Before CHRIST came, Divine Truth was, as it were, a pilgrim in the world. The Jews excepted, men who had portions of the SPIRIT of GOD, knew not their privilege. The whole force and current of the external world was against them, acting powerfully on their imagination, and tempting them to set sight against faith, to trust the many witnesses who prophesied falsehood (as if) in the name of the LORD, rather than the still small voice which spoke within them. Who can undervalue the power of this fascination, who has had experience of the world ever so little? Who can go at this day into mixed society, who can engage in politics or other active business, and not find himself gradually drifting off from the true Rock on which his faith is built, till he begins in despair to fancy, that solitude is the only safe place for the Christian, or, (with a baser judgment,) that strict obedience will not be required at the last day of those who have been engaged in active life? If such is now the power of the world’s enchantments, surely much greater was it before our SAVIOUR came.
Now what did He do for us, in order to meet this evil? His merciful Providence chose means which might act as a counter-influence on the imagination. The visible power of the world enthralled men to a lie; He set up a Visible Church, to witness the other way, to witness for Him, to be a matter of fact, as undeniable as the shining of the sun, that there was such a principle as conscience in the world, as faith, as fear of GOD; that there were men who considered themselves bound to live as His servants. The common answer which we hear made every day to persons who engage in any novel undertaking, is, “You will get no one to join you; nothing can come of it; you are singular in your opinion; you do not take practical views, but are smit with a fancy, with a dream of former times,” &c. How cheering it is to a person so circumstanced, to be able to point to others elsewhere, who actually hold the same opinions as himself, and exert themselves for the same objects!