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On the Necessity of Settled Principles in Religion.

On the Necessity of Settled Principles in Religion.

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Published by glennpease

BY REV. THEODORE DEHON, D. D.

St. John, vi. 67, 68.

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away ? Then
Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou
hast the ivords of eternal life.

BY REV. THEODORE DEHON, D. D.

St. John, vi. 67, 68.

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away ? Then
Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou
hast the ivords of eternal life.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 16, 2014
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O THE ECESSITY OF SETTLED PRICIPLES I RELIGIO. BY REV. THEODORE DEHO, D. D.St. John, vi. 67, 68. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away ? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the ivords of eternal life. From the first promulgation of Christianity, there have been some who were dissatisfied with its evi- dences, and offended at its doctrines. Pride has always started at sentiments, which its short sight could not comprehend. Depravity has spurned at precepts, which would restrain its evil propensities. Man, so vain of his self-sufficiency, has deemed the necessity, even of the Almighty's aid in effecting, his salvation, a false and silly notion. In the chapter from which the text is selected, we find our Saviour stating some of the peculiar principles of His reli- gion. They related to His pre-existence in heaven ; to the value of His flesh as " the bread of life'';" to the supremacy of His Father in the distribution of spiritual favours ; and to His own future ascension to " the glory which He had before the world was".*.' To Jews, who gloried that their fathers did eat * John yu .'ir>. ^ Ibid. xvii. r>. VOL. II. ,, . Re 418 O THE ECESSITY OF manna in the desert ; to men who measured truth by its coincidence with their prejudices, and its comprehensibility by their finite minds, these were
 
hard sayings ; they could not hear them ^ Though they had witnessed the miracles of Christ ; though they had followed Him as a teacher sent from God ; His doctrines clashed with their feelings and opi- nions, and '* from that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him''." It was then, that our Saviour said to the twelve, whom He had selected to be the foundation of His church, " Will ye also go away?" To this affecting ques- tion, St. Peter gave that excellent, all-expressive reply, " Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." This passage of Scripture is capable of very va- luable improvement. So long as the human mind continues a tenant in a tabernacle of flesh, till the period arrives when imperfection shall not bound its knowledge, but it shall see with expanded powers, all that through faith it now believes : there will, there must be, some things in revelation, hard to be understood. So long as human nature is averse from spiritual truth, till clad in humility the mind can receive any instruction from the Most High, these mysteries of religion will be made " a stum- bling block %" and used to prevent men from follow- ing Christ. So long as there are infidels in the world, and vehicles for diffusing their sentiments, till the promised time is realized, when no man shall need say to his neighbour, " Know the Lord^:" the ambassadors of Christ will have occasion to say to His disciples, in behalf of their Master, " Will ye also go away ?" Happy for them, if their hearts always dictate the answer of St. Peter ! Let us, my ' John vi. 66. "^ Ibid. ver. 36. ' 1 Cor. i. ^3, Jer. xxxi. 3«i.
 
SETTLED PRICIPLES I RELIGIO. 419 brethren, consider what it implies, that wo may see its force, its fuhiess, and its beauty. " Lord, to whom shall we go ? Thou hast the words of eternal life." The first thing here implied is, that man must have some fixed principles; that if he relinquish Christianity, he must have some other system of opinions ; that if he leave Christ, he must seek some other instructor. Whether we consider it as affect- ing the dignity, or the happiness of man, this senti- ment is just. He who has a mind and uses it, can- not be easy, much less positively happy, while wan- dering in the vague fields of conjecture without any definite and determinate opinions. It were as easy for a vessel destitute of anchor and ballast, to ride safe and stately upon the waters amidst the commo- tion of the elements, as for him to act with propriety and satisfaction, amidst the commotion of occur- rences upon the ocean of life. Would I paint a scene of ignobleness, perplexities, and inconsisten- cies, it should be the mind of one, who thinks and has no settled principles. It argues adisuse of the most honourable prerogative of men. It exposes tcf all the wildness,. and weariness of uncertainty. It must be less at ease than even scepticism itself, de- termined to be led by its own blind and maimed offspring. But in general, some religious system will be ne- cessary. Some; sentiment of this kind, man has ever possessed-; His mind cannot divest itself wholly of the idea of a supreme Being, It is found with laim in the woods of nature, and it follows him to the seats of civilization. Accompanying this, is the c(iDSciousness of his moral nature, and the faint sentiment of immortality. These grand principles

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