« PoprzedniaDalej »
Quest. What is the chief end of Man?
Answ. Man's chief end is, to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.
By man's chief end is meant, the end which man was chiefly made for, and which he should 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: 1 Cor. x. 31, " Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 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: Psalm 1xxiii. 25, 26, 27, 28, “ Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh 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 hast destroyed all them that go a-whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God.” And this is man's chief subordinate end. A sinner can never glorify God, antil he first 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 covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Gen. xvii. 1, “ The Lord appeared to Abram, and said 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 of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Now, the sinner can attain to the enjoyment of God, only through Jesus Christ: John xiv. 6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life : no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” And one may get a saving interest in Christ, by faith. Moreover, they who enjoy 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 intercession for us with groavings 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 hirn?
Answ. The Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, is the only Rule to direct us, how we may glorify and enjoy him.
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 matters. Withall 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 efficacy of their doctrine, and the miracles wrought to confirm it. And this, although for the most part they were written by men because all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, 2 Tim. iii. 16. The word Scriptures signifies writings: but the church had not always the written word, till about Moses' time. How beit, they were supplied, while they wanted it, by extraordinary revelations: and it is the same doctrine that was then so 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 : Isa. viii. 20. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not accord
ing 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 person. 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 Genesis, 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 same for substance : 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 record, that God bath given to us eternal life : and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life ; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life.” Prov. viii. 4, “ Unto you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons 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. 14, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
QUEST. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
Answ. The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.
Principally to teach, is chiefly to teach. The things that the Scriptures teach chiefly, are these tro; Faith, and obedience : 2 Tim. i. 13. “ Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” The faith which the Scriptures teach, is, “ What man is to believe concerning God :" The obedience which the Scriptures teach, is, “What duty God requires of man.” Nothing can be an article of faith, necessary to be done, but what is taught in the Scriptures. Howbeit, not only what is found in Scripture in express words, but also what ariseth therefrom, by necessary consequence, is to be reckoned taught therein: Matth, xxii. 82. “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of