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that it was brought about by a concurrence of natural
But the more this stupenduous fact has been examined by learned men, the literal truth of it has more appeared. And when the inspired historian ascribes the whole of it to the will and power of God, it becomes us to believe it on his word, unless any manifest contradiction be discovered. We had better give entire credit to the word of God, than shew that we are slow of heart to believe; because, in the first case, we acknowledge ourselves to be weak and ignorant, and God worthy of unbounded credit; but in the last case, we appear too tender of our own wisdom and reputation, and had rather affront God than sacrifice our imperfect and blind reason to his declarations.
In the history of the New Testament, the wonders of our Lord's incarnation, life, and death, are still related by the Evangelists, with the same simplicity which runs through the Old Testament. Although they treat of the most wonderful facts that can be conceived, they move modestly on, and fill up their surprising narrative without passion or panegyric. They speak of God and Christ without hesitation, and without apology, as being both of them God and Lord. And they do this in such terms, as our modern Arians and Socinians care not to adopt. It is a sure sign of an erroneous mind in any writer, when he hesitates to follow an inspired writer's manner of treating his subject.
Finally, Let us thankfully read the historical part of the Holy Scriptures; and in all we hear of what is passing in the world around us, let us consider that it is . the work of the same God, carrying on his great designs towards their full accomplishment, and bring
ing forward that period, when the systems of Providence and of Grace will be complete. And let us pray for the commencement of the glorious years of jubilee, when God will make wars to cease in all the earth, and perfect and establish the government of Christ, the Prince of Peace; when his people will have happy leisure to contemplate the records of time, and therein perceive God's redeeming love as the point to which the whole history of the Bible, and all the works of Providence in the world, do invariably tend.
ON THE DOCTRINAL PART OF HOLY SCRIPTURE.
The doctrines of the scripture form by far the most important part of it, and, no doubt, to instruct mankind in these was the great reason for which a revelation was given. Every other part of the Word is made subservient to this: For if our minds be not rightly informed respecting the grand object of divine worship, and whether he will accept any service from such sin. ful creatures as we are,—it is often of very little signification what we know of his creating power or providential goodness, or of what has been done in different ages and nations of the world. Whatever knowl. edge we might have of these things, we should not be able to make a right use of it; because the great truths which are to regulate our ideas and our actions would be wanting. In such a case, we should act in the dark, and be quite at a loss to know whether any of our religious services would yield us any benefit. VOL. III.
Some persons, indeed, have manifested great indifference about what we are to believe, provided that we are careful as to our moral conduct. One of this class says, “His [faith] can't be wrong, whose hfe is in the right." But it would have been more conformable to truth if he had said, “His life can't be right, whose faith is in the wrong.” A man whose creed, so far as it goes, is good, may act viciously; but he whose creed is bad, cannot act so as to please God. Our established church, in her eighteenth article, denounces an anathema against those who presume to say, that every man shall be saved by the law or sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that law, and the light of nature; and confirms it by a reference to the words of St. Peter, “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved," than that of Jesus Christ. There are too many in our church who entertain the opinion which that article condemns, and who think it so reasonable, that they are surprised to find the denunciation of the church against it
Destitute of the Bible, we not only should have no good principles of action, but we should be incapable of knowing how to worship God acceptably. This is not a mere speculative opinion: it is a truth confirmed by the experience of all ages, and of all nations. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, with all their boasted wisdom and philosophy, did not find out the true God. Instead of reforming the world, they joined with the herd of the people, in the most idolatrous, impure, and enthusiastic religious exercises; and at length as a reproach to their vanity, they erected an altar T.
the unknown God. From that fact St. Paul took occasion to say to them, “\Vhom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” This charge similar to that which our Lord had some time before brought against the Samaritans: “Yo worship ye know not what."
From the above facts we may clearly perccive, that we stand in need not only of a revelation, but also of a teachable disposition. Our minds are so averse to being taught of God, that we now naturally oppose his truth, and are prone to lean to our own understanding, and to neglect what God has revealed. Thus God complained of Israel, “I have written unto him the great things of my law, but they were accounted as a strange thing;" as a thing they could do without, and to which it was unreasonable to give any credit; a thing too humbling to stoop to, and too inimical to their worldly pleasures. This was the disposition of those to whom in ancient times were committed the lively oracles of God; and it is a striking picture of many who at this day have the Holy Bible in their hands.
But the more our corrupt hearts revolt against the word of God, the greater is our need of its instruction. The
appearance of so many Bibles in the world is ah evidence, that God's law, which originally was written in our hearts, is defaced and blotted out by sin. It is also a gracious testimony, that God intends to imprint it there afresh. We should be thankful for the Scriptures, though they declare us ever so vile and rebel. lious: for, as we cannot be saved without repenting of our sins, so neither can
we repent, except we have a thorough conviction of our sins against God, of our: meriting his eternal displeasure, and of cur utter inability to save ourselves. Until we are humbled so far as to acknowledge that the representations of these things contained in the Bible are true, that book is considered as an enemy, and laid aside: but when Divine grace enlightens the mind, and subdues our pride, we shall take it from its obscure shelf, and find it a faithful friend. We shall then see that it is like a skilful physician or surgeon, probing indeed the wounds of the soul, but, at the same time, administering a rich balm to heal them, and furnishing us with a powerful antidote against all the disorders of our corrupt and depraved nature,
Indeed, if the Bible presented to us nothing but a relation of our misery here on account of sin, and our. certain punishment hereafter, although it might claim a divine original, yet it would be better to suppress it entirely; because the promulgation of it would tend only to make men unhappy before their time. But the evident benignity of the divine Being necessitates us to conclude, that a revelation which comes from him must be not only true, but also kind and gracious. And, indeed, thus we find it to be. . Wherefore, having the Bible in our hands, we may very willing to hear the worst charges it can bring, because, though it thunders out its curses against us as sinners, yet it
proclaims also a free salvation effected by the death of the Son of God; and declares of him, that “he is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him;" and that “whosoever cometh unto him, he will in no wise cast out."
Let every reader of the Scriptures, therefore, first