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:: By sound doctrine the apostle | preme Being, a Creator and means the uncorrupted, the pure Governor of the world—who and wholesome doctrine contain-believes there is no God, and ed in the gospel--the same with consequently no divine law, no the truth which is according to divine providence, and no future godliness. This may be readi- state of rewards and punishly seen by comparing 1 Tim. ments, will, as the natural convi. 3, with Tit. i. *1,9 ; and sequence of this belief, feel him. 2 Tim. iv. 3, 4. The original self under no restraint in the word translated sound, in sever- | indulgence and gratification of al places where the phrase sound fhis inclinations, lusts and pasdoctrine occurs, signifies whole- sions, any further than he finds some, salutary, healing.or heal-fit necessary for his own safety, thym-such as is adapted and or his worldly interest and reptends to produce, or to preserve utation. No promise or oath and promote a sound, healthy will bind such a man, when he state. And since, where sound thinks it for his interest to viodoctrine is mentioned, there is a late it. There is nothing to respecial reference 'to moval or strain him" from making the spiritual health and soundness, strongest professions of a warm sound doctrine comprises all attachment to our interest-of those pure and wholesome the most upright, honorable and truths, instructions, and pre- benevolent intentions, and the cepts, which are opposed to and sincerest friendship, and consuited to prevent or correct the firming them with an oath, for Inoral disorders of mankind ; no other purpose than to deceive and to produce or preserve and us, and bring us under his powpromote a spiritually sound and er, and make us subservient to healthy state. The apostle ac- the accomplishment of his base cordingly considers all the vari- and iniquitous designs. ous sins and transgressions, and Again, If men believe the exall the corrupt Iusts of men, as | istence of a deity, but entertain being contrary to, and forbidden such wrong notions concerning by sound doctrine. 1 Tim. i. him, as verily to think there are 9, 10. and 2.Tim. iv. 3.

gods and lords many-one suThe importance of under-preme, and many subordinate standing, believing and embrac- deities, who share together, tho' ing sound doctrine ; and conse-in different degrees, in the goyquently, of its being clearly ex-ernment of the world, and are to hibited and earnestly inculcated, share in the regard and religious may in some measure appear, 1. homage of mankind; as the paFrom a view of the natural ten- gan nations did ;if they bedency, effects and consequences lieve there are male and female of the ideas and belief which deities, of various characters and men entertain of God. Sound dispositions, and some of them doctrine exhibits the truth with addicted to the lusts and vices, respect to the being and perfec- to which mankind are exccedtions of God, and his govern- ingly prone ; they will, as the ment of the world.

| natural consequence of this beThe Atheist-the inan who lief, not only divide their homdenies the existence of a Su-Jage between a number of deities; but also think it right and even that he is eternal, independent, a duty, pleasing and acceptable omnipresent, omniscient, and to their gods, to honor them by omnipotent, and infinitely wise indulging the lusts and practis- / änd holy--that he loveth righting the debaucheries, to which cousness and hateth iniquity,' they suppose them addicted and has appointed a day in which so the fact proved among the he will judge the world in rightpagans, Bacchus, their god of cousness-that we must all apwine, they honored with drunk-/ pear and give account of ouren frolics, and Venus, with the selves to him that he will bring most shocking lewdness and

ocking, lewdness and every work into judgment, with prostitution. This was the nat every secret thing, and render to ural consequence of their prin

ce of their prin- every man according to his ciples, or of the ideas which they deeds; how great and powerentertained concerning their de. | ful must be tbe tendency of such ities.

a belief, to restrain from sin, and If we think that God is such to excite to virtue and piety? " a one as ourselves, we shall, of Hence, I conceive, it will be course, think that he hath no evident to every considerate special displeasure at us for be-mind, that sound doctrine; or ing and doing, as we are and do. the truth, with respect to the be If we verily think that God hathing and perfections of God, is of no regard to truth or justice- vast importance to be known that he is a deceitful, false, treach. I and believed, in order to pre; erous being ; we shall have no l serve and restrain from innų. apprehension of his displeas. | merable enormities, to which deure, on the account, if we are so praved human nature is strongtoo.

