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power to suspend those laws, whenever, for wise and good purposes, he sees proper so. to do; and that they can be suspended only by his hand, or with his permission. A right judgment will not deem it necessary to inquire, by the instrumentality of what means could such a miracle be performed. It will rest satisfied with the conviction, that God, and God alone, had the power to perform it; and with a confident dependance in the truth of his word, that this power was exerted.
If the philosopher, resolving all the obligations of religion into a natural apprehension of the difference of good and evil, should impose the doctrine, that nothing more is required of man, than piety towards God, integrity in his dealings with mankind, and decency of private conduct, agreeably , to this moral apprehension, and the interpretation of his own conscience; he who has formed his judgment upon the authority of a divine revelation, cannot but perceive the defect of such instruction: for the moral sense, which is natural to man, must be common to the Christian and the pagan, to the savage and the sage. Universal
experience, therefore, demonstrates, that it is subject to a thousand perversions, under the influence of ignorance or of prejudice. Hence, no man can be a disciple of Christ, unless his moral apprehension, and his conscience, be in subjection to the revealed word of God. Great is the difference between the untutored child of nature, who listens to the dictates of his own heart, and the member of civil society, who regards the constituted laws of good order: greater still is the distinction between the mere moralist, and the real Christian.
If he who styles himself a rational
Christian, maintain the absurdity of believing the doctrine of the Trinity; the man of a right judgment clearly perceives, that the unity of the godhead, and the divinity of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, are truths expressly declared by the infallible word of God: he, therefore, receives these truths, and rests in the assurance, that God is wiser than man.
If the same philosophical teacher deny the doctrine of the atonement, by the vicarious death of Christ, the man of a right judgment perceives, that such a doctrine is
agreeable to the general sense of all nations, declared by their expiatory sacrifices-that a divine revelation, in which the truth is ascertained, was not designed for philosophers alone, but for all the gradations of human intellect-that the Mosaic law, which was dictated by the divine Spirit, as introductory to the Gospel, enjoined expiatory rites, by the vicarious blood of victims-that these victims were only types of Him that was to come and make a perfect atonement-and that the completion of this atonement, by the blood of Christ, is expressly declared in that Gospel, which every true Christian must receive, as the sacred rule of his faith.
If the political reformer maintain, that all power originates in the people, and therefore that the people have a right to resist or displace all constituted authority, by the exertion of their physical force, or the balance of their own numbers; the judgments of men, upon such a proposition, may be variously determined, whilst their principles are various and uncertain. But, that such doctrine is utterly inconsistent with Christianity, must be immediately perceived by
him, who judges by the word of God, where his duty, in such cases, is already fixt and determined; since we are, by that word, commanded and taught-Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God. The powers that be, are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist, shall receive unto themselves damnation.
(Rom. xiii. 1, 2.)
Should the votary of a tyrannical superstition, upon the strength of such declarations of Scripture, urge the necessity of acknowledging the one, visible, head of the church, and of receiving his doctrines, together with his authority; he who has formed a right judgment perceives, that the authority of this presuming head was never lawfully established-that Christ has reserved to himself the prerogative of being the supreme head and director of his church-that he declares the mutual relation of his apostles, or stewards, to be only that of brethren-and that Christ's authority, as supreme director, has never ceased;
since he has promised to be with his church always, even unto the end of the world. (Mat. xxviii. 20.)
It must follow, that the acknowledging of any other supreme director in the church, is setting up an usurpation, in opposition to a lawful and existing authority. And this, no Christian is permitted to do.
But, it will be said, The Pope's authority has been acknowledged. This is admitted.The usurper may take the city by surprise, and the citizens may be compelled, for a time, to bow to his power. But he is not, therefore, the lawful governor. His act is act of rebellion. His expulsion is alwayslawful for the Prince of the Covenant, to whom our ultimate allegiance is due, still remains amongst us. Under his glorious banner, the usurper has been expelled. And, together with his claim of authority, his unfounded doctrines have justly been rejected; for a solemn anathema is pronounced upon any man, or angel, who shall presume to teach any other gospel, than that which the church of Christ did receive, as taught by his apostles. And,