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John, v. 6.); Christ is called truth blessing of blessings, for truth, for (John, xiv. 6.); and God himself good books, for heavenly treatises?” is said to be the God of truth. We

may here ask, Who does not (Deut. xxxii. 4.) It is so delightful now think he is conferring a special to him, that his eyes are ever upon favour on any author, or editor, of the truth (Jer. v. 1, 3.); and when a good book, by subscribing for it; the only wise God would have men even when it is questionable whemake a purchase, he counsels them ther he will ever pay for it? We to buy the truth. And is it not good have never heard of more than one counsel? Can

your pains,

instance of thanksgiving for any or lay out your money

better? If book, excepting the Bible; and in you be dead in trespasses and sins, that one, a profane clergyman, when truth is the seed of a new life, of a requested by his companion to offer heavenly birth. (James i. 18.) If prayer in their chamber, before they you be in any bondage, truth can retired to rest, stood up, over a make you free. (John, viii. 32.) If chair, and said, “O Lord, we thank compassed about with enemies, thee for Mr. Bayle's Dictionary. truth can shield thee. (Ps. xci. 4.) Amen." If you be full of filthy thoughts and “Men seldom purposely lift up lusts, or any impurities, the truth their hearts and voices to heaven, can sanctify you. (John, xvii. 17.) to praise God for the riches of knowIf darkness and faintness possess ledge bestowed upon them. In good your souls, truth is the light and books, you have men's labour and life of the soul. (Ps.cxix. 105.) Let God's truth. The tribute of thanks us then advance our thoughts of is due for both; that God enables truth, and rate it above all sublu

men to so great labours, and that nary things, and buy it, though it he conveys such precious treasure cost us all. It is no simony; it is through earthen vessels. But that not too dear; you cannot overvalue truth may live, and we live by truth, truth. It is sister to the peace of let us magnify God much for truth ; God, which passeth all understand- for his word, and for good books, ing. See how God himself estimates that spring from thence. Christian his word and truth: Thou hast mag- reader, take heed of unthankfulnified thy Word above all thy name. ness. Spiritual mercies should have (Psalm cxxxviii. 2.) Whatsoever the quickest and fullest praises. God is known by, besides his word, Such'is this work :it is a preventis beneath his word. Take the

ing mercy. By it, and others of the whole creation, which is God's name same nature, God hath made knowin the greatest letters; it is nothing ledge to abound; the waters of the to his word and truth. Therefore sanctuary are daily increased, and Christ tells the Pharisees it is easier grown deep. Let not the waters of for heaven and earth to

pass,
than

the sanctuary put out the fire of the one tittle of the law to fail. If the sanctuary. If there be no praise, least jot or tittle of law, be prized there is no fire. If thy head be like by God above all the world, let us a winter's sun, full of light; and take heed of undervaluing the great thy heart like a winter's earth, withand glorious truths of the gospel, out fruit, fear lest thy light end in and settle it as a law upon our utter darkness, and the tree of knowhearts, that we can never overprize, ledge deprive thee of the tree of or yield sufficient praise for, any life.” truth.

With an earnest desire, that these “ Men can praise God for the sentiments may become universal blessings of the field, the seas, the in our country, and that the excelwomb, and of their shops; but where lent Sheppard, though dead, may is the man that praises God for his preach effectually to the present ge

CHAPTER I.

neration, this abridgment is submit. 3. Carnal confidence; or, ted to the Christian public by their

4. False faith servant in the Lord, E. Š. Ely. Philadelphia, Jan. 1821.

There is one most glorious God INTRODUCTION.

