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Mediator ; but when he would proclaim his love, he gave his Son to sufferings and to death.
What can we wish for in an heritage that is not to be found in God? Would we have large possessions? He is immensity. Would we have a sure estate? He is immutability. Would we have a term of long continuance? He is eternity itself.
The presence of God's glory is in heaven, the presence of his power on earth, the presence of his justice in hell, and the presence of his grace with his people. If he deny us his powerful presence, we fall into nothing; if he deny us his gracious presence, we fall into sin; if he deny us his merciful presence, we fall into hell.
Fear God for his power--trust him for his wisdom-love him for his goodness-praise him for his greatness-believe him for his faithfulnessand adore him for his holiness
The veneration we shall feel for the Bible, as the depository of saving knowledge, will be totally distinct, not only from what we attach to any other book, but from that admiration its other properties inspire ; and the variety and antiquity of its history, the light it affords in various researches, its inimitable touches of nature, together with the sublimity and beauty so copiously poured over its pages, will be deemed subsidiary ornaments, the embellishments of the casket, which contains the “pearl of great price.”
Upon every reading of the Bible, it grows more precious to the Christian, as it did to David ; because it is not only the discovery, but it is become also the conveyance of the unsearchable riches of Christ. These are revealed in the word, and applied by the word. Faith is the lawful key, which opens the infinite treasury, and here is the proclamation of grace: “O ye that are seeking durable riches-these-all these are yoursCome, take all you want-use all you wish.” You cannot do the free Giver a greater favour, than to enrich yourselves daily out of his boundless stores. Read his promises, how exceeding great, how exceeding precious they are. Read his faithfulness to them-only trust-take-use -all that is in the promises shall be yours in time; yea, yours in eternity.”
INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
Search diligently the word of eternal life enriched and ennobled as it is with the chain and the accomplishments of its prophecies; with the splendour of its miracles; with the attestation of its martyrs; the consistency of its doctrines; the importance of its facts; the plenitude of its precepts; the treasury of its promises; the irradiations of the Spirit; the abundance of its consolations; the proportion of its parts; the symmetry of the whole altogether presenting such a fund of instruction to the mind, of light to the path,
of document to the conduct, of satisfaction to the heart, as demonstrably prove it to be the instrument of God for the salvation of man.
FOUR GRAND ARGUMENTS FOR THE TRUTII
OF THE BIBLE.
THERE are four grand arguments for the truth of the Bible ; the miracles it records, the prophecies, the goodness of the doctrine, and the moral character of the penmen.
The miracles flow from divine power; the prophecies from divine understanding; the excellence of the doctrine from divine goodness; and the moral character of the penmen from divine purity. Thus Christianity is built upon these four immovable pillars, the power, the understanding, the goodness, and the purity of God. I add farther; the Bible must be the invention, either of good men or angels, bad men or devils, or of God.
It could not be the invention of good men or angels; for they neither would nor could make a book, and tell lies all the time they were writing it, saying, “ Thus saith the Lord,” when it was their own invention.
It could not be the invention of bad men or devils; for they would not make a book, which commands all duty, forbids all sin, and condemns their souls to hell to all eternity.
I therefore draw this conclusion, the Bible must be given by divine inspiration.
THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPELS ARGUED FROM
THE CHARACTER OF THE EVANGELISTS.
The evangelists were plain, honest, artless, unlearned men, in very humble occupations of life, and utterly incapable of inventing or carrying on such a refined and complicated system of fraud, as the Christian religion must have been if it was not true. There are, besides, the strongest marks of fairness, candour, simplicity, and truth, throughout the whole of their narratives. Their greatest enemies have never attempted to throw the least stain upon their characters; and how then can they be supposed capable of so gross an imposition, as that of asserting and propagating the most impudent fiction? They could gain by it ncither pleasure, profit, nor power. On the contrary, it brought upon them the most dreadful evils, and even death itself. If, therefore, they were cheats, they were cheats without any motive, and without any advantage ; nay, contrary to every motive and every advantage that usually influences the actions of men. They preached a religion which forbids falsehood, under pain of eternal punishment; and yet, on this supposition, they supported that religion by falsehood; and whilst they were guilty of the basest and most useless knavery themselves, they were taking infinite pains, and going through the greatest labour and sufferings, in order to teach honesty to all mankind. Is this credible? Is this possible? Is not this a mode of acting so contrary to all experience, to all the principles of human nature, and to all the usual motives of
human conduct, as to exceed the utmost bounds of belief, and to compel every reasonable man to reject at once so monstrous a supposition ?
TIIE APOSTLE PAUL A GENUINE BELIEVER.
St. Paul could have no rational motive to become a disciple of Christ, unless he sincerely believed in him : that whereas it may be objected to the other apostles, by those who are resolved not to credit their testimony, that having been deeply engaged with Jesus during his life, they were obliged to continue the same professions after his death, for the support of their own credit, and from having gone too far to go back; this can by no means be said of St. Paul. On the contrary, whatever force there may be in that way of reasoning, it all tends to convince us, that St. Paul must naturally have continued a Jew, and an enemy of Christ Jesus. If they were engaged on one side, he was as strongly engaged on the other. If shame withheld them from changing sides, much more ought it to have stopt him, who, being of a much higher education and rank in life than they, had more credit to lose, and must be supposed to have been vastly more sensible to that sort of shame. The only difference was, that they, by quitting their Master after his death, might have preserved themselves; whereas he, by quitting the Jews, and taking up the cross of Christ, certainly brought on his own destruction.
As, therefore, no rational 1. 10tive appears for St. Paul's embracing the faith of Christ, without having been really convinced of the truth of it; but, on the contrary, every thing occurred to deter