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explained the nature of this office; and we had established the truth of his Mission by the chief proofs which arise from the supernatural events at his birth, and from the accomplishment of ancient prophecies, as well as by those intrinsic marks, which demonstrate the utter impossibility of imposture; and, to return to the first step, we had urged the importance of the discussion from the connexion which intimately subsists between the missions of John the Baptist, and of Jesus Christ.-Such are the admirable adjustment, dependance, and regularity, which pervade and distinguish the frame of Christianity'. Designed by Him "that sitteth in the heavens," she bears the impress of her origin in the extent and the congruity of her numerous relations,-in diversity of modes, and in unity of object. Of her influence, our reason, our meditation, our feelings, in all the variety, and with all the force of spontaneous emotions, - declare, that from the beginning she was intended for our happiness, and to the end she will diffuse it among the children of men. To what cause, then, is our restless dis
1 What Plotinus has so justly observed of the exquisite agreement and consistency which the Deity has caused to subsist throughout the universe, and the folly of those, who find faults with separate parts, without considering their subserviency and conformity to the whole, may be applied to the system of revelation:— “Ὅλον γὰρ τὶ ἐποίησε πάγκαλον, καὶ αὔταρκες, καὶ φίλον αὑτῷ, καὶ τοῖς μέρεσι τοῖς αὐτοῦ, τοῖς τε κυριωτέροις καὶ τοῖς ἐλάττοσιν ωσαύτως προσφόροις· ὁ τοίνυν ἐκ τῶν μερῶν τὸ ὅλον αἰτιώμενος, ἄτοπος ἂν εἴη τῆς αἰτίας· τότε γὰρ μέρη πρὸς αὐτὸ τὸ ὅλον δεῖ σκοπεῖν, εἰ σύμφωνα καὶ ἁρμόττοντα ἐκείνῳ.” Ennead. p. 256.
content with the system of revealed religion to be traced? It is that, ignorant of the nature of real perfection, we fill our minds with glowing visions of counterfeit excellence, and through the gorgeous profusion of their fantastic imagery the light of truth comes dim and powerless;-it is that the pride of intellectual powers revolts at the thought of hearing with humility and attention the authoritative precepts of inspired wisdom;-or it is that our follies and our vices suffer us not to examine them, till the hour of sickness and of sorrow be arrived, when our spirits are broken, and our hopes scattered, and our faculties enfeebled, and our views of the future, as they gradually become more fixed, discover only shadows of indistinct terror, that rest on the darkening stage of existence. Another source of these fretful complaints may perhaps be sought in that feeling of utter unsatisfactoriness, which, usually attending our weak and imperfect undertakings, unfits us for the contemplation of sublime and momentous objects. When the Almighty surveyed the works, which his hands had wrought, he saw that they were all exceeding good, and rested; but when man surveys the works, which his hands have wrought, he sees that they are all vanity and vexation of spirit, -and finds no rest. Thus dissatisfied with himself,
2 "Tu, postquam conversus es ad spectandum opera, quæ fecerunt manus tuæ, vidisti quod omnia essent bona valde; et requievisti. At homo, conversus ad opera, quæ fecerunt manus suæ, vidit quod omnia essent vanitas et vexatio spiritûs, nec ullo modo requievit.” Bacon. Instaur. Mag. Part I. Distrib. Opus.
he grows dissatisfied even with the plans of Omnipotence; he turns from the clearest arguments to dwell on the slightest obscurities, till his mind become at length so blinded by the indulgence of error, that he will "grope in the noon-day as in the night." So subtle and so versatile is the spirit of prejudice. Assuming every form, and appearing in every colour, it insinuates itself into genius as into ignorance, and reigns alike in the depth of vicious degradation, and the height of mental superiority.
But no one, who divests himself of all undue bias, and reviews the whole evidence with seriousness and impartiality,-weighing the force of each proof separately, and of all collectively,—can fail to admire the strength, the completeness, and the harmonious correspondence of every part in the fabric of that religion, on whose front sits the beauty of holiness, and whose foundation is the rock of ages;—or be forced, in the agitation of perpetual solicitude, and in the darkness of comfortless uncertainty, to repeat the question,"Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?"