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himself, in the verse immediately preceding the text; “ to this end was I born, and for this

cause came I into the world, that I should so bear witness unto the truth.”

It was upon hearing this declaration from Jesus, of the design of his mission, that Pilate proposed this celebrated question,

• What is " truth ?” Had he, fully, developed his thoughts upon this subject, perhaps he would have expressed the ideas which prevailed in his mind, in the following language. “Truth,” would he have said, “ is a word in the mouths “ of every body: the thing itself still wanders “ at large, and unacknowledged. All men

pretend to be acquainted with it; but none “ have been able to give a proper account of “ it. You, too, pretend to bear witness to the - truth: first determine what it is. If you “ know no more of the matter than the learn“ed men of my own country (Pilate was a “ Roman governour) your pretensions are “ vain; for all their knowledge consists in the “ most vague and uncertain reasoning; in the “ most subtle and endless disputes. And what - truths can you, a mean and illiterate Jew, “ have discovered, of which the philosophers " of Greece and Rome, or even your own

“ prophets and wise men are yet ignorant!" Perhaps, then, we shall have given the chief part of the answer to Pilate's question, if we state the most important of those religious truths which Jesus Christ has made known to the world, and with which men were, formerly, unacquainted.

I. Those truths which relate to the being, attributes, and worship of God, are the first class of truths, of which the knowledge has been confirmed, enlarged, and improved by Jesus Christ. Not, indeed, that any nation were until that time entirely ignorant of the existence of a power who created and governed all things. This, nature, throughout all her works, proclaims in loud and unequivocal language: and it required but a very small effort of reason to see God in the living verdure of the fields, to hear him in the thunder, and to discern his workings in the succession of days, and the revolution of seasons. But, while they acknowledged his being, they were strangers' to his perfections; his unity, his omnipresence, his power, his justice, his goodness, his holiness, and his wisdom. Those many Gods whom their own imaginations had created, were weak, local, and dependent beings; delighting in cruelty, addicted to the indulgence of every appetite and passion, stained with pollution and with crimes. It could not, then, be expected that the worship of heathens should be of a very exalted nature. For, it was noç inconsistent to believe, that beings, of whom they had formed such low and unworthy notions, would delight in the grossest idolatry, would be pleased with the meanest superstion, and the most obscene rioting in their worshippers; and would accept of the fruit of their body for the sin of their soul. Were it, now, the proper time and place to illustrate and prove these assertions by an induction of particular facts, the deplorable situation of the heathens, with respect to the knowledge of the nature of God, and the worship which is due to him, would abundantly appear. But, let us pass on to the idea which the religion of Jesus gives us of the Supreme Being : and we will immediate ly see how much we are indebted to him for a knowledge of this truth. Jesus, indeed, pretends not to prove the existence of God. This, properly speaking, every religion must take for granted: for, as St. Paul says, it is impossible to come unto God, without believe

ing that he is. But his character, and the worship which he requires his rational offspring to pay unto him, are exhibited in the gospel alone, in their true and proper light. He is there represented as One infinite Being, most pure and spiritual, most sovereign and omnipotent, most holy and just, most wise and merciful, as the creator and governour of all things, as of

purer eyes

than to behold iniquity, as of stricter justice than to pardon the guilty, but at the same time as willing to receive the penitent into favour.

The worship which the gospel inculcates as due to God, corresponds with the sublime idea which it gives us of his perfections. Whereas the superstition of the heathens changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and ereeping things. Jesus taught, that, God was a Spirit, and, that they who worship him ought to worship him in spirit and in truth : that he took no delight in burnt offerings and incense, but in the offering of a pure heart, and the simple incense of prayer and praise.

These truths, it must be confessed, were not altogether new. Though they were taught,

most clearly, by Jesus, the world was not wholly ignorant of them before his appearance, God had, at sundry times, and in various ways,

revealed himself unto men by his prophets. Under the preparatory dispensation, his unity, his omnipresence, his power, and his justice were fully known. But, even, under that dispensation, his milder attributes were hid or obscured by that severe and strict justice with which he was always attended. There he appeared in terrour and awful majesty: in the gospel we see him clothed in robes of mercy and compassion. In the Old Testament, he is styled 6. the Lord of hosts,” “ the great and terrible God:” in the New, he is called the “God of peace and love, of patience and consolation.” When the Law was given from Sinai, the mountain burned with fire, and there was blackness and darkness and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard, entreated that the word should not be spoken unto them any more.

When God commanded all men to hear Jesus, he displayed himself in the mildest and most engaging light, and gave an emblematical representation of the nature of the religion which was now to be introduced,

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