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shall the Foundations of the Earth be out SERM. of Course, than that the Word of God shall I. cease to be the Word of Truth.
As we cannot question the Veracity of the Deity without disputing his very Existence, we must be as absolutely sure of all Matters written under the Direction of his Holy Spirit, as of Things most evident; what we clearly perceive after Search sincerely made into the facred Oracles, to be there affirined unconditionally and unexceptionably, we may and must rely entirely on the Certainty of it; nor can it be thought a Reflection on our Understanding to enbrace any Article of Divine Revelation, solely on the Authority of the Revealer, without our seeing into the Ground and Reason of it, which may in some Paints be impossible, in others improper : But it is the strongest Argument of an impious Distrust to reject it.
BESIDES, as this Knowledge of Christ Jesus is altogether certain, so is it exceedingly beneficial.
It must, indeed be allowed, that no hua man good Literature is without its Use and Advantage either to private Persons or publick Societies"; and what is more, where it is D 2
Serm. not spoiled by Vanity or a Fondness of beI. ing wise above what is written, it is very
serviceable also for the right understanding of the holy Scriptures themselves, and so tends to even the Knowledge of Chrift.
All solid Learning, of what Kind foever helps in its Proportion to raise, refine, and enlarge our Minds, and to render us more capable of attending to spiritual Objects. However, let it be esteemed never so highly at present, unless it leads us on from temporal to eternal Concerns, it will stand us in no Stead at last. For what if we were skilled in all Arts, Sciences and Languages, and could manage them to the most beneficial Purposes ? What, if we could argue with all the Skill and Sophiftry that ever Men did ? What, if we could dive into the abstrusest Secrets of Nature, and see into the Springs and Movements of all second Causes? Yet, without Christ, we should be but undone for ever : There is no other Way to be rescued from everlasting Death, than by him ; the whole of our Deliverance from first to last is begun, continued, and finished in him; neither can we take one right, secure Step towards Heaven, whilst we are ignorant of him and of his heavenly Doctrine.
! But that our Knowledge of Christ may
have Salvation for its End, it must have
Sanctification for its Means : It is by the • Way of Holiness, that it conducts us to
Happiness : And that we may be able both to see and to practise the Things which make for our Peace, the Gospel fets forth to us the most perfect Rules, illustrates
them by the most consummate Example, ļ and promotes their Observance by the most
powerful Supports. So that St. Peter had abundant Reason to suppose, that it is through the Knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Hesus Chrift, Men escape, or have the Power ta escape, the Pollutions of the World (*), since by it we are instructed how to mortify our corrupt Affections, so as to walk in newness of Lite, --- how to resist the Devil, so as to make him fee from us ---how to continue stedfast in the Faith, so as to make our Calling and Election sure,
LASTLY, To have a full View of the Excellency of this Knowledge, to its Ufafulness let us add the Delightfulness of it, How insipid soever it may be reckoned by the Profane and Sensual, yet to the Spiritually.
minded, (x) 2 Pet. . 20.
SERM minded, who have tasted thereof, it is found
I. so sweet, that they cannot relish any other W Entertainments like it. They long more
and more for it, and think, they have never enough. As the Hart panteth after the Water-brooks, fo thirfteth their Mind after this Divine Fountain of Truth and . Purity.
NUMEROUS are the Researches into Nature and Art, with which we may please our Imaginations, but this alone into the Mystery of Godliness can delight and satisfy our Souls. For whatever else we may know or be ignorant of, we must be sensible, that we are Sinners; and if such, then liable to the Wrath of Almighty God, and to all the Curses and Judgments, he has threatened against Sinners : The serious Thoughts whereof must make the stoutest Hearts to tremble, in spite of all their Refolution, and in the Midst of all their Self-sufficiency.
And where shall we look for Comfort and Support under the Frowns of an angry God? We may hunt for it far and wide among the Creatures ; but shall never find it, fave in Jesus Christ, and him crucified. On no other Ground can we warrantably
build our Hope of Pardon, and Acceptance, Serm. and eternal Life. And they, who do, when I. they reflect upon themselves, upon their great. Demerit, and upon what a precarious Footing they rest, by presuming on God's Mercy to the Prejudice of his Holiness, Wisdom, and Justice, must be scar'd with the frightful Apprehensions of that Judgment and fiery Indignation, which will at last devour them. .
It is, as St. Paul expreffes it (y) in the Face of Jesus Christ, whose Person is the exact Image of the Divine Ellence, and Doctrine the perfect Rescript of the Divine Will, that we attain to the Knowledge of the Glory of God manifested in the Salvation of Man. And to discern, that he was delivered for our Offences, and is our Advocate with the Father, appearing continually the in Presence of God on our Behalf, ---on the Behalf of all true believing Penitents, must fill our Hearts with the most substantial Joy;--- Joy! which no Man can take from us ---which let us not deprive ourselves of by any Corruption of Mind or Manners --- . and which, let us pray God to communicate to the whole World, by filling it with the
D 4. Knowledge 6) 2 Cor. ¡v. 6.