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placing too much dependence upon them, by preferring them to that Divine Spirit from which they proceed, to which they direct our attention, and by which only they can be rightly opened to our understandings. Thus the Jews, in the days of our blessed Saviour's personal appearance on earth, paid great attention to the Scriptures; and at the same time did not believe in Him, “ of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write.” On this accountour Lord reproves them in this manner:“Search (or, ye searcb) the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me ; and ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life.” Now, that from which the Scriptures proceeded, and to which they amply bear witness as the means of salvation, is what we apprehend there is a danger of neglecting; and thereby of dwelling upon the letter, without a proper regard to the spirit; a danger against which the Scriptures them. selves contain many salutary cautions.
There is also a name hy which the Holy - Scriptures are frequently distinguished, which
appears to be, in divers respects, exceptionable, namely: “ The Word of God." This is an appellation which is otherwise applied in those writings; and it tends to create a confusion of ideas, unnecessarily to denominate several subjects by the same name. Christ is called, 66 The Word of God.”* The term + is also applied to that holy Principle or Spirit, by which He carries on the work of salvation in the hearts of true Christians; and frequently to the preaching of the gospel; but by applying it to the sacred writings, a misapplication of passages in them is frequently occasioned. That these writings contain the words of God, we readily admit: but we think it safest, as well as most proper, to designate them by that appellation by which the apostle Paul has distinguished them; and, by way of priority to all other writings, to style them, The Holy Scriptures. Concerning these writings we believe with this apostle; that they were “ given by inspiration of God; and are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”'s
On the Christian Religion.
The Fall of Man, and the Promise of a Redeemer.-Different modes of Divine communication to Man,-- Prospects and Prophecies of the Gospel Day.--Christ comes among the Jews.-The benefits of his coming designed to be universal. -Objects of his coming recapitulated.-Christian redemption a work of love, —Divinity of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit.- On the Trinity–Justification-Resurrection.- Arguments and Evidences of Christianity.—The true and perfect Christian.
HAVING vindicated the truth and Divine authority of the Scriptures, we next proceed to consider the most important doctrines of the Christian Religion.
Man having, by disobedience to the Divine command, lost that state of innocence and purity in which he was originally created; and having thereby subjected himself and his offspring to sin and misery; it pleased his gracious and merciful Creator, in the riches of
his love, early to point out and to promise a Redeemer. This was done at the very time when sentence was pronounced on our first parents for their transgression ; for then their tempter and seducer received this judgment : “ I will put renmity between thee and the woman; and between thy seed and her seed : it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his hcel."*
But, notwithstanding the promise was thus early made, iany ages elapsed before it pleased God completely to fulfil it : during which time, however, He did not leave mankind wholly to themselves ; but, by the ministration of angels, by that Holy Spirit which was more plentifully to be poured forth in the Christian dispensation, and by other means, He communicated his will to the children of men ; striving with and reproving the ungodly because of their iniquities, as well as exhorting and comforting the rightcous under those trials, to wbich this probationary state, and, in some instances, the love and the fear of their God, rendered them liable. Typical offerings and sacrifices for sin were also established, in allusion to that One offering, by which “He hath now perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” +
* Gen. iii. 15.
Among other sources of consolation, was the prospect, which was at times given to the patri. archs and propbets, of the day of Christ, and of the excellence of his dispensation ; concerning wbich we have many predictions left upon record, abundantly setting forth those adyan. tages which were designed to mankind by Him, whom we have represented to us as the Sent of the Father. By these prophecies, as well as by the types of the Mosaic law, the minds of many were gradually prepared for the reception of the promised Messiah; and many there appear to have been, who, with Simeon and Anna, “ waited for the consolation of Israel, and looked for redemption in Jerusalem,”* by the coming of Him, who was peculiarly prophesied of, as “ A light to lighten the Gentiles;” as well as for “The glory of his people Israel."'$
Thus, “ When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a wo. man, made under the law, to redeem them that
+ Heb. x. 14.
* Luke ii. 25, 38.
Isa. xlii, 6. Luke ii. 39.