Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

is certain; so is his divine justice. We shall prove, therefore, from the nature of the soul, the almost universal consent of mankind, the unequal distribution of the good things of this life, and from other substantial, and we hope convincing arguments that there must be a life after this, where the just and upright inan, will meet with a full compensation for all his troubles and misfortunes; and he that is habitually wicked will be consigned over to such inexpressible torments, as his wilful opposition to an offended Creator must evidently deserve; so that a man shall say; verily, there is a reward for the righteous ; doubtless, there is a God, that judgeth the earth.

In our proof of the authority of the sacred scriptures, we shall take notice of their infinite universal importance, as well as the style and manner in which they are delivered ; then shew that the books of Moses were the source from whence all nations drew what little notions they had of God, the creation of the world, and other remarkable events; that the wisest and best men in all ages of the world, who had the opportunity of reading, have not only admired, but admitted them to be infallibly true. We shall fhew you that feal of God affixed to them, the prediction of future events :- that the Prophet Isaiah in particular foretold, not only the birth of a great king many years before it happened ; but even his actions ; the destruction of that great and proud city of Babylon, and the very name of the destroyer :-we shall demonstrate, that no Being but an omniscient God could possibly have forseen or foretold such contingencies; and the conclusion will be very natural; namely, that the sacred scriptures must be written by divine inspiration.

From thence we shall proceed to the proof of the Christian Religion from its completion of the antient prophecies; from its stu: pendous miracles ; from the rapid progress it made in so short a time, and its uninterrupted continuance ever since ; from the indifputable testimony of men, who abandoned every thing, life itself, in defence of a doctrine, of the truth whereof they had every postible

C 2

ovidence. evidence. -And we have a good hope, when these things are duly weighed, you will be convinced of the absolute necessity there is for every one of us to follow the precepts of our most holy religion; to serve God with all our souls, and with all our strength ; to be constant in the due discharge of our public as well as private duties ; to be honest and just in all our dealings; to love our neighbours as ourselves ; to do to all men, as we would they Thould do unto us ;-In 2 word, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling,

In the prosecution of these few promised discourses, we are de. termined to spare no pains to be well informed ourselves ; nor do we intend to offer any arguments which are not folid and fubftantial, or which at least shall not appear fo to us; always making choice of such as are most obvious and incontestible; and adapting them, as much as possible, to the capacity of every hearer.

To conclude, we must beg your patience and attention ; entreat you for once at least, to lay aside all prejudice and prepoffeffion, and to judge fairly and impartially ; for prejudice is too apt to blind and captivate the judgment of the wisest of men : and above all, we must beg you to consider, that some doctrines concerning the moft high God, and the manner of his relation to us,—the mysteries of religion, must necesarily be above the capacities and comprehensions of the most learned and fagacious. And therefore if we should not be able to explain, or give perfe&t satisfaction in some particulars, we hope you will distinguilh between want of ability in us, and want of evidence in the things themselves. It is sufficient if we prove them to be certainly and infallibly true, though incapable of explaining how they are so : so that our ignorance and imperfect performance can be no ways prejudicial to the Christian cause, which we have not undertaken to defend out of any vain conceit; nor do we flatter ourselyes, that we shall be able to bring stronger arguments than have been already urged in defence of fo just and good a cause ; but we must acknowledge, that

we

is certain ; lo is his divine justice. We shall prove, therefore, from the nature of the foul, the almost universal consent of mankind, the unequal distribution of the good things of this life, and from other substantial, and we hope convincing arguments that there must be a life after this, where the just and upright inan, will meet with a full compensation for all his troubles and misfortunes; and he that is habitually wicked will be consigned over to such inexpressible torments, as his wilful opposition to an offended Creator must evidently deserve; so that a man shall say ; verily, there is a reward for the righteous ; doubtless, there is a God, that judgeth the earth.

