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they came from God. Of this he was convinced, by the clearest evidence, both external and internal. Particularly, he found the most exact agreement between the gospel of Christ and the writings of the Old Testament, with which he had been acquainted from a child. For though part of the New Testament was written previous to this Epistle, when Timothy was a child he had only the Old. But they testified of Christ beforehand. The most important truths in them related to the salvation of sinners, who could then be saved only on the credit of his death. But when he had actually offered himself a sacrifice, the scriptures became more plain, and easy to be understood. I propose to consider,

First, Some of the principal evidences, that the Sacred Writings were given by divine inspiration.

But it will first be necessary, briefly to explain what we intend. See 2 Pet.i. 21. 16. The Holy Spirit moved the sacred penmen to write, directed them what to insert, and guarded them against all mistakes. These writings consist of various materials. Some facts, of which the writers were eye witnesses, or which took place in their own times. In respect of these it was necessary they should be directed what to select, and be kept from all misrepresentation. Some facts they might know by tradition, and as to these they were infallibly confirmed in the truth of them.

In the devotional parts they were divinely enlightened, certainly directed, wonderfully elevated ; so as to convey just, grand, and beautiful ideas of God, and to instruct how to worship him, and supplicate his favor.

In the didatic, mandatory, and promissory parts, they were fully assured of the will of God, and taught to express in the most clear, certain, and proper manner, all doctrines, commands, threats, and promises. The prophetic parts were immediately suggested by the Holy Spirit, who enabled them certainly to predict future events, even those most apparently contingent, or most depending on the will of free agents.

It is difficult in a single discourse to determine what arguments to select. Let us notice,

First, Some most striking external evidences of inspiration.

The great antiquity of some of their writings, and the perfect harmony of all the successive writers, is of no little weight. Especially the agreement of the Old and New Testament: though Moses wrote almost one thousand six hundred years before John. The evident fulfilment of prophecy in Jesus of Nazareth, notwithstanding the difference of dispensation, and his rejection by the Jews to this day. Many other predictions, of both Old and New Testament. Miracles recorded in both, of such a nature as not to admit of collusion. Facts related, not done in a corner.

Neither Moses nor Jesus flattered Jews or Gentiles. In Jeremiah, Paul, &c. no appearance of guile or cajolment. The impartiality and self-denial of these writers. Moses relates the people's idolatry. The writers acknowledge their own sin. Mark, Peter ; Luke, Paul and Barnabas. The contrariety of these writers to the corrupt inclinations generally indulged by mankind. The consequent opposition of wicked men in all ages. Yet the providential care of God over them. The evident success and usefulness in reforming the living, and in comforting the dying martyrs and others.

The internal evidence of the divine originality of the scriptures, is still more satisfactory to real Christians. The glorious character of God is fully displayed. It directs us in the manner in which he will be worshipped. Before Christ's coming, by sacrifice; now, by prayer and praise in his name. It contains the only rule of duty perfectly adapted to man's nature, and his relation to his Maker and his fellowcreatures. So that, if he were fully conformed to it, he must needs be a good and happy being. It appears to have been indited by one who knew what was in man : it lays open hearts, and shows their deceit and desperate wickedness. Yet it discovers the only way in which sin can be pardoned without being encouraged in future. It affords ground of consolation under all the troubles of life, and the terrors of death. It reveals the future state of retribution, and lays open to view the invisible world. Thus we have ample evidence that all scripture is given by inspiration from God. The latter kind of evidence (the internal) is elosely connected with its advantageous tendency, and sufficiency to answer its

VOL. II.

most important and desirable end. But we will attend to this a little farther.

SECONDLY: The usefulness and sufficiency of the Holy Scripture.

It is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. It teaches us what to believe, and what to reject, in matters of faith ; what to forsake, and what to pursue, in practice. It is profitable, as it gives us just and satisfying views of the divine nature and government; discovers the true dignity, duty, and interest of man; exactly points out what is right and what is wrong; manifests the evil nature and mischievous tendency of sin; reveals clearly the way in which God will save sinners, and that a way truly worthy of God; lays before the sinner the strongest possible motives to engage and constrain him to return to God; contains all the cautions, directions, encouragement, and promises a believing sinner can desire, to guard him against every snare, guide him in the way of duty, and excite him to every good work.

