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1.- The conne&tion between the fall of man, and the revelation of the Gospel.
II".--The preparation necessary for the reception of the Gospel.
III'.—The truth of Scripture.
IV!y. The proof of our Saviour's mission from miracles and prophecy.
V'y. - The precise difference between Chriftianity and the moral law.
VI",—The general defign of Christianity.
VII'.- The conditions required of Christians faith—and repentance.
VIII'.- Forgiveness of injuries--reftitution, and advancement in Christian perfection. .
IX".—The promises of the Gospel. · X'.—The threatenings of the Gospel.
The last fermon, No. XXV. is so closely conneEited with the fubje£t of the foregoing twelve sermans, that the author prints it as a concluding discourse,
I COR. XV. 22.
1. FOR AS IN ADAM ALL DIE, EVEN SO IN
CHRIST SHALL ALL BE MADE ALIVE..
W HEN we look round the world, we cannot
but discover in it many marks of imperfection. The earth produces corn and fruits with labour; while it teems of its own accord with weeds and noxious herbs.--The air is the seat of storms and blasting winds; and the ocean often overflows its bounds.
In the brute creation we find the same marks of imperfection. The whole state of animal life is a state of rapine and bloodshed. One half of it preys upon the other.
Nor have we fewer marks of imperfection when we examine mankind, furnished, as we are, with
reason. We all know, we have within us à constant inclination to evil Our appetites and passions are continually leading us into mischief, either public or private. .
Naw, on considering all this imperfection, it appears probable at fight, that the earth and its inhabitants are in some fallen state.
The great question therefore is, How came things into this state? Whence is it, that God's creation here, fo fair in many respects, should in others be so deformed? Did God create evil? Did he make a bad world, and stock it with bad inhabitants, for no purpose but to make them miserable? :
Alas! these questions have puzzled the wisdom of all mankind. The ancient heathen plainly faw the difficulty, and endeavoured to solve it; but in no way that was fatisfactory to himself. He faw how inconsistent it was with the goodness of God to create evil: but it was not in the power of human reason to explain the mystery.
Thanks be to Revelation, we are better taught. : A book is put into our hands--the word of God
which explains these things. Here we find, this world was not originally formed in the state in which we now see it-it was formed originally
in a state of perfection-it produced its fruits without labour-and man was created in a state of innocence and happiness. The facred story proceeds to inform us of that fatal act of disobedience which the first man committed.
Some have treated the Mofaic account of the fall with disrespect. But let us be satisfied with it, till we get a better-till we get one more confiftent with the moral and natural state of what we observe at present in the world*. -As to the: agency of the devil, we are utterly ignorant of the power of evil spirits—we are ignorant how far they were permitted then, or how far they are permitted even now, to tempt mankind.-And as to the prohibition of the fruit of a tree, which fome call trifling, who dare affirm, that a more proper one could have been suited to the condition
* It seems no improbable conje&ture, in answer to those who object to the short period of a Paradisaical state, that God might chuse to open the new world, meant to be a state of trial, with a melancholy event, which, like a table of contents to a book, might fhew the fatal ef. fects of difubedience. As to Adam, no doubt, his will was free, but God made use of his disobedience, as he does of ours, to bring about his own wise pur. poles.