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The Fountain of Living Waters.

The Fountain of Living Waters.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 24, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE FOUTAI OF LIVIG WATERS. THE REV. C. SIMEO, M.A. Jer. ii. 12, 13. Be astonished, ye heavens, at this, and he horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. RELIGIO may be considered as of two kinds, theoretical and practical. In the term theoretical^ I include every thing that is necessary to prove the truth of Christianity : and under the term practical, whatever is required of those who embrace it. To understand the theoretical part, is desirable ; to per- form the practical, is necessary. The two kinds, however, are not necessarily united : the theoretical may exist where the practical is disregarded ; and the practical may exist, where the theoretical is un- known. Thousands of pious persons have neither leisure nor talent for collating manuscripts, or for weighing the evidences that may be adduced in favour of particular hypotheses : and to say that these cannot be religious, because they are wanting in critical acumen, would be as absurd as to say that a man cannot be honest, because he has not sufficient knowledge of the laws to be a Judge. The unlettered Christian assumes the truth of Christianity ; and he finds it true by its effects. And such persons may well refer to the effects, in proof of the truth of that religion which they profess. But it is one thing to refer to practical effects, and another to ground their faith on any transient feelings : This no man of reflec- voL. VI. B tion
2 JEREMIAH, II. 12, 13. [547. tion can do : the other, no man of piety can forbear. Feelings may be excited by erroneous notions, as well as by those which are just : but holiness, radical and universal holiness, can be produced by Chris- tianity alone. We will appeal to all the religions that ever appeared upon the face of the earth, and ask, Whether any of them ever produced in their votaries such effects as were visible in Christ and his Apostles ? The reason is plain: It is the Spirit of God who sanctifies ; and he is promised to those only who believe in Christ : and consequently, his sanctifying energy, in its full extent at least, can be found in them alone. I grant that it would be wrong to rest the truth of our religion on that ground only ; but surely it may properly be referred to, as an additional and corroborating proof of our religion. If this be not a proper test of our religion, whereby shall the superior excellency of Christianity be known? If the Bible produce no better effects than the Koran, I do not hesitate to say that it is no better than the Koran : but if its effects be such as no other religion can produce, then will those effects be, though not the only, yet a solid and important proof of our religion: and those who cannot enter into learned disquisitions about the credibility of the Scriptures, have reason to thank God that they have within themselves an evidence of the truth of Chris- tianity, which the objections of infidels can never set aside'*. The error lies in confounding the two kinds of religion. They are distinct; and they should be kept so. To enter deeply into the theory of religion, much strength of intellect, much general knowledge, and
much * The author does not mean, that this is the onhi evidence which unlearned men have of the Divine authority of the Bible. They, as well as the Learned, have other grounds for their faith. They see the provision, vvhich the Bible makes for their restoration to hap- piness, to be precisely such as their necessities required. They see also, that the purity of its commands has a wonderful tendency to elevate their nature, and to produce universal happiness: and these two things form in their minds a strong internal evidence of the Divine origin of the Bible ; whilst the general and long-continued reception 54T ] THE FOUTAI OF LIVIG WATERS. 3 much patient investigation, are requisite. To have  just, and even enlarged, views of the practical part, little is wanting, but a humble teachable mind, en- lightened by the truths, and sanctified by the in- fluence of the Gospel of Christ. The former, when possessed in the highest degree, will consist with all manner of evil tempers and evil habits : the latter necessarily involves in it a change both of heart and life. The former is of importance principally to those, whose office calls them to defend the out- works of Christianity against the assaults of infidels : the latter is essential to the happiness of every indi- vidual. To the former your minds are now directed from time to time, by a zealous and learned Pro- fessor ^ who is giving us the result of his own labo- rious researches, and commendably exerting his talents to promote amongst us the too much neg- lected study of Sacred Literature : to the latter, which we consider as more appropriate to the ordi- nary services of the Church, we would on the presetit occasion solicit your attention.

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