Exodus, xxxiï. 18. The knowledge of divinity is ne

“ I beseech thee shew me thy glory." cessary

for all sorts of men; both to settle and establish the good, and

The first divine truth, which has to convert and reclaim the bad. been stated, may be resolved into God's principles pull down Satan's two propositions: 1. That there is a false principles, which have been God; and 2. That this God is most set up in men's heads, loved in glorious. their hearts, and defended by their I. Omitting many philosophical tongues. Whilst the strong holds arguments, I will prove, That there remain unshaken, the Lord Jesus is a God, a true God; for every nais prevented from conquering the tion in the world before Christ's soul.

coming had its god. Some worNow spiritual truths are either shipped the Sun; some the Moon, such as tend to enlarge the under- called by Ezekiel the Queen of heastanding, or such as may work ven, to which they made cakes; chiefly on the emotions of the heart. some, the whole heavens; some, fire; I pass by (in this knowing age) the some, brute beasts; some, Baal; and first of these, and, being among a some, Moloch. The Romans, says people whose hearts are hard Varro, had six thousand gods. Imenough, I begin with the latter sort: prisoning the light of nature, they for although the understanding may were given up to sins against naliterally, yet it never savingly en- ture; and either worshipped idols, tertains any truth, until the affec

of man's invention, as did the ignotions are thereby wrought upon. I rant; or God and angels in those shall therefore, in this work, unfold idols, as did the learned. These the following divine principles : were all false gods.

I. That there is one most glo- I am to prove, that there is rious God.

one true God, the first of beings. II. That this God made all man- Although the proving of this point kind, at first, in Adam, in a most may seem needless, because every glorious estate.

man admits that there is a God; III. That all mankind is now yet few thoroughly believe this fallen from that estate, into a bot- point. Many of God's children, tomless gulf of sin and misery. who best know the human heart,

IV. That the Lord Jesus Christ because they only study it, have is the only means of redemption been bitterly assaulted with the from this state.

temptation, Is there a God? The V. That those who are saved out devil will sometimes undermine, of this woful estate by Christ, are

and endeavour to blow up the very few, and that these few are strongest walls and bulwarks. The saved with much difficulty.

light of nature, indeed, shows, that VI. That the principal cause of there is a God; but how many are man's eternal ruin, or the reason there, who by foul sins against their why so many are damned, and so consciences nearly extinguish the few saved by Christ, is from them- light of nature; and hence, though selves. They perish because of they dare not conclude there is none, 1. Criminal ignorance; or,

because they have some dim light 2. Carnal security; or,

remaining, yet in their hearts se

cretly suspect and question, whe- Thirdly, from the children of ther there is a God? Grant, how. God. We may read in the foreever, that none questions this truth, heads of men, as soon as they are yet we that are builders must not born, the sentence of death; and proceed to work without laying the their lives show what evil hearts foundation. It may appear, there- they have. Now there is a time, in fore, that there is a God,

which some of this monstrous brood First, from his works. Rom.i. 20. of men are quite changed, and in When we see a stately edifice, we their moral character made anew; naturally conclude, that some wise so that they have new minds, new artificer has been working here; even opinions, new desires, new joys, though we behold not the builder, new sorrows, new speeches, new and know not the time of its erec- prayers, and new lives. Such a diftion. Can we then contemplate the ference exists between these reuniverse, and not conclude that the newed and other

persons,

that wisdom and power of God have been others, who loved them, while they exerted upon it; although we see loved their sins, now hate them. not him, who is invisible, and know Whence came this change? From not the time when he began to build? themselves? No: for they themEvery house is builded by some man; selves once hated this new life, and but he that built all things is God.

these new men. Did they change Heb. iii. 4.

to obtain credit thereby ? No: for Secondly, from the word of God. the change, they knew, would exThere is such a divine majesty ma- pose them to be hated by father, nifested in the Bible; and it reveals mother, and friends, and to be masuch mysterious truths, such secret ligned every where. Is the change things, which belong to the Deity, from simplicity or insanity? They that if men are not wilfully blind, were indeed fools once, as are all they cannot but cry out, It is the natural men, in Solomon's sense; voice of God, and not of man. Hence yet even men comparatively simCalvin undertakes to prove

the ple, have been rendered more wise scriptures to be the word of God, in their worldly concerns, by this from reason, against all atheists spiritual change. But has not a under heaven.

