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ought not to be undervalued. It has often been observed, that “Satan could never have influenced men to write the Bible, for then he would have been divided against himself; wicked men would not have penned a book which so awfully condemns their whole conduct; and good men would never have ascribed their own inventions to Divine inspiration, especially as such forgeries are most severely reprobated in every part of it. But, indeed, it is a work as much exceeding every effort of a mere creature, as the sun surpasses those faint luminaries, by which his splendour is imitated, or his absence supplied. Not one of the various proofs brought to establish the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures can be fairly answered; at least, it has never yet been done and the combined force of the whole is sogreat, that the objections with which Infidels cavil: against the truth, only resemble the foaming waves dashing against the deep-rooted rock which has for ages defied their unavailing fury."
10. To add one more suggestion: Let the wavering consider, that "the consequences of their present: conduct are, according to the Bible, so momentous,: that if there were only a bare possibility of the truth: of the Scriptures, it would be madness to run the risk of rejecting them, for the sake of gaining the whole world. What folly then is it, when we have: such unanswerable demonstrations that they are the word of God, and cannot reasonably doubt of it for a moment, to disobey the commands and neglect the: salvation revealed therein, for the greatest temporal advantage which we can obtain? especially as it may be shewn, that, besides the eternal consequences, the firm belief of the Scriptures, and that conscientious obedience which true faith always produces, will ren
der a man happier in this present life, even amidst trials and self-denying services, than he could be made by all the pomp, pleasure, wealth, power, and honour, which the world can bestow." "Godliness is," therefore, in every point of view, " great gain, and is profitable unto all things; for it has the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to comed."
ON THE DESIGN, AND UNSPEAKABLE VALUE, OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
Psalm xix. 10, 11.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
It is an axiom of the soundest philosophy, that God does nothing in vain. All His works, even the most minute, bear the stamp of perfect wisdom, and of infinite contrivance and skilfulness. It is unreasonable, therefore, to suppose that God would have made a revelation of his will to us, unless he had had some special object in view, by so doing. The Volume of Sacred Writ expressly tells us what ends God proposed to himself, in communicating his will to mankind; so that we are not left to fancy or conjecture.
1. It declares the expediency of such a measure, for acquainting us with the nature of God, and the means of attaining true happiness. Now these are designs worthy of God, and beneficial to his crea
It is right that the glorious Majesty of Heaven' should be honoured by all. But how could the
nature and character of God be fully known, or the respect justly due to him defined, without clear information on these subjects? And froin what source was this knowledge to be obtained? Certainly not from the light of reason, which, in its highest exercise, has never shewn itself equal to so great a task. The most polished people, with every advantage that science could, bestow, have given sufficient proofs of the justice of these observations". Jehovah, therefore, must have disclosed these things to the world; or he would have remained unknown, and have been inadequately and improperly worshipped. But, now that he has deigned "to make his ways known on earth, his saving health among all nations," we shall be inexcusable, if we do not profit by his kindness, and render him the devouthomage of a cheerful obedience.
2. Though the Divine glory seems to have been the primary and ultimate object of Revelation, yet our present and future happiness was certainly an important end to be answered by it. Jehovah having formed us capable of enjoying everlasting bliss, it was not surprising that he should unfold the particular method by which it might be secured. Accordingly, the Scriptures explicitly state the relation' in which we stand to God, and the duties which it exacts from us. They tell us that "we are the work of his own hands ;" and that we so absolutely depend on him, that we cannot live, move, or continue in existence for a moment, without his express permission. Hence arise our obligations to honour and obey God, with all the energy of our minds.
The Word of God is designed to answer the double purpose, of making us acquainted with our lost con
a Rom. i. 21-32. 1 Cor. i. 1-31.
dition, and the means to be used for our recovery to a state of original righteousness. All its representations of human nature are verified by experience. It describes the souls of men as being by nature abso lutely dead in trespasses and sins; as being polluted, and darkened, without any spiritual feelings, or desires, after God. Facts prove the truth of this affecting statement: yet the Scriptures, more intent upon discovering the mercy of God, dwell at greater length upon the means which he has provided for our restoration. They set forth, in the most inviting form, a remedy suited to remove our spiritual maladies, with all their symptoms: they offer sight to the spiritually blind, knowledge to the ignorant, sanctification to the unholy, health to the sick, food to them that "hunger and thirst after righteousness, and life to those who are dead in trespasses and sins." How important is it, therefore, to ascertain the mind of God, as declared in his Word; which is a fountain of light, to guide us into the way of everlasting life! There we may discern how he is to be worthily revered; there the terms, on which salvation is bestowed, are laid open so clearly, " that the way-faring man, though a fool, shall not err therein;" there we learn, as far as is necessary for our comfort, what heaven is, with the means of acquiring a meetness for inheriting it.
Reflect, then, on the compassionate goodness of the Lord, in bestowing his Word upon us for such important ends. He designs to make us wise, good, and happy, by disposing us to embrace and obey the heavenly truths therein delivered; blessings which thousands have already received from its instructions. That it is able to produce such salutary Eph. iv. 18-20. v. 14.
effects upon us, when we seriously believe and sub mit to its influence, is undeniably certain. Make trial of its efficacy; and you will find that it chases away the ignorance of the mind, purifies the heart, breaks the force of evil habits, calms the violence of passion, and constrains us to "press," with unabating constancy, "toward the mark for the prize of the high-calling of God in Christ Jesus.'
3. The foregoing remarks teach us the vast importance of the Bible; yet, other reasons may here be given, which considerably enhance its worth.
The momentous doctrines which the Scriptures lay before us, claim the most profound respect. It is true, some of the Heathen Writers have delivered: sentiments that bear a resemblance to truths and precepts contained in the Bible," such as, the existence of a God who made and governs all things; the ne-: cessity of temperance, justice, and kindness;" yet, at the same time, they were unable to disclose the my stery of a Trinity, the glad tidings of redemption by Christ, and the excellent rewards which await a pious life in another state: these, and other important matters, it is the province of God alone to communicate. Besides, their precepts lost much of their weight, in wanting those strong motives to enforce them, which a Divine revelation only can suggest. Pagan Moralists often urged their followers to the performance of acknowledged duties, not from feelings of love and gratitude to God, but from motives of present ex-; pediency, and from a thirst of human applause and distinction.
However reluctant many are to confess their obligations to God for his Word, it is probable that all, or: most of those maxims which have been so highly exPhil. iii. 14.