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Galations i. 11, 12.
But I certify you, Brethren, that the Gospel which teas preached of me, is not after Man: For I neither received it of Man, neither was I taught it, but by the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
In order to know what it was that induced St. Paul to write in this manner to the Galatians, we must have recourse to the context, which begins thus:—" Paul an Apostle, (not of man, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead) and all the brethren which are with me, unto the Churches of Galatia: grace be to you, ana peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver 71s from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: to whom be glory for ever and ever, amen. J marvel, that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel;" i e. it astonishes ir:e greatly to find that you have so soon deserted me, who called you to the glorious gospel of Christ, wherein the means of salvation and happiness are offered you, and so precipitately betake yourselves to, what you apprehend to be, another gospel; which is not another; hut there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. It is not another gospel, for there can be no gospel but that which was revealed from heaven; therefore, I entreat you, not to give any heed to them that trouble you, aud would pervert the gospel of Christ.
But tl ough we, or an angel Jrom heaven, preach
any other gospet unto you than that which. u<e have
preached unto you, let him be accursed. This he
- repeats again in the verse following, and then
says, "for do I persuade men, or God?"
Do I endeavour to gain the applause of men, by preaching such doctrines as are pleasing to carnal minds, or do I preach the doctrines of. God? Judge ye. Or do I seek to please men #For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. If I continued to please men, as I did fonnerly, by being a strict pha*' risee, how then Can I be a servant of Christ But / certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me, is not after man, for J neither^ received it of man, neither was I taught it, butby the rtvelation of Jesus Christ.
By all which it evidently appears, that even so early as the apostolic age, there were some who endeavoured to pervert the word of Godi and had debauched the minds of many of the Galatians How (areful then should'we be* ii* these days, to examine the doctrines of those, of whom we have the least distrust, and not? suffer ourselves to be imposed upon by ignorant or designing men!
From the words of my text, I shall endeavour to prove, that the holy scriptu/es; are the revealed word of God. In order td which, I shall
First, Shew that the testimony we have in their favour, is a sufficient evidence of their divinity.
And secondly, That their own intrinsic excellence is a confirmation of it.
Then I shall conclude with such inferences, as the subject naturally suggests.
First, I arrt to shew that the testimony we hare, in favour of the holy scriptures, is a sufficient evidence of their divinity.
But before I begin upon the subject, I think it necessary to premise, that though both the old and new Testament are the word of God, and both written by inspired men, as were Moses ftud the Prophets, and the four Evangelists; yet 1 shall confine myself more particularly to thegospel of the blessed Jesus: because one being proved, necessarily proves the other.
Now our natural reason dictates to us, that there is a God, who must be a Being of infinite perfection, all-wise, all-powerful, and allgood; and that the world was made by him: fbr we are sensible that no man could bring Himself, and such wonderful appearances of nature, into existence.. And that this wise Being must be free from all impurity and imperfection, and of course, must be a pure spirit, without any bodily parts or passions. For the body is liable to corruption, and therefore imperfect; and the passions of human nature are plain indications of our wants and imperfections; and therefore cannot, with any propriety, be attributed to God, who, as I said be» fore, is all-perfect.
These we must suppose the dictates of reason, without any regard to revelation; because to pretend to prove the being and attributes of. God from scripture, before we have proved the authority of scripture, is arguing upon a bad foundation, which will not bear such arguments to be built upon it. These then, being the principles of reason, the mind of man can go no further, without a divine revelation; and without a revelation we must be utterly ignorant of the mind and will of God: therefore, in many cases, must be doubtful of what is proper to be done, and very uncertain of the truth.
It appears therefore, from the idea we have of the goodness of God, that it must be consistent with his other attributes to make a full discovery of his will, for the improvement of our understandings, and the regulation of our faith and practice: thus far reason carries us.
To the mi&d thus fairly disposed by reason, human tradition brings in its evidence, and delares, that God at sundry times, and in divers manners, did speaLin times of old, by his prophets, to the Jews in particular; and in latter days, both to Jew and Gentile, by his son Jesus Christ. And also assures us, that the scriptures were received by the Jews in part, and by Christians in the whole; i.e. what we commonly call the old Testament, was received by the Jews; and that which goes under the name of