slavish fear of hell wrought this Reader, hast thou not sometimes alteration? Nothing has less inthought, when hearing a sermon, fluence with them; for they would that the minister was addressing abhor living like slaves in Bridenone but thee, and that some one well, and doing all from fear of the must have told him what thou hast lash. said, and done, and thought? Now Fourthly, from man's conscience, can that word which reveals the which is God's notary in every man; thoughts of thy mind, be any thing and which tells him there is a God. else than the word of an all-seeing, Although men may silence conheart-searching God?

science sometimes, yet in the time Again: that word which quicken- of thunder, or of some plague, like eth the dead, must be God's word. those of Egypt; or of death, when Now the word preached does this : they apprehend they are near God's it makes the blind to see, the dumb tribunal, they acknowledge him to speak, the deaf to hear, the lame clearly. Their terrors, excited by to walk; those who never felt their conscience, when like a bailiff, or sins to be a burden, to mourn un- a hangman he arrests them, prove der them; and those that never that conscience has some creditor could

pray, to breathe out inde- or judge, which gives it command. scribable groans and sighs for their Whence arise these dreadful teriniquities.

rors in men: Not from themselves, The fool

surely, for all desire to live and either in pence, by little and little, sleep in peace. Come they from or in pounds, with interest for the melancholy? No: for melancholy delay. comes on by degrees; but these ter- The doctrine that there is a God, rors of conscience surprise the soul is of use, 1. For the reproof of all suddenly after the commission of atheists, either in opinion or pracsome secret, foul sin, or while hear- tice. Men that have little heads, ing a sermon. Moreover melancho- little knowledge, without hearts, as ly may be cured by medicine; but scholars of weak brains, who are pangs of conscience never can. Me. guided only by their books, may not lancholy sadness may be borne, but raise their stupid minds to the bea wounded spirit, who can bear? holding of a first cause. Thus

you see, that there is a God: hath said in his heart, there is no and it is no valid objection, that we God. Ps. xiv. 1. Are there

any

such have never seen his face, while his men ? worse than devils, for they “back parts," (Exod. xxxii. 23.) believe and tremble. Great politihave been seen, are seen, and may

cians are like children, standing on be seen, by all the world. Should their heads, and shaking their heels

be objected, that all things are against heaven; these think relibrought to pass by second causes, I gion to be but a piece of policy, to answer; Is there no master in the keep people in awe. Profane perhouse because the servants do all sons, desiring to go on in sin, withthe work? Although ordinarily God out check, blow out all the light of accomplishes his purposes by the nature ; and because they wish subjection of his creatures to him, there were no God to punish, are yet we must cry out in beholding willing to scruple whether there is some special pieces of his adminis- any.

God
may

smite some nototration, here is the finger of God. riously profligate persons with dis

Should it be objected, that there mal blindness; and some worldis great confusion in the world, so lings may look no higher than their that shillings stand for pence, and barns, no further than their shops. counters for pounds ; so that the To these persons the world is a best men are prized at a low rate, pearl in their eye: they cannot see and the worst men are preferred ; God. 0! this is a grievous sin ; we reply, Had men eyes to see, they for if no God, no heaven, no hell, would discover a harmony in this no martyrs, no prophets, no scripdiscord. God resembles a wise car

tures : Christ was then a horrible penter, who is hewing out his work. liar and an impostor. Other sins There is apparently much lumber wrong and grieve God, and wound around us, but in the day of judg- him, but this stabs the very heart of ment, we shall behold infinite wis- God; it strikes at the life, and is, dom fitting all this for his own glory, (as much as lies in sinful man) the and the good of his people.

death of God : for it saith, There is It may be asked, if there is a no God. God, why hears he not his people's

