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LECT. rectifies many mistakes of superficial Chrif.
tians, who suppose that Christianity was a new thing when it was preached by the apostles, because Christ was then newly come in the flesh; whereas it was only the perfection of that doctrine, and that Church, which had subsisted from the beginning of the world. Hence also we learn the infinite importance of the sacraments and institutions of the Church, of which many Christians in these days have a poor low understanding. The confusion which followed upon the reformation brought many to a deplorable state of ignorance; out of which they cannot be recovered, but by following that admonition of the prophetThus faith the Lord, stand ye in the ways and fee, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls *.
* Jer. vi, 16.
END OF LECTURE 111
THE MORAL OF THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES,
AS STATED IN THE EPISTLE TO THE
T HIS Epistle doth not only shew LECT,
1 us the harmony of the Old and New Testament, and explain the great doctrine of faith with all the depth of divine learn, ing; but gives us the best precepts, and the weightiest reasons, for a godly and christian life; which all who study this part of the scripture Tould lay up in their hearts; that they may be doers of the word and not hearers only. These precepts and reasons I shall therefore collect and enforco to your consideration, as they occur to us in the course of the Epistle.
The Apostle having described the dignity of the Son of God, thus argues ; that if he was so great, how important must that
LECT. way of salvation be, which he preached
for us to attend to it? and how dreadful
us? what shall we say for ourselves in that LECT. dreadful day, when the reasonings and reserves of every heart shall be exposed and confuted ? If the question is demanded of us, how it came to pass, that we were so ignorant of the gospel, and so inattentive to its instruction shall we answer, that we were too busy? What greater business can any man find in this vain world, than to provide for the saving of his soul? If his business could bring the whole world into his poffeffion, what good would that do him? The man that had the whole world for his own, would probably be the greatest fool in it; and care or pleasure would soon destroy him. Yet they who can get but a very small part of the world, and must soon lose even that, make their business an excuse, and have no time to be stow upon their everlasting interest.
The importance of the salvation spoken of in the text is farther shewn, by the manner in which it was recommended to the world. It was attested by signs and wonders and divers miracles, and gifts of
LECT. the Holy Ghost; all intended to raise the IV.
attention of mankind, and convince them that they must be lost if they neglected to hear what was so powerfully recommended. Add to all this the amiable, as well as the excellent, character of its great Preacher; whose life was spent in teaching; whose only business in the world was to save those, many of whom are too busy to hear him. He condescended to the ignorance of the poor; was compassionate to finners; argued patiently with the perverse and obstinate ; and accommodated himself to the wants of all. At last he tasted death for every man; for you that hear, and for me that speak; and by his exaltation after his sufferings hath thewed us the encouragement we have, and the reward we shall receive, if we follow his example. Nothing but hardness of heart can hinder us from partaking of the benefits of our heavenly calling; as it hindered the people in the wilderness from reaching the promised land. We are therefore to take heed, as the Apostle forewarns us, left there be in any of