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séct. II.“ Remission of sins” is the doctrine in
w hich the Christian religion justly glorieth, as that most necessary and fundamental point, in which every other religion fails. The heathen confesseth himself to be in the dark; he guesseth only what is the will of God, whom he knoweth not. He hath not strength to perform what he imagineth to be such ; and he understandeth not the meaning of the sacrifices and lustrations derived to him by tradition. The blood of bulls and goats cannot wash away the sins of the Jew ; and his oblations, since the truth is come, which they were intended to prefigure, are preposterous, and impious. The Mahometan hath no evidence for the mission of his prophet, no argument for his religion but the sword, and no heaven but sense. The doctrine of " salvation “ by the remission of sins,” through faith in a Redeemer, was, from the beginning, the sum and substance of true religion, which subsisted in promise, prophecy, and figure, till John preached their accomplishment in the person of Jesus. Paganism was a corruption of it
before that time, as Mahometism hath Sect. II. been since; and modern Judaism is an apostasy from it. And will Christians go away, and forsake their Redeemer ? To whom can they go ? He hath the words of eternal life: he only can give “ salvation by the remission of sins.” It is this religion which enlightens the understanding with true knowlege, and warms the heart with true charity: it is this which alone brings confidence, and comfort, and joy, and bids fear and despondency fly away: it is this which raises the soul, as it were, from the dead, puts new vigour into all her powers and faculties, and animates her to duty, by the powerful motives it suggesteth : it is this which is a counterbalance to the temptations of sense, by the promises made to our faith ; which supports the infirmity of nature by the glorious objects proposed to our hope ; and which triumphs over the opposition of the world, by the love of God shed abroad in our hearts: it procures us the only solid happiness there is in this world, and opens a way to the felicities of the next : it holds him out
Sect. II. to us, who is our “ Thield” on earth, and
will be our “exceeding great reward” in
II. ---- Through the tender mercy,
“ of our God; whereby the day-
12. “ To give light to them that fit
“ in darkness, and in the shadow
St. John was the morning-star, that preceded the fun of righteousness at his rising; an event, the glory of which is due to “ the tender mercy of our God,” since towards the production of it man could do no more than he can do towards causing the natural fun to rise upon the earth. The blessed effects of the day| Psalm lxxiii. 24.
spring which then dawned from on Sect. II. high, and gradually increased more and more unto the perfect day, were --- the dispersion of ignorance, which is the darkness of the intellectual world ; the awakening of men from sin, which is the sleep of the soul; and the converfion and direction of their hearts and inclinations into “ the way of peace,” that is, of reconciliation to God by the blood of Christ, to themselves by the answer of a conscience cleansed from fin, and to one another by mutual love. “ Happy is the people that is in such a - cafe ; yea, happy is the people, whose « God is the Lord. They are the “ children of the light and of the « day. Their sun shall no more go « down, neither shall their moon with“ draw itself; for the Lord shall be un“ to them an everlasting light, and the “ days of their mourning shall be " ended.”
SECTION III. Considerations on St. John's education in
Secr.ll. A LL the information we have con
A cerning St. John, from the time of his birth to that of his public appearance, is contained in the few following words ---" And the child grew, “ and waxed strong in spirit, and was “ in the defarts till the day of his shew“ ing unto Israel a.” There, apart from the world, and under the tuition of heaven, he was catechized in the principles of divine wisdom, initiated into the mystery of a holy life, and perfected in the discipline of self-denial ;
The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell,
PAR N E L L.
a Luke i. 80.