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ST. MARK xii. 32.
- There is one God, and there is none other but He.
MY Y text contains the great truth which is
the foundation of all that we are to believe, and all that we are to do ; of all our hopes, and all our fears ; of our consolation in this world, and our happiness in the next. I shall not waste your time in endeavouring to prove what no man, who has common sense, can possibly doubt. The fool may say in his heart, there is no God; but no thinking man will or can believe him. When we look at a house, a ship, or any other work of men, we are immediately convinced that it was not formed by chance;
and when we see what human strength and skill can do, we conclude that such things were made by men like ourselves, and who only differ from us in having applied their strength and skill to those particular purposes.-When we look at a tree, or a flower, at the raging sea, of the stars or heaven, we must be equally convinced that they were not made by chance; and as we know that human strength or skill cannot make them, we must conclude that they are the work of some Being whose power is much greater than ours. Much more when we reflect on ourselves; on the wonderful contrivance of the Body, and the far more wonderful faculties of the Soul; when we feel and know that we are capable of happiness and of virtue ; that we can think, and speak, and act; yet are certain that we did not make ourselves ; common sense must convince us, that we were formed by Him, “in whom we live, and move, and have our being ;''* and we must betions to men, and his will has been made known to them either immediately from Himself, as appears to have been the case when He spake to Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, and others, and when He pronounced the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai to the whole nation of the children of Israel ; or by the ministry of prophets, who on different occasions have been commissioned to declare his will, and by whom the books of the Old Testament were written. But
* lieve that there is a God.-But “ no man hath seen God at any time!”+ and all that we can know of his nature, must be what He has been graciously pleased to reveal to us. From the earliest times God has given laws and instruc
* Acts xvii. 28.
† John i. 18.
God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the Prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son."* Our Saviour Jesus CHRIST came into the world to teach us our duty, to set us an example, and to die for our sins. He proved that he was sent from God, by works which no man can do by his own power. He opened the eyes of the blind, he healed the sick, he cast out devils, he raised the dead. Above all, after having been publicly put to death as a malefactor, he rose triumphant from the grave, lived and conversed forty days with his disciples on earth, and then ascended into heaven, in the presence of numbers who afterwards laid down
* Heb. i. 1.
their lives to prove the truth of those things which they had themselves seen and heard. These men, to whom our Saviour gave a commission to preach the Gospel to all nations, wrote the Books of the New Testament ; and in these books, which, with the Old Testament, make up the sacred volume which we call the Bible, we may find all the information that is necessary for us, in regard to the nature of God, and our duty to Him; we may learn how to behave in every
situation in this world, and to look beyond this world, to the happiness which is promised to every good man after death. To that book, then, we must apply for information; and from that book I will endeavour to collect the substance of what we are required to believe and to do, in order to obtain the salvation which is there promised to all the faithful servants of God. I hope to do this in such a plain and simple manner as may be understood by all; may be useful to those who have not the advantage of being able to read the Bible themselves; and may afford satisfaction to those who are already well acquainted with that sacred book, by bringing to their remembrance what ought never to be forgotten.