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for God. “The truth shall make you free.” The more knowledge, the more inward peace; the more the understanding is enlightened into the truths of the gospel, the more firmly doth the soul rest itself upon God and Christ. “I know," says the Apostle, “in whom I have believed." I can safely commit my eternal all into his hands, for I know that he is every way equal to his undertaking, and will faithfully discharge every trust reposed in him: in a word, the more extensive our knowledge is, the more universal will our obedience be. If the head be like the summer's sun, full of light, the heart will not be like the winter's earth, void of fruit; and, indeed, it is this that distinguishes between the knowledge of the hypocrite and the true believer ; the one is barren and unfruitful, the other is animating and enlivening, assimilating and transforming: thus, when the Apostle prays for the Colossians, that they might be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; he adds, that ye might "walk worthy of God unto all pleasing."
4th, and lastly. Hereby we shall be emboldened to plead, and, if called thereto, to suffer for the truth. A man that has attained to the certain knowledge spoken of in my text, will not be silent when called to speak for God. “We cannot but speak," says the Apostle," the things which we have seen and heard.” Such will be ready at all times to give a reason of the hope that is in them, and be valiant for the truth, when others rage against it. They will publish it with their mouths, exemplify it in their lives, and, if persecuted for their adherence to it, seal it with their blood. “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.” It was a noble saying of Dr. Taylor, when promised his life if he would renounce his wife: “ That it is lawful for priests to marry," said he, “I know is not a fundamental truth : but because I know it is the truth of God, rather than part with any truth I will part with my life.”
Let all, then,' be excited to seek after this certainty of knowledge; you see how desirable it is, let it be the object of your pursuit ; pray for it; use the means to obtain it; and be not contented till you acquire it. This will prevent apostasy, and help perseverance, make you useful in life, comfortable in death, and then an entrance will be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
ON THE MANIFESTATION OF GOD.
JOHN xiv. 8.
Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
From this request, it appears that the best of men in the present life see but in part, and know but in part; which arises both from the weakness of the understanding, and from the incomprehensible nature of the things to be known; so that what in some respects they are acquainted with, they are ignorant of in others. Hence, though Christ tells his disciples in the foregoing verse, that, from henceforth they know the Father, and had seen him, yet Philip immediately confesses his ignorance, and says, “Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us." The person who preferred this request was Philip, a Christian of Christ's making, a minister of his calling, an apostle of his sending ; and he speaks in behalf of the rest. The knowledge and happiness which Christians desire, they would by no means monopolise, but seek it for others, though they cannot impart it themselves. The person to whom the request was made, is Christ, their Master and Saviour, to whom they had been accustomed to present their petitions, and who had been used to grant them. Philip here calls him Lord, which may be considered either as a divine title, or as expressive of that peculiar relation in which he stood to them, claiming their reverence and homage. Christ is, in an especial sense, the Lord of true believers; and the Apostle Paul tells us, that no man can call him so, that is, with appropriate dispositions, but by the Holy Ghost. But we notice more particularly the request itself :-“Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us." If a corporeal sight of God was here intended, it was a weak request, and the object was impossible to be obtained ; for God told Moses, that he could not see his face and live. If a spiritual sight, then, though a bold, yet it was an interesting and becoming request; a request that we should all make, and renew again and again, till it be granted.
Considering this as the language of awakened souls, I would observe the three following things : That there is something of God.which all such seek to know; that it is the work of Christ thus to reveal him; and that such a revelation will be abundantly satisfactory.
I. There is something of God with which all awakened souls want to be acquainted. It is admitted that they know something already, but there is much more to be known. The beginning of this knowledge is regeneration, and the perfection of it glorification ; and the whole course of a Christian's life should be “following on to know the Lord.” By the Father, here, I apprehend, we are to understand God, absolutely considered ;- the Father of lights, the Father of mercies, and the Father of our spirits ; the Father of all by creation, and of the saints by regeneration and adoption. Now, we should desire to know God
1. As the only true God, in opposition to all false or imaginary divinities ; that he really is, and is what he has revealed himself to be, possessed of all possible perfections, and the sole object of religious worship. Hence he says, “ Beside me there is no God;" and often employs the expression, “ They shall know that I am the Lord.” To worship a God whom we do not know, is to worship no God at all; and a right knowledge of God, and belief in him, constitute the foundation of all practical religion. “He that cometh unto God, must believe that he is ;" which implies, not a partial assent only, to this important truth, but an indubitable conviction of it; without this, we may serve God as Cain and Jehu did, but we cannot please him ; for without it, we shall neither regard his authority, nor seek his 2. We should seek the knowledge of his peculiar excellence and glory. Thus Moses requested, “ I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” This is partly manifested in the works of creation and providence ; for “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy-work;" but it is more clearly revealed in his Word. By beholding it in that glass, the saints are “ changed into the same image from glory to glory.” The fullest and brightest exhibition of it, however, is in the Lord Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son; his person and character, sufferings and death, the doctrine he taught, and the miracles he performed. “ He that hath seen me,” says the blessed Redeemer, “ hath seen the Father also." And again, speaking to Martha :-“ Said I not unto thee that if thou wouldest believe thou shouldest see the glory of God?" Those glories of God, which out of Christ would appear terrible, so as to forbid our approach to him, in him appear lovely and attractive.
3. God should be known by us as the supreme good and most desirable portion. Thus he was known to David : “ Whom,” says he,“ have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth I desire besides thee." And thus God is discovered to every saint, when the first ray of divine light shines into his soul. How excellent, how suitable and adequate to his wants does he then appear! The saint now cries out in the pathetic language of the prophet, “ How great is his goodness; how great is his beauty !” He now seeks all his happiness from God, and centres all his happiness in him. Riches, honour, pleasures, friends, relations-nay, the whole world, is nothing, and God is all.
4. We should not be contented without an appropriating knowledge of God. If we are acquainted with our own necessities and true interests, we shall not be satisfied with the clearest knowledge of the Deity, without an assurance of interest in him : then the Christian has attained his utmost wish, and feels himself completely happy, when he can say with David, “ This God is my God for ever and