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thing that is at all impenetrable to human reason; and in so doing, they have indeed but too often “ laid the “ axe unto the root of the tree," and have not scrupled to hew down, indiscriminately, what have been accounted, in all ages, the most fundamental truths of the Gospel. It is certainly not to be desired, that any obstacle should be put to the freedom of inquiry; and of this we may be well assured, that all opinions which are not built upon the basis of truth will ultimately fall ; but there is a pertinacity and narrow-minded dogmatism, frequently, among those who account themselves the only enlightened Christians, which is equally remote from the humility of the Gospel, and from the true character of philosophical research; and which, more than any
of mind, is ad verse to the discovery of truth. This mode of investigation must not, there
fore, pass without reprehension ; and he who really wishes to discover what Christianity is, ought to raise his mind above the littleness of controversial petulance, and the oppositions of science, falsely
Keeping in view, then, these peculiarities of the times in which we live, I shall make it my object, in the following discourses, to state, with as much plainness as I can, some of the leading evidences of the Gospel, without entering into any
minute examination of the objections which have been madetothem. Ishall endeavour, in particular, to point out the importance of its doctrines and its precepts; and I trust it will sufficiently appear, even from the imperfect observations which I can hope to make, that while, on the one hand, Christianity is a system above the device of mere human wisdom, and containing principles which man of his own
accord could never have reached, it is, on the other hand, a perpetual spring of light and joy, and, so far from imposing fetters on the natural play of his powers and affections, is the vital fire which gives them energy and activity.
The day is at hand, my brethren, on which the first rays of this beneficent light broke upon the darkness of the world, awakening in their rise the songs of Angels, and destined to enlighten in their progress the eye-balls of the blind, -to penetrate the dungeon of the captive, and to animate the labours of the poor,--that day which marks “ the beginning of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” You are preparing, on that blessed day, to encircle the altar of this mighty Saviour, and have prayed for the grace of his Spirit, that you may “ cast away the works of “ darkness, and put upon you the armour
“ Wherefore, take unto you
w of light."
“ the whole armour of God, having your “ loins girt about with truth, and having
on the breast-plate of righteousness, and
your feet shod with the preparation of “ the Gospel of peace : praying always “ with all prayer and supplication in the
spirit—for me also, that utterance may “ be given unto me to make known “ the mystery of the Gospel, that there“ in I may speak boldly, as I ought to
Mark, i. 2.
" As it is written in the prophets, Behold
“ I send my Messenger before thy face, “ which shall prepare thy way before “ thee.”
The Gospel of St Mark, upon the consideration of which I am now to enter, contains a very short summary
our Lord's history, omitting, for the most part, those circumstances, the relation of which is not of
* Preached in Advent.