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[It is proper to mention, that the following “ Recollections” are not
derived from Dr. Waugh's written sermons or notes, but from memoranda, hastily taken at the time by different individuals, of such passages as particularly struck them in his oral discourses, which, during the latter part of his life, were almost entirely extemporaneous. This circumstance will sufficiently account for, and, it is hoped, excuse, to the candid reader, the abrupt and unfinished style, and other imperfections, of these disjointed fragments.]
What a contrast doth the life of Christ, as detailed to us by the Evangelists, present, compared with that of Mahomet! A relation' sanctioned by no learned name; the product of no visionary enthusiast. No; the recital is the artless tale of those who copied from nature; the original stood before them. Imagination the most fertile, in her most exalted excursions, had never contemplated so much goodness, so much of all those virtues which are the glory of our nature, bursting forth amid the gloom that surrounded them. Never! And do we not furnish ample proof in ourselves that this is no overcharged picture? Do we not feel - do we not say, that had we lived in Jewry when he was on the earth, we would have rallied around him ? that we would have appeared on the side of so much goodness, so much virtue? Vain man! thou wouldst, perhaps, have lavished thy praise upon his goodness as seen in his miracles; but wouldst thou have subjected thyself to his authority, and followed in secret as in public the example which he set ? Wouldst thou not have continued to practise all works of darkness in secret, as in time past, even if thy conduct outwardly had been regulated by some regard to the duties which he enjoined ? Ye resentful! would ye have followed after Christ, that divine Teacher who enjoined on his followers that they must overcome evil with good, and that the sun must not be permitted to go down on their wrath? Ye earthly-minded! whose hands are in the clay, whose interest is the sole principle that is permitted to regulate your conduct in all your intercourse with your fellow-men, what would Christ have said to you? “ Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” “ Go, sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor; and come, take up thy cross, and follow me.” Would ye not have gone away grieved? The individual to whom these words were spoken did indeed love the Saviour; but unfortunately he loved his fortune more than this divine Teacher, and he went away grieved. Slothful man! art thou among the followers of this divine Redeemer ? hast thou carefully studied his character? hast thou carefully read the records of prophecy concerning him, and compared them with the fulfilment ? Did he unstop the ears of the deaf? Did he loose the tongue of the dumb, give sight to the blind, restore to the lame man the use of his limbs, and in some cases call the dead from their graves, while the sweet accents of consolation ever fell from his lips ?
And hast thou seen, as it were, all these in the mirror of his life, shewing him to be the same whom Isaiah foretold ? or art thou contented to be a believer in him upon hearsay, and to take all these things as true, solely on the testimony of others ? Alas! is not this last description true as regards thine own character ?
Are, then, such things true of modern professors and outward followers of the Saviour? or is it that we, as his ambassadors, occupying this place, consider ourselves privileged to cast the fire-brands of accusation among you? Hear our authority for all this; and it is to your consciences that we appeal, when we say, that he is still rejected. Do not all those who live not according to his laws reject him, and set him at nought? Is it to sit in a church to sing psalms, to appear in the attitude of prayer, and to put on the semblance of gravity while his character is set before you, or his commands enforced, that will mark a cordial acceptance of him as your Lord and Master in all things? No, no; this will not do, my brother. Do not all those who lean upon their little charities and good deeds, in place of leaning wholly on his death for acceptance with God, reject him? All those who do not employ him to cure their hidden, their mental maladies, to cut up by the roots their avarice, their insatiable greediness of gain, of honour, or of applause, and all those who, like them of old, although perhaps in secret, contemn him and bring him no presents, saying, “ Shall this man rule over us?” — all such do most explicitly reject him. All those who see no rank nor dignity in him, despise and reject him: and, in fine, the mass of mankind do, in deed and in reality, reject him; for religion is either a whole or it is nothing. If Christ, then, be God, serve him;--if the world be God, and ultimate as well as present good, serve it; for, be assured, that half measures will be of no avail, otherwise than to add to future condemnation. Hear the Saviour's declaration : “ If ye leave not father and mother, and fortune, and follow me, ye cannot be my disciples.” Who gives up all the heart to Christ? How few give him one hour every day in secret, or with their families! Who among us, like David, remembers God on his bed, and meditates on him in the silent watches of the night? Where is the man found, who, reviewing the days that are past, traces the hand of God leading him in childhood,-guiding him up the path of youth,--watching over him in the bloom of manhood, -- and, till the present moment, never withholding from him its gracious guidance and protection; and having satisfied his mind of the fact, does he live as ever under the eye of this Divine guide ?
Now how are all these charges true? for we assume them all to be true. Alas! it is because we do not believe the record of God to be true. This is the condemnation, " that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light; neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." This unbelief, which is found so firmly rooted in the hearts of men, is much strengthened by our undue love for this world's goods, pleasures, and hopes. This is most clearly proved by St. John in his first Epistle. The ignorance we are often under as to our real condition is another powerful barrier raised against our coming to the light. Proud men do not believe pride, such at least as they feel themselves at liberty to indulge, to be culpable and offensive in the sight of God, while the Bible states most explicitly that it is.
The examples of ungodly men, and more particularly if they move in the higher ranks of society, on account of their influence, talents, and acquirements, prove sad hinderances to men coming to this divine light. “ Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed on him ?” was the taunting reply to an opinion expressed in favour of the Redeemer. Alas, how few stars-and-garters in our churches rank on the side of the Saviour! Were the worship of the false prophet to be introduced by our rulers, it would be opposed; but if the mosque were once established, would it not be filled with outward worshippers ? We should be like unto the Israelites of old ; the worship of God or of Baal was to be performed just as the king was pleased to signify his pleasure.
But Christianity is of God, though neither Jew nor Gentile believeit. It rests not on public opinion, but on the evidence by which it is supported. Does the sun not exist because some men are possessed of no visual faculty to see his rays?
Does the harvest this day not wave on the mountain's side, under the gentle pressure of the breeze, because we in this sanctuary are not able to perceive it? Is the landscape less lovely, because, through some imperfection in my eye, I may not see it; or, through want of taste, may not relish it? Christianity, my brother, would not be more divine though every crowned head in the world were engaged on its side, and it is not less divine though not a man of rank or family believe it. Christianity is ennobled by herself, and stands on her own foundation. The influence, however, of the world on weak minds, and especially on young people, is very great, and in many instances fatal. That young man is under the influence of vanity, and he does not think that he can give proof of the soundness of his understanding by believing what every old woman believes, but perhaps he may by calling in question the truth of Christianity. He has heard, that among infidels there are many men of talent and literature; and wishing to be considered such a one, be enlists under the banners of infidelity. What a sacrifice! the sacrifice of my immortal soul, to feed my vanity! surely never was druidical sacrifice of human fesh equally shocking as this! Let vanity be suckled ; but, for the sake of your eternal happiness, let her not be fed with such precious milk as the milk of God's word. It will be of little consequence to me not to have associated with the Voltaires, the Condorcets, and the Rousseaus of this world, if, on my departure from it, I meet with the Son of God, whose existence these men have denied, and whose name they have scouted from their company;
and it will be small comfort to me to be associated in hell with men of genius and literature. Judge, then, for yourselves; and, O let not your conclusions be biassed by the example of others !
Could I place the prophet Isaiah at the base of one of the loftiest of the eastern mountains; and, whilst he