relation, lays himself open to the clearest inspection. There are not wanting, it is true, such declarations as ascribe to him, in the most general terms, a moral excellence absolute and perfect. Thus we read, that he was “ holy, " harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners;"*

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that he “ went about doing good ;"* that he " did

“ not sin, neither was guile found in his mouth :”+ (But to render such general assertions more intelli

gible to our understandings, and to make them affecting to our hearts, we also read, in a thousand particulars, of the sick whom he healed, of the disconsolate whom he comforted, of the wretched whom he relieved, of the dead whom he raised, of friends to whom he was indissolubly attached, of enemies whom he forgave, of ignorance which he instructed, of perverseness with which he meekly bore, of sufferings unparalleled which he endured with perfect resignation and fortitude, of purity untainted, of devotion uninterrupted and heavenly ; above all, of a voluntary sacrifice of himself, the offering of unexampled love. We are informed in general that, to give him the better title to our love, he took upon him a near and intimate relation to his people. But we are informed also of the manner in which that relation was constituted, of the Dames by which it is expressed, and of the characters in which it is displayed : names so tender, characters so gracious, and so suitable to our wants, as to win affection, excite confidence, and fill with joy.

We read that he took part of our flesh and of our blood ; that he subjected himself to the same obligations, and exposed himself to the same sorrows; that he is our shepherd and overseer, our leader and commander, the Lord our righteousness and our strength, the captain of our salvation, the author and finisher of our faith, our intercessor and advocate, our master and our king, Emmanuel, God with us, and, in one word, our Mediator ; * Acts 2. 38

t 1 Peter ii. 22.

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