In our proof of the authority of the sacred scriptures, we shall take notice of their infinite universal importance, as well as the style and manner in which they are delivered ; then shew that the books of Mofes were the source from whence all nations drew what little notions they had of God, the creation of the world, and other remarkable events; that the wisest and best men in all ages of the world, who had the opportunity of reading, have not only admired, but admitted them to be infallibly true. We shall shew you that feal of God affixed to them, the prediction of future events :- that the Prophet Isaiah in particular foretold, not only the birth of a great king many years before it happened; but even his actions ; the destruction of that great and proud city of Babylon, and the very name of the destroyer :-we shall demonstrate, that no Being but an omniscient God could possibly have forseen or foretold such contingencies; and the conclusion will be very natural; namely, that the sacred scriptures must be written by divine inspiration.

From thence we shall proceed to the proof of the Christian Religion from its completion of the antient prophecies ; from its stupendous miracles ; from the rapid progress it made in fo short a time, and its uninterrupted continuance ever since; from the indifputable testimony of men, who abandoned every thing, life itself, in defence of a doctrine, of the truth whereof they had every possible

C 2

ovidence.

[ocr errors][merged small]

evidence. And setze a zud toze, seiers ze daly weised, 501 wil te corrigeed cíce 2053 3:5y there is for every ce of us to foiss the percent cé ce cost holy religion; to ferre God with ali cetiri, ai ribicer itreagth; to be copilast in the desbarze of car pas a las private duties; to be bocet 2 is al cor dez ; to love our Deighbours 25 corleives; to do to al , as we would they hould do unto 15:-In 2 wari, was cat95 2ratica with fear and trembling.

In the prosecution of these few pionied d oces, we are de. termined to spare no pairs to be well informed cafetres; nor de we intend to offer any arguments which are cot fol: aad fubitantial, or which at least ihall not appear to to us; always making choice of such as are most cbricus ad iscoateftible; and adapting them, as much as posible, to the capacity of every hearer.

To conclude, we muit beg your patience and attention ; entreat you for once at leait, to lay ande all prejudice and prepoffeffion, and to judge fairly and impartialiy; for prejudice is too apt to blind and captivate the judgment of the wifest of men : and above all, we must beg you to conlider, that some doctrines concerning the most high God, and the manner of his relatica to us,- the mysteries of religion, must necesarily be above the capacities and comprehensions of the most learned and fagacious. And therefore if we should not be able to explain, or give perfe&t satisfaction in some particulars, we hope you will distinguish between want of ability in us, and want of evidence in the things themselves. It is fufficient if we prove them to be certainly and infallibly true, though incapable of explaining how they are so : so that our ignorance and imperfe& performance can be no ways prejudicial to the Christian cause, which we have not undertaken to defend out of any vain conceit; nor do we flatter ourselyes, that we shall be able to bring stronger arguments than have beon already urged in defence of lo just and good a cause ; but we must acknowledge, that we indulge a hope of setting these truths in so clear a light, as may be of service to that part of our auditors at least, who have little time for reading, and very few other opportunities of being instruc. ted in the doctrines of their most holy religion, than such as are afforded them by a regular attendance on public worship. It is, therefore, a duty highly incumbent on us to low such seed, as we shall judge most conducive to forward the work of salvation ; and it is both your duty and your interest to attend constantly and diligently to these things, upon which your future welfare so very much depends. Surely no one, who firmly believes that he shall live either in the most exalted pleasures, or in the moti exquisite torments forever and ever, will stand in need of being entreated to lend the closest attention.

Now may it please the divine Majesty to give a blessing to these our labours, that they my build up those in their most holy faith, who already believe ; confirm and establish those who are wavering, and confute those, who obstinately oppose his facred doctrine ! This is the fatisfaction we propofe ; this the end of our ambie tion: and to confess freely, I feel myself animated by the glorious prospect before me. For “ they that be wise shall shine as the “ brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righte“ousness, as the stars for ever and ever." ;

Let us join then in prayer together; and say with our holy Church, “ Blessed Lord! who has caused all holy scriptures to be “ written for our learning; grant that we may in such wise hear “them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by pa“ tience and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace, and ever “ hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou haft: “given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.”

SERMON

« ZurückWeiter »