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SERMON I. THE EXCELLENCY OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
PSALM XIX. 7—10. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the
soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, make ing wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honey-comb.
THERE are two methods which God is pleased to employ in the instruction of mankind. He teaches them by the works of creation, and by the words of Holy Scripture. The heavens declare the glory of God; and man, if he had
not fallen, would have continued to understand this language. The book of revelation might then have been unnecessary. But man as a sinner has no ear to listen to the voice of God in his works; and it is only by the revealed words of Scripture, that he can find the way of pardon and holiness. The Psalmist, accordingly, after he had spoken magnificently, in the preceding verses, of the display of the divine perfections in the works of creation and providence, makes a sudden transition in the text to the book of revelation, and extols it far above them. The abruptness of this transition, when considered in connexion with the commendations bestowed on the inspired volume, seems to point out the insufficiency of the instructions of nature, and the necessity and excellency of a revelation from God.
The subject, then, which we have now to consider is, the excellency of the Sacred Scriptures.
In explaining this, I shall have to point out, the properties, the efficacy, and the value of the word of God.
I. WE MUST NOTICE THE EXCELLENT PROPERTIES OF THE WORD OF GOD.
As À LAW IT IS PERFECT. The revelation of God, which is his law in the most extensive sense of the term, is complete and entire. It
has no flaw nor defect. It contains every thing necessary for our salvation. Nature declares the glory of God only in a general manner; and even this instruction is to us now become obscure and imperfect. It was suited to man in his state of innocence; but it cannot show him bis danger as a transgressor, or point out any certain method of pardon, or give him any sure hope of felicity. But the law of God is perfect. Nothing can be added to it, nothing taken from it. It embraces every part of truth. Not indeed every part, absolutely speaking; but every part which God has seen it right to reveal, It comprehends all our duty, and all our consolation ; all that is necessary to make us happy and holy; all that regards the doctrine of pardon and the way of peace. It reveals the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. · The writings of the heathen philosophers contain a few mutilated principles and some fine sentiments; but they are incomplete as a rule, and grossly defective as to their principles of action. The Bible alone is perfect, beginning with the statement of man's sinfulness and guilt, discovering to us a stupendous atonement for sin, revealing a Spirit of grace and holiness, laying down a complete rule of life; and cona necting with these a history of the creation, fall, and redemption of mankind. It is all given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,