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character, " who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth,” set forth to be a propitiation for sin through faith in his blood, to declare the righteousness of God for the remission of sins that are past ; that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus.
Finally, almost every sin which can be mentioned has been visited with God's displeasure against presumptuous offenders. We may read in Scripture the following instances of Divine vengeance inflicted on transgressors. cursed by Heaven for mocking his excellent fathers. The Wife of Lot was turned into a pillar of salt, and became a monument of wrath, because in her heart she lusted after Sodom". Envy and ambition were punished with horrible destruction in the untimely end of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram'. The fate of Achank, and Gehazi’s leprosy', mark the anger of God against covetousness. Fornication was punished in the persons of Zimri and Cosbi, by the javelin of Phineas thrust through their bodies". Twenty-four thousand people died in one day, by the judgment of God for the sin of whoredom”. Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead in a moment, for lying and prevaricationo. Elymas, the sorcerer, who, through infernal malice, opposed the right ways of the Lord, was smitten with blindness for his infidelity. And, lastly, Herod, king of the Jews, when delivering an oration he felt unduly elated with the blasphemous applause of his hearers, was suddenly stricken by the “ Angel of the
Lord, and was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost, because he gave not glory to God 9.”
These characters are set before us in Scripture, to deter us from committing the same aboininations : and we may gather from such instances, that every kind of sin and evil temper is very odious in the sight of God, and that his wrath certainly does abide on all transgressors; to each of whom he thus speaks : “ Be ye sure your sin will find you out"."
Such, in his natural and moral perfections, is the God of Heaven. There is but one God : yet the Scripture teaches us, that, in the unity of the Divine essence, the Son and Spirit are comprehended, and are in glory equal, and in majesty co-eternal with the Father. Eternity, omniprésence, infinite knowledge, and resistless power belong to each person of the Holy Trinity; and, therefore, they are together to be worshipped and glorified.
4. Reader, examine what your sentiments are respecting God; whether they are taken from his word, or from the opinion of inankind. Search the matter to the bottom, in order that you may ascertain whether you know God as he has revealed himself, and are acting towards him as he requires.
Do you seriously believe that he bears a perfect hatred to all unrighteousness? Are you prepared to acknowledge that God will be just in dooming incorrigible offenders to bear the weight of his indignation for ever in hell ? And can you adınit, from the heart, that it would have been no derogation from his glory, had he cut you off in your sins, as a sacrifice to his deserved wrath ?
Do you believe that God is a defence to his people -a rewarder of them who diligently seek him? In a 4 Acts xii. 21-24.
Numb. xxxii. 23,
word, Do you view God as unspeakably glorious in the redemption of Christ, and in the influences of the Spirit by which he maintains communion with the Universal Church :
Unless we have a suitable acquaintance with God, we cannot pay him the adoration which he de mands, or conceive properly of his perfect holiness and of our own guilt: and equally insensible shall we remain of our own spiritual necessities, or of the source from whence they may be supplied.
But the saving knowledge of God in Christ enriches the soul with a light, and life, and peace, and consolation, and strength, which cannot be otherwise obtained. It heals the corruption of our minds; and keeps them steadfast in the path of obedience, until, at length, it brings its possessor to unspeakable happiness in the world of joy above.
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES CONTAIN A REVELATION OF
GOD'S WILL TO MEN.
2 Peter i. 21. For the prophecy came not in old time, by the
will of man ; but holy men of God spake as they were moved
by the Holy Ghost. The expediency of a Divine Revelation will not be questioned by those who are deeply sensible of the mischief occasioned by the Fall. That disastrous event has covered the human soul with the grossest darkness ; insomuch, that the most palpable ignorance respecting God and heavenly things prevails not only among the poor and illiterate, but even among the learned and refined.
The benighted condition of the Pagan World is,
indeed, so obvious, as, to require no arguments in proof of the necessity of a celestial light to give them the knowledge of the True God. Having no guide but reason, impaired or perverted by sin, they indulge in the inost shocking crimes, without re
Their ideas of the Supreme Being are so low and obscure, and the religious worship which they profess to pay him is so debased by absurd and cruel rites, as to manifest that they are totally unacquainted with the spiritual nature of God, and the holy adoration which he expects. On these accounts, some communication of the Divine Will to man, from which he may learn the relation in which he stands to God, his obligations to honour him, and the consequences that will hereafter result from his good or bad conduct in this life, seems indispensably necessary. Without such a revelation, it is impossible for any of the human species, however intelligent in other respects, to form adequate notions of the uncreated God; or, by the mere deductions of unassisted reason, to ascertain either the measure or quality of that religious service which is due unto him.
A conviction of this truth was so prevalent before the advent of Christ, that several of the great Sages of antiquity acknowledged that a revelation from God was absolutely needful, to instruct erring mortals how they might“serve him acceptably, with reverence and godly feara. Some of them indulged a hope, that so desirable a blessing would, at some future period, be granted.
What they ardently wished, was a Divine boon reserved for us and our posterity. On us the light of Heavenly truth has shone with meridian splendour : congratulating one another on the Spiritual advan;
* Heb, xii. 28.
tages which we possess above the Heathen, we may apply to ourselves the words of Jesus to his Disciples: "Blessed are your eyes, for they see ; and your ears, for they hear. For, verily I say unto you, that many Prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them ; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”
1. Revelation signifies a clear discovery made by God of important truths, which could not otherwise have been known. Most of the doctrines and many of the precepts of the Bible are of this description : our utmost sagacity could never have discovered them. We should, therefore, most highly esteem them, as an extraordinary and unsolicited favour conferred upon us.
2. The method which God chose for revealing himself to men is expressive of his consideration for their infirmities. He did not communicate his Will to us by a visible display of his own ineffable glory, or by the ininistry of Angels (for the splendour of such appearances would have been overwhelming); but by committing it to writing, in order that all might have an opportunity of examining, and
of rendering obedience to it.
There is no doubt, but that early communications of the Divine Will were made to our first parents in Paradise. We find God reminding them of the happiness of their state ; of the means of retaining it; and condescending to give them rules for the regulation of their conduct".
These notices of the Divine pleasure were probably made, either orally, or by immediate inspiration on the mind. In either case, the revelation would be Mat. xiii.16,17. •Ex.xx. 18,19. xxxiil. 20. Gen. ii. 16,17.