« AnteriorContinuar »
The following Explication of the Shorter Catechism, and the Sermons annexed, are printed from the Author's original Manuscripts, without the smallest Variation.
The First Part of the ASSEMBLY'S
Quest. 1. W Hat is the chief End of
Man? Ans. Man's chief End is, to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.
EXPLICATION. By Man's chief End is meant, the End which Man was chiefly made for, and which he mould chiefly seek to reach unto. It consists of two Parts; his chief Duty, and his chief Happiness. Man's chief Duty is, to glorify God: i Cor. x. 31.
Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoen
ver ye do, do all to the glory of Gud.' Man glorifies God, by thinking, speaking, and living, to his Glory. And this is Man's chief, and last or farthest End. Man's chief Happiness is, to enjoy God as his God: Pful. Ixxiii. 25. 26. 27. 28. ? Whom have I in heaven bút thee? and there is
none upon earth that I desire belides thee. My 'Alesh and my heart faileth : but God is the
strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. . For lo, they that are far from thee, shall perish :
• thou haft destroyed all them that go a-whoring
from thee. But it is good for me to draw near
to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God.' And this is Man's chief lubordinate End. A Sinner can never glorify God, until first he enjoy him as his God: Eph. ii. 12. At that time ye were
without Christ, being aliens from the common
wealth of Israel, and strangers from the cove• nants of promise, having no hope, and without ! God in the world.' Gen. xvii. 1. • The Lord
appeared to Abram, and faid unto him, I am the almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. Exod. xx. 2. 3. ' I am the Lord thy
God, which have brought thee out of the land S of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou 'fhalt have no other gods before me. Now, the Sinner can attain to the Enjoyment of God, only through Jesus Christ: John xiv. 6. " Jesus 6 saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth,
and the life : no man cometh unto the Father, s, but by me.' And one may get a faving Interest in Chrift; by Faith. Moreover, they who en. joy God as their God, are enabled to glorify him, by the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them as Members of Christ : Rom. viii. 26. « Likewise the
Spirit also helpeth our infirmities : for we know not what we should pray for as we ought : but the Spirit itself maketh interceffion for us with
gronings which cannot be uttered. Wherefore, none that are out of Christ, reach the chief End of Man : But they make themselves their chief End. Howbeit, Believers do reach it : and they reach, it, in so far as they shall, from the first Moment of their believing, for ever enjoy and glorify
God; imperfectly indeed here, but perfectly in Heaven.
Quest. 2. What Rule hath God given to direct us, how we may glorify and enjoy him?
Ans. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, is the only Rule to die rect us, how we may glorify and enjoy him.
EXPLICATION. The End for which the Scriptures are given, is, to be a Rule to direct us, how we may glorify God, and come to the Enjoyment of him as our God. And they are the only Rule to direct us in these Niatters. Withal, they are a certain and infallible Rule ; and that, because they are the word of God. It appears, that they are the Word of God, by the Holiness and Efficacy of their Doctrine, and the Miracles wrought to confirm it: And this, although for the mi ft Part they were written by Men, because all fcripture is given by inspiration of God, 2 Tim. ii. 16. The Word Scriptures signifies Writings : But the Church had not always the written Word, till about Mofes's Time. Howbeit, they were supplied, while they wanted it, by extraordinary Revelations : And it is the same Doctrine that was then to revealed, which we have now in the Scripture. Nevertheless, the Scripture is altogether necessary for the
Church now; and that because extraordinary Revelation of Doctrine is ceased, and God hath bound us to the Scripture as the Test or Touchstone of Doctrine : 1. viii. 20. " 'To the law and to the
testimony: if they speak not according to this
word, it is because there is no light in them.” Neither will God ever give us another Rule: For the Scripture is a testamentary Word of God. Now, a Testament is the last Will of a dying Perfon. So the Scripture is Christ's Testament, confirmed by his Death: And as a Testament, it declares the last Will of God concerning Man's Salvation and Duty. Christ's Testament is twofold ; namely, the Old Testament, and the New Testament. The Books beginning with Genefis, and ending with Malachi, are Christ's Old Testament : Those beginning with Matthew, and ending with the Revelation, are Christ's New Testament. These two Testaments are one and the fame for Subltance : For in both, Jesus Christ is the Testator ; eternal Life is the Legacy ; Sinners of Mankind are the Legatees; and Faith in Jesus Christ is the way of claiming and obtaining the Legacy: 1 John v. 11. 12. • And this is the re'cord, that God hath given to us eternal life : and • this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, . hath life'; and be that hath not the Son of God,
hath not life.? Prov. viji. 4. Unto you, O men, I call, and
voice is to the fons of man.' But they differ in Circumstances; the new being more clear and full than the old one. Howbeit, neither the one nor the other can be savingly understood, without an inward Illumination of the Mind by the Spirit of Christ : 1 Cor. ii. 10. ' But
God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit :