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Heb. i. 1, 2. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds."
BRETHREN, beloved in Jesus Christ, this word is of great importance for us to consider and attend to with diligence, because this word is not written for one place, nor one people, nor one age, but for the whole world to the end of time; and because it is written by the inspiration of God. This word is written not to make the whole world to fear and tremble only, but that they may be made the children of God, and heirs according to his promise. This word, which was given for the benefit of the whole world, the Lord hath revealed in two divisions ; viz. the Old and New Testaments. These two books contain all the instructions, and they convey what is necessary, to be taught in the school of Christ to the children whose education shall be perfected in heaven. “For as the rain cometh
down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it to bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isa.lv. 10,11. The children are first taught not to encourage any doubts about the nature or truth of the instructions contained in these books, because the Spirit of God is their author, the writers are only the instruments. 1 Pet. i. 20, 21.
The divers subjects which God has made known for the instruction of his people in this word should be considered; viz. What man is :-As a creature, he is made of the dust of the ground, and after the image of God. What he originally possessed :—Wisdom, holiness, and truth. Where he dwelt:- In the garden of Eden. Who his companion was :-His wife formed from a rib taken out of his side. Who his tempter was :--The serpent (Gen. ji. 13.) or the devil (Rev. xx. 2.) What he lost by bis transgression :-The image and favour of God. What happened to him after the fall:–He was driven from Paradise, and the ground was cursed for his sake, and he did eat his bread by the sweat of his face. What was his likeness as a sinful rebel, and what his children were called after the fall :-Sons and daughters of men, children of wrath, children of the devil. Who is the Redeemer, and who will restore to the soul the image of God, which man has lost by the fall:– The Lord Jesus Christ, the surety, the only mediator between God and men, the protector, the helper, the peace-maker, and advocate with the Father for man. These doctrines the word of God teaches. What the excellence of the faithful doctrines contained in the Scriptures is we shall soon know. They unfold the doctrines concerning the attributes of God, viz. his eternity, almighty power, omniscience, omnipresence, unchangeableness, wisdom, holiness, justice, truth, love; these are his natural and moral attributes: and the doctrine of the holy Trinity is implied in Matt. xxviii. 19. Those who deny one, or more of these Holy Persons, there is no God for them; for the Scripture teaches " that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father; he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father that sent him ;” and to sin against the Holy Ghost is an unpardonable sin. God the Father is equal to God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost is equal to God the Father, or God the Son; and these three Persons are one God. Many of the doctrines contained in the Old Testament were shadowed forth by types which in the New Testament are quite clear—the prophecies have been fulfilled. The people who have feared and loved God, and served him in the different periods of the world, are spoken of as a great multitude. Hypocrites and unbelievers are also mentioned in their state and character. The preserving of the church amidst all her trials, the steadfastness and the perseverance of the children of God proving their character, the punishing of hypocrites by God, and his pouring out his wrath on wicked sinners, as on the old world, and on Sodom and Gomorrah, are learned from the Scriptures. All true doctrines are contained in this word. All false doctrines are the works of Satan and wicked men. All those who are taught of God perceive the doctrines which are according to godliness, and contained in this word; and they discover the false doctrines which wear the counterfeit stamp of truth; and often do they detect those whose character is only the counterfeit of that of the true Christian. His instructions distinguish between religion in the head, and true religion in the heart.
Many who preached the word, and felt its power on their own hearts, suffered many things with patience and meekness, and gave their lives as seals to their testimony that God is true.
The word of God came by his holy will, and is in itself powerful and merciful. Such is its language, “Unto you, O man, I call, and my voice is unto the sons of men.” It is to every nation, and every language. Those who hear this affectionate calling and obey, they have free and full promises of eternal blessings by covenant and by oath. “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath. That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” Heb. vi. 17, 18. Much more might be said.
Besides the word, God has been pleased to appoint various means to make men know these blessings and