I ly inclined ; and to excite to the If we think that God is not study and practice of piety toomniscient that we can conceal wards God, and of justice and our thoughts and motives from mercy towards men. And in his knowledge, or that he may I my mind, it is beyond all controbe imposed upon and deceived ; {versy, a real fact, that the knowlthis opinion will naturally lead | edge and belief of God, and of us to practise the basest hypoc-| their accountableness to him, risy. Or, If we verily believe which mankind actually have, the true God is such a being, doth really prevent a vast deal of that he will never punish any of wickedness, injustice, oppresthe human race in the next sion and cruelty, which other. world, let them conduct how wise would be committed. they will in this ; this belief will Further, If there be one only at once free our minds from all living and true God, it is doubts those restraints from numerous less of great importance to us, crimes, which the firm belief of to acknowledge his being and future punishment has a tenden- perfections with proper feelings cy to produce.

and affections, answerable to his But if we constantly and firm-character and providence, and ly believe, that there is one only to our relation to him, and to living and true God, who made give him the glory due to his and preserves and governs the name. But this cannot be done universe and all that is therein ' without some knowledge and belief of the truth respecting his has no existence, and that the being and character ; nor with God whom he hates, a God who out this, can we know whether is disposed to and will punish we love or hate, honor or dishon many with endless misery, is in or, acknowledge or deny him. fact the true God ; it will then How is it possible that we should appear, that he thought be lov, exercise proper feelings and af.ed and honored the true God, fections towards the Deity, when when in fact he hated and deni, we have no knowledge or belief ed him. of the truth respecting his being | These cases may be suffie and character? And in case cient, as specimens, to show, our ideas respecting his charaç, that sound doctrine or the truth, ter are essentially erroneous and with respect to the being and contrary to the truth, we shall character of God, is of the last be liable to think we love and importance to be known and be. • honor him, when in reality we lieved by us, in order to our ex: hate and deny him.

ercising proper affections toIf we verily think the true wards him, and to guard us a: God is a being of such a dis- gainst the most pernicious and position, as to approve and be fatal delusion. pleased with persons of our tem 2. The importance of sound pers and ways, when in truth doctrine may further appear, he disapproves and hates them ; from a view of the natural tend, we shall naturally think we love ency and consequences of the him, when in reality we hate ideas, which men entertain res the only true God. This ap- pecting the divine law, pears to have been the case with If we think there is no divine the Pharisees, when Christ was / law, and that virtue and vice, on earth, They saw and hat. | as applied to the volitions and ed both Christ and his father ; actions of men, are mere empty and yet thought that they loved names--if we persuade our: God, and were approved and ac- selves into a belief, that every cepted of him. So very errothing being immutably fixed by neous were their ideas of his re- fate, or by a divine decree, it is al character.

impossible that men should be A man may be copsious, that morally commendable or blame. the idea of God as a being, who worthy for any of their exercis, is disposed to punish, and will es or actions that it is a matactually punish, many of the ter of perfect indifference, as to sinful children of men, with end-desert of reward or punishment, less and inexpressible misery, how we feel and conduct: if we is cordially disapproved and ha- think and believe thus, as some ted by him ; and yet, being per have professed to do, the consesuaded in his own mind, that no quence will naturally be, that such God exists, but that the we shall feel ourselves under true God is disposed to and will no obligation to refrain from make all mankind eternally hap- the things commonly accounted py, he is highly pleased with wrong and vicious, or to prachim and heartily loves him.- tise what is commonly accountNow if it should finally appear, ed virtuous, any further than we that the God whom he loves, I find necessary for ow personal

safety, or present interest. Or, 1 if the law of God doth pow reIf we believe there is a divine quire perfect holiness in heart law binding upon us by the au- and life, on pain of the curse ; thority of God, but entertain we are condemned by it for evegrossly wrong ideas of its tenor ry imperfection--for every failand import--if we think it re- ure of perfect obedience or of quires only external actions, but perfect holiness in thought, word has no regard to the temper and and deed, and have no way to exercises of the heart ; we shall escape the curse, but of mere naturally think we keep it, if our grace through the atonement external actions are such as we made by the blood of Christ suppose it requires, whatever | Hence, it evidently appears to be the disposition and exercis- be of great importance. to us, es of our hearts : and therefore, to understand and believe sound if the law doth really regard the doctrine, the real truth, with reheart, and that primarily and spect to the nature of virtue and chiefly, we shall think we keep vice, sin and holiness, and to it, when we yield no true obedi- the real tenor, import and extent ence, and feel ourselves free of the divine law. from obligation to that which is 13. The same truth may also principally regarded and requir- appear, if we consider how difed by it.

