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of every kind. Let us remember, that if we act as if there were no God, we have our reason and conscience against us, so that we shall be without excuse. If the heathen shall be without excuse, much more will this be our case. If, in our practice, we forget there is a God, our reason at last will be a swift witness against us. As God exists and is the author of all things, there can be no room to doubt, that he takes notice of, and is the supreme governor of all, and will finally bring all to an account for their conduct. Let this reflection dwell on our minds, and let us live and act as persons who believe the same.
As there is a God, his rational creatures ought to love him with a supreme
affection. He is worthy of their most exalted esteem, devotion and reverence. Therefore, let 18"give him our whole hearts, and delight in him as our chief end. Let' uś fear before him, let us fear to sin, knowing that he is infinite in power, and will punish alt iniquity. It is of the highest importance, that we serve him with faithfulness, with sincerity, integrity and uprightness of mind ; that we acknowledge our absolute dependence upon him, and worship him in purity of heart. Let it be ev emembered by us that « He that cometh to God must believe that he si is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek SERMON II.
THE DIVINITY OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES PROVED.
II. TIMOTHY III. 16.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. - THE truth and certainty of the Holy Scriptures being a reve. fation from God, for the instruction of mankind in faith and practice, when properly established, must be a matter of the higliest impartance, . Every christian ought to have sufficient reasons to support and camfart his own mind respecting this great reality, and ought to, possess some arguments for the refutation' or sia lencing of gainsayers, and unbelievers. The truth of the scrips, tures being a revelation from heaven, may be proved from a great variety of topics ; from the purity of the matter, the holiness of their tendency, the dignity of their style, the consistency of all their parts, the blessedness of their effects, and the design of the whole, ta shew forth the excellencies of all the divine perfections, to display the glory of God, especially the fullness and exceeding riches of heavenly grace and mercy, in the recovery of a lost and ruined world, to holiness and eternal felicity, But the two principal arguments on which the scriptures, as the inspiration of God, most certainly rest, are miracles and the fulfilment of prophecies. Miracles are abundantly sufficient to administer conviction to the ininds of them who are present or behold them, of the truth of the doctrine delivered, and the divine commission and authority of those who performed the same. We are ready to suppose
if we had been present, and seen the miracles wrought by Moses,
Elijah, Christ and the Apostles, we should surely have believed, but we know that many who saw those stupendous works, reinain. ed still in unbelief. So, if these wonders were performed again, in the presence of the world, it is highly probable it would be as it was then, many would attribute them to wrong causes, many would not believe them. We have these inatters-landed down to us in the most uncorrupted record, and established by irrefragable testimony-yet, what multitudes continue unbelievers ? But, that the eternal God might leave mankind absolutely without excuse for their infidelity, he has confirmed his revelation by predictions of future events, and the exact and perfect accomplishiment thereof. And these predictions were made from the earliest tlmes, and have been fulfilled in all periods of the world, and are fulfiling at this day, and will be fulfilling throughout all future ages. These things fully demonstrate the prescience of God, and are standing monuments to every generation, of the divinity of the holy scriptures. But if the predictions and the accomplishment of the events foretold, be stated before men with such cleara ness of evidence, that they cannot be denied or evaded, then in fidelity objects, that the history was written after the fulfillment of the prophecy, and thus, instead of proving divine truth, proves the basest wickedness, and the grossest imposture. If the pres dictions of events which are yet to come to pass, be retailed to them, they reject their possible fulfillment as foolish and absurd, When predictions, which have been delivered hundreds and thou, sands of years ago, are represented to them as facts now accomplishing, as realities now exhibiting before the world, as events now obvious to the eyes and understanding of all, infidels are here non-plused, stunned and confounded, and although they cannot 2pswer, they remain, generally, obstinately unconvinced. For thorough-paced infidels have, in all ages, with a very few excep. tions, remained infidels still. But frequently, to bring forward the arguments in favour of our holy religion, ta show its divine authority, is of the greatest benefit for the comfort and confirina
tion of christians in the truth, and for the conviction of the wavering and doubting.
It is impossible to enter into extensive reasoning on this head, in the limits of a contracted sermon, therefore, I shall omit all the arguments drawn from the possibility and necessity of a revelation, and from the nature, advantages, and moral goodness of the scriptures themselves, as also from miracles, the certainty of their having been performed and rightly established to us by, infallible testimony. I must also onnit many arguments taken from the ful. fillinent of prophecy, and confine myself only to three instances of it, one of which has been already fulfilled, and the other two are now fulfilling before the world in the present day, and, are standing miracles of heaven, monuments visible to all, of the divine inspiration of the scriptures.
The first instance of prophecy, and its exact and astonishing accomplishment to which I shall lead your attention, is, the predictions respecting the birth, life, doctrines, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
It was predicted by the prophet Isaiah, that he should be born, of a virgin. *" A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and, u shall call his name Emmanuel,” which was literally accomplished, when the virgin Mary brought forth her son Jesus. Attend, to the history of this matter, given us by St. Matthew. f“ That “ which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost, And she shall bring forth
a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he, « shall save the people from their sins. · They shall call him Ena “ manuel, which being interpreted, is God with us."
The prophet Micah foretold the place of his birth. Thou “ Bethlehem Ephratah, though theu be little among the thou« sands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that “is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of
* Is. vii. 14. † Mat. i. 20, 21, 23. Mic. 9. 2.
"old, from everlasting." This was plainly fulfilled, when Mary with Joseph went up to Bethlehem to be taxed there, where she brought forth her first-born son. Thus Matthew declares, ** Je
sus was born in Bethlehem of Judah, in the days of Herod the king.” So Luke asserts the same: t" And Joseph also went up
from Galilee, out of the city of Nagareth, into fudea, unto "the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, to be taxed with " Mary his espoused wife ; and so it was that while they were « there, that the days were accomplished that she should be de“ livered, and she brought forth her first born son." John likewise witnesseth to the same fact, when he says, “ Hath not the “ scripture said, that Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out “ of the town of Bethlehem, where David was ?"
Were not the predictions concerning the forerunner of Chirst expressly fulfilled ? Thus saith Isaiah, 9" The voice of him that “crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make
straight in the desart a highway for our God; and the glory of the “Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” In the same language speaks the prophet Malachi, ll“ Behold I will “send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me." How perfectly were these prophecies accomplished in John the Baptist? Did lie not preach in the wilderness of Judea, saying 66 repent ye ; for the kingdom of Heaven is at land.” Was he not “ The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the
way of the Lord, make his paths straight ?" Does he not expressly affirm this of himself? And does not St. Mark directly apply these prophecies to John, when he says respecting him, “ As it is written in the prophets, behold I send my inessenger bo“fore thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
Let us attend to what was foretold of Christ in respect to his life, and the wonders he should perform. Jacob prophesied of
* Mat. ii, 1.
† Luke iii. 4, 5, 6, 7. I Jorn vii. 42. § Is..!. 3. || Mal. iii. 1. • Mark i. 2.