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find the image and superscription of the Deity on every page. It displays all the perfections of God. We see the power of God in the works of creation, providence and grace, which are ascribed to him. We see the wisdom of God in the great scheme of redemption which the Scriptures reveal. We see the boundless knowledge of God in the prophecies of future events, which could be foreknown and foretold, by no other than an omniscient Being. We see the holiness of God in the precepts and prohibitions and enalties, contained in the Bible. We see the future state of all moral beings clearly described, which none but the Supreme Being could either know or describe. The Bible, in short, contains those things, which we stand in the most need of knowing, and which God only could reveal to us. It has, therefore, every internal mark of its divine original and divine authority, which it is reasonable to expect, that a divine Revelation should bear on the face of it. We might as easily conceive, that a number of men should have created a new material and intellectual world, as that they should have devised, composed and propagated such a Book as the Bible, in which the character and designs of God are so clearly unfolded, and the final issue of things so clearly and justly revealed. As the Bible claims to be, so it proves itself to be, the word of God. For no other being or beings could, or would have written a Book so honorable to God, so dishonorable to men, and so agreeable to the relations which creatures bear to one another, and to their great Creator, and supreme Disposer. Those, therefore, who deny the divinity of the Scriptures, betray their weakness as well as wickedness.
5. If the Bible be the immediate Revelation of God's mind and will to men, then it is a most precious Book. Nothing can be more desirable and more important,
than to know the mind and will of our Creator, our Sovereign and our Supreme Judge. It iscomparatively of little moment, whether we know the history of the world, the laws of nature, or the use of arts and sciences. All the books written upon these subjects are lighter than a feather,when put into the balance with the Bible. This book as far surpasses, in value, all other books, as our eternal interests surpass our temporal. No wonder, therefore, that a man after God's own heart should so highly esteem his word. David says unto God, "O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth. I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver." He gives the reasons of his high estimation of the word of God in the 19th Psalm. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 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." All who regard the glory of God, and the eternal interests of their own souls, must highly prize the Holy Scriptures, which have brought life and immortality to light, and which are able to make them wise unto salvation.
6. If the Bible contains the mind and will of God, then all, who enjoy it, may know, in this world, what will be their state in the next. It clearly describes both heaven and hell, and the terms upon which we may obtain the one, and escape the other. All penitent, submissive, and obedient believers, may find great and
precious promises made to persons of their character, in the Bible. And all impenitent, rebellious, and unbelieving sinners, may find in the same Book, great and dreadful threatenings denounced against persons of their character. The condition of every person in a future state, will be correspondent with his character in this. Every person, therefore, by comparing his character with the word of God, may determine, whether he is a child of wrath, or an heir of heaven. For, at the last day, the books will be opened, and among other books, the sacred volume of the Bible will be opened, and those who enjoyed it, will be judged and treated according to God's promises and threatenings contained in it. This Christ intimated, when he said, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him, the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." The words which he spake to his Ministers, in his last commission, were these: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned." All, who read the Bible impartially, may determine, whether they are entitled to the enjoyments of heaven, or stand exposed to the miseries of the damned. If any live and die ignorant of their future condition, it must be owing to their negligence, or their unwillingness to be acquainted with the true state of their minds. But it must be very criminal and dangerous, for those who have the sure word of prophecy in their hands, to shut their eyes against the light, and live and die in darkness.
7. If the Bible be indeed the word of God, then it is not strange, that it has had such a great influence over the minds of men. No other book in the world has produced such great effects upon mankind as the Bible. Yea, all the books that have ever been pub
lished, have never had a thousandth part so much power to convince, persuade, and govern the minds of men, as the Scriptures of truth. The heathens wrote many books, in which they described the vanity of the world, the deformity of vice, the beauty of virtue, the shortness of life, the certainty of death, and even the fate of departed souls. But their writings never produced any great effect upon the hearts and lives of men. They were considered and treated as destitute of divine authority. But the word of God, contained in the Bible, has been quick and powerful, and sharper than a two edged sword. It has proved the means of awakening, convincing, and converting thousands and thousands of mankind from the error of their ways. It has subdued and converted Atheists, Deists, Heathen philosophers, Pagan idolaters, Jewish infidels, and the most vicious and abandoned sinners, in all parts of the world where it has been sent. It has made its learned and bitter enemies burn their books, which were in contradiction to it. These great and glorious and happy effects, which have been produced by the instrumentality of the Bible, are clear and indubitable attestations to its divine original and sacred authority. It is hard to determine whether it discovered greater folly, or greater malignity, in a late infidel to say, that any man might write as good a book as the Bible. Socrates and Plato, Seneca, and Cicero could not write so good a book. Their writings never converted their readers from idolatry, luxury, or immorality. But the Bible has converted millions and millions from the most absurd principles, and most vicious practices. And we appeal even to infidels themselves, whether they do not approach the Bible with awe, read it with fear, and close it, with a painful conviction of its divine authority.
THE ESSENTIAL AND IMMUTABLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG.
ISAIAH V, 20.
Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
IT appears from the preceding context, that God had used a great variety of means, to cultivate the minds of his people, and prepare them to bring forth the fruits of righteousness. But all the means which he hrad used with them, were unhappily lost upon them, Instead of bringing forth grapes, they brought forth wild grapes. Instead of growing better under divine cultivations, they waxed worse and worse, until they presumed to justify themselves, by denying the distinction between virtue and vice. For this presumption, God denounces a heavy wo against them in our text. "Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" The propriety of this threatening is founded in the essential and immutable difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Were there no such distinction, in the nature of things, between virtue and vice, there could be no real harm in calling good evil, and evil good; nor even in denying the existence of both. But if there be a foundation in the nature of things, for a moral distinction in the actions of moral agents; then God may justly threaten and punish those, who