Page images
PDF
EPUB

sufficiently authoritative and explicit, to effect all the purposes for which it was vouchsafed. When men began to multiply, similar methods of communication were still resorted to : God successively revealed his Will, as occasion required, to .Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

After the Patriarchal age, when the time came which God had, fixed on for taking the Israelites into covenant with himself, Moses was selected, to make a faithful record of the most remarkable events that had happened from the Creation; and more especially, to teach and explain the Two Tables of the Law, which were written with, the finger of God. The Ten Commandments, thus delivered, are to be received as a transcript of God's Will; and were intended to be of perpetual obligation ainongst all nations, as a rule of life.

3. But, as God, after the Covenant of Works had been broken, established a New Covenant, which Christ was to ratify and seal with his own blood, he saw fit to raise up a succession of Prophets and good men, who, “at sundry times, and in divers manners,” unfolded the amazing plan of our redemption by the Messiah; and foretold, with the greatest exactness, his advent, sufferings, triumphs, and exaltation to the right-hand of God.

After Christ's ascension, the Apostles were inspired, to publish more fully to the world a correct narrative of the life, death, and doctrines of our Divine Lord. Thus the sacred Canon of Scripture was completed.; which is able, through faith in Christ, to “ make us wise unto salvation";" but the neglect or abuse of which will subject us to the displeasure of God.

The inspired writings of the Old and New-Testa• Matt. v. 19, 20. 12 Tim. iii. 15. & Rev. xxii. 18, 19.

[ocr errors]

ments, thus communicated, are proposed to mankind as the infallible Word of God; from which it is

presumptuous to make any appeal respecting matters of faith and practices. The judgment of the Church of England upon this point is decisive: "Holy Scrip- : ture containeth all things necessary to salvation ; so i that whatsoever is not read 'therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of faith, or to : be thought requisite or necessary to salvation!.”

The Bible affords satisfactory evidence : of its being a revelation worthy of God; and adapted, in the highest degree, to promote the temporal and spiritual welfare of the human race. i'

This, and other important points which follow, can be but briefly touched upon; as a lengthened discussion of them would swell this publication beyond its intended size.

4. The antiquity of the Bible gives it a strong claim to a Divine original. It is manifestly the oldest book extant; for it mentions circumstances which occurred in the earliest ages, of which no clear re.cords are to be found in the most ancient of uninspired writings. And there can be no reason to doubt, but that the obscune traditions found in profane authors, respecting the Creation, Deluge, and many other facts, were borrowed from Moses; and have been so studiously wrapped up in fable and allegory, as to conceal the source from whence they were derived :: The Mosaic Records lead our thoughts back to the commencement of time: they point us to a great First Cause, which gave birth to all things: and the account with which they furnish us of the Creation, and other facts which have perplexed the inquisitive in all ages,

Isai. viii. 20. Art. VI. See Stillingfleet's Origines Sacræ.

[ocr errors]

is both the most rational and convincing that was ever presented to the world'.

5. The Bible represents God in such a light, as strongly vouches for its authenticity : therein the beautifully-diversified lineaments of the Divine character are so correctly drawn, that every one who contemplates the exhibition, with a serious mind, may discover such inimitable excellence in it, as ought to excite his love and veneration.

Let the Scriptures speak in their own inajestic language, of the power, wisdom, mercy, justice and benevolence of Almighty God. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out”!" “ The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, upon thern that fear him; to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do tbem.” is like unto thee, O Lord ? glorious in boliness, fearful in praises, doing wonders ?." loved the world, that he gave bis only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on bisa ibond not perish, but have everlasting life."

How different is this description of the blessed God, from the accounts given in Fazza srce of those pretended Deities, whorn the riezties norii has ignorantly adored! Jehovai

, je amiezd it the Sacred Volume as a Being of transact EREness, veracity, and righteousness: bu sistem ties of Pagans have been charged wrii of crime ; and, doubtless, some di 11-11. verzija infamous character. Even their own

Gen, chap. i.
• Ps. ciii. 17,18. P

4 Who

6 God so

[ocr errors]

Ps. xxxül, 6.
Exod. xv. 11.

that they are 'partial in the bestowment of their favours, and act under the sway of vindictive pas sions. From this short comparison, any one may easily decide, “ who is the True God, and Eternal Life."

6. The doctrines and precepts of Scripturemanifest its heavenly origin : "they are holy, just, and ! goodo:" they inculcate universal righteousness, a towards God and man. They propose the only true principles of holiness; and, at the same time, furnish us with the most effectual inotives to pursue it: the worship they require us to pay to God, is such as is if suited to his dignity. What, then, is more excellent and deserving of our serious attention, than the Wordt of God ? Its claims to exclusive regard, as the only true Revelation will strike ús, on contrasting its doctrines with the dogmas of Paganisın. The principles of Heathen Theology are impious, wicked, and absurd. The most solemn rites of Pagans are distinguished by such acts of cruelty, debauchery, licentiousness, and obscenity, as to demonstrate that they must have originated from the Father of Lies'.

7. The infinitely great rewards proposed in the Scriptures to the obedient are, indeed, worthy of Him who offers them; whilst, at the same time, they bespeak the divinity of the book which contains them. The bliss promised to good men hereafter, is of such a nature, that it is as desirable as it is admirable. Unlike the fabled Elysium of Heathen Poets, Ti John v. 20.

• Rom. vii. 12. * Their “ abominable idolatries;" their frequent sacrifice of human victims; their exposure of innocent babes who are abandoned to a cruel death; their insatiable thirst of revenge; their cruelty to captives, and the barbarous spirit with which their wars are conducted ; as well as the connivance which they give to theft, fraud, and dishonesty ; demonstrate, that much of the boasted light of Pagans is, indeed, the grossest darkness.

[ocr errors]

or the Paradise of Mahomet, which hold out nothing but sensual delights, the felicity reserved in heaven for the righteous is spiritual and divine ; yea, it is so exalted, that, without the actual enjoyment of it, we can never duly appreciate its sublime pleasures

The happiness of the world is empty, insufficient, and transitory; but the joys which are at God's right-hand are of a niost satisfying kind, and are capable of filling up the largest desires of our souls : and, what renders them still more desirable, they are as eternal in their duration as the throne of God, which endureth for evermore.

8. And now we may confidently ask, Whether the Scriptures do not bear the most indubitable marks of being a Revelation from God ? Atteșted, as we shall see in the next Lecture, by miracles and prophecies, they carry a weight of evidence along with them, in support of their Divinity, which no reasonable man can resist. At least, if the Bible be, not the Word of God, we know not where it can be found; since no other book furnishes such irrefragable proofs of its coming from him. There is, therefore, no other Revelation, but that which is contained in the Holy Scriptures; and this ought to be duly estimated, both on account of its Divine origin, and the benefits which it is capable of conveying. If God, in compassion to our ignorance, has given us a Book that is able to make us wise and happy, we cannot be guilty of offering a greater affront to him, than to reject or neglect it. Such conduct is not only an impeachment of his wisdom, which deemed the gift necessary to our salvation, but argues a total inattention to our own well-being.

u Cor. ii. 9, 10.

« PreviousContinue »