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10. He is always the same in his truth, in oppofition to all error, and diverse or strange doctrines. This seems especially to be here intended, as appears by the preceding and succeeding contexts: “ Follow their faith who were your guides,” says the text before ; " Be not carried about with diverse and iirange doctrines,” say the following words. The doctrine of faith is still the same; and therefore diversity and Itrangeness of doctrine is oppoted to the identity and sameness of Christ, whose truth is still the fame in all respects. I. It hath still the fame centre, Jesus Christ, in whom all the lines ineet, John xvi. 6. 2. It hath still the same worth and value, to as they that buy the truth may never sell it. . 3. It hath still the same nature. Truth is still truth, and cannot be a lye. 4. It hath still the same found, which is sweet and joyful; and, “ Blessed are the people that hear the joyful found.” 5. It hath still the same virtue wlien known, namely, to let at liberty: “ Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 6. It hath still the same relation to God, who is the God of truth; to Christ, who is the Way and the Truth; and In the Spirit, who is the Spirit of truth. 7. It hath itill the same end and tendency, to declare, when it is as. ferted, the glory of the God of truth, and to thew forth his perfections. 8. It hath still the same immutable duration in Christ, who is the truth, and who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for evera
III. The third Head proposed, Is to speak of the necellity of knowing and believing this, That Christ.is the same yesterday, 10 d.ry, and for ever, at all times, when faith is endangered by diverse and strangedoctrines. Here I would Thew, 1. The necollity of it at all times. 2. The special necessity of it at such a shaking time.
ist, The necessity of knowing and believing this at all times, That Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, und for ever. And,
1. It is necessary for distinguishing Christ from all crea. tures, and from all idols of the nations, and from all false Gods and false Christs. Thus Ifa.xli. 4. he is distinguished from all such by this name; “ I the Lord, the first, Ee 4
and with the last, I am he:" and Isa. xliv. 6. " Thus faith the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosis, I am the first, and I am the lait, and be. fides me there is no God.”
2. It is alivays necessary for evidencing Christ to be the true God: Mal. iii. 6. “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye the fons of Jacob are not consumed.” To be the eternal and unchangeable God, the same yesterday, today, and for ever; and fo for shewing his blood to be of infinite value, as being the blood of God, fo as we may have boldnefs, in all our approaches to the ho. liest by the blood of Jesus. .
3. It is neceffary for strengthening our faith in all his divine properties, promises, and former works. In the view of this immutable name, Tbe same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, we may fay, as Plal. xc. I. " Thou, Lord, haft been our dwelling-place in all generations;" why? " From everlasting to everlasting thou art God.” We may, in the view of this, affure ourselves that all the pro. mises are in him Yea, and in him Amen to the glory of God, because he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. We may hence learn contentment, fince he hath faid, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." So that we may boldly fay, “ The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me," Heb. xii. 5, 6.
4. It is necessary for instructing us in the special use of God's former dealings with men, namely, in the like good ways of the Lord, to expect the like blessings; and in the like evil ways, to espect the like judgments, because the Lord' is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever. He is ever of the same wind. What in former times was right in his eyes, and acceptable to him, is ftill fo. Thus, Rom. iv. 23, 24..” Now, it was not writ. ten for his fake alone, that it was imputed to him ; but for us also, to wlion it fhall be iniputed, if we believe in him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.” What formerly offended him, and provoked his wrath, coth fo ftill, 1 Cor. x. 15.-12.
5. It is necessary for alluring us of his continual and perpetual care of his church, Mat. xxviii. 20. He hath said, “ Lo, I am with you always, to the end of the
former, ailed in
world;) and he will make it good; for, he is the fame yesterday, to-day, and for ever. It may assure us also of the church's continuance: his church is built upon a rock, and the gates of hell fhall not prevail against it, Matth. xvi. 18. There is no inchantment against Jacob, nor divination against Israel.:.
6. It is necessary for encouraging us at all times against all attenipts of enemies, present and to come. Why, God hath faid of him, “ Sit thou at my right-hand, until I make thine enenies thy footstool, Ffal. cx. ). He will break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's veffel, Psal. ii. 9. In vain do the heathen rage; and the people imagine a vain thing. In vain do they set theinfelves, and take counsel together against the Lord and his Anointed,” &c. Enemies present, and enemies to come, shall be dashed in due time ; for he is still present, and fiill to come, the fame yesterday, today, and for ever.
