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to demons-and it denounced utter, eternal ruin againft those who did not forfake them and acknowledge Jehovah. Those peculiarities, apart from the nature of this religion, which is opposed to the lufts of men which rule in their members, would, of courfe, unite the world against it. Thofe of every other religion would make a com mon intereft in oppofing this, which had fellowfhip with none of them, but tended to their entire fubverfion and utter ruin. And it is a fact, that the world did unite against the religion of Jefus, and against those whom he had appointed to inculcate it. Christianity then appeared devoid of fupport the oppofition to have every thing on its fide. Chrift's followers were a little flock, deftitute of power or learning, and in the world's view utterly contemptible. Rome, the mistress of the world, had reached the fummit of her greathefs; and the foon turned all her power against the feeble band, who were laboring to diffuse the knowledge of Chrift, and calling men from dumb idols, to serve the living God.
To the eye of man how unequal the conteft? Had not thofe followers of the Lamb been affured that their redeemer lived-that he was divinethat he was with them, and would be with them, they would have declined a conteft with those before whom the world trembled. But they entered, undifmayed on the work affigned them, went through with and completed it! They profpered in that to which they were fent. This had never been done had not God been with them; for none of the advantages poffeffed by their enemies were neglected.
THE firft effects of enmity to Christianity were directed against Chrift's perfon. He had been for fome time teaching and doing miracles in Judea, and numbers had attached themselves to him. They confidered him as a prophet mighty in "word and deed." Some who witneffed his mighty works, exclaimed, "When Chrift cometh will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?" Others, " Is not this the Chrift?”
THESE movements among the Jews drew the attention of their rulers, and raised them to oppofition. A humble, fuffering Savior, did not suit their pride and luft of power. They looked for a temporal deliverer, who would lead them to victory, and fubdue under them, the powers which held them in subjection. No other would they receive as the Meffias. As foon, therefore, as the fame of Jefus began to fpread abroad, and numbers treated him with refpect, they refolved to deftroy him. At the feaft of the paffover, which called all the males of If rael to Jerufalem, they caufed him to be apprehended-tried him in their great council-condemned him to death, and importuned the Roman governor to sentence him to the cross, as a rebel againft Cæfar. The charge was not supportedChrift did not aspire to temporal dominion-" his kingdom was not of this world." The governor declared him not guilty. Had Chrift, like the Arabian deceiver, which afterwards arofe, affumed the fword, marked his way with blood and carnage, the Jews would have bid him welcome, and flocked to
his ftandard. Then he might have been denominated a rebel against Cæfar. But nothing of this nature was found upon him. Therefore were the Jews his enemies; but the imperial magiftrate "found no fault in him ;" though perfuaded to confent to his death.
Bur though fuch were the temper and views of the Romans respecting Chrift, at the time of his fuf. ferings, they were different when his minifters went forth to fet up his religion. When the nature of Chriftianity was difcovered, and it appeared opposed to Paganism, and tending to its deftruction, the Roman chieftains, who had been taught to venerate their Gods, and claimed to be high priests of the national religion, entered with zeal into the views of Chrift's enemies, and reared the ftandard against his followers. All their powers were exerted to crush the cause of the divine Immanuel. Ten general perfecutions are faid to have been raised against the Chriftians; and myriads of the faithful to have been facrificed to heathen malice and bigotry.
NEITHER were these the only enemies of Chrift. The learning of the age was applied to confound his followers. The fophiftry of Grecian meta.. phyfics directed against his unlettered disciples. Who could have expected Chrift's little flock, devoid of every worldly advantage, to have maintained their ground against fuch formidable enemies? Who, judging by the rules of man's judgment, have entertained a fufpicion that they would not foon be driven from the field? But their
caufe was that of God. Heaven was on their fide. "In vain did the heathen rage and the people imagine vain things. He who fitteth in the heavens, laughed; the Lord had them in derifion."
The Wisdom of God in the means used for propagating the Gospel.
1 CORINTHIANS i. 27, 28.
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.
IN the preceding discourse we took a fummary view of the means ufed of God to propagate the gofpel, and of the oppofition made to its propagation.
We are now to confider the wifdom of God in the choice of means to this end; which will bring up to our view fome of the objections which have been made against the truth of the gospel.
THAT the gospel is from God, and the means used to propagate it of his appointment, are from fundry confiderations, apparent--particularly from the miracles wrought by Chrift and by his difciples, who went forth in his name. Conclufive was the reasoning of Nicodemus-" Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God;