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objections to revelation, have, upon more close and serious thoughts, detected the true seat of their disbelief, and have confessed that they were under the influence of a prejudice, arising almost exclusively from their dislike of the gospel. They have openly condemned themselves for rejecting, under the influence of this depravity, what they subse quently found was so much for their benefit, their moral improvement and happiness. They have not been ashamed to acknowledge, that it was the wickedness of their own hearts that made them dislike and reject the gospel; and that, as soon as they were led to suspect, and by degrees to feel the depravity of their nature, they immediately began to perceive the ample evidence of divine authority in the Bible: thus showing that the only true source of their infidelity was the repugnance of a sinful and revolted nature to the authority of those precepts,
which are infinitely pure and perfect, because they are of God. Now, what has taken place in hundreds and thousands of instances of this kind, corroborated as it is, moreover, by the sentiment, of which every converted person is an illustration, that, while in a state of unconversion, they felt strong propensities to disbelieve and deny the Bible altogether; and by the existence of such a bias in human nature generally, of which all the unconverted, most probably, are conscious, that they all secretly wish to find the Bible false ; these, taken all together, may make it certain, and ought to convince
you are an unbeliever, that there does prevail, to a fearful extent, a prejudice against God's word, which has its sole root in the depravity of the human heart. The Bible is both too good for such as they are, and they themselves are too wicked to agree with it: hence the opposi
tion; and hence, too, the urgent necessity for a change in them—a thorough change of their heart, which is conversion. This change must take place in us, to bring us unto harmony with the will and law of God; for we may be quite sure, neither God nor his word can ever undergo any change, much less such a one as might bring that word more into harmony with our corrupt and perverse hearts.
Is there not, then, a sufficient ground in the fact of your own depravity, which I assume you cannot before God deny, in the unquestionable moral excellence of the gospel doctrine, and in the lamentable fact of your prejudice against it; is there not in these things sufficient ground seriously to call upon you to examine into the state of your own heart? Suffer one who can have, in this appeal to you, no motive but that of
your best interest, solemnly to charge you to let conscience freely and faithfully perform its office. You know that
you have depraved desires and affections : that
you have often violated your own conscien: tious convictions of right and purity-have been sensible of many sinful thoughts, words, and actions; and must know that you have treated the Bible with an indifference, a scorn, or even a hatred, which, upon the supposition of its being God's word, must be exceedingly displeasing to Him. You must, further, be conscious that you have never entered calmly, candidly, and seriously into the examination of its evidences-perhaps never read it through, nor any of the numerous volumes which have been written to display and state its evidences: whereas you have, on the other hand, read books written to revile it, and have gladly caught at any apparently formidable
or pl rusible objections which you have heard from unbelievers, and, without seriously examining, have taken them to be unanswerable. You have often received suggestions, or sought for them eagerly, to support you in your infidelity ; but never consulted any person well qualified to resolve your doubts, explain your supposed difficulties, and lead you into a full and clear view of the arguments in favour of the Bible ; and, in all this, you have displayed a heart far more inclined to fall in with the dogmas of infidelity, than to do justice to the claims of revelation.
All this shows that your heart is in a corrupt state ; that you are not prepared to receive the truth in the love of it; that you have dishonestly avoided it, and shunned the change which it enforces. You have been cleaving to your infidel opinions, not because they were really more evidently true than the contrary, but because they have served to screen you from the condemnation denounced in the Bible upon sin ; and because you have found it convenient to profess yourself an unbeliever in order to keep from distressing qualms of conscience. You know that
have not desired supremely, perhaps not at all, to have your will brought into accordance with the divine will. You must be conscious that you have not desired nor sought that moral purity, that love of God, without which you can neither hope to please him, nor to live forever with him ; but, on the contrary, have adopted any opinions which seemed to afford license and irresponsible liberty to your corrupt nature. You know that any opinions, no matter how crude, inconsistent, and unfounded, which did but seem to release you from all ideas of re sponsibility to any moral rule, or any supreme
Governor, were favourably received by you. You may readily perceive that you have no foundation for
your infidel opinions but the dictates of men, who can show as little foundation for their doctrines as yourself. You must know, or may know, that in receiving these opinions you have trusted men not trustworthy, men of small knowledge and rash judgments and bad characters; and that such are the great mass of professed infidels. You must know that the generality of these are men of corrupt morals, of violent passions and evil témpers ; who can scarcely trust each other, and are constantly fluctuating in their views, and possessed of little that can be considered fixed and settled opinion, except their common dislike of the Bible, and their wish to be free from all moral restraints. You must know that an honourable and virtuous character is an exception among them, and that the mass of them are any thing but honourable and respectable; that they are persons whom you cannot permanently esteem or trust, and that you would not yourself seriously wish your wife or your children to embrace their opinions and follow their practices. You must have perceived that almost all pre-eminently vicious persons profess infidelity; that there is a most strong and marked affinity between intidelity and immorality; and that scarcely any one becomes systematically, openly and daringly wicked, until he has cast off the authority of the Bible, and declared himself an unbeliever. Surely this undeniable fact should make you suspicious of this harmony, this conjunction between the two.
Hence, then, you must, or, at least, ought to feel, that your association with such, your agreement with them, is a matter that calls for your
most serious examination-an examination which ought, in particular, to regard this question: whether it is not the depravity of your heart which has made them agreeable to you, and their opinions welcome?
Surely, you cannot deny, that it would be for the good of your soul to embrace the glorious prospects of Christianity—that you can find nothing in infidelity to be compared with them. The system has nothing to offer you beyond a blank, an absolute and eternal blank, and a license, an impunity to your depraved nature, for this life, a mere jubilee to your animalism. Think whether this is, or can be, in any sense worthy of a rational, an intellectual nature, capable, as it undoubtedly is, of the pure and seraphic joys of true religion. Think, again, of the slender ground on which your opinions rest; and if that ground should prove false, how irreparable will be the dilemma into which you will fall! The believer in Christianity can lose nothing; for if he is wrong, he is as well off as you; and if he is right, and
you wrong, then you forfeit every hope and every joy, and fall under the heavy condemnation of your Maker's displeasure. Consider what it is that Christianity would enforce upon you, and imagine what sort of a character it aims to form, what duties it calls you to discharge, and what prospects it sets before you, and judge whether there is in them any thing to which sober reason can object. You are re quired by it to love God with all your heart, and your neighbour as yourself. Is there in this any thing objectionable? Does it not, rather, commend itself to every reasonable being who admits that there is a God, and who allows that the whole human family are equally his care? Consider,