First: Why then are not all who enjoy this revelation actually brought back to God? Ans. Because of the reigning depravity of the heart, which is proof against all external means, of which this is the best. For if they believe not Moses and the Prophets, nor Christ and his Apostles, neither would they believe though one should rise from the dead. Otherwise, the scripture contains a sufficient demonstration of the need of salvation ; a sufficient display of the way of salvation; a sufficient warrant to encourage return to God; a sufficient assurance of the happiness of every believer; a sufficient directory how to show his gratitude for salvation. In short, whoever truly obeys it will find it a sufficient guide to the kingdom of heaven. The reason why many who have the scriptures, and make some use of them, are not eternally the better, is, not want of sufficient evidence, external or internal, that they are indeed the word of God. Nor yet want of sufficient plainness to be easily understood by any one of weak capacity, if he had an honest heart. Nor is it because they are not decisive in pointing out to us both our duty and interest. for want of all proper motives to induce a cordial compliance

Nor

with the will of God here discovered. But it is owing to the contrariety of the sinner's heart to truth and righteousness : hence, no external exhibition of the truth will bring a soul back to God, without divine energy applies it to the heart, and gives the sinner a new disposition corresponding with the holy nature and tendency of divine revelation. Consequently, if we should inquire,

Secondly, Why do any rightly improve the scriptures, and imbibe from them the knowledge of God? I answer, It is owing to divine influence on the heart, or to the power of the Holy Spirit, who alone renders the word an effectual means of salvation.

From the whole, we may infer, We have unspeakable reason to bless God for the Bible. We have great reason to dread abusing so invaluable a gift, lest it should be only a price in the hands of a fool to get wisdom. We have special reason to rejoice, if God has given us a heart to love his word, and to prize it more and more, and study it diligently and impartially. How should we be concerned to propagate the knowledge of the scriptures, both at home and abroad ; among the heathen, and among the poor!

CXXXIV.

ON SOBER-MINDEDNESS.

Titus ii. 6.

Young men, likewise, exhort to be sober-minded.

Never did any man more strenuously maintain the doctrine of salvation by grace, than the apostle Paul; nor was any man ever more careful to show the holy tendency of that doctrine, and to inculcate all kinds of relative duties. In like manner he directs Titus to speak the things which became sound doctrine, and to teach Christian professors, of every description, to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. In this verse be particularly directs him what advice to give to young men: young men, likewise, charge to be sober-minded. And if this was needful and profitable advice

then, I suppose it cannot be unnecessary or unprofitable now; and as I most sincerely and ardently desire the eternal welfare of the young people of this congregation, I take the liberty of recommending it at this time to their serious attention.

First: Why is this charge peculiarly needful for the young ?

Because they are partakers of the general depravity that has infected all our race in consequence of the fall, and yet are too apt to forget that humbling truth, and indulge a high opinion of their own sufficiency to choose and act for themselves. Those who have been educated strictly and carefully, are often little aware how much their preservation from sin and folly has been owing to the care and instruction of others; and are ready to imagine they should have done as well if they had been left more to themselves; or if they had taken a little more liberty they should have known where to stop, and not have been materially the worse. Yet the passions in youth are ordinarily strong, and if parental authority be a little relaxed, those that enjoyed many early advantages, will often throw off the yoke, and run into great and criminal excesses. Many temptations surround young people, and the allurements of bad companions frequently make a very dreadful change in the manners of them that once had been kept from a variety of sinful indulgences. If young people are not drawn into open vice, they are yet in great danger of forming extravagant expectations of worldly happiness, and imagine that temporal enjoyments will be far more safe, delightful, unmixed, and permanent, than they are likely to find them.

Young men, having had but little experience themselves, are very apt to slight the testimony of others, or to conceive that if those who have gone before them have found their expectations disappointed, it has been owing to some mismanagement which their own skill and precaution will easily avoid.

Even young professors of religion are much in danger of injuring their own souls, and the blessed cause of the Redeemer, by a measure of inattention, selfwill, and self-confidence; or of being drawn off from God, by the snares of the world, the artifices of Satan, and the

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