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and work of Christ as a golden link, that would draw. along with it the whole chain of evangelical truth. Hence we perceive the propriety of such language as the following: "He that hath the Son, hath life, and he that hath not the Son, hath not life-Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.”

The doctrine and the faith of the primitive christians were summarily avowed every time they celebrated the Lord's supper. The leading truth exhibited by that ordinance is the same which John calls “ the record;" namely, that “God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." Under the form of a feast, of which we are invited to “take, to eat, and to drink," are set forth the blessings of the new testament, or covenant, and the medium through which they were obtained; namely, “ the blood of Jesus, shed for many for the remission of sins," and the way in which they must be received; that is to say, as a free gift, bestowed on the unworthy for his sake. If this simple doctrine were believed with the spirit of a little child, and lived upon as our meat and drink, we might take an everlasting leave of speculations on things beyond our reach; and that without sustaining the loss of any thing but what were better lost than retained.

IMPORTANCE OF TRUTH. If the above remarks may be thought sufficient to ascertain what is truth, its importance follows as a necessary consequence. If, as transgressors, we be exposed to the eternal displeasure of our Maker; if a door of hope 'be opened to us ; if it be at no less an expense than the death of God's only-begotten Son in our nature ; if through this great propitiation God can be just, and the justifier of believers : finally, if this be the only way of escape, and the present the only state in which it is possible to flee to it for refuge, who, that is not infatuated by the delusions of this world, can make light of it? There is an importance

in truth as it relates to philosophy, history, politics or any other branch of science, inasmuch as it affects the present happiness of mankind: but what is this when compared with that which involves their everlasting salvation? To be furnished with an answer to the question, “What shall I do to be saved ?" is of infinitely greater account, than to be able to decide whether the Ptolemaic or Copernican system be that of nature. The temporal salvation of a nation, great as it is, and greatly as it interests the minds of men, is nothing when compared with the eternal salvation of a single individual.

But many, who would not deny the superior value of eternal salvation to all other things, have yet gone about to depreciate the importance of divine truth, and to represent it as having no necessary connexion with either present holiness or future happiness. Such appears to have been the design of those well-known lines of Pope:

* For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight :

His can't be wrong whose life is in the right." And to the same purpose we have often been told in prose, that we shall not be judged at the last day by our Opinions, but by our works. If truth and error existed in the mind merely as opinions, or objects of specula. tion, they might possibly have but little influence upon us : but if they be principles of action, they enter into the essence of all we do. Such is the influence of living faith, otherwise it could not be shewn by our works: and such is that of the belief of falsehood, else we had not read of the word of false teachers eating as doth (veyspanra) a gangrene.* The works by which we shall be judged cannot mean actions in distinction from their principles ; for as such they would contain neither good nor evil, but as connected with them. All pretences, therefore, to separate the one from the other, are as contrary to reason as they are to scripture.

* James ü. 18 2 Tim. ü. 17.

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To render this subject more evident, let the following particulars be duly considered.

First: It is by the belief of truth that sinners are brought into a state of salvation.-Great things are Ascribed in the scriptures to faith: but faith could have no existence without revealed truth as its foundation. Whatever importance, therefore, attaches to the one attaches to the other. The great blessing of justification is constantly ascribed to faith ; not as the reward of a virtue, but as that by which we become one with Christ, and so partakers of his benefits. While unbea, lievers, we have no revealed interest in the divine favour; but are declared to be under condemnation : but believing in him, we are no longer "under the law,” as a term of life and death; but “under Hence it is, that in the gospel, as “heard and receive ed,” we are said to “stand.” Take away evangelical truth, and you take away the standing of a christian. Bereaved of this, the best man upon earth must despair of salvation.

Secondly : Truth is the model and standard of true religion in the mind.-That doctrines, whether true or false, if really believed, become principles of action; that they are a mould into which the mind is cast, and from which it receives its impression, is evident both from scripture and experience. An observant eye will easily perceive a spirit which attaches to different

species of religion ; and which, over and above the diversities arising from natural temper, will manifest itself in their respective followers. Paganism, Mahometism, Deism, Apostate-Judaism, and various systems which have appeared under the name of Christianity, have each discovered a spirit of their own. Thus also it was from the beginning. Those who received " another doctrine,” received with it “another spirit :"and hence we read of “ the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." He that had the one is said to be “ of God," and he that had the other “not of God." *

* 2 Cor. xi. *.

1 Jolan iv. 6.

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purpose of evangelical truth. Honour, interest, and the habits of education, will induce men to shun open immoralities, and to comply with things which are reputable and praise-worthy. But though there be great cause for thankfulness to God, who by his providence thus restrains mankind from much evil; yet this is not holiness. Holiness is the love of God and one another; whereas this is mere self-love. All works and worship of this kind are no better than the offering of Cain, which, being without faith, could not please God.

there may be a semblance of holiness without faith, so there may be a semblance of faith without holiness. The doctrines of the bible, though in themselves practical, yet may be treated as mere speculations, and frequently are so by men who profess to believe them; and where this is the case, instead of producing holiness, they may have a contrary effect: but this is owing to their being perverted. God's words do good to the upright. There is not a sentiment in the living oracles but what, if received in the true spirit and intent of it, will contribute to the sanctification of the mind.

True religion is with great beauty and propriety called, “Walking in the truth.”* A life of sobriety, righteousness, and godliness, is christian principle reduced to practice. Truth is a system of love, an overflow of the divine blessedness, as is intimated by its being called, “The glorious gospel of the blessed God:" a system of reconciliation, peace, and forgiveness; full of the most amazing condescension, and of spotless rectitude. To walk in truth like this is to walk in love, to be tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven us ; to be of the same mind with him who made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant; and to be holy in all manner of conversation.

Such were the fruits of truth which were actually brought forth by the primitive believers; and such, in

* 2 John Am


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