2dly, I would shew the neceflity of knowing and be. lieving this, especially in shaking times, wherein diverse and strange doctrines appear. Why the need of taking a view of Christ, as the same yefterday, to-day, and for ever, in such a time, may be evident in the following respects.
1. By viewing that Christ is immutably the same yef. terday, to-day, and for ever. In times of error and de. lufion we come to see the difference between truth and error, truth and deceit; for, whenever Christ is difcerned in this name, we are brought to understand found and saving doctrine, from that which is unfound, new, and strange ; in regard, as Christ is the same yesterday, 10-day, and for ever, fo truth is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. It is one entire fyftem, and cannot be divided, one part of it from another, at any time; whereas diverse do&trines, spoken of verse 9. may be known by their diversity, or dividing of one piece of truth from another, to be unfound, unsafe, and unlike to Christ, who is always the same. In time of error and delufion, then, a view of Christ, as immutably the fame, is needful for making the truth evident, as a quite
diferent different thing from that which is new, strange, and | uncouth.
2. A view of Christ, as immutably the same, is need. ful, at such seasons, for establishing in the faith of the truth, and continuing in the faith, grounded and settled, and not being moved away from the hope of the gospel, Col. i. 2, 3. by whatever thaking wind: for a view of Ghrist, as the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, and of his truth, as still the same, as ever it was, this native. ly moves the believing foul to have the fame love to truth as ever, the same esteem of the truth as ever, the same delight in the truth as ever, and the same zeal and concern for the truth as ever; because Christ, and his truth, is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.
3. A view of Christ, as immutably the same, is need. ful, in such a time, for correcting our inconstancy, our levity in departing from the truth, and not cleaving to it, but being eafily seduced and drawn afide, like those whom the apostle calls children tossed to and fro with e. very wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they ly in wait to deceive, Eph. iv. 14. A view of Christ, and his truth, as immutably the same, tends to correct this; for this levity then appears to be an affronting of the truth of Christ, as if it were not the fanie; an affronting of Christ, as if he were not the same Christ that he was; and an affronting of our. selves as changeable creatures, unlike to him, who is invariably the same.
4. The view of Christ, and his truth, as immutably the same, is needful, in such a season, for fhewing the falshood and damnable tendency of new and strange doctrine; for if God, and Christ, and truth, be still the same, then a new and strange God, is a false God; a new and frange Christ, is a false Christ; a new and strange doc. trine, is a false doctrine. A God that we had not yelterday, is a false God; a Christ that we had not yelterday, is a false Christ. Christ is tbe same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; therefore a Christ that was not yesterday, as well as to-day, is a false Chritt. A doctrine that was not to be found in our Bible, nor taught us in the word formerly, is a false doctrine. Hence the apostle exhorts,
Cl. ii. 7. “ To be rooted and built up in Christ, and established in the faith, as we have been taught.” The damnable nature of such doctrine you may fee, 2 Pet. ii. 1, 2. “ But there were falle prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction: and many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom, the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” There is no false docirine broached, nor delusive spirit appearing, but, according to that prophecy, it will find many favourers, followers, and en. tertainers thereof. This made Paul to say, when he saw the levity and inconstancy of people, " I marvel that you are so fuon removed from him, that hath called you, to another gospel. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you,&c. Having begun in the Spirit, are you made perfect in the flesh?” There is in seducers, a bewitching diaboli. cal spirit, that makes them refiless in leading others into destruction with them; so the Scribes and Pharisees compassed sea and land to make proselytes: they were blind leaders of the blind: tho' they were blind, yet they would be leaders. Now, a view of Christ, and his truth, as immutably the sanie yesterday, to-day, and for ever, is needful, for shewing the damnable nature of these new and strange doctrines, which are doctrines of devils, directly opposite to the true Christ, who is the only Saviour and Deliverer ; whereas every new and false Clirist, is a feducer and destroyer of immortal souls.
5. The view of the immutability of Christ, and his truth, as one and the fame always, shews that diverse doctrines must be delusive, though men are apt to be carried about there with; for, whereas the doctrine of truth is one, and clear, and firm, and stable, the doctrines of men and devils are not one, bui divers, various, ambiguous, deceitful, inconstant, and unstable, and even inconsistent with one another. Man being full of vain inventions, there is no certain rule to be found but in God's word; hence we are called to try the fpirits, whether they be of God; and for this end we need to pray for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge