« AnteriorContinuar »
permanence and stability. But when the day of the consummation of all our hopes arrives, our joy will be everlasting and ever increasing, while we shall spend a happy eternity in casting our blood-bought crowns before the throne; acknowledging that our felicity is not the fruit of our own merits, but that we receive it only "through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
On the Psalms, Lessons, Epistles and Gospels.
S the wisdom of the compilers of our li
turgy appears in many remarkable instan, ces, so especially is it manifest in the appointment of large portions of the Holy Scriptures to be read at every season of public worship. They have divided the book of Psalms into thirty parts, that so the Psalter might be read through ių every month. “The old Testament is appointed “ for the first lessons at the morning and evening
prayer, so as the most part thereof will be * read over every year once, as in the calendar " is appointed. The new Testament is appointed « for the second lessons at morning and evening
prayer, and shall be read over orderly every
year thrice, besides the epistles and gospels; " except the Apocalypse, out of which there
are only certain proper lessons appointed upón' divers feasts.” This is the account which our Reformers themselves give of their procedure in this matter, in the Rubric which precedes the calendar in our common prayer books. Othat, while we are reflecting on the wisdom with which they were endowed for the execution of their pious undertaking, our minds may be elevated to admiration and adoration of the goodness of God, as apparent in the abundant means of grace which we so richls enjoy!
The Bible contains a revelation from God to sinners of the human race, on a subject so important, that the knowledge of it is essential to their holiness and happiness, both in this world and also in that which is to come. An inquiry concerning the Author of the sacred volume will discover to us its Divine excellency; for "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God." * We attribute the several parts of which it consists to the subordinate instruments who were employed in conveying it to us, in order to facilitate a distinction between them; but one Divine Author indited the whole. Therefore it is dignified with this august title, "The oracles "of God," because Jehovah Sabaoth inspired the persons from whose pens we have received it. It is attributed equally to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, because therein these Three coequal and co-essential Persons "bear record, "and these Three are One." It is "the word *of Christ;"§ and "holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." When the Scriptures are asserted to be written by inspiration, the least that can be intended is that a Divine influence on the mind of the person employed as the amanuensis of the Holy Ghost, so guided his pen as to preclude all possibility of error. It was not necessary that in all cases the use of the natural faculties of the inspired author should be intirely superseded. For where past events are recorded, of which the writer was an eye-witness, it sufficed that his memory was strengthened to retain them, and his understanding assisted in the selection
Tim. 3, 16. + Rom. iii. 2. + 1 John v. 7.
of proper terms in which to express them. But in passages of a prophetic nature, and those in which the sublime mysteries of our religion are revealed, it is further necessary for us to con-clude that the Spirit of God dictated to the writer's mind, the very ideas which he was to describe, for a manifestation of future events is the prerogative of God only; and "the things "of God," such as relate to His being, His mode of subsistence, and His purposes with respect to men or angels, these are things which "no man knoweth but the Spirit of God," and if they are ever known by us, it must be by virtue of a revelation from God Himself. These pages are not designed to be a vindication of the truth of the Bible. A variety of excellent and able men † have been raised up in every age of the church, who have been enabled to repel the insidious cavils or open attacks of its enemies. Our adorable Lord declared beforehand, that "the gates" (i. e. all the power and policy) "of hell should never prevail against it;" and, blessed be His holy name, hitherto the prediction has been verified. The buckler of truth, more impenetrable than the fabled shield of the Grecian hero, has been found proof against the
* 1 Cor. ii. 9, 10, 11.
+ See "Doddridge's Dissertation on the inspiration of "the New Testament, as proved from the facts recorded in "its history," in the third volume of his Family Expositor; Leslie's Short Method with the Deists; and Leland's View of Deistical Writers. The writings of Mr. Thomas Paine can only deceive those whose minds are totally unfurnished with theological information. But as there are many such uncultivated minds, and as the subject is of inconceivable importance, the Bishop of Landaff, Mr. Scott, and others, have seen it right to expose the fallacies of this daring blasphemer.
sharpest weapons which infidelity could employ, though neither malice nor subtilty has been wanting on its side. The walls of salvation * still remain in all their lustre, strength, and glory; though they have been so long besieged by numerous hosts of foes, that, compared therewith, the famous siege of Tyre, by the army of Nebuchadnezzar, shrinks into nothing. And surely, as the blessed volume on which all the hopes of fallen man are built, hath stood the test of the several attacks of its enemies for so long a period, we may safely conclude, not only with respect to the past, but also with respect to every future opposer of the truth of God, "that his mischief shall return upon his "own head, and his violent dealing shall come "down upon his own pate." ‡
Though controversy with the various deistical writers, either of past ages or the present, is not the business of these pages, there is one observation that may here be properly introduced, viz. that the fortress of unbelief is seated in the human heart, and not in the head. It originates in the will and affections, not in the understanding which is forced into the service of these tyrannical lords. Reason is made subservient to inclination. If the love of sin were destroyed from among the sons of men, every fibre of that deadly night-shade, Deism, would at the same moment be eradicated. The salu-, tary precepts of the Bible are inimical to the peace and comfort of worldly men, while they
* Isa. lx. 18.
+ Ezek. xxix. 18. The siege of Tyre, alluded to in the prophet, lasted thirteen years.-Prid. Connection, vol. i. P. 12.
Ps. vii. 16.