Atheists in practice, which say prayers? Why doth he forget them there is a God, but in works deny in their necessities ? It is answered ; him, are reproved by our doctrine. Noah's dove returned not immedi- He who plucks the king from his ately, with an olive branch. Prayer throne, is as vile as he who saith, sometimes, that speeds well, re- he is no king. These practical turns not presently, for want of atheists, who are almost as bad as company enough to fetch away that atheists in opinion, these dust-heaps abundance of mercy which God has we may find in every corner. They to bestow; but sooner or later every set up wealth, honour, pleasure, apimportunate prayer is answered parel and appetite, in the place of

es Atheists in practice,

the true God; and will do against after thou hast departed from this him, what they dare not do against world, then that creature might be their idols. Every man is a practi- thy god; but since it cannot, down cal atheist, who does not seek for with idols. Our doctrine is of use, all he needs by prayer, and return 3. For comfort, to those who have all back again to God by praise. forsaken all for God. They have Our doctrine is of use,-2. For ex- not parted with all for nought; with hortation. Oh! labour to behold substance for shadows; but with this God. Is there a God, and wilt shadows for real good. When all thou not give him a good look ? Oh! comfort is gone, they have a God to pass by the rivers, till thou come to comfort them; when rest has fied, the spring-head; wade through all a God to give them rest; when they creatures, until thou art swallowed are dead, a God to quicken them. up in God. When thou seest the He will be their strength in weakheavens, ask, Where is that great ness, and a never failing friend, builder who made them? When when other friends are gone. thou hearest of the mutations of II. It remains to be shown, that kingdoms, inquire, Where is the this God is most glorious. He is so, Lord of hosts? When thou tastest 1. In his essence, which is incomsweetness in the creature, or in prehensible. What the substance God's ordinances, ask, Where is of the divine mind is in itself, that sweetness itself? Where the per- is, in its essence, neither man nor fection of beauty ? Where is the angel has been able to know. Their sea of these drops, the sun of these cockle shell cannot comprehend the beams ? Oh! that men

saw this

ocean. It requires the knowledge God! It is heaven to behold him. of God, to understand his essence. Thou art then in a corner of hell, We may apprehend, however, that if thou dost not, canst not behold there is an essence, which is the him. And yet, what is less known subject of certain attributes, and than God? Who speaks of God ? that this essence exceeds our comWho speaks to him? As beggars prehension, and is therefore the have learned to cant, so has many

more to be admired. a man to pray. Did men behold 2. God is glorious in his attri. the glory of God, they would be butes. He is a spirit (John iv. 24.), humbled in the dust. But oh! men and requires spiritual worship. He see not God in prayer, and there- is the living God, who has life in fore they cannot speak to him by himself, and gives life according to prayer. Men sin, and God frowns, his pleasure. He is the infinite which makes the devils quake!) God. 2 Chron. vi. 18. Horrible then, but men's hearts tremble not, be- is the least sin which strikes against cause they see him not.

an infinite God; and lamentable Oh! make choice of this God as the state of all with whom this God thy God; for if there is a God, and is angry. Infinite goodness forhe is not thine, what art thou the sakes them, and infinite power and better? Give away thyself wholly wrath are set against them. He is and forever to him, and he will give the eternal God; without beginning himself everlastingly unto thee. or end of being. Ps. Ixxx. 1. He is Seek him, weeping, and thou shalt an all-sufficient God. Gen. xvii. 1. find him: bind thyself by the Every thing, good, gracious, gloristrongest oaths and bonds in cove- ous, and desirable for man, in every pant to be his, and he will enter in- situation, is to be found in him, and to covenant with thee. Jer. xl. 3, 4, in him alone. He is omnipotent, 5. Could any creature do thee good,

in the execution of his pleasure. without God, or could any thing Yield, therefore, to him; and persuccour thee on thy death-bed, or sist not in any one sin, lest he Vol. I.

E

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