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discourses; that it appears the apostles were ftrongly prejudiced against it, and extremely flow to receive, and dull in understanding it, but that their gracious Lord gently combated and gradually dispelled their prejudices, and made way for that more full knowledge of the gospel scheme, which they received by the defcent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecoft; ftill, however, that part of it which offered moft violence to their original prejudices, the admiffion of the Gentiles to the church of Christ, was not yet fully and universally admitted, but required yet more direct communication and proofs to fecure its conftant and cordial reception: Now, does not this procefs look very unlike the chimerical and unconnected delufions of fanaticifm? does it not bear the strongest marks of nature and reality?

It should also be remembered, that as we find the most mysterious doctrines of the gospel are intermingled and connected with the facts of the history, and form part of our Lord's parables and discourses, fo they are alfo perpetually interwoven in the epiftles of St. Paul, and the other apostles, which, in their general style and structure, are so natural and rational, fo exactly adapted to the character and fituation of the perfons by whom they were compofed, as well as of those to whom they were addressed, as to bear the plaineft marks of truth and fobernefs; and can we believe this of the moral and hiftorical parts of the New Testament, and yet fuppofe that the doctrinal

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parts of the very fame hiftories and epiftles are the effufions of wild fanaticifm? furely this were utterly incredible.

The language and the temper in which even the most myftrious doctrines of the gofpel are conveyed, is alfo totally different from that which we universally find diftinguishes the compofitions of enthusiasts. In the inftructions of the apostles we find all is moderate though earnest, and though dignified not proud; they betray no marks of their conceiving themselves exalted above all mankind, because they were the only human beings whom the Divinity vouchfafed to enlighten with these myfterious truths. The apostles rather seem to reflect on their fituation with felf-abafement, and aweful apprehenfion, as entrusted with the ministry of the word, for the right discharge of which they would be called to answer before the tribunal of their Lord. This is the idea conftantly predominant in their minds;—" Though I preach the gospel (fays "St. Paul) I have nothing to glory of, for necessity “is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me if I preach "not the gofpel; for if I do this thing willingly I "have a reward; but if against my will, a dispensa"tion of the gofpel is committed unto me-what

is my reward then? verily, that when I preach "the gospel I may make the gospel of Chrift "without charge (i. e. without receiving any “pecuniary recompence from those to whom I preach)

1 Cor. ix. 16.


"that I abuse not my power in the gospel." Here we fee the warmth and difinterestedness of fincerity; but do we not alfo fee a humility utterly remote from fanaticism: thus again fpeaking of the refurrection of Chrift; "hlaft of all he was feen of "me alfo, as of one born out of due time; for I am "the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to "be called an apostle, because I perfecuted the “church of God; but by the grace of God I am "what I am, and his grace, which was bestowed ડ upon me, was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace "of God which was with me."

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St. Peter alfo, when addreffing an exhortation to the minifters of the Chriftian church, and defigning to apprise them of the full dignity of their office, as an incitement to greater activity, writes thus:"The elders which are among you I exhort, who "alfo am an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of "Chrift, and also a partaker of the glory which fhall be revealed: feed the flock of Chrift which is

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among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by "constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but "of a ready mind; neither as being lords over "God's heritage, but being enfamples to the flock; " and when the chief fhepherd fhall appear, ye fhall "receive a crown of glory which fadeth not away."

I Cor. xv. 8.

i 1 Peter v. 1, &c.


Here is a due sense of the dignity of the minifteriał character, and the reward which will attend its faithful discharge; but furely this is combined, not only with fuch difinterestedness as precludes all fufpicion of deceit, but with fuch humility and calmness as is entirely free from the pride and the extravagance of fanaticifm.

Finally, if we compare the writings of the apostles, even fuch parts of them as frequently and strongly inculcate the most mysterious doctrines of the gofpel, with the compofitions of thofe fanatics, who in after ages corrupted and difgraced Christianity, nothing is more striking than the wide difference in manner, even where the fame doctrines form the fubject of both. In the one, what calmnefs, what dignity, what humility, what charity, to those who differ from them what earnest zeal to promote virtue and brotherly love; in the other, what heat and extravagance, what self-exaltation and bitterness, what direct condemnation of all who deny or even difpute their imperious dogmas. In a word, how plainly does the one prove itself the offspring of that wisdom which "defcended from above, which is full of mercy and "good fruits;" while the other betrays the influence of spiritual delufion working on spiritual pride, and difplaying in its effects foul marks of the earthly and corrupted fource from whence it fprings.




WE have now examined the various circumstances

which would have detected the influence of enthufiafm in the first teachers of Christianity, if it had in any degree existed; and it has, I truft, appeared that they were totally exempt from its dominion. The FACTS which determined them to follow their Lord during his life, and after his death to maintain his refurrection and divinity, were fo plain and certain, fo contrary to their original expectations, and received with fuch flownefs and caution, as fully exempt the apostles from all suspicion of being the dupes of delufion and credulity. We have also seen that the miracles which they wrought to convert men to the belief of the gofpel were fo great and unquestionable, the proofs they employed so just and consistent, that no fanaticism could have gained credit to fuch facts or fuggested such reasonings.

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And as they were thus evidently free from the two effential and leading characters of enthufiafm, credulity and dogmatifm, fo alfo they betray none of those minuter marks of weakness or extravagance which detect that want of difcretion and foberness of mind ever attendant on fanaticifm. Their CONDUCT difcovers nothing of the melancholy, the aufterity, or


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