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And surely we cannot have a nobler employment than this study of the sacred writings. For, however unfashionable they may be in this age of false refinement and pretended delicacy, I will venture to affirm, that the combined eloquence of Greece and Rome never produced sublimer compositions, considered either with regard to sentiment or language. It is gross ignorance alone that makes men neglect them: for the more they are understood, the more they will ever be admired. And were they studied with that attention they deserve, we should not see that deplorable folly and vacuity of thought, which fills men with vice, by leaving them a prey to every temptation : they would not then be driven to murder their hours of leisure over idle or wicked publications; publications which only serve to fill the minds of individuals with vice, infidelity, or the madness of party-zeal, and the public with tumults, anarchy, and corruption.
Let us then exchange our politics for our Bibles; and instead of pretending to guide the wheels of administration, learn to govern our lives by the laws of the Gospel.
And to this end, let us carefully follow the precepts, and copy the examples, which are
therein contained : for in vain will the book of God be in our hands, if its precepts be not also in our hearts.
Thus shall we enjoy the surest support against the changes and chances of this mortal life: thus shall we discharge the duties we owe to those committed to our care: thus shall we be the happy instruments of leading others to God, and shall finally assure to ourselves a glorious place in the kingdom of the just.
-And is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteosness; that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished for every good work.
UTAVING in a former discourse endea11 voured to vindicate the authenticity of the sacred writings from the idle cavils of scoffers and infidels, I shall now proceed to shew those various excellencies, by which they recommend themselves to the man of God, and fill the heart of every true believer with reverence and esteem, as being 6 profitable for doctrine, for " reproof, for correction, for instruction in "righteousness.”
And first; The excellence of the scriptures will appear from the matters contained in them, both relating to God and man. ,
In antient times it was the misfortune of the greater part of mankind to be left to their own imaginations in tracing out the existence and nature of a Deity. And hence they were unfortunately led to form the most unworthy notions concerning him; notions better adapted to the corruption of human ignorance, than the perfections of the one all-perfect Jehovah. But in the scriptures we have an uniform and clear account of the being and nature of the great Creator, delivered to us by his own immediate inspiration ; we have such full and distinct declarations of his eternal Godhead, of his infinite power and wisdom, his mercy and justice, his truth and goodness, as are sufficient to remove all false conceptions concerning him, to possess our minds with a most awful and religious sense of his divine perfections, and to raise our souls, and all that is within us, to love, praise, and adore his holy name :
Nor are the things contained in scripture of less importance in discovering to us what more immediately relates to ourselves.
The reasonings of meri, without the light of revelation, concerning their own first production, their present state and future expectations, were as dark and confused as their speculations
about God. They discovered, indeed, by woeful experience, that nian was in a state of degeneracy and corruption, but whence this proceeded, by what means it might be remedied, or what would be its consequences in another life, it was impossible for them to discover. But these mists of ignorance the light of scripture has dispelled, and acquainted us with every circumstance of our condition, which it concerned us to know. . They inform us, that we were raised from the dust of the earth, and inspired with a living and reasonable soul by the Almighty; that man was made of an upright and perfect nature, and that his corruption was occasioned by the wilful disobedience of our first parents, from which our stains and infirmities are all derived; they discover to us the great work of our redemption; the means by which we are restored to the divine favour; by which we are enabled to triumph over sin here, and to obtain an immortal inheritance hereafter. ::
These are great and important discoveries inä deed! discoveries which human understanding could never have reached, nor the severest researches into the works of nature and providence ever have found out. For though in the volume of creation men might have read, that the world was not formed by chance, nor produced from