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received? Do not many neglect it? Do not fome who affent to its truth, "go their way to their farms, or their merchandize," regardless of it, neither confeffing Chrift before men, nor feeking an intereft in him?
If the gospel is from God, to fuch neglecters of the grace it offers, it must be "a favor of death unto death!" And is not their number great? Doth it not increase from year to year, from age to age? To those who are taken up with fenfual pleafures, and with minding only earthly things, St. Paul would fay "even weeping you are enemies to the cross of Chrift, and your end will be destruction.”
LET us be perfuaded to bring home these confiderations to ourselves. We are deeply interested in them. "The fecrets of our hearts will ere long be judged by the gospel of Chrift." To those who will not receive and obey the gofpel, we have only to fay, "Notwithstanding, be ye fure of this, that the Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."
The Declensions of Christianity, an Argument of its Truth.
LUKE Xviii. 8.
When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
HE that believeth and is baptized fhall be fav.
THE proofs of Chriftianity are of two kinds; external and internal. Both are ftrong. United they leave infidelity without excufe.
OF external, the chief are miracles and proph ecy. Miracles carried conviction to behold. ers; and were defigned to give credibility to fpecial meffengers. Prophecy is a standing evi. dence, by which teftimony is borne to the truth of revelation; yea, it is a growing evidence, which gains ftrength by every fulfilment,
SOME may envy thofe who lived in the age of miracles, fuppofing them fufficient to banish every doubt. But the proof arifing from the fulfilment of prophecy, which we enjoy above them, is equal, if not fuperior to theirs.
THE prophecies contain Iketches of the history of man, and of the plan of providence, from their respective dates to the end of the world. Thofe which relate to the declenfions of religion, which were to take place under the gospel difpenfation, will now only be confidered.
FROM thofe declenfions, arguments are drawn against the truth of Chriftianity. "Was Chriftianity from God, he would verify the declaration made by him who claimed to be his Son. The gates of Hell fhall not prevail against it. But they do prevail. What was once faid of its author, Behold the world is gone, after him, will now apply to its enemy. This religion is not therefore from God, but of man's device. Propt up as it is, by human laws, and fupported by "the powers that be," it totters towards ruin. Left to itself, it would foon fall and come to nought."
SUCH are the proud vauntings of infidelity, when" iniquity abounds and the love of many waxeth cold." So when Chrift hung on the cross, and when he flept in the tomb, ignorant of confequences, his difciples "wept and lamented, and the world rejoiced;" but the time was short, Soon the world was confounded, and the "forrows of his difciples was turned into joy."
IF the declenfions which we witnefs, are fore. told in fcripture, they are no occafion of furprize,
Yea, instead of weakening our faith, they may reasonably incrcafe it. And when we confider the affurances given us, that thefe declenfions were to antecede the univerfal prevalence of true religion; they may alfo ferve to increase our hope.
To fhew that thefe declenfeons are foretold, and that we may expect yet greater abominations, than have hitherto appeared, is attempted in the following discourse.
WHEN the fon of man cometh fhall he find faith on the earth?
THAT Chrift is here intended by the Son of man; and that faith will be rare among men at the coming of his, referred to, are not doubtful matters. But what coming of Chrift is here referred to? This is firft to be afcertained.
THE Coming of Chrift, refers in the fcripture, to feveral events. Sometimes to his incarnation; fometimes to the deftruction of Jerufalem, and the Jewish polity; fometimes to his coming to judgment; and fometimes to the beginning of that univerfat dominion which he is to exercise on earth in the latter days. Each of thefe is the fubject of feveral prophecies.
CHRIST'S incarnation, or his coming to dwell with men, and to obey and suffer for their redemption, was a principal fubject of the old teftament prophecies. "To him gave all the prophets .witness."
THE divine juflice executed on the Jews, in the deftruction of their chief city, and polity, is alfo
termed Chrift's coming. This was the subject of feveral prophecies of old. It was foretold by Mo. fes, and fundry others who lived before the gospel day; but more particularly by Christ, in perfon, juft before his fufferings. To this event the defolations foretold in the twentyfourth of Matthew, and its parallels in the other gospels, had a primary reference. The metaphors ufed to describe it are strong. They have been supposed to refer to the general judgment; and they have, no doubt an ultimate reference to it. But they refer, more immediately to another coming of Christ; his coming to render to the Jews according to their demerits as a people, foon after they fhould have filled up the measure of their iniqui. ty by his crucifixion; which by the circumftances attending it, became a national act.
THAT this coming of Chrift was particularly intended in thofe predictions, is, from feveral confiderations apparent. That the Chriftians of that age, who were converfant with the apostles, and inftructed by them, received this to be the meaning of those prophecies, and that they fled at the approach of the Roman armies, and efcaped the destruction which came on the Jews, are matters of notoriety. And that this was the primary meaning of thofe prophecies, is further evident from an exprefs declaration which they contain ;
Verily I fay unto you, This generation fhall not pafs away till all thefe things be fulfilled." This clofeth the prophecy. The whole must therefore have received a primary accomplishment," before that gener