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actions of One to whom man was so perfectly known, and, at the same time, to point out how simple and benevolent is the nature of that Religion which He introduced into the world. We cannot, in truth, form a correct notion of what His Gospel is, unless we look to it as it appears in His pure and simple instructions. As man delivers it, it becomes too often mysterious, or gloomy, or superstitious, or extravagant; something is apt to be introduced, or something omitted, or some truth strained beyond its limits, till much of the beauty and symmetry of the whole is destroyed, and it acquires, perhaps, the “ savour of death," instead of that “ life and immortality" which it originally “ brought to light.”
If, at any time, therefore, either in the writings or the preaching of men, we feel ourselves dissatisfied with the form in which Religious Truth is presented to us ; if it appears cold, or obscure, or enthusiastic, or melancholy; if it seem deficient in wisdom or simplicity ; let us ever recollect that these are not the instructions of Him who knew all the wants and the affections of our nature, but of men to whom His spirit is but imperfectly conveyed; and with the docility of children, let us betake ourselves to Him, as our Teacher, and He, we may be assured, will not mislead us. In his words, although often delivered to us in detached maxims, or on occasions into the complete history of which we may not be permitted to enter, we shall yet find enough to enlighten and to guide us; even in what they do not tell us, we shall gain wisdom no less than from what they do; we shall, at least, see the limits which are put to our curiosity, and, unlike the erring Spirits of the age, we shall learn to be satisfied with that inestimable knowledge which tells us that we are the destined Heirs of Immortality; that One came from the Father to guide us in safety through those disorders and wanderings of our journey in which we are so often in the hazard of being lost; that He even laid down his life for our sakes; and that if we follow Him, with true and faithful hearts, he will assuredly conduct us to that God from whom our beings are derived, and whose perfections can alone ultimately satisfy the infinite capacity of our Souls !
And when he was come near, he beheld the
city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
In my last discourse, my brethren, as adapted to the meditations of this season in which we contemplate the coming of our Lord to visit us in great humility, I called your attention to some observations on that divine wisdom by which he knew, so thoroughly “what was in
• Preached on the third Sunday in Advent.
man,” and adapted his instructions so perfectly to all the peculiarities of the human constitution. In the words which I have now read to you, our Lord appears to us in all the heavenly compassion of his character. They were spoken on occasion of that destruction which he foresaw was impending over his Country, and He expresses, in that prospect, sentiments of the deepest sorrow. That country certainly deserved no such regrets on his part; yet, in these moments, every feeling of a private nature was banished, and it was the calamity of Jerusalem, however merited, which alone occupied his soul. It is in such a picture that we see most engagingly represented the natural character of our Lord's affections. Although the commissioned Messenger of Heaven, he yet, whenever they were called for, exhibited the tenderest sentiments of sympathy with all the afflictions of human nature; and whether these afflictions were of a public or of a domestic kind, -whether, as he is here represented, he weeps amid the forebodings which the sight of Jerusalem occasioned, or as, at another time, when he stood by the grave of a friend, we everywhere see the
see the same compassionate spirit feelingly moved by the aspect of human misery
It is this circumstance in our Lord's character, which, more than any other, ever inclines the afflicted spirit to have recourse to Him for consolation. He is “ the High Priest” that is “ touched with the feeling of our infirmities ;" and this consideration, were there no other, calls to Him, and to the soothing spirit of his Religion, the feeble race of man under all the various calamities which oppress them. Other teachers may, in some measure, supply us with the rules of wisdom and of duty; and may even, however doubtfully, elevate our thoughts to Heaven, and speak of that high consummation of glory which awaits the “ good and faithful servant." This may, in part, be done, by the mere force of reason and contemplation; but, alas! this is not all that Human Nature requires. There is more than instrue tion required in this weak and perishing existence! There is something more requisite likewise, than the encouragement of our highest ambition! We are inattentive to the language of advice unless it seems to come from the lips of a friend; and, before we can raise our eyes