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coming from God is the consideration of all others that stampe a value upon it, and that the using it to his glory is the noblest expression of true wisdom and gratitude ! There is no doubt intrinsic excellence in the Bible; and considered merely as a human composition it is a wonderful book. The history, morality, and theology of the Bible contain a fund of knowledge and instruction, and bear the evident marks of superior wisdom and sagacity. But it is the idea of its being writ with the finger of God that puts life into the whole. It is this that gives certainty to past facts and future hopes, clothes precepts and counsels with dignity and authority, inspires devotional exercises with liveliness and energy, raises doctrines infinitely above speculations and conjectures, infuses sweetness into promises, and casts a sublime and inimitable grandeur over the whole. In order therefore fully to possess and enjoy the wealth contained in this book, it will be our wisdom to mark attentively the hand that bestows it. Reading it, Christian, with the great God in full view, you cannot fail of being instructed, entertained and edified. At every step you take new light will break in upon your mind, and new sources of hope and joy will open to your faith.
faith. Your wealth will rapidly increase, and the law of his mouth will be better to you than thousands of gold and silver a. • It is wise therefore to inculcate this great truth of the divine authority of Scripture upon the minds of men, and it is wise to cherish it continually in our hearts. The deeds by which you hold your estates will be consulted with little pleasure and advantage, while you have your doubts of their authenticity. And it ought to be matter of no small joy to us, that he who has settled this better inheritance upon us, has taken care that the instrument of conveyance should have no one flaw in it. The broad seal of heaven is stampt in such a manner upon it, that the united powers of earth and hell have not yet been able to deface it.
The same wisdom too which teaches us for our own sake to observe the hand which bestows this wealth upon us, teaches us also to use it to his glory. It is an act of justice we owe to our divine benefactor, and indeed an act of justice we owe to ourselves. For such use of this wealth enriches the
a Psal. cxix. 72.
possecsor. Nor does God give it to any, that is, possess them of it in the most important sense of the term, without giving them hearts well disposed to his interest. It is congenial to the nature of a good man most cordially to wish that God may be glorified.
Tell all the world then, Christians, of the liberality of your God. Hold
up the immense treasures you possess to the view of men and angels. It is no pride to boast of these riches. That bounty which has raised you up from the lowest state of ignorance, guilt, and misery, and enriched you with knowledge, purity, and happiness; cannot be recognized in too strong terms of wonder, gratitude, and joy. Proclaim it with the sweetest accents of your lips, and with the yet louder and more energetic language of your tempers and lives. Preach, with the great apostle, the unsearchable riches of Christ a. Let your
sound go into all the earth, let the voice of your instruction, influence, and example reach if possible the ends of the world. Say with increasing vigour, joy, and exultation, and so as to inspire all with the most exalted ideas of divine benignity, and with the most ardent desire to share with you in your wealth—God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quichened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us, through Christ Jesus. For by grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves : it is the gift of God b.
Let us, my brethren, be comforted with the animating hope of that better world to which we are hastening, where these heavenly riches will be possessed in their utmost extent, and enjoyed in their highest perfection. Eye hath not seen, nor hath ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him c. a Eph. iii. 8. b Eph. ii. 48.
cl Cor. ii. 9.
The traveller, arrived at his home, sits down and with pleasure relates to his friends the story of his journey, the fatigues he endured, the comforts he enjoyed, the dangers he escaped, the advantages he derived from the map by which he steered his course, and the attention and faithfulness of his guide. In like
manner, what unutterable joy shall we feel, on our arrival at heaven, in a recollection of the history of our journey, and particularly of the advantages we derived, in every stage of it, from the word of God and the power and grace of Christ ! With infinite delight shall we join the rest of the family in singing the melodious song of Moses and the Lamb. He led us forth, we shall say, by the right way, that he might bring us to a city of habitation a. And hither we, the ransomed of the Lord, are come with songs and everlasting joy upon our heads : we have obtained joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing are fled away b.
In fine, may it be our anxious concern, and ardent prayer to God, that the word of Christ may dwell richly in us in all wisdom—that it may be ours—that we may on no account part with it—and that with the liberality and discretion of real Christians, we may apply this immense wealth to the purposes for which it was bestowed. So permit me, in the language of the apostle to the Ephesians, when he took his last affectionate leave of them at Miletus, to commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified c. a Psal. cvii. 7.
6 Isa. XXXV. 10.
c Acts xx. 32.
END OF DISCOURSES ON THE DIVINE AUTHORITY, &c. OF
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
THE VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN RECEIVING THE CROWN:
OCCASIONED BY THE DEATH
THE REV. DR. JOHN GILL,
Who departed this Life, October 14th, 1771, in the 74th Year of his Age.
PREACHED OCTOBER 27th.