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of observing in the works of creation the proofs of God's eternal deity, are yet blind. “Let all the nations be gathered, and let the people be assembled : who among them can declare this, and show us former things ? let them bring forth their witnesses that they may be justified: or let them hear and say, It is truth.

Ye are my witnesses :" I will confront them all with you, with what you know of me, what you have experienced of my goodness, what you understand of my truth, what you have seen of my government and glory : “ Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen : that ye may know, and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when there was no strange god among you:” I have given you proofs and evidences of the reality of my existence; ye are therefore my witnesses: I will confront all idolaters with you, and you shall testify that I am God.

There is something very august and imposing about this language of the prophet: and I wish, by a very few observations to-night, to illustrate the idea of the testimony which the Christian church gives to the world, which every Christian man is bound to give, and that he should remember that every day he is giving a testimony, true or false, with respect to God, by his conduct combined with his profession of religion.

God refers in the text to the fact of his having given predictions to his people which had been actually fulfilled ; that they knew this, and could testify to it; that he had manifested himself to them in his mode of dealing, in his conduct and government; that he had given them many proofs of his existence and faithfulness; and that these things they could declare. Now the Christian church, considered as a whole, is a perpetual witness on behalf of God, inasmuch as it has ever been the repository of the sacred documents the sacred records which it has preserved and kept, of the existence of prophecies long before the events to which they relate, of which they can bring satisfactory evidence. I merely state this at present, being satisfied of its truth. I mean to say, that the Christian church and the Christian teachers of the church can bring forth satisfactory proof, that such and such particular prophetical writings were in existence, and in the custody of the church, ages before the events to which they relate; and that by the preservation of these documents, bringing them forth to the world, and asking the world to compare the prediction with the fulfilment of the event, it is perpetually giving witness and testimony on God's behalf. So with respect to the facts in the history of the church, the miraculous facts, which are so mingled with the ordinary facts in the scripture history, that they cannot be separated or disentangled ; we must receive them both or none: the ordinary facts must be received as supported by every concurrent testimony, and the miraculous facts must be received along with them. By producing them to the world, and asking the world to look at them and to study them, the church is standing up as God's witness in the world.

I think the spirit of the observation may be sustained, that Christian churches by the very fact of their habitually and regularly meeting together, for divine worship, for the administration of the ordinances of the church, and the preaching of the Gospel, are perpetually presenting a witness or testimony for God. God has thus, in every church and congregation of Christian men habitually assembling together for his worship, so many witnesses to which he can perpetually appeal, which are appealing to the world, and the testimony of which the world is called upon to consider. Every assembly of Christian men, by the fact of their assembling are giving a testimony of God's existence. They meet for religious purposes : all religion has relation to God; the very idea of religion is absurd unless associated with God: and by the very fact of their meeting together they are perpetually delivering a testimony of their conviction of his existence. Assemblies for amusement, meetings of men for scientific objects, do not yield this testimony; but meetings of men for religious purposes do. Two men, for instance, may be passing this place of worship at this moment: they see the light: “ What,” say they, “ are those people doing here?” “ It is an assembly of Christians meeting for worship and the service of God.” “ Then these people believe there is a God: and it is public, so that we are at liberty to observe them; we are at liberty to go and witness their conduct, to mingle with their engagements, and listen to the representations they make.” There is thus a perpetual testimony to the world : and who can tell how often this testimony has been heard? The fact of an individual's attention having been casually directed to the simple circumstance of Christians meeting together, may be the means of exciting a train of reflections in his mind, and he may be led to repose in the truth which that testimony refers to.

Such services also give testimony to the advantage and benefit of religious engagements, and the cognizance that God takes of them ; that there is not only a God, not only a Creator and Governor of the world, but that he is observing and noticing the conduct of men, and that men are at liberty to come to him, to present supplications and praises to him, and that it is not a vain thing to wait upon God.

By the ordinances of the church-the preaching of the Gospel, the reading of the lessons of scripture, and the exposition of God's word, there is a perpetual testimony delivered with respect to the nature of religion, the condition of man, the claims of God, the principles on which God and man are to be harmonized and reconciled to each other. In the Lord's supper there seems to be a perpetual testimony with respect to the nature of the atonement, and its reality, the efficacy of the pouring out of the precious blood of Christ, and the necessity of faith, by which we spiritually eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man. By the exposition of the Scriptures there is a perpetual testimony of the conviction of the individual who delivers this testimony respecting its truth. In a court of justice a witness testifies to his conviction : by the very act of reading the Scriptures and listening to them, we testify to our belief that these are the words of God: and we speak to wise men, and wish them to judge what we say, to receive our testimony and examine for themselves. In the preaching of the Gospel there is set forth the condition of man, his danger and guilt; the manner in which God can be reconciled, the setting forth the great propitiation; the willingness, mercy, benevolence, and compassion of God, in calling on men to be reconciled to him. There is a testimony given to the world by the services of the church with respect to all these principles to which I have referred.