ferently we shall naturally feel So likewise, if we think the di- and act, according to the difvine law, in requiring us to ferent ideas which we entertain love our neighbors as ourselves, of our own character and state, means only that we shall love or of the character and state of our friends and those who love mankind. us, but hate our enemies, when If we verily believe, that we in truth it requires us to love our are in a fallen, guilty state, dead enemies, to bless them that curse in sin, and under a righteous us, and to do good to them that sentence of condemnation, and hate ys; we shall naturally think that there is no way of deliverwe keep it when we live in the ance and saivation for us, except habitual, allowed transgression of of the free and sovereign grace it. Or if we think the divine of God, through the mediation law, as in force with respect to and merits of Jesus Christ; mankind in their fallen, impo- this view and belief will naturtent, depraved statę, requires ally tend to make us feel that our only such sincere, imperfect obe present condition is awfully candience, as we are now in all re- gerous and threatening, and not. spects able to perform ; then, in to be rested in-that we are lost case we think we perform this for ever, wit out the interposisincere, imperfect obedience, we tion of divine power and grace shall naturally conclude that we for our recovery ; that this is of do as much as the divine law | infinite importance to us; and doth or can reasonably require it will accordingly tend to excite of us in our present circumstan- us to inquire and seek or cry for ces ; and accordingly feel as mercy, with great carnestness. though we were justified in the Whereas, if such as now mensight of God on the ground of tioned be our real character and our own obedience. Whereas, I state ; and ure, nevertheless, belief of the truth respecting his has no existence, and that the being and character ; nor with | God whom he hates, a God who out this, can we know whether is disposed to and will punish we love or hate, honor or dishon. many with endless misery, is in or, acknowledge or deny him. fact the true God ; it will then How is it possible that we should appear, that he thought he lova exercise proper feelings and af- ed and honored the true God, fections towards the Deity, when when in fact he hated and deniz we have no knowledge or beliefed him. of the truth respecting his being! These cases may be suffis and character ? And in case | cient, as specimens, to show, our ideas respecting his charaç, that sound doctrine or the truth, ter are essentially erroneous and with respect to the being and contrary to the truth, we shall character of God, is of the last be liable to think we love and importance to be known and be, . honor him, when in reality we lieved by us, in order to our exhate and deny him.

ercising proper affections to. If we verily think the true wards him, and to guard us a God is a being of such a dis-gainst the most pernicious and position, as to approve and be fatal delusion. pleased with persons of our tem 2. The importance of sound pers and ways, when in truth doctrine may further appear, he disapproves and hates them; from a view of the natural tend, we shall naturally think we love ency and consequences of the him, when in reality we hate ideas, which men entertain res the only true God. This apa pecting the divine law, pears to have been the case with If we think there is no divine the Pharisees, when Christ was law, and that virtue and vice, on earth. They saw. and hat as applied to the volitions and ed both Christ and his father ;/ actions of men, are mere empty and yet thought that they loved names--if we persuade our God, and were approved and ac-selves into a belief, that every cepted of him. So very erro- thing being immutably fixed by neous were their ideas of his re- fate, or by a divine decree, it is al character.

impossible that men should be A man may be consious, that morally commendable or blame, the idea of God as a being, who worthy for any of their exercise is disposed to punish, and will es or actions..that it is a matactually punish, many of the ter of perfect indifference, as to sinful children of men, with end-desert of reward or punishment, less and inexpressible misery, how we feel and conduct: if we is cordially disapproved and ha- think and believe thus, as some ted by him ; and yet, being per have professed to do, the consesuaded in his own mind, that no quence will naturally be, that such God exists, but that the we shall feel ourselves under true God is disposed to and will no obligation to refrain from make all mankind eternally hap- the things commonly accounted py, he is highly pleased with wrong and vicious, or to prachim and heartily loves him. tise what is commonly account. Now if it should finally appear, ed virtuous, any further than we that the God whom he loves, find necessary for our personal

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