But we will refer to an individual Christian man. striking figure is that of the Apostle Paul, when he speaks of Christians being “ living epistles;” having inscribed upon them by the finger of God legible characters respecting God's truth, attributes, and so on: living epistles, which are walking about, moving in society, that they may be read and known of all men, and that they may be giving perpetual testimony on behalf of God. A professing Christian man may be viewed in that light. It is a very affecting consideration, and ought deeply to impress our consciences, that by our habitual conduct we are giving a faithful or unfaithful testimony respecting God.

An individual Christian may sometimes be called to give testimony for God in worda private testimony into the ear of a friend,

What a very or, it may be, into the ear of an enemy; for he is to be ready always to give a reason for the hope that is in him, and to do it with meekness and fear. It may, therefore, be sometimes necessary for an individual Christian to deliver, by word, testimony as to the reality of the power and operation of the truth and grace of God. A man may say to him, “ What is it you profess? What do you think? What do you suppose to have felt?” “Why, I have felt, handled, tasted, known (as I think), spiritually, so and so. I have received these truths, had the evidence of them laid before my understanding, and I am conscious that I am another man. I know you cannot understand this, because you have not stood on my ground, and have not gone through the moral and spiritual transition which I have; but I am simply delivering to you what I think I have felt under the influence of the Spirit of God; that I have seen my own character in such and such an aspect; I have seen such and such truths presented in the Gospel; I have received them, and have found their advantage and their benefit ; I rejoice in the faith of Christ; I feel a repose of mind in his sacrifice, and the joy of God shed abroad in my heart ; and I feel that with respect to morals, with respect to conduct, with respect to all the principles by which my conduct is regulated, that I am another man.” It may sometimes be necessary for a Christian to give a testimony like this ; and blessed is the man who has such a testimony to give for God, who can refer to his own consciousness that once he was blind, and now he sees; and feels that by comparing himself with himself he has become a different creature in the sight of God.

It may be necessary for an individual Christian to be a witness for God's faithfulness in his promises. He may be a witness for God as the hearer and the answerer of prayer: he may be able to refer to the happiness which he has experienced, and habitually experiences, in fellowship with God, and the habit of observation that all providences around him are working in connexion with this habitual experience ; and to refer to some particular periods when he feels perfectly conscious that the prayers which he offered have been manifestly answered. Men may not believe this, and may despise it: never mind; the individual can say this is his deep conviction as a man before God; and he knows not what influence a calm, simple testimony of that kind may have on those who, at the moment, may even profess to despise it. So with respect to the habitual conduct of the man.

The indivi

dual believer, by mingling with the world day by day-without ever speaking a word about religion, it may be-by what he is, and by what he does, is bearing witness for God. By the holiness that marks the man's life, others may learn something of the holiness of the God whom he serves : by his integrity, by his high appreciation of the great principles of eternal justice, he may learn something of the justice of God: by the benevolence of the man, by the mode and kind of that benevolence, by his yearning anxiety over the souls of men and the moral misery of the species, by the devotion of his abilities to the removal of these, by his benevolent attachment to those great institutions which are intended to diffuse the knowledge of God's word, men may learn something of that God who would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth : by his superiority to worldly motives and things, and mere sensual gratifications, by his living above the world, by enjoying a blessedness and placidity which worldly men can never penetrate, they may learn something of the spirituality of God, and the blessedness which God can communicate to those whom he makes his own. I consider that many a Christian man, by the consistency of his life, by his moral integrity and justice, by his benevolence, by the purity of his motives and actions, and his separation from the world while in it, without speaking a word about religion, shall yet produce a religious impression, which shall make men think about religion: they will see there is reason in it; and in that reason is a testimony, a witness, for God. Men learn something of God by what they see in his servants.

Let us make one or two general observations suggested by the subject.

In the first place, what a great, I had almost said, august, duty is that which lies upon the church of God, and upon Christian men individually! What a grandeur there is about the idea that God, so to speak, has committed his character into our hands! God says to his professing church, “ The world lieth in wickedness: the men that love the world are enemies to me; they are all

after their vanities, their idols, and their covetousness: they have thrust me from my own domain; they refuse me my due. I put my character into your hands; I expect you to stand up and assert my right to reign-assert, by all you do, that I am God, and by showing that I have your hearts, give a testimony that I have a right to every heart. I leave the matter with you; I put myself in your power and hands: stand up; be my witness before